October 4th, 2004

krazy koati

The Moon is a madness, a madness of mine

And happy Sputnik day (hi, mahto), and Pogo's birthday, and with any luck the X-Prize will be won today.

So why don't I believe in targeted marketing? Discrete mathematics forms customer profiles by drawing graphs in which, say, the x-axis is the number of DVDs bought in the past year while the y-axis is the amount spent on plane tickets per year. Each person profiled gets a spot; and they try to draw dividing lines around populated ``islands,'' so that if a new customer buys eight DVDs, the travel agency guesses whether it's worth selling to him or her.

This is yesterday's purchases at Borders: Charles R. Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff's Chariots for Apollo (about the making of the Lunar Module); Giles Morton's The Riddle and the Knight: In Search of Sir John Mandeville; Charles Schulz's Peanuts: Snoopy features as The Sportsman; and R.W.R. Darlin's Differential Forms and Connections (I want to get better at sympletic algebra). Based on that, what would you guess might be my next book purchase?

Not that it matters; the ads I see most often are online, where every server in the world thinks I want a U.S. Green Card.

Trivia: The Li'l Pup Dog's first words, besides ``Bow-Wow'' and ``Bow'' were ``Poltergeists are the principal type of spontaneous material manifestation.'' Source: Pogo daily strip of 30 August 1950, reprinted (among other places) in Pogo Even Better, Walt Kelly.

Currently Reading: The Black Cloud, Fred Hoyle. A black dust cloud moves into the solar system, threatening Earth with an intolerable rise in temperature; as one might expect given the author, the process of the cloud's discovery and study rings absolutely true. The characters aren't even ciphers, but it feels like it might have happened.