Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday: Working revision: 1.73/Repository revision: 1.73

At least I'm reasonably sure that we'll be submitting version 1.75.  And then this damn paper will finally be in press.  Or under review.  Whatever it's called at the stage where you let other people tell you how much you suck at writing.

Which means it's probably about time to get started on more science projects.  Woo.  It also means that I need to catch up on the things I've slacked on at work, since I really wanted this paper finished this month.

Let's do random pictures now.
"Dude, that's the wrong side!"

I have a suspicion that this guard on Jabba's barge knows how this battle ends.

No clue.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!....Hey!...You got food?"

Speaking of food, I should figure out what I'm going to make for the Puppy Bowl this year.  My thoughts are chili, curry, and pulled pork.  Basically, I think I want something spicy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday: Draw a Dinosaur Day!

Just like last year!
I went to Target today.  I did not buy anything I had planned, because that's how Target works.  I did see this game:
I'm probably outside of the recommended age limits.
And ended up buying a new mini tripod, since my old one got lost in the move.
So now I can take really long exposure shots, and discover that my camera lens is covered in dust.
  • Neville Longbottom.
    • Holy shit, I just now discovered you can hit tab to get to a new level of bullet point. 
      • How far does it go?
        • Boring box again?
                          • Yep.
  • I stopped deleting voice mail messages years ago, so now it's full.  I can see that you called, and since my phone contains like 99 other ways to communicate, if you had something important, you'd send the information via one of those.  There is no reason for you to leave me a message.
  • Cookie Monster.
  • What the modem noises mean.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday: A disaster of non-productivity

Basically, it boils down to this fact: the current rate of completion dC/dT is proportional to the time spent on it, with a factor that slows the completion rate as completion approaches 1.

dC/dT = T * (1 - C)

So if we solve this, we find:

dC (1 / (1 - C)) = T dT   ; Separate variables.
-log(1 - C) = 0.5 T^2     ; Solve integrations.
1 - C = exp(-0.5 T^2)     ; Oh, you're shitting me.
C = 1 - exp(-0.5 T^2)     ; Yep, inverted Gaussian.

Therefore, you need to spend an infinite amount of time to achieve 100% completion.  This suggests allowing a lowered Normal distribution to arbitrarily truncate the wings, or as people always claim, "Perfect is the enemy of good."

Well, at least I have math on my side.

Here's a French cartoon about a girl and her crocodile.  It has no deeper meaning. That's it. Girl. Crocodile.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday: That was a surprise

Today one of my coworkers gave me this picture, which his daughter drew, I think as thanks for getting her dad to watch Adventure Time too.  I'm a bit unclear, but again, surprise.
It's like everybody from the A-list.
 Here's some red pandas:
Links 1: On the upcoming Cartoon Network schedule.
  • Rebecca Sugar is getting her own show, which should be good.
  • Young Justice and Green Lantern are apparently cancelled and gone, which is kind of disappointing.  I have about six months of them saved on the DVR, and need to sit down and catch up at some point.  YJ wasn't as good as JLU, and GL isn't Batman, but they were decent enough shows.  One good thing from this seems to be the return of the Teen Titans, which isn't really a bad trade.  TT was more fun than YJ, and still could do serious episodes.
  • I'm suspicious of a CGI Powerpuff Girl special, especially without a clear word that Craig is doing it.
Links 2: grown up crap.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday: "Where the hell is that alarm coming from?"

It turns out that the answer to that question was: "your phone, because you have weather warnings enabled."
The radar like an hour ago.
The panorama I took and worked on when the rain killed my cable and internet, leaving me with only the TV saved on the DVR and the internet available via my phone.  Living in the future is clearly difficult.
The phone alarms were my phone trying to warn me that it's possible that the rain could create flooding conditions until like 10pm tonight.  Since I live on the tenth floor, and my car lives on the third, I'm not super concerned that the flood is going to get me.  I think once floods figure out how to use elevators I'll worry about it, and until then, I'll just take pictures of the rain.

Then I made a patty melt for dinner.
Not the best I've ever made, but still not bad.  I figured if I was going to get rye for this week's pastrami sandwiches, it's worth melting up a patty.  I think the biggest issue with the sandwich is related to the fact that the local ground beef is 90/10, so even frying it in butter didn't add much fat and juiciness.

Cute link time:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday: food stuff

Saturday sushi day.
Karaage, ahi poke wonton, unagi, chicken kalbi bowl.
 I was a bit early compared to last week, so the selection wasn't as good.  I had been wanting to try the kalbi bowl for awhile.  It's not terribly good, which is kind of disappointing.  It sadly had a "Chinese restaurant that's one step down from Panda Express, and they extra greased it up" quality.  Still, given that there are like a billion other things I can have, this isn't that bad.

Fast forward a few hours to sandwich time:
Pastrami sandwich time.
I got a bit more pastrami than I had planned, and it's sliced super thin.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday: I'm going to have a boring rant about statistics, then post a cute puppy, and then have a link to baby red pandas in the linkstorm.

Crazy cute baby red pandas at that.

Unfortunately, first, the rant about statistics.  I saw this story show up in my random link browsing, I believe originally from Brad Delong mentioning that someone else tweeted it because that other person is still unhappy that Nate Silver wasn't wrong.  So I read it, and I'm trying to gauge what my reaction should be:
I only spent like two hours writing this post, so a week is optimistic.
Maybe this is what they're thinking?

Maybe it's just poo-brain.

I could get angry.
Or I can just do it.
So let's find the three four most annoying things in the article, and complain about those.

1. "Lost until Chapter 8 is the fact that the approach Silver lobbies for is hardly an innovation; instead (as he ultimately acknowledges), it is built around a two-hundred-fifty-year-old theorem that is usually taught in the first weeks of college probability courses."  Really?  I don't think Nate Silver ever claimed that he had some deep insight into things.  He basically sat down, noticed that there are lots of samples of things, and that maybe the average of those things would be a useful thing to minimize the noise in the various samples.  Why no one thought to do this years ago suggests that most people don't like math, and that journalists in particular really don't like math.

2. "A Bayesian approach is particularly useful when predicting outcome probabilities in cases where one has strong prior knowledge of a situation. [...] But the Bayesian approach is much less helpful when there is no consensus about what the prior probabilities should be."  Again, really?  Let's cover this here in as clear a way as possible.  The way I see it, most problems suggest a prior by the very definition of the problem.  There's case A, which is apparently the only one Marcus and Davis care about: you have a pretty good idea what you expect to get.  You expect to get (let's say) 10, and you assume that maybe there's some range around that where the result might actually be (let's say like +/- 2).  So what prior do you choose?  How about a Gaussian, with the mean at 10 and a standard deviation of 2.  Cool.  Now we have a prior based on what we kind of already knew.

Now let's move on to case B: you have no clue what the value should be. At all. Ok, but you know something because you don't know what the value is: you know that you don't know if the value should be 10, or if it should be like 20. This means that the probability of 10 and 20 are the same.  How about -40?  No clue, so it gets the same probability.  So maybe the prior is just a constant value for all possible values, to reflect the fact you don't have any idea.  If you have a range you think the value falls in, you could choose a constant of 1 / (max - min).  It's not the end of the world if you really have no clue what that range should be, because a lot of the time you don't need it (model comparison for one, but that's generally not what Silver does, so I'm ignoring this case).  As an afterthought, this is what you'd do if you want to find a location kind of thing.  The mean in case A would be this kind of problem.

Finally, case C: the Jeffrey's prior.  This one is more complicated, partially because there's more math, and partially because my conceptual picture of it is probably more abstract than you want.  To start off with, let's consider that we know the mean in case A, but don't know the value of sigma.  Sigma can't be negative, so it has to range from zero to infinity.  Now consider two values, let's say 10 and 20.  The ratio of the probability of these two points should be P(10)/P(20).  But do you know anything about the units?  No, because you told me you don't know anything about the problem.  So if you change units from 1s to 2s, this says that this must be the same as P'(20)/P'(40).  At this point, you probably want to just go look at the puppy.  I'll wait, and it won't make me sad if you don't come back to finish this rant.

