JMM pixel dump

There’s a lot of mathematics going on here in San Diego, and I’m taking notes. But for now, what I have to offer is a bucket of pixels:


It’s hard to get excited about the architecture of convention centers. They’re like airports: You’re pleasantly surprised if they’re merely functional. In many respects the San Diego convention center is no better than any other. It squats on an enormous tract of bayside property, cutting off a downtown neighborhood from the waterfront. But one tent-like wing (above) has genuine visual interest. (As the trash cans and “Wet Floor” signs at right indicate, it also seems to have a leaky roof.) The adjacent stairway (below) offers the public (arduous) access to the waterfront. No one seems to be using it, but it does make a rather handsome abstraction.


Much as we despise airports, we all love railroad terminals. Below is a bit of the old Santa Fe Depot, still in use by Amtrak. It is seen from (and reflected in) the trolley terminal next door.

The Santa Fe Depot, seen from and reflected in the adjacent trolley terminal

I often gripe about a meeting schedule that has talks starting at 7:45. On the other hand, that agenda gets you out and about in time to see aspects of city life you might otherwise miss.


San Diego has some of the most distinctive street plumbing in the country (below). Note the Dalek fire hydrant. The chromed pipe in the foreground is labeled “suction connection.” Like the hydrant, it’s for use in firefighting, but whereas the hydrant supplies water under pressure, the suction connection merely provides access to a water reservoir and needs a pumper truck to supply pressure.


Of course that silvery cylinder (bent into a segment of a torus) is an irresistible target for experiments in projective geometry.


In the exhibit hall (below), legendary hacker hunter and astronomer Cliff Stoll is hawking the Acme Klein Bottle. The sales pitch is a high-energy performance that hasn’t been equalled since the glory days of the Vegematic.


More to come.

This entry was posted in mathematics.

2 Responses to JMM pixel dump

  1. Josh says:

    “It’s hard to get excited about the architecture of convention centers.”

    I disagree. Also about airports. Buildings with such massive rooms on the inside are one of the few things in architecture that can truly inspire awe, both in terms of sheer magnitude, and in terms of what we, as a species, can achieve.

    I guess this is just a lesson in “one person’s trash…”

    Have fun at the JMM.

  2. Kristen says:

    Ah ha! Someone else who knows and loves daleks (and San Diego) as I! Enjoy, Brian!