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I finally decided on a problem solving book, Loren Larson's Problem-Solving Through Problems. It arrived from amazon.com (rather quickly to my surprise) a couple of days ago, and I had a chance to start reading it last night. It's an easier read than the Engel text, so far. The author introduces problem solving with five different arguments that the number of subsets of a set (aka power set) of size n is 2n. The first argument requires the reader to use induction to complete the proof, so I did that as an exercise. I thought it would be pretty easy, but I got stumped for a bit, then came up with the proof. (There is one step where I handwaved a bit. I may need to clean it up later. Reminds me that one of my HS math teachers used to take off a couple of points on her tests when we "didn't quite prove" something.)

Speaking of HS, with the meme going around and all, the original series of Battlestar Galactica debuted during the fall semester of my senior year. I watched the second episode of the new series on Friday night, which featured Richard Hatch, who was Capt. Apollo in the original series. I thought the scenes involving him and the new Apollo (Jamie Bamber) were pretty interesting. I hope they decide to keep Hatch's character around. As for the new series as a whole, I am sort of sitting on the fence about it. One thing that I think is really lacking is the sense of urgency that the Cylons are out to exterminate the human race. Rather, in this series, there is too much antagonism, dysfunction, and self-centeredness among the principals. I also don't care much for the portrayal of the new Baltar. This one seems inept and clueless. The old Baltar would've had this crew for lunch, I think. But, we'll see. It took me a while to warm up to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Last night, I dreamt I was in HS again, in a room that looked like one of the old chem labs. However, the room was filled with AltaVista engineers. They were looking for a volunteer to work on the Babelfish backends. I reluctantly volunteered, saying that I wasn't sure it was a good idea since I was about to be laid off, and no one would be left to complete my work after I was gone. Someone left the room to find out if I could be rehired, then the dream ended.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 23rd, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
Have you ever read Paul Zeitz's (he was the valedictorian of Stuyvesant's class of 1975) book on problem solving? The title is The Art and Craft of Problem Solving I've only had a chance to peruse it briefly, but he's a mathematician for whom I've always had great respect.
Jan. 23rd, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
I've read some of it. (I wrote about it here.) I may buy it eventually.
Jan. 24th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC)
But don't you think that the whole thing about Battlestar Galactica being more self-centered, etc. is a reflection of todays' society versus the late 70s mentality? I think so.

The odd thing about BG is that I wasn't allowed to watch it back when it first came on. I remember the theme music, and that's about it. I do know that I'm going to my own high school reunion this year (25th, obviously) but that I'm rather nervous about it - no dreams, yet, though. Still, I was thinking about it, and got email. I did the meme thing last night, and got more email about it. Weird.
Jan. 24th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
Hmmm ... I didn't think the late 70s were much different than today. Perhaps that's because I'm reminded of some record labels that achieved stratospheric valuations due to the disco and heavy metal craze, only to crash and burn a few months later, much in the same way that dot-coms crashed and burned a few years ago. If anything, the original BG was more of a 60s-style adventure story using late 70s motion picture hi-tech.

I tend to agree with Glen Oliver's review at the bottom of this page.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )