December 31, 2013

Happy New Year, whatever time it is

December 30, 2013

Hire Shanahan, too

Peter King:  I hear Cleveland really likes Johnny Manziel...

American shipping, 1800-1860

December 29, 2013


Pippert and his researchers looked at more than 10,000 images from college brochures, comparing the racial breakdown of students in the pictures to the colleges' actual demographics. They found that, overall, the whiter the school, the more diversity depicted in the brochures, especially for certain groups.

"When we looked at African-Americans in those schools that were predominantly white, the actual percentage in those campuses was only about 5 percent of the student body," he says. "They were photographed at 14.5 percent."


Banned at WaPo

Don't usually care for these lists, but this one is pretty good.


December 28, 2013

Didn't we do this with helicopters in Juneau once?

Ship sent to help ship stuck in ice gets stuck in ice.

"Chinese icebreaker?"  Really?


December 26, 2013

Good point

December 25, 2013

Well that's a relief

One senior KKR executive used to insist on having a baby grand piano in every hotel room he stayed in, regardless of cost. That sort of practice is no longer tolerated.


Dallas Cowboys do the only logical thing

The Dallas Cowboys signed Jon Kitna out of retirement to serve as the team's emergency quarterback with Tony Romo at risk of missing the season finale against Philadelphia.


Your Christmas Garland

Beerbohm, genius, blah blah, Christmas book, blah blah, undiscovered treasure etc.  Here is Beerbohm doing Shaw, doing Christmas:
Nothing could have been easier for me (if I were some one else) than to perform my task in that God-rest-you-merry-gentlemen-may-nothing-you-dismay spirit which so grossly flatters the sensibilities of the average citizen by its assumption that he is sharp enough to be dismayed by what stares him in the face. Charles Dickens had lucid intervals in which he was vaguely conscious of the abuses around him; but his spasmodic efforts to expose these brought him into contact with realities so agonising to his highstrung literary nerves that he invariably sank back into debauches of unsocial optimism. Even the Swan of Avon had his glimpses of the havoc of displacement wrought by Elizabethan romanticism in the social machine which had been working with tolerable smoothness under the prosaic guidance of Henry 8. The time was out of joint; and the Swan, recognising that he was the last person to ever set it right, consoled himself by offering the world a soothing doctrine of despair. Not for me, thank you, that Swansdown pillow. I refuse as flatly to fuddle myself in the shop of "W. Shakespeare, Druggist," as to stimulate myself with the juicy joints of "C. Dickens, Family Butcher." Of these and suchlike pernicious establishments my patronage consists in weaving round the shop-door a barbed-wire entanglement of dialectic and then training my moral machine-guns on the customers.

Read the whole damn lot of it, every single perfect word, here.

Past garlands:
2005 - Kipling, Chesterton
2006 - Henry James
2010 - John Galsworthy
2011 - Frank Norris
2012 - George Moore

December 24, 2013

Spike Milligan accepts his lifetime achievement award

December 23, 2013

Words to live by

I have to do this on my terms.  

- Bernard Madoff


Well, sure, when you say it like that it sounds bad

Castro, I found, was preoccupied with the threat of nuclear war and proliferation, as one would expect him to be: He was one of the three key players in an episode, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, that nearly brought about the destruction of the planet. John F. Kennedy was his adversary; Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, was his patron. At one point, I mentioned to him the letter he wrote to Khrushchev, at the height of the crisis, in which he asked the Soviets to consider launching a nuclear strike against the U.S. if the Americans attacked Cuba. "That would be the time to think about liquidating such a danger forever through a legal right of self-defense," he wrote. In Havana, I asked him,  “At a certain point it seemed logical for you to recommend that the Soviets bomb the U.S. Does what you recommended still seem logical now?" He answered: "After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't worth it at all.” I expressed relief that Khrushchev ignored his request.


Meanwhile, on the moon (stabilized)

December 21, 2013

It was the polyunsaturated fat thing, wasn't it?

How much faith do Americans have in scientists and science journalists? Not a whole lot, a new survey finds.


Norweigian cultural imperialism

December 20, 2013

Sorry I missed that movie

Actually all his lobby cards are pretty good.

Greetings of the Season

December 16, 2013

Man-Cat Derivative Art

Also highly entertaining, esp. the Larson...


Nothing to add -- I just really like this photo

December 13, 2013

I know! We'll sell drugs to China!

The latest events in North Korea (the 1980's Economist would call it a "rumpus") brought to mind something I read a few months ago:
North Korea started manufacturing meth in big state-run labs. The country badly needs hard currency and has almost no legitimate international trade. But it was able to exploit the black market trade across the Chinese border by sending state-made meth into China and bringing back the money of Chinese addicts.
Shooting your uncle isn't normal.  But on meth it is.

December 11, 2013

Meanwhile, below Seattle

"This is how you wake up balrogs, folks."


So don't worry

December 10, 2013

(Throws magazine)

Oh hell.  I missed the original announcement, learned about it from the anguished letters in the latest issue of Road & Track.  The estimable Peter Egan has retired.

Related party transactions

None of this makes anything better if you believe that nepotism has no place in investment banking but hahahahahahaha come on why would you believe that, that's nuts. Nepotism has a proud and prominent place in investment banking: In a business of relationships, you might as well hire people who were born with good relationships. The alternative of developing relationships through financial analyses and golf is slow and error-prone.


December 09, 2013

Ba-dump bump

Oldest human DNA found in Spain…  How John McCain ended up in Spain, I'll never know.


December 06, 2013

Well, I think I've found my religion

King James Programming

For those not familiar with Markov chains, essentially they are a statistical analysis that is fed in a series of events and then determines how often event 'b' follows event  'a' and event 'd' follows event 'b' and so forth and so on.

The fun part is when you use these chains to produce a pseudo-random output. Randomly walking the chain, picking the next event based on how often it was the next item in the input.

Back in college I helped develop some music software based around this concept.

So what happens when you feed equal parts King James Bible and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs?

The LORD is the beginning (or prefix) of the code for the body of the procedure

Saying, There was in a rage with him because of the special forms

…the saints of the most common optimizations performed by compilers is the optimization of variable lookup. Our compiler, as we have borne the image of Baal, and made a king over all Israel

Works for me.

Lindy West (not) on Adderall

It has been brought to my slothful, subpar-at-best attention that literally everyone in my field except for me is on performance-enhancing brain-'roids and it's only a matter of time before I slide turgidly into obsolescence and then die, sleepy unto my last breath (#lazyRpeople2). At least, that's the inevitable fate I keep seeing forecast in my medias, thanks to the current popularity of Competence: The Pill—a.k.a. Adderall.


December 03, 2013

People Have Wanted to Punch Jim Harbaugh in the Face for Decades

Jim Harbaugh and A Reknowned 90s Televison Star
For some reason. A story from the summer which acheived legendary headline.

Great call of the Auburn play

Almost went off the road laughing when I heard this the first time. Announcer doesn't realize Auburn's going to win until Davis is past midfield, but he makes up for it.


This is also from a good angle.

Everybody has won, and all must have prizes

December 01, 2013