Friday, October 31, 2008
I wish I had the compunction and drive to make this really cool glowing Lego zombie and headless horseman for Halloween decorations.
It is explained at the Evil mad Scientist Laboratories and doesn't look too hard. Just jamming some LED's into their drilled out heads and bodies. Creepy.
(via Boing Boing Gadgets)
There is a parade today at noon down Broadstreet in Philadelphia and I aim to be as far away from that as possible. Still I celebrated when the won on Wednesday night in one of the weirdest World Series games ever.
They didn't break my heart this year. They went all the way!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
1. Click to get a random wikipedia article. The name of the article is the name of your band.
2. Get a random quotation. The last four words of the last quote is the name of your debut album. Reload the page to get more random quotes.
3. Explore the last seven days at Flickr to get some album art. The third picture is your new album cover art.
My new band, Unexpected Company, will be performing "All Your Fine Trappings" on our first album. Here is the art.
I think the process worked rather well for me. What's the debut album for your new band?
(via Prefsurfer, via This Could Only Happen to Me, via a DIYnot forum post, via a random e-mail forward)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I will run the simulation again one more time next week before the election is over and then we can do some analysis.
Looking slightly left (approx west north west)
Looking slightly Right (approx north west)
This youtube video shows an time-lapse example of gravity waves over Toma, Iowa that gives the full effect.
I didn't have the time or equipment to try to capture that much time-lapse motion of our gravity waves clouds yesterday. So many natural phenomena, so little time.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
- Shuttle Down by Lee Correy
- Rude Mechanicals by Kage Baker
- Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams
- Incandescence by Greg Egan
- The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
- Anathem by Neal Stephenson
- Brasyl by Iam McDonald
Firstly, places to find charts of the world stock market indices:
For the United States, Google Finance reports the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ (really NASDAQ is the stock exchange and the Nasdaq Composite is the index).
The Nikkei 225 is an index for the Tokyo Stock exchange. Nikkei 225 charts at Google. Nikkei 225 charts at Yahoo.
The Hang Seng is an index for the Hong Kong stock exchange. Hang Seng charts at Yahoo.
The FTSE 100 is an index for the London Stock Exchange. FTSE 100 charts at Yahoo.
Two other items of interest in recent times have been housing prices and oil prices:
The Case-Shiller index follows housing prices in 20 cities and normalizes them to a baseline of 100 in January of 2000. Standard and Poors has downloadable files of the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index each month. A look at the past few years shows the nice bubble that is one of the things causing the financial crisis. You can't always have prices of things run ahead of salaries.
More data than you can stand about oil prices, volumes and its related products is available at the Energy Information Administration. I started with the US imports of oil by country tables here and clicked various other buttons on the petroleum navigator bar at the top of the page.
Finally, I was looking for an indicator of the credit crisis:
The TED spread has been mentioned in a few blogs of late(TED Spread quote at Bloomberg). I myself was looking for an indicator to understand the credit crunch part of the problem. How can one see whether banks are lending to each other or not. I settled for the LIBOR which is the interbank lending rate. The TED spread takes this further. TED stands for T-Bill for treasury bills and Eurodollar which refers to the LIBOR rate and often involves loans between euros and dollars. It is the LIBOR 3-month rate minus the 3 month T-bill rate. The reason for that is that the T-bill rate is a measure of the least risk you can undergo loaning money for 3 months, everyone expects the US government to pay back the money on a T-bill. Loaning money between banks is riskier so the LIBOR tends to be higher, the TED just subtracts the baseline least risk. Usually this number is 0.5% but lately it has been shooting up to 4% and 5%, an obvious indication of banks unwillingness to loan to one another and a reflection of the credit crunch.
Are there other favorite indices that my readers are using to understand the crisis that might be helpful?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It reminded me of one outdoor toilet on Easter Island. It was at the ranch where we stayed the night during our horseback riding trip around the entire island. This ranch was within walking distance of Terevaka which contains Rana Raraku, the volcanic crater and quarry where the special stone for the moai (the stone heads) comes from. You could see the volcano dotted with moai that never made it to there final locations. Unfortunately some of these pictures were only taken with the old crappy Treo camera, so they'll never be in a glossy magazine.
The Moai on the volcano closeup.
Mostly carved but unfinished moai in the quarry itself.
The view of camp and the toilet from the volcano. The toilet is next to the red house. Click on the picture for larger.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I imagine that the race will still tighten in these last two weeks. It will be interesting to see if that is reflected in the prediction markets.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I think the warning symbol is for heat, but it does look like grass.
Make your own. Link to them in the comments if you think they are worth sharing with the world.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I bet Sarah Palin would ace this one. How well can you do? Take the quiz.
(click to make bigger to see the ones I missed )
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I would guess that the Intrade prediction markets have digested all of the Obama vs. McCain polling data, the financial crisis and any other information about polling in the various states to slide even further over to the Democratic side in each state. This has the interesting effect of putting states that a few weeks ago were strongly Republican over into the strongly Democratic side. According to the Intrade prediction data the Democrats are weakly holding Missouri and North Carolina, never mind previously weak states like Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virgina that are strongly Democratic now, and the Republicans are weakly holding Indiana, as former battleground states become too solid to shake.
This data will be slightly different than the polling data since it is a prediction market site, but I still laugh when CNN or MSNBC tries to pretend we are still in a horse race when it looks like a solid Democratic victory is predicted at this point. I doubt the debate tomorrow will move anything one way or another. Three weeks to election day.
MATTHEW BRODERICK (as Max Bialystock): The two cardinal rules of being a Broadway producer are: One, never put your own money in the show.
NATHAN LANE (as Leo Bloom): And two?
MATTHEW BRODERICK (as Max Bialystock): ( Shouting ) Never put your own money in the show!
(from The Producers)
Monday, October 13, 2008
My favorite comment from Vowell was this one: "If the East Coast Is American enough For Al-Qaeda, It should be American enough for them." Them being the aforementioned Republicans.
I like Sarah Vowell's books and their quirky take on history. I even forced us to visit the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio because I was reading Assassination Vacation at the time. Her new book is The Wordy Shipmates.
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.I like the introduction (seemingly written by the McCain campaign) -
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.I got 6 1/3 out of nine questions (missed two, and only got one third of another). The comments section disagrees with some of the answers. Which is to be expected as this is the internet.
Readers, how well did you do?
(for the photo to accompany the quiz, I was torn between Einstein, Sherlock Holmes and Ken Jennings, which should I have picked?)
(via Neatorama, via Miss Celenia, via Big Shot Bob in Texas)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The results of 1000 simulations using the Intrade prediction data as the probability that a given states electoral votes will be for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate show Obama winning 95% of the simulations. The median electoral vote count is 319 for the Democrats. The table below shows just how far Obama has pulled ahead of McCain in these simulations over the last few weeks.
Formerly String Republican states have gone weak and then over to the Democratic side. All of the states mentioned in previous weeks as being in the middle have moved to the Democratic side and a new crop of formerly Republican states have become up for grabs.
The states that are weakly Democratic now are Florida and Virginia. While now North Carolina has moved to exactly even, and Missouri has moved into the weak Republican category. I suspect the race will even out a little bit more before the end, but this looks like a commanding and perhaps insurmountable lead according to the Intrade prediction data. It will be interesting to see if the debate tonight really changes anything.
Monday, October 06, 2008
My score, based on the average error was 3.68. You can see I fared in a distribution plot for the lst 10,000 results. Can't go wring with a statistical plot, I always say.
(via The Presurfer)
Friday, October 03, 2008
I built this conveyor belt to move these four balls to the goal on the other side of the hill. You can run the conveyor I created here. It used up so many parts that I couldn't add anything else to it. The funny thing about this one is that not all of the balls make it through on the first try. Some of them jam up underneath the machine, but then get cycled around the top and then swept on their way. There are no points for style or optimization, just complete the required activity.