Monday, August 31, 2009

Dodgers acquire infielder Ronnie Belliard

The Dodgers acquired infielder Ronnie Belliard in a trade with the Nationals. Um, why? What we really need are pitchers. I just don't see the point of this trade.

Pictures from Wroclaw

Here are some pictures from Wroclaw.

Also, here is my photoblog in case you haven't looked at it in a while.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

The following comment just occurred in one of the modeling week talks: "If you ignore the bad parts, then it's a good model."

Comment: D'oh!

(To be fair, there is a reasonable version of this statement---namely, that they seemed to capture some features reasonably.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Poland so far

I've been a bit silent for a few days, so here are some of the things going on in Wroclaw. I'll post pictures later (aside from the ones that are already in the photoblog) once I return to Oxford on Sunday.

1. I found a restaurant named "PRL", which you can already see in my photoblog.

2. Before I even arrived, I had it in mind to get some good perogis, and this trip has not disappointed. I have twice gotten beef perogis---on the first night where they unexpectedly came with bacon bits and last night at a Jewish restaurant called "Sarah" (though I was unable to find the mezuzah).

3. My hotel's restaurant was a Chinese restaurant, which I did not expect. I ate there one night when I was feeling lazy, and I was awarded with an epic fail.

4. Bicycles are big in this town, as are walking down.

5. Another thing that is huge here are the small statues of gnomes. I have been told that there are over a hundred of them, but a blog entry with an excellent description of their origin incorrectly claims that there are over 15. (Some of the students here claim to have taken pictures of over 20 of them.) You can find pictures of some of them on this website. I've taken pictures of two of them, and I will post them in my Wroclaw photo album.

6. I found a really nice hole-in-the-wall coffeehouse where I have been getting iced lattes and nice pastries, chilling out, and reading.

7. I also found a decent dessert place, which had a really nice environment right outside the shop on Sunday morning before other people showed up with their kids. I was outside with a blended coffee drink (this was before I found the other place, which I like much better for coffee) and was reading and enjoying the weather. I noticed some pigeons with a neat flocking pattern. Whenever the pigeons were disturbed, they would fly up from the ground and then they would make one or two cycles of a consistent size, and then they would return to their feast. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a good picture of this. However, I was wondering why there was usually one cycle and on occasion two (and to a lesser extent about the specific, consistent size of the cycle). When I was sitting there, it made me think of some lazy weekend mornings playing chess with Vito Dai outside of a coffee place---Vito with his tea and me with my coffee. I really felt the urge to be playing chess at that moment.

8. The 'old town' (marketplace) area is really cool---there are a lot of neat restaurants, places to sit, an awesome fountain, a plaza where live music could easily be done, etc.

9. Radiohead apparently is having a concert (or has had a concert) here during my trip. Leonard Cohen played in Vienna while I was there, and I slightly regret being lazy and not going to the concert. (I was feeling rather tired and a bit lazy at the time.)

10. Many of the churches here (unsurprisingly) have very similar architectural styles to each other.

11. Naturally, I got horribly lost while trying to find the university for the first time on Sunday. That was inevitable. Because of this and my prior explorations, I did a ton of walking on Sunday and my feet are still hurting a bit as a result of it. After lots of circling, finding my way in the wrong part of town, and going back to the hotel, I finally made it to the university and I even took a reasonable route (starting from my second time at the hotel, so ignoring/pruning the long closed-loop excursion)---although not the one that I had initially attempted. I got slightly lost again on the way back---though I quickly realized that I was on the route that I had attempted initially. It evidently got completely foiled by just one epic fail of a decision on that particular street. I knew where I was because I noticed the "W. Kruk" store (though I later found another one of those even closer to the hotel) that I had marked in my head earlier in the day because it made me think of the baseball player John Kruk. In general, the way I follow directions doesn't rely on cardinal directions because I get disoriented really easily---it takes me several days of being in a new city to do a decent job of where north is, and then if the sun is in my eyes, I go all deer-in-headlights and my internal compass just goes completely haywire---so I rely on "landmarks" that I have noted for some reason (large or interesting buildings, prominent signs, or whatever else) and also relative directions and distances a la logo. Ah well, I got back without any real delay.

