July 2007


I just noticed this news on the IT Society webpage.

On an experimental basis, open reviewing of submissions to the Transactions will be allowed to complement the standard procedure. If a paper preprint is posted on ArXiv (http://www.arxiv.org/), with the explicit indication “Submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory,” then its readers are allowed to send their comments about it to the Editor-in-Chief, Ezio Biglieri. Provided that these comments are not frivolous or obviously biased, the Editor-in-Chief will forward them to the Associate Editor in charge of the paper as a supplement of regular peer reviews.

I wonder how many people will actually do this — everyone I know who does a fair bit of reviewing seems overwhelmed by their own load and wouldn’t really have the time to send a comment on another paper. What it probably will do is improve the connections to related literature, since I’m guessing more people read the abstract of the preprint on ArXiV than do if/when it is published in the Transactions.

I’m now on the Web resources mailing list for the IT Society and there has been some discussion of how to start some discussion or comments thread for ArXiV-ed papers. There seems to be a push for an “opening up” of the review process in general. Not that the technical review should be opened up, but that the value of a preprint is that its perceived impact can be discussed (semi)-publicly. The epistemology of that distinction is pretty interesting, I think…

Apparently the ASEE has a fellowships blog. They administered my NDSEG fellowship back in the day. It seems to be laden with NSF news, but I think it’s a new feature, so I’m sure it will develop over time. Hopefully it will be a good resource for undergrads and early grad students to navigate the thicket of fellowship applications.

Professor Sergio Servetto died on Tuesday in a tragic plane crash. It’s a real shock, and great loss. I had just talked to him at ISIT in Nice. He was very active in getting the IT student society going and will be missed greatly. I was unsure if I should link to the news here, but I think that there are people who read this blog, knew him, and would want to know.

UPDATE : The IT Student Society has more information.

Volta (Björk) — A strong and very different followup to Medulla. The songs on Volta trail off into strange minimal landscapes, as if you’re walking down a beach with pavilions set up for each song. I particularly liked “The Dull Flame of Desire” and “Innocence.”

Bonfires of Sao João (Forro in the Dark) — With guest vocals by David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto, and Miho Hatori, this album bounces along. I like almost all of the songs on here, and look forward to incorporating them into my new mix CDs…

Neon Bible (Arcade Fire) — It doesn’t have the manifesto-like feel of Funeral, but there are some songs on here that really got under my skin, like “Keep The Car Running.” I think it might start growing it on me.

Techarí (Ojos de Brujo) — I heard them described to me as the New Flamenco. They mix it up with Bhangra beats (“Todo Tiende”) and are the kind of music that makes me feel hipper than I am.

Rendezvous at the Nightery (Brandi Shearer & The Robin Nolan Trio) — This album is a mix of gypsy jazz, old country standards, and originals. I particularly liked “Coquette,” “Glory of Love,” and of course “Belleville Rendezvous.”

(Justice) — This album seems to be making a splash on KALX, but my friend J. told me about it when I was in Paris (I still have to write about it or post a photo or something, argh). Mostly Daft Punk-ish, the album also has the disco pop tune “D.A.N.C.E.,” which too addictive for its own good.

Cansei De Ser Sexy (Cansei De Ser Sexy) — Electro, then clash, then electroclash, then clashelectro. Often hilarious, in yer face, and good for driving or bouncing. “Alala” and “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above” are the popular tracks, I bet, but most tracks have something to offer up.

LCD Soundsystem (Sound of Silver) — They are North Americans, yes they are. Good beats, but overall the album just kind of went in one ear and out the other. There are some good tracks on here for grooving though.

Via BookSlut, a link to a poem by Clive James entitled “The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered.” My favorite bit: “And (oh, this above all) his sensibility, / His sensibility and its hair-like filaments, / His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one / With Barbara Windsor’s Book of Boobs, / A volume graced by the descriptive rubric / ‘My boobs will give everyone hours of fun.’”

I have a paper (poster) at the Information Theory Workshop in Lake Tahoe for the first week of September. I figured Lake Tahoe has a lot of accomodation, and in early September it should be pretty easy to find a cheap-ish place to stay. Little did I realize that all registered participants are being coerced into staying at the conference center itself. The two cheap “options” (i.e. non-deluxe) that are available are the following:

Double room, per person + all meals – $700.80 for 4 days
Staying away from the center + all meals – $336.00 for 4 days

The “registration fee” is misleading. If you are a student from say, Berkeley, Stanford, Davis, or some other school within driving distance, and you think “oh, it might be nice to go to the workshop and the IEEE Student rate is only $100,” think again! In addition to your cheap hotel off-site, you will have to pay an extra $336 for food that is likely to be so-so and may violate your eating restrictions!

Is this the Standard Operating Procedure when it comes to workshops? Is my shock unwarranted?

This was by far the strongest quake that I have felt since moving here, and the only one that was mildly frightening. Of course it also woke me up, so maybe that adds to the terror factor.

Well, not really, but there’s a warning out about botulism found in certain brands of chili. Luckily I don’t like chili, so I won’t have a wrinkle-reduction on my digestive tract…

Tenor Jerry Hadley has died a week after an apparent suicide attempt. I saw him twice that I remember — once in recital, which was very inspiring, and once in Harbison’s The Great Gatsby at the Met, where he was good but a bit impenetrable. It’s a great loss — he was one of the great American tenors of the last few decades.

I have gathered my conference blogging into a single page, linked on the sidebar. Assuming I have the bandwidth, I’ll blog a bit about SSP 2007 and ITW 2007, and “Global Conversations: A Festival of Marginalized Languages,” which I will be attending in Irvine this fall.

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