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# Azimuth NYC, first meeting, Tues Nov. 6

Tuesday November 6, 6pm - 8pm, Sony Atrium, 550 Madison Avenue (55th and 56th street)

An informal first meeting in the NYC area, open to all.

So far there appear to be four of us in the area:

Allan Erskine, Carter Schonwald, Cameron Smith and David Tanzer.

Thanks to Cameron for proposing the location.

All topics are open. Here are some things that interest me:

You can contact us via email, on gmail I go by the name of dave.tanzer. Send me a note and I will send you my phone number, so we can coordinate in case we have trouble locating each other.

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1.

Another topic of interest:

• What's going on these days at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and what can we do to foster collaboration with the researchers there?
Comment Source:Another topic of interest: * What's going on these days at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and what can we do to foster collaboration with the researchers there?
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edited October 2012

Great! Let me know how it goes!

I would be happy to advertise the meeting on the blog. What do you think? Some people would show up who'd think Azimuth is much better organized than it actually is. Maybe you want to keep the meeting small and get to know each other this time.

I hope you folks survived the storm. To a friend I wrote:

Luckily a very famous weatherman, Jeff Master, has not been shy about linking the unusual path of Sandy to the loss of Arctic sea ice, which seems to promote the kind of "blocking ridge" that pushed Sandy inland:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

He writes (after a lot of other explanations):

Arctic sea ice loss can cause blocking ridges

Blocking ridges occur naturally, but are uncommon over Greenland this time of year. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, blocking near the longitude of Greenland (50°W) only occurs about 2% of the time in the fall. These odds rise to about 6% in winter and spring. As I discussed in an April post, Arctic sea ice loss tied to unusual jet stream patterns, three studies published in the past year have found that the jet stream has been getting stuck in unusually strong blocking patterns in recent years. These studies found that the recent record decline in Arctic sea ice could be responsible, since this heats up the pole, altering the Equator-to-pole temperature difference, forcing the jet stream to slow down, meander, and get stuck in large loops. The 2012 Arctic sea ice melt season was extreme, with sea ice extent hitting a record lows. Could sea ice loss have contributed to the blocking ridge that steered Sandy into New Jersey? It is possible, but we will need to much more research on the subject before we make such a link, as the studies of sea ice loss on jet stream patterns are so new. The author of one of the new studies, Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, had this say in a recent post by Andy Revkin in his Dot Earth blog: "While it’s impossible to say how this scenario might have unfolded if sea-ice had been as extensive as it was in the 1980s, the situation at hand is completely consistent with what I’d expect to see happen more often as a result of unabated warming and especially the amplification of that warming in the Arctic."

This is also interesting:

http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/sandy-climate-change-debate-20121030

Comment Source:Great! Let me know how it goes! I would be happy to advertise the meeting on the blog. What do you think? Some people would show up who'd think Azimuth is much better organized than it actually is. Maybe you want to keep the meeting small and get to know each other this time. I hope you folks survived the storm. To a friend I wrote: > Luckily a very famous weatherman, Jeff Master, has not been shy about linking the unusual path of Sandy to the loss of Arctic sea ice, which seems to promote the kind of "blocking ridge" that pushed Sandy inland: > [http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html](http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html) > He writes (after a lot of other explanations): > > Arctic sea ice loss can cause blocking ridges > > Blocking ridges occur naturally, but are uncommon over Greenland this time of year. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, blocking near the longitude of Greenland (50°W) only occurs about 2% of the time in the fall. These odds rise to about 6% in winter and spring. As I discussed in an April post, Arctic sea ice loss tied to unusual jet stream patterns, three studies published in the past year have found that the jet stream has been getting stuck in unusually strong blocking patterns in recent years. These studies found that the recent record decline in Arctic sea ice could be responsible, since this heats up the pole, altering the Equator-to-pole temperature difference, forcing the jet stream to slow down, meander, and get stuck in large loops. The 2012 Arctic sea ice melt season was extreme, with sea ice extent hitting a record lows. Could sea ice loss have contributed to the blocking ridge that steered Sandy into New Jersey? It is possible, but we will need to much more research on the subject before we make such a link, as the studies of sea ice loss on jet stream patterns are so new. The author of one of the new studies, Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, had this say in a recent post by Andy Revkin in his Dot Earth blog: "While it’s impossible to say how this scenario might have unfolded if sea-ice had been as extensive as it was in the 1980s, the situation at hand is completely consistent with what I’d expect to see happen more often as a result of unabated warming and especially the amplification of that warming in the Arctic." > This is also interesting: > [http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/sandy-climate-change-debate-20121030](http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/sandy-climate-change-debate-20121030)
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edited October 2012