12. One of the modelling week problems is how to climb (by foot) a mountain. It uses data that comie from a mountain by the name of "Wank" (yes, that is apparently the real name of the mountain). So the problem then becomes how to climb Mount "Wank". (It's not quite "Climbing the Mountain of Conflict", but it will do.) Another problem is called "Improving the Efficiency of Prick-tests", which I think could use a better name.

13. Food is extremely cheap here (though not at the level of Taiwan). My meat perogis with bacon bits + a drink + a tip cost me 35 Polish zloty, which amounts to roughly 7.5 pounds. My meat perogis + a drink last night + a tip cost me 20 zloty.

14. The first restaurant that I've now mentioned a couple of times served some food in tinfoil that was shaped like a bird. It reminded me of R.J.'s---may that restaurant rest in peace!---though in this case it wasn't for leftovers being taken home. I definitely felt the pangs of nostalgia when I saw that.

15. I had dinner with some of the students on Monday night. Among the crowd were 3 of the 4 Oxford students attending the meeting (so, along with me, we had all of us except one person) and a few students from other places. The waiter was facetiously trying to get the women among us to order vodka. One of them ordered "half a liter of water", and the waiter pretended to misinterpret: "Half a liter of vodka?"

16. I was using my digital camera to get screenshots of whiteboards to help with the note-taking.

17. My students worked really hard and did an excellent job. The problem I gave them to study was ranking American football teams, and my goal was for them to come up with a different way of doing it than I had done in my prior research. (After a couple of days, I showed them what we had done.)

Headline: Naked man commandeers bus carrying students

I think the headline for this CNN article says it all. The only commentary I want to provide is that this incident happened in Atlanta and that apparently nobody was seriously hurt. (Otherwise the story would be far less amusing.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

What happens in the Motherland stays in the Motherland

Tomorrow I am taking my first trip to Poland, which is the country where all my grandparents were born.* (Hence, I guess it's the Grandmotherland rather than the Motherland.) I am going to be an instructor in a mathematical modelling week in Wroclaw, which is not pronounced in a manner anywhere close to how it's spelled and which alas is nowhere close to any of the places where my grandparents are from. Because I am an instructor, and apparently need to be present both with my students and in meetings simultaneously during a couple of the days (I still haven't figured out how I'm going to manage this), escaping for a day to check those places out is not even remotely an option. Hopefully I'll be able to do that on another occasion, but I already some some interesting facts just by getting the names of places and looking them up on wikipedia, so I'll check things out in more detail online later. I'm hoping that maybe I'll be able to get some good latkas, kreplach, and matzah ball soup while I'm in Poland. :) We shall see.

Also, Poland will become the 8th different European country that I have visited (counting Ireland and Great Britain as European countries, because to an American they are such). I have invitations to visit Belgium and Germany, so those are the most likely candidates for me to visit next. (I also have an invitation to visit Singapore, though I'll really need to think about what timing will be good for that visit and I'd like to try to drop by and hang with friends even though the invitation is an academic one. Hence, there is some nontrivial coordination involved. The invitation to Belgium is also academic, and I have both academic and non-academic invitations for Germany.) Belgium will mostly like be the next country overall because the discussed plan was to try to get there this fall.

* Some of the places where they were born are no longer actually part of Poland.

Scurvy Cubs

It's official. The Chicago Cubs are being sold to a family by the name of Ricketts. I checked wikipedia quickly to see if it was the same family after whom the Hovse was named, but the signs seem to point to 'no' on this one. Note that my research was nowhere near what one might construe as thorough.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Human Cooker: Order now at Sears

Surely, this is somebody's idea of a practical joke, right? Right?

In case the Sears website in question gets altered or removed (and I'm guessing it probably will, as there will likely be some serious fallout), the top left of the page has the following tree to get to the page above: "Human Cooking > Grills to Cook Babies and More > Body Part Roaster"

I think somebody's head is going to roll (and then maybe be cooked with this thing)...

(Tip of the cap to Scott Porter.)

Flowchart for "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

Wow! This is just awesome! (It's also "awesome"!). The Huffington Post has posted a flowchart for the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Now I want to make one for certain other songs...

(Tip of the cap to Mariano Beguerisse Díaz.)

P.S. I know I have been posting a lot during the past few days, but there have been a bunch of quick things I wanted to mention. Rest assured, I will make up for this with a lower posting frequency later. :)

High School interventions

Here's the straight line (you provide the joke): My high school is adding "intervention periods" to its class schedule starting this fall.

