2006-12-29

oat muffin recipe

Once when searching for a quick breakfast (out of yogurt, only one egg, not-so-fresh milk) I found the easiest oatmeal muffins – I've made them plain, with apples, and with fresh cranberries (for any of those, add ½–1 cup or so chopped). Now Scott has a muffin pan (a nifty silicone one, at that) so this note is mostly for him.

2006-12-24

My scarf is done!

Scott is the best!

merry christmas from the drycleaner

So when I picked up some stuff friday the korean drycleaner lady reached under the desk, beamed, "happyyy horiday!" and produced a bag… I was intrigued, then joyed to find some tasty berry wine!

2006-12-16

attrition rocks

Ha!

a sick twisted story

“Bottle service is prestigious,” said Quinn Bradley, 25, another customer at Y Bar. “I am not a vodka connoisseur, but a higher price usually means it’s better, right?” Marketers have spent millions trying to convince consumers of just that.
Also, Patrón tequila was created by one of the co-execs of john paul mitchell hair goop. What a mess! (NYT)

2006-12-13

crazy hungarian jews

(yum!)

2006-12-10

Negativity Friendships

NYT: “It’s not that we enjoy disliking people,” Bosson, a social psychologist at the University of South Florida, says. “It’s that we enjoy meeting people who dislike the same people.”
Salon on Mary Cheney:
As a price for their tolerance, however, they may expect you to reexamine certain issues – e.g., your implicit countenancing of same-sex-marriage amendments, your silence in the face of outrageous discrimination against gay parents, your collusion with some of the most virulent homophobes in America's history, etc.

2006-12-07

neato nerdiness

a hyperlink matrix H, duh

2006-12-06

damn.

Well, my 5-year-old Troika keychain (in a model they seem no longer to make) finally broke. Troika keychains are by far the best designed and therefore the only acceptable key-holding devices for me. Moreover, several models allow easy removal of groups of keys from the ring, a necessity so I don't have to carry my car key with me all the time, or anything more than a house key and bike key when I exercise. The one pictured is my top choice, but now I run into the problem of trying to find someone who has them and will sell me one.

2006-12-02

food this week

  • sweet potato crusted wild caught alaskan salmon with curry spinach, OR
  • broiled salmon with mexican-caribbean rub, avocado, and tequila cream sauce
  • thai prik king (fragrant no coconut milk) curry with green beans and chicken
  • lentil soup with polish sausage, blackbear pumpernickel
  • fajitas with avocado, chicken, and refried black beans
  • pad kee mao (tofu and broccoli, chili basil sauce)

2006-11-25

the first of several

Scott's dad asks about Margaret Cho. Well, not about her – but what her name is. She is described as "that musician you used to like. The Chinese girl. She played the violin. Or the piano."

2006-11-21

2006-11-20

voting machines

slashdot interview

best response is… max ε?

It may sound like chaos, but it's only the lesson drawn from one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously.

slashdot 'fortune' quote

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley

seared tuna, ginger mashed sweet potatoes, salad

from the other day :)

2006-11-11

food for this week

2006-11-09

too good in too many ways

Holy Rollers: The city's bicycle zealots, by Ben McGrath. This article contains quote after quote that made me grin knowingly. Some examples:
Critical Mass, according to its participants, is not a group but a recurring event. “An organized coincidence,” one regular rider told me. “No, a disorganized coincidence—a ‘happening,’ a temporary reorganization of public space.” … Others passed out buttons that read, “Please Don’t Arrest Me—This is my permit.” On closer examination, they were recycled pins made by the antiwar group United for Peace and Justice, with customized paper labels glued over “No Blood for Oil.”
I introduced myself to the masked man and asked his name. “NYMAAN,” he said, pointing to his cape, which was adorned with the words “New York Metro Anarchist Alliance.” He added, “I am an idea, not a person.” (His outfit advertised a Web site that features the heading “Notes from the global intifada.”)
The hierarchy of urban piety is ever delicate. Still another Villager, a biking enthusiast, railed against the unctuousness of the anti-bike pedestrians. “I’m tired of joggers using the bike path, getting in the way,” he said. “They tell us to get off our bikes and jog because it’s more environmentally sensitive. To them bikes are manufactured things. The metals that go into them are mined. And there’s the plastic, too . . . made from oil.”

