Monthly Archives: December 2007


I filed my dissertation this morning; I am now Dr. Arcane Gazebo. (Well, technically the degree isn’t conferred until Thursday when the semester ends, but whatever.)
The main result of the entire thesis comes down to a single plot, shown below. This isn’t the “explain my thesis” post so I’ll just say that the plot shows our ability to control the coupling energy between two qubits by applying a bias current to our readout device, hence the thesis title Solid-State Qubits with Current-Controlled Coupling. The solid curves are calculations based on device parameters and the dashed curves are one-parameter fits.

Now these points of data make a beautiful line…
If anyone needs me this evening, I’ll be at Triple Rock.

Favorite Songs of 2007: Upward Fall

With blogging curtailed in the last few months due to thesis writing, and a general decline in music reviews on this site over the entire year, longtime readers may be wondering if I will put together a compilation CD of the year’s music as I did the last two years. Wonder no longer! Those of you watching my Flickr stream already know that the mix CD for 2007 has been assembled. As usual, it’s compiled from my favorite songs of the year (defined by U.S. release date, since I don’t tend to seek out imports) and limited to one song per album.
However, this year my music collecting did suffer from my time spent on other pursuits: I didn’t get a chance to listen to very many new-to-me bands, and as a result the list of artists on this collection will seem very familiar to those of you who’ve heard the previous mixes. A number of artists are returning from 2005’s Year of the Phoenix: The New Pornographers, Iron & Wine, Spoon, Caribou, The Rosebuds, and Stars (the bonus track on the second version of Phoenix). The Arctic Monkeys are the only band to reappear from Year of the Wolf, but few bands release two albums less than a year apart so this is unsurprising. Anyway, this isn’t so bad since I obviously like these bands, so why not keep featuring them? But at the same time, I feel like I probably missed out on a lot of good new stuff. (Be sure to recommend some in comments!)
I didn’t have a good excuse to stick with the “Year of the…” naming scheme this year, so I went with the title Upward Fall, which is a phrase from one of the songs (“The Night Starts Here”). In the song it pretty clearly refers to death, and several of the songs invoke either death or falling as themes. I don’t mean to be morbid—in fact I don’t intend for the yearly CD to be thematically coherent at all (as opposed to most other mix CDs I make), but sometimes these things emerge subconsciously, because particular songs appeal to me because of the situation I’m in. Here the death imagery should be interpreted like the Death card in tarot, as representing a transition: in this case the end of my grad student career, and moving on into a new life, a new career, and (probably) a new city. The uncertainty about what exactly this will entail is reflected in the tension of the last few songs. The final song is perhaps a bit too apocalyptic, but this is what happens when I put together the CD in my last two weeks as a grad student.
If you’d like a copy of the CD, either see me in person (I will probably be carrying a few), leave a comment, or e-mail me—I’m happy to send them by mail to people who I won’t see in the next couple months.
Click through for the tracklist and comments on individual songs. I had trouble ranking them this year, so the list is in track order rather than rank order.

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