random musings...

Clay Bennett; the Tea Party

clay bennett is a genius. hands-down, no contest. he can distill complex issues down to incredibly poignant cartoons, often with very little in the way of text.

if I were to link to every one of his cartoons that grabs me, well, let’s just say that the comics section of this site would be bigger than the rest put together. one of my favorite morning rituals is grabbing a mug of coffee and heading over to the chattanooga times free press editorial cartoons online to see what new visual wizardry clay has dreamt up…

that said, a recent cartoon about the tea party really captured my attention. especially since the midterm election is a week from tomorrow, so I decided to link to it here… the guy who’s actually tossing over crates of “taxes” really looks a bit concerned as he looks back at his compatriots. hopefully there actually are a few folks in the tea party coming to their senses as he seems to be…… we can only hope.

Separation of Church and State

is she serious?

“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked Chris Coons Tuesday, drawing swift criticism from him, laughter from the crowd and a quick defense from prominent conservatives.

but wait, it gets better

She interrupted to say, “The First Amendment does? … So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”

even better, she chose a debate venue at a law school to trot this out. has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen lately…

First Philharmonic Concert of the Season

for the last few year’s we’ve purchased a series for the los angeles philharmonic season at the disney hall. this year is no exception, and last night was the first concert in our series for this year. dudamel conducted messiaen’s turangalîla-symphonie. I’m not usually one for the more modern symphony pieces, but this one was exceptional.

the stage was packed with a fairly full orchestra, and even included an instrument I’d never heard of before, the ondes martenot. some of the sounds the ondes produces are downright eerie.

the ten-movement symphony was really a treat; a full dynamic range from extreme pianissimo to roaring fortissimo. and the composer’s grasp of interesting rhythmic constructions was extraordinary. that said, eighty minutes is a long time to sit in the chairs at the disney hall, they aren’t known for their comfort.

Goodbye Benoît Mandelbrot

I heard on npr this morning that benoît mandelbrot has died.

I have vivid memories of a younger me, circa 1990 sitting in my university dormroom in front of a little 386sx as it chugged away rendering some zoomed view into the mandelbrot set. I was fascinated by the infinite variation and complexity. I was already studying mathematics, but I suppose it helped me to realize there was interesting math beyond analysis.

I also recall working with junior high math students in a summer program, and how intrigued they were by this graphical representation of math. it definitely served to pull them in and spark their curiosity.

for that, and so much more, we thank you benoît. you will be missed.


this is yet another step in the evolution of the brachers.org website. I’ve pulled all of the existing data out of the db in textile format, and I’m using jekyll to template out the site.

I’m also now serving the content from a vps at linode rather than serving off of my dsl line, so hopefully things will be a bit more responsive moving forword.

most of the photo data has not been moved over. I’m still trying to decide what I want to do with that… I’ve pulled over photos that are referenced in stories, but I may try to do something different with the photo gallery data that used to be on brachers.org… maybe push it up to dropbox and let their photo gallery code lay things out and serve it up?


we’re just back from three weeks in greece. it was amazing, and I find myself at a loss for words to describe the experience. so I’ll link to some photos for now, maybe more later…





those are links into dropbox galleries, I haven’t worked out how/if I want to handle photos here on brachers.org moving forward.

Rest in Peace Jaime Escalante

I heard on npr this morning that jaime escalante died yesterday. truly a loss to the world of mathematics education.

then slashdot led me to this article about the math program at garfield high, and what happened to it after escalante moved on. it’s a good read, though a bit sad that such a great program seems to have fallen on hard times.

jaime, rest in peace. you did some amazing work. thank you.


so there was ice on my car this morning… it does freeze here a few times each winter, but usually just the morning dew. last night though, it was raining, so a much thicker layer was waiting for me when I headed out to the car. here’s one view

and another

thank goodness I have an ice scraper…

Hello Rewind

Hello Rewind has to be one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen1 in a while… they take a t-shirt (your t-shirt) and use it as the outside of a laptop sleeve. they use some of the proceeds to support Restore NYC and also employ women rescued by Restore NYC.

how cool is that? I’ve got a grey EFF t-shirt that might make a nice sleeve. or maybe something from t-shirt woot? or maybe a t-shirt from your alma mater? the possibilities are endless, and it’s for a good cause!

1 in the interest of full disclosure, I first saw Hello Rewind while browsing engadget, can’t take credit for finding something this cool…