Monthly Archives: January 2013

Interpreting the interpreter

The latest Hanselminutes podcast is an interesting conversation with Jenny Lay-Flurrie. Jenny is deaf and has an interpreter, Belinda, present during the interview. Jenny speaks perfectly well in a beautiful British accent, but Belinda is there to help listen for

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Continued fractions with Sage

My previous post looked at continued fractions and rational approximations for e and gave a little Python code.  I found out later there’s a more direct way to do this in Python using Sage. At its simplest, the function continued_fraction

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Rational approximations to e

This morning Dave Richeson posted a humorous fake proof that depends on the famous approximation 22/7 for pi. It occurred to me that nearly everyone knows a decent rational approximation to pi. Some people may know more. But hardly anyone,

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Python / Emacs setup

When I got a new computer a few days ago, I installed the latest version of Emacs, 24.2, and broke my Python environment. I decided to re-evaluate my environment and start over. I asked a question on the Python Google+

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Posted in Python, Software development

Self-employment FAQ

Today is my first day of full-time self-employment. Here are some of the questions people have been asking. Note that my answers are my answers as of today and subject to change. Do you have health insurance? Yes. Are you

Posted in Business

Teaching an imbecile to play bridge

From Data and Reality: The thing that makes computers so hard to deal with is not their complexity, but their utter simplicity. … The real mystique behind computers is how anybody can manage to get such elaborate behavior out of

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Mathematical card trick

Here’s a fun card trick that only depends on math. Want to offer your explanation? HT: Twenty two words Update: Colm Mulcahy informed me that this trick is Jim Steinmeyer’s “Nine Card Speller.” Thanks for the reference. Related post: You

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Twitter accounts

Last January there were 100,000 followers across all of my daily tip Twitter accounts. A year later there are now about 200,000 followers. Here are a few similar Twitter accounts that other people run. SciProgramming, a new account for scientific

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Cancer center ash tray

In the 1950′s, the gift shop at MD Anderson Cancer Center (then MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute) sold ashtrays bearing the institutional seal. This from a time when doctors advertised cigarettes. Related post: The campaign to get women to

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Statistics stories wanted

Andrew Gelman is trying to collect 365 stories about life as a statistician: So here’s the plan. 365 of you write vignettes about your statistical lives. Get into the nitty gritty—tell me what you do, and why you’re doing it.

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Narcissus prime in Python

I’ve been looking back on some of my blog posts that included Mathematica code to see whether I could rewrite them using Python. For example, I rewrote my code for finding sonnet primes in Python a few days ago. Next

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My next endeavor

After over 12 years at MD Anderson Cancer Center, I turned in my resignation last week. I’m leaving my steady job for self-employment. I have done occasional consulting for 20 years, but I haven’t done it as my only source

Posted in Business

Management principle from Dune

The other day Atamert Ölçgen quoted a passage from Dune in response to something I’d posted on Google+. I haven’t read the Dune books, but the passage puts generalists in a favorable light, and since I’m something of a generalist,

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Elementary statistics book recommendation

I’ve thought about making a personal FAQ page. If I do, one of the questions would be what elementary statistics book I recommend. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for that one. I haven’t seen such a book I’d recommend

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Rifle-shaped wine bottle

Ever since I posted a photo of an odd wine bottle four years ago, I’ve periodically had people leave comments or send me email about odd wine bottles! Here’s the latest, an Italian wine bottle shaped like a riffle: Here’s

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