March 2008

Even the NY Times had an article in the Friday issue about it, but the new focuses on the main business point, which is that Verizon and AT&T basically snapped up the lion’s share. Hopefully it won’t be “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” but I’m a little less sanguine. Floating under the radar was an attachment from Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who said:

It’s appalling that women and minorities were virtually shut out of this monumental auction. It’s an outrage that we’ve failed to counter the legacy of discrimination that has kept women and minorities from owning their fair share of the spectrum. Here we had an enormous opportunity to open the airwaves to a new generation that reflects the diversity of America, and instead we just made a bad situation even worse. This gives whole new meaning to “white spaces” in the spectrum.

I usually think of Commissioners as a little less fiery, but I guess that’s just a stereotype. Maybe he was inspired to speak out by Obama’s call for more dialogue about race, but after looking at his record it seems totally consistent. Personally, I think that he’s just the kind of guy we need at the FCC!

The FCC just announced the closure of the spectrum auction for the 700 MHz TV bands.

The Commission has announced the closing of Auction 73, assigning over 1,000 licenses for much of the 700 MHz band, at just under $19.6 billion in final bids. This impressive sum is almost double the amount that was estimated for this auction, and it exceeds the final receipts of all previous U.S. spectrum auctions combined.

My reaction is : holy crap. Hopefully there will be a similar amount of financial interest in research directed at utilizing that shared spectrum efficiently…

Amardeep Singh on interviewing survivors of Partition. See also the Sepia Mutiny version.

Fry and Laurie on Language (HT: Crooked Timber).

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences by Eugene Wigner (yes the same Wigner from random matrix theory) (HT Adam).

An important test about bicycling (HT Morgan).

An interesting read, given that I acted in Harvest, an article on surrogate mothers in India (HT Mimosa). Strangely, it mentions “Anand, a city in the eastern state of Gujarat.” Who knew?

An excerpt from Man of the Heart, a play about Lalon Phokir by Sudipto Chatterjee and directed by Suman Mukherjee. I did lights for the original workshop and a performance in Irvine. This video is from a production in Kolkata, for which they made several changes in the production and design.

A MetaFilter post on Çatalhöyük, which sounds like a fascinating place to visit if I ever get to go to Turkey again.

In other news, my thesis draft is now 200 pages. Hopefully it will become more readable soon.

UPDATE : This class looks totally awesome, except that I would probably want to have more plays on the syllabus and maybe expand it to include science and engineering. The Alchemist and Galileo are recognizable choices, but there’s also more contemporary stuff, like The Water Engine. In some sense this would make an ideal graduate seminar…

I had already written most of this, but was waiting to write up a few thoughts on other talks. Then a week or two turned into a month plus, so… I’ll just post these few and give up on the rest (sorry!) due to time issues.


The Berkeley Bowl had red amaranth the other day, which is a vegetable my mother raves about, but was unavailable when I was growing up. In Chhattisgarh it’s called Lal Bhaji, and my mother told me to fry it up with onions, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, chilies, and tomato. The taste is similar to spinach, but a little less sweet — I like it better than the more bitter greens. The only downside is the time spent taking the leaves off.

At the Berkeley Bowl it’s called “Yin Choy,” and it’s with the little section of Chinese Vegetables I Know Very Little About And Learn About From Blogging. One of the Chinese students in the lab said to fry it up with a lot of garlic, which also sounds tasty.

It’s pretty clear (warning : a fair bit of profanity, so may be NSFW). Perhaps more things should be explained via stick figures…


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