Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Made with the legos I brought with me grad school! It's the little gear box doodle between the big rear wheels. It all makes sense now: when it moves straight, the wheels turn the same direction, the gears lock up, and the whole box rotates with the wheels. When you turn the corner however, the wheels are free to turn at different speeds by letting the gears unlock a bit. So now my fancy little 4-cylinder fixed gear racer can go around corners without shredding the tires!

Well, assuming we ignore the fact that there's never going to be any compression with the pistons exposed. Also, that fixed gear system is going work like crap, since the camshaft and wheels are fixed at the same speed.

Whatever. It's legos, and I had fun playing with them again, even if I have to take it apart soon so I can get it packed away and moved to Hawaii.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Somehow, when I was having words with a certain squirrel, I made up a name surprisingly similar to the name of the Luanne's British penguin puppet, "Sir Reginald Featherbottom III". I have no idea how that happened, as I don't remember ever seeing them before until tonight.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Nigerian scammers need to be beat to death

Thanks for being a fucking Nigerian fucking scam, douchebag. I'm trying to honestly find a fucking apartment, and you're trying to steal money. Why don't you get a real job, or move to country that has a stable enough government to support real jobs?

Seriously, does this ever work? Can you send me a list of names and addresses for people you've scammed, so I can beat them up for being so god damn fucking stupid? Also: I have a fucking Ph.D., in a hard science. I don't believe anything unless I can prove it. And you come along with "Oh! I'm REV GARY AND MY WIFE MARY and we TOTALLY OWN THE HOUSE THAT WE TOLD YOU WAS AN APARTMENT! WE ARE (not) TRYING TO STEALYOUR MONEY AND SHIT LIKE THAT!" Did you think I wouldn't notice? Do your friends tell you that Americans are so damn stupid that we always fall for this shit?

Why don't you just change your postings to "Hi! I want your money, and don't really own any property in Hawaii, I'm just trying to steal your information to attempt to steal money from you! I'm hoping your too fucking dumb to notice this, and would like you to send me all sorts of stuff to make it easy to steal your identity. Look! I'm a Reverend, therefore I must be religious and honest, because selling the service of an invisible space wizard is totally the most honest job ever. Let me (not) steal all your money and make you sorry you ever tried to find a fucking apartment!"

Yours in Christ ("Please do understand us why the keys are with us.")

Fuck you

(Seriously? You want me to believe you moved to a different fucking country, took the keys, and tried to rent it out? WTF, asshole?)

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 04:59:13AM -0400, gun pet wrote:
> Hello,

> Thanks for the email. I am Rev Gary and my wife Mary own the house
> and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that makes
> me and my wife to leave the house and also want to give it out for
> rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good
> care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to
> be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as
> if it were its own. So for now, We are here in Nigeria,
> our new house and also with the keys of the house, we try to look
> for an agent that we can give this documents before we left but
> could not see and we are as well as don't want our house to be u sed
> any how in our present that is why we took it along with us. I and
> my wife came over to Nigeria for a missionary work, so i hope you
> will promise us to take very good care of the house. So get back to
> me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you
> have in renting home.
> Please do understand us why the keys are with us.
> 1)Your Full Name :
> 2)Your Full Address & Phone Number :
> 3)How old are you?
> 4)Are you married?
> 5)How many people will be living in the house?
> 6)Do you have a pet?
> 7)Do you have a car?
> 8)Occupation?
> 9)What is your religion?
> 10)What is your monthly income?
> 12)How long are you willing to rent?
> CALL ME NOW +2348055088045 or 0112348055088045 IMMEDIATLY LET DISCUS

My flowers came up!

Although it's only the red ones right now. The purple ones are always about a week or two behind schedule. There's usually a reasonable crossover period, though.


(And yes, I know that the Blackberry camera isn't the greatest, and it's even worse when it's dark out. I'll update again tomorrow when the Daystar is out.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009



You thought this was a valid solution to the problem?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nonparametric Statistics

I keep forgetting about this thing, which I'd feel worse about if other people weren't forgetting as well.

Today I fought with nonparametric statistics. If you've never worked with them, they represent a class of statistical measurements that make no assumptions about the underlying distribution. The standard forms tell you if the mean or median or something like that is consistent between two samples. There are weak ways to check for different variances as well. However, I've been trying to use them to calculate if two variables are correlated, as well as trying to see if two samples are drawn from the same distribution, whatever that may be.

The complication is that I have 150 and 1500 data points in my two samples. Almost all of these nonparametric methods are designed for small N cases, although no one ever claims that they're not good for large N. The problem lies when you attempt to calculate the significance of the statistic. Just about all of these things assume the p-value comes from normal distribution with z ~ sqrt(N) * R. Since p(z=2.33) = 99%, a significant statistic value is something like R = 2.33 / sqrt(N). Therefore, with the large N samples I'm working with, it's hard to get not significant values. This may sound great, but if everything shows a significant relation, then the statistic has lost its value, because everything gives the same answer.

The end result of all this, is that nonparametric statistics are a worse class of lies than regular parametric statistics, and you should be wary of anyone who says "Mann-Wilcoxon-Whitney" or "Kendall Tau." These rank up there with the KS test as "a test you can cling to when you really have nothing valid to claim."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday. Work. Teen Titans.

My boss was back in town today. Which meant I had to go to work. Still, it was good to get his opinion on things, and sort out the papers.

I also discovered that Teen Titans is back on Cartoon Network. This morning's episode was one of my favorites. Seeing TT again prompted me to look into the video game, which I played long ago when it first came out. Gamestop had it for only $10, so I picked it up on the way home. It fits perfectly into the level of "beat up bad guys" and "don't worry too much, because it's designed for kids, so it's not too tough." I miss games like that.

I do have Easter food pictures, but I haven't bothered to get them from my phone yet. They'll probably show up later this week.

Late Night Edit: Looking at the Cartoon Network schedule seems to indicate that this was a one time Teen Titans showing. Damn damnity damn damn. I'm going to need to buy the DVDs when I get to the Tropics.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 11: Laziness

I basically sat around today and watched TV. I probably should have finished paper edits, but I didn't feel like it. My Easter dinner is pretty easy for tomorrow, so I might do it then.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The best "burger" ever

I think this may have been one of the greatest ideas I've ever had. Ok, so it's not my idea, I stole it from the Union Street Public House, as I mentioned on Wednesday. From bottom to top, each "burger" is made of:

  • Toasted English Muffin
  • Moutarde Violette, the purple wine mustard from Zingerman's
  • Sliced Canadian Black Diamond Cheddar (the sharpest cheddar sold in town, according to my cheese guy)
  • Quarter pound filet mignon, seared with sea salt and cracked pepper
  • Prosciutto di parma, thicker sliced than usual as it's the free first calibration slices from a new ham (Cheese Guy is also Deli Guy, and is always helpful)
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sauteed and half carmelized onion strings

I also made some homemade fried chips, but they paled in comparison to the burgers (although, they really aren't that bad. Had I made just about anything else, they probably would have been a good hit). Two of these burgers were really too much for diner, as I'm totally full after just eating them. It was also clearly not cheap, but I figured if I'm going to make something good for Good Friday dinner, I might as well go all out (even if this completely violates every religious food prohibition ever invented).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hey Orbitz!

Why did I get an email from you again today? I unsubscribed from your bullshit emails yesterday, after becoming furious that I received one on the 7th and one on the 8th. Do you seriously think I need to be reminded of your fucking existence every damn day? Do you think people really sit at home, constantly refreshing their email to get the latest travel updates?

Rest assured, your constant hounding of me via email has ensured that I will never book anything through your site again. It's not worth my time to have to deal with daily spam about how you've "Removed Booking Fees!" or "OMG FREE GIFT KARD WHEN YOU STAY WITH RENAAIISSSANCE HOTELSS !!!11!!! LOL!" Who the fuck cares about this shit? Do you have anybody in charge of determining if this shit is important before you send it out, or do you simply have a legion of barely competent morons, any of which are allowed to mail all of your customers.

I also find it interesting that my email preferences note that "This e-mail address displays text and images." Except it doesn't, and hasn't for the eleven years I've had it. This suggests strongly that like many other companies, some dickhead in your marketing department thought it'd be a great idea to enable emails for everyone, even those who had opted out before.

I hope you can stop sending me emails, delete my account, shut down as a company, and starve to death in the gutters.

Is it worth going in to work?

