Last night I went to a “gathering” in support of KIPP Academy Lynn, a middle school whose philosophy is to take kids from bad neighborhoods and keep them in school as much as possible, so that they spend as little time as possible in their neighborhoods, and learn all the things they missed in elementary school.

I brought some OLPC XO’s along, and of course they were a big hit, despite some seriously annoying bugs. The “kids”, 12-14, loved them.


I recently watched The Punisher. Normally, I would not subject myself to this sort of thing, but as I was about to turn away I realized that the lead character was, in fact, the same guy from The Mist. I was fascinated. This guy did The Mist, and yet hasn’t been completely boycotted from all forms of media?

The Punisher is surprisingly okay. It’s not fantastic, and I don’t particularly recommend it, but it’s at least entertaining, and not too self-serious. The quality of the acting puts it above the B-movie category, even if everything else about it is pretty silly. It’s not nearly as bad as expected.

Dream language

Last night I dreamed a new programming language: vector python. It’s a graphical language whose key primitive is the ability to take a group of values at the nodes of a cycle and “spin” them through one step of the cycle.

It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s definitely what I dreamed about last night.


It’s been an extremely busy week, mostly because myself and the other TA are giving the lectures, and also writing the problem set. I spent today writing up my lecture, since my notes were hand-scribbled and students wanted a copy. If you want to know about entropic springs, freely jointed chains, and the motivation for Free Energy, you can read all about it.

I’ve just been told that a talk I gave at OLPC is now online. I suspect it’s an even mix of embarrassing, boring, and incomprehensible.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is on my way back from work, and today I went in for the first time. I knew I needed peanut butter, and I was curious what their selection looked like. I eat rather a lot of peanut butter, and I prefer the kind that has a single ingredient: roasted peanuts. I usually by “super chunky unsalted” at my local Star Market (a.k.a. Shaw’s) for $2.69.

I was bewildered by the array of peanut butters that Whole Foods offered. They included every variation on sweetened and unsweetened, organic, unsalted, creamy or chunky. Prices started at $1.69, for creamy salted with no added artificial oils, and ranged up to $12 a bottle for organic fancy brands. They even carried Teddie’s, the same brand I usually buy at Star.

And yet, I was disappointed. None of the jars were both chunky and unsalted. I ended up being forced to buy creamy, though at the same price I would have paid at Shaw’s.

Conclusion: Whole foods is overpriced, except when it’s not, and has a wide selection, except when it doesn’t.


Traditional Jews use Passover as a convenient excuse to do a complete spring cleaning. The tradition calls for Jews to get rid of all their bread and wheat products, including every last crumb that might have fallen into any crack, and so the resultant top-to-bottom house-cleaning is (theoretically) just a convenient side effect.

Before the seder, I spent the day cleaning (mostly scrubbing the bathroom), but for a different reason. We’re showing the apartment to potential new roommates on Monday, and I’m not sure I’d want to live with anyone who’d be willing to move into an apartment whose bathroom looked like ours did.

(Also, I dare you to try and diagram that sentence.)


I’ve been holding “section” for MCB199 every week since the beginning of term, but on Monday I’m giving the main lecture itself for the first time. It should be fun. I also have section scheduled for an hour later, and office hours after that. I’m not sure what to do to make 3 hours worth of material.

If you think there’s something I should say about density of states, the entropic spring, and the Gibbs free energy, let me know.


I need a new roommate, starting August 1st. It’s a great apartment, and the room (biggest one in the apartment) is only $633 a month. Moving to Cambridge? Looking to live in the most convenient apartment in the Greater Boston Area? Give me a call.

Daryl Wein!

My roommate was watching Law & Order, and there was some sardonic guy who was supposed to be a drug addict and … oh my god it’s Daryl Wein!

I’ve known Daryl Wein since we were like 7 years old. We went to high school together. I’d heard that he was an Actual Actor these days but I didn’t totally believe it until now. He’s even got a website: (Too bad,, and are all taken, all by different people.)