Thursday, March 19, 2009

Uruguayan Food

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In my first days in Brazil, my brother and I went for some Uruguayan food, which, as one might expect, is meat heavy. And that is not only fine by me, it is indeed, great, as you can see from my joyful face.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ig Nobel in the UK

Last Thursday I went to a talk from the people who organize the Ig Nobel awards for Improbable Research, but here in the UK. One of the highlights for me in the event was from a Dutchman who first described Homosexual Necrophiliac Rape among Mallard Ducks, reported in the Rotterdam Museum of Natural History. There were, of course, other very interesting research results, including a comparison of the jumping performance of fleas from dogs and cats, and the mental reward for biting crisps.
After this interesting Thursday evening, I decided to close shop for the week to prepare to go to Brazil tomorrow morning. Let us hope everything goes well there and I do not forget to bring anything important in my luggage.

Friday, March 06, 2009


From Bleargh

Today I submitted my thesis, so it is all done and dusted, but the feeling is bittersweet, since I do not have a certain direction for the future. This situation makes this transition in my life a bit moot.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More Mexico: Zacatecas

From Zacatecas

After our return from Mexico City to Aguascalientes, we chilled out for a while and then went back on the road, this time to a touristic town called Zacatecas, one of the major centers of silver mining in the new world by the Spanish conquistadors. It was a nice colonial town (the cathedral of which you can see in the picture at the top of the post), with deactivated silver mines open for visitation, and apparently some mines still producing. We headed into one such mine, where I got this nice picture below that may resemble something else.

From Zacatecas

Monday, March 02, 2009


With an abundance of free services of pretty much everything, I always wondered when would there be a free versioning service. Now I know that many people will tell me that this already existed for a long time first with Sourceforge, then with Google Code, but there is a catch, all projects there must be open source. This means that during all the development cycle, whatever you commit to the repository must be available at all times to anyone on the internet. I do not want to a target for a public lynching, so I need to clarify my position on this, I am all for open source, and I agree that one of the best ways to develop good software is through open collaboration.

However, in my position as a researcher, I do not use a versioning system just for code, I also use it as the means to collaborate in producing research documents as well, which for most academics in computer science is done using the TeX typesetting system, the files of which are, from a storage point of view, indistinguishable from programming code. In this task, the programming source code is a secondary product, and one which I honestly believe should be available at all times, since all help is appreciated in the underfunded and understaffed research projects that are the norm in academia. But the documents I write, that is, the research papers which are the main artifact of my productive process, although certainly produced for public (and free) dissemination, must not be distributed before publication, otherwise I risk being scooped by other, less morally upright, researchers. Of course it is not like my research is so cool that there are people queuing up to steal from me, but since a paper is the culmination of many months, maybe even years, of work, I like to not having to worry about this possibility.

So I was glad to have discovered yesterday this, relatively new, service called XP-Dev (linked below), which provides not only free subversion (SVN) hosting, but also a (yet to be tested by me) project management interface. The site developer says he will make money somehow without stealing code hosted in his service, and without ever charging for it (which is admirable), and I honestly hope he manages to do it. Right now I am test driving this to work collaboratively with a colleague from Aberdeen, let us see how it goes. Free Subversion Hosting” style=“border:none;

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mexico City - Part 4 (Adiós)

From Mexico City

My final day in Mexico City was mainly one of strolling about the are near the hotel where we stayed. The area nearby, called Zona Rosa, or pink zone seems to be quite well maintained and occupied in the daytime with a nice street market and nice restaurants and shops. At night, the area name becomes more of a pun (probably not intended when the area was named), since the Zona Rosa is home to a multitude of gay bars and strip joints (tittie bars). The funniest thing being that my Ana would have me believe that Mexico is a very conservative country, but I would find it hard to believe it after looking at this area.

This area is also right beside Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma, with its monument to the independence of Mexico a few blocks away from where we were staying (and pictured above). Since it was close to Christmas Time, there were plenty of locally crafted nativity scenes along the avenue, as well as some interesting benches/works of modern art. One of which is the hands in the butt one shown below with Ana and myself seated on it.

From Mexico City