Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wisdom for the Ages

Clayton Cramer's post of excerpts from Andrew Jackson's fairwell address contain some amazing stuff. Among the topics he discusses are taxes, duties, the expanding role of federal government, and corrupt politicians or businessmen profit from these.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Math for Everyone

Joanne Jacobs has a discussion about how much math is enough for students. She suggests that frankly, most people don't need everything they're taught even through high school. I think she mostly correct.

When it comes to practical skills for the general populace, the skills list is something like addition/subtraction, division/multiplication, ratios/percentages, and exponents. Any sort of budgeting will require these skills. Any sort of financial planning will require percentages, ratios, and exponents to calculate interest. Anything geometrical will likely require trigonometry sooner or later. Understanding simple concepts like basic computer modeling requires basic algebra, probability, and statistics is very useful for figuring out what people are talking about on the evening news.

I have a Bachelors and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. I know a fair amount of higher math. About the only thing I use on a regular basis are prob/stat, trig, and linear algebra. I haven't done calculus or differential equations in years. Why? Because in most fields the problem has either been solved and turned into a formula or it is unsolvable in closed form and will require some form of discrete simulation. For that matter a lot of "analysis" is simply reading tables for the proper part sizes.

Future Contestants for the Newlydead Game?

Turns out Bruce Campbell is an ordained minister and will be performing a wedding along with a large renewal ceremony at ZombCon. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the minister part. If you were Bruce Campbell, wouldn't you want to be able to manufacture holy water on demand?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are Those Things Loaded?

Alright, I do understand the interest in the bra holster. I am a guy. I like guns. I like boobs. I understand the attraction of combining the two for male gunnies. Even the female gunnies can use it to give purpose to all those worthless empire-waisted tops that make them look pregnant.

But why I can understand why it received a lot of blogger buzz, I don't understand everything. How do you get gun into the thing without sweeping something important? One of the reasons the universal nylon belt holster is anathema is because you have to sweep a hand to reholster. Breasts might just be flesh wounds, but a bullet in a vital organ in your chest or abdomen would really suck.

Ages of English

When I was in middle school, we did a unit on Chaucer. We were given the original Middle English text and had to translate it into some semblance of the modern tongue. At one point my teacher read the Prologue to Canterbury Tales. It sounded cool but is barely intelligible.

What surprises me about this clip of Shakespeare in the appropriate Elizabethan dialect was how intelligible it is. It's definitely not Olivier's English though.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Petting the Kitty

Matthew Inman's instructions on petting the kitty is great. The part about belly rubs is especially true: