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.