March 26, 2007

BSG 3.20: "Crossroads, Part 2"

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Not Tech, TV — Chris @ 2:40 pm

Lots of juicy developments, most of which were so vague and ambiguous as to render analysis pointless. To summarize: there is some mystical connection between President Roslyn, Boomer, and Caprica Six which centers in some way on their connection to the human-Cylon baby, Hera; four principal cast members (well, two A-listers and two B-listers) become convinced that they are Cylons—four of the “final five”?—and it’s just possible that the last unknown Cylon is either Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix; one of the new Cylons had a baby this season, so there is a second probable human-Cylon baby out there that nobody is having any apocalyptic visions about; and a certain supposedly dead Galactican is not dead, is a Cylon, or has transcended such issues in the Fourth Dimension (or else a certain ace pilot, defense attorney, and prodigal son is seeing things in much the same way that certain other people saw certain things before crossing over into a certain Fourth Dimension).

The only issue that’s really worth chewing over here is the acquittal of one Gaius Baltar. It is fairly gratifying that the lack of accountability aboard Galactica I have noted a few times in the past was a significant plot point this week. Apollo’s speech was fairly convincing in an emotional-impact kind of way, but I was surprised that it carried the day. It seems to me that the signed death warrant—on which Gaeta’s perjured testimony could not be contradicted, except by Baltar and a few Cylons—was pretty much grounds for conviction by itself. (The irony being that Baltar can’t really be held responsible for the death warrant…. but the jury didn’t know that!) That said, it was very clever for the writers to push Baltar into a new situation, where his instinct for survival and skill at improvisation can serve him in new and possibly interesting ways.

Season 4 is scheduled for 2008 and “a special two-hour extended event” will air “fourth quarter 2007.” What am I supposed to do till then? Work?


March 18, 2007

Buffer-local Dictionaries

Filed under: Emacs, LaTeX, Tech — Chris @ 10:00 pm

If you write technical documents—especially technical computer science documents with code snippets and the like—you’re likely to come across a spell-checking dilemma like the following:

Unrecognized word: pBuffer

Replace with: (0) buffer (1) puffer (2) puffier (3) pouffe …
Space: Accept word this time
a: Accept word this session
i: Insert into personal dictionary

“pBuffer” is not a real word that should go in your personal dictionary, so you accept the word for this session. Say you’re going to write 5,000 more drafts of this document. All of those weird little technical words could get pretty annoying after a while.

In Emacs, you can type ‘A’ instead of ‘a’ to insert the word in a “buffer-local dictionary.” You can also presumably add a Local Words comment somewhere in your file by hand, like

% Local Words: pBuffer

Why is it always so hard to figure this stuff out?

Hat tip to the Linux Documentation Project.

Bonus tip: You want an em dash in your blog post? Try —. You would think I couldn’t be so em dash-happy and not know this already, but I am and I didn’t.

March 17, 2007


Filed under: LaTeX, Tech — Chris @ 11:22 pm

So you want to give an equation a name in LaTeX, instead of the number it gets automatically… For some reason, Google will resist telling you how. You may be tempted to use the eqname package. No need! No need at all! Use the \tag command. Why isn’t this easier to figure out?

UPDATE: I apologize to the writers of the amsmath documentation, who mention this pretty much immediately after they introduce the concept of equation numbering. I always assume that Google can find these things for me.

March 16, 2007

Lazy Scholarship

Filed under: LaTeX, Not Tech — Chris @ 8:31 pm

Fill in the blanks: You are ___% more likely to get cited if you include BibTeX and/or EndNote entries for your publications on your web page. You are ___% less likely to get cited if the PDF of your paper doesn’t support cut-and-paste.

March 5, 2007

BSG 3.16: "Maelstrom"

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Not Tech, TV — Chris @ 3:55 pm

There be SPOILERS ahead.

File this one under: be careful what you wish for. Ballsiness aside, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Starbuck again in one form or another. Which will it be: Cylon, dream sequence, or creature of pure energy?

As much as I’ve enjoyed Katee Sackoff throughout the series (in those scenes where she wasn’t making puppy-dog eyes at Apollo), I think I would prefer if the point of this episode was that Starbuck totally lost her mind and died for no reason, rather than following her spirit into the fourth dimension wherein she will fulfill her Destiny. I’m getting pretty tired of all this Destiny crap.

As H said to me last night, “So, remind me of what it is you like about this show again?” To which I respond… I think the last few episodes of last season and the first few episodes of this were some of the best that BSG has ever done. But ever since “The Exodus” from New Caprica, I feel as if the drama of the show has gone slack. I’m afraid we may have jumped the shark… Here’s hoping for a rocking season finale.

P.S. Last week’s episode, which barely merits comment, provided some new data for my ongoing research into discipline aboard Galactica: treason merits a slap on the wrist, fomenting a general strike will almost get your family shot.

March 4, 2007

Newlines in Regexps

Filed under: Emacs, Tech — Chris @ 7:23 pm

This tip rocks: to search for a newline in Emacs type C-q C-j.

Blog at