A taste test for fish sauces.
My friend Ranjit is working on this Crash Course in Psychology. Since I’ve never taken psychology, I am learning a lot!
Apparently the solution for lax editorial standards is to scrub away the evidence. (via Kevin Chen).
Some thoughts on high performance computing vs. Map Reduce. I think about this a fair bit, since some of my colleagues work on HPC, which feels like a different beast than a lot of the problems I’ve been thinking about.
A nice behind-the-scenes on Co-Op Sauce, a staple at Chicagoland farmers’ markets.
I occasionally enjoy Thai cooking, so I appreciated some of the comments made by Andy Ricker.
I recently learned about India’s Clean Currency Policy which went into effect this year. I still have some money (in an unpacked box, probably) from my trip this last fall, and I wonder if any of it will be still usable when I go to SPCOM 2014 this year. That sounded a bit crazy to me though, further investigation indicates that an internal circular leaked and it sounds like a more sensible multi-year plan to phase in more robust banknotes. My large-ish pile of Rs. 1 coins remains useless, however.
An Astounding Result — some may have seen this before, but it’s getting some press now. It’s part of the Numberphile series. Terry Tao (as usual) has a pretty definitive post on it.
Avi Wigderson is giving a talk at Rutgers tomorrow, so I thought about this nice lecture of his on Randomness (and pseudorandomness).
There’s been a lot of blogging about the MIT Mystery Hunt (if I wasn’t so hosed starting up here at Rutgers I’d probably blog about it earlier) but if you want the story and philosophy behind this year’s Hunt, look no further than the writeup of Erin Rhode, who was the Director of the whole shebang.
Last year I did a lot of flying, and as a result had many encounters with the TSA. This insider account should be interesting to anyone who flies regularly.
I’m in the process of moving to New Jersey for my new gig at Rutgers. Before I start teaching I have to go help run the the Mystery Hunt, so I am a little frazzled and unable to write “real” blog posts. Maybe later. In the meantime, here are some links.
The folks at Puzzazz have put out a bevy of links for the 200th anniversary of the crossword puzzle.
The UK has issued a pardon to Alan Turing, for, you know, more or less killing him. It’s a pretty weasely piece of writing though.
An important essay on women’s work: “…women are not devalued in the job market because women’s work is seen to have little value. Women’s work is devalued in the job market because women are seen to have little value.”. (h/t AW)
Of late we seem to be learning quite a bit about early hominins and hominids (I had no idea that hominini was a thing, nor that chimps are in the panini tribe, nor that “tribe” is between subfamily and genus). For example,
they have sequenced some old bones in Spain. Extracting sequenceable mitochondrial DNA is pretty tough — I am sure there are some interesting statistical questions in terms of detection and contamination. We’ve also learned that some neanderthals were pretty inbred.
Kenji searches for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
My cousin Supriya has started a blog, wading through soup, on green parenting and desi things. Her recent post, Pretty in Pink: Can Boys Wear Pink? made it to HuffPo.
Larry Wasserman is quitting blogging.
Maybe I should get a real chef knife.
If you have a stomach for horrible things, here are some images from the Nauru immigration center, where hundreds of (mostly Iranian) asylum-seekers are kept by the Australian government (via mefi).
At Rutgers, I am going to be in a union. Recent grad student union actions have come under fire from peeved faculty at UChicago (a place with horrendous institutional politics if I have ever seen one). Corey Robin breaks it down.
The English version of the Japanese cooking site Cookpad was launched recently. The launch means more lunch for me!
In case you wanted to listen to old African vinyl albums, you’re in luck.
I have a burning-hot hatred of payday loan places, so this Pro Publica piece just stoked the fire.
Talking robots… in spaaaaaaaaace!
A tumblr on how we make progress in research.
My friend Amrys worked on the Serendip-o-matic, a tool that may be more useful for those in the humanities than us engineer types, but is pretty darn cool.
A few months ago I was home visiting my parents and we had a lunch with a few other Maharashtrians. The conversation turned towards food, and in particular ingredients that are important for making authentic garam masala. Garam masalas vary widely by region in India, and the two ingredients in question were dagadful and nag kesar. I had never really heard of these spices so I did a bit of research to learn more.
Dagadful (Parmelia perlata) is a lichen, not to be confused with the stone flower Didymocarpus pedicellatus, which is a plant that grows on rocks and is called charela in Hindi, I believe. The confusing thing is that both plants are used for herbal remedies, but the former is used for culinary purposes.
If you search for “nag kesar” you may find Mesua ferrea, a hardwood tree that grows in India and surrounds. That’s not where the spice comes from, however. This sparked the most debate at lunch, but I think I’ve figured out that the spice is the bud of a different tree, Mammea longifolia. Both Mesua and Mammea are in the family Calophyllaceae, which probably led to the name clash.
A rather pretty video of an L-system made by my friend Steve.
LACMA, which I finally saw with a friend in February, has decided to offer high-resolution downloads of many of the items in its collection. This Ganesha has a pretty impressive belly. Via MeFi.
This may answer David Bowie’s question.
This slideshow makes me want to go to Slurping Turtle again.
Sometimes I wish we could just name p-values something else that is more descriptive. There’s been a fair bit of misunderstanding about them going on lately.