Blog Archives

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, August 2015

September 1, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Roland and Sabrina Michaud, Mirror of the Orient The Michaud's gorgeous photos from the 1960s and 1970s — mostly of Afghanistan, but also Turkey, Iran, and India — aptly paired with Persian...

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Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, April 2015

September 1, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Christian Caryl, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century A very nicely written popular history of five movements that either began or reached a peak in 1979: the Iranian Revolution, the...

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Course Announcement: 36-401, Modern Regression, Fall 2015

September 1, 2015
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For the first time, I will be teaching a section of the course which is the pre-requisite for my spring advanced data analysis class. This is an introduction to linear regression modeling for our third-year undergrads, and others from related majors;...

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"The free development of each is the condition of the war of all against all": Some Paths to the True Knowledge

August 5, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, ...

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In Memoriam Zalmai Shalizi

August 5, 2015
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One summer, when I was a boy, Uncle Zalo tried to teach me to shoot up at his ranch in the New Mexico high country. I was dismal, and I'm pretty sure the phrase "broad side of a barn" crossed his mind. It never crossed his lips, and he was never les...

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Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2015

August 5, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Walter Jon Williams, Brig of War Mind candy historical adventure fiction: a tale of derring-do and angst in the nascent American navy during the war of 1812. It was written before Williams turned to s...

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Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, July 2015

August 5, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Marc Levinson, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger This is by now a contemporary classic, which I should have read years ago. To enjoy it, you need t...

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Experimental Considerations Touching on the Art of Winning Lotteries

August 5, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: Facile moral philosophy, loosely tied to experimental sociology. Via I forget who, Darius Kazemi explaining "How I Won the Lottery". The whole thing absolutely must be watched from beginning to end. Kazemi is, of ...

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36-402, Advanced Data Analysis, Spring 2015: Self-Evaluation and Lessons Learned

June 7, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: 2000+ words of academic navel-gazing about teaching a weird class in an obscure subject at an unrepresentative school; also, no doubt, more complacent than it ought to be. Once again, it's the brief period between submi...

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Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, May 2015

June 6, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem (translated by Ken Liu [no relation]) A really remarkably engrossing novel of first contact. (I will refer you to James Nicoll for plot summary.) As a novel of first...

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