Monthly Archives: December 2011

Most popular math posts of 2011

These have been my most popular math-related posts this year. Slide rules How to fit an elephant Square root interview question Five interesting things about Mersenne primes A Bayesian view of Amazon Resellers

Posted in Math

Web programming

From Greg Brockman on Twitter: Web programming is the science of coming up with increasingly complicated ways of concatenating strings.

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Posted in Software development

Gutenberg + Readability

Here’s a very simple idea: Use Project Gutenberg for content and Readability for style. Project Gutenberg has a large collection of public domain books in digital form. The books are available in several formats, none of which are ideal for

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Posted in Typography

Houston Public Library, 1976

Behold the architectural splendor of the Houston Public Library building that opened in 1976: Contrast with the Houston Public Library building that opened in 1926: Maybe this isn’t a fair comparison. There are slightly more interesting views of the new

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Posted in Uncategorized

Houston Public Library, 1926

In 1926, Houston completed construction of a new public library. This building has been restored and reopened to the public this month. My wife and I visited the library yesterday and I took a few photos. When you visit the

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Posted in Uncategorized

Facebook page

I’ve created a Facebook page Endeavour Selections. I’ll include links to non-technical posts from this blog, some old and some new. https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourSelections

Posted in Uncategorized

Engineering route to accounting

In a discussion on Google+, Daniel Lemire argues that engineers end up essentially being accountants. Engineering, at least how it is practiced in North America, is hardly very exciting. … By the time you have your degree, you have 5–10

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Posted in Business

New programmer’s survival manual

A computer science degree doesn’t prepare you to be a programmer. Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I wrote comparing computer scientists and programmers: I had a conversation yesterday with someone who said he needed to hire a computer

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Posted in Software development

Here’s to the sane ones

I’ve been thinking about unsung heroes lately, the behind-the-scenes people who make the world go around. I’d like to tell some of their stories here, but they probably wouldn’t want that. They’re not “the crazy ones” romanticized by pop culture.

Posted in Uncategorized

Triangle party

Vi Hart’s videos are amazing. Here’s her latest: Doodling in Math Class: Triangle Party

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Posted in Math

You have more choices than you think

This week Seth Godin wrote a blog post that include this gem: Remarkable work often comes from making choices when everyone else feels as though there is no choice. Also this week, Venkatesh Rao wrote a thoughtful article about how

Posted in Uncategorized

Three views of Windows and Unix

Rob Pike gave a presentation in 2001 entitled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Unix Legacy.” His main point is that diversity has been bad for Unix. He opens his presentation with a couple of quotes to set

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Posted in Software development

Type R error

Andrew Gelman added a couple more types of error to the standard repertoire of type I and type II errors. He suggests using type S error to describe a result that gets a sign backward, reporting that A is bigger

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Posted in Statistics

Avoidance of distraction

My previous post gave examples of how David Souter and Donald Knuth chose not to use some common technologies. John Venier left an insightful comment. I think the avoidance of technology in these cases is really an avoidance of distraction.

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Posted in Creativity

Selective use of technology

In his book The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin gives a few details of former Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s decidedly low-tech life. Souter has no cell phone or voice mail. He does not use email. He was given a television once

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Posted in Computing, Creativity