July 27, 2006

Visualizations of complexity

Seed magazine has a short article about different methods of visualizing complex data sets. They link to the prefuse gallery, with more interesting visualizations. And that in turn introduces you to the name explorer, visualizing trends in popular names over the last hundred years.

Posted by matt at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

Poincare Conjecture solved?

Who the hell knows!
No one understands the proof.

Reuters article

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September 08, 2004

August 23, 2004

The web just keeps getting weirder

So. Here's how it goes. You've been reading the web for years. Sure, there are lots of people out there who are passionate, even rabid, about something. Then you found the people who were into combining things from pop culture that were never meant to be. You've seen celebrity porn. You've seen fan fiction crossing Party of Five with 7th Heaven and Quantum Leap. You've even seen Klingon porn. And then one day you find a website dedicated to faked pictures of celebrities, not nude, not sexually explicit, but wearing the colors of Celtic, the football club. That's right, not one, not five, not ten, but hundreds upon hundreds of photoshopped pictures of every stripe (no pun intended) of celebrity, character, musician, actor, all wearing the green and white of Celtic. Exsqueeze me? Don't people have linoleum that they need to watch peeling instead?

Posted by matt at 02:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 13, 2004

Breaking up, and breaking it all down

When you think about it
what is a relationship worth?
The tender moments - the happy moments - the bitter moments - the quiet ones. Sometimes we're full, sometimes we feel sucked dry. Inevitably we a drawn to them, whomever we are. Is it worth it? - for those who've been hurt, Whats to loose? - For those who haven't.

If you sit down with paper and a pen, are things like this quantifiable?

There is an interesting paper just published looking at relationships, sex, money and how they equate. A slew of psychological data has come out on this in the past few years. If you don't feel like braving the paper - a NYT article sums it up nicely. Anyhow, this list seemed the best place to post it.

On the side - there is a great program from This American Life talking about this - and other things - number related. (You need Real Player)

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March 25, 2004

global network of dreams

www.gnod.net stands for global network of dreams. it will
suggest writers, music, or movies based on your favorites. It's pretty

www.flork.com is the gnod social net... which has no features,

Posted by matt at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2004

Eastern Standard Tribe - new Cory Doctorow book

The book Eastern Standard Time, from Cory Doctorow, the author of Down and Out in the Magic Kindgdom has arrived. http://www.craphound.com/est/. If his last novel is any indication, it should be worth a read.

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February 02, 2004

Effects of Gulf Stream Bye Bye

How Global Warming May Cause the Next Ice Age...

A well written article about how the Gulf Stream may be shutting off. A minor result would be for europe to have the same weather as it's lattitudinal sisters: Alaska, Siberia, etc. A major result would be full blown, 100,000 year ice age. Once the Gulf Stream shuts down, climate change takes only 1 - 3 years. The fresh water from the melting ice caps may force this issue.

If the Great Conveyor Belt, which includes the Gulf Stream, were to stop flowing today, the result would be sudden and dramatic. Winter would set in for the eastern half of North America and all of Europe and Siberia, and never go away. Within three years, those regions would become uninhabitable and nearly two billion humans would starve, freeze to death, or have to relocate. Civilization as we know it probably couldn't withstand the impact of such a crushing blow.
Posted by brainsik at 01:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

January 31, 2004

The Economics of Orgasm

This post ripped off from the Marginal Revolution.

The Economics of Orgasm
Tyler Cowen

I've been an economist for so long that I don't flinch when the paper abstract starts as follows:

"This paper models love-making as a signaling game. In the act of love-making, man and woman send each other possibly deceptive signals about their true state of ecstasy. Each has a prior belief about the other's state of ecstasy. These prior beliefs are associated with the other's sexual response capacity..."

Or if that is not enough for you: "In this paper, love is formally defined as a mixture of altruism and possessiveness. Love is shown to alter the man and the woman's payoff functions in a way that increases the equilibrium probability of faking, but more so for the woman than for the man."

Here is the full paper. I could go on with quotations, but why don't we look at the empirical results, drawn from an extensive data set and questionnaire:

1. 72 percent of women admit to having faked it in their current or most recent relationship, for men the number is 26 percent.

2. You are more likely to fake an orgasm if you are in love. "It was the men I deceived the most that I loved the most," said Marguerite Duras.

3. Being in love and faking are less positively correlated for men than for women. Perhaps men want to look like studs, regardless of the seriousness of the relationship.

