August 2009

Survivor bias and simple probability

This great post on the survivor bias and related effects like the ‘file-drawer effect’ is well worth reading. Most pharmaceutical, management and business success studies are not only based on selective data, but there isn't any attempt made to count the failures too, so most of the conclusions reached aren't actually supported by any kind of meaningful data; there's no reason to believe the stated cases aren't just the ones that happened to succeed rather than the ones that succeeded because of the author's theory. Great examples in the post. via

Posted Sun 23 August 2009 21:56 (+1200)

Guns and t-shirts

Ah, America… truly special. Undoubtably the only country where you can be arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts yet take assault rifles to see the president. Also the only place where a comedy show delivers more reliable news than the news:

Posted Thu 20 August 2009 15:31 (+1200)

Plus zombies

I think we're all agreed that Jane Austen and the whole regency set can't help but be improved by the addition of a few zombies etc.. However after the disappointing reviews for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies leaving us hesitant to try that and unsure about the due-in-September follow-up from the same admittedly-fun-looking publishing house, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I'm holding out more hope for the due-out-in-October Queen Victoria: Demon-Hunter, which I'm really hoping turns out to have more of the feeling of Neil Gaiman's Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes mash-up ‘A Study in Emerald’ short story (in Fragile Things, thanks Mary), which was loads of fun (and won the Hugo for best short story in 2004).

Posted Sun 16 August 2009 01:25 (+1200)

Clone stamping reveals Google Earth image doctoring

Iran's poor use of the clone stamp tool in the photos of their rocket tests was widely reported, but I find The Netherland's use of the clone stamp tool to paper over presumed military facilities near the border with Germany much more interesting, because the normal mechanism used for such facilities on Google Earth is to block the area entirely or restrict the resolution available, both of which are fair enough; that other countries are allowed to actually doctor the images Google shows us as well is much more interesting.

Posted Wed 12 August 2009 22:21 (+1200)

Ships' bridges photos

We liked this collection of cool photos from ships' bridges (Russian site so some ads, much of site NSFW) – would be pretty cool to travel around seeing the weather change and ships pass in the mist.

Posted Mon 10 August 2009 23:55 (+1200)

Surveillance in the UK vs. Europe

The UK's steady slide towards a surveillance culture has been much noted by everyone from journalists to former police chiefs, but as this interesting article quotes from a 2005 report produced by Martin Gill and Angela Spriggs, of Leicester University, for the Home Office: “The majority of the schemes evaluated did not reduce crime and even where there was a reduction this was mostly not due to CCTV…there was a lack of realism about what could be expected from CCTV. In short, it was oversold—by successive governments—as the answer to crime problems.”

Posted Sun 09 August 2009 12:06 (+1200)

ARC caches

I find it very frustrating when the operating system I'm using – OS X, Linux, and Windows all do this – throw out the useful contents of the filesystem caches to fill them up with the contents of the very large files I frequently work with (sometimes even swapping out applications to get more space for memory cache!) – even though these files are almost always used just once.

Posted Thu 06 August 2009 14:06 (+1200)

Stitch Wars

Taking Craft 2.0 to its logical conclusion: Stitch Wars, a handmade exhibition in Florida. More photos on Flickr.

Posted Mon 03 August 2009 22:12 (+1200)

About me

I'm a Wellington, New Zealand-based software consultant.

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