Month: April 2014

Exam 1 solutions

The solutions to exam 1 are posted in the Documents tab. They’re JPEGs because the department photocopier wasn’t working earlier when I went down. Hopefully it will be up tomorrow and I can replace the pictures with scans.

Your next homework will be due on Thursday, 13 March 2014. Here’s the assignment:

Section 3.1: 24(i), 28, 34

Section 3.2: 3abcd, 4abcd, 8, 9ab, 12, 20

Your next exam will probably be on Thursday, 3 April 2014.

We’re going to grade the exams tomorrow, hopefully we’ll finish up and get the grades on Blackboard by the late afternoon. 

If you’re bummed about the exam, you should watch some Kyle videos to get your spirits up.

If you’re into True Detective, you should watch director Cary Fukunaga’s debut feature film Sin NombreIt was on Netflix Watch Instantly back in the day, but isn’t anymore; you’re enterprising college students, though, so I’m sure you can find a pirated copy if you’re not about paying for stuff.

Manchego cheese comes from sheep, not goats. Come on guys. Goat’s milk cheeses are usually brilliant white, like Monte Enebro:

monte enebro

Monte Enebro has the added benefit of figuring prominently in one of my best freestyle verses:

Other rappers they can chase that cheddar
That ain’t enough, I know I can do better
Gettin at that Pont l’Évêque and the Monte Enebro
Just turnin one into two like Serbia and Montenegro

It has all three classic hip-hop references: fine cheeses, geopolitics, and hustling.

“If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you’ll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy.”


Exam 1 / old homework

Some of you asked for a recap of the topics we’ve covered that might be on the exam. 

What we’ve done:
– Mathematical induction
– Transpose of a matrix, symmetric matrices
– Section 1.2 (systems of linear equations)
– Section 1.3 (Markov chains, dynamic models)
– Section 1.4 (linear programming, underdetermined systems)
– Section 2.1 (matrices, vectors)
– Section 2.2 (matrix multiplication)
– Section 2.4 (matrix algebra)
– Section 2.5 (norms and bounds, eigenvalues and eigenvectors)
If you’d like to pick up your graded homework assignments, they are in three piles on three chairs outside my office. My office is Physics A-149, but you can most easily access it by taking the elevator in the Math building to the 1st floor, exiting right and walking toward the Physics building. The door to my office is past a doorway on the left just at the beginning of the walkway between the Math and Physics buildings.

Here’s that LCD Soundsystem/Miles Davis video I mentioned in class today. And this xxyyxx album was in the list of videos on the right so I figure I might as well link it, too. The dude made that record when he was 16. If you dig electronic music you should listen to all of the artists mentioned in the second paragraph of xxyyxx’s Wikipedia page. Okay, fine, I’ll just copy and paste it here. “His style was also likened to Clams CasinoZombyBurialJames Blake and The Weeknd.[4][8] His musical influences include Lapalux, Star SlingerDisclosure and Shlohmo.”
And pretty much every artist on the Tri Angle label is worth a listen, too. I’ve also been bumping the Acid Arab collections lately. And old Julio Bashmore (his new track with Jessie Ware is aight). Okay I’ll stop now.
Wait one more thing — I meant to mention this on Tuesday but Schoolboy Q’s new album is out; it bumps.
Here’s a quick pintura negra by Goya to get things back on track. It’s called Riña a garrotazos, which translates, roughly, to “Boyfights with Baby Buster” 
Goya painted the Pinturas negras (Black Paintings) directly on the walls of his house outside of Madrid around 1819-1822, when he was in his 70s and just totally bummed out about the whole situation of like everything like Napoleon taking over and the Peninsular War and atrocities and stuff. They’re my favorite stuff of his, and in fact one of my favorite series of works by any artist; you can find them at the Prado in Madrid, to which they were transferred a while back (they’re on canvas now). 

Homework things, mostly

Tomorrow I’ll be doing review for half the class, so if you have questions bring them in. Solutions to HW 1-3 are posted in the Assignments tab.

A couple of notes on HW 4, which is due tomorrow:

Don’t forget to do problem 9 of section 2.5 for both systems.

