Monthly ArchiveAugust 2006

Philosophy &Politics &Words 31 Aug 2006 10:55 am

Liberty Fund, Inc.: The Online Library of Liberty

Liberty Fund, Inc.: The Online Library of Liberty has 1400 books online on liberty. I am impressed with the Liberty Fund’s mission. From their about page:

Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The Foundation develops, supervises, and finances its own educational activities to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring issues pertaining to liberty.

These programs focus on the place individual liberty has in an intellectual heritage evident from ancient times and continuing through our own times. The programs are intended to enrich understanding and appreciation of the complex nature of a society of free and responsible individuals and to contribute to its preservation.

I discovered it when researching Dr. J Rufus Fears, the teacher of a course on the great books to which I have been listening from the Teaching Company.

The course is focused on the lessons we should take from great literature. Initially it was really annoying me, but I have come to appreciate what the teacher is trying to accomplish and how he has gone about it. I am still not done, so I will save that discussion for later. Suffice it say, I found this library of free books online. It includes such classics as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Gibbon, and On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill.

Math &Miscellaneous &Software 29 Aug 2006 01:00 pm

Unit Conversion in OS X (or any unix)

I never realized that there was such a handy tool available at the command line before. D’oh. That is great.

FOLLOWUP: It doesn’t do temperatures, only straight multiplicative conversions. Still handy.

UNITS(1)                  BSD General Commands Manual                 UNITS(1)
     units -- conversion program
     units [-f filename] [-qv] [from-unit to-unit]

[segovia:~] bobevans% units
500 units, 54 prefixes
You have: 2 pints
You want: cups
        * 4
        / 0.25
You have: 2 imperial pints
You want: cups
        * 4.8038
        / 0.20816853
You have: 4 quarts
You want: bushels
        * 0.10742088
        / 9.3091775
You have: .25 acres
You want: feet * feet
        * 10890
        / 9.1827365e-05
You have: 

Philosophy &Words 28 Aug 2006 01:36 pm

Logical Fallacy Name?

I assume my learned audience will be able to help me out with this question. What is the name of the logical fallacy that takes the form:

“Well, if we didn’t do it someone else would.”

Also, related to this is the logical fallacy,

“We’re just giving the people what they want.”

Anyone know the name of that fallacy? I think the second can be considered the fallacy, ad populum, Appeal to the Majority. In which, it is asserted that a statement is true because a large number of people believe it’s true.

If that is so, then I suspect that the first fallacy is a different kind.

Muzak 23 Aug 2006 11:22 pm

ZERO 7 – Music to Accompany the Summer of the Endless Vacation

ZERO 7, for those of you who like chill, is great music to hang out to. It can stay in the background, or sneak into your consciousness every now and then, as you prefer. Great for being contemplative. I bet it does something for alpha wave attune-ment if I had to try to geek out on it and invent words or something.

Math 23 Aug 2006 11:12 pm

Distance Measuring

Distance Measures for vectors. Various strategies you might use with pointers to discussions of why you might choose one over another.

(Via Anarchaia.)

Hardware &Miscellaneous 23 Aug 2006 11:16 am – Creation: The Time Fountain – Creation: The Time Fountain This is really cool! Freeze drops of water, or make them go backwards even! This looks like a nice simple little project to build.

Miscellaneous &Software 16 Aug 2006 12:41 am

SAXually Explicit Images: Data Mining Large Shape Databases – Google Video

SAXually Explicit Images: Data Mining Large Shape Databases – Google Video was a recent tech talk at Google by Eamonn Keogh. His research is fairly ingenious. He looks at turning various sorts of information into time series data so that the extensive tools available can be used to do data mining. In particular, they have a really cool set of techniques built to do mining of shape data sources.

Here’s the abstract

The problem of indexing large collections of time series and images has received much attention in the last decade, however we argue that there is potentially great untapped utility in data mining such collections. Consider the following two concrete examples of problems in data mining.

Motif Discovery (duplication detection): Given a large repository of time series or images, find approximately repeated patterns/images.

Discord Discovery: Given a large repository of time series or images, find the most unusual time series/image.

(Found Via Anarchaia.)

Be sure to check out the other Google Tech Talks, quite a few looked pretty good, though the video quality is not that great.

Apple &Art &Miscellaneous &Software 15 Aug 2006 12:39 am

Exposé Screenshot Fractal – or – OS X Navel Gazing

(Click to see a full screen shot with a code snippet in Haskell inside Emacs)

OK. This is pretty silly, but I realized that by using Expose, and taking successive pictures of the screen, and then opening that picture and repeating the process that I could create a little fractal image.

Programming Languages 14 Aug 2006 11:56 pm

X11 Graphics with Haskell

(Click to see a full screen shot with a code snippet in Haskell inside Emacs)

Whoohoo! Got the examples for Haskell working with X11. This one is an oldy but a goody. Looking forward to learning more. Haskell is really a sweet language based on the totally superficial experience I have with it so far.

Programming Languages &Software 14 Aug 2006 10:33 pm

The GNU Linear Programming Kit, Part 1: Introduction to linear optimization

The GNU Linear Programming Kit, Part 1: Introduction to linear optimization is an interesting look at using MathProg to build up your linear programming problems, and then solving them with the Gnu Linear Programming Kit.

No more wondering what really is the most efficient way to get dressed in the morning!

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