I sometimes find, when talking to my contemporaries, that some of what has become my personal vernacular over the years refers to things that aren’t really part of the common & general knowledge, for one reason or another. One such term is the “Rube Goldberg machine“–I’d say that less than 10% of the people who I drop that term around… Read more →
I was just having a conversation on Friday with someone about a bunch of Google employees who had ordered up a ridiculous amount of silly putty so they could do an experiment with dropping it from a great height. As someone educated in a faculty of engineering, this made tremendous sense to me: I’ve done my own experiments with various… Read more →
And a tip of the hat to my pal Ms. Kira for putting me onto this artist and this tune–I am unsure how I’ve managed to not hear of this guy before, but some money will be changing hands very shortly, I assure you. Yeah, I can add that to my “drinking songs”1 playlist along with Dave van Ronk’s Last… Read more →
When we are surprised by a particular outcome or event, we should consciously acknowledge that there must be a gap between our perception and reality. A surprise should be a signal inviting us to realign our intuition and our thinking so that they conform to actuality. One of the life lessons that mathematical thinking offers us is that we should… Read more →
Apparently I could make a packet playing poker with the Swiss Supreme Court.
If I’m translating this French news story correctly, then the BQ thinks they can get Harper charged with obstruction of justice, an offence that could carry a 10 year jail sentence. I’m not holding my breath, but I am crossing my fingers. Le Bloc québécois estime que le premier ministre Stephen Harper pourrait être passible de 10 ans de prison.… Read more →
Yes, we’re all supposed to be much more interested in the oil spill at the moment, but we still remember that whole huge financial crisis right? If so, then you will want to read Jeff Madrick’s review of Michael Lewis‘ new book The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine. It’s the best kind of review–it not only gives you a… Read more →
A few years back, I posted some comments about a “great books in genre” list. One of the comments had to do with the lack of female writers on the list, and I tossed out 20 examples of great genre books by women. Sandra MacDonald has taken that kind of effort to a whole new level, creating a periodic table… Read more →
And now, for your amusement, bogglement, edification, and education, a selection of wildly disparate YouTube videos that caught my attention over the last few days. First, from the category of absolutely appropriate pairings and the unlikely beauty where it’s not expected, we’ve got Tom Waits doing a reading of a Bukowski poem: Secondly, from the world of cool ideas that… Read more →
If you’ve paid attention to this blog over the years, you’ll have clued in to the fact that I quite like the occasional malted beverage, and that I strongly prefer the black, opaque ones to the ones I tend to disdainfully dismiss as “see-through beer”. I may also have mentioned over the years that I tend to prefer stouts in… Read more →
Today I ran into (over at PSFK) another extremely well-designed1 infographic that puts the current oil spill into context in a different way… Of course, this doesn’t really make me feel any better. Criminal charges might, though. Or I could find some way to help. The designer’s site is worth a peek as well.(back) Read more →
I am very, very pleased by the news that the entire Bletchley Park archive–millions of documents–are going to be digitized over the next few years. While I suspect the vast, vast majority of the documents won’t be of interest to me at an individual level, it will be a wonderful resource for researchers, and hobbyists. (And make no mistake, the fact that people all over the world will have access to the archive electronically dramatically alters the potential for both researchers and hobbyists to actually do that.) And those people will comb through the digital information to extract things–both individual documents, and aggregate results–that I would be very interested in. Generally speaking, I’m in favour of digitizing almost every document store, but as a long time cryptogeek, I’ve got a special place in my heart for Bletchley’s history.
There is little I could say to add anything to the ongoing discussion around the horrible mess in the Gulf of Mexico–other than, perhaps, to point out that if BP had been required to have relief wells in place more-or-less immediately (as Canada requires) this problem would be resolved already. Those kinds of comments, though, don’t help resolve the current… Read more →