Hi John, thanks for the good word. In my part of Brooklyn things were okay because we are higher up. I have concern for a friend who didn't evacuate his house in the Rockaways, and a colleague of mine from work who lives on Long Island had something like 1/2 foot of seawater in his living room.

Anyhow, regarding the meeting, since we ourselves have not met before, and the meeting place is unfamiliar (at least to me), I think we shouldn't publicize it further. But if we get things together over time, then a blog post would be great.

I'm wondering how we will identify ourselves. Maybe we need some kind of Azimuth hats. Would they be green and pointy?

</jokes>

Comment Source:Hi John, thanks for the good word. In my part of Brooklyn things were okay because we are higher up. I have concern for a friend who didn't evacuate his house in the Rockaways, and a colleague of mine from work who lives on Long Island had something like 1/2 foot of seawater in his living room. Anyhow, regarding the meeting, since we ourselves have not met before, and the meeting place is unfamiliar (at least to me), I think we shouldn't publicize it further. But if we get things together over time, then a blog post would be great. I'm wondering how we will identify ourselves. Maybe we need some kind of Azimuth hats. Would they be green and pointy? </jokes>
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edited October 2012

Anyhow, regarding the meeting, since we ourselves have not met before, and the meeting place is unfamiliar (at least to me), I think we shouldn’t publicize it further. But if we get things together over time, then a blog post would be great.

Good. I think you should get to know each other this time and then, long before you think you're ready, let me invite other people. The invitation can make it clear that this is not an official workshop or anything like that.

I think when it comes to saving the planet, we need to do things before we feel perfectly ready. That's why I'm going around giving lectures and courses on subjects I would prefer to spend 10 years studying first.

You don't need to know exactly what you're doing in order to gather more people to help you do it. Those extra people may help decide what needs to be done. Of course, you need to be strong-willed enough to rule out plans of action that seem irrelevant or stupid.

By the way, this thing:

</jokes>

set off a bunch of error messages until I surrounded it by back-quotes. Seems the software has no sense of humor.

Comment Source:> Anyhow, regarding the meeting, since we ourselves have not met before, and the meeting place is unfamiliar (at least to me), I think we shouldn’t publicize it further. But if we get things together over time, then a blog post would be great. Good. I think you should get to know each other this time and then, _long before you think you're ready_, let me invite other people. The invitation can make it clear that this is not an official workshop or anything like that. I think when it comes to saving the planet, we need to do things before we feel perfectly ready. That's why I'm going around giving lectures and courses on subjects I would prefer to spend 10 years studying first. You don't need to know exactly what you're doing in order to gather more people to help you do it. Those extra people may help decide what needs to be done. Of course, you need to be strong-willed enough to rule out plans of action that seem irrelevant or stupid. By the way, this thing: </jokes> set off a bunch of error messages until I surrounded it by back-quotes. Seems the software has no sense of humor.
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edited October 2012

See what happens if I include this fake html like you did?

Comment Source:See what happens if I include this fake html like you did? </jokes>
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edited November 2012

John wrote:

I hope you folks survived the storm. To a friend I wrote:

Luckily a very famous weatherman, Jeff Master, has not been shy about linking the unusual path of Sandy to the loss of Arctic sea ice [....]

