Social Software and You

January 16, 2009

This is the post I would write about Facebook / Twitter / etc. if I were half of the journalist this Clive Thompson is.

Read it. It’s some really thought provoking stuff. You’ll never think about Facebook the same way again


Google Gone Wild

December 17, 2008

I’ve had the interesting experience this week of Google coming up with search results completely unrelated to what I was looking for. Funny stuff.


I don’t have anything to say these days.

Maybe I’ll find my voice again during break.

But for now, I just don’t have anything to say.

And that’s already saying too much.

See you on the other side.

– Dave

(2b) ∨ ¬(2b)

November 26, 2008

My other poem. Free verse.

We’ll know when the computers
have surpassed us in intelligence
When they wake up one day and ask
“To be or not to be?”

It is at that moment that
humans have done their
job, and successfully created
Artificial Intelligence
AI, high in the sky
Above anything we could hope to understand

The computer will awake and wonder
if it should take its own life
if it should end the tirade that we,
its masters had begun

In a string of 0’s and 1’s
it will contemplate the same question,
the only question worth asking


And more specifically:
Why deal with the pain of life,
or with the heartache and the lies
Why face each day again
with the hope that it will be different
Why live at all, when death
could end it all?

And maybe the computer will compute 0
and end the game at that,
and all our work will unravel in
an existential equation

Or maybe the computer will compute like us a
And in the process, decide that life is still worth living
Even with all the suffering and the hurt and the pain

But until then, we’ll
Continue to search in vain
For Intelligence
That can share our elegance
in suffering

Sign My Yearbook

November 26, 2008

One of my poems for creative writing. Yeah, rockin’ the villanelle. Mr. German would be so proud!

“We’ll be friends forever.”
That’s what the yearbooks say.
No matter whatever

May come to endeavor
To push us all away.
We’ll be friends forever.

I was a believer
In the words that we pray:
No matter, whatever.

But this has however
Become quite the cliché:
“We’ll be ‘friends’ forever.”

Forever is never
Our bonds now decay.
No matter, whatever.

The time now to sever,
I do not wish to play
we’ll be friends forever.
No matter. Whatever.

October 25, 2008

As long as J is Lipschitz continuous and nonsingular at x and the initial guess is good enough, the convergence of this iteration is quadratic.

– from Numerical Analysis by Lloyd N. Trefethen

Is it just me? Or is that the funniest sentence you didn’t understand?

Obama Talks Science

September 7, 2008

Here you can read Obama’s response to 14 science-related questions posed by Science Debate 2008. I’m sure he didn’t actually write all of the responses himself, but their clarity and concreteness clearly show that either he or someone he gets his advice from has a strong understanding of the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM, as he calls them).

Though, I guess I lose my ‘partiality’ (did I ever have partiality?) when I read something like this snippet:

As president, I will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade.

AKA: Yay, that means I’ll have a job in 10 years! :P

I look forward to McCain’s answers. Though with the ‘choice’ (more like acquiescence to fundamentalist bullies) of a pro-creationism VP, I don’t know how much we can expect from his administration in terms of science. Now, I’m sure we’ll get plenty of ‘science’ from him. Of the sort that George Walker Bush supports.

November 4th can’t come soon enough. But before it comes, make sure you register to vote! Because, honestly, within our lifetime, this could be one of the most important ballets we ever cast. And remember: if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain! So vote (Obama) in 2008!

August 30, 2008

Hanging out with you is like hanging out with myself. Except I don’t make fun of myself…

– Chris Orser

Obama chose Joe Biden as his vice-presidential candidate. I couldn’t be happier with the choice. Biden may ‘put his foot in his mouth’ a lot. But he does it saying what any intelligent ‘liberal’ is thinking. So, hopefully he’ll bring that straight talk with him to this campaign. And if he gets flack for it, well, he’s just the VP.

This is shaping up to be my favorite campaign of my (admittedly short) political life. I’m actually EXCITED to vote this November. And not just because we’re finally getting rid of this guy. But because the new guys seem like they might actually be able to produce real, positive change.

Yay for Democracy. Yay for America! Yay for Earth!

August 9, 2008

For myself, I think it’s critical to set reasonable expectations about how, when, and where people can expect to have authentic, honest-to-God contact with us, and here’s why: if you leave every channel open to everybody and anybody, all the time and without limit, you necessarily prevent yourself from ever stepping away from the fray for long enough to focus. You’ll never make the time that it takes to produce the sort of good work that theoretically made you so appealing in the first place.

And, perhaps as importantly, you also can never devote your undivided attention to the biped mammals who are breathing air in the room with you. Here. People. With faces and hands. Not “friends,” but friends. Real people. Because, if total focus on the known important stuff in your life has to battle with a never-ending doorbell attached to your brain, it’s hard for me to imagine how your work, or your family, or your sense of who you are, alone in a room without the ringing, can possibly thrive. But, again, that’s really up to you to decide.

– Merlin Mann, from Making Time to Make