Anyways, I didn’t really think anything of it at the time. But look at the girls: they’re pretty uniform in appearance: white, in their 20’s, with straight hair. And though Match has plenty of pictures of attractive women, they kept on showing me pictures of girls that pretty-much look the same as these girls.
I didn’t even realize I was being profiled until a few months ago. I went to a Punch Brothers concert and created a few bluegrass and country stations. I also downloaded the android app.
Immediately after downloading the android app, the Match ads changed.
My old compatriots at Lumesis are producing the clearest maps around of the awful drought conditions covering 40% of the arable land in the US. Droughts are always under-reported stories: they are classic ‘slow-onset’ disasters without the visuals of fires or earthquakes, but the disruptions cover wide areas.
Gregg did a quick write-up you can read here.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
- from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Among the three-dozen-or-so people in the US that care about things like pop-science reporting and who’s a New Yorker staff writer, Jonah Lehrer has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons of late.
I don’t normally take time out to put in notes on behalf of people who have admitted to making false quotes, but the uproar over this strikes me as pure Schadenfreude. I mean, really, tablet [who broke the story] thinks they’re getting DDoS’ed?
It is funny when someone you knew becomes famous. I have 3 people in my life who have become famous after I met them (I am in touch with none of them). I’d like to think that a run-in with someone nearly a decade ago gives me a special insight into who they are. I’m obviously an idiot for thinking that, but I can’t help it. The other two famous people have public perceptions that match up with my experience of them perfectly. But Jonah’s public persona (which I think can be summed up by the word ‘douchebag’) is totally different from the guy I met.
I met Jonah in 2003: he had just won a scholarship you have probably heard of and I had won one a smaller one you probably haven’t. We and the two other winners had lunch together at a place just off Columbia’s campus.
I remember Jonah extremely well from this single meeting: he was far more polished than the rest of us and had already done so much (he had graduated early I think, and was researching for a Nobel Prize winner while working as a line chef at a famous restaurant on the side). I was in awe of him.
At the dinner celebrating the fact he won a Rhodes Scholarship, I think he could have been forgiven for being a little bit of a douche. But he wasn’t at all: I remember him being funny, modest and graceful.
So while others are burying Jonah, I’m remembering that he’s written some good stuff, some bad stuff, but that he was a good guy when I met him and I hope he can come out of these mistakes stronger than before.
Back from vacation
I’ve uploaded the code I used for the language graph at the bottom of the page here.
Feel free to use (I guess technically I’m publishing via the most recent Creative Commons license): obviously no guarantees/warranties are made by me. Please let me know if you do something cool with the code though.
Any updates to this I’ll announce via twitter.
A few weeks ago I posted over at the Lumesis blog about the first public pension bankruptcy in US history. In short, a small US protectorate owes retirees about $1 Billion and has about 30% of that. So they are filing for bankruptcy.
This was a big deal because there is a huge pension problem in the US right now. Municipalities are a trillion dollars in the hole on this, and it is likely that other cities/states will consider bankruptcy. Numerically this is similar to what is happening in Europe now,
Except… the ruling two weeks ago was that the pension fund can’t declare bankruptcy. It’s against the law.
Now I certainly support the pensioners right to petition, and that they should be paid. But it is clear that there isn’t enough money to go around.
Governmental agencies that aren’t able to pay and aren’t able to restructure become zombie cities, similar to zombie banks. Somewhere between dead and alive, they stumble around aimlessly. Harrisburg, which tried to file for bankruptcy, had its receiver quit in frustration and the new one is threatening to sue the city council, and it’s unclear who is legally in charge. The city has been seeing it’s unemployment rate spike compared to the rest of the state. It’s unclear if any governing is actually happening. Harrisburg is a zombie.
There are good reasons for bankruptcy laws: allowing people and organizations to fail and start over fresh is crucial to making them productive. There’s a shrinking pie and pensioners shouldn’t be the only (or even primary) people impacted. But judges cannot deny the insolvency of these institutions forever.
As some of you saw today, I posted some work I did on European Languages. To memorialize it on the blog, the link is here.
After finishing a second geeky little project this AM, I’m adding a new page to the blog for any side-project I work on. You can see them at the projects page. There’s a link at the top of the page as well. I don’t have any plans to add to this in the short term but should a new idea catch my fancy, you’ll see it there.
I have been playing around with d3.js, an amazing library by Mike Bostock. I am strictly at a script-kiddie level of knowledge, but while I was playing with some variables, the lady-friend noticed that the object looked a little like the very hungry caterpillar. I actually think it looks more like a little nematode.
Since I refuse to buy a dog, I am calling this our new pet: Snuffy the Nematode. You can meet Snuffy here.