For problem 11 of section 2.5, note that in the problem c denotes the measured value, whereas in Example 5, to which the problem refers, c denotes the actual value. To reduce confusion I suggest using p to denote measured population and pA to denote actual population. Of course, if you’ve already used different notation, that’s fine; just make sure what you have makes sense.

Paco de Lucía died today. His most famous song was “Entre dos Aguas.” Here he is playing the Adagio from Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with a cor anglais solo by an unknown homie. I first heard Aranjuez in Miles Davis’s version from the latter’s great album Sketches of Spain.  “Entre dos Aguas” was in the Vicky Cristina Barcelona soundtrack, which has some pretty dope Spanish guitar music, including a couple of pieces from Isaac Albéniz’s tremendous Suite Española, which I’m pretty sure is my favorite piece of classical guitar music.


Homework 4

Your next homework assignment is now posted in the Assignments tab. It is this:

Section 1.3: 5

Section 1.4: 8

Section 2.5: 9, 11

Section 3.1: 2, 10, 19

Due: Thursday, 27 February 2014, in class.

There was a lot to take in during class today.

The cheese shop in Madrid is PonceletQuints is the Disney Channel original movie from 2000. Quince is the fruit that may figure in the original versions of certain apple-related myths. In the Loop is the film in which a character mentions quince paste once. It’s really, really funny, especially if you like wildly creative swearing by an irritable Scotsman (played by Peter Capaldi, who was recently announced to be the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who (I don’t watch, but a lot of people are all about Doctor Who so it’s worth a mention)). Once when I was home for the summer from college In the Loop seemed always to be playing on HBO, so I ended up watching it a bunch of times, which is why I remember a throwaway line about quince paste (actually it was a pretty funny line, but you’ll just have to watch the film).

If In the Loop is the movie I’ve seen the most, The Tallest Man on Earth is the artist I’ve seen perform live the most, at six times1 — every year since 2008, except for 2011 when he didn’t come to New York (luckily I’d seen him twice in 2010). He’s really just that good. This connects to a hyperlink in the previous paragraph: In 2008 I saw TTMoE open for Bon Iver, whom I’d previously seen open for Elvis Perkins, whom I’d previously seen open for Cold War Kids! Wow. I’d previously seen Cold War Kids open for Muse, but that’s where the chain ends because I was too young to ever catch Muse open for anyone. Oh, and the opener for one of the Tallest Man shows was S. Carey, who played drums for none other than … Bon Iver. Talk about a strange loop

1A close second is Thom Yorke, whom I’ve seen five times — four times with Radiohead, once with Atoms for Peace.

The Judgment of Paris, by Peter Paul Rubens (Museo del Prado):


“If God dwells inside of us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.”

Exam 1 / cheese thoughts

Your first exam will occur in class on Tuesday, 4 March 2014. It will cover all the material we’ve done from chapters 1 and 2, including material from today’s lecture. Next week I will start chapter 3 material, which will not appear on your first exam. I will also review on Thursday the topics that will be on exam one.

Don’t forget your homework 3 is due tomorrow in class. Also, the solutions are posted for the previous homeworks, in case you’ve not noticed.

For the past five weeks or so I’ve had manchego cheese with membrillo (quince paste) almost every day after dinner as part of my nightly cheese plate. It’s a classic Spanish pairing, and the treble is completed with a bottle of Rioja. It’s one of Spain’s greatest accomplishments, right up there with Velázquez’s Las Meninas, the recent edition of La Furia Roja, and Penélope Cruz.


I’ve also been eating a lot of aged Gouda because East Village Cheese sells it for $9/lb and it’s delicious. East Village Cheese is a great store because their cheese is super cheap. However, the quality is admittedly hit-or-miss. For instance, I bought some Comté at $14/lb, which would be an amazing deal for good Comté, but it was a huge disappointment. But there’s nowhere else you can get taleggio and Saint Andre for $4/lb. And this Gouda is as almost good as what they have at Murray’s (the premier cheesemonger in New York City), where it’s often twice as expensive.


