April 15, 2014

6:46 AM | Looking up to Marius
One of the principle goals of the Simon-Marius-Anniversary-2014 has been achieved. The committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) responsible for the naming of minor planets, comets and natural satellites has announced that the asteroid “1980 SM” will in future … Continue reading →
2:30 AM | Commutative diagrams in LaTeX
There are numerous packages for creating commutative diagrams in LaTeX. My favorite, based on my limited experience, is Paul Taylor’s package. Another popular package is tikz-cd. To install Paul Taylor’s package on Windows, I created a directory called localtexmf, set…Read more ›

April 14, 2014

10:14 PM | adaptive subsampling for MCMC
“At equilibrium, we thus should not expect gains of several orders of magnitude.” As was signaled to me several times during the MCqMC conference in Leuven, Rémi Bardenet, Arnaud Doucet and Chris Holmes (all from Oxford) just wrote a short paper for the proceedings of ICML on a way to speed up Metropolis-Hastings by reducing […]
10:14 PM | Leuven snapshot [#7]
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel, University life Tagged: 17th Century house, Belgium, Grand Béguinage, Leuven, religious order
9:55 PM | Polymath8b, X: writing the paper, and chasing down loose ends
This is the tenth thread for the Polymath8b project to obtain new bounds for the quantity ; the previous thread may be found here. Numerical progress on these bounds have slowed in recent months, although we have very recently lowered the unconditional bound on from 252 to 246 (see the wiki page for more detailed results).  While there may […]
6:57 PM | The hidden costs of unsolicited textbooks — a view from the mailroom
In a followup to an earlier post about unsolicited review copies of textbooks, I had a chance to ask a student employee of our university mailroom about how these affect the daily workflow of mail services. His response was enlightening but, sadly, not surprising.
6:04 PM | universo.math
Check out a new Spanish language maths magazine
2:50 PM | Transitioning to Stan
Kevin Cartier writes: I’ve been happily using R for a number of years now and recently came across Stan. Looks big and powerful, so I’d like to pick an appropriate project and try it out. I wondered if you could point me to a link or document that goes into the motivation for this tool […]The post Transitioning to Stan appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
1:52 PM | Prizes for Young Scientists: Mold Growth and an App Predicting Seizures
Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Junior and Senior NIMBioS Prizes for Research at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology, presented annually at the Southern Appalachian Science Engineering Fair, held at the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville. This year’s Junior … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: Transitioning to Stan Tues: When you believe in things that you don’t understand Wed: Looking for Bayesian expertise in India, for the purpose of analysis of sarcoma trials Thurs: If you get to the point of asking, just do it. But some difficulties do arise . . . Fri: One-tailed or two-tailed? Sat: Index […]The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
10:53 AM | Valparaiso under fire
Filed under: pictures, Travel Tagged: Chile, forest fire, ISBA, ISBA 2004, Valparaiso
10:41 AM | People who obsessively exercise are boring
I’m not saying anything you don’t know already. I’m just stating the obvious: people who obsessively exercise are super boring. They talk all the time about their times, and their workout progress, and their aching muscles, and it’s like you don’t even have to be there, you could just replace yourself with a gadget that […]
6:50 AM | From when even the cars had moustaches
Every year about this time, my campus holds a spring celebration, with all the student organizations setting up pavilions in the park to sell food and advertise for new members, with the creative anachronists bashing each other with padded swords, and with a car show. Why a car show? I don't know, but I always enjoy seeing the variety of shapes and colors compared to today's mostly-the-same boxes. My favorite this year was a 1950 Chevy Fleetline, found rusting in a swamp in Tenessee; after a […]
3:45 AM | Big data, prediction, and scientism in the social sciences
Much of my undergrad was spent studying physics, and although I still think that a physics background is great for a theorists in any field, there are some downsides. For example, I used to make jokes like: “soft isn’t the opposite of hard sciences, easy is.” Thankfully, over the years I have started to slowly […]

Lazer, D., Kennedy, R., King, G. & Vespignani, A. (2014). Big data. The parable of Google Flu: traps in big data analysis., Science, 343 (6176) 1203-1205. PMID:


