Villa Sophia Skiing

Skiing past our home in Seattle:
Later a group of local kids made a snowboard jump…I would have used it but it didn’t look all that sturdy, and I probably would have ended up with an action shot of “Dave destroying local kids joy.”

Woke Up, Got Out of Bed, Dragged a Comb Across my Head

One of the most amusing things about writing a blog is that people you’ve never met form an impression about you from your blabberings, and then, often, when they actually meet you they are astounded that you aren’t “an old grumpy guy” or whatever image they had in their mind. So, in order to confuse you even more, here are some things which I’ve been reading and thinking about and doing while not working on efficient quantum algorithms for the hidden subgroup problem.
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Ski Lift Conversations

The man on the lift chair at Stephen’s Pass asks me my occupation. Professor, I tell him, at the University of Washington.
Oh, he offers, My daughter is a fourth generation Husky. I was in the class of 1972. Or, well I would have been if I’d graduated, but I knew what I wanted to do didn’t need a degree. If I’d wanted to work for IBM or Honeywell or something, then I guess it would matter.
Seattle, he continues scratching some snow from his mustache, used to be such a great city. But now, the traffic is crazy. My wife and I went on a trip and couldn’t find a city more messed up than Seattle.
Interesting, I tell him, hoping that exactly my lack of interest might change the topic of conversation. So what do you do?
I’m retire now, but I used to be developer.

sSQUINT Conference

On President’s day I attended the sSQUINT followup conference to SQUINT 2008. sSQUINT? Never heard of it? Neither had I. But when I learned that the “s” stood for “ski” (or maybe “snowboard”) and that some of my fellow quantum informationers would be trekking to Wolf Creek Ski Area, well I had to submit a paper. Mine paper was about mogul formation as a self-organizing system. Another paper was on the ski bum as an outcast and iconoclast. Much to our delight the weather gods gave us some beautiful blue southern Colorado sunshine. For your delight, pictures below.
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Ski Day: Mt Shasta Ski Park

Well I finally made it to the ski slopes. Hopefully my late start to this year’s ski season will just mean that I push harder to get up to the slopes. Here is a picture taken from the base of the Mt. Shasta Ski area:
The two lifts servicing advanced terrain were shut down in the morning due to the wind, the wind chill factor was brutal, and the snow looked liked it had been shipped out directly from the East Coast: all ice and crud. But hey, it was the first day skiing!

Teaching Happiness…

…is finding a homework stuck to my door, with duck tape, along with the note “Gone to Mt. Baker” (Mt. Baker is a local ski area.) Actually this reminds me of a policy I’ve always wanted to try: require every student to NOT attend class at least a few times a term. The idea being that it is actually beneficial to at least try to teach yourself the material without guidance from the teacher. Many students probably can learn on their own, but never try, because they equate doing well with attendance. Nudging these students towards that realization, I think, might actually be a good thing.