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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Up for a Movie Puzzle?

I hope you all enjoyed the little ESP card trick from my previous entry. Thanks to those of you who made comments. As some of you realized quickly, the ESP site is a trick. Computers can’t really read your mind… which is a good thing. I admit, it took me a few tries before I figured out what was going on. Some of my readers apparently solved the riddle on the first try – I admit, it took me 6.
I have another fun puzzle for you today. You may have seen something like this from Virgin recently. This one comes from the Netflix of the UK – lovefilm.com. In this image (click the image to see the larger version) are cryptographic representations of the titles of 100 films.

It would be easy for you to find the answers online, but it’s much more fun, I think, to try and come up with the titles yourself, first. I admit to using IMDB to check a few titles, like “Big Pile of Money” (not a movie, by the way). As of the time of this posting, I had identified 67 titles. There are some images that I think should be very obvious, but which I haven’t yet been able to identify, like the little black star in the upper right hand corner. See how many you can come up with! Enjoy…

Categories: General | 2 Comments

A Website to Read Your Mind

Alright… if you ever wondered if technology could read your mind, this website just might provide you with an answer:
http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pickover/esp.html
I stumbled upon this ESP Experiment quite by accident this evening. I tried it once and the system got it correct. Just a fluke, I figured, so I tried it again, and again, and again, and again. Five times total I picked a card, called it out and cliked an eye. And five times the system removed my card correctly. The system claims to have a 98% accuracy rate. I might give it 100 guesses at some point, but tonight five is enough to convince me that there is something different about this particular website.
Some people who have posted comments claim that it didn’t work for them. I have to say, I’m not sure how that’s possible… it is a little tricky, but the answer is there. Give it a go and post any feedback on your results as a comment here on my blog.

Categories: A Day in the Life | 4 Comments

GMAT Madness

This is likely news to many of my readers – I took the GMAT yesterday. Outside of my coworkers, I told only 6 people that I was taking the GMAT:

  • Mom

  • Dad
  • Sister
  • Sarah
  • Mike
  • Elia

I only just decided on Tuesday that I was going to take the exam. What is the advent of this decision? Since September, I have been considering applying to Notre Dame’s MBA program. On one of my two visits to Notre Dame in September, I stopped by the MBA Admissions office to speak with one of their admissions counselors. To be perfectly honest, I was not thrilled with the impression that she left me with. I sat down with her and said, “you don’t need to sell me on Notre Dame. I was an undergrad here, I’m sold on ND as a place. Sell me your program.” Her response was not particularly strong, leaving me with some doubt about the program. This doubt was deepened when I stopped by to see a former professor of mine in the Business School. When I told her that I had just met with the MBA Admissions office, she told me that she thought I could do much better than an MBA at Notre Dame. “I love Notre Dame,” she said, “but I primarily love their undergrad program. You’re qualified for the best MBA programs.”
These two incidents dissuaded me from applying to the program. Uncertain if I wanted to do an MBA at all, I put off looking at any other schools, as well. Every once in a while I would receive reminders via e-mail from the Notre Dame MBA Program reminding me that I had expressed interest in the program, and offering me incentives to apply, like a waived application fee or extended deadlines. These weren’t enough to convince me. About three weeks ago, the whole concept of the MBA as a reality came back to me when my friend Sarah was admitted to Notre Dame’s program. Good for her, I thought… maybe I’ll go for it next year. Just this past Monday I met up with Sarah for drinks and we talked about Notre Dame and school in general. I explained how, following conversations with my coworker, Katrina, I had started to more seriously consider an MBA from Notre Dame even if their program wasn’t the best one I could get into, but that it was too bad I had missed the deadline for the program.
Missed the deadline? I thought I had, at least. As if on cue, I had an e-mail waiting at work the next morning from the MBA Program reminding me that the application deadline was approaching on March 15. So I hadn’t missed the deadline after all. Of course, I had a small problem. I had only 9 days to get everything lined up and sent in – including an application, three essays, two letters of recommendation, a transcript and, perhaps the hardest of all, my GMAT scores. Having not yet taken the GMAT, sending in my scores was going to pose a little bit of a challenge. My worry was hasty, though, as I soon learned that I could sit for the GMAT on Friday… so I did.
People wonder how I could just decide to take the test only days before sitting for it. My explanation is that a test of that nature is more about how much you’ve learned over the course of your life. I don’t think that I could have performed much better with three months of review rather than three days. The few hours of review that I did over the three days was valuable, but not because I “learned” anything new; rather, it helped me refresh my memory about some statistical formulas that I had forgotten, or about some gramatical constructs that we never use in our daily speech patterns.
And so, with the GMAT successfully completed, I have but a few remaining elements to take care of before March 15. Here’s to an essay-writing weekend!

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

A momentary fright

When you live in the Bay Area, earthquakes are a reasonably common experience. Every now and then you’ll feel a quick jolting of the building as the earth moves a little. Every so often, though, there’s a quake that’s just long enough or just big enough that the thought creeps into your mind – is this the big one about to strike?
I’ve only ever thought this twice in the past 2+ years that I’ve lived in San Francisco. The first time was on Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 8:08 p.m. I was in the Parish Hall at St. Dominic’s listening to a presenter who was speaking on the “Gospel of Work,” when I thought the person behind me was kicking my chair. When the “kicking” didn’t stop but rather turned into a slightly more intense bobbing, I realized that is was an earthquake. As it turns out, this quake was a 4.4 in magnitude. Now, it wasn’t as if this was a very violent quake, but it was right on the verge of going from exciting to frightening.
The second quake that caused me a little concern was actually just this evening. I was sitting at my desk at work at 8:40 this evening (yes, I worked late tonight), when I felt a brief shake. Having had another earthquake while at work last Friday, my initial reaction was, “oh how cute, another little earthquake.” But this little shaking suddenly got a little bit worse. The building was very obviously shaking, the windows rattled, the desk creaked. It lasted just long enough that I got this little tinge of fear in the pit of my stomach wondering if it was going to stop or get worse – it was going to be one or the other. Thankfully, the earth decided to stay friendly with the citizens of the Bay Area for the time being, and settled down. The intensity map pictured in this entry shows the epicenter with a star. Berkeley isn’t too far from there at all, probably only about 10 miles as the crow flies. This quake was a 4.2 – yes, smaller than the August, 2006, quake, but it had a similar effect.
I think everyone in the Bay Area knows that it is really just a matter of time before we really are hit with the big one. Just a matter of time.

Categories: A Day in the Life | Comments Off