Blog Archives

Heisenberg, Gödel, and Chomsky walk into a bar …

Seth Godin tells the following joke in The Icarus Deception: Heisenberg looks around the bar and says, “Because there are three of us and because this is a bar, it must be a joke. But the question remains, is it

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Beneficial but not sufficient

The phrase necessary but not sufficient refers to something that you’ve got to have, but it isn’t enough. For example, being divisible by 2 is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being divisible by 6. Odd numbers are not

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I before E?

How well does the spelling rule “i before e except after c” hold? I searched the 5,000 most common English words (from here) to see. 70% of the words containing ‘ie” or “ei” follow the rule. If you weigh the

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Extract audio from video

If I bookmark a video, it may be months before I watch it, if ever, but audio I get around to more quickly. I have more time for listening to audio than watching video, so I’ve started going through my

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Small course corrections

You don’t send a probe to explore the solar system by pointing really well. Pluto is about one thousand kilometers across and a few billion kilometers away. It’s not possible to calculate, much less execute, a trajectory so accurately that

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Risk vs Change

From an interview with Dan North: People talk about being risk averse. “I’m very risk averse.” But actually when you scratch the surface they’re change averse. They’re terrified of change. And they wrap that up in “risk” which is a

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Frequently asked questions

Here, in no particular order, are a few questions people frequently ask me. What kind of work do you do? Can you recommend an introductory statistics book? What programming language do you use? Why do you prefer Python to R?

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Equation in stained glass

In the southwest corner of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg there is a stained glass window containing Einstein’s equation E = mc2 near the bottom. Most of the windows in the church are much lighter, both in

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Oktoberfest

Last night was “Oktoberfest” night at the HLF. Part of the entertainment for the evening was traditional Bavarian dancing. Marlene Knoche, one of the German bloggers for the HLF, drew a couple of the dancers in the sketch below. I

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In Heidelberg

I’m in Heidelberg this week at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum and having a great time. I’m writing for the conference blog and may not blog much here. We’ll see. Maybe later in the week I’ll have more time. The network

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Standing desks considered harmful

Several studies have suggested that sitting all day is bad for you. So a growing number of people have decided to stand all day instead. This may not be any better, and may be worse. The Healthy Programmer quotes Dr.

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Historical perspective

“If you gonnna go into history, you can’t do it with a hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different.” — Deborah Lacks, daughter of Henrietta Lacks From The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Twitter account turnover

I’m planning to wind down three of my Twitter accounts: ShortcutKeyTip, MusicTheoryTip, and DSP_fact. When the scheduled tweets for these three accounts run out, I won’t post new ones. On the other hand, I may start a new account. I

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On the compulsive reading of news

“Remind me … to write a popular article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses and some psychoses can be traced to the unnecessary and unhealthy habit of daily wallowing in the troubles and

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Some things can’t be done slowly

Keith Perhac mentioned in a podcast that a client told him he accomplished more in three days than the client had accomplished in six months. That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s actually plausible. Sometimes a consultant can accomplish in a

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