4. Women mind less if their partners fake orgasm. (Might some be positively relieved to have it over?)

5. Faking is correlated with age, but in complicated ways. It depends on whether you love your partner, whether you are a man or woman, and how old you are.

6. The more education you have, the more likely you are to fake orgasm. I found this to be the most interesting result.

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January 26, 2004

Film records effects of eating only McDonald's for a month

This sounded like a rather dangerous experiment. The results are quite surprising even though you probably are expecting the worst.

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January 12, 2004

Strong Teeth for a Strong America

A person named Vermin Supreme is running for president, and simultaneously competing with TimeCube for the prize of ugliest HTML ever. Don't miss the flash intro.



Posted by matt at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2004

Double Pulsar

A double pulsar has been discovered, an object which may emit gravitational waves we can observe on Earth.

press release: http://www.atnf.csiro.au/news/press/double_pulsar/
Nature article: http://www.nature.com/nsu/040105/040105-12.html

Posted by matt at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2004

Star Trek for Communists

All aboard the Krasny Avantyurist!

Posted by matt at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2003

Fusion Future

ITER is an international project to build a demonstration tokamak fusion reactor in the next few years. It's delayed due to politics, but if it is successful it will be the first fusion reactor to produce sustained power.

Posted by matt at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2003

The programmer as (starving) artist

The programmer as (starving) artist, by roblimo, is an interesting, if frightening, article.

Posted by matt at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2003

Math in Snow

Amazing sculptures; interesting mathematical objects carved in snow. See it all at http://www.stanwagon.com/. (Also the home of the square wheeled bicycle.)
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December 07, 2003

How an Elephant becomes a Bear

In case you were wondering, Hal R. Varian writes how the stock market does better under Democrats than Republicans.

Posted by richard at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

December 03, 2003

Exploding Black Holes Rain Down on Earth

Black Holes are falling! Black Holes are falling! cried Chicken Little. The NewScientist looked up and sighed....

Posted by richard at 10:44 PM | TrackBack (4)

November 28, 2003

Foreign Accent Syndrome

For the linguists. From Science Blog:

A University of Central Florida speech expert has diagnosed an extremely rare disorder in a Sarasota woman that caused her to speak with a British accent after she suffered a stroke. The case of Foreign Accent Syndrome -- a disorder linked to stroke-related or other internal brain injuries that leaves affected people with a foreign-sounding accent -- is one of fewer than 20 reported worldwide since 1919, according to Jack Ryalls, professor of communicative disorders at UCF.


Posted by brainsik at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Mapping Linux to Beer

A short and silly article mapping various flavors of linux to beer. The stage is set by comparing Windows to it's obvious, popular, American beer counterpart.

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November 24, 2003

Our Highwater Mark?

This article from Morgan Stanley reminded me of that scene In Fear and Loathing where H.Thompson is rambling about how San Francisco was so pivotal for a time and space. And how now (well, 1970's) we're left with memories and dashed hopes about what might have happened had the waters not rolled back. Albeit global trade is nothing to get teary eyed over, but it has had a huge and profound impact on our lives - the lives of Australians, the lives of Vietnamese, Chinese, French, South African, Norwegian etc. Losing it will effect us just as much. Trade liberalization has its dark side - but development can't exist without it. And that world seems much uglier from where I sit as the divergence between those that can and those that can't only continues to increase. Anyhow, just some thoughts thrown out there for the general non-discussion.

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November 09, 2003

A nation apart

The Economist lets us know how divergent from Europe, the world and ourselves we are becoming.

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October 31, 2003

hi-res moth scans

From Sasha:

speaking of insects, an artist named Joseph Scheer has figured out a way to put moths on a scanner to create high-res images. he's come out with a book and the images are pretty miraculous. i love the way that the little fibers of their bodies get flattened against the scanner glass.

Uncommon Vision @ National Geographic Magazine

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October 27, 2003

models made from 9"diameter paper plates

Wholemovment models made from 9"diameter paper plates. Check it out. Its cool.

