Monthly Archives: February 2011

Programmers without computers

When I started my first job as a programmer, I was surprised how much time my colleagues spent at their computers. Of course a computer programmer needs to spend a fair amount of time sitting at a computer, but why

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Posted in Software development

Weekend miscellany

Typography and design 11 important digital fonts The pilcrow Vintage posters Music Five seconds of every #1 hit song Hymnopedia Economics The Great Stagnation Make everyone hurt Computer humor An update is available for your computer How a programmer reads

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Top five Code Project articles

Here are the five most popular articles I’ve written for Code Project. Simple random number generation Five tips for floating point programming Pitfalls in random number generation Fast numerical integration Avoiding overflow, underflow, and loss of precision

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Posted in Software development

Absence of evidence

Here’s a little saying that irritates me: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It’s the kind of thing a Sherlock Holmes-like character might say in a detective novel. The idea is that we can’t be sure something doesn’t

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Posted in Science, Statistics

Scientific Python on Twitter

Next week I’m starting a new daily tip Twitter account: @SciPyTip. This account will post on things related to scientific computing in Python, including the SciPy library, related software, and scientific computing in general. Full list of daily tip accounts

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Posted in Python

Weekend miscellany

Photography Egypt 1920s in color Productivity The 3/2 rule of employee productivity Computing NumPy array introduction IPv4 X-day arrived and no one died Music Against background music Adult culture Math Algebraic surfaces Ramanujan formulas for computing pi Statistics The fourth

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Beatles 3000

Here’s a documentary on The Beatles from 1000 years in the future: I sometimes wonder how much history and science has about as much connection to reality as this reconstruction of The Beatles. Related post: Paleolithic nonsense

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Like Laplace, only more so

The Laplace distribution is pointy in the middle and fat in the tails relative to the normal distribution.This post is about a probability distribution that is more pointy in the middle and fatter in the tails.

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Posted in Math, Statistics

How the term "scientist" came to be

For most of history, scientists have been called natural philosophers. You might expect that scientist gradually and imperceptibly replaced natural philosopher over time. Surprisingly, it’s possible pinpoint exactly when and where the term scientist was born. It was June 24,

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Posted in Science

Art critics versus artists

From Pablo Picasso: When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine. Related posts: Two videos on craftsmanship Doing good work with bad

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Posted in Creativity

The end of hard-edged science?

Bradley Efron says that science is moving away from things like predicting sunrise times and toward predicting things like the weather. The trend is away from studying precisely predictable systems, what Efron calls “hard-edged science,” and toward studying systems “where

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Posted in Science, Statistics

Final velocity

My daughter and I were going over science homework this evening. A ball falls for 10 seconds. What is its final velocity? JC: So how fast is the ball going when it hits the ground? RC: Zero. It stops before

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Posted in Science

Weekend miscellany

Science Glass melts near absolute zero Bioengineered blood vessels Neal Stephenson essays What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation In the beginning was the command line Math History of non-Euclidean geometry Nineteen dubious ways to compute

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Ice on a spider web

Photos of thawing ice on a spider web taken by my friend Jeff Farmer.

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Why Food for the Hungry runs Ubuntu

Rick Richter is CIO of Food for the Hungry. In this interview Rick explains why his organization is moving all of its computers to Ubuntu. John: Tell me a little about Food for the Hungry and what you do there.

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Posted in Computing