Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday: Yay! Three Day Weekend!

The best kind of weekends.  Well, ok, a four day weekend is better, but I think that only happens for Thanksgiving.
Or Easter, maybe?

I do have to figure out what I'm doing this weekend.  I know I'm going to try to get doughnuts tomorrow.  I think I'm then going to spend the rest of the weekend doing work related crap.  Woo?
What are you doing, Squirrel? You don't even know how to play the piano!

What are you doing, Bear? That's not how you play pool!

  • Times are hard for Team Rocket.  No more balloon trips.
  • Maybe I'll go see The Avengers, since I got the shitty movies on all my flights, and therefore haven't seen it.
  • "I'm an astronomer, Wonderella.  Feelings are astrology talk."
  • I saw this today, and thought it was basically the dumbest thing I'd read all day.  It's another case of setting up a false centrist position, and claim that both sides are equally to blame for the current state of politics.  That's demonstrably not true.  When one side lies, all the time, about everything, it's kind of important to point that out.  Plus, if you decide you're going to side with the people who lie, all the time, about everything, then there are really only two ways to classify you: 1) you're a complete moron who doesn't have the ability to realize you're being lied to; 2) you know you're being lied to, but don't care because you think you stand to benefit.  Or, to put it shorter: you're either dumb or complicit.
  • That was Robbie the Rabbit above.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday: I don't have a political ad to make fun of today

And that seems to significantly decrease the amount of stuff I have to post.  Other than the obvious vacation stuff that I still haven't done anything with.  I'll have to do that this weekend, otherwise it's not going to get done anytime soon.
Because Beemo.

What are you doing, bear? That's not how to use a tent!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday: Linda Lingle: Totally Competent

I mean, I think everyone kind of figured that out when you decided that the only way to do things was to not have schools open on Friday.  Because fucking over the future is pretty much the Republican way, right?  It's not like education is fucking important or anything.

Then I saw your new political ad, making me remember why I watch everything on the DVR now (spoiler alert: to not watch stupid commercials).  It starts with an old guy typing about how he's scared about Social Security and Medicare.  Oddly enough, he's talking with a moron, so I'm not sure why he's concerned.  Clearly he has all the answers (assuming those answers involve voting for someone who is running on the concept that she's not as bat-shit crazy as the rest of her party.  Like she's not going to vote with them when it comes time to turn Medicare into an underfunded voucher system?).  Plus, he has a magic chat program that can change his words:
Doot doot doo, typing away!

WHOA! Magic Chat has changed my words!!
 So clearly, she's spending her money on only the finest video production an underfunded high school A/V department can provide.  The old guy then claims she did a good job managing the state's money (see above, re: not having school on fridays), so he's apparently been living in a box.

The thing that really bothered me was this final scene, where Magic Chat apparently summons the head of Linda Lingle to claim she approved this message:
 But, wait.  Linda's all perfectly aligned for my TV screen, not the computer screen she's apparently being displayed on.  Let's see what she looks like with the perspective of someone looking at the computer:
Yeah.  That's how everything shows up on my computer too.  Leaning slightly to the left.  Wait, no, because that's not how reality works, Linda Lingle.

Seriously, if you can spend your money buying an entire TV channel to dump your crap all over, why can't you spend some of that money on someone to check to see if you're making a fool of yourself.

Ok, now let's post something that isn't fundamentally incompetent:
Like this guy. Get that, Linda Lingle? I think this squirrel is better than you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday: Turns out that skewness isn't as helpful as I'd hoped

My thought was that based on the assumption that an underlying distribution is symmetric (so, Gaussian distributed; or, Poissonian distributed with N large, such that it's effectively Gaussian distributed), you can use the measure of skewness to reweight the samples into a symmetric form, and by doing so, downweight outliers.

It still might work, but it's not clear that it's going to do what I want.  Part of the problem is that extreme outliers push the skewness above 1.0, which means the reweighting starts to fall apart.  I suspect that this means I need to measure the skew, determine if it suggests multimodality, remove outliers, redo the skew, and then reweight.  Unfortunately, this starts to get to the point where I start to think that it's mathematically unjustifiable.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Peebles.

Wait...squirrels don't eat hot dogs.  No, this is all wrong.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday: Back to work

It's even worse with random jetlag.  That seems to mean that I wake up at 6am, fail at going back to sleep until 9, and then struggle to wake up.  The other side is that it's only 9:30, and I'm already super tired.  I'm also unsure that I'm going to get to my missing blog posts in a timely fashion.  I still haven't synced my photos off the camera, and that's the first step of the whole thing.

Science, and the wonders of geosynchronous orbits.

Pikachu used Aerial Ace! It's SUPER EFFECTIVE!

What are you doing dog? You don't even have an account at this bank!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday: Errands

Being back home means I have to take care of things that I don't need to bother with when out on vacation/at conferences.  Mostly, that involves getting groceries so I have food.  I also went to Target to get Target things, since WF isn't really the best place to get cleaners and things.  I don't really want to pay twice as much for some organic cleaner.  I want deadly poisons, and deadly poisons are what I bought.

Since I woke up early (despite when I actually got out of bed and went to run the errands), I wanted to get something breakfast-y for lunch.  Since this place is close to Target, it ended up being my choice.  The chocolate chip pancakes were decent, and the linguica was tasty.  The potatoes were bland and tasteless, and I ended up chucking more than half of them.  A sprinkle of onion powder or cayenne or anything (salt maybe?) would have made them infinitely better.  Cooking them in a more flavorful oil would have helped as well (no clue what they used, but it had zero flavor as well).

Also, it turns out that you have to ask for syrup for chocolate chip pancakes.  Crazy.  It covered the "breakfast" vibe though, so I guess it worked well.

This picture is partially why I was lazy getting going this morning.  It's harder than I expected to register images for time-sequence gifs.  The main issue is that hugin auto match code tends to screw up pretty badly, resulting in really bad registration over the image.  This meant cropping the images (it's the same sequence I auto-posted from Durham) to just contain the cathedral, and then manually registering points.  You can tell I didn't bother with the foreground houses as much, so they tend to wobble around (which would have been far worse without cropping).  I also let gimp create inbetweened frames from the five key frames I registered.  I like the end result better than the five frame version, although you can still see some registration issues (especially in the west towers).

I still need to sort through my other images, but I think my plan is to update daily posts from the past two weeks  this week.  I definitely have a lot more hugin work to do stitching all the panoramas together.

Yay! A proper linkstorm!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm really behind on posting

But I have to get up crazy early tomorrow so I can catch my flight back to Hawaii. I do have lots of pictures and sudoku book scribbles to cover, but they're going to have to wait.

What do you think the odds are that I'll be able to find something decent to eat in Phoenix tomorrow when I have my four hour layover? I guess the good thing about leaving so early is that I'll be home by 3pm, and will be able to get groceries and things like that.

I'm also a bit sad that this "vacation week" involved one day of writing a talk and two days of presenting talks and visiting places for work. I also discovered a fact about detector noise that I'm hoping can be turned into better detector detrending. So, it doesn't really feel like this was much of a vacation. Then again, last vacation involved writing a paper and babysitting.

I may not understand how to do vacations anymore.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday: Writing that talk took far longer than expected

Pretty much most of the day, unfortunately.  In any case, I think it's done, so that's the important thing.  I'm sure I've missed something in it, but it at least covers the majority of the things I wanted to discuss.

Plus I'm still kind of jetlagged, so super sleepy.

"Holy crap! Bubbles!"
  • I can only hope they'll be blasting off again.
  • I used to live near Lake Lansing.
  • I'm still catching up on google reader.  I'm three days behind, and that's an improvement.  Eventually I'll finish and get more links up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday: I need to do daily posts for last week

I'll do it eventually.  I have a bunch of pictures on my camera that I need to get uploaded and panorama-ized.

Squirrel! I saw a number of them on this trip. No good pictures, though.

There was a lot of this this past week as well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 4

British dr pepper

It is made with real sugar.

It is not the same as dublin dr pepper.

It tastes like someone rinsed out a dr pepper can with soda water.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 2

Monday: Yeah, even with internet, I'm still too tired

I have to finish my talk for Wednesday, and tomorrow evening is the conference dinner.  Plus having to walk back sapped my energy for reviewing my list of "things I thought were odd, and noted in my sudoku book while I didn't have internet."

I'll eventually get around to covering those, as well as grabbing photos from my camera.

But, important point: internet in the room.  Sweet, soothing internet.

Or I could use wired internet in the room

More later, but first:

"Oh, no, you can't get a cab. It's only a 5-10 minute walk!"

Ok, you're a jerk, dude.  That's 5-10 minute walk if you're like, totally in shape.  Otherwise, it's a grueling slog up four fucking hills.  Plus, I'm doing it in clothes that aren't exactly designed for exertion.

In summary, I wanted a fucking cab, you wouldn't get me one, you're a jerk.

EDIT: Even google says it's 17 minutes.  And google's in shape, jerk.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Internet is hard to get

So probably no updates this week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I mean, sure, it's just bacon and ketchup

And I got an orange juice and a chocolate croissant.  Because even though it was like 43-o'clock for me, it was only 6am local time.

Sunday? I guess it's Sunday now. Glasgow, though.

My phone's running out of power, but I was able to get a wifi signal on the bus to city center. Yay internet.

I was able to get three-for-three seat improvements on this trip. Exit row, exit row, window instead of middle. Excellent.

Also, kind of blah pasta dinner. The bread was good though.

Ok, let's try to do the next update from the train.

Philadelphia: why do no airports have decent a/c

There are places here that feel like the heat's on. I assume it just has the outside temperature, but still.

My good luck on seats worked again, getting another exit row. This time with a window and no seat in front of mine. Super leg room! I was also able to pretty much sleep the entire flight. Even the added half hour of random circling the airport wasn't too bad.

However, it looks like I'm stuck in my terrible middle seat for this 7 hour flight to glasgow. Crap. I'm thinking I should have paid extra to get a better seat. Hopefully I can just sleep through it.

I also hope that the train out of glasgow has wireless, otherwise I'm going to be without internet for more than I like.

Denver: the land that a/c forgot

Seriously. It's like a million degrees in here.

Adventure 1: my crap seat on the first flight was next to a lady who apparently knew half the flight attendants on the plane. Just after takeoff, they came to ask her if she'd like to move to an exit row. She was with her family, so she offered it to me. Yay, slightly less crappy seat! The only problem was that I was still in an aisle, and the guy next to me was the most obnoxious sleeper ever. How can you sleep and still jerk around like that?

Adventure 2: my glasgow flight is a middle seat. I waited an hour in the united service line to be told that usair is doing that flight, so they can't change it. I then tried the gate agent, and they charge for all their seats now. Wtf, usair? There's a reason no one likes you and you're either getting bought or going out of business.

Plus I dumped pizza on my lap. I'm pretty much done with this trip already. Let's have conferences in easy places in the future. I like boston. Boston's fun. And it's only two planes from home.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday: I should really be packing

Instead I'm watching crap on the DVR.  Not even the best crap.  Kind of a middle tier of crap.

I did get my talk finished today, although I noticed while reading through it that I have some things that could be written a bit better.  That should just be a quick polishing, and I'll do that tomorrow.  The important thing is having all the plots and analysis stuff finished.

So everyone gets a party hat.

I probably should get a start on writing the second talk.  Also pack.  Or: do laundry so I have clean clothes to pack.
  • I kind of wish the Republican party would just splinter already and get it over with.  They clearly have an insane side and deluded side, and the sooner they start openly fighting, the better it'll be for everyone.
  • I was going to post this yesterday, but I forgot. "[...] and a fax machine." I think that's how we should have known he was crazy. Who has a fax machine?  What is this, 1992?
  • I've linked to this blog before, but it's worth doing it again for the click-through to the "superbowl" picture.
  • If only we would stop regulating companies so much, I'm sure they'd do the right thing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday: Could not allocate space for object

Damn. I thought I had twice as much space as I apparently do.  Because of that, two of my database queries failed.  Double damn.  Now I have to decide if I want to dump Run 1 and see if I can get Run 2 to complete, or finish Run 1 since I already have half that data examined.  Run 2 is better, though.

Panda onigiri!

A very unhappy squirrel.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday: Writing talks

It is not fun.
It looks like this guy just ran up and started watering the penguin.

