June 2007


I was completely ill for the first day of ISIT so I only made it to a handful of talks, but I have notes and will be posting about the conference soon, hopefully. Let this be a warning to those who read this blog and are bored by information theory…

UPDATE : still ill, which did not help my talk today. Hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow morning for talk number 2…

My Biased Coin, a blog by Michael Mitzenmacher.

(Actually, I’ll be posting some from ISIT 2007 in Nice, so be forewarned. I’m just snowed under all the time these days).

Via CT I read the news that Elsevier will stop running arms fairs, although they prefer to call it “the defence exhibitions sector.” I remember blogging about this when it first happened, but I never imagined they’d change their behavior. Now maybe they’ll stop coercing academic libraries into buying lousy journals…

In Cover’s early paper on “Broadcast Channels,” (IEEE Trans. Info Theory, vol 18, no 1, 1972), he writes:

The primary heuristic that we garner from these investigations is that high joint rates of transmission are best achieved by superimposing high-rate and low-rate information rather than by using time-sharing. Novels written with many levels of symbolism provide just one example of a mode of communication that may be perceived at many different
levels by different people.1

1I am soliciting double- and triple-meaning quotes that illustrate this idea. Consider, for example, the reaction of three different people to the following donated story. Buck and Harry led a beautiful maiden into the clearing by a rope tied around her ankle. “Let’s make her fast,” said Buck, “while we have breakfast.” The anonymity of the authors will be protected.

So the meanings I can come up with are (a) “let’s prevent her from eating while we have breakfast,” (b) “let’s bind her tightly while we have breakfast,” and (c) a meaning using a sexual interpretation of “make.” There’s something a bit disquieting about a dirty joke in a journal, especially one with overtones of rape. Nevertheless, I read it as an an interesting example of the ambiguity of language, even though it reifies the old-boy’s club-ness of the field…

The Choralis concert I mentioned earlier got a great review in SFCV!

Choralis’ balances, musicality of phrasing, and dulcet timbers were first-rate under the experienced Richard Sparks. Sparks is an American who has made a distinguished career, largely in Canada, Seattle, and Sweden. Both in terms of programming and directing, I found his contribution most impressive. It all amounted to a memorable concert experience.

My reaudition is on Tuesday, so we’ll see how it goes. The next concert will be the Victoria and Howells Requiems. Requia? Requii?

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