Ok, welcome back.  So this is where my conceptual picture is bad, because I see here that if the units don't matter, then you probably have something of the form 1/x.  My brain is trying to describe the idea why, but I can't come up with words, so I made a gif:

So other than the centering changing with the size of the yaxis labels, you'll notice that this shape is identical with changes in the units, so describes the problem above.  Side note: this is also how I solve differential equations a lot of the time, too. In any case, I think this largely shows that you don't need to have a strong prior to do Bayesian inference.

3. "[...] Milgram [...]" Christ, what assholes.

4. "[...] it’s because in any given year, drug companies and medical schools perform thousands of experiments. In any study, there is some small chance of a false positive; if you do a lot of experiments, you will eventually get a lot of false positive results [...]" One of the reasons I chose astronomy is because if I screw something up, I'm pretty sure that no one's going to die.  Not having to lift heavy objects is a plus too, but there's a lot to be said about doing something that's largely irrelevant to most people's lives.  However, this isn't really the case for drug companies and medical schools.  That was the main point I took away from the Ioannidis paper:  lots of medical studies have a result that claims a treatment is effective, when it may not actually be.  Sure, you learn that if you do a lot of experiments, but in the world of drug companies and medical schools "a lot of experiments" usually means "we're doing this to real people who are sick."  If you claim something is effective when it really isn't, you could kind of end up with lots of dead people around.  That's why it's a big deal to make sure you're analysing you data correctly.

See? Astronomy. Everyone gets to go home at the end of the day.

Ok, I promised a puppy:

Wow, I hope I haven't posted this already. I have like no puppy pictures saved.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday: Crap, I was going to math this evening!

And I totally forgot to do it.  Maybe I can crank out the basic result after this post.
I'm going to assume that this is fake, because no one could be that stupid.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday: This post was to have math in it

But since shitty data source one didn't have the data in a table, so I had to digitize images, which I hate doing, and then the crappy digitizer segfaulted while saving a data file, and I just don't feel like dealing with it.

I did accomplish like three things at work today, so that's always good.  I think I can actually finish #4 tomorrow, which will reduce the todo list quite a bit.

This video nearly killed me with laughter last night, so you should watch it too:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Remember back two weeks ago when I had pizza magically appear at my apartment?
It looked like this. Kind of.
Surprisingly enough, MSU pioneered this technology way back in 1974:

Tuesday: Salad?

Yep, salad time.  I had a tasty salad in Long Beach, and wanted to see if I could reproduce it at home.  Ingredients:

  • Pile of arugula.
  • A pear
  • A lemon
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt/pepper/olive oil/honey
Juice lemon, balance the sour with some honey, add a bit of salt and pepper, and then be absolutely astonished when the olive oil emulsifies into the mix without too much effort.  Slice pear in half, core, do thin slices, and then cut crosswise into bite size bits.  Shave off some Parmesan slices, and then dump everything into a plastic tub to shake around.  The results:
I may have added some prosciutto.
I needed to add a bit more honey to the dressing, as it was still a bit too acidic.  This worked better than the one I had in LB, mostly because I could add as much Parmesan as I wanted (surprise, it was lots).  The only problem with dinner salads is that I always end up hungry again before bed time.  I may have to solve this issue with ice cream, which may counteract the "healthy" aspect of the salad.

Monday, January 21, 2013

WTF, Lemongrab?

 Possible spoilers for the episode "Mystery Dungeon"

Monday: Squirrel Appreciation Day

None of this year's pictures are from me, since squirrels don't live here.  I did see a few while I was on the mainland last month, but they were too quick for me to get a picture.  I'm also not totally sure that I haven't posted some of these before.  They're fun revisits if that's the case.

Squirrel Girl cosplay counts, too.

I think this is a text-from-last-night thing.