Monthly Archives: December 2010

Weekend miscellany

Math Geometrical and topological analogues of Rubik’s Cube Chessboards and colorings Three remarkable geometry theorems Literature Recordings of all extant poems in Old English Theology Why December 25 is Christmas Vocation versus Churchianity Science More is different Technology Twitter accounts

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Top five posts of 2010

Top five posts of 2010: Write-only articles Math library functions that seem unnecessary Don’t invert that matrix What does this code do? Why computers have two zeros: +0 and -0 I’ve had a lot of fun with the blog this

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The bipolar Internet

In a recent Atlantic article, Jaron Lanier discusses the bipolar nature of the Internet. The Internet …  was influenced in equal degrees by 1960s romanticism and cold war paranoia. It aligned the two poles of the bit to these two

Posted in Computing

Dumb and gets things done

Someone once asked Napoleon how he decided where to assign soldiers. Napoleon’s reply was that it’s simple: soldiers are either smart or dumb, lazy or energetic. The smart and energetic I make field commanders. They know what to do and

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Posted in Software development

Weekend miscellany

Life One small thing Technology giveth, technology taketh away One way to keep from stuff you don’t have Science IceCube Neutrino Observatory Niagara Falls without water Möbius Symmetry in Metamaterials John Conway Generating primes with the Game of Life Look-say

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Reading as inclination leads

The following quote has stuck in my mind for many years: A man ought to read just as inclination leads him: for what he reads as a task will do him little good. I first ran across the quote in

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Earthshine

The Earth appears eight times brighter from the moon than a full moon appears from the Earth. Source: Rocket Men Related post: Team Moon

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Posted in Science, Uncategorized

Scientific opposition to the war on cancer

On December 9, 1969 the Washington Post ran a full-page ad that began Mr. Nixon: You can cure cancer. If America could put a man on the moon, she should be able to cure cancer. And why not? Well, because

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Posted in Science

Weekend miscellany

Ergonomics Work standing up Research A new journal for publications describing scientific software Photography Paris during WWII in color Programming Lisp is not an acceptable Lisp Poetry Alan Jacobs’ introduction to W. H. Auden’s Age of Anxiety Most popular lately

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Bayesian methods at the end

I was looking at the preface of an old statistic book and read this: The Bayesian techniques occur at the end of each chapter; therefore they can be omitted if time does not permit their inclusion. This approach is typical.

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Posted in Statistics

Big data is not enough

Given enough data, correct answers jump out at you, right? In some ways I think that scientists have misled themselves into thinking that if you collect enormous amounts of data you are bound to get the right answer. You are

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Posted in Computing, Statistics

College math in a single symbol

From Prelude to Mathematics by W. W. Sawyer (1955): There must be many universities today where 95 percent, if not 100 percent, of the functions studied by physics, engineering, and even mathematics students, are covered by the single symbol F(a,

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Posted in Math

Rice/NASA land deal

Rice University donated the land for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. However, there were strings attached. According to Rocket Men, If NASA gives up manned space flight, however, under the terms of its lease , it will have to relinquish Houston’s

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Posted in Science

After two days, I’d turned into an idiot

Ever wonder why astronauts schedules are crammed with activity? A simple explanation is that time in space is a very limited commodity and so they naturally want to accomplish as much as possible. While that’s undoubtedly true, there’s also another

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Posted in Science

Weekend miscellany

Exploration NPR article on Apollo 11 Response from Neil Armstrong Music The New Latin Tinge Education In praise of the lecture History Ancient Greek computer reconstructed Biology Announcement of “arsenic-based life” Detailed criticism

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