It's been pretty bad here in New York. While we got off very lightly in Boerum Hill, surrounding neighborhoods such as Red Hook were badly inundated by the storm surge. My work colleague in Manhattan's East Village/Alphabet City had water spewing out of his basement toilet which was eventually joined by the water spilling in from the streets to fill his lower floor completely; this evening I saw that pumping was still ongoing around the Gowanus canal and heard accounts of people leaving Brooklyn to help out in New Jersey (which by-far bore the brunt of the damage) with food and basic supplies. Plenty of people are dislocated and staying with other families and there have been uncontrolled fires and gas shortages.

I'm glad you mentioned Jeff Masters though -- is it just me, or is he the only man to turn to in an adverse weather event?

I am looking forwards to meeting everyone next week!

Comment Source:John wrote: > I hope you folks survived the storm. To a friend I wrote: > > Luckily a very famous weatherman, Jeff Master, has not been shy about linking the unusual path of Sandy to the loss of Arctic sea ice [....] It's been pretty bad here in New York. While we got off very lightly in Boerum Hill, surrounding neighborhoods such as Red Hook were badly inundated by the storm surge. My work colleague in Manhattan's East Village/Alphabet City had water spewing out of his basement toilet which was eventually joined by the water spilling in from the streets to fill his lower floor completely; this evening I saw that pumping was still ongoing around the Gowanus canal and heard accounts of people leaving Brooklyn to help out in New Jersey (which by-far bore the brunt of the damage) with food and basic supplies. Plenty of people are dislocated and staying with other families and there have been uncontrolled fires and gas shortages. I'm glad you mentioned Jeff Masters though -- is it just me, or is he the only man to turn to in an adverse weather event? I am looking forwards to meeting everyone next week!
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edited November 2012
I used to work at the Water Center, which is part of the Earth Institute. The Earth Institute has such a wide gamut of research interests its hard to say who to contact there who might be interested in Azimuth. They focus on the society/people side of climate/environment/sustainability. They think a lot about effective policy and implementing real solutions to problems, on scales ranging from village-level in both developed and developing countries, to international collaborative efforts. I think we here at Azimuth could learn a bit from them on that front, namely that we should think not just about what we can contribute to the big picture understanding of the developing 'ecological crisis', but also how we could make real effects come from our hard work, even if it means thinking about non-science things like policy.

The director of the Water Center is Upmanu Lall, he's a super friendly, super smart, super busy guy, he might be a good person who could point us in the direction of who to talk to, I could even drop him an e-mail since he probably remembers me, but its not clear to me what kind of collaboration we are thinking about, or whether we just want to make people at the Earth Institute aware of Azimuth.

There are also some really good applied physicists/mathematicians both at Columbia and NYU who do good climate work on many fronts, for example Adam Sobel at Columbia, he works on climate modeling and could answer probably any technical or non-technical questions that came up on the front.

Anyways it would be good to get the word out about Azimuth there and maybe get some of those scientists participating in their spare time, sharing their knowledge.

Also, I'll be around the city the week of Dec. 16th, I know it's close to the holidays but maybe we could schedule a NYC Azimuth meeting that week, it would be great to meet some of you!
Comment Source:I used to work at the Water Center, which is part of the Earth Institute. The Earth Institute has such a wide gamut of research interests its hard to say who to contact there who might be interested in Azimuth. They focus on the society/people side of climate/environment/sustainability. They think a lot about effective policy and implementing real solutions to problems, on scales ranging from village-level in both developed and developing countries, to international collaborative efforts. I think we here at Azimuth could learn a bit from them on that front, namely that we should think not just about what we can contribute to the big picture understanding of the developing 'ecological crisis', but also how we could make real effects come from our hard work, even if it means thinking about non-science things like policy. The director of the Water Center is Upmanu Lall, he's a super friendly, super smart, super busy guy, he might be a good person who could point us in the direction of who to talk to, I could even drop him an e-mail since he probably remembers me, but its not clear to me what kind of collaboration we are thinking about, or whether we just want to make people at the Earth Institute aware of Azimuth. There are also some really good applied physicists/mathematicians both at Columbia and NYU who do good climate work on many fronts, for example Adam Sobel at Columbia, he works on climate modeling and could answer probably any technical or non-technical questions that came up on the front. Anyways it would be good to get the word out about Azimuth there and maybe get some of those scientists participating in their spare time, sharing their knowledge. Also, I'll be around the city the week of Dec. 16th, I know it's close to the holidays but maybe we could schedule a NYC Azimuth meeting that week, it would be great to meet some of you!
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I MAY be able join in, this next few days is crazy busy. but i'll add it to my gcal later today so hopefully remember.