(If you're interested, you can find the article about Beverly High's new fall bell schedule on the upper left of page 3 of the new issue of Beverly Hills Weekly.)

"Awesome" online security code

I was buying tickets to the February 20th 2010 Depeche Mode concert in London---Oh, Hell yes!!!!! (and the set lists for most of the concerts on this tour have even included both "It's No Good" and "Strangelove", which I really want to hear live and often aren't included on DM concert set lists these days!)---and the online security code to confirm that I was a human were particularly "awesome" (and maybe even awesome) on this occasion: "$10-billion castrate".

Now I just have to wait 6 months for the concert (which I'll be attending with a couple of friends)...

Dodgers sign Vicente Padilla

In an attempt to help address our continually-exacerbating starting pitching woes, the Dodgers have signed Vicente Padilla, who was recently released by the Rangers. Padilla is a warm body and can be useful given the situation, but I'd really like to do better than this. For example, I wouldn't mind if we pay a bit of money and rent someone like Aaron Harang. We have not been playing very well lately, and we need to do something about the pitching---especially if we actually want to go far in the postseason. We were coasting for a while, but I definitely don't feel as secure now as I did earlier in the season.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dynamic communities in multichannel data: An application to the foreign exchange market during the 2007–2008 credit crisis

The title of this article, which was just officially published today, is a bit of a mouthful. This paper is the first foray by my research group into financial networks. We posted its sequel, which has a lot more detail and examples, on the arXiv in May. We don't have referee reports for that one yet, which we submitted to SIAM's new financial mathematics journal (and will give quite a different audience from Chaos, which is where the shorter paper appears). There will definitely be more of this from my group in the future, as D.Phil. student Dan Fenn (who did the heavy lifting on the paper) continues to produce excellent work and a new D.Phil. student (Martin Gould) will be starting to work on financial networks with my collaborators and me beginning September 1st.

Here is the author list for the short paper: Daniel J. Fenn, Mason A. Porter, Mark McDonald, Stacy Williams, Neil F. Johnson, and Nick S. Jones

Here is the abstract: We study the cluster dynamics of multichannel (multivariate) time series by representing their correlations as time-dependent networks and investigating the evolution of network communities. We employ a node-centric approach that allows us to track the effects of the community evolution on the functional roles of individual nodes without having to track entire communities. As an example, we consider a foreign exchange market network in which each node represents an exchange rate and each edge represents a time-dependent correlation between the rates. We study the period 2005–2008, which includes the recent credit and liquidity crisis. Using community detection, we find that exchange rates that are strongly attached to their community are persistently grouped with the same set of rates, whereas exchange rates that are important for the transfer of information tend to be positioned on the edges of communities. Our analysis successfully uncovers major trading changes that occurred in the market during the credit crisis.

Baseball Injury Cover-Ups

Jerry Crasnick writes about some baseball injury cover-ups. I'm not sure how he got through this article without mentioning Chris Brown's "sore tooth" or the injuries that Glenallen Hill sustained while apparently battling spiders during a nightmare. (Skip Carey often harped on the Hill incident, invariably bringing it up whenever the Braves faced a team that included Hill.)

Science Tattoos

Here is a blog entry on Accidental Mysteries about science tattoos

I have seen Schrödinger's equation a couple of times, and there was that infamous incident involving some Tech grad students that included one person with such a tattoo. Also, one of my undergrad researchers from Tech has a 5-clique tattoo.

Tip of the cap to Ravi Montenegro.

MIT Technology Review's Young Investigators (TR35) for 2009

MIT Technology Review has released its list of 35 investigators under 35 for 2009. Among the list is a very familiar name: Ellis Meng, a Lloydie from the class of 1997. Congrats!

Another familiar name is a Santa Fe Institute postdoc (Nathan Eagle), who I have either met or seen speak. (I don't remember whether I talked to him.) He's one of the people doing interesting things with mobile phone data.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

Today's quote comes from an anonymous referee who wrote the tie-breaking referee report that caused a paper of mine to be accepted for publication:

While this manuscript is not a perfect or complete solution to the problem of community detection in networks...

You know, it's a good thing that such a perfect or complete solution of the problem of community detection (some formulations of which have been proven to NP complete --- that is, with an appropriate definition of community based on optimizing a particular class of quantities) isn't what's expected for publication. If so, I'd have only one answer: Good luck with that.

