safari woes

Perusing through Davy Hyatt’s blog, I came across his statement that “Safari has draconian XML error handling,” which may explain why I’ve had so much trouble getting sites I’ve designed to look right in Safari. However, anyone who claims Safari’s CSS support is perfect should read Mark Pilgrim’s error tracker. Safari does some weird things with CSS.

I don’t know much about programming languages, but I can see immediate benefits and costs of being strict about rendering only good XML, but is that really wise, given the wide range of people providing content nowadays? I tend to hand-code most of my HTML, and I’m too lazy to read up the XML spec so that I can cross every t and dot every i. I suppose it’s time for me to run everything I’ve written through a validator.

no longer a travesty

Thankfully, this blog is no longer the number one hit for “ergodicity” on Google. But in the event that people come here anyway, I present some definitions, courtesy of Wikipedia, Richard Durrett, and others.

The ergodic hypothesis says that averaging over time and averaging over the statistical ensemble are the same. So let’s say I have some box spitting a random number every second. If the random process controlling the box is ergodic, then I can find certain quantities — for example, the average — by either averaging the observed variables that I see, or by calculating the “theoretical” average from the statistics governing the box.

We would, of course, like most real-world systems to be ergodic, since we can then measure them and make estimates based on the measurements. The hope is that these estimates will (in the limit as you get infinite data) converge to the “real” value. Of course, this leads to an existential bind, because we have no idea if there is a “real” underlying value.

It’s a tricky thing, ergodicity, and getting to the bottom of it reveals a lot about how we view the randomness in our world, the assumptions we make on it, and how we try to control it.