New York: Strata Conference, Day 1

I’m attending the O’Reilly Strata Conference (the well-respected techical books publisher, not the blowhard TV personality). This is the east coast edition, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Today was tutorials day. Out of about a dozen tracks, I picked the PyData track. This was a rewarding choice. The developers of varioius […]

Government Granting Agencies and Wastin’ Time

NPR some time back had an article on scientists leaving science, mostly because government funding of research has become more like a sweepstakes than a well. I had posted a couple of comments in the following thread, and I’d rather those didn’t get lost, as Google seems not to take note of or index comments […]

Seen on PBS: Weird Guy from AEI

The PBS NewsHour this past evening had a guest on from the American Enterprise Institute, one Frederick Hagan. Mr. Hagan apparently is critical of the president and administration concerning the problem of the “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, depending on your outlook) in Iraq. It was all pretty much boiler-plate grousing, with copious “I […]

Nutonian’s Eureqa and Concerns of Overfitting

I’ve been using Nutonian’s Eureqa symbolic regression product extensively since early 2013. Back in late 2013, there was an article about Nutonian’s Eureqa that elicited comments. An “A.E. Bartholomew” weighed in with a comment that the title, “Nutonian raises $4M to extract ‘laws of physics’ from data”, was “hyperbolic and misleading”. That led me to […]

Church Youth Groups and Apologetics

Over on Facebook, Nancy Pearcey responded to a post about young people and deconversion from churches with a modest proposal: let them read apologetics. Age at which people leave the church — Tell me again why youth groups focus on games and goodies instead of majoring on apologetics? One study found that the age at […]

“Cosmos” and the Bruno Flap

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s rebooted “Cosmos” series spent a chunk of time relating a version of the life of Giordano Bruno, including his interactions with the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church and subsequent burning at the stake. This has proven unpopular with the heirs of the Inquisition and other nit-pickers. From the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution […]

Florida: Teaching Animal Behavior

I was notified today that a course proposal I put in with the Lifelong Learning Academy is approved for the summer term. Course topic: animal behavior. I’ll be doing this as a seven-session course, taking an early morning slot. Hopefully the course will make. I will be bringing in some bits of the behavior and […]

Weird Claim About CES 2014

The “DayTime” show had a segment on CES with Paul Hochman, Tech Journalist (it said so in the onscreen text). Asked what was different this year, Hochman said that electronics in cars was big this year, and that cars were basically non-existent at CES going back five or six years. Say what? I’ve been intermittently […]

Nikon’s New Df Camera

A few hours ago, Nikon announced a new full-frame high-end DSLR, the Nikon Df. There was a lot of buzz and speculation about this camera. There are a lot of reactions to the feature set Nikon came up with. The Df is a D4-lite camera. That’s important to keep in mind. It uses the same […]

My Second E. Leitz Optical Instrument

I recently was able to pick up a ~1956 vintage E. Leitz tabletop microscope off eBay for cheap. It has two objectives (10x and 40x) and an A-O 10x eyepiece. It was missing the light source and a stage slide holder. I already had a microscope T-mount adapter, and my Olympus E-PL1 looks to be […]

Florida: OPS Employees, Benefits, and Timely Information

Kudos to the state of Florida for making healthcare benefits available to all full-time employees this year. That includes full-time “other personnel services” (OPS) employees, who previously got no benefits whatsoever. This could have been postponed one year, but Florida decided to roll it out this year. But the implementation has glitches. To distinguish part-time […]

Adventure in Email Archiving

Up until 2009, my approach to personal email relied on pretty simple tools on Unix systems. I checked and sent email using “mail” at the command-line most of the time. In the late 1990s, I wrote a Perl script that altered the checking email part of my life. With forwarding, sendmail would pass incoming email […]

The Pollywogs Are Coming

It’s been rainy here in Florida. How rainy is it? Well, yesterday Diane and I were walking around the property and found that our retention pond was full. Because it was full, the area around the shop was underwater. Water was streaming across a couple of feet of the edge of the concrete pad of […]

Evolutionary Computation, Evolvability, and Python

Funnily enough, an antievolutionist brought a recent article on evolvability to my attention. The paper, “Evolvability Is Inevitable: Increasing Evolvability without the Pressure to Adapt”, by Joel Lehman and Kenneth O. Stanley, is on PLOS One. Here’s their abstract: Why evolvability appears to have increased over evolutionary time is an important unresolved biological question. Unlike […]

Raspberry Pi: An Update on Sound

Life has been a bit demanding lately, so it has been a while since I last worked on the Raspberry Pis. I had a notion that I might dragoon the Pis into serving as compute engines for a simulation I wrote in Python, and that got me motivated to get new Raspbian images and set […]

Another Uninformed Critique of WIDF Fails

In 2009, Lita Cosner of Creation Ministries International posted a review of the 2004 book “Why Intelligent Design Fails”, claiming in summary that there was nothing in the book to cause discomfort to an “informed creationist”, and that actual problems for “intelligent design” creationism were rare in the book. Here in 2013, let’s have a […]