“If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.”

Homework 3

Happy House of Cards Day. I hope you all enjoyed your day of leisure yesterday. Me, I made banana bread. So, yeah, it was a good day. 

I bring tidings of your next assignment. It is this:

Section 2.5: 10, 12, 13, 14, 16(a), 26, 28, 30, 31

Due: Thursday, 20 February 2014, in class.

If you’re in the market for a soup or cereal spoon (and why wouldn’t you be), I recommend getting a Windermere. Go to Brooklyn Kitchen to get one, though; they’re only $2.50 there. Plus while you’re there you can get a tiny cast-iron skillet! And if you’re in the market for cereal itself, I recommend getting Waffle Crisp. If you find some on sale, let me know. It’s above my budget, usually. Apparently Post makes a lower-cost version now called Waffle Crunch, but I’ve never had it so I can’t vouch for its worthiness.

Speaking of kitchens, here’s a picture of Claes Oldenburg’s Giant BLT (Whitney Museum):


Oldenburg is a pretty cool dude; back in the 60s he set up shop in the LES selling his sculptures out of a storefront, presenting them like a regular old vendor would his wares.


Classic Claes! One of his later works, Typewriter Eraser, Scale X is in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which is a good place to visit if you’re ever in our nation’s capital (especially since it’s free). There’s also a tight Roy Liechtenstein there called House I:

house i

And an austere Sol Lewitt, Four-Sided Pyramid:


In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, a reminder:

“Love is not something that you can put chains on and throw into a lake. That’s called Houdini. Love is liking someone a lot.”


Homework 2 – further clarification

For problem 3 in section 2.2, you can decide whether a, b and c are row vectors or column vectors. Just be sure to be clear about what they are in each part.

For example, if in (b) you say bB is well defined and in (e) you say Bb is defined, then make sure to explain the dimension of b in each case.

Alternatively, you may give the dimensions of a, b, and c in the beginning of the problem and then keep them consistent in all parts.

“My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said ‘No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah’.”

Homework 2 – clarification

For problem number 17 in section 2.4, the vector b is a column vector. The reason for this is because the entries are separated by commas rather than just spaces.

This is done in order to preserve uniform line spacing in a paragraph. I think I may have mentioned this in class but I’m not sure.

Before he was a grizzled old Obama-chair-hatingPBR-swillingOscarwinning curmudgeon, Clint Eastwood starred in many of director Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. They’re some of my favorite movies ever, not least because of Ennio Morricone’s brilliant scores. The theme from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly is, of course, the most famous, but there is a lot more to his work. A Gringo Like Me is a pretty fun song that enjoyed a slight bump in popularity after the Lonely Island dropped it in their criminally underrated film Hot Rod. And I’ve always loved the pocket watch theme from For a Few Dollars More; the tune is good on its own but absolutely brilliant in the context of the film, which is tighter and leaner than TGTB&TU, if not nearly as epic and awe-inspiring.

Anyway, the reason I’m thinking about Sergio Leone movies is because of this incisive piece of commentary from Jack Handey:

“If you’re a cowboy and you’re dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine.”


Homework 2

The assignment is this:

Section 2.2: 1, 3, 7, 10, 18, 29

Section 2.4: 17

Section 2.5: 2, 4, 6

It is due Thursday, 13 February 2014, at the start of class.

I know some of you might be wondering whether I’m going to wear a different plaid shirt every class for the whole semester. Let’s put it this way: you’ll only find out if you come to lecture every day. So don’t skip class, because you’ll miss out and everyone will laugh at you.

Ever heard the phrase “burning the candle at both ends”? It comes from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

“First Fig”

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!


Pretty tight.

Maybe you also know the phrase “Hey who’s that Spanish guy with the guitar and the onions on the floor?” That comes from this painting, The Spanish Singer, by Édouard Manet (it’s at the Met in NYC):


Manet is also responsible for the bartender’s saw “What can I do you for?” which has its origin in his painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergères (Courtauld Gallery, London):


Okay I was lying with those last two; I just wanted an excuse to post a couple Manet pictures.