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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 ###################### GOING DISTINGUISHED ###################### Speedos really don't suit old men, especially not if they're sun-burnt. That's the most important thing I learnt while on holiday, and it is quite important, because I'm going grey. I think it's a combination of the car crash (heh, I can blame everything on that), not enough sleep and too much talcum power. I don't really mind though, because in a few years it'll make me look many things I'm not: wise, sensible, experienced, distinguished. So long as I don't wear speedos. Enough of speedos. This is my tenth update email, and I send them out every few months or so to a growing group of people. Mainly because I'm too lazy to email you all individually. And I've said exactly that before, but I repeat myself because I'm too lazy to find new things to say. I've attached some photos as well, and I won't be offended if you stop reading at the end of this paragraph. Susanna and I had an amazing holiday: Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, then zig-zagging through Bari in Italy to get to Greece for ECAI, and a couple of days in Athens afterwards. Too much to tell. The Skocjan caves were incredible, absolutely breathtaking, Huge vaulted caverns, with floor to ceiling stalactites the width of roundabouts. Enormous crevices, hundreds of feet deep. Truly the Mines of Moria brought to life, right down to the thin rickety bridge over a vast chasm, water rushing invisibly far below. Mostar was gorgeous, quite warm. Lots of bullet holes and abandoned buildings in Bosnia. Dubrovnik was hot, had nice beaches, but the story they tell of the war seems a little biased. Surely Croatia wasn't actually invaded by Satan's army? We didn't stay at the Hilton Imperial, but we did eat at the Pilton Provincial, right next door. Definitely the best fast food joint in town - cheap, tasty, they don't smoke too much while they're cooking your food. We couldn't see much of Bari through the haze of cigarette smoke but I did get a nice pair of sunglasses. I wonder what percentage of Italians are knocked off by Big Tobacco? Athens was also hot, had some really nice beaches, lots of markets and quite a few temples. I loved it. Ordering food was embarrassing/great fun: "What's this one?" "Pig." "And this one?" "Kitten." "Kitten? Like 'meow'?" "Yes, kitten." It tasted a lot like chicken. In amongst all of this there was a week in Patras for ECAI. I presented our paper (it went really well) and was taken aback at just how good AI is getting. I know that's what they've always been saying for the last few decades, but once it gets good no one calls it artificial intelligence anymore. What do I think is next? Seriously good computer vision and image interpretation. We saw demos of software that finds and tracks faces in real time, can spit them into face recognisers, predicts where people will walk, alerts human observers when it sees a fight or a theft... Big brother anyone? Bit of a worry actually. A flurry of other thoughts: EuroRail is not as impressive as is claimed. In fact, not a single one of our long distance trains was less than 30 minutes late. See the attached photo, from when we were waiting for our train from Ljubljana to Zagreb. And contrary to advice, the Mediterranean sun is gentle. To be honest, you have to do something really stupid to get burnt. Everyone just tans, which is wonderful, and very different to NZ, where the population of central Otago has a patchy red/white look in summer. I remember when two friends fell asleep in the sun there for a few hours one November, and woke up with fist sized blisters covering their chests. Trust me, the Mediterranean sun is gentle. Now Susanna and I have moved into our new flat. Well I have, I think she's in Turkey right now. It's strangely exciting - I've never had the chance to set up a flat all by myself before, I've always been moving in with friends, or joining an established flat. And yes, strictly speaking it's not by myself, but it is ours, not theirs or everyones'! Flat warming to come, date to be confirmed. Two videos. Watch out for StumbleUpon, it's a lethal waste of time. * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjcoRFcmQuo - Grandma * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9ptA3Ya9E - Identify theft That's it. The photos are pretty self-explanatory. Maybe more to come after we visit Scotland and Spain and Italy, or sometime during Michaelmas. FINIS -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32) Comment: http://getfiregpg.org iD8DBQFIsU9x9AvILN760IARAkumAJ9264+g1MqcukpIe8uH2CPotpEX4gCfYQUY /ddSCEzrXiHjx8mC/xL5BHE= =2hG1 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
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