Just got back from a weeks’ vacation on the east coast. We went to a wedding on Block Island, and visited the in-laws. I took my laptop and hacked C# a lot, and read.

I liked George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and I’m wading into A Clash of Kings. While I’m not afraid the series is going to turn into another Treadmill of Time (Martin has integrity as a writer, if you ignore his “Tuff” works), the number of characters is getting overwhelming. There’s an appendix in the back that lists the characters, by association, and I’ve been tempted to put a tick-mark next to each one that gets bumped off or promoted. I’m kind of hoping that he knocks off every single stupid king, lord, high priest and knight in his little world before the series is out; it’d serve all them right.

I’ve also been reading The Honors Class: Hilberts Problems and Their Solvers, by Ben Yandell. At the beginning of the last century. David Hilbert posed 10 (later, 18) problems in mathematics that he thought were important. Some of these led to Godel’s incompleteness theorem and other important results in the theory of computation. Yandell necessarily glosses over the heavy mathematics; the book touches on the math, but concentrates mainly on the biographies and interactions of the mathematicians who worked on the problems. (It would seem that about a quarter of them had some kind of mental breakdown or another; I guess mental problems go with the territory).

I hadn’t read Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors until this trip. The bit of cyberspace verse is positively brilliant (I’ll let you find it. It starts with pentagrams and pigeons and DOS boot noises).

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