Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.
— Terry Pratchett, Mort
If Vigo County, IN is a bellwether for US Presidential elections, then so is Valencia County, NM.
And York County, ME; Racine County, WI; and Strafford County, NH.
Besides which, we shouldn't expect any of them to continue getting it right.... Read More
Samuel Arbesman over at Aeon has written an article claiming that we don't understand what our computers are doing because computing is too easy. I'm not so sure that's the problem.
The machine I'm currently sitting at is a mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pro, running OS X Mavericks. Until a few days ago, it was the cutting-edge of Apple's laptop lineup.
And yet, I'm writing this blog post using Vim --- a 23-year-old... Read More
I've got a post about (chirp), but this is about the HackNY Spring 2015 Hackathon winner:
GLaPEP8 is best explained with a demo video:
The hackathon was a blast, I really love working... Read More
Isn't it the most cliched thing to not update a blog for a while, and then apologise for doing so? Well I'm an iconoclast, so that's not happening.
A little while ago, Rachel Schutt and Andrew Gelman both noticed an advertising poster for Speck,1 which used a pseudo-Venn diagram to convey a very confusing message. It looks like National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had a similar idea:
In particular, I thought I should take issue with the quote he gives from David Smith:
good charts merely present data, and leave the analysis (obvious though it may be) to the viewer
To me, it seems that a charts which "merely present data" are just not possible. The designer of the chart needs to make all sorts of... Read More
Previously, I discussed whether Google really cares about real names on Google Plus. In summary, they have little reason to.
In his recent post about the 'nymwars' Bernie Hogan also provides some interesting comments on what it means to be 'offline'.
Being 'offline' is defined negatively, by opposition to being online:
In fact, I’ll say that even more strongly – if your speech is not confined to the context you are in – but... Read More
Google doesn't care about real names.
If you've been even vaguely following the controversy about Google+, I'll give you a moment to wipe the coffee off your monitor.
Bernie Hogan's post is the latest free publicity for Google+ salvo in the "nymwars": the blogosphere's consternation over Google+'s policy of requiring users to use their real names. Now, although I don't have a horse in this race1, I'd like to contribute what I think... Read More
At the Digital Humanities@Oxford Summer School 2011 last week, I was invited to talk briefly about the multimedia features available in EPUB3. Not one to pass up an opportunity for public speaking, I quickly assented. The fact that the Summer School is organized in part by Oxford University Computing Services might have had something to do with it.
I've had a little bit of experience with agent-based modelling, and so far, I've stumbled across some interesting results. But statistical summaries of models are one thing, while actually having a feel for how a model works is another. These models are inherently dynamic, so there will necessarily be something lost from static pictures of the model, even from graphs of statistics over time. Moreover, ABMs are part of a very quantitative branch of sociology, so it might... Read More