I am such a nerd

…that for my birthday last weekend, we went to Geneva solely for the purpose of taking a tour of CERN. I’m very excited to process these photos, but just haven’t had the time yet – so here’s a preview of my full nerdiness! Speaking of nerdiness, and CERN, this is one of my favorite videos of all time. I would like to hang out with these people. So much more to come from Geneva and CERN!

Read more

Audio for sorting algorithms

These were forwarded to me by my brother Adam, who also helped me out tremendously by writing a little app I used to change Excel files into audio, so that I could find out what web analytics data sounds like. This guy has put audio to several different kinds of sorting algorithms and accomplished just what I was after with the web analytics data–listening teaches you something about the process that would be much harder to grasp in words, or maybe even visuals. Though in this case the combo of audio and video is what really works, I think.

Read more

Beyond awesome: rewiring your senses

As a synesthete, anything about the ability of one sense to trigger another sense is immediately of interest to me. Gabe sent me this article from Wired, which also led me to this one from Discover. The point of both is that the parts of the brain we use to process input from each of our senses can be used to process information for other senses…basically just that the brain is extraordinarily plastic in ways that are almost impossible to conceive of because they challenge our fundamental perceptions. (As a sidenote, we’re taught (in the US at least) that humans[…]

Read more

I’ve just taken my geekiness to a new level

…by getting the joke in this xkcd comic: http://xkcd.com/599/. Thank you, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers! Currently in my reading rotation–it’s the bigraphy of Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös. He was an author of about a bazillion papers and proofs and was known for a few things in particular: 1, being a great collaborator, 2, the elegance of his thinking, and 3, his itinerant lifestyle–he traveled all the time and would often show up on the doorsteps of fellow mathematicians with the pronouncement, “My brain is open.” He’d stay long enough to work on a problem together and then move[…]

Read more

Doubt

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m reading some short works of Richard Feynman. This is the conclusion of his talk entitled “What Is and What Should Be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society” which was given to an audience of scientists in 1964. What then is the meaning of the whole world? We do not know what the meaning of existence is. We say, as the result of studying all of the views that we have had before, we find that we do not know the meaning of existence; but in saying that we do[…]

Read more

Multiphonics & chaos

My brother Aaron is a great saxaphonist and is bizarrely obsessed with throat singing, which is NEAT but can indeed draw attention when done in public. Not always good attention… Throat singing is a way of creating more than one note at a time with your voice. Follow the link above to hear/see an example. Multiphonics is a more general term for this; it often refers to creating more than one note at a time on a woodwind instrument. It sounds impossible–any type of horn is set up to create only one wavelength, and the presence of two notes indicates[…]

Read more

What I’m reading: Chaos

My brother Adam recommended this book: Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick. It was the first book to introduce the principles of chaos theory to the general public, and it’s FASCINATING. A really readable description of some very advanced mathematics. I find myself drawn to population dynamics, which is really not the focus of this book at all, but does get referenced several times. The more I think about this, the more likely it seems that techniques used to predict populations could extend almost seamlessly to web analytics. We already see that people online behave as populations (and[…]

Read more