Welcome to my blog! Here, you will mainly find me writing about whatever interests me at the moment. Since I am a predictably simple man, most of my posts are about sports, science, and programming, with an occasional foray into politics if I'm really bored. My favorite posts include:
All my other posts are listed below, in chronological order.
If you like hip hop and you want to laugh, check out this thing I made.
Otherwise, please move along.
If an NBA player gets a jump shot blocked, does it change the way he plays the rest of the game? You can imagine there could be a psychological effect like a loss of confidence, or a conscious/subconscious decision to try harder to avoid being blocked again which could harm shooting efficiency. Basketball statistics legend Dean Oliver recently Tweeted that claim it has a big effect on Steph Curry and basketball players in general. But is it actually true? And how big is the effect? Let’s look at some data.
The Large Hadron Collider is a marvel of modern technology. It is also an endless source of juvenile amusement, since the word “hadron” is very similar to “hardon”. The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European research organization CERN (“CERN” means “science” in European). At CERN’s official website, there are currently 141 articles which mistakenly use the word “hardon” instead of “hadron”. The first result is the title of one poor fellow’s PhD thesis.
One of my main scientific goals is the application of mathematical models to find interesting insights into biological systems. This is a really broad goal, as depending on the area, there may be very different ways to gain insight. Here, I want to discuss one example, an interesting paper by Sriram and coworkers that was published in PLOS Computational Biology last year entitled “Modeling cortisol dynamics in the neuro-endocrine axis distinguishes normal, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans”.
Despite miraculously recovering from ACL surgery and successfully leading his team for the playoffs, Adrian Peterson tragically missed the all time rushing record by 9 yards.
…or did he?
Let’s think about how the NFL measures yardage. They take the difference between where the ball was before the play and where the ball is after the play, and then they round to the nearest integer. So what happens if you rush for half a yard? It’ll get recorded as either 0 yards or 1 yard. Spread out over an entire season, and this kind of rounding error can have a big impact.
7 years ago, I was an undergrad moving into my first apartment with a kitchen. Two of my roommates had a crazy idea. They wanted to not get meal plans and instead just cook all our food. My other roommate and I thought that was ridiculous, but we were at least willing to give it a try. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision for me, as I found that cooking allows me to make healthier, tastier, and cheaper food and it’s actually pretty fun.
Vote or die? Or, vote and die?
Here is a calculator that will compare the odds of your single vote swinging the 2012 US presidential election with the odds of you dying on the way to your polling place.
Twitter has made it unnecessarily difficult to find the RSS feed for a user’s tweets. Previously you could see a link to the RSS feed directly from the user’s Twitter page, but not anymore. Sure, you can sign up for Twitter and subscribe to users through their website, but some of us more old fashioned folks prefer just using an RSS reader.
Even though Twitter has obscured the URLs, the RSS feeds still exist. So I wrote a simple script to automatically find the RSS feed URL for a given username, which you can then use to read tweets in Google Reader (or your RSS reader of choice).
I like to read old scientific papers. They give me a broader perspective on how things became as they are today. So when I came across this paper from 1977 in the reference list of a more recent paper, I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, even with my university-provided access to most journals and most certainly to a journal like Nature, the evil overlords at Nature Publishing Group do not include papers as old as from 1977 in our site license. So I had to send a request to the library and wait a few days for someone to scan in a copy of the paper and email it to me, a relatively minor inconvenience.
In the mean time, I read the abstract, all that was available at the time. I noticed the affiliation of one of the authors: Rutgers, my undergraduate alma mater and current graduate school! Awesome, I’m all for school spirit! Except, the affiliation didn’t actually say “Rutgers”, it said “Butgers”. A humorous typo… or something more sinister?
These are some notes I wrote as porting my on-again off-again hobby project Basketball GM from PyGTK to PyGObject. I did this because PyGTK is dead and stuck on GTK+ 2, and PyGObject is the future and already on GTK+ 3 through the use of GObject introspection. So, others going through the same transition might (or might not) find this useful. You can see the code I’m referring to on the pygobject branch on GitHub.