Paper: Contours and Tight Clusters

Normally I would not announce a paper while it is still under peer review (which “Contours and Tight Clusters” is), but in this case I may soon be needing to share it with some folks, so I decided I would publish the preprint here. Actually, not here exactly, but over at my new domain, semitrivial.com: [...]

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How to follow lots of academic journals

In a world of constant obligations and responsibilities, it’s hard to keep current on the academic literature. My new program, Undeadline, is the solution. You can try various methods, like RSS feeds or Google Scholar alerts, to notify you when new issues hit the press. This doesn’t work very well, though, in practice. All the [...]

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Announcing: Undeadline

Have you had so much to do that you wished you had your own personal triage nurse? Never again! I am extremely happy to give you Undeadline. Undeadline is panacea for all who suffer from the twenty-first century working paradox: 21st Century Working Paradox: We’re too busy to be ambitious, and too ambitious to relax! [...]

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ARIE (Almost lineaR algorIthm for undirparEnts)

In November 2013 I wrote this little library called ARIE and “published” it via email to select parties; I am now making it available to a wider public audience. ARIE is a C implementation of an almost linear algorithm designed by Arie de Bruin and colleagues to calculate undirparental relations in a topologically sorted DAG. [...]

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A TSP solver that may run in constant time (as far as ZFC knows)

This post is one of those quick notes that might be humorous to maybe six people in the world Key: TSP stands for Traveling Salesman Problem ZFC stands for Zermelo-Fraenkel Set Theory with the Axiom of Choice. By Church’s Thesis there exists a two-tape Turing machine T which accepts one input and performs the following [...]

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Thoughts on teaching: emphasize content, not section numbers

A short post, to break a very long run of silence. I’ve been busier than the tenth busy beaver number recently, and finally have a little breathing room (like, a couple hours) for the first time in forever. Anyway, on to the blog post. HYPOTHESIS / CONJECTURE: Students will connect better with mathematics if we [...]

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Fireworks in the Netherlands

Until this year, I never saw fireworks. Scratch that, what I mean is I never saw fireworks. Sure, I saw the usual city fireworks, where trained and certified technicians launch choreographed pyrotechnics from somewhere downtown. I even saw Japanese fireworks (which work the same way, except for being all sideways). When I made arrangements to [...]

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Examples of Campbell’s Law

Campbell’s Law states that any time a quantitative metric is used to make policy decisions effecting the people involved, that metric will lose its correlation with the actual performance you’re trying to measure. To quote Campbell himself: The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to [...]

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Knight-Darwin Law and Dual Knight-Darwin Law

The Knight-Darwin Law is really more of a simplifying axiom than a law, but then the same can be said for Newton’s Laws of Motion. This axiom is named for Thomas Andrew Knight and Charles Darwin. From what I can gather with my limited powers of literature review, the law was a big deal for [...]

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PHD Comics Suck

Bad news. My doctorate was revoked, explanation: “No-one graduates.” All my papers were rejected, the editors couldn’t find time to review them. I complained to my department and they said “Who are you again?” Of course, none of these things actually happened. The above words were transmitted by my counterpart in the bargain-bin parallel universe [...]

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