Comment Source:I MAY be able join in, this next few days is crazy busy. but i'll add it to my gcal later today so hopefully remember.
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I seem to be the least affected by Sandy of the nyc contingent. In the Bronx, or at least as far inland as I am in Morris Park, we didn't suffer much damage.

In the future we should definitely have more concrete topics up for discussion, but I think we'll have enough to say since we've never met before. I'm also working on a Haskell project on the side that may eventually get incorporated into my research, so some general discussion of Haskell and how we can make use of it with respect to Azimuth with people who probably know more than I do would be great.

Assuming no one among us is a raging lunatic who has infiltrated Azimuth to take out people interested in the climate and some other things, I'm sure we'll be back here or in another thread after the meeting to tell everyone how it went.

Comment Source:I seem to be the least affected by Sandy of the nyc contingent. In the Bronx, or at least as far inland as I am in Morris Park, we didn't suffer much damage. In the future we should definitely have more concrete topics up for discussion, but I think we'll have enough to say since we've never met before. I'm also working on a Haskell project on the side that may eventually get incorporated into my research, so some general discussion of Haskell and how we can make use of it with respect to Azimuth with people who probably know more than I do would be great. Assuming no one among us is a raging lunatic who has infiltrated Azimuth to take out people interested in the climate and some other things, I'm sure we'll be back here or in another thread after the meeting to tell everyone how it went.
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Hope this goes well and I also like this idea of meeting once in a while, to actually put faces on Azimuth people. I just declared to my wife that if Romney wins I will never set foot in US again ! So let's hope that does not happen and maybe I can attend on US soil :-)

Anyhow we might also rotate venues so we get some european countries.

Let me know if you want me to ask the founder of Sage William Stein if he can attend and tell how Sage could be used?

Comment Source:Hope this goes well and I also like this idea of meeting once in a while, to actually put faces on Azimuth people. I just declared to my wife that if Romney wins I will never set foot in US again ! So let's hope that does not happen and maybe I can attend on US soil :-) Anyhow we might also rotate venues so we get some european countries. Let me know if you want me to ask the founder of Sage William Stein if he can attend and tell how Sage could be used?
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edited November 2012

And a good meeting it was. It was Allan, Cameron and myself. Lots of interesting discussion on graph transformation methods with possible applications to gene regulation networks (thanks to Cameron), and conversations about functional programming. That has really inspired me to finish the Haskell tutorial.

So it looks like for now we three will carry the torch, until such time as we can attract new members. We're planning to meet, roughly speaking, with a period of between 1 and 2 months.

For the next meeting, we will find a place that has a whiteboard, so that we can present sequences of ideas and discuss them.

As a format, I suggest that we can prepare informal "mini-talks" on whatever topics interest each of us. For example, I could talk for 15 minutes about the paper on the formation of tree leaves. So in one meeting, we could have several mini-talks, which could serve as a focus point for a subsequent free discussion. We could put the "slides" on the Wiki, in a section of Azimuth talks that we build up over time.

Also, Allan suggested that we can "crash" in on some of the meetups for the NY functional programmers group.

Thanks guys for attending.