2006-11-07

neato

the new mobile gmail is supercool.

yay for winter bike!

so I found a bike on craigslist a while ago – a beat up fixed gear for $150. I didn't feel like driving up to north county a month ago, but then I saw it posted again for $110. That was too good to pass up, especially because I've been riding around on my good bike the past couple days in the fucking rain and it's all yucky and needs to be cleaned again… pictures soon.

2006-11-01

“Hacking Democracy” (Salon.com)

on Salon:
It’s a nice thought, one you want to believe: If only Americans could be made to understand the true, gut-sinking atrociousness of just about everything involved in U.S. elections – from the gerrymandered districts to the undemocratic distribution of electoral power to the enormous influence wielded by partisan officials to the underfunded, overwhelmed local offices to, finally, the insanely dangerous technology we use to run the whole thing – well, then, maybe folks would actually do something about the problem.

2006-10-31

myth commercial detection

Applies a series of score for the scene based on looking at all three factors in relation to one another, especially taking timing and patterns into account. Based on the final score of a scene, it's either (essentially) dropped into the show bucket or the commercial bucket. It's not a black/white type thing. Because of the scoring, there are a whole range of grays in the middle. You end up with scenes that looks "more" like commercials or "more" like show content, and they are then flagged as such.
in other words, it's a Bayesian update! I'll look into this more…

2006-10-21

i love the market

  • stir fried tatsoi with teriyaki
  • sautéed beet greens with roasted beets, salad
  • prik khing with tasty long beans, sticky rice
  • risotto with zucchini (on chicken stock day)

2006-10-19

complete darwin online!

darwin-online.org.ukCharles Darwin

me too!

Pollan in the NYTMag sunday:
The week of the E. coli outbreak, washed spinach was on sale at my local farmers’ market, and at the Blue Heron Farms stand, where I usually buy my greens, the spinach appeared to be moving briskly. I tasted a leaf and wondered why I didn’t think twice about it. I guess it’s because I’ve just always trusted these guys; I buy from them every week. The spinach was probably cut and washed that morning or the night before — it hasn’t been sitting around in a bag on a truck for a week. And if there ever is any sort of problem, I know exactly who is responsible. Whatever the risk, and I’m sure there is some, it seems manageable.

2006-10-18

Yogurt is not a big truck


Yogurt is not a big truck
Originally uploaded by mathowie.

2006-10-14

  • friend rice (nasi goreng)
  • fennel soup with saffron and tomato, pumpernickel
  • chicken filet al ajillo, baked purple potato
  • pad kee mao chicken and broccoli
  • bacon and spinach quiche

2006-10-13

keyboard consistency fix

…how to move from word to word. This is ⌥← and ⌥→ in all the Mac applications I use, except Terminal. Until now.

2006-10-04

movie to see

Salon review of Shortbus: “Group sex may be a beautiful thing, man, but it's also a jumble of wobbly lines and arms and legs heading the wrong way.”

GMBO: giggling my butt off

Check out the handy list of everyday acronyms so you can decode your kids’ IMs with congressmen.

2006-10-03

if only we could make expensive, synthetic fish oil…

NYT: The fact that heart patients receive such different treatments in sophisticated hospitals around the world highlights the central role that drug companies play in disseminating medical information, experts said.

2006-09-27

med.stat

from slate:
Developed by epidemiologists in 1988, the NNT was heralded as a new and objective tool to help patients make informed decisions. It avoids the confusing distinction between "relative" and "absolute" reduction of risk. The NNT is intuitive: To a savvy, healthy person with high cholesterol that didn't decrease with diet and exercise, a doctor could say, "A statin might help you, or it might not. Out of every 50 people who take them, one avoids getting a heart attack. On the other hand, that means 49 out of 50 people don't get much benefit."

2006-09-26

Country Girl Pie House


Country Girl Pie House
Originally uploaded by gay.goy.gourmet.
(and other pictures from a biketrip)

that's amusing

carnival drag queenDaily Express:
David Bridge, pictured, stunned locals in the sleepy market town of Axbridge by donning a long flowing dress, high heels and jewelled tiara to appear as the carnival queen.

2006-09-25

Misguided

From NYT today:
“For me, there’s anger and paranoia and fear for others — for the safety of food we get that’s supposed to be monitored,” Ms. Krause, 47, said. “I don’t know what to trust. Should we grow it all ourselves?”

No, and you probably shouldn’t feel guilty about being part of the mainstream American foodchain (or even the élite wholefoods version thereof). But there is something you could have done – know your farmers, preferring local to faraway and in-season to convenient. That represents a massive shift in the way most people buy produce.

I’ve been annoyed since this spinach story broke at how the news continues to cover the problem as if it is at all relevant that it happened to have come from spinach this time, as if we can run from mass-produced spinach to mass-produced bagged romaine and all will be well.

2006-09-23

myStata?

mystata:
As web-based and other electronic data collection methods become more widely used in research, the opportunities to use statistical software in conjunction with conventional database systems are increasing. Among such systems, MySQL is particularly well suited for research purposes. For example, MySQL's ENUM and SET column types are ideal for storing data collected via the multiple choice questions typically used in social surveys. At the same time, Stata is uniquely suited for working in conjunction with a database; for example, its implementation of characteristics makes it possible to preserve (in a usable form) important information about how the database and front-end application are constructed (e.g., column types and other attributes). In this presentation, we shall describe a Python script we have developed for translating data from MySQL to Stata, and will indicate briefly how we are using it in the development of tools for the collection and management of research data.

Foodlist

  • chicken paprikás, challah
  • zucchini spinach mushroom lasagna (local of course, not bagged spinach!)
  • masaman curry with tofu, potato, and sweet potato
  • salad and Black Bear pumpernickel
  • red beans and rice with Prairie Grass Farm lamb andouille
  • Cuban black beans and rice

2006-09-21

my office

I've been meaning to post a picture of my supergeeky office.

Big fucking surprise! HA

BOSTON (Reuters) — Graduate business students in the United States and Canada are more likely to cheat on their work than their counterparts in other academic fields, the author of a research paper said on Wednesday.

2006-09-20

too much of a good thing

icon icon icon icon icon icon I am not alone in my dislike of the new blue iTunes 7 icon. My problem is only that the color blends in with other apps, requiring a good deal more visual processing than should be expended on switching apps. See how it blends in with other stuff? Not cool.

2006-09-19

Learn or Die!

Combs Encourages Kids to Stay in School

''This is a really important time for you all right now,'' Combs said. ''This is the time that is going to dictate your future.''

The 36-year-old founder of Bad Boy Records looked the part in sunglasses and flashy jewelry. He called some students on stage and talked to them one on one about their goals. His advice: work hard and stay in school.

''Take responsibility for your future. No excuses!'' Combs said.

2006-09-16

upcoming tasty food

  • beans & tomatoes, ciabatta, salad
  • pesto, fresh pasta, salad
  • pad prik khing (Thai “dry curry”) beef & green beans
  • okra-onion (Indian) curry
  • cuban black beans and rice
  • eggplant and tofu with chili black bean sauce

2006-09-14

Center for Information Technology Policy—Voting Study

Center for Information Technology Policy Voting Study: "This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks."

Why Johnny can't code | Salon Technology

Why Johnny can't code | Salon Technology:

Quietly and without fanfare, or even any comment or notice by software pundits, we have drifted into a situation where almost none of the millions of personal computers in America offers a line-programming language simple enough for kids to pick up fast.

And yet, they are tantalized! Ben has long complained that his math textbooks all featured little type-it-in-yourself programs at the end of each chapter -- alongside the problem sets -- offering the student a chance to try out some simple algorithm on a computer. Usually, it's an equation or iterative process illustrating the principle that the chapter discussed. These "TRY IT IN BASIC" exercises often take just a dozen or so lines of text. The aim is both to illustrate the chapter's topic (e.g. statistics) and to offer a little taste of programming.

What about “try it in R”? It was invented as a free and accessible teaching language for people to not have to buy S+, and it would be perfect for elementary math texts IMO. It can be used interactively, and offers a lot of room for growth (unlike basic).

What to Expect When You%u2019re Expecting Dinner - New York Times

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Dinner - New York Times: “‘Is everything all right?’ The main course has been served, and the waiter has just asked us this question. I’ve had exactly one bite of my main course, which is just enough for me to remember that, as usual, the main course always disappoints. I am beginning to wonder whether this is a metaphor, and if so, whether it’s worth dwelling on. Now, suddenly the waiter has appeared, pepper mill in one hand, Pellegrino in the other, and interrupted an extremely good story right before the punch line to ask if everything is all right. The answer is no, it’s not.”

2006-09-11

pictures with furniture


dining area
Originally uploaded by gay.goy.gourmet.
(at last)

2006-09-10

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks!

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks! : "Since they all pretty much look the same from my VNC/Timbuktu/Apple Remote Desktop window, it's hard to know where I am when I log in. I can't tell which one is an Xserve, and which is a Mac mini... "

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks!

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks! : "Sharing, syncing and editing iCal over WebDAV"

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks!

macosxhints.com - OS X tips and tricks! : "The defacto standard in Terminal's shells is meta-b (backward) and meta-f (forward) for word-by-word movement. In every other Cocoa app, however, it's Option-left arrow and Option-right arrow. I wanted Terminal to behave the same way. "

2006-09-03

Explaining the huge rise in teen oral sex. By Tim Harford - Slate Magazine

Explaining the huge rise in teen oral sex. By Tim Harford - Slate Magazine: "The oral-sex epidemic is a rational response to a rise in the price of the alternative."

2006-08-29

haaa

Salon.com Arts & Entertainment | Method anchor: "Added to all this attention is the frisson of his sexuality and the hanging question -- hanging because Cooper refuses to address it -- of whether he is gay or not, which raises the possibility of his being America's first gay anchor."
“Possibility” indeed.

The Emmy Awards reviewed. By Troy Patterson - Slate Magazine

The Emmy Awards reviewed. By Troy Patterson - Slate Magazine: "Last night, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences colluded with NBC to bring us The 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, and the broadcast exceeded the widespread expectation that it would be tedious to the point of punishment. Things were looking dreary even before host Conan O'Brien had reared his ginger head: Near the end of the official preshow, summoned to dis the most egregious red-carpet fashion faux pas, Project Runway's Tim Gunn would only allow that the actresses Sandra Oh and Cheryl Hines had perhaps overaccessorized, missing a fine opportunity to suppose that Tyra Banks had borrowed her gown from an Atlantic City, N.J., production of Wicked. That's the kind of night it was; even the bitchery was on a short leash."

The winners of our Snakes on a Plane contest. By Dana Stevens - Slate Magazine

The winners of our Snakes on a Plane contest. By Dana Stevens - Slate Magazine: "And because no list of deliberately crass movie titles should be afraid of offending anyone, I must also mention Tim Weinmann's The Uplifting Retard and Joshua Weinstein's A Film About Black People (Made by Jewish People)."

PC World - AOL 9.0 Accused of Behaving Like Badware

PC World - AOL 9.0 Accused of Behaving Like Badware: "The report blasts the free version of AOL 9.0 because it 'interferes with computer use,' and because of the way it meddles with components such as the Internet Explorer browser and the Windows taskbar. The suite is also criticized for engaging in 'deceptive installation' and faulted because some components fail to uninstall."

Dance, Monkeys, Dance - Flash animation

Dance, Monkeys, Dance - Flash animation

2006-08-25

Why we love the Pillsbury Bake-Off. By Sara Dickerman - Slate Magazine

Why we love the Pillsbury Bake-Off. By Sara Dickerman - Slate Magazine: "Among the finalists—each of whom had his or her recipe selected from tens of thousands of submissions—there is a truly diverse range of socially conservative white Americans. There's Sita, a kooky bank-teller-cum-silversmith; Sue, a former Deutsche Bank VP; and Richard, a lanky Kentucky man who's an avid clogger. He is so respected in his community that he and his wife are described by a neighbor as 'just like the Reagans.'"

Laptop Slides Into Bed in Love Triangle - New York Times

Laptop Slides Into Bed in Love Triangle - New York Times: "Dr. Enoch Choi, 36, and his wife, Tania, 33, who have been married 10 years, both take laptops to bed to write their blogs. %u201CI suppose I started the trend,%u2019%u2019 said Dr. Choi, a physician in Palo Alto, Calif. %u201CBut now my wife is just as much the nighty-night PowerBook key-banger, blogging away for her friends.%u201DMs. Choi, a computer interface designer, said she used to be offended by gadgets in the bedroom. %u201CI don%u2019t even have a TV in the room,%u201D she said. But now, %u201Cit%u2019s one of those weird modalities of intimacy I%u2019m just going to have to reconcile myself to.%u2019%u2019 She added:%u201CHonestly, if both of us are in there with the computer it%u2019s a good night. But if one of us wants to be left alone, we%u2019re in different places with our technology. If we want to be connected, then we both bring our technology into the bedroom.%u201D"

I try to live like a senior citizen. By Emily Yoffe - Slate Magazine

I try to live like a senior citizen. By Emily Yoffe - Slate Magazine: "'It's free!' Ann almost shrieks at me, holding out the bear. 'Look, it's adorable. It's musical. I've got great-grandchildren but I might keep it for myself.' "

2006-08-18

more coolness in quicksilver

quicksilver example
You can add google cal events from quicksilver
– and it gets better. If your first search matches an address book contact and then hit a text-entry switch (. or '), the contact’s full name is entered for you!

flickr uploadLike others, I find that quicksilver is so well designed and so absolutely essential to my using a mac that I forget that it isn’t part of the OS. It is a thousand times more useful than any dashboard widget ever could be, and its visual feedback is as stunning as exposé.

It is also the fastest and easiest flickr uploader.

Of course not

Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible? | The Register.

This building is so ghetto

In the lobby this morning – amid some contractors polishing the brass on elevator doors – is the best sign I’ve seen yet from Century Tower. God I’ll be happy tomorrow to be out of here never to return!
We apoligize for the inconvenience of the approvements of your new residence.

fuck caps lock!

Our campaign mission is simple: to send a message to the computer industry to force it (by any means necessary) to retire the CAPS key. (I long ago remapped mine to ctrl, but the light still comes on – my generation of powerbooks have a stupid ADB keyboard, for which it's harder to kill the light.)

2006-08-16

it's all done


living room
Originally uploaded by gay.goy.gourmet.
Scott and I are… homeowners now! Crazy! Here's our finished apartment the day after closing. We’re moving for real this Saturday.

2006-08-03

Voting

  1. From slashdot, depressing news about crooked Diebold machines
  2. From NYT, depressing news about legal rights
  3. The Open Voting Consortium (not depressing)

More DRM

Apple's Copy Protection Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It’s Bad For Business

htaccess and mod_rewrite notes

By default apache 1.3 httpd.conf obnoxiously disables directory-level configurations via htaccess files. First fix that then almost any rewrite has been done before by someone else and shared in modrewrite forums. Still, the best quote is at the top of the official documentation: “Despite the tons of examples and docs, mod_rewrite is voodoo. Damned cool voodoo, but still voodoo.”

2006-07-30

this could be cool

I haven’t looked in too much detail yet but text mining seems really interesting for stuff I do too. (matlab toolbox here)

six words...

This thread is useless without pics.
“First post. First joke. And in six words you sum up every stereotype of the Geek.”

2006-07-28

an excellent morning ride

It got really fucking hot by the end of it, but Daniel and I did about 36 mi up and around Evanston today: on gmap-ped.

critical mass friday!

yay!

2006-07-24

net neutrality

I’ve forever rolled my eyes at the dismal state of wireless in the US compared to everywhere else. Certainly some degree of standards setting and huge government involvement and investment are why Scandinavia and Japan are so far ahead of us; this article addresses the other problem of proprietary network control.

Why are cell phone payment systems and email systems nearly nonexistent? Why haven't charities raised money or awareness of their causes through this system?

It's simple. Because the cell phone carriers control what services are allowed to use their networks. There is no net neutrality on the cell phone network.

a follow-up

to my post marvelling at the Head On commercial, deconstructed on slate by seth stevenson.
As for this ad campaign, it is utter genius. With this one 10-second spot, the makers of HeadOn have torn down all the pretenses that have gummed up the advertising industry for years. Production values? Persuasion? Emotion? Humor (of the intentional kind)? These are stalwarts of the old, outmoded advertising paradigm. The new, head-on (or HeadOn) approach holds that advertising is about blunt force.

Mac Spoof: Performance

It is curious that the black Macbook has always had better specs than its white counterpart. Did its bigger hard drive start out as a cock size joke?
Sambanis in NYT on civil war in Iraq (probably req a “borrowed” TimesSelect®™ password):
Civil wars are defined as armed conflicts between the government of a sovereign state and domestic political groups mounting effective resistance in relatively continuous fighting that causes high numbers of deaths. This broad definition does not always distinguish civil wars from other forms of political violence, so we often use somewhat arbitrary criteria, like different thresholds of annual deaths, to sort out cases. Depending on the criteria used, there have been about 100 to 150 civil wars since 1945. Iraq is clearly one of them.

hungarian food, yum!

stuffed peppers cookingJune Meyer’s recipe is straightforward, authentic, and delicious. I made these with grass-fed beef from Dan West in St Louis. The preparation allows nothing to stand in the way of the full, rich flavor of top-quality meat.

2006-07-20

DRM

Ah, how I miss the days when I could jHymn all my puchases from iTMS. Now I have to worry about whether I've authorized a computer or device. Dumb! And what if I have a hardware failure? Fuck you, DRM.

what an idiot

This sounds like a great idea until you try to deconstruct the sheet. You need a road map. One element cascades from here, another from there. One wrong change and all hell breaks loose. If your Internet connection happens to lose a bit of CSS data, you get a mess on your screen.

Sigh, Dvorak the dumbass strikes again. No, fool, “cascading” is a perfectly well established concept – inheritance – given a different name in the web context. I have no problem at all borrowing from standard stylesheets and overwriting attributes, especially when the firefox web developer plugin can show me all the style blocks applied to any given element and where they came from, no matter how many stylesheets have been called.

zigversion?

claims to be a graphical svn tool for osx. *shrug*

Best developer tools for OS X

from maclife

2006-07-19

I’d feel prepared...

For the last two and a half years, the Marine Corps has been equipping troops with a sort of abbreviated Emily Post-style guide to etiquette in Iraq. The laminated “Iraq Culture Smart Card” consists of 16 panels and can fold down into something you can slip into your breast pocket. "It seems late in the day for such niceties," observed Steven Aftergood in Secrecy News, a Web log maintained by the Federation of American Scientists, which posted the Smart Card online.

I know which side I'm on

Avast, Me Critics! Ye Kill the Fun: Critics and the Masses Disagree About Film Choices

Scott and I recently saw Pirates and I was most taken aback by the quality of the trailers we had to endure. Normally, at least one or two of the trailers before the movies I tend to watch. Of the 6 or 7 meant to appeal to a mainstream audience (including, I think, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and Accepted) very few failed to elicit from me a, “how did that shit get made, and why?”

2006-07-18

the Times catches up

and finally notices that Bravo is the gayest network out there. Which makes us wonder why all these stupid pay cable channels exist to serve the gays (outtv, here, logo).

2006-07-17

hmmm

dogcow!Very good Ars article on the mac pro desktop line.
As we draw ever closer to the Worldwide Developers Conference, speculation is heating up as to what we'll see hardware-wise once Steve Jobs has finished unveiling the wonders of Leopard. Reading the entrails of the sacrificial dogcow is a bit easier these days, now that Apple uses Intel CPUs and Intel lays out its processor roadmap months—if not years—in advance.

2006-07-15

blind colors

blindsbedroom
living room, bedroom.

2006-07-14

dealing with dumb formats

10:39:35 AM Ryan Black: i have 1900 files
10:39:43 AM Ryan Black: i want a frequency count of "QUESTION" in each of them
10:39:46 AM Ryan Black: saved into something nice
10:39:55 AM Ryan Black: 1900 Word files, that is.

Word doc files are awful. It could probably be vbscripted, but having Word actually open and handle 1900 files doesn't sound like the best idea. Any sane person's inclincation would be to have a shellscript do it. In addition, he wants some trailing text (a job for grep). The key is catdoc, which is exactly what it sounds like – it cats a word doc! Its brother xls2csv is also a throughly good idea.

2006-07-07

Scott is silly.

But he is a little bit funny. He decided that my methods professor, Andrew Martin, should star in “Revenge of R” (We should start a movement insisting that R be officially pronounced ARRRRRR, pirate-like, just as some assholes insist that LaTeX be pronounced with a gutteral Chi sound at the end and written in the asinine way shown here or worse, with irregular sizes and baselines).

RSPerl saves the day!

Yes, this is a Perl module. But it is also an
R
package. This is because it is a bi-directional interface, it allows
R
to call Perl and that very Perl code to call back to
R
.
It allows us to pass
R
functions to Perl and use them as callable objects. (Passing Perl subroutines or methods to
R
is a little less elegant, but doable.)

R
doesn't handle yuckily or irregularly formed stuff as well as perl, but I’m less adept at manipulating matrices (one of the strengths of
R
) in perl (grabbing some rows, hacking off columns, smacking the rest of the columns onto the end of a working dataset).

australia vote data

consider the following data format, then shoot yourself:

blocks of rows 1…33 × cols 1…12.

Rows are candidates i, columns votecounts v.

Some number g of groups of rows are required per group of counts c. For each c=1…c, rows repeat g times.

Some rows contain summary information; linefeeds between groups b and g vary. Actual candidates are identifiable by having lastnames in caps. The length of c may be determined by an item indicating the total number of counts required. No indication of g is given except the recurrence of a same-named candidate.

The naming scheme of the files containing these is the same for 93,96,98, changes in 2001, and again in 2004. The file formats appear to be the same but once my parser works on a few, I'm sure it will choke a few dozen times. Here is an example file from 1993.

The goal is to parse this into a i×v+x matrix, where x is the stuff we’re actually interested in: who won, in what order, on what count, what party; party magnitude; thresholds/quotas – and eventually the nature of women’s representation in Single Transferable Vote systems. Australia is the largest of these, but Ireland, Malta, and Fiji also use STV in at least one house. The worst file is 2004 New South Wales.

superpomo design

table

Design I like tends to be late modern (more than high / midcentury modern), occasionally with a twist of tongue-in-cheek postmodernism. It is easy to take it over the top. I'll work on a picture of this bundle of incandescent bulbs hanging in Lightology (not in the online store.) but this table annoys me in the same way I suppose the smugness of Ani Difranco does, or we mac users might to hapless windows users.

2006-07-06

half lust / half shopping list

We need several things – a dining table and chairs, bar stools, rugs – and would very much like other things. This list below is both but the stuff above we have to get something functional pretty much right away, though we can’t afford for quite a while the stuff that is more to our liking.
  • dining tableWe’re pretty much dead set on this dining table from cb2.
  • chair?colorhrmchairs? tricky. and we be po’.
  • rug1rug2rug3 rug4Rug thoughts, anyone?
  • from ikeafrom ikeaCoffee table
  • duoSexy couch.
  • deskdesk2desk3A desk for the Scott.

2006-07-05

ooo hot

Adium 1.0 is in public beta. Adium 1.0β is mad unstable.

how will you ever please your husband?

aloo gobi!if you cannot make aloo gobi? (also consult here and here)
I've long liked the online digsmagazine, which calls itself “a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation” (hey! that's us! a goodly portion of the readers are grad student, surprise!). On buying a home and also decorating with what (little) you’ve got:
When you're surrounded by a mish-mash of hand-me-down freebies that are there more for basic function than because you actually gave any thought to whether you liked them, it's hard to imagine how that bland white box of mismatched furnishings is ever going to look a real home. First things first, once you've made the commitment to start decorating that is: take a good, hard look at what you've already got.

well, he's right but not...

