I seem to be about to get a new job at Codesourcery. I'll be writing a non-object-oriented C++ library to do automatically vectorized and -parallelized, embeddable signal processing, to be paid for by the USAF but useful for the rest of us, and licensed under the GPL, with workplace and hours of my own choosing. Now I need a place to park a desk in Cambridge. Working alone in a silent, bare office is tough. I expect to be working in cafes until I find something.
I've been trying to find an optical engineer/physicist to chat with. When quasars seemed impossibly bright and far away (according to their red-shift), Emil Wolf suggested a mechanism by which correlated photons passing through certain varying magnetic fields could be artificially red-shifted, and Daniel FV James showed how such fields might arise naturally. I'm interested in engineering applications of the Wolf effect. My question is, how hard is it to get thermal photons to "correlate"? (I understand that a collection of similar photons moving together tend to adopt a common state, but not precisely how or under what conditions.)
Need an example of an engineering use? Gather sunlight and run it through a diffraction grating, persuade resulting slices of more-or-less monochromatic light to self-correlate, and then pipe it through just the right EM field. When the light gets red-shifted, the energy must be going into the field. We already know how to extract energy from slowly-varying EM fields.
Could the nearly-monochromatic light efficiently pump a laser? Would garden-variety coherent light suffice to provoke the Wolf effect? Can the Wolf effect operate usefully over less than astronomical distances at reasonable field strengths? (Consider that the conversion efficiency of the competitors for solar energy conversion is a low target.)
[Update: the energy that comes out of the red-shifted photons doesn't go into the field, it goes into blue-shifting some of the other photons. Furthermore, the red-shifted photons come out at angles, so within a fiber they would mush together and you would just end up with frequency dispersion. Bummer.]
chalst: Thanks for the welcome. Apologies for having taken so long to post.
msevior: It's not a mistake to talk to a Microsoft program manager. It's a huge mistake to hope for any substantive help from one. What he says about MS's process is completely unsurprising, and in fact explains why their products suck and why they need to illegally enforce a monopoly to make everyone keep paying for them. (E.g. consider that bug fixes have practically zero revenue potential.) Their only real opportunities to grow revenue are making people upgrade more, porting to new languages, and getting people with bootlegged copies to pay for them. It's almost surprising that they have any coding staff on it at all. The less you know about MS Word, the better off you'll be.
Recent postings -- an interview with Alan Kay, and a complaint about "object-oriented" languages on Lambda the Ultimate -- expose the most unattractive feature of academic-language communities: sour grapes. Kay actually repeats the old myths about early C++ being just a macro processor on C, despite that just about every new language since has been implemented first in exactly the same way; and about Bell Labs aggressively promoting it (with its $3000 budget?). Lisp people still try to criticize C++ by criticizing the notion of an object-oriented language, despite that C++ isn't. (Most of the language is to support what has come to be called generic programming.)
Lisp and Smalltalk have had every chance to take over the world. They haven't caught on, and for very practical reasons. Not least among those has been ideology. I don't know of any successful language founded on ideology. If your pet language isn't taking the world by storm, you should figure out what keeps people from being able to use it in their projects, and fix that. GC is a usual culprit.
"Lisp", 708; "I resent LISP", 63; 708/63=11. "C++", 9325; "I hate C++, 129: 72. "Java", 13274; "I hate Java", 744; 18. "Perl", 3745; "I hate Perl", 309: 12. "Python", 2490; "Python sucks", 32: 78. More people still hate Java than like Lisp. Perl and LISP are duking it out for most hated (or resented) language. Java is in eclipse (or vice versa?) but still making a respectable showing.