December 31, 2014

11:18 PM | The turd and the bean, or: the strange life of male nerddom under patriarchy
Everybody’s talking about Laurie Penny’s awesome essay responding to Scott Aaronson’s courageously candid blog comment, all touched off by the canceling of Walter Lewin’s online course after he sexually harrassed one of the students. Scott is frustrated that shy, nerdy men are seen as “privileged.”  He thinks they’re the opposite of privileged.  I don’t see things […]
11:15 PM | the slow regard of silent things
As mentioned previously, I first bought this book thinking it was the third and final volume in the Kingkiller’s Chronicles. Hence I was more than disappointed when Dan warned me that it was instead a side-story about Auri, an important but still secondary character in the story. More than disappointed as I thought Patrick Rothfuss […]
11:01 PM | The deadly irony of gunpowder
In the mid-ninth century, Chinese chemists, hard at work on an immortality potion, instead invented gunpowder. They soon found that this highly inflammable powder was far from an elixir of life -- they put it to use in bombs against Mongol invaders, and the rest was history. Eric Rosado details how gunpowder has caused devastation around the world, despite the incandescent beauty of fireworks.via TedEd Lessons
6:23 PM | Walking Lessons
I know how to walk. Everyone knows how to walk. Or so I thought. Now I am not sure any more. I’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons on and off for many years. But at some point I stopped progressing. I got stuck at the Silver level. I know many steps and am a good […]
6:22 PM | Skyscrapers (Sum)
Skyscraper puzzles are one of my favorite puzzles types. Recently I discovered a new cute variation of this puzzle on the website the Art of Puzzles. But first let me remind you what the skyscraper rules are. There is an n by n square grid that needs to be filled as a Latin square: each […]
2:24 PM | Your closest collaborator . . . and why you can’t talk with her
We get a lot of good comments on this blog but this one’s especially memorable. From Erin Jonaitis: Your closest collaborator is you six months ago but you don’t reply to email. The post Your closest collaborator . . . and why you can’t talk with her appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
1:44 PM | Claudio Cavalleri e il Collegio per i Nobili
All'inizio del XVIII secolo i fratelli sacerdoti parabiaghesi Don Claudio I Cavalleri e Don Carlo Filippo Cavalleri, entrambi di costituzione fragile e salute cagionevole, sotto l'egida protettrice dell'agiato padre, aprirono un Collegio Convitto riservato all'istruzione dei giovani rampolli della nobiltà milanese e lombarda. L'anno di fondazione appare incerto: secondo l'Archivio dello Stato di Milano risalirebbe al 1700, mentre lo storico Alessandro Giulini posticipa la data tra il […]
1:30 PM | 12 Things I Had Way Too Much Fun Writing This Year
It’s the season for family, hot chocolate, and year-in-review lists. Guess which one this is! Roots of Unity has been around for two years now, and I’m so glad I have a place to share... -- Read more on
1:01 PM | Drug discovery rates
From Zero to One: Eroom’s law — that’s Moore’s law backward — observes that the number of new drugs approved per billion dollars spent on R&D has halved every nine years since 1950. Update: Here’s an article from Nature that gives more details. The trend is pretty flat on a log scale, i.e. exponentially declining […]
1:00 PM | Python resources
Each Wednesday I post a list of some of the resources on this site. This week: Python notes. Python counterparts for C math functions Bessel functions in SciPy Gamma and related functions in SciPy Distributions in SciPy See also blog posts tagged Python, SciPy, and SymPy and the Twitter account SciPyTip. Last week: Special functions […]
6:36 AM | Can One Explain Schemes to a Biologist?
Mumford's obituary of Grothendieck was rejected by _Nature_.
5:43 AM | Mendocino menagerie
My parents' house in Mendocino is full of books and sculptures of creatures (mostly cats). Here are some of them: The rest of the gallery.
12:35 AM | December Favorites
December is my favorite month of all and I always get super excited. Unfortunately the university changed its academic calendar and I had my exams this month and it didn’t make things happier, but I had the opportunity to enjoy … Continue reading →

December 30, 2014

11:14 PM | foie gras fois trois
As New Year’s Eve celebrations are getting quite near, newspapers once again focus on related issues, from the shortage of truffles, to the size of champagne bubbles, to the prohibition of foie gras. Today, I noticed an headline in Le Monde about a “huge increase in French people against force-fed geese and ducks: 3% more […]
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