From the monthly archives:

October 2009

Living in a Bayesian world

October 30, 2009

Increasingly, I've noted in my discussions with statisticians and practitioners a reliance on Bayesian methods. Bayesian statistics rely on an understanding of the uncertainty of a hypothesis. For example, Bayesian hypotheses are literally updated as new information becomes available. Bayesian analyses will also rely heavily on conditional probabilities, or the understanding of likelihoods that depend […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

This is awesome

October 30, 2009

Google maps navigation: the first time I've genuinely thought, "I wish my iPhone did that." Update 10/30: And soon, it will! (barring any Google Voice-style shenanigans)

2 comments Read the whole post →

How many roads...

October 29, 2009

Ben Fry has created a stunning image consisting of the 26 million roads in the United States (click to zoom): Nothing other than asphalt (gravel, dirt...) has been drawn here, but geographic and political features emerge nonetheless. In a very real sense, the geography is a latent feature of the roads dataset, as it creates […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Things that keep me up at night: signing into Amazon

October 29, 2009

If you head over to Amazon, you may see this at the top of your logged-out screen: Now, there are times when you hyperlink nouns. In fact, most hyperlinks are on nouns, since they lead to more information on the thing referenced (think of the Wikipedia model). Sometimes, it is more appropriate to hyperlink a […]

1 comment Read the whole post →

Don Draper would be proud

October 28, 2009

Recently, there have been countless ads for auto insurance all making a similar claim: drivers who switch to that firm save significant amounts of money. How can every major insurance company make a similar statement? They can't all be cheaper than every other company, on average. As a particularly egregious example, Allstate's website declares it […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

How Shazam works

October 28, 2009

Ever wondered how song-identifying iPhone app Shazam works? Now you know. (For the link-averse: it's a pretty cool implementation of pattern matching across song spectograms, and the key insight was to first reduce the spectograms by including only peak frequencies. Simple, yet genius.) (via Revolutions)

2 comments Read the whole post →

Fuzzy AIG math

October 28, 2009

A bit of out-of-context math from a recent Bloomberg article on AIG: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the regional Fed office with special responsibility for Wall Street, opened an $85 billion credit line for New York-based AIG. That bought it 77.9 percent of AIG and effective control of the insurer. The government’s commitment to […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

A rock and a hard place

October 27, 2009

The Times has an article about the Mets Fan's Dilemma: who to root for in this year's World Series? [T]he misery of this uninspired season has been unexpectedly heightened by the indignity of watching their most despised division rival face off against their despised crosstown rival in the World Series For me, the question is […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Pun watch: Chrysler edition

October 27, 2009

Front page of today's WSJ: Fiat Models to Drive Chrysler. On the plus side, the Alfa Romeo brand will be making its way to our shores.

0 comments Read the whole post →

More Zero Hedge nonsense

October 26, 2009

Via Naked Capitalism: I just came across a post on Zero Hedge called “An Overview Of The Fed’s Intervention In Equity Markets Via The Primary Dealer Credit Facility.” Now, that’s a mouthful. As far as I can discern, the post’s purpose is to expose alleged equities market manipulation by the Federal Reserve. However, I found […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Bloomingdales' hi-tech showcase?

October 26, 2009

Confession: I got lost in Bloomingdales. This turned out to be a Very Good Thing, because it's how, way in the back of the women's cosmetics department, I discovered that Bloomingdales has a glasses-free 3D television set. The screen itself is unassuming, and positioned as the backdrop to a small un-manned display table, just like […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Soylent Flickr

October 26, 2009

Flickr is going after Facebook.

0 comments Read the whole post →

There's an app for that

October 22, 2009

Steve Ballmer fires across the bow: "Let's face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone," Ballmer said. "That's why they've got 75,000 applications — they're all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone." I'm not sure what's more amusing - the absurdity of […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Colors of Harvard Square

October 22, 2009

From Cartogrammar, an absolutely brilliant application of the Flickr API produces this map of the colors of Harvard Square: The map was created by taking geocoded photos from Flickr and calculating the average hue of the photograph, then plotting that color on the map and interpolating between all the resulting points.  Astoundingly, this image shows […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Men are from mars, women are from gmail

October 22, 2009

ReadWriteWeb's coverage of a new study on webmail demographics contains one sentence that left me a little confused: Gmail, for instance, includes more females (53%) than males (47%). If those were election poll results, we would call it "too close to call," but in terms of tens of thousands of users, these percentage point differences […]

2 comments Read the whole post →

Voxel Octrees

October 22, 2009

Tom's Hardware has a nice overview of voxel rendering with octrees, John Carmack's championed alternative to ray tracing. Nothing revolutionary here but a good read - though I remain in the ray tracing camp rather than the ray casting one.

0 comments Read the whole post →

First rule of trading is you don't talk about trading

October 16, 2009

In a post that caught my eye because it was titled "Smart Risk, Stupid Risk" - but then failed to elaborate in any way - CNBC chimes in with a few caveats about investing during earnings season: You snooze, you lose If you're waiting to find out the earnings before you make an investment in […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Because a little marketing goes a long way

October 16, 2009

From the WSJ's back page: Why bother? Despite posting a strong third quarter, Goldman Sachs Group went to extra lengths to put gloss on the results. The first bullet point in its earnings release says the firm ranked No. 1 in global mergers and acquisitions announced in the year through Sept. 25. That's according to […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Nature abhors a Higgs

October 16, 2009

A few days ago, the NYT published a bizarre article which suggested - or rather, which discussed a paper that itself suggested - that the Large Hadron Collider was actually being sabotaged. By itself. From the future. (I promise you won't regret clicking that link. I've watched the video four times just writing this.) Confused, […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Data intervention

October 16, 2009

The always-excellent How I Met Your Mother addresses a major social problem: (via FlowingData)

0 comments Read the whole post →

QOTD: cryptoracist edition

October 16, 2009

A Louisiana justice of the peace refused to marry an interracial couple. Trying to defend his actions, he then stated: "I try to treat everyone equally." The mind boggles.

0 comments Read the whole post →

The most important news you will read this week

October 15, 2009

It was buried deep, deep in the Arts section of Tuesday's NYT, but nonetheless, sitting in an airport food court, I found it: ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ Sequel Lands in Britain Apparently it is not standard practice for British men and women to gather dressed in bathrobes and toting towels. When hundreds of fans thus clad assembled […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Bridge of the future, car of the past

October 14, 2009

The NYT has an article up about a new generation of bridges designed by the University of Maine. The bridges take advantage of new composite materials and can be built relatively cheaply, and the technology is being pitched as a means of patching up the United States' aging infrastructure. Accompanying the NYT article is one […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Haven't we seen this movie before?

October 14, 2009

In a recent profile of KKR, Breakingviews.com (via the NYTimes) attempted to value the company by taking a look at Blackstone's operations. I don't have any comment on the analysis itself, but two excerpts stood out in my mind: [Blackstone] didn’t do as well collecting performance fees and investment gains because its holdings have been […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

That Hertz

October 14, 2009

When you rent a car from Hertz, they offer three refueling options for when you return: Do it yourself (market price) Have Hertz do it ($6.89/gallon) Pre-purchase your refill ($2.89/gallon) On the surface, the pre-purchase looks pretty good. As the salespeople point out, "it's 20 cents below the pump!" But the small print is that […]

0 comments Read the whole post →

Things I saw (Friday)

October 9, 2009

I’m driving around California for a week with a camera to keep me company.  

1 comment Read the whole post →

Things I saw (Thursday)

October 8, 2009

I’m driving around California for a week with a camera to keep me company.

0 comments Read the whole post →

Things I saw (Wednesday)

October 7, 2009

I'm driving around California for a week with a camera to keep me company.

0 comments Read the whole post →

Things I saw (Tuesday)

October 6, 2009

I'm driving around California for a week with a camera to keep me company.

0 comments Read the whole post →

Things I saw (Monday)

October 5, 2009

I'm driving around California for a week with a camera to keep me company.

0 comments Read the whole post →