Forty years

Four decades since my first visit to Dartmouth.

I recently came across some photographs in an old photo album, photos I took at Dartmouth when I was a high-school junior touring colleges around the northeast. They are from the summer of 1981; although it’s hard to be certain, there are clues in some photos that suggest it was likely June or July. It has thus been forty years since I first arrived on the Hanover Plain!

Little did I know then that I would return one year later to be taking classes from faculty like John Kemeny and exploring the many mountains and rivers of New Hampshire as a leader of the Dartmouth Outing Club. Nor that I would later return to join the Dartmouth faculty as a professor in computer science!

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Daniel Doan Trail

A pleasant surprise.

I have climbed Smarts Mountain many times, by many routes – including some now-abandoned routes and by bushwhacking Grant Brook – but I don’t think I have ever hiked the Daniel Doan Trail.* Finally, today, we did.

The first half of the trail follows old logging roads.
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Moosilauke

Although today began cloudy, conditions slowly cleared throughout the day. Lelia and Andy and I headed for Moosilauke, climbing Gorge Brook, and then heading down Carriage Road and Snapper.

Andy and David on summit of Mount Moosilauke.

Unfortunately, there were many, many other people out hiking today – a holiday here in the US – because it has rained for the past five days and this was the first (somewhat) nice day for a week. Still, a fine day for a hike! Read on and check the Photo gallery.

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Mount Cube

Cloudy but beautiful.

Rivendell trail, Mount Cube.

On Independence Day it finally stopped raining. It has rained, more or less non-stop, for four days. True, it was a welcome respite from the hot and humid weather at the start of the week, but it the rain was getting a bit tiring. So I was eager to get outdoors, and jumped at the chance to hike Mount Cube with an old friend. The trail was wet – to be expected on Mount Cube under almost any circumstances, but especially now – but the forest was lush green, and the bugs seemingly washed away. Although there were no views – low clouds still clung to the hilltops everywhere – it was a fine day to be out.

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Thirty years

Thirty years on the Dartmouth faculty.

David Kotz 1994, Dartmouth College

Today marks the 30th anniversary of my return to Dartmouth to join the faculty. In July 1991 I became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, one of only a handful of computer scientists on the faculty. In those early years I repeatedly experienced two odd reactions when I met other faculty on campus: (1) they mistook me for a grad student, or (2) they thought I was from the computing services (I.T.) organization and worked maybe at the help desk or as a programmer. Indeed, at the time, few on campus even recognized “computer science” as an academic discipline.

Dartmouth (and I) have changed a lot in three decades – my original office building (Bradley) was torn down years ago, along with the central computer center (Kiewit); Mathematics and Computer Science are now two separate departments; I am now the most-senior member of the CS faculty; and nobody seems to mistake me for a student any more. ;=)

Today also happens to be the day that I return to my fourth tour of duty in the administration, this time to spend a year as Interim Provost. I look forward to the opportunity to give back to an institution that has given me so much for so many years.

Strawberry fields

An annual treat.

I’m delighted to be back in the Upper Valley region of NH & VT in time for strawberry season. We are fortunate to have an excellent organic farm nearby, Cedar Circle Farm, just up the river on the Vermont side. So yesterday morning you could find me out in their U-pick field before the sweltering summer weather arrived – quickly filling a six-quart tray with the best, ripest strawberries. I filled one tray with Jewel berries, suitable for freezing, and another quart with AC Valley Sunset berries, with plans to eat them within one or two days 🙂

The result was delish – strawberry shortcake for dinner dessert.

Time for BBQ

No visit to Charleston is complete without BBQ.

I haven’t visited Charleston (or anywhere in the southeast) for two and half years, so it was essential, during this visit, to find some good barbecue. Charleston has, of course, many barbecue restaurants; thus we found ourselves checking out one of the newer favorites, Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. We visited at lunchtime on a Saturday – and were lucky to find a table for two. It’s a simple counter-service joint: wait in a long line, order at the counter, get a number, and some time later your order will be delivered to the table.

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Leaving Facebook

A long overdue move.

It’s time: I am leaving Facebook behind. Although I enjoy hearing news from my family, friends, and colleagues, I have been increasingly fed up with Facebook’s corporate behavior and with the deleterious effects of Facebook (and social media, more generally) on our society.

I’ve been planning to take this step for over a year, imagining a lengthy essay on the detriments of social media in general and Facebook in particular, complete with citations to relevant literature. But I’ve never found the time to do a thorough, thoughtful job, so this brief note will have to do. I encourage you to watch the excellent documentary, The Social Dilemma, and to peruse some of the articles linked below.

I’m not deleting my Facebook account – and may still post professional content there when needed. But I won’t be monitoring my ‘feed’ and thus, sadly, will miss your news and updates; send me an email, give me a call, or stop by for a visit! If you wish to follow my ramblings, ‘follow’ this blog. Take care, be well, and enjoy some time offline.

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