Posted by moore at 08:26 AM | TrackBack (1)

October 24, 2003

Brain Trust

Posted to the Squid List:

San Francisco conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has recently announced that he has filed with the United States Copyright Office for intellectual property protection on his mind. Because Title 17 of the United States Code stipulates that copyright "endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the author's death", experts have calculated that Jonathon Keats's mind will survive, legally speaking, for precisely seven decades after his body stops working. In order to exploit this opportunity, he will transfer all intellectual property rights to the Jonathon Keats Holding Company immediately upon his death. Operating expenses for the Holding Company will be covered by the sale of Keats's brain. An initial public offering of futures contracts on his neurons -- at a premium of 1/1000 of a cent per neuron, against a 1 cent per neuron postmortem strike price -- will take place at the Modernism art gallery, 685 Market Street, San Francisco, on Thursday, October 23rd between 5:30 and 8:00. Refreshments will be served.

See the prospectus
Read about the project on Wired News

Posted by brainsik at 11:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2003

The origins of the entity Poppins

This Report by Operative Theta7/Gamara-Esh-Sol Sector Mr. Banks is topping my list of weirdest things I've found on the web so far, beating out the Rubber Chicken Tower, recently resurected at The Internet Wayback Machine.

Posted by matt at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

The Language Genome Project

The Language Genome Project is applying techniques used to determine inheritance from DNA to languages, and coming up with some interesting results.

Posted by matt at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2003

The Exaggerated Impact of Trade

Trade Wars: The Exaggerated Impact of Trade in Economic Debate a paper byRichard Freeman examines how both protesters and financial institutions alike are focusing on the wrong thing. WTO policies have minimal impact on the welfare of citizens in developing countries; more important are technology transfer, international migration and financial crisis.

You can almost hear the Nike machines cranking into overdrive. But he makes a good, and true, point.

---- Abstract -----

The rules governing trade and capital flows have been at the center of controversy as globalization has proceeded. One reason is the belief that trade and capital flows have massive effects on the labor market -- either positive, per the claims of international financial institutions and free trade enthusiasts, or negative, per the ubiquitous protestors at WTO, IMF, and World Bank meetings demanding global labor standards. Comparing the claims made in this debate with the outcomes of trade agreements, this paper finds that the debate has exaggerated the effects of trade on economies and the labor market. Changes in trade policy have had modest impacts on labour market. Other aspects of globalization -- immigration, capital flows, and technology transfer -- have greater impacts, with volatile capital flows creating great risk for the well-being of workers. As for labor standards, global standards do not threaten the comparative advantage of developing countries nor do poor labor standards create a race to the bottom'.

Posted by richard at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Catholic Churches Say Condoms Don't Stop AIDS

Chances are you've heard about this already, it's causing quite an uproar.
The thing that really pisses me off is it's not just benign, you know. Ignorance kills.
Spreading the word to these countires is really really difficult b/c the ones most ravaged by AIDS tend to be poor and technologically stunted. I guess I'm looking to those of you interested in information theory for answers.

LONDON (Reuters) - The lives of Roman Catholics in some of the countries worst hit by HIV/AIDS are being put at even greater risk by advice from their churches that the use of condoms does not prevent transmission of the disease, according to a British television program.

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October 08, 2003


A Linux Distro for Barbie?, is a funny article covering the psychology of girls 4 - 11 and the specs of a new linux desktop.

The next Barbie B-Book desktop will be running BarbieOS 1.0, a linux desktop environment with ReiserFS, KDE, GRUB, ...

"If Barbie were a career-focused woman working in the IT industry in 2003, she would support open standards," he says. "She would be seeking out free and open-source alternatives to current proprietary solutions, saving her company tens of thousands of dollars on management headaches associated with tracking software licenses and preparing for BSA audits. She would be looking at deploying Linux clients on the desktop and Linux servers in the back office. She wouldn't be willing to sacrifice power for features, and she would demand a system that is stable, secure, and easily configurable."

"Barbie would also be tired of Microsoft's licensing bullshit," he added.

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September 25, 2003

Develop Fearsome Defensive Power with Catty & Co.

At the animation show last night there was a preview for Tamala 2010, "A Punk Cat in Space" - a new (?) animation out of Japan which looks genuinely weird.

Posted by matt at 04:04 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

A self-perpetuating Google-flop

From Debian Weekly News - September 16th, 2003:

No Dueling Banjos from Debian. Some of the most bizarre mails on debian-devel over the years have been repeated requests by various people for the sheet music for dueling banjos. Several list subscribers have been eager to assist the posters in their search. Jim Penny called this the Dueling Banjo Effect and explained that this has become a self-perpetuating Google-flop. People use Google which points them to Debian to get this sheet music, and the act of asking reinforces Google's notion that Debian is a good place to get the music.

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