Monthly Archives: August 2009

The IOT test

In his book Flaw of Averages, Sam Savage describes the IOT test of statistical significance. Joe Berkson, a statistician at the Mayo Clinic, developed his own criterion, which he termed the IOT Test, or Inter Ocular Trauma Test, requiring a

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Posted in Statistics

Interview with author Cliff Pickover

A few weeks ago, Sterling Publishing sent me a copy of Cliff Pickover‘s new book The Math Book. I enjoyed reading the book (see my review) and set up the interview that follows. JC: The Math Book is your first

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Posted in Math

Weekend miscellany

Math Carnival of Mathematics #56 Three central limit theorems Computing Moving CS classes from Java to Python The status of N = NP More on the problem of email Psake, a build automation tool written in PowerShell Music videos Kind

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Work expands to the time allowed

Yesterday I found a copy of Parkinson’s Law for $1 at a library book sale. This book is best known for it’s opening line: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. The name “Parkinson’s law”

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Posted in Business

Mortgages, banks, and Jensen's inequality

Sam Savage’s new book Flaw of Averages has a brilliantly simple explanation of why volatility in the housing market caused such problems for banks recently. When housing prices drop, more people default on their mortgages and obviously that hurts banks.

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Posted in Business, Math

Book review: The Math Book

The Math Book by Cliff Pickover proves you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The cover has three strikes against it. The title could hardly be less interesting. The book cover substitutes a couple Greek letters for Roman letters,

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Posted in Math

More on colors and grayscale

My previous post gave three algorithms for converting color to grayscale. This post gives more examples and details. The image below is a screenshot from an Excel spreadsheet illustrating color values and how the convert to grayscale. The R, G,

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Posted in Graphics

Three algorithms for converting color to grayscale

How do you convert a color image to grayscale? If each color pixel is described by a triple (R, G, B) of intensities for red, green, and blue, how do you map that to a single number giving a grayscale

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Posted in Graphics

Back to school

Here’s today’s image from The Retro Press, a back-to-school ad from the September 9, 1957 issue of LIFE. The Retro Press blog highlights advertisements from the Gallery of Graphic Design.

Posted in Graphics

Magic, stupidity, and malice

When you mix this quote from Author C. Clark Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. with Halnon’s Razor Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. you get Grey’s law Any sufficiently advanced incompetence

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Saving up for an avocado

Ellen Finn describes how she quit her job and exhausted her retirement savings to become a musician when she was around 50 years old. I was totally broke. I was living on beans and I know thousands of bean recipes.

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Posted in Music

Pentatonic scale demo with Bobby McFerrin

video

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Posted in Music

Power laws and the generalized CLT

Here’s an expert from a recent ACM Ubiquity interview with David Alderson that raises a few questions. Actually, they [power laws] aren’t special at all. They can arise as natural consequences of aggregation of high variance data. You know from

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Posted in Math

Has C++ jumped the shark?

Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, wrote an article for Dr. Dobbs recently lamenting the decision to cut “concepts” from the upcoming revision of the C++ standard. His article left me with the feeling that C++ had jumped the shark. The

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Posted in Software development

Good enough for Google and NASA

Leo Laporte’s comment on Python in the latest FLOSS Weekly podcast: If it’s good enough for Google and NASA, it’s good enough for me, baby. The podcast is an interesting interview with Michael Foord on IronPython. Leo Laporte’s comment comes

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Posted in Python