This discussion group is for friends of the infamous Bartacus

Monday, July 28, 2003

today, Santa Fe, tomorrow the Moon... 

I've arrived in Santa Fe. Today I learned that Santa fe is the oldest european city in North America. Spanish Conquistidors settled here in Christ's early 1600s. Its a nice town, to be sure, what with the mountains and art and music and, for me, the Santa Fe Institute. I'm really impressed with the Institute and the workshop I'm taking here. The SFI is really cool; its perched up on a mountainside overlooking the town and looking out on the Southern Rockies to the North. Everybody seems really intelligent and multi-faceted. THe place is stuffed with computers (makes sense, the place's mission is to study "complex developing systems"). I was walking down the hall and came upon a stack of a 13 Sun microcomputer cluster! I'd love to get an account there...

Indeed I feel a little out of my league, being surrounded by mathematicians and physicists. This workshop already has a much different flavor than Cold Spring Harbor's Advanced Vision course. For one thing, there are only 3 women. Not that I'm in the market or anything, but being surrounded by guys definately produces a different atmosphere. Its an atmosphere I'm not unfamiliar with, since I worked up at Los Alamos for awhile, which is bereft of women too. I did expect this, but its a little appalling nontheless.

We're being housed at St. John's college, which, if you don't know, is something of an oddity. The curriculum consists entirely of reading classics, and students are expected to design a curriculum of their own. THere are no grades, and the student body reminds me so much of Hampshire College, my alma mata. I do like it here. Interestingly, St.Johns has a campus in Annapolis, MD too. Students get to choose where they want to be for the year. Pretty Sweet, yeah!?

New Mexico is also, for some reason, a little depressing to me. I'm not sure if I just harbor traces of my experiences at Los Alamos, but driving up from Alburquerque I felt it. Something about the air and weather and desert makes me lonely and makes me think of dead cow skulls like O'Keefe used to paint. THat reminds me, I'm like a mile from the O'Keefe museum & I should really try to make it over there. Gosh, I've got to plan wisely if I'm to not leave feeling like I didn't do enough. If Dana were here we would be having such a romantic time together, like we always do here...

anyway, here's the link to the program:
I hope to post some photos of the area soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Portland Produces 

i'm in portland this week, living it up. I presented some of my previous work here on Monday at the International Neural Networks conference. I had forgotten how much presenting a science poster was like selling a product; you stand around waiting 'till somebody shows interest in your 'product' and then try and snag their attention by launching into your short talk. Sometimes it works very well and we hit it off, but other times the interaction feels forced.

I've been having headaches lately--withdraw from something?

Portland is amazing. THe town and I really get along and it has everything I need while still remaining beautiful. I could have come to school here but chose Davis because of the systems neuroscience facilities. I made the right choice, to be sure, but its still hard coming to portland and seeing what I gave up for science.

Being with Dana is great too; we're having a great time together.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

is anybody out there? 

This friendster thing is really taking off. At first I was only connected to 5 people, all friends of Dana. Then I invited some people and those people invited other people who invited still more people. Today I'm connected to 80 thousand people. Its insane, really, and quite fun. Last night, for instance, I invited an old friend from college, An Phan, to join. It turns out that we're actually also connected to each other via some obscure indirect pathway of friends of friends. Six degrees of separation indeed!

Monday, July 14, 2003

Bartology 1  

Biology is very cool. Its mind bloggering even that nature has produced unicellular organisms so sophisticated and successful. Characterizing all the molecular machinery in a cell is beyond of our current technical and even conceptual prowess. We just dont know how the suckers work. And think of the human Central Nervous System and its myriad cells and cell types! Mind Bloggering! Realizing that some of these neurons wire up with such extreme specificity during development hits me like when I think about general relativity or quantum uncertainty.

Neuroscience and Biology in general has been stealing physicists for awhile now, probably because its so interesting and its easy for them to be successful. The truth is that we need more physicists and math-savvy folks in our business; its just getting too complicated...

For the next 3 weeks I'm off to meet some of them. First a conference on Neural Networks in Portland, then off to the Santa Fe Institute for a math modeling workshop. I'm excited. I'm always excited to travel.

a war on Two Fronts? 

I've been thinking and believe this is going to be more difficult than I wish. I would really like to have the flexibility to bare my soul, to write from the heart and not from the head. This, as I mentioned last night, is problematic since people of so different natures could potentially read this 'diary'. A solution I'm mulling, and have been for some time, is to make my other site,, my professional site cleansed for viewing by the likes of my grandparents and professional peers. It just means more work, maintaining two sites and all, but would probably make more interesting in the end.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

the First from our Fourth? 

Hi all, i'm going to try this blog thing even though I've never been good at keeping a journal. i think it could be good for you who wish to know more about the infamous bartacus and for myself.

Talk is cheap and its really easy to just say things that sound good but which one does not necessarily believe in or even know about. I'm a perpetual perpetrator of this type behavior, particuraly in dispensing advice--I'll do whatever I can to make a person feel better, at the risk of exposing my own contridictory nature.

This blog thing is going to be a bit difficult since I've got peers of very different natures visiting my site. Things I would feel comforatable saying around friends I'd rather not disclose to my parents or employers. Difficult yes, but there are several solutions i'm mulling. In any case, if I can make regular posts to this thing I will be better off. Its not even really important that anyone actually read the thing, just that I believe I'm writing for an audience. I'm not sure why this is true, but it is.

Well, I hope you welcome the new addition to the site. I've been pondering some other changes too...

Keep Alive!
another post now new

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