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April 30, 2008

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Five minutes is your standard? We usually get 15-30, though invited talks at a conference might go up to an hour. In a 15-30 minute talk in theoretical computer science, you're usually spending more time giving context than actually explaining what you've done -- the talk is more of an advertisement to read the paper.

Five minutes would be very tough for us.

Noel, I love that first video. Thanks for passing it on.

By the way, I wanted to pass on to you a question my daughter asked me, but you're busy, so I won't: "Why is gas so expensive?"

(Keep in mind, my daughter is eleven. She asked me this in the car and my initial answer was "There are lots of reasons.")

Hi, Marcia!

"There's only so much gas in the world, but every year there are more people who want to buy it."

Does that work?

Marcia: on second thought, that might be too simple. You could run with:

"People in China and India used to be too poor to own cars. Now they are all running out to buy cars, but sadly there's only so much gas under the ground."

Adds a little complication, but I think it should still be okay. And it probably captures most of what's going on.

Thanks, Professor. I've tried the "There's only so much oil in the world" tactic, but didn't think to get as detailed as supply-and-demand. We're just lucky that I restrained myself from saying "Because of people like the parents that drive EnormousUVs two blocks each way to drop their kids off at school."

(I try very hard not to be bitchy around my kids.)

(And remember, we're from California where cars are king.)

Thanks a lot Noel. That really made my day. I've have to pass this along to my professors.

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