mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Jacob Robbins; NIH Scientist Known for Thyroid Research (From The Washington Post, May 16, 2008.)

Jacob Robbins first set foot on the eighth floor of the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in 1954. Claiming one of only two working labs available to him in the year-old hospital, he immediately launched what would become groundbreaking work on the function of the thyroid and the treatment of thyroid cancer, particularly cancer caused by exposure to radioactivity.

On May 12, Dr. Robbins died of cardiac arrest -- at the Clinical Center, not far from where his NIH work had begun 54 years earlier. He was 85.

"He died surrounded by the work he treasured," said Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK.

I'll miss him.

mdlbear: (space colony)

When I was growing up it was generally considered that the three greatest science fiction writers were Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke. (Some would add Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, and Ray Bradbury to the list. I won't dispute any of them.) Clarke, last of my three old favorites, died this morning.

You'll find obits on MSNBC, The Telegraph, and the BBC, as well as damned near everyplace on the Web and on my friends list.

There's not much more I can say.

mdlbear: (120-cell)
NPR: A Four-Dimensional Tribute to the Late Madeleine L'Engle
An actual tesseract is best described as a four dimensional cube...and is kind of confusing. So, in memory of L'Engle, we met up with Physicist David Morgan who took a little time out of his day to talk tesseracts with the BPP. Put your measley three-dimensional brains to work on this (Via Boing Boing)
mdlbear: (rose)

The sky has been overcast -- a uniform pearly-grey -- all day. Smoke from two nearby wildfires, presumably. And some more music has gone out of the world.

Here are Reuters and CNN on Luciano Pavarotti's passing, at the tragically young age of 71, of pancreatic cancer. Same thing that got my Dad. And here is Pam Jones of Groklaw, with one of the most heartfelt tributes I've seen, made a little more poignant by her realization that a high-profile blogger writing about copyright law probably shouldn't risk linking to pirated video clips on YouTube. Just search there and you'll find 'em -- I'm not a high-profile blogger writing about copyright law.

At the moment, I'm just an amateur musician lamenting the passing of one of the great ones.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So it seems that Jerry Falwell died this morning. Far be it from me to speak ill of the dead.

But if the afterlife he so fervently believed in really exists, I hope he has taken up residence in the appropriate section of it.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

... no damned cradle. Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84.

mdlbear: (rose)
John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies - New York Times
John W. Backus, who assembled and led the I.B.M. team that created Fortran, the first widely used programming language, which helped open the door to modern computing, died on Saturday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 82.

the rest of the article )
(From engadget)

A personal note: John Backus was one of my heros, not only as the inventor of Fortran but as one of the co-authors of Report on the Algorithmic Language Algol 60 (and incidentally the inventor of the BNF notation for programming-language syntax). Algol 60 was ground-breaking all by itself, but the Report was even more so: it still stands today as one of the best pieces of technical writing in history. (The link is to the Revised Report; the Report in its original form, as PDF, can be found via the ACM, but does not appear to be available free. It should be.)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of (lyrics and notes) (ogg)
lyrics behind cut )
mdlbear: (fandom)

(From [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman and others.) The suggestion on the page is to purchase copies of THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN and donate them to their favorite library or young person. Sounds like a good idea to me. Baen was one of the few print publishers who really understood how to use the web as an advertising tool. I don't usually visit the Free Library because every time I do, I end up ordering a pile of paperbooks.
mdlbear: (fandom)

Stanislaw Lem dies at 84. Damn. The Cyberiad. Solaris. A Perfect Vacuum. The Invincible. Damn.

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