Monthly Archives: September 2010

A little Awk

Greg Grothaus posted an article today entitled Why you should know just a little Awk. The article recommends taking a few minutes to learn only the most basic parts of the Awk language. I find this interesting for several reasons.

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Correction re MinGW

Last night I posted an article about a problem caused by the MinGW installer. A little later I retracted the article because I believe I was wrong. Those who visit my blog directly will not see the post, but those

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Groucho Marx on television

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” — Groucho Marx

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Diagram of special function relationships

Here’s a first pass at a diagram showing the relationships between special functions that commonly come up in applications. These notes explain what everything on the diagram means. Other math diagrams Bessel function relationships Gamma function identities Probability distribution relationships

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Posted in Math

Software structural engineers

Billy Hollis made an interesting point in his interview on .NET Rocks. He argues that “structural engineer” is a better analogy than “architect” for the role of “software architects.” Structural engineers make sure a building can withstand the stresses it

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Diagram of Bessel function relationships

Bessel functions are interesting and useful, but they’re surrounded by arcane terminology. It may seem that there are endless varieties of Bessel functions, but there are not that many variations and they are simply related to each other. Each letter

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We have a winner

Gary Collard was the winner of the Twitter daily tip giveaway. Many thanks to everyone who participated.

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Weekend miscellany

Photography Amazing aerial photography Through the eyes of Vikings Science Unexpected twist in cancer metabolism Education Colleges: Where the money goes Two different subjects called math Economics Charge more, less, or the same as competitors and go to jail

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Daily tip Twitter account FAQ

This post answers some frequently asked questions regarding my daily tip accounts on Twitter. How many followers do you have? About 2800 people are following at least one of these accounts at the time of writing, each following between 2

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Micro distractions

Why are long articles easier to read on paper than on a screen? The explanations I’ve heard most often involve resolution or other properties of screens. But the culprit may not be the screen per se. It may be links,

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Variations on factorial!

If you’ve heard of factorial, have you heard of double factorial or subfactorial? Double factorial is written n!!. The factorial of a positive integer n is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n. The double

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Posted in Math

Statistical dead end

I get suspicious when I hear people ask about third and fourth moments (skewness and kurtosis). I’ve heard these terms far more often from people who don’t understand statistics than from people who do. There are two common errors people

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Posted in Statistics

Honor and shame

From Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders

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Diagram of gamma function identities

The gamma function has a large number of identities relating its values at one point to values at other points. By focusing on just the function arguments and not the details of the relationships, a simple pattern emerges. Most of

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Weekend miscellany

Around the solar system Periodic table of HTML 5 elements Eight ways to do something for someone else Thesis repulsor field Scott Hanselman on IE9 You can’t really own an eBook Hand sanitizers not so effective

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