austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

The white ship has sailed and left me here again

My Contact At Singapore event in Manhattan ended ultimately without my getting any particular prospects for new employment, in Singapore, Manhattan, or anywhere else, but at least I was able to get some food (spring rolls, pineapple wedges, and some coffee because I misunderstood the dispensers and thought I was getting tea) just ahead of the people cleaning things up, and I was also able to be reassured that the A*Star facility -- a collection of research agencies -- was always eager to hire mathematicians. I know about A*Star and I'd be happy to work for them but again I have to insist on their hiring me for something, but the fellow I was talking with gave me the address for the A*Star web site. Well, he tried to give me the address for the A*Star web site; he didn't actually know what it was, but took a good guess and wrote down that guess on his business card for me. In the weakest passive-aggressive response I could possibly give I gave to him a copy of my own business card, which leaves him with the unavoidable action of someday having to throw it out.

A couple of days after this I got e-mail from the organizers asking me to rate and to review the event on their web site. I've got copious free time that could be put to productive use instead, so why not? There was a little glitch in the web site, however: they only had feedback forms available for roughly similar events held in February, in Melbourne, Australia. The Likert scales to measure how satisfied I was with the organization of the event or how useful I found it wasn't hard to argue with, but I was left with the list choice of a couple of days a third of a year in the past and on the wrong continent from which to choose. So I picked one of the given options and explained in my comments what I was really trying to comment on. They haven't written back, but I'm sure they're busy throwing out my business card.

Trivia: Herman Hollerith's patent, filed 8 June 1887, for his punch-card calculator system was number 395,781. Source: Herman Hollerith: Forgotten Giant of Information Processing, Geoffrey D Austrian.

Currently Reading: The Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way, Bill Bryson. I'm feeling a touch wary about the book given its offering statements of dubious factual value, like the one about Eskimos having over fifty words for snow, early on. (My understanding is that most Eskimo languages are agglutinative, so asking how many words they have for `snow' is kind of like asking how many sentences English has that contain `snow'.)

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