From the monthly archives:

May 2009

Security, more or less

May 30, 2009

58 minutes and 30 seconds into the Google IO demo of Google Wave (youtube link), does Stephanie Hannon actually type out the Wave password by mistake? Is it really "wavewave"? I hope that was just the password for the demo Twitter account and not for anything more sensitive. As Stephanie said, better get that tab […]

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Nessie?

May 30, 2009

Via TangYauHoong.

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The Inviolate Principle...?

May 29, 2009

Those naive financial journalists at The Atlantic are back! Andrew Gelman pointed me toward this misguided look at the latest auto bankruptcy (you know the one I mean). Key quote: Purists -- and virtually every academic economist one happens to encounter -- wonder what happened to the once inviolate principle of rewarding risk-takers. You'll have […]

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Shades of bullishness

May 29, 2009

FT Alphaville has a post up regarding new research from Citi on how analysts make recommendations. It is accompnaied by this graph: The graph shows the average recommendation across all analyst-covered stocks, for the last 15 years. A stock gets a 1 if every analyst recommends buying it; a 5 is given to a universal […]

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Dude, that's a toad

May 29, 2009

Tom Valenti, the world's greatest chef,  is featured in a June 8 Forbes article.  The author spent a day with Tom in upstate New York, hunting/gathering ingredients for a home-caught, home-cooked but nonetheless gourmet meal. Everything down to the spring water was collected in the wild (with the exception, I assume, of the French pinot blanc). […]

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How to animate 10,000 balloons

May 29, 2009

and an old man's suit.

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Google Wave

May 29, 2009

If Google Wave is successful, will anyone care about Twitter anymore? To me the most exciting thing about Google Wave isn't that it's real time; nor that it's live; nor that it combines email, IM, and social networking; nor that it lets people send photos quickly; nor that it is the first "web application" that […]

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The Datarati

May 28, 2009

Wired takes a fascinating look at Googlenomics and Google's Chief Economist Hal Varian in particular: Varian believes that a new era is dawning for what you might call the datarati—and it's all about harnessing supply and demand. "What's ubiquitous and cheap?" Varian asks. "Data." And what is scarce? The analytic ability to utilize that data. […]

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LARS and the lasso

May 28, 2009

I just came across a paper on LARS, the linear model selection algorithm that's sweeping the nation. The mathematically and/or masochistically inclined may view it here.* Ok, so it's not quite that popular, but it is being heralded as one of the biggest advances in linear modelling in a few decades - and that's saying a […]

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First 100 days (of the stimulus bill)

May 28, 2009

The White House is praising the stimulus bill, saying that it has created 150,000 jobs in its first 100 days. Unfortunately, in the last 100 days 9,000,000 people filed jobless claims for the first time.  Thus, the stimulus bill has offset less than 2% of the jobs lost, or - to spin it positively - […]

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On revisions, episode IV (A New Hope?)

May 28, 2009

Durable goods +1.9% vs 0.5%! Durables ex-transportation +0.8% vs -0.3%! Initial jobless claims 5k under expectations! The headlines looked pretty good at 8:30 am, until you took a look at the revisions. Indeed, today's economic numbers serve as yet more examples of creating the false perception of growth by changing the past. Durable goods orders were […]

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Don't know much about calculus

May 28, 2009

Another excellent guest column by Steven Strogatz for the NYT Wild Side blog. The post delves into the mathematical beauty of the natural world, using love as a knowingly over-simplified metaphor. Although these examples are whimsical, the equations that arise in them are of the far-reaching kind known as differential equations. They represent the most […]

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Thursday trends are being vewy vewy quiet

May 28, 2009

Today's graph indicates that hunting peaks during the late fall and early winter, while fishing peaks during the summer.  "Fishing" is the more-searched term throughout the year and "hunting" is only more frequently searched in late November/early December.  Furthermore, deer is the most commonly hunted animal and "deer" follows the same cyclical pattern as "hunting". […]

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Web 3.0 is/isn't coming

May 26, 2009

Looks like I'm not the only one -- All Things D has declared we are on the cusp of Web 3.0: This year, as we convene the seventh edition of D: All Things Digital, we think something major is happening at the intersection of tech and media, and we think it deserves its own new hyped-up […]

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End of an era: Harvard kills its squash courts

