Looks like a butterfly

As pointed out at Slashdot a couple of days ago, there is a pretty interesting converstation going on over at Wikipedia about whether it is ethical for them to include images of Rorschach inkblots. The inkblots are now in the public domain, so the issue is not ownership. The issue is that the Rorschach inkblot test requires that the images be novel to the subject, so would Wikipedia be doing harm by potentially depriving those in need of psychological help a potential treatment tool. The conversation on the talk page has gotten quite long so I’ve only skimmed most of … Continue reading Looks like a butterfly

I am equally mathematically and pop-culturally prominent!

I think everybody knows about Bacon numbers (distance between people in the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game) and if you hang in math circles you know about Erdos numbers (publication distance from the prolific Paul Erdos) but I just found out that people have started computing Erdős–Bacon numbers (via ALOTT5MA). Traditionally one only counts credited movie appearances towards one’s Bacon number, but for this, a relaxed set of rules is adopted which gives me a Bacon-Erdos number! I get an Erdos number of 4 through a paper with my PhD advisor and I get a Bacon number of 4 … Continue reading I am equally mathematically and pop-culturally prominent!

the ultimate junk shop

I finally got around to watching this short documentary (split into five pieces) about a nuclear laboratory surplus shop in Los Alamos while baking cookies today, and it is pretty cool. Both the stuff that this guy has, but also the fact that this guy is living in Los Alamos, used to be a machinist at the lab, is currently repurposing what the lab discards, and is now quite outspoken against nuclear experimentation. It’s interesting to see the town reaction to him also. If you haven’t seen that site, which I had not before this, it’s got some other interesting … Continue reading the ultimate junk shop

I guess the snow is pretty at least

The week before finals is the long dark teatime of the academic soul. When it corresponds with the first frigid, blowsy weather of the winter, the mind turns to piles of poofy blankets. Barring that, I end up wondering if we have enough laptops to relocate my small advanced programming class to be held around the campus center fireplace with mugs of hot chocolate…. I start thinking that a brain shawl would be cozy and timely. Or at least decide that I need to get serious about shopping for a new winter coat. It is not too late to catch … Continue reading I guess the snow is pretty at least

How about drive-through legal advice – do they have that too?

It is slightly frightening that we have moved past saying that just having a high school degree is not enough, to just having a college degree not being enough to just having a law degree not being enough. Okay, that is an exaggeration, and these people definitely seem well employed, but this is an interesting look at the mind-numbing grunt work some lawyers are getting hired to do. It feels like the legal analog to programmer outsourcing – the good jobs are the creative jobs, and the competition for them is strong. Certainly this type of skilled temp/contract work is … Continue reading How about drive-through legal advice – do they have that too?

Good thing they didn’t find sea monsters….

I did a bit of a mental double-take when I saw this article about Russia planting a flag on the North Pole seabed to claim the land as Russian, because it seemed a century or two out of date. On reading it, it turns out that I am not the only one who thought so: In a record-breaking dive, the two craft planted a one metre-high titanium Russian flag on the underwater Lomonosov ridge, which Moscow claims is directly connected to its continental shelf. However, the dangerous mission prompted ridicule and scepticism among other contenders for the Arctic’s energy wealth, … Continue reading Good thing they didn’t find sea monsters….

This and that….

I’m back from traveling for a couple of weeks and am digging out from a backlog of real and electronic email and feeds that I’ve fallen behind on. So, that is going to just be a hodge-podge link dump today of what caught more than my passing attention… I don’t think I would use the Polar Clock in a web browser or even on my computer, but this would make an awesome digital clock to hang on the wall. The only thing that is a little odd is that the outer ring is the day of the week instead of … Continue reading This and that….

Things I Do Not Need, But Want

Over the past couple of days I’ve come across a few things that I absolutely do not need, and absolutely covet – mostly because I am a huge geek: spicelab small magnetic spice rack – display your spices mounted in test tubes! I’d use up the spices that come with it and then use it to store the herbs I grow in my backyard…. blossom lights – led lit branches with faux flowering buds are so pretty pretty much everything at Pololu, a new-to-me robotics shop – I suspect they even sell gears!