Links o’ Interest

Death’s blog

Garfield, translated to Chinese and then back to English. And video tributes to Jim Davis. This is so weird I don’t know what to think.

Closed for the holiday

Dead End Deadlock


Keywords “oops”. I like the cat.

Another nice evening at church — aaauuggh, the dark lord is coming!

This house looks fine – wait, what was that picture of?

Good ol’ sexist advertising

This is what happens when you sleep during science class

Another Hitler mashup

Christianity in one sentence

Military humor photos

Pregnancy Tips

Atheist finds nothing in his toast

Welcome to Africa. That will be $29.

Figure out your gender from your websurfing. (Mine was close because Snapfish is very female.)

The Time Fountain

Incredible downhill mountain biking video

Incredible computerized waterfall

One more reason to like Paul McCartney

Freeman Dyson on Global Warming. Freeman Dyson is one of the clearest thinkers around, you will be that much smarter by reading anything he writes.
13-year old earning $140/hour playing electric guitar in Brighton

A good reason to vote for Al Franken

Physical Theories as Women

Britain, as seen from satellites. Beautiful footage

Fiscal Conservatism

Courthouse confessions. Strangely compelling.

Lightning in super slo-mo
A fantastic librarians letter about pulling a children book dealing with gay marriage

Prime Numbers get hitched – Using quantum physics to prove mathematics

Fun with Science: Icebergs

I was watching another boring webinar at work the other day. A boring person was making a boring analogy about how something is like icebergs, most of the real story is hidden beneath the surface. Oh, what a clever analogy! It almost woke me up from my boring-fact-induced slumber!

Anyhow — the cool part was that I started mentally doodling on icebergs and suddenly connected two facts.

* Icebergs are nine-tenths below the surface.
* Water is one of the only liquids that expands when frozen. This is why pipes break and houses and ships creak in winter, all the water turns to ice and takes up more room than before, stressing the structure. When it thaws there is room “left over” so more water and such can get in. This is also why driveways and roads crack over time.

I realized that the first one follows from the second. If ice is about 10% less dense than water then it will float in water. The denser water will force it up until about 10% of it is above the surface. At that point, the 10% of the iceberg that is out of the water will have enough weight to equalize the “missing” weight of the water under the surface from it’s lower density.

Cool! Can I confirm this by getting more precise numbers? Wikipedia says that ice is 8% less dense than water. Exactly how much of an iceberg is above water? Their iceberg entry gives more precise numbers. Dang, I forgot that icebergs form out of sea water… 1025/920 = +11%, close enough to “one-tenth” for me. And with a little more searching I can find the formulas and logic. Neato!

(And I left the webinar early.)

Poker Update

I’ve never played so conservative in my life. I already wanted to play tight in the beginning rounds and when eleven players came that made it easier to play tight. In the first two hours I played to the flop only twice and never saw a turn. I won exactly one hand by stealing the blinds. These are the only two other hands I played in the first four rounds:

1) A-10. I bet 4x the blind. I’m called. Flop is K-K-J. I check, he raises a little over half the pot. I grudgingly fold. He showed the pocket jacks.
2) A-K of spades. I bet 3x the blind. I’m called. The flop is J-9-8 of diamonds. He goes all in. I have to fold.

I was slowly dying. By which I mean, it was ninety degrees out, under lights, next to a humid pool, and I had just played nine holes of golf – I was sweating like a pig. A big out-of-shape disgusting pig. Oh, also I didn’t have many chips left. I got down to 900. The blinds have just moved to 250-500, I obviously need to make a move. I look down and see pocket 9s. I’m just about to go all in when the person in front of me goes all in with 1800. That makes the decision harder. I decide not to do it. He had A-Q, so it could have gone either way. He gets knocked out on the play so I end up as big blind a hand early. Damnit!

I have A-8. I go all-in (only 400 more to go!) and get a caller who has A-Q. Uh-oh! The board ends up with 3-9-10, and the turn is an 7. I have an open-ended straight draw, but the J would give him a higher straight. Yes, I get the 6 on the river! I am alive and nearly tripled up.

Here my luck turns. There are only six players left, and I start to get cards. Not great cards, but cards good enough to play. I have enough chips that I can finally start playing some offense.

