All Work and No Play Make Mac a Dull Boy


Sorry about falling off the face of the earth.  Shortly after my last posting, work dropped a one ton case of overtime on my head.  At one point, I worked 13 straight days, and am just now recovering.  Or not, as my body decided that all that stress + the bad weather = one sick person.  Since I am home alone today, I thought I’d take the opportunity to work on the blog.

First on the list was picking an avatar.  Thanks to Lou, that was actually pretty easy.  In 2006, Panda’s Thumb had a contest to see if the participants could derive the exact Steiner solution for an arrangement of six points.  A Steiner solution is the shortest network of straight lines that connect a set of fixed points, allowing for nodes not located at the fixed points.  Contestants were pitted against a genetic algorithm.When the results were posted, the genetic algorithm and a few of the contestants had produced the exact solution.  There were, however, other solutions that were somewhat longer, which were called MacGyvers.  While I was able to visualize the exact solution, I wasn’t sure how to determine the location of the connecting nodes, so I instead submitted a number of MacGyvers.  All told, I formally submitted five of the top ten MacGyvers, and considered another three of the remaining five, which I didn’t submit because they were longer variations on the MacGyvers I formally submitted.  For my troubles, I was declared the Master of MacGyvers.

 MacGyver is also one of my favorite TV shows, though I was only introduced to it recently.  I have long been a “MacGyver”, always finding ways to accomplish tasks with what resources I have at hand, such as using coins as screwdrivers.  One of the best examples of that is my time in Odyssey of the Mind – my team won the Renatra Fusca Award for Creativity because of our MacGyver-worthy Short-Term problem solution.  In fact, the officials noted that we almost won a second Renatra Fusca for our Long-Term solution (for similar reasons), but they decided it wouldn’t be fair to give us the award twice in one competition.

 The clincher for my choice of avatar is that Richard Dean Anderson is one of my favourite actors.  I don’t look all that much like him (in high school and college I was often told I looked like Cary Elwes – or more precisely “that guy from Princess Bride”), but I don’t see that as a barrier.

 Look for more stuff later today.

Posted in About. 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “All Work and No Play Make Mac a Dull Boy”

  1. Lou FCD Says:

    Glad I could help!

    I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but it does make a great avatar.

  2. W. Kevin Vicklund Says:

    It just seemed appropriate, somehow. It’s somewhat analogous to how I go about reviewing the bad arguments. I go in to a situation with a basic toolkit of knowledge, and pick up the pieces I need as I go along.

    I’ve also made some changes to the layout. Once I realized that the Pages are displayed at the top, I took off the Pages widget from the left column. I’m planning on adding a Comment FAQ (basically, how to format comments so they look all spiffy) as well. I also made commenting easier, at least for now.

    And don’t forget that I now have a request page!

    My wife is out of town all next week, so expect a number of posts (FSM-willing). I’ve got a backlog of FF, plus there are some major goings-on in Florida and Iowa State.

  3. Lou FCD Says:

    Very good, looking forward to it. Also note that you can change the theme to anything found in the “Presentation” menu, or you can stick with this one and change the color via the little color-wheel gizmo that is available only to this theme.

    Feel free to tweak as you like, don’t feel obligated in any way to hang on to anything I set up. Much of it was stuck in as placeholder stuff, more to demonstrate how to do it than for its actual content.

    Wesley left a link for a petition to the Florida BOE at AtBC, I don’t know if you’ve signed it. You might want to put up a direct link from here to the petition.

    Here’s the thread at the Bar.

  4. Lou FCD Says:

    Oh, and this thread might interest you on the Iowa State. thing.

    Also, this might amuse you if you’ve been following the latest Luskin faux pas. I’m going to start using it.

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