May 25, 2009

Vanity Fair on Harvard's Vanishing Squash Courts: Artist James Powers, Harvard ’08, proved to be an invaluable source on two fronts. He knew about the four unused squash courts in Adams House because he had painted in them, seen movies inside them, and, like the other students, stored junk in them over the summer. Had […]

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WordPress 2.8 beta 2 + TinyMCE 3.2.4 + Safari 4 beta = :) (finally)

May 25, 2009

WordPress 2.7 was released in December 2008 and represented a milestone in the software's development, incorporating a number of major changes in particular to the back end. One of the most visible was the inclusion of the latest TinyMCE post editor (version 3.2). Unfrotunately, TinyMCE 3.2 doesn't play nicely with the Safari 4 beta. Specifically, […]

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Who is this wheelchair dude, and where is his vestibule?

May 24, 2009

If you type "observe" into Apple's thesaurus, the helpful app shows the word in a sentence: Who is this wheelchair dude, and where is his vestibule?

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Green shoots?

May 22, 2009

With all this "green shoots" talk, I almost forgot that R sent me this picture: I think it speaks for itself.

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Dead shoots?

May 22, 2009

Happily, I've only used the term "green shoots" one time in the brief history of TGR, and then only sarcastically in the title of this cartoon (which I stand by, as this post should make evident). The term has always struck me as ridiculous, and not solely because it was first uttered at a time […]

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Thursday trends are one day late

May 22, 2009

Google search data reveals an (un)surprising truth about Christmas dinners.

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Data.gov + Wolfram Alpha = Skynet?

May 21, 2009

Data.gov launched today, a surprisingly good-looking archive of government data. It has the potential to be an incredibly powerful resource, but I'll be really exicted when it has more than 47 datasets (and only a handful in CSV; KML is nice, but I don't see Google Earth running any regressions). I'll be patient - the […]

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Perspective

May 21, 2009

From my favorite 5-book trilogy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in […]

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Tweeting Libor

May 21, 2009

I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you to stop what you're doing and listen: The British Bankers’ Association announced today it is now publishing its key benchmark figure (three-month sterling LIBOR) on Twitter every afternoon, shortly after it is announced to the financial markets. Words fail. Libor, a […]

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Credit cards and loaded guns: another day in politics

May 21, 2009

I think I've seen something like this on late night TV: Congress has a new bill which overhauls credit card regulations... and they're throwing in relaxed gun control, absolutely free (but only if Obama signs right now)! Indeed, the latest fiasco out of Washington is a rushed so-called consumer protection plan, which has a second […]

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Self-shadowing, briefly

May 20, 2009

The next great hurdle in consumer graphics technology is the successful implementation of self-shadowing. In every successive generation of graphics technology, programmers have made massive steps toward approximating the rendering equation. We've moved from simple vertices and shaded polygons to advanced geometry and multi-pass shader engines. But real-time graphics remain stuck in an uncanny valley […]

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Urban mathematics

May 20, 2009

Zipf's law is another mathematical phenomenon not entirely unrelated to Benford's law (in fact, some think that Benford is a special case of Zipf). (Aside, it's funny how after you discuss something, it seems to pop up everywhere - Kahneman and Tversky would have a lot to say on that, I'm sure.) Zipf's law is […]

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Tuesday trends like an Apple a day

May 19, 2009

All this talk of Microsoft and Apple's relative values sent me quickly to Google, where I pulled up the following chart: The blue line is searches for "Microsoft;" the red is for "Apple." I've filtered it by "Computers & Electronics" to limit the impact of a certain fruit. The blue spike around April first is […]

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Visualizing randomness

May 19, 2009

Daniel Becker's diploma dissertation was on the visualization of randomness - finding concrete ways to map the highly abstract idea of random behaviors and patterns. The resulting portfolio is fascinating, even for someone without a statistical background, in particular for the way in which it lends a semblance of order to these inherently chaotic processes. […]

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Charting value (maybe)

May 19, 2009

Silicon Valley Insider presented this as its Chart of the Day today, saying it indicates the success of Microsoft's "Laptop Hunter" ads: First of all, it takes some digging to learn what this scale even means, which brings us to a violation of charting rule #1: do not use a misleading axis! The true scale […]

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"Why do we live together?"

May 18, 2009

This hilarious spot for Nike aired last night - the simple premise (established in the slightly-less-funny "Chalk" ad) is that Kobe and LeBron are inexplicably roommates. Also, they are muppets.

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