Down to four players. I take out two of them with hands like my A-8 vs. their A-3. So to Kid’s point, there are two big hands where I did not get big beated. That brought it down to two players, but I had a 9-1 chip advantage and won on the first hand.

Did I play well tonight? I dunno. I had bad cards and hung around long enough to give myself a chance, but it’s hard to take much credit for a crazy river straight. I made good calls on those A-kicker hands. I am impressed I played so few hands. I don’t know if it was the right strategy or not but it showed a lot of patience and discipline. Eh, who knows. So hard to figure out. That’s what you readers are for!

Tonight: $110 !
Running Total: $66, on the positive side again!

Kindergarten Placement

Matt Yglesias talks about the growing trend of parents holding their kid back a year so that they’ll be advanced relative to their class. With our oldest starting kindergarten in a couple weeks (by the way — who decided school starts in mid-August!? Absurd!) we’ve noticed this kind of jockeying from many parents.

I think it’s silly if not actually counter-productive. I would rather my child be around children who were a little bit more developed than him. It spurs him on. Maybe I’m being egotistical about his brains, but I think our kid will be bored a lot in school as is, if the level is dumbed down that much more it will be that much worse. Then there’s the overall time — you are robbing them of a year of adult life. When they are nineteen they don’t want to be stuck in school and you don’t want them around. It’s better for everyone if he grows up when it’s time to grow up.

Mrs. Muttrox adds: I couldn’t help contributing to this post as the education of young children is just about the only thing I can speak about with much authority these days. I’m split on this issue. I’ve seen kids “redshirted” for rational reasons- a child (usually a boy) who is slightly developmentally delayed and barely makes the age cut-off for kindergarten held back in pre-K for another year. Sometimes this makes sense. Kindergarten is not what it used to be. Many districts have all day kindergarten now. ALL kids are expected to be read, write, and understand fairly complex math concepts well before the end of kindergarten. Many boys just turning five are still working on the ability to sit still and follow directions for hours at a time, never mind accomplishing real academic milestones. Generally, girls at this age are better able to control impulses and have more developed verbal capabilities.Unlike what the article claims, this is the reason I’ve typically seen for the gender gap seen in higher education now. Girls start out ahead from the beginning and are more likely to naturally possess the skills lauded by teachers (listening, sitting still, following directions) which lead to continued success in school. I have a hard time believing the conclusion of the article that redshirting has led to gender inequality in higher education mainly because redshirting is a relatively new phenomenon which I doubt has had time to show such a long-term effect.

On the other hand, many parents in our area hold back boys with summer birthdays because of the “fear factor.” These boys are clearly ready for school but their parents feel that they will somehow be at a disadvantage by being younger, either immediately or in the future. I have heard future competitiveness in junior high sports used as a rational for keeping a child back. This seems to me yet another example of highly anxious suburban parents trying to micromanage their children’s lives in an attempt to ensure their future success. I also recently read that redshirting is further increasing disparities between high and low income children because this practice is a luxury of the prosperous. School is free day care, and many families simply can’t afford to pass it up. As a result, poorer children find themselves not only with less formal preparation for kindergarten (preschool, enrichment classes, etc), but also nearly a year younger than the more privileged children in their class. All that being said, I am relieved that our childrens birthdates coincidentally save us from having to make this decision.

Links o’ Interest

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

Don’t feed the pigeons

Sandals plus Superglue equals awesome

Lance Armstrong never did this

You won’t count sheep to fall asleep after this


I don’t remember Iron Man drinking so many beers

Something is off about photo #7

is really old

If you dream it, you can achieve it

Jesus in a Cheeto.
The owner calls it “Cheesus”.

Nine authentic ads from the 1930s

30 greatest moments in found porn

Just put down the bong Mr. Mathematician

Mixed Messages

The (de-)evolution of the Hollywood fight scene

Paint Fireworks (Bravia Ad)

The Pirates Can’t Be Stopped

A different broken window theory in economics – does misfortune lead to growth?

The social policy of The Backyardigans

Just what MLK wanted for his legacy

Sex, Rock, and Reality

pwned in job interview questionnaire. Read the question, then read ptinsley’s reply on pg 2.

Shaq vs. Kobe
, the gift that keeps on giving

A good editorial from David Brooks – the link between education and prosperity in the USA

Libertarian quote list

The Pareto curve of freedom