Anyway, the referee was perfectly fair and is completely correct with the implied comment that our paper doesn't blow the problem wide open but rather just makes a specific set of interesting contributions, but I was nevetheless somewhat amused by the use of that phrasing. Perhaps that comment was simply for the benefit of the editor who works in another research area? Presumably so, but I was amused nonetheless, and I wanted to share my amusement.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My wireless printer/scanner/copier is set up!

I bought my first printer ever when I purchased my new computer last month. In my immense laziness, I only set it up today. The printer isn't exactly fast, but it is nice to finally have one at home. I'll also be upgrading my computer desk soon, as Somerville is putting some furniture into storage, and the items in question include a couple of desks that are better than mine. I used the ad hoc wireless network option to set up the printer. For now, I am calling the network "Astral" and the printer "Styx", though that goes better with previous themes than with current ones. (Back in the day, the airport network that I briefly set up was "Phlogiston"---that's for all you Spelljammer aficionados out there---but I haven't bothered setting up my airport base station for many years. Maybe one of these days, I'll bother putting my Wii online. :) )

Quote of the Day: Bulwyer-Lytton edition

Today's quote comes from the curator of the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest: "Your submission has arrived and will receive the treatment it deserves." (I guess such comments can also apply to submissions to scientific journals.)

For what it's worth, I was doing the equivalent of 'going for last place' with this particular submission: "Why are you looking at me like I have two heads?" said Officer Cerberus Jones to the criminal he was arresting."

(I want to get 'dishonorable mention' in the fantasy category.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Epidemic Model of Zombie Outbreak

This is too good to make up.

Some mathematicians have recently published (though apparently in a non-prominent venue or at least one that is unfamiliar to me) the following epidemic model of a zombie outbreak. It uses the standard ODE compartment models used for studying disease dynamics, although they change some terminology to suit their "application". For example, the SIR model is now known as the SZR model. (The symbol "I" stands for "infected", whereas "Z" stands for zombie.)

Basically, I don't know whether to laugh or cry---well, to be honest, I'm doing a little bit of both right now. Talk about "awesome" research. Wow.

To be fair, if you take a look at the text, this paper appears to have arisen from a class project, and I bet the students involved had a lot of fun with the project and learned a lot. I think there do exist appropriate venues for publishing such papers, assuming that the paper is written in an expository manner so that, e.g., other students can benefit from it. This paper seems to have been published in a compendium about research on modelling of infectious diseases, which is not the venue where such an audience would typically look. (It would be more appropriate to write about this kind of playful "application" in a venue such as American Mathematical Monthly that university students actually read. Then I think there can be considerable benefit to such a paper, as it can suck in some of the younger crowd.)

(Tip of the hat to Mariano Beguerisse Díaz.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fungal Necromancy

OK, this is just weird. Apparently, there's a type of fungus that infects ants so that they act like 'zombies' and die in convenient spots. Didn't I read about such strategies in the D & D Monster Manual? Bizarre.

(Tip of the cap to Kevin Macon, who will reasonably shortly be my coauthor on a network science paper. I am going to have so much fun when I give certain seminars...)

Adrian Beltre possibly lost for season with injured testicle

As pointed out, it's way too easy to come up with some sort of lame joke about this story, so instead I will only provide the straight line: Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre might be lost for the season with an injured testicle. Ouch!

OK, fine. I need to do one joke in honor of the late great Jim Healy. Take it away Jim Harrick.

(Tip of the cap to Rob Neyer.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gentlemen, I think we have a loose cannon.

I'm trying to minimize how much I discuss PEDs in this spot (because, frankly, I am sick of it and I would not be surprised to find out about possible use by anybody in professional baseball---there are just more interesting things to discuss), but on occasion I make an exception. It seems like Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo is showing a mixture of refreshing honesty and some opinions that I find a bit perturbing. I respect the fact that he's speaking his mind---though I think he's going to ultimately get himself derailed if he keeps at it (he's being 'honest to a fault', which also happens to be one of my specialties)---but I really don't like the attitude he's showing. It seems to me that part of what he's saying is that he believes that using the stuff is ok as long as one doesn't get caught. OK, so he's far from the only person who believes that and is distinguishing himself mostly by openly admitting it (and also showing a rather familiar cynicism about what other people think), but to me it's patently obvious that issues about getting caught are not the only problem here.