Seth Stevenson reviews the brilliant mac ad campaign. He concludes,
But these days, aren't nerds like John Hodgman the new cool kids? And isn't smug superiority (no matter how affable and casually dressed) a bit off-putting as a brand strategy?
No, it is not. It is what the mac brand strategy is all about. Moreover, it's what any “brand strategy” is about: making people buy something because they will be part of the club of owners of thing τ. Clothes, cars, computers, that's what advertising is for. The strategy is honest about what you will undoubtedly become as a mac user: annoyed if you ever do have to use a windows machine, superior to your windowsy friends (“erm, I'm not sure how you'd make a pdf out of that. On a mac you just save it as one.” )

world cup and game theory

Always nice to see a bit of game theory make it a little closer to something people actually read:
Game theory, applied to the problem of penalties, says that if the striker and the keeper are behaving optimally, neither will have a predictable strategy. The striker might favor his stronger side, of course, but that does not mean that there will be a pattern to the bias.The striker might shoot to the right two times out of three, but we cannot then conclude that it will have to be to the left next time.

2006-07-04

it ought to work for a subset of the population...

Girthy wieners.
The spot: An obese man is tending a barbecue grill. He's cooking some Ball Park Franks. He says he likes his hot dogs "girthy." He keeps repeating that word—claiming he likes "the way it rolls off my tongue"—as he holds the frank up to his mouth; issues a guttural moan; and wraps his lips around the big, swinging dog. In all, he says "girthy" a full seven times.

snottsdale!

Scottsdale, AZ — just a few miles from Surprise! where Scott’s parents live — is quite the happening place. First, there was the Super Sweet 16 episode where the ho dyed the poodles pink. Then, there was Ed Helms's hard-hitting investigative piece on the Pink Taco controversy. Now it’s in the Chicago Tribune:

Because image is not something taken lightly here, the cringe factor was high when MTV's “My Super Sweet 16,” featured a Scottsdale teenager.

The episode, which aired in April, showed Marc and K.K. Dubowy spending more than $50,000 on daughter Marissa Leigh's birthday party.

Marissa's party had bouncers and a $3,200 cake. She got two cars for presents (one being a "weekend" car), had three outfit changes throughout the event (one was a $5,000 dress) and had her pet poodles dyed pink to match the party's theme color. Marissa and her friends were so universally detested by viewers that a new Scottsdale moniker stuck: "Snottsdale."

2006-07-03

pretty

coverflowCoverflow, from what I thought just a so-so list overall, of "most beautiful mac apps"

2006-06-29

Judson here writes the same basic idea that Dawkins tries to in the (rather tedious, belabored) Unweaving the Rainbow: science offers a more beautiful and fulfilling way of approaching the mysteries of the world than religion, whose basic message is “we [should] give up.” It also sort of makes me happy to study human social phenomena – few truly believe that elections and policies are decided by a deity. (Even W. knows this; if he didn’t, he would have traded Karl for the chatechism.) She also belies her britishness pretty heavily (“Fieldwork … can also be jolly boring”).

Studying evolution has changed the way I look at nature. For knowing that all of us — oak trees and venus fly traps, starlings and brush turkeys, humans and sea urchins, not to mention bacteria harvesting light from the glowing vents at the bottom of the sea — are the products of the same ancient forces is something that brings me enormous pleasure, awe and a sense of peace. As I have learned more about other organisms, I have come to regard them (and us!) with increasing amazement and delight.

Most of all, though, I find the study of evolution to be a profoundly optimistic way of looking at the world — for the message is: despite the apparent complexity, we can understand. It’s a view of life that unshackles the mind. When we come to a difficult problem — something, say, that appears so complicated it is hard to imagine the steps through which it could have evolved — the solution isn’t to throw up one’s hands and invoke deus ex machina. It’s to imagine, to dream, to wonder: how? And then, to start to work it out.

Review of a possibly interesting perl book (but not a must-buy like Art of SQL)
Of all the popular programming languages now in use, Perl is perhaps the best suited for writing utilities — for several reasons, such as its text-processing capabilities, ease of addressing system resources, and minimal language overhead for input, output, list processing.

objectlust

IDEA (Industrial Design Excellence Awards).
mmmmmm tasty