Category Archives: Casting Out Nines

July 19, 2009, 6:48 pm

Google Reader issues

Two of my last three posts have shown up in Google Reader being completely illegible. For some reason some of the text is being bunched up on the left side of the post. I don’t know why it’s doing this, and I don’t know if I can go back and re-post and have it be fixed. This might be happening because I drafted those two articles using a text editor and then cut-and-pasted into the WordPress.com editor, and although I can’t see why that should be a problem, WP.com’s editor is not well-known for its robustness. Anyhow, hopefully this post (being written entirely inside the WP.com editor) will come through OK. If it does, and you subscribe to my feed using Google Reader and couldn’t read my two posts, please just click through the Google Reader feeds to the main articles. They do show up fine on the main blog site.

For everybody, I’ll be putting up some test posts to see if my using a…

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February 20, 2009, 2:42 pm

Thank you, and updates

First of all, you may have noticed I am again posting after a lengthy hiatus following the birth of our third child. He’s 5 weeks old now, and we are beginning to return to some kind of routine in our lives that includes him. For the first month, as all parents know, you’re basically in survival mode, catching sleep when you can and trying to get your work done elsewhere. He’s nowhere close to sleeping through the night but at least we’re managing better than we were, and I’m on top of things enough at work that I have the time now to write some posts and at least schedule them for future posting, so I have the appearance of posting once a day. Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks for all your well-wishes and prayers and for your continued reading of my little slice of the interwebs.

Also, you’ve probably noticed some cosmetic changes here. I’ve changed themes to the new “Vanguard” theme…

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January 14, 2009, 7:48 am

Update

Apologies for the light blogging for the last couple of weeks. As longtime readers know, I’m on our Promotion and Tenure Committee here at my college — this year I’m the chair of this committee — and we do all of our work reviewing portfolios during the month of January while the rest of the college is doing Winter Term. It’s always a challenge to manage our work so that we get all of our recommendation letters written in a reasonable amount of time, but this year there are some personal reasons that have added an extra sense of urgency.

So ever since the first of this year I’ve been spending all my time either doing these P&T reviews or trying to cram in course preps for the spring (two sections of Calculus and a section of Linear Algebra), in an attempt to get as much done as possible before the baby arrives (click on the link above for the backstory). I don’t think anybody wants me…

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December 24, 2008, 1:28 pm

Merry Christmas

German painting, 1457
Image via Wikipedia

I’ll be taking a break from posting and commenting here at CO9′s until the beginning of next week. Tonight we have Christmas services at my church, and in-laws visiting all day tomorrow, and I’ll probably just want to rest for the remainder of the week!

Until then, have an enjoyable and blessed Christmas, even to those patient readers of this blog out there who don’t share my religious point of view. For those who have the late morning free tomorrow (or after 10 PM this evening), I would second the advice given by Dr. Gene Veith: go to church. Catholic and (many) Lutheran churches still hold Christmas morning masses, and if you’ve never experienced one, then you should try it and see what the “Christ Mass” was really intended to be.

I’ll leave you with this short poem by G. K. Chesterton, also via Gene Veith’s blog, called “A Christmas Carol”:

The Christ-child…

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December 3, 2008, 9:39 pm

Well…

That hiatus over Thanksgiving has now turned into what looks like a hiatus for most of this week. Somehow I always underestimate the amount of work that goes into the week before finals week, which is what this is. I think after tomorrow it will calm down a little, and then I can post a few things that have come across the radar screen over the last week.

In the meantime, in these hiatus moments, you’re more apt to find me posting content on Twitter than you will find me doing that here. I’m RobertTalbert on Twitter and you can feel free to follow me. Twitter’s nice in that I can just throw out a quick, 140-character “post” with a link rather than arrange and edit and so forth, and it’s an ideal medium for micro-blogging when things get busy.

November 25, 2008, 8:38 am

Thanksgiving break and thoughts

thanksgivingI’ll be taking a hiatus from blogging from today through Sunday as the Casting Out Nines crew travels to Tennessee to visit the grandparents for Thanksgiving. We normally make our long road trip  to the Volunteer State at Christmas, but this year that’s way too close to Harrison’s arrival to be traveling.

I love Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that Christmas really should be — a time to relax, enjoy family and food and down time, and be thankful for all the ways you have been blessed in your life. I am pleased to say that I have much to think about in that respect: my wife, my two girls, my son on the way in a few weeks, steady employment in these tough economic times, and simply the ability to think and reflect and write like this. I think our culture would be a lot better off if we could discipline ourselves to be thankful. And our haste to skip right over Thanksgiving and go …

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October 31, 2008, 10:18 am

Four questions to ask about tenure

Over at the Young Mathematicians’ Network, I have an article today on four revealing questions that young faculty should ask about tenure. Since you have to have an account to post comments at the YMN web site, and since some readers who aren’t mathematicians might want to discuss this stuff, I’m going to reprint the article below the fold and open comments for it. Enjoy!

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October 18, 2008, 12:51 pm

Another new venture; well, actually two.

Back in May, my wife and I found out that our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting. Everybody, meet Harrison Lewis Talbert, our “surprise” baby and third child overall.

He may not look so big, but he’s having a huge impact on our lives. We’re very happy! But we are also definitely entering some uncharted, and unplanned-for, adventures starting in January, when little Harry is due. To chronicle all this, and since my wife and I are unapologetic nerds who will use any excuse to do something technological, we’ve started up a new family blog: The Talbert Five. We had a family blog twice before, and we tried to make them pseudonymous or password-only, and it was just either too much work (in the former case) or no fun and kind of stagnant (in the latter). So we’re making this blog wide-open and hoping not too many creepy internet people show up. (That doesn’t apply to the a…

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October 17, 2008, 12:20 pm

New venture: Young Mathematicians' Network

I’m happy to announce the start of a new blogging project that has been percolating for about a month now. I will be joining a team of bloggers who will be contributing posts on a more-or-less weekly basis to the website of the Young Mathematicians’ Network. The YMN is an organization devoted to giving support to graduate students and new faculty in the mathematical sciences and raising awareness of issues to that group of people and others who share their interests.

My co-bloggers and I will be putting up articles about all kinds of topics. Some of the other bloggers are blogging anonymously because they’ll be writing about their own job searches or their activities on search committees. Me, I’ve always found anonymous blogging to be too much work, so I will be sticking to posts of particular interest to young math faculty and to grad students — posts that might be a little out of…

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October 11, 2008, 10:05 pm

Taking a break

I’m going to take a blogging hiatus until the latter half of this coming week. It’s midterm season, somehow, and I’ve been swamped at work — leaving me with little time to blog and no energy/brainpower left to find anything interesting enough to blog about, even if I did have the time.  But Fall Break is coming up on Thursday, so I hope to cram through enough remaining tasks to have the last half of the week to recharge. Until then, you can enjoy some older posts or some of the other fine blogs out there in the ‘sphere.

Come to think of it, it was about this time last year than I ran the retrospective series, probably because I was similarly wiped out at work.