3 May 2017:

This week's progress is all about the virtues of initiative: finding opportunities and seizing them.

1) Blake found an interesting ad on MathJobs for a [research position at the Bay Area Complexity Institute](https://www.mathjobs.org/jobs/jobs/10174). The institute is so new that it doesn't even exist yet, but the job description looks like it was written specially for Blake:

> You must have a working knowledge of graduate-level category theory, measure theory, and probability theory. Bonus points if you are experienced with any of: statistical mechanics, dynamical systems, Markov chains, various theories and models of computation, organismal evolution, or complexity in any formal setting. You must also enjoy research and writing, and have the personality traits of a theory builder rather than a problem solver, but have the skills of both. Perhaps most importantly, you should be excited and passionate about working on a small team to pursue the connection between information-theoretic complexity, thermodynamics and entropy, and the evolution of complexity in cosmology and living systems.

He applied, and they sound interested! He's going to meet the people running this institute on May 11th, right after his talk to Crutchfield's group at U.C. Davis.

**Moral: look around for jobs. Apply for jobs that sound cool.**

2) Jason had been invited by Tobias Fritz to a conference at the Perimeter Institute, in Canada. That's where I used to hang out when I worked on quantum gravity - and indeed, my former student Derek Wise is giving a talk at this conference about his [wonderful work on Hopf algebras and quantum gauge theories](https://arxiv.org/abs/1512.03966)!

One problem: Tobias didn't offer him travel money. An invitation without money is a sad thing. But Jason hustled and overcame this problem:

> I initially asked Tobias Fritz and his group if I could get any travel funds through the Perimeter Institute. The answer was a fairly definite "probably not." I tried various avenues at Victor Valley College, where I am currently teaching, all of which came back No. So I bought my plane tickets, reserved a hotel and rental car, etc. and informed Lucy Zhang, the person in Tobias' group with whom I have been primarily in contact. Two days later I had a sponsor: Daniel Gottesman. So I cancelled my hotel and rental car reservations, the cost of the plane tickets will be reimbursed, the entry fee is waived, and more. I think the only thing that isn't covered is parking at LAX. There is still some time, so I am looking into alternatives to that.

Daniel Gottesman is a bigshot in quantum computation at the Perimeter Institute.

**Moral: it pays to ask for help - you just might get it!**

3) As for me, I'm not doing anything useful - just hanging out in Hong Kong, checking out
temples. But I got here because I wrote about [Guowu Meng's amazing work connecting
special relativity to Newton's inverse square force law](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/gravitational.html)... and he's here in Hong Kong, so he invited me here!

**Moral: blog about cool stuff. If you explain it well, people will pay attention.**