Comment Source:And a good meeting it was. It was Allan, Cameron and myself. Lots of interesting discussion on graph transformation methods with possible applications to gene regulation networks (thanks to Cameron), and conversations about functional programming. That has really inspired me to finish the Haskell tutorial. So it looks like for now we three will carry the torch, until such time as we can attract new members. We're planning to meet, roughly speaking, with a period of between 1 and 2 months. For the next meeting, we will find a place that has a whiteboard, so that we can present sequences of ideas and discuss them. As a format, I suggest that we can prepare informal "mini-talks" on whatever topics interest each of us. For example, I could talk for 15 minutes about the paper on the formation of tree leaves. So in one meeting, we could have several mini-talks, which could serve as a focus point for a subsequent free discussion. We could put the "slides" on the Wiki, in a section of Azimuth talks that we build up over time. Also, Allan suggested that we can "crash" in on some of the meetups for the NY functional programmers group. Thanks guys for attending.
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12.

Agreed that it was a very nice meeting and it was great for me to get to meet Allan and David. I'm looking forward to future meetings. Next time I can either talk more about some biological concepts that I can imagine being relevant to the general interest in the climate or I can discuss what I am able to learn about graph transformations between now and then.

David made a great sign that read "Azimuth". So, anyone walking through the sony atrium between 6 and 8 pm last night should've seen the word.

Comment Source:Agreed that it was a very nice meeting and it was great for me to get to meet Allan and David. I'm looking forward to future meetings. Next time I can either talk more about some biological concepts that I can imagine being relevant to the general interest in the climate or I can discuss what I am able to learn about graph transformations between now and then. David made a great sign that read "Azimuth". So, anyone walking through the sony atrium between 6 and 8 pm last night should've seen the word.
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13.

It sounds like a fun meeting.

David wrote:

We could put the “slides” on the Wiki, in a section of Azimuth talks that we build up over time.

That would be nice... but of course don't plan to do more work than you really turn out to be capable of, then get disappointed, then get annoyed at yourself. (This happens to me sometimes.)

Staffan wrote:

I just declared to my wife that if Romney wins I will never set foot in US again ! So let’s hope that does not happen and maybe I can attend on US soil :-)

We decided to elect Obama, just so you could visit.

Anyhow we might also rotate venues so we get some European countries.

We can start regular meetings everywhere there's a critical mass of Azimuthers.

For anybody in California, I have a weekly seminar at U.C. Riverside and also meet with grad students once a week; anyone interested in attending should let me know.

Also, at some point we should try a Google hangout!

Let me know if you want me to ask the founder of Sage, William Stein, if he can attend and tell how Sage could be used?

Is he in New York? If so, I hope the New York Azimuthers say "yes"!

Comment Source:It sounds like a fun meeting. David wrote: > We could put the “slides” on the Wiki, in a section of Azimuth talks that we build up over time. That would be nice... but of course don't plan to do more work than you really turn out to be capable of, then get disappointed, then get annoyed at yourself. (This happens to me sometimes.) Staffan wrote: > I just declared to my wife that if Romney wins I will never set foot in US again ! So let’s hope that does not happen and maybe I can attend on US soil :-) We decided to elect Obama, just so you could visit. > Anyhow we might also rotate venues so we get some European countries. We can start regular meetings everywhere there's a critical mass of Azimuthers. For anybody in California, I have a weekly seminar at U.C. Riverside and also meet with grad students once a week; anyone interested in attending should let me know. Also, at some point we should try a Google hangout! > Let me know if you want me to ask the founder of Sage, William Stein, if he can attend and tell how Sage could be used? Is he in New York? If so, I hope the New York Azimuthers say "yes"!
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It was a nice meeting, lots of interesting topics came up and it was definitely a lot of fun to talk freely rather than, er, forumly. So for that reason I'd be up joining a hangout if one ever arose!

Comment Source:It was a nice meeting, lots of interesting topics came up and it was definitely a lot of fun to talk freely rather than, er, forumly. So for that reason I'd be up joining a hangout if one ever arose!
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15.

sad I missed out, this week has been a bit too crazy busy for me to have handled joining in. I should be able to join in next time!

Comment Source:sad I missed out, this week has been a bit too crazy busy for me to have handled joining in. I should be able to join in next time!
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edited November 2012

on the nyc FP side, www.meetup.com/NY-Haskell/ has some really great organizers, and 1-2 interesting talks next week

Comment Source:on the nyc FP side, [www.meetup.com/NY-Haskell/](http://www.meetup.com/NY-Haskell/) has some really great organizers, and 1-2 interesting talks next week
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17.