Anyway, we'll see how this plays out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quote of the Day: Tweeting During Life's Rituals

Today's quote comes from this CNN article about using twitter during childbirth.

The quote comes from psychologist Renana Brooks: "That's like Twittering on your wedding night. You can blog about it afterward."

I don't think she intended her comment to be funny, but I find it highly amusing.

50 Years of Anderson Localization!

Do you know why I'm excited today? (Actually, this is very recent news, as I only found out about this a few minutes ago.)

Here's why: The August 2009 issue of Physics Today includes a 50 year retrospective on Anderson localization. I won't read it until my hard copy arrives, but I am very much looking forward to reading these articles.

As described in the wikipedia entry, Anderson localization is "the absence of diffusion of waves in a random medium". (Imagine a crystal with defects that do their damnedest to curtail wave transmission. Admittedly, I'm not trying to score major points for accuracy with this description.)

Tales from the arXiv: "But all the people with motivation are already on the Lloyd Special Forces team"

I couldn't help thinking of Jeremy Gawle's [sp?] line from one of the old Lloyd movies when I saw the title of this new paper on the arXiv. Here are the title, authors, and abstract:

Title: Mathematical formalism of physics of systems with motivation

Authors: Ihor Lubashevsky, Natalia Plawinska

Abstract: The paper discusses fundamental problems in mathematical description of social systems based on physical concepts, with so-called statistical social systems being the main subject of consideration. Basic properties of human beings and human societies that distinguish social and natural systems from each other are listed to make it clear that individual mathematical formalism and physical notions should be developed to describe such objects rather then can be directly inherited from classical mechanics and statistical physics. As a particular example systems with motivation are considered. Their characteristic features are analyzed individually and the appropriate mathematical description is proposed. Finally the paper concludes that the basic elements necessary for describing statistical social systems or, more rigorously, systems with motivation are available or partly developed in modern physics and applied mathematics.

A More Informal Interview

Here is my Question and Answer session with the baseball blog I'm not exactly a sabermetrics guru, but maybe I can be one when I finally grow up?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

My Life According to Depeche Mode (I was tempted to choose "Modern English" in deference to a certain incident on KROQ)

I noticed an interest meme on Facebook today in a post by Vincent Kong, and I decided it would be an interesting exercise to try it out (and my food was actually still somewhat warm by the time I finished). I think a few of my answers are pretty clever, so I decided to include my post in this spot as well.

Instructions: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to at least 15 people and include me. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Re-post as "my life according to (band name)".

MAP's additional note: I am spending way too much time trying to be clever with this. It helps that Depeche Mode (which is my favorite artist) has such a huge catalog. This would have been significantly harder had I picked Modern English or---dare I say it?---Baltimora.

Are you a male or female?
"Everything Counts"

Describe Yourself:
"I Want It All"

How do you feel?
"I Feel You" (Oh, _how_ do I feel... Sorry, I misunderstood the question.)

Describe where you currently live:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
"Only When I Lose Myself"

Your favorite form of transportation:
"Walking In My Shoes"

Your best friend is:
"I Feel Loved" (I had to resist the urge to put "Master and Servant" here. DM can be so convenient for some things... And my answer refers to the friendship type of love, by the way, so nobody should get any ideas.)

What's the weather like:
"Precious" (I guess I'm writing this on the one day of the year it's that way here... Oh crap, I need to use this later. How about "Enjoy the Silence", which actually makes sense if you've seen the music video.)

Favorite time of day:
"Waiting for the Night"

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
"World in My Eyes"

What is life to you:
"Black Celebration" (Just kidding!)

Your fear:
"Death's Door"

What is the best advice you have to give:
"Get the Balance Right!"

Thought for the Day:

How I would like to die:
"Black Celebration" (Am I allowed to use the same answer twice? If not, then I'll be honest and select "But Not Tonight" and have that refer to now and forever more. Maybe I should become a lich?)

My soul's present condition:
"Dream On"

My motto:
"Policy of Truth"

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Quote of the Day

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold was talking about how his life has turned around since his child was born. In his words, "My life has done a complete 360 since he was born." Um...

(Admittedly, he technically might mean 360 half-degrees, as he didn't include units. But somehow I suspect not.)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Taking Over the Blogosphere (well, not really, but it's a dream)

The baseball networks story has been picked up by the Freakonomics Blog.

