Code Monkey – Code Monkey Likes Fritos. Code Monkey Like You. More Jonathon Coulton.
It would be dishonest of me to claim that I understood even a small part of the mathematics, but here are a few things I learned to day from Benoit Mandelbrot (a former IBM Fellow Emeritus) who came to speak at IBM in Cambridge this afternoon:
1. You can get to a point in life where you have been so successful when you can come into a room and ramble on about pretty much anything and other very smart people will listen very intently. Many will even take notes. (This might also have something to do with age.) The title of his talk was “About Fractals.” The title of his first slide was “Roughness and Smoothness.” He spoke about everything from the Internet to World War I. Oh yeah, he also spoke about fractals and math too. Myself, I really had no idea what he was talking about most of the time but I couldn’t help but find it interesting and entertaining. Looking around the room, I don’t think I was alone.
2. A lot of people with really really big brains often do not worry about their PowerPoint templates. In fact, sometimes they don’t even worry about whether or not they are using a single template for their presentation.
3. The ability to ask a concise question seems to be a lost art. At one point, Mandelbrot started to answer a question before the question seemed half over. I don’t think anyone even minded because the question seemed to go on for about fifteen minutes and hadn’t even really gotten to a question yet. I couldn’t help think that Mandelbrot was thinking to himself, “I am an old man. I better answer this question now as I might not live to see the end of it.”
And yes before you ask, as I was sitting there listening to Benoit Mandelbrot, Jonathan Coulton was in my head singing “Let Z1 be Z squared plus C…” over and over again.
The plane tickets are set. Kim and I are headed to Italy for about two weeks in the fall.The basic plan is Rome, Florence and Venice with maybe a night or two in or around Siena. We still need to figure out how many nights here and how many nights there and we also need to book our hotels (which we hope to do over the next several days), but needless to say that we are pretty excited about the trip.
If you had any, we’d be very interested in any recommendations (or tips, tricks, whatever) that you might have about what to see / what to avoid, how many nights we need in each place (or places close by), wonderful restaurants, hotels, etc. or any other thoughts you might have.