goodmath

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May 28, 2009
As an alert commenter pointed out, I left out one really important thing in my earlier post about finger trees. That's what I get for trying to write when I'm sick :-). Seriously, this is a point that's implied by the post as it stands, but never explicitly stated - and since it's really important…
May 27, 2009
For ages, I've been promising to write about finger trees. Finger trees are an incredibly elegant and simple structure for implementing sequence-based data structures. They're primarily used in functional languages, but there's nothing stopping an imperative-language programmer from using them as…
May 20, 2009
In general, I try to keep the content of this blog away from my work. I don't do that because it would get me in trouble, but rather because I spend enough time on work, and blogging is my hobby. But sometimes there's an overlap. One thing that's come up in a lot of conversations and a lot of…
May 15, 2009
In my Dembski rant, I used a metaphor involving the undescribable numbers. An interesting confusion came up in the comments about just what that meant. Instead of answering it with a comment, I decided that it justified a post of its own. It's a fascinating topic which is incredibly counter-…
May 11, 2009
Over at Uncommon Descent, Dembski has responded to my critique of his paper with Marks. In classic Dembski style, he ignores the substance of my critique, and resorts to quote-mining. In my previous post, I included a summary of my past critiques of why search is a lousy model for evolution. It…
May 8, 2009
Gordian Knot, "Singing Deep Mountain": As frequent readers of my FRTs may have figured out, I'm not typically a big fan of instrumental progrock. Most of the time, I find it to be cold, sterile stuff - technically impressive, even amazing - but utterly devoid of meaning, emotion, or feeling.…
May 7, 2009
So. William Dembski, the supposed "Isaac Newton of Information Theory" has a new paper out with co-author Robert Marks. Since I've written about Dembski's bad IT numerous times inthe past, I've been getting email from readers wanting me to comment on this latest piece of intellectual excreta. I…
May 3, 2009
Via the Bad Astronomer comes one of the most pathetic abuses of probability that I've ever seen. I'm simply amazed that this idiot was willing to go on television and say this. cellspacing='0' width='360' height='353'>The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c Large Hadron Collider…
April 28, 2009
This post is something that I'm thinking of including in my book. I haven't decided whether I want to spend this much time on logics; they're really interesting and fun - but there's lots of other interesting and fun stuff, and there's only so much space. The topic of the moment is temporal logic…
April 24, 2009
I'm trying to get back into my routine, after being really devastated by losing my dog. To people who don't love dogs, it probably seems silly to be so upset over an animal, but he was really a member of the family, and losing him really knocked me for a loop. I'm trying to first get caught up on…
April 17, 2009
Explosions in the Sky, "Yasmin the Light": beautiful post-rock. Kansas, "Miracles Out of Nowhere": Old Kansas - great stuff. The Flower Kings, "Starlight Man": People who've read my FRTs know that I pretty much worship the ground Roine Stolte walks on. Even a short, simple ballad like this,…
April 15, 2009
Remember a while back, I wrote about a crackpot who pestered me both about converting to Christianity, and his wonderful, miraculous compression system? He claimed to be able to repeatedly compress any file, making it smaller each time. Well, he's back pestering me again. Repeatedly asking him to…
April 9, 2009
Things on the blog are probably going to be quiet for a while. My beloved pup, Nutmeg, died last night. He had pancreatic cancer, which had spread to his lungs, liver, and bones. He finally reached the point where even potent medication wasn't enough to relieve his pain enough, so we had to…
April 6, 2009
Yet More Deceptive Graphs As you've probably heard, there was a horrible incident in Pittsburgh this weekend, in which a crazed white supremacist who believed that Obama was coming to take his guns shot and killed three policemen. Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos, pointed out lunatics like this…
April 2, 2009
My good friend and blogfather, Orac, posted something yesterday about animal testing in medical laboratories. I've been meaning to write something about that for a while; now seems like a good time. I'm not someone who thinks that being cruel to animals is no big deal. I have known some people…