It's also been picked up by a few baseball/sabermetrics blogs, including a couple of them that are hosted by prominent people in the business. Ones that have followed up on the Wired story include, The
Book--Playing The Percentages In Baseball
, Baseball Musings, and Baseball Think Factory.

I wonder if my dreams of being made fun of on SportsCenter (or at least by Bill James) will come true? ;)

The story has also been picked up by USA Today online and reached #4 on in the category of sports for a 24-hour period. As usual, the comments in the various venues have included a mixture of intelligent ones and not-so-intelligent ones. (The ones on the sabermetrics blogs have been almost uniformly great. Some of those folks have looked at our actual paper and not just the Wired article and have given some very nice academic-style food for thought regarding some things we might want to consider rephrasing in the paper when it is back on our desks. That is much appreciated!) I especially "love" the ones that expressed extreme moral indignation about some combination of (1) not incorporating PED information into our rankings, (2) not using data to which we just don't have access, or (3) not coming up with results that match their preconceptions. (Um, science isn't automatically wrong if it doesn't give the answer for which you were hoping and/or expecting!)

Oh, and I haven't gotten as much work done during the last couple of days as I was hoping... I really need to work on my scholarpedia article about solitons.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Joy of Opening a Pack of Baseball Cards

Josh Wilker describes the joyful process of opening a pack of baseball cards. The way he describes it isn't exactly the way I would do things, but he's exactly right that there is a certain mystical feeling in opening a new pack of baseball cards and seeing what players are inside. (Hope springs eternal.) I still have some unopened packs of baseball cards at home (including some that are old enough to have sticks of gum in them) and if I were home, I could always go to the Beverly Hills Baseball Card Shop and buy some. And Wilker's article really makes me want to go and open up some packs of baseball cards. When I am back home in the winter, I am so going to partake.

Quote of the Day

Today's quote is "Finally, Oxford scientists are pulling their weight.", which opens up an article in that covers the Wired article about my research on baseball networks. That's just wonderful.

Other baseball blogs are also picking up the Wired article.

Speaking of Nolan Ryan...

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the most lopsided fight in Major League Baseball history. No, I am not talking about Carlos Perez versus the water cooler but rather about what happened when Robin Ventura charged the mound against Nolan Ryan. (It didn't exactly work out well for Ventura.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Six Degrees of Nolan Ryan

Last night, I had an emergency interview with Wired about a recent article my collaborators and I wrote about matchup networks of pitchers and batters. Here is the resulting article in Wired's online science section.

Somehow, I managed to resist the urge to insult Juan Pierre during the entire 1.5 hour interview, and I also got my opinion about Bert Blyleven in there. :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Choose Your Own Apocalypse

This article invites you to determine what you think will cause America's downfall. I'm highly amused, though unfortunately the "Power Law OF DOOM" isn't mentioned among the 144 possible causes of our downfall. (Actually, this is somewhat related to the possible cause of "complexity", but I prefer to call it the Power Law OF DOOM.) My choice of apocalypse placed me one box to the left of the average reader and almost all the one to the top of the chart (close to two full boxes above the average reader). Note, however, that I only chose the "Rod of God" option as one of my five favorite apocalypses because it was damned amusing.

(Tip of the cap to Jaideep Singh.)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Stupid Comment of the Day

The Reds' color commentator, referring to closer Francisco Cordero and the fact that he was throwing gas past the hitters, just said: "He's not in a save situation, but he's pitching like he is in one." At the time, the game was tied 4-4 in the top of the 9th. Sheesh. The game is kind of in a crucial situation (so who cares if there is a save involved)...

Washington Post Neologism Contest

Here are some winners from the Washington Post's neologism contest. This website seems to be a bit of a compilation from multiple years. Additionally, some of the lists I've seen have very slightly different definitions for some of the words. The website to which I link is a bit more extensive than some of the other lists I've seen, and that's why I have chosen to use that one. Some of them are dumb but others are quite awesome. Several of them are also "awesome". I especially like the terms for the 21st century at the bottom, which I imagine might have appeared in a source like Wired at some point. (In terms of style, they certainly remind me of the terms I've seen there...)

(Tip of the cap to Nick Jones, who sent me one of the other lists by e-mail.)