Komiks (Blg. 4)

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/25/Komiks-Blg.-4 on November 5, 2010 8:20 AM)

I’m looking for Philippine komiks or “comics magazines” published in 1986. If you have any, please contact me at joelnoche at yahoo dot com.


The Document Preparation System Called LaTeX

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/24/The-Document-Preparation-System-Called-LaTeX on October 22, 2010 1:58 AM)

I just gave a seminar-workshop to the faculty of the Mathematics Cluster of the Department of Mathematics and Natural Science.  It’s a very short introduction to LaTeX.  (A copy of the slides is attached to this blog entry.)  The seminar-workshop was funded by the University Research Council.

Danica McKellar

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/23/Danica-McKellar on October 15, 2010 1:58 AM)

Danica McKellar has an Erdős-Bacon number of 6 (an Erdős number of 4 and a Bacon number of 2).  She’s a summa cum laude B.S. Mathematics graduate of UCLA, and has co-authored a paper on work she did as an undergraduate.  She has authored three books so far:  Math Doesn’t Suck (How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail), Kiss My Math (Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss), and Hot X: Algebra Exposed! (Word Problems, Polynomials, Quadratic Equations, and More).  She also acts.

Mark Changizi

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/22/Mark-Changizi on October 14, 2010 9:56 AM)

Mark Changizi is an evolutionary neurobiologist who has a B.S. in physics and mathematics and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics (with advisors specializing in computer science, philosophy, and neuroscience).  He is currently the Director of Human Cognition at 2AI Labs.  I first learned about him through his paper on harnessing the human visual system to carry out computations.  (Instead of having a computer imitate how a human visual system works, have a human visual system imitate how a computer works.)  He asks some pretty good questions:  Why are natural language words vague?  Why do animals have as many limbs as they do?  Why are letters shaped the way they are?  Why do human eyes face forward?  Why do fingers and feet wrinkle when they are wet?  Why is a dictionary organized as it is?

The Butter Battle Book

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/21/The-Butter-Battle-Book on September 30, 2010 4:33 AM)

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Butter Battle Book.  (I have a copy from the first printing.  I bought it from BOOKSALE.)

Here’s some information about it (from Judith & Neil Morgan, Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography.  New York: Random House, 1995, pp. 249-250):

Ted (Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) recalled his Oxford studies of the conflict between the thirteenth-century Guelphs and Ghibellines of northern Italy, a deadly quarrel between those loyal to the Pope and those pledged to the Holy Roman emperor, setting cities like Florence and Siena at each other’s throat.  As Ted chose to remember history, they had fought because the Guelphs cut their apples vertically while the Ghibellines cut theirs horizontally.  Such nonsense became his metaphor for mounting cold war tension, and he plunged into the nuclear-war theme with a vigor that he had not felt for years.  He posed technical questions to retired military friends in San Diego, especially Victor H. Krulak, a Marine Corps lieutenant general who had been prominent in the Vietnam war.  […]

He wrote his nephew that he was working eight to ten hours a day on “the best book I’ve ever written.” […] [A friend] told Ted that the book’s inconclusive ending—would there be nuclear war?—would trouble some readers, but he agreed that it was the only honest one. […]

An in-house memo to Random House salespeople described The Butter Battle Book as “probably the most important book Dr. Seuss has ever created.” […]

Maurice Sendak wrote the following endorsement for the book (Morgan & Morgan, 1995, p. 252):

Surprisingly, wonderfully, the case for total disarmament has been brilliantly made by our acknowledged master of nonsense, Dr. Seuss. . . . Only a genius of the ridiculous could possibly deal with the cosmic and lethal madness of the nuclear arms race. . . . He has done the world a service.

Komiks (Blg. 3)

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/20/Komiks-Blg.-3 on September 18, 2010 4:49 AM)

For those who want to know more about Komiks and the Komiks industry, I strongly recommend that you get a copy of Pinoy Komiks Rebyu. (I got a few issues last August 30, 2010.)  The magazine has many articles, including a brief history of Pinoy komiks, a review of a 1980 magazine (The Philippine Comics Review), interviews with artists, writers, and editors, and articles on censorship and on komiks as a political instrument.  But what really caught my interest was the article entitled “Mga Dahilan ng Pagbagsak ng Komiks” (Reasons for the Downfall of Komiks).

The issue has 68 pages (including the cover).  (It seems that all Pinoy komiks include the cover in the page count.)  The cover is glossy (colored on the outside, black-and-white on the inside), while the pages are black-and-white newsprint paper.  This is a real pity as I would love to see the illustrations and pictures in color.

Billiard Paths

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/19/Billiard-Paths on September 3, 2010 10:08 PM)

Many years ago (perhaps around 1998), I bought a copy of Joseph O’Rourke’s Art Gallery Theorems and Algorithms (published in 1987) from a BOOKSALE outlet.  One of my favorite sections was the one on Mirrors (section 10.5) because it had a lot of open problems on illumination and billiard paths.  I have written a short article (Periodic Billiard Paths in Triangles) targeted at undergraduates.  It’s a summary of one open problem:  does every triangle have a periodic billiard path?