March 30, 2009
Remember the post I made a couple of weeks ago, flaming the wall-street idiots for a bad graph? They were comparing the value of financial firms before and after the current mess. But they way that they drew it was using circles, where the diameter of the circle was proportional to the values, but…
March 27, 2009
The Flower Kings, "Retropolis By Night": Not one of the best things ever by the Flower Kings, but Roine Stolt's mediocre is other peoples' brilliant. Porcupine Tree, "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here": very typical longish PT. Very good. Moxy Fruvous, "The King of Spain": incredibly silliness.…
March 27, 2009
This post is very delayed, but things have been busy. I'm working my way up to finger trees, which are a wonderful functional data structure. They're based on trees - and like many tree-based structures, their performance relies heavily on the balance of the tree. The more balanced the tree is,…
March 24, 2009
It's economics time again. I hate economics. I find it hopelessly dull. But apparently my style of explaining it is really helpful to people, so they keep sending me questions; and as usual, I do my best to try to answer them. Even if I don't particularly enjoy it. So people have been asking me…
March 20, 2009
It's been a while since I posted a recipe, and last week, I came up with a real winner, so I thought I'd share it. I absolutely love beef short ribs. They're one of the nicest cuts of beef - they've got lots of meat, but they're well marbled with fat, and they're up against the bone, which gives…
March 20, 2009
Seed's tech guy did a reset and restart of the server, and it appears that now I'm able to turn off registration without completely disabling comments. So everyone who's been having trouble commenting, please give it a try again, and let me know if you have any trouble.
March 20, 2009
Valley of the Giants, "Back to God's Country": I mentioned Valley of the Giants a few weeks ago, as one of my favorite post-rock bands. A few weeks of listening to them incessantly hasn't changed that. They're absolutely brilliant. This track is very typical of them; it's got a slow start, with an…
March 17, 2009
As I mentioned, I'll be posting drafts of various sections of my book here on the blog. This is a rough draft of the introduction to a chapter on logic. I would be extremely greatful for comments, critiques, and corrections. I'm a big science fiction fan. In fact, my whole family is pretty much a…
March 16, 2009
I'd like to apologize for the slowness of the blog. Fortunately, there's a very good reason: I've got a book contract! "Good Math" will be published by "The Pragmatic Programmers" press. The exact publication date isn't set yet, but my schedule plans for a complete draft of the book by summer. (…
March 16, 2009
A lot of people, reading the reporting on the current financial disaster, have been writing me to ask what people mean when they talk about incentives. The traders, the bankers, the fund managers, and all of the other folks involved in this giant cluster-fuck aren't stupid. So naturaly, the…
March 8, 2009
Like a lot of other bloggers, I often get annoying email from people. This week, I've been dealing with a particularly annoying jerk, who's been bothering me for multiple reasons. First, he wants me to "lay off" the Christians (because if I don't, God's gonna get me). Second, he wants to convince…
March 7, 2009
Just a quick status notice: a bunch of commenters have been having problems with the system demanding authetication to be able to comment. I'm trying to fix it with the help of the SB tech folks. My first attempt made things worse, and made it impossible for anyone to comment. I'm trying to re-…
March 5, 2009
Watching news reports about President Obama's proposed tax changes, I've seen a number of variations on a very annoying theme, which involves a very stupid math error. A typical example is this story on ABC news, which contains a non-correction correction: President Barack Obama's tax proposal…
March 4, 2009
After my post the other day about rounding errors, I got a ton of requests to explain the idea of significant figures. That's actually a very interesting topic. The idea of significant figures is that when you're doing experimental work, you're taking measurements - and measurements always have a…
March 1, 2009
Another alert reader sent me a link to a YouTube video which is moderately interesting. The video itself is really a deliberate joke, but it does demonstrate a worthwile point. It's about rounding. The overwhelming majority of us were taught how to round decimals back in either elementary or…