My boss is out of town, I generally don't talk to anyone else in the office, and I have papers to write. The nice thing about writing scientific papers is that you can pretty much do them anywhere. This means that there's really no incentive for me to pack a lunch, drive to the office, eat that lunch, sit at my desk, scribble more text, and then drive home. It seems wasteful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dark food plans

I'm thinking this weekend will be host to a variety of culinary adventures. I'm thinking of making a copy of the "My Bar, My Rules" Sandwich from the Union Street Public House outside Washington DC. I had it when I was there for AAS, and remember it being very good. It was on an English Muffin back then, so that's going to by my strategy. The plan is to buy a nice steak, sear the edges, slice in half, and then sear the surfaces, using the two halfs to make two mouth sized "burgers." Top it with some nice sharp English cheddar, and some grilled onions (maybe some mushrooms, too?), and I'm pretty sure that'll be the tastiest burger ever.

Then there's Easter on Sunday. I'm going to cooking for myself, so I'm thinking about just doing a pair of shanks instead of roasting up an entire leg of lamb. It'll probably be some modification on my braised shank recipe (shanks, bottle of sweet white wine, a few leeks, garlic, sage, etc. Sear, bubble bubble, remove reduce and sauce). Add some garlic mash potatoes and a few other sides, and that should work out pretty well. I'll sort out the details when I get to the grocery store.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I feel like crap, because I picked up some illness on Monday. My throat is sore, and I spent a half hour coughing this morning. :(

Monday, April 6, 2009


I was concerned that wouldn't be able to see snow anymore, since Hawaii just doesn't have any. Luckily this freak storm came through and made everything winter-tastic.

It looks like my tulips survived the 3ish inches without any trouble, too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lego Batman Disappointment

Watching Clone Wars reminded me of Lego Star Wars, which made me wish they would make Lego Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Video Game. That doesn't look too likely now, although there are Lego Lord of the Rings: The Video Game rumors.

All of these Lego Licensed Game: The Video Game thoughts reminded me that I never finished Lego Batman. Slap it in, charge it up, and I was off to finish up the last few things.

This is where things fell apart. The final thing I needed for "Hero mode" unlocked Hush as a playable character. I hate Hush. He's just somebody Jeph Loeb invented because he didn't know how to write any of the existing Batman bad guys as plausible threats to Batman. The Lego Batman version comes off basically the same. He has guns. He shoots people. That puts him on par with The Mad Hatter and Killer Freaking Moth. Except Mad Hatter can mind control people, and Killer Moth can fly.

So, Hush is a less scary version of Killer Moth. Killer Moth. That guy to the right? That's Killer Moth. He wears brightly colored striped tights to rob people. In a city with a Batman that has hobbies like "beat criminals until they wet themselves." Clearly, not only is Killer Moth scarier than Hush, he's either more insane or far braver. Either of which gives him a stronger case for being a supervillain.

Ok. Moving on.

The second thing that disappointed me was that the final thing I need to do to complete the game at 100% is to slide through five gates. However, I only get one try per attempt at the level, the gates require you to be perfectly lined up to open, and it requires a combination of sliding opening two gates, switching characters, moving into position to open the third, and then moving over to hit the final two. A mistake anywhere means you're screwed, and forces you to restart the entire level. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if I didn't have computer AI characters that insisted that snow plows work best when you push them into a lake.

I now remember why I stopped playing the game. I guess I'll have to be happy with a 99.5% completeness score until I forget how frustrating that level is.

Lord of the Rings

Since my sleep schedule was messed up to begin with, I'm watching the Lord of the Rings. Trilogy. Extended Edition.

I started at 12:30, and if I do the math correctly, I should be done by noon. I just started disk 4, in which Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli lead Rohan to Helm's Deep. I'm not sure if I'll make it the whole way, but I figured it was worth trying.

Plus, this gives me an easy post for NaBlahMonkeyPaw.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Posting daily isn't that exciting

Especially when you spend all day writing papers and working on statistics. I'm just going to put up this crappy post, and pretend it's good enough.

Also: p-values from rank correlation tests become increasingly unreliable as the number of points increases.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sleep and I are not friends

Somehow, I've gotten switched around to a 30ish hour day which is currently almost completely out of phase with everyone else in my time zone. I'm getting a decent amount of work done, since I'm just writing papers right now, which can be done anywhere and at any time. It helps somewhat that my entire team is out of town, so I don't need to worry about going in to work at a specific time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nablahblablahblah 2

Apparently this thing is happening again, where we all post a new entry every day and it's all parties and wonderment.

Except I'm supposed to be rewriting a paper for work, like I've been doing all week long. So instead of having a full proper post about something, I'm just going to stick up this picture of a red panda. They are cute. They sometimes walk upright like people just to be even cuter. They eat bamboo like regular pandas, but aren't complete morons and eat other stuff, since bamboo is basically indigestible.