Archive for April, 2011

Hypothesis Testing II

April 26, 2011

So, in response to a suggestion (thanks, Kurt) that I cast my net wider, on Monday last I posted the link to my original Hypothesis Testing entry on my Twitter feed. That resulted in NO additional hits. I guess I’ll just have continue to wallow in luxurient obscurity.

Norilana in Need

April 19, 2011

Author/publisher in trouble. This tells it all.

Buy a book. I did.

Copyright Reform

April 15, 2011

I have been paying some attention to the ongoing, one might say interminable, discussion over copyright, and that related chimera ‘intellectual property’. I’ve stated my position before, but I could summarize it here by saying that, IMHO, the ‘Big IP’ owners recognize that the age of abundance is upon us, and they recognize that they are as useful, as funny-looking, and as doomed, as so many Dodos. Their reaction is to fight a scorched earth action, claiming that all ‘IP’ they have garnered is and should be theirs forever, and that anyone who touches it should pay. If maintaining this position means the destruction of American freedoms, as well as the engines of the global economy, so be it.

It occurs to me (and I’m not the only one, Dallas Weaver suggested something similar years ago, and generated a fair amount of discussion on /. ) that there’s a way to resolve this issue. It’s a way that will ensure the continued presence of Mickey in Disney livery, while making money for the government, and making all those orphan works available to the public. It also has the advantage of (more…)

Apollo 13 Day

April 11, 2011

April 11, 1970, 41 years ago. Dis-aster on our way Ad Astra. Probably more famous than Apollo 11, because of the book and the movie, and (one would like to think) the song.

The movie was the first to accurately portray weighlessness, because they shot scenes on the NASA ‘vomit comet’, with the actors actually weightless (OK, in modernspeak, in microgravity).

The song “Ballad of Apollo 13” has words by William Warren, and is sung to the tune of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. It was immortalized by Julia Ecklar on the decades-out-of-print Off Centaur Productions tape “Minus Ten and Counting”. Surprisingly, as far as I can tell, it was never nominated for a Pegasus Award.

Today is the anniversary of the launch, Thursday is the anniversary of the explosion, and next Sunday is the anniversary of their safe landing.

Apollo 13 Service Module, from WikipediaThe damaged Service Module, from NASA, by way of Wikipedia.

I was going to write something longer, but (as they said in Jurassic Park), life gets in the way.

Hypothesis Testing

April 10, 2011

Having just gotten on an add pictures jag (thanks Kurt), I decided to test if, besides being aesthetic, they’d encourage people to read something they might not otherwise. In the best tradition of science, I thought I’d run a quick experiment. My hypothesis, H1, was that people would be entranced by the pretty pictures, and click on the link while in a trance state. My null hypothesis, H0, was that it wouldn’t make a difference, since nobody reads this blog anyway, except a few of my friends (Hi Sandy), and HOTD fans.

I decided to use my AAVSO post (scroll down two, past Three Wolves). I originally put it up on March 24th, and over the course of the next week it got exactly two views. Should be really easy to measure growth from that baseline. So I found the picture that went with the blog post that inspired me, and updated the article to include it on the main page, right above the “Read the rest of this entry” link. Then I sat back to let the data roll in.

Result one week later: two more views. No change.

Now, no change is the assumed state of the world. Most things we do don’t really change the world, not even within our own restricted circle. If we are to accept a hypothesis as coming from a good model, we have to demonstrate that our action made a difference. In this case, it didn’t, at least, not within the parameters of our experiment. I am reminded of two aphorisms from my youth:

1. Intelligence is our last defense against wishful thinking. Replace Intelligence with Statistics and you have something applicable to the wider world. In passing, I would note that Intelligence is capitalized for more reasons than just starting a sentence. I am talking about the formal discipline.

2. How badly you want something to be true has absolutely no impact on whether it is true or not. You build your model, you draw your hypothesis, you run your test. The universe tells you if you got it right.

Google and I, we don’t either of us have a source for the above quotes.

Fun With Vocabulary

April 10, 2011

So, I am studying my Japanese vocabulary, and I get to a phrase ikura いくら, which means “How much?”. Fine, fine, always good to know how to ask that. It also has a kanji, that looks like a bad game of pickup sticks, or maybe a medieval escutcheon, with quarterings.

A little later, I get to another phrase, ikura いくら, which means…. “Salmon eggs”.

Hmmm. I know the Japanese overload their words with multiple meanings, but this is a little much. So I go to my nihongodict and type in “salmon eggs”, and it gives me back ikura イクラ. Ah, it’s in katakana, and I had mistyped it when entering it — katakana is like italics, it is used for foreign words and emphasis. I note also that the word has no kanji associated with it, which means it really is foreign.

Now, where would the Japanese have gotten a loan word for salmon eggs? Anybody nearby who does a lot of salmon fishing? China? No, too warm. Korea? No, not enough rivers. Russia? Google translate gives me ikroĭ, икрой, which seems close enough (particularly since the u in ikura might be silent).

See the fun you can have with language?

Spice and 3-Wolf Moon

April 1, 2011

Nobody’s made this into a t-shirt yet, but I’d buy it. From Spice and Wolf, an anime I reviewed last October

Three Wolf Moon