I gave a couple of seminar talks on

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Perhaps a half-dozen times in the past week, I've read sentences with contain the phrase "must needs." I have never considered this construction before; frankly, it sounds totally bizarre to my inner ear (my spiritual inner ear, that is).

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I gave a seminar talk on

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I'm still trying to find (two!) new roommates (since my current roommate bought a place, and is moving out on December 15th). If you know anybody who would like to move in with me, I'd love to know about it.

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I wonder if anyone knows about alphabet songs in other languages? I'd be particularly interested in knowing about Greek and Hebrew alphabet songs, and a bit about the history of such things. It seems like these songs must be used primarily to teach the lexicographic ordering of the letters; I suppose the Latin alphabet is ordered in keeping with the Greek alphabet, and so forth, but why did the early alphabets get placed in the order that they did? Saying "numeric value"just begs the question (after all, then why those values?).

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Today in Geometry/Topology seminar, quasihomomorphisms $\Z \to \Z$ were discussed, i.e., the set of maps $f : \Z \to \Z$ such that $| f(a+b) - f(a) - f(b) |$ is uniformly bounded, modulo the relation of being a bounded distance apart. These come up when defining rotation and translation numbers, for instance.

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There are some questions about outer space that I would like to be able to answer. Some nice survey articles look to be:

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I'm fond of the Pineapple Sauce Pancake graph: the vertices are English words, and there is an edge from $a$ to $b$ if $ab$ is also an English word (e.g., "pan" and "cake" are English words, and there is an edge from "pan" to "cake" because "pancake" is also an English word).

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I've spent a lot of time constructing languages (Kisonef and Naedari being my favorites); in a similar vein, I also tried to create a language that an alien civilization would be able to understand. I had hoped to put a message written in my universal language in a conspicuous place (say, on a college campus), just to test if what I made really was understandable, even to humans!

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Last night, there was a terrible thunderstorm in Chicago; I've never seen so many trees on the road! I was supposed to land at Midway at 7:30pm last night, but we were diverted to Indianapolis, so I didn't land in Chicago until 2:00am, and then I waited until 3:00am to get a taxi, so I didn't get home until almost 4:00am. Crazy!

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