I've been watching the TV show Numb3rs lately and I enjoy it immensely. But me being a math geek and this show being obviously meant to appeal to such I'd like to explain why I like it.

But let me first give a brief review of Numb3rs. Numb3rs is a crime show about an FBI agent solving cases. To his aid he has a mathematician who tries to explore various patterns in the crimes and can help solve the cases. Hence the name Numb3rs.

I started watching the show mid-season and watched about two episodes when I sort of decided that I didn't quite like the show. I thought the math part was pretty dull and this whole thing with the mathematician trying to explain the mathematics pedagogically was pretty lame. But then I thought I should give the show a second chance and started to watch it from the beginning. And all of a sudden I was hooked.

I had the wrong expectations on the show when I started watching it. I hoped the math part would be really savvy but I was greatly disappointed. The real strength in this show is the characters and how they develop. As it turns out the FBI agent and the mathematician is not only colleagues, they're also brothers with the FBI agent being the older brother. This in itself makes for a very interesting relationship between them. Add to this couple their father who's another important character in the show. He has seldom anything to do with the cases, he's just there as a part of the brothers lives. On top of this we have two other FBI agent working together with our main character and a rather eccentric physicist who is a friend of the mathematician. All of this makes for a very good mix of characters and the show is really about the lives of the two brothers who happens to be colleagues. The focus being of course on their work together. So I think that the thing I like about the show is this very well-balanced mix of character development and crime solving. The math part is just a bit of extra spice which makes it even better.

So what about comparing this show to, say, CSI? I think it is difficult because they are rather different. Numb3rs is better on the character development and gets interesting because one cares about the lives of the characters. CSI is better on the crime solving part and excels in the juicy details about the crime. I like the atmosphere in Numb3rs better but I also really like the really slick production of CSI. So I'm not going to pick a winner between these two.

Well. All in all I can very much recommend Numb3rs. Even to non-geeks.


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

A few days ago I finished reading the latest Harry Potter book; Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It is the sixth of the seven previously promised books in the series. For those of you who haven't read it yet: don't worry, I'm not going to have any spoilers in this post.

To begin with and somewhat off topic I should say that I didn't stand in line to get this book in the day it was released. I preordered it from Amazon UK which turned out to be a real bargain. I paid 130 SEK including shipping when the price for the book in Swedish bookstores was 199 SEK. I'm finding it very hard to go to a bookstore to buy a book these days when it's that much cheaper to buy over the net.

Okay. What about the book then? I must say I didn't find it as exciting as the previous books. The book was still an easy and fast read but it lacked some magic which the other books had. Maybe this is just because I'm getting to know the format of the books. All the books have pretty much the same general chain of event and it's getting a little too familiar. But the end of the Half Blood Prince promises that the seventh book will be quite different.

As to my theory about Draco Malfoy which I posted about earlier, the Half Blood Prince had some very interesting turnes of events. I think the events in the very end of the book and Draco's behavior there shows that I might be on the right track. But it is by no means certain. It has occurred to me that Rowling (the author of the HP books) uses Draco as the antithesis of Harry Potter and maybe she wants to maintain that all the way to the end. It'll be exciting to see what she does in the last book.

One theme which has been constant throughout the books has been the mystery surrounding Severus Snape. I have long though that he is one of the most interesting and mysterious character in the books. It was a little surprising to me to see that the secrets surrounding Snape, why Dumbledore trusts him, the reasons for his various behavior and his true allegiance was revealed already in the sixth book. But I don't say it is a bad decision, I was just surprised. One of the reasons for the early disclosure of this mystery is perhaps that there are a great many things which need to be explained and finalized in the seventh book that it was more or less necessary to get this particular thing out of the way. It also gives room for some exciting drama in the final book.

So despite the fact that I wasn't overly thrilled with the Half Blood Prince I am (as you probably can tell by now) already looking forward to the seventh and final Harry Potter book. The way the Half Blood Prince builds up to the finale in the last book shows great promise.


Quote day

The Second Law of Thermodynamics:
If you think things are in a mess now, just wait!
-- Jim Warner

Seen in a sig.
To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.
- Peter Ustinov

Appeared on my personal google page.


Death Star Subwoofer

I haven't been blogging for quite a while now. It has its reasons. First of all I've been working my (insert appropriate part of body) off trying to write up my thesis. Then I hit the wall. Now I'm currently on sick leave, and the thesis is nowhere done. But that should leave me with more time to blog shouldn't it?

Anyway, ./ had a link to the most awesome piece of HiFi equipment currently being sold on eBay. A Death Star subwoofer. It's truly impressive. Check it out at eBay.co.uk.