and yet, I hate memes

But just for Sin‘s sake I’ll do it.

Number of books I own: Definitely in the hundreds, and if you count the books at my parents’ house that I lay claim too, perhaps a thousand. Though I don’t really think that you can count each individual Choose Your Own Adventure as its own book.

Last Book Bought: The Scar, by China Miéville. So far so good, but I’ve only really had time to read it on the bus.

Last book read: A Miracle of Rare Design, by Mike Resnick. This one was lent to me and I didn’t like it. It’s a sci-fi musing about a writer who is surgically altered to go undercover among all sorts of alien societies. It combines the anthropological sophistication of a bad Star Trek episode with profundity-via-inexplicable actions.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

  • The Phantom Tollbooth — this is a classic and should be read by all children and adults. You’ll never look a boredom in the same way again.
  • if on a winter’s night a traveler — I first got this book because Pari Zutshi saw it in one of the used bookstores in Champaign-Urbana (I want to say Jane Addams, but I honestly can’t remember) and she insisted that I buy it. Later she claimed that it was hers, at which point I surrendered it — a bad move on my part.
  • The Good Person of Sezuan — The first really political play I had really done, this gave me a concrete example of how the theater can engage the audience on a political and intellectual level beyond word games.
  • Theater of the Oppressed — Probably the first book that asked me to look critically at playmaking and to question the whole endeavor of the theater from the script to the presentation.
  • One, two, three, infinity — George Gamow is cool.

No more memes though. Really.


amusing paragraph

From a paper I’ve been trying to understand:

It seems to us that the aforementioned capacity theorem is one of the most complex coding theorems ever proved. Its proof not only involves the techniques of AVC theory but also some of the most advanced techniques from multiuser theory… Fifteen years ago such a capacity theorem must have been out of reach, but now it serves almost only as a demonstration for the power of certain methods. It is even conceivable that soon a much simpler proof will be found. This shows that there is hope also for several of the harder problems in multiuser theory, which seem to resist all efforts for their solution. Some problems can be solved only at the right time; the time is right if the methods are mature.

Corollary : The author is a super-genius.