I had already signed up for that meetup. Looks like it is full now, although I have had success with being on the wait list before: often people just sign-up and don't come.

Comment Source:I had already signed up for that meetup. Looks like it is full now, although I have had success with being on the wait list before: often people just sign-up and don't come.
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18.

I'm planning to come to the Wednesday night meeting as well. I actually am signed up this time, but given that a lot of people might sign-up and not show-up, is it also generally possible to not sign-up and show-up or will you be dismissed at the door?

Comment Source:I'm planning to come to the Wednesday night meeting as well. I actually am signed up this time, but given that a lot of people might sign-up and not show-up, is it also generally possible to not sign-up and show-up or will you be dismissed at the door?
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19.

I'm unsure! It probably varies from meetup-to-meetup: sometimes you will get in, other times you will be forcibly ejected by some burly functional programmers.

Comment Source:I'm unsure! It probably varies from meetup-to-meetup: sometimes you will get in, other times you will be forcibly ejected by some burly functional programmers.
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20.

yes, its possible to just walk in :) come! :)

Comment Source:yes, its possible to just walk in :) come! :)
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21.

(generally the case for events hosted at pivotal labs)

Comment Source:(generally the case for events hosted at pivotal labs)
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22.

I went and was let in with no problem. I didn't see anyone else from Azimuth there, but that was probably because Allan is the only one I knew to look for.

Comment Source:I went and was let in with no problem. I didn't see anyone else from Azimuth there, but that was probably because Allan is the only one I knew to look for.
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I was there too, did you go to the bar after? (that said, i do look like my internet pictures)

Comment Source:I was there too, did you go to the bar after? (that said, i do look like my internet pictures)
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Sorry not to make, I had last minute baby responsibilities. When I cancelled my RSVP I noticed that plenty other people had done likewise, and the attendance had shrunk from being oversubscribed by 10ish to having 18 spaces free.

Was it a good meetup? (And Cameron: did you see Ashish there?)

Comment Source:Sorry not to make, I had last minute baby responsibilities. When I cancelled my RSVP I noticed that plenty other people had done likewise, and the attendance had shrunk from being oversubscribed by 10ish to having 18 spaces free. Was it a good meetup? (And Cameron: did you see Ashish there?)
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edited November 2012

Carter wrote:

did you go to the bar after? (that said, i do look like my internet pictures)

No. I'll take a good look at your picture and try to pick you out next time!

Allan wrote:

Was it a good meetup? (And Cameron: did you see Ashish there?)

It was very good to kick off the new group in my opinion. Yes I did see Ashish, and I told him that we met last week.

I'm looking forward to the future talk from Ed Kmett. Hopefully I can learn enough by then to understand how to make use of some of his libraries!

Comment Source:Carter wrote: > did you go to the bar after? (that said, i do look like my internet pictures) No. I'll take a good look at your picture and try to pick you out next time! Allan wrote: > Was it a good meetup? (And Cameron: did you see Ashish there?) It was very good to kick off the new group in my opinion. Yes I did see Ashish, and I told him that we met last week. I'm looking forward to the future talk from Ed Kmett. Hopefully I can learn enough by then to understand how to make use of some of his libraries!
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26.

the next meetup is up. And kmett is giving the talk. He's awesome

Comment Source:the next meetup is up. And kmett is giving the talk. He's awesome
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27.

I agree he is awesome. I already made my way through the notes for another version of this talk he gave in Boston... it's pretty mind-blowing, and I get the impression he didn't even get to the fun stuff, or at least to what he would regard as such.

Comment Source:I agree he is awesome. I already made my way through the notes for another version of this talk he gave in Boston... it's pretty mind-blowing, and I get the impression he didn't even get to the fun stuff, or at least to what he would regard as such.
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28.

It was a good talk indeed! :)

Comment Source:It was a good talk indeed! :)