April 13, 2014

10:14 PM | thumbleweed [local] news
It has been exactly a year since my climbing accident and the loss of my right thumb. Time for a quick recap (for anyone still interested!): Looking back over that thumbless year, I cannot see a significant impact over my daily life: I can essentially operate the same way as before, from climbing to cooking, […]
9:32 PM | Lightbot: imparare la programmazione giocando
Il computer che sto utilizzando per scrivere questo post è basato su una serie di microcircuiti elettrici (hardware) e una serie di istruzioni (software) necessarie per far sì che compia una serie di compiti (scrivere, far di conto e altre facezie del genere). Queste istruzioni, ovvero i programmi che utilizziamo per far funzionare il nostro computer, vengono scritte da esseri umani, i programmatori, e per farlo utilizzano le regole della logica. Un buon modo per abituarsi al […]
7:45 PM | Realization
A Monday morning last week, a sunny day and a walk in the park. Even if the weather was nice, my day did not start very nice. I was a little upset about a discussion I had with an old … Continue reading →
12:23 PM | Jurij Gagarin: a dream during an orbit
by @ulaulaman about #YuriGagarin #space_esploration #Russia #ColdWar He was born in Klušino on the 9th March, 1934; he died on the 27th March 1968, in a plane crash. His death and the controversy that followed and especially the pioneering gesture for which I remembered him today, make me pull over to Hal Jordan, a comic book superhero. In fact, Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin, when he returned home from his space mission, was celebrated as a hero, as a man who was raised on humanity in all […]
7:47 AM | Probability: Part 2 (Distributions)
Probability: Part 2 (Distributions) Editors Note: This week, I’m busy with final exams here in Guelph, so my good friend Michael Schmidt has graciously agreed to do a guest post. Thanks, Mike! Hi everyone! Since last time I decided to talk about the basics of … Continue reading → The post Probability: Part 2 (Distributions) appeared first on The Physics Mill.
5:07 AM | Congratulations to Tetsuo Asano
When I last saw Tetsuo Asano, he was giving a research talk at WADS, and openly worrying that it might be his last one. We all thought it was because of mandatory retirement (still legal in Japan). But, it turns out, no. Instead, he's the new president of JAIST. Congratulations, Tetsuo!I'll probably miss SoCG, in Kyoto this year, but for those who will be going, there will be an associated workshop in honor of Asano's 65th birthday.

April 12, 2014

10:14 PM | Crossed Blades [book review]
After Broken Blade and its sequel Bared Blade, Kelly McCullough wrote Crossed Blades that I had ordered along with Bared Blade. And once again I read this volume within a few evenings. It is still very enjoyable, maybe the more given that there is a continuity in the characters and the plots. However, I did prefer […]
9:38 PM | Jordan and the Dream of Rogen
The other night I dreamed I was going into a coffeeshop and Seth Rogen was sitting at an outside table eating a salad.  He was wearing a jeans jacket and his skin was sort of bad.  I have always admired Rogen’s work so I screwed up my courage, went up to his table and said […]
6:17 PM | “If you are primarily motivated to make money, you . . . certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.”
A reader writes in: This op-ed made me think of one your recent posts. Money quote: If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let […]The post “If you are primarily motivated to make money, you . . . certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in […]
4:00 PM | Math Awareness Month Part 2: Infinite Series
Today's page for Math Awareness Month is about a recent video that caused some huge debate. I saw the video a month or two ago, and was very intrigued. I showed it to some of my friends, and we were arguing about the content for quite a while. It also spread rapidly around the math department at Andover, with some teachers bringing up in their classes.Take a look at the page and try some of the exercises. You will find the outcomes very interesting and mind-boggling. The concept of infinity is […]
3:56 PM | Leuven snapshot [#6]
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: Belgium, fog, Kasteel van Arenberg, Leuven, sunrise
1:41 PM | “Schools of statistical thoughts are sometimes jokingly likened to religions. This analogy is not perfect—unlike religions, statistical methods have no supernatural content and make essentially no demands on our personal lives. Looking at the comparison from the other direction, it is possible to be agnostic, atheistic, or simply live one’s life without religion, but it is not really possible to do statistics without some philosophy.”
This bit is perhaps worth saying again, especially given the occasional trolling on the internet by people who disparage their ideological opponents by calling them “religious” . . . So here it is: Sometimes the choice of statistical philosophy is decided by convention or convenience. . . . In many settings, however, we have freedom […]The post “Schools of statistical thoughts are sometimes jokingly likened to religions. This analogy is not perfect—unlike […]
12:01 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Readers, readers! Aunt Pythia rarely does this, and really has never ever made up a question, but she absolutely needs to share a couple of things that nobody even came close to asking about this week. And yes, they’re about sex, or at least about genitals. Please skip this next section, and possibly all Aunt […]
2:12 AM | Le Monde sans puzzle [& sans penguins]
As the Le Monde mathematical puzzle of this week was a geometric one (the quadrangle ABCD is divided into two parts with the same area, &tc…) , with no clear R resolution, I chose to bypass it. In this April 3 issue, several items of interest: first, a report by Etienne Ghys on Yakov Sinaï’s […]
12:42 AM | Using complete binary trees to prove the power of two choices
The power of two choices in load balancing is well known: If one throws n balls independently at a similar number of bins (as in hash chaining), some bin will typically have Θ(log n/log log n) balls in it, but if one draws two random bins for each ball, and places the ball greedily into the less-full of these two bins, the maximum load will be much smaller, Θ(log log n). And if one clairvoyantly chooses which of the two bins to place each ball into (or uses […]

April 11, 2014

6:31 PM | Mathematics Talks
Like many universities, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has had many guest speakers this semester. It is quite interesting to hear the thoughts of folks from other universities regarding mathematics and its role. Two of my favorite talks recently have … Continue reading →
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