I'm pretty sure you don't need to use lasers to slice bread.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday: Why can't I find anyone else who uses this statistic?

I pulled it from a paper in grad school, and have been using it ever since because it's just too useful not to.  Start with the assumption that you're sampling from a Gaussian distribution with unknown mean and variance.  Next, add an unknown amount of error that means you can get really wonky values every so often.  If you calculate just the regular sample mean and sample variance, you can get bad answers because those wonky values skew the distribution badly.  Instead, substitute the median for the mean, and you've got a pretty decent estimate of the center of the distribution.  Now, for the variance standard deviation, take the interquartile distance (the distance between the 75th percentile and the 25th percentile), and multiply it by 0.7413.  You come up with this number by noting that for a Gaussian distribution, sigma = (1 / (norminv(0.75) - norminv(0.25))) * IQD.  I've been calling this Q[uartile]-sigma in all my code since reading about it.

Although, now that I look at this, I realize that that's basically just calculating the MAD estimate of sigma in a different way.  And look, there on the wiki page, it says the same thing.  Well.

The point being, if you have values {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9000}, then the mean is going to be horribly skewed due to a contamination of just 11% of the data.  Ditto with the regular standard deviation.  However, using Qsigma (or the MAD estimate, since they're apparently equivalent) lets you have up to ~50% crap data (if you're lucky and have it equally bad in both directions.  Otherwise just 25%) before the statistic starts to break down.

Anyway, here's a squirrel:
 A biker having a very bad day:
Deer probably isn't too happy about it either.
 And some books:
The continuation of yesterday's dinner is that:

  1. You cannot buy pints of regular milk apparently.
  2. Little kid 8oz milk-boxes don't expect you to not use the straw.
  3. My mac&cheese did just need a bit more milk to smooth out.
  4. I cook everything en papillote now-a-days.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday: Some days I miss not having air conditioning

Like when I'm trying to cook stuff, with the oven going, and the dishwasher drying dishes.  In the tropics.  Anyway:
Three of the cheeses I used, plus an impostor.
I thought about doing a recipe thing, but then didn't.  The mac and cheese ingredients are above.  Shred the cheeses (cheddar, parmesan, this gouda-style one, the unpictured gruyere), boil the pasta, make a bechemel sauce, dump sauce and pasta over cheese and let it steam, then mix.  I think I'll need to get some more milk at the store tomorrow, as it kind of needs to be thinned out a bit.  I ended up with a bit too much cheese, so it's not as creamy as I would have liked.  Once the M&C was done, I put some in a ramekin, and popped it in the oven to stay warm.  I'll probably do a layer of breadcrumbs tomorrow when I do that.

Next was the chicken.  I just kind of made up a batter on the fly, starting with a milk and egg start.  Then some spices, baking powder, and some flour.  I probably should have added more flour and beaten it in better, as the batter was a bit thinner than I would have liked.  I suspect this means I should have put more milk into the M&C.  Still, the end result was pretty good.  It didn't make a thick crust or anything, and it didn't get quite as crispy as I would have liked.  I did pound out the chicken, but probably could have done a better job.
BBQ sauce instead of pickles.  Because pickles aren't tasty.
Random animals!
This dog is not ready to go into space yet.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday: At least I came up with a menu plan

Today was a regular Sushi Saturday, after I decided that that was as good as anything else for lunch.  I did get groceries, so, yay food.
Mac and Cheese.

Dogs are cat bouncers.

Dear Google, if you don't have any recipes, why give me the option?
After all the chick-fil-a crap over the past week or so, I decided that I'd do chicken sandwiches with homemade mac and cheese this week for my menu plan.  I'm not going to use any real recipe, as I'm not really that concerned about matching something exactly.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday: Friday?

I think I'm now out of red panda pictures, in addition to bear pictures.

More things need to come in cone form.

I realized that since I'm travelling next week, I probably should start thinking about restaurants.  Because food.

It turns out that Durham has more tapas places than I would have expected.  This is a "Noted Eating House."  Duly noted.  A lot of that stuff looks good, although there's a bit more black pudding than I'd really like.  I probably need to do more research.