Month: May 2019

“Products related to this item” ?

May 26, 2019 Incoherent ramblings , , ,

I’m looking for belt lube to cure the “E2 lube belt” error on my Tempo 632T model treadmill.  Amazon has some strange ideas about related items

Thoughts about Ayn Rand’s Anthem

May 26, 2019 Uncategorized , , ,

Many libertarian podcasts talk about Ayn Rand positively, sometimes even lovingly.  On the other hand, Rand seems to invoke the worst venom and hate from some on the left.

I found the book Anthem, by Rand, at the local recycling depot, which has a community take a book, leave a book bookshelf.  That presented an opportunity to see for my self what the Rand fuss was about.

It turned out that Anthem is a really tiny book, more of a pamphlet than a book.  The copy that I now have is a two in one, with the 2nd edition at the front half of the book, and Rand’s marked up version of her first edition at the back.

The book has a very 1984 like spirit, set in a dystopian alternate (presumed future) reality, where collectivism has been taken to the extreme.  Sexual distinctions have been eliminated, men and women aren’t allowed to be attracted to each other, outside of a proscribed annual mating ritual, kids are taken away from parents at an early age and raised by the state, and most of the knowledge of the past has been obliterated.

An amusing aspect of the book is that gender specific pronouns have been eliminated, as have all personal pronouns.  This is amusing given the current trend towards exactly that in our modern time, where there is an annoying trend to use words like “they” used instead of he/she.  I found “they” for he or she annoying because I happen to think there is value distinguishing between singular and plural.

The focus of the book is to highlight the evil of collectivism.  It’s therefore no surprise why Rand is hated so thoroughly by the left.  There wasn’t much more in this book that I’d imagine would be objectionable, other than the fact that it shows what communism might look like in the extreme.  That might make it unappealing to those that insist “communism works in theory” despite the fact that communism obliterated millions of their own people last century.

There is bit of a revolutionary bent to the story as well.  At the end, once our protagonist has discovered himself, he plans to educate a selection of potential compatriots and establish a little cell against the system.

As I read this book, I realized a little bit in that I’d read it already eons ago. I’m wondering if I read this in some sort of dystopian or sci-fi collection.  I think that I read it without any idea of who Ayn Rand was, so in retrospect, I didn’t even know that I’d read anything by her.

I enjoyed the discovery aspect of this book. There’s been many a sci-fi book that I’ve read that had a dystopian context where the characters are in the situation of having to rediscover the mysteries of the previous civilization. It’s fun to imagine oneself in such a context, knowing how much there is to learn, and the idea of being able to share everything that you discover.

“2nd” edition of “Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers”

May 4, 2019 Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers

I’ve refreshed my Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers book, which could be considered a 2nd edition of sorts. The amazon color and black-and-white versions have been updated, as well as the pdf and the leanpub version (all of those are in available in the previous link.)


V0.1.15-6 (May 2, 2019)

  • Update figures (thicker lines, remove some ticks, …) and link them to the mathematica link anchors.
  • “in figure fig.” -> “in fig”.
  • Extend my hacks of the classic thesis template to use 6×9 with smaller than default margins. Now have the preface page numbers not in the bleed area of the page.
  • Split colorlablebox into separate .sty (for phy452 notes.)
  • Fix pdfbookmarks for contents and list of figures (so that they don’t show up under the preface)
  • Index quaternion (Bruce Gould)
  • GAelectrodynamics.tex: Want scrheadings starting before contents otherwise page numbers are out of bounds (and the page headings are MIA)
  • Bruce: “May I suggest that the proofs should have the end-of-proof symbol at the end?” Used the amsthm proof environment to do this.
  • Theorem 1.2: turn the converse into a footnote, to be seen later. (Bruce)
  • Added Bruce Gould to the thanks.


Notes for Quantum Field Theory I (phy2403) now available in paper on amazon

May 2, 2019 phy2403 , ,

My notes (423 pages, 6″x9″) from the fall 2018 session of the University of Toronto Quantum Field Theory I course (PHY2403), taught by Prof. Erich Poppitz, are now available on (through kindle-direct-publishing, formerly createspace).

These notes are available in three forms, two free, and one paper:

  • On amazon (kindle-direct-publishing) for $11 USD,
  • As a free PDF,
  • As latex sources (, makefiles, figures, …) to build/modify yourself.

This book is dedicated to dad.

Warning to students

These notes are no longer redacted and include whatever portions of the problem set 1-4 solutions I completed, errors and all.  In the event that any of the problem sets are recycled for future iterations of the course, students who are taking the course (all mature grad students pursuing science for the love of it, not for grades) are expected to act responsibly, and produce their own solutions, within the constraints provided by the professor.


The official course outline included:

  1. Introduction: Energy and distance scales; units and conventions. Uncertainty relations in the relativistic domain and the need for multiple particle description.
  2. Canonical quantization. Free scalar field theory.
  3. Symmetries and conservation laws.
  4. Interacting fields: Feynman diagrams and the S matrix; decay widths and phase space.
  5. Spin 1/2 fields: Spinor representations, Dirac and Weyl spinors, Dirac equation. Quantizing fermi fields and statistics.
  6. Vector fields and Quantum electrodynamics.