Monthly Archives: February 2009

Blue Rondo a la Turk

Shawna Kennedy left a comment on my previous post on music in odd meters that made something click. She pointed out that in Turkish and Romany music, 9/8 is often divided as 2+2+2+3, unlike the Western triple-triple feel (3+3+3). That

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Posted in Music

Music in 5/4 time

Time signatures in music are written like fractions. The numerator tells how the beats are grouped into measures. For the vast majority of Western music in every genre — popular, classical, jazz, country, etc. — this numerator is divisible by

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50th Carnival of Mathematics

Prologue Tradition dictates that each Carnival of Mathematics begin with a riff about the number of the carnival. Since this is the 50th carnival, and the Roman numeral representation of 50 is L, I’ll start with a short riff on

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Posted in Math

IronPython is a one-way gate

IronPython opens up the world of .NET to Python programmers. It’s not as good yet at opening up the world of Python to .NET programmers. It is easy to write .NET applications in IronPython. I typed in some sample code

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Posted in Python, Software development

Strategy for dealing with information overload

Clay Shirky gave a thought-provoking presentation “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure.” He argues that information overload is not new. Ever since Gutenberg most people have had access to more information than they could handle. But until recently there

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Data center energy efficiency

Data centers consume 1.5% of the electricity produced in the United States and the percentage is increasing. What can be done to make data centers more energy efficient? According to Ken Brill, 30% of servers could simply be turned off.

Posted in Computing

50th Carnival of Mathematics coming here Friday

The 50th Carnival of Mathematics will be hosted here on Friday, February 27.  If you have a math-related blog, please help spread the word.

Posted in Math

Finding the shortest interval with given mass

Here’s an elegant little theorem applied in statistics but useful more generally. Suppose you have a density function f(x) with one hump. Suppose a and b are two points on opposite sides of the hump with f(a) = f(b). Then

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Blogging with one thumb

This weekend I discovered Glenda Watson Hyatt’s blog. Because of cerebral palsy, she can only type with her left thumb, hence her nickname “the left thumb blogger.” She writes well. I can only imagine the patience it takes for her

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What can you do with a jug of ammonia?

One of my daughters had the following assignment for science. First you boil a couple leaves of red cabbage and pour off the water. In our case the water was inky blue, but the results may vary according to your

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Detecting breast cancer from a hair sample

FermiScan, an Austrailian company, is developing a screen for breast cancer that analyzes a small hair sample. Listen to Moira Gunn’s interview with David Young from FermiScan. Show notes | mp3

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How to get a human on the phone

I hate automated phone menus. When I call a company on the phone rather than going to their web site, it’s usually because I have a complicated question that isn’t going fit into the menu options. Here are two sites

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John Tukey and Aristotle

I just ran across a quote from Aristotle that seemed right in line with the quotes from John Tukey I posted the other day. It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things

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Getting started with IronPython

I’ve just started experimenting with IronPython, Microsoft’s implementation of Python built on .NET. You can download IronPython from CodePlex either as an MSI installer or a zip file of binaries. I installed it from the zip file on one computer

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Recap of the Robert Martin/Joel Spolsky brouhaha

Here’s a timeline of the controversy between Robert Martin and Joel Spolsky. Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin speaks about SOLID design principles on Scott Hanselman’s podcast #145. Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood say some negative things about Uncle Bob and his

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