Monthly Archives: April 2011

Personal organization software

I’ve tried various strategies and pieces of software for personal organization and haven’t been happy with most of them. I’ll briefly describe my criteria and what I’ve found. My needs are fairly simple. I don’t need or want something that

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Significance testing and Congress

The US Supreme Court’s criticism of significance testing has been in the news lately. Here’s a criticism of significance testing involving the US Congress. Consider the following syllogism. If a person is an American, he is not a member of

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Posted in Statistics

A magic king's tour

After posting about a magic square made from knight’s tour, I wondered whether there are magic squares made from a king’s tour. (A king can move one square in any direction. A tour is a sequence of moves that lands

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Posted in Math

How insignificant is statistical significance?

Luis Pericchi sent me a brief note commenting on the recent US Supreme Court decision involving statistical significance and medical reporting. Here is his paper, about a page and a half. How insignificant is statistical significance? (PDF) Related post: Significance

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Evaluating weather forecast accuracy: an interview with Eric Floehr

Eric Floehr is the owner of ForecastWatch, a company that evaluates the accuracy of weather forecasts. In this interview Eric explains what his business does, how he got started, and some of the technology he uses.

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Posted in Business, Python

Slide rules

Mike Croucher raises an important point for teachers: Are graphical calculators pointless? I think they are. I resented having to buy my daughter an expensive calculator when I could have bought her a netbook for not much more money. Calculators

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Posted in Math

Atomic skills versus molecular skills

Scott Adams has an essay in the Wall Street Journal today entitled How to Get a Real Education. He starts by saying the brightest students should get an academic education and the rest should learn entrepreneurship. I disagree. I don’t

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Words that are primes base 36

This morning on Twitter, Alexander Bogomolny posted a link to his article that gives examples of words that are prime numbers when interpreted as numbers in base 36. Some examples are “Brooklyn”, “paleontologist”, and “deodorant.” (Numbers in base 36 are

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Posted in Math

Weekend miscellany

Productivity There’s no speed limit Three unexpected laws of simplicity Significance testing US Supreme Court xkcd Math Pictures, Probability, and Paradox The Möbius Gear Largest known prime by year Computing How to build a computer The Chuck Norris of computing

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Forced to be simple

From Paul Graham: When you’re forced to be simple, you’re forced to face the real problem. When you can’t deliver ornament, you have to deliver substance. Related posts: Confusing familiar with simple Rewarding complexity A little simplicity goes a long

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Posted in Creativity

Picking classes

Here’s a little advice to students picking electives. Consider taking classes in those things that would be hardest to learn on your own after you graduate. Taking the most advanced courses available in your major may not be the best

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A knight's tour magic square

This magic square was created by Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). Each row and each column sum to 260. Each half-row and half-column sum to 130. The square is also a knight’s tour: a knight could visit each square on a chessboard

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Posted in Math, Python

Mersenne primes and world records

Here’s an interesting account of the largest known primes over time. Thanks to @mathematicsprof for pointing this out. Ever since 1952, the largest known prime has been a Mersenne prime, with one exception in 1989. One reason is that it

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Better for whom?

Software generally gets better over time, but this does not mean it’s getting better and better every day in every way. Software quality has so many dimensions that it is impossible to make progress along every front with every release

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Posted in Business, Software development

Weekend miscellany

Photography Aerial photographs of tulip fields Typography Highway sign typography Software development To go fast, do less If You’re Not Gonna Use It, Why Are You Building It? Math Sicherman Dice Steven Smale’s list of unsolved problems Twitter RegexTip starts

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