April 13, 2014

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 →
6:02 PM | La serie infinita del triangolo aureo
Un triangolo aureo è un triangolo isoscele in cui il rapporto tra uno dei lati uguali con la base è pari alla sezione aurea $\varphi$. Utilizzando un triangolo aureo di lato 1, è possibile dimostrare che \[1 + \frac{1}{\varphi^2} + \frac{1}{\varphi^4} + \cdots = \varphi\] \[\frac{1}{\varphi} + \frac{1}{\varphi^3} + \cdots = 1\] \[\frac{1}{\varphi} + \frac{1}{\varphi^2} + \frac{1}{\varphi^3} + \cdots = \varphi\] Il triangolo aureo qui sopra è lo screenshot della […]

Edwards S. (2014). Proof Without Words: An Infinite Series Using Golden Triangles, The College Mathematics Journal, 45 (2) 120-120. DOI:

3:42 PM | The Virtue of Laziness
My son, Alexey Radul, is a programmer. He taught me the importance of laziness in programming. One of his rules: Not to write the same line of code in the same program twice. If you need the same line of code in the same program, that means you should either use a loop or outsource [...]
3:39 PM | Beer Jokes and Hat Puzzles
This is one of my favorite jokes: Three logicians walk into a bar. The waitress asks, “Do you all want beer?” The first logician answers, “I do not know.” The second logician answers, “I do not know.” The third logician answers, “Yes.” This joke reminds me of hat puzzles. In the joke each logician knows whether or [...]
3:34 PM | How Well Do You Know Your Dice?
Each time I see John Conway he teaches me something new. At the Gathering for Gardner he decided to quiz me on how well I know a regular six-sided die. I said with some pride that the opposite sides sum up to 7. He said, “This is the first level of [...]
1:30 PM | Weekend reading (April 11)
Small shiny objects from the web for your reading enjoyment.
1:16 PM | “More research from the lunatic fringe”
A linguist send me an email with the above title and a link to a paper, “The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets,” by M. Keith Chen, which begins: Languages differ widely in the ways they encode time. I test the hypothesis that languages that grammatically […]The post “More research from the lunatic fringe” appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
12:30 PM | Measure Yourself by the Standard of the Capybara
We all know a lot of measurements about ourselves. You are some number of feet or meters tall. You weigh some number of pounds, kilograms, or stone. Your BMI is some number of kilograms per square... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
10:59 AM | Envy, greed, and the American Dream #OWS
I was sent this Falkenblog post entitled Why Envy Dominates Greed a while back (hat tip David Murrell). The post suggests an interesting thought experiment which I’d like to discuss this morning. Namely, it asks us to examine the extent to which our economic assumption that “everyone is working in their own self-interest” can be […]
10:24 AM | Leuven snapshot (#5)
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: Belgium, Kasteel van Arenberg, KU Leuven, Leuven, mist, sunrise
9:24 AM | CfP: Agent-Based Modeling in Philosophy
LMU Munich11-13 December 2014www.lmu.de/abmp2014In the past two decades, agent-based models (ABMs) have become ubiquitous in philosophy and various sciences.  ABMs have been applied, for example, to study the evolution of norms and language, to understand migration patterns of past civilizations, to investigate how population levels change in ecosystems over time, and more.  In contrast with classical economic models or population-level models in biology, ABMs are praised for their […]

April 10, 2014

10:14 PM | MCqMC 2014 [day #4]
I hesitated in changing the above title for “MCqMSmaug” as the plenary talk I attended this morning was given by Wenzel Jakob, who uses Markov chain Monte Carlo methods in image rendering and light simulation. The talk was low-tech’, with plenty of pictures and animations (incl. excerpts from recent blockbusters!), but it stressed how much […]
3:13 PM | More Thoughts on Constructing the World (David Chalmers)
With permission, I'm posting some of David Chalmers' quick thoughts/responses to Panu Raatikainen's critical notice of David's recent aufbauesque (2012) book, Constructing the World (some lectures on this are here on youtube):---------------------(1) Are bridge laws allowed in the scrutability base, and if so does this trivialize scrutability theses? Bridge laws are certainly not disallowed from the base in general (indeed, I'd have psychophysical bridge laws in my own base). When I said that […]
1:46 PM | Small multiples of lineplots > maps (ok, not always, but yes in this case)
Kaiser Fung shares this graph from Ritchie King: Kaiser writes: What they did right: - Did not put the data on a map - Ordered the countries by the most recent data point rather than alphabetically - Scale labels are found only on outer edge of the chart area, rather than one set per panel […]The post Small multiples of lineplots > maps (ok, not always, but yes in this case) appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
10:54 AM | Does OpenSSL bug prove that open source code doesn’t work?
By now most of you have read about the major bug that was found in OpenSSL, an open source security software toolkit. The bug itself is called the Heartbleed Bug, and there’s lots of information about it and how to fix it here. People are super upset about this, and lots of questions remain. For […]
10:24 AM | What's the difference? Telling apart two sets of signals
We are constantly observing ordered patterns all around us, from the shapes of different types of objects (think of different leaf shapes, yoga poses), to the structured patterns of sound waves entering our ears and the fluctuations of wind on our faces. Understanding the structure in observations like these have much practical utility: For example, how do we make sense of the ordered patterns of heart beat intervals for medical diagnosis, or the measurements of some industrial process for […]
10:14 AM | Leuven snapshot (#4)
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: Belgium, fog, Kasteel van Arenberg, KU Leuven, Leuven, sunrise
4:24 AM | Math blog roundup
Lots of good stuff happening in math blogging! Matt Baker is blogging!  Lately:  an appreciation of Robert Coleman, and Riemann-Roch for graphs. Frank Calegari is blogging!  Actually he’s been blogging for a while but there’s tons of good stuff on here lately.  Two recent posts that tie in closely with my own interests:  The congruence […]

April 09, 2014

10:14 PM | MCqMC 2014 [day #3]
As the second day at MCqMC 2014, was mostly on multi-level Monte Carlo and quasi-Monte Carlo methods, I did not attend many talks but had a long run in the countryside (even saw a pheasant and a heron), worked at “home” on pressing recruiting evaluations and had a long working session with Pierre Jacob. Plus […]
4:18 PM | Leuven snapshot (#3)
Filed under: pictures, Travel, University life Tagged: Belgium, KU Leuven, Leuven Institut de Philosophie
254 Results