Monthly Archives: May 2009

Graphical comparison of programming languages

Guillaume Marceau posted an excellent article yesterday that gives a graphical comparison of numerous programming languages. (The page failed to load the first time I tried to load it and it loaded slowly on my second attempt. Be patient and

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Posted in Software development

Killing too much of a tumor

The traditional approach to cancer treatment has been to try to eradicate tumors. Eliminating a tumor is better than shrinking a tumor, so this approach makes sense. But if you try to eradicate the tumor and fail, you may leave

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Posted in Science

OS ecosystems

Colin Howe wrote an interesting article last week comparing the Windows and Ubuntu worlds, not the operating systems per se. Feature-by-feature comparisons of operating systems are not that helpful. Contemporary operating systems have a lot in common in their details,

Posted in Computing

The world looks more mathematical than it is

From Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton: The real trouble with this world of ours is not that is an unreasonable world, nor even that is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that is nearly reasonable, but not

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Posted in Uncategorized

Variations on a theme of Newton

Isaac Newton famously said If I have seen farther than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. Later Mathematician R. W. Hamming added Mathematicians stand on each other’s shoulders while computer scientists stand on each

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Posted in Science

Off to Puerto Rico

I’m leaving today for San Juan. I’m giving a couple talks at a conference on clinical trials. Puerto Rico is beautiful. (I want to say a “lovely island,” but then the song America from West Side Story gets stuck in

Posted in Clinical trials

Statistical lexicon

See Andrew Gelman’s post Handy statistical lexicon for a list of useful aphorisms. Here’s one of my favorites. Pinch-Hitter Syndrome: People whose job it is to do just one thing are not always so good at that one thing.

Posted in Statistics

Down’s syndrome and cancer

The most recent Nature podcast (21 May 2009) has a news story about Down’s syndrome and cancer. Most types of cancer are much less common among people with Down’s syndrome. Since Down’s syndrome is caused by an extra copy of

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Posted in Science

Amazing jazz musician

Brian Lopes is amazing. I’d never heard of him until he was featured on the Eclectic Mix podcast a few days ago. The podcast describes his music “a high energy expedition crossing from jazz to R&B to funk and back

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Posted in Music

Simplicity in old age

Quote from Julian Barnes: There is something infinitely touching when an artist, in old age, takes on simplicity. The artist is saying: display and bravura are tricks for the young, and yes, showing off is part of ambition; but now

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Posted in Creativity

The silver ratio

Most people have heard of the golden ratio, but have you ever heard of the silver ratio? I only heard of it this week. The golden ratio can be expressed by a continued fraction in which all coefficients equal 1.

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Posted in Math

Microsoft Ramp Up

A recent .NET Rocks podcast featured Doug Turnure and Johanna White talking about Ramp Up, a new free online training program from Microsoft. It sounds like this program will organize and revise a lot of the scattered training material that

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Posted in Software development

Breastfeeding, the golden ratio, and rational approximation

Gil Kalai’s blog featured a guest post the other day about breastfeeding twins. The post commented in passing that φ, the golden ratio, is the number hardest to approximate by rationals. What could this possibly have to do with breastfeeding?

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Posted in Math

Don’t standardize education, personalize it

I just finished reading Ken Robinson’s book The Element. The title comes from the idiom of someone being in his or her “element.” The book is filled with stories of people who have discovered and followed their passions. Here are

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Posted in Creativity

The Medici Effect

I was reading a chapter from The Element this evening that reminded me of The Medici Effect. ACM Ubiquity had an interview with Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect, around the time the book came out. The title comes

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Posted in Creativity