Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Music References on a Map

It will surprise nobody who knows me that I love this map, whose labels consist entirely of music references. I approve!

Some of my favorites are present, of course, though there are others that I wish were included.

(Tip of the cap to I Fucking Love Maps.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

PhD Comics: "Comforting"

The new PhD Comics is about post-election comfort, especially as it applies to tenure. I am amused. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Improbable Research Blog Entry: "Galam’s Work on Galam Models (Reviewed by Galam)"

Here is my latest post for the Improbable Research blog. It is called "Galam’s Work on Galam Models (Reviewed by Galam)".

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Happens in Canada Stays in Canada

Off to Canada for a few days! First Calgary to give a pair of talks and then Vancouver to visit friends.

(After living overseas for 9 years, I am used to not celebrating Thanksgiving. And this year of all years, I don't have the stomach to celebrate it anyway.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Facepalm Diplomacy"

Once upon a time, the U.S. had "Ping-pong Diplomacy". I hereby propose the term "Facepalm Diplomacy" for the new regime's strategy.

A Summary of November 2016 Using Ice-"Cube" Trays

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Pessimism: It's Probably Not That Great"

Someone here in the airport is wearing a t-shirt with a logo and associated slogan: "Pessimism: It's probably not that great".

I approve!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Awards

Major League Baseball has announced the 2016 Most Value Players (MVPs) in each league.

Unsurprisingly, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs won in a landslide in the National League. Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals finished second, just edging out Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers by 5 points. (I am pleasantly surprised that Seager almost finished second.)

In the American League, I was also pleasantly surprised: Mike Trout won, and deservedly so, even though he wasn't on a good team. Mookie Betts, who finished second, is the one I thought would win. José Altuve finished third. This is Trout's second MVP (though he should have four MVP awards already), and he has finished in the top 2 in MVP voting in each of his five Major League seasons. Now that is damn impressive!

This link (which is the same as my first link above) states the next several players in the rankings in the two leagues, though the full ranking and point totals were not available on this page the last time I looked.

Update: You can find the complete American League vote totals and ranking on this page, and you can find the complete National League vote totals on this page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016 Major League Baseball Cy Young Awards

The 2016 Major League Baseball Cy Young Awards have been announced.

Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox won in the American League (despite garnering fewer 1st-place voters than Justin Verlander), and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals won in the National League. Verlander actually had many more 1st-place voters than Porcello (14 to only 8!), but the latter had a ton of 2nd-place voters and edged out Verlander by 5 points (137 to 132). Scherzer is the 6th hurler to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers finished 5th in the voting (including two 1st-place voters) despite missing a huge amount of playing time. He was historically dominant when he pitched.

The full vote totals and rankings are available at this website.

Vin Scully to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom!

The legendary Vin Scully will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor in the United States) in a ceremony next week. Yay!

The other honorees include former NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan.

Update (11/22/16): The ceremony was today. (There were also other notables who received the award, including Tom Hanks, Grace Hopper (posthumously), Bruce Springsteen, Margaret Hamilton, and others.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 Major League Baseball Managers of the Year

Major League Baseball has announced its 2016 Managers of the Year. Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers won in the National League (yay!), and Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians won in the American League.

Dungeons & Dragons Enters the National Toy Hall of Fame!

Dungeons & Dragons has entered the National Toy Hall of Fame!

The swing and Little People also entered the Toy Hall of Fame this year. I previously blogged about the 2016 finalists.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Quiz: Do You Live in a Bubble?

This quiz, regarding whether one lives in a bubble with respect to middle America, is very interesting.

I got a 9, which ends up pegging me slightly incorrectly (but only slightly) with the potential labeling that goes with the score ranges. Sensibly, the score ranges with different labels overlap. I think I should get a very low score within the next highest range. (A score of 11 is the minimum to do that.)

Note: I did not count my Oxford get-up as a "uniform", as that's definitely not what they had in mind (even though it technically is a uniform).

Note that this is talking about a bubble with respect to America, which is fair enough. Of course, the phrasing is very USA-centric. I am a citizen of the world (and California), with a good amount of international experience, but I am less experienced with the rest of the USA (especially in recent years).

(Tip of the cap to Oleg Kogan.)

Replying to All: Million-Person Edition

Well, this story puts my dark sense of humor on overdrive.

It's probably not a good idea to reply-all when there are more than one million recipients. At least we know why people are getting slow e-mail responses from NHS employees at the moment.

2016 Major League Baseball Rookies of the Year

Major League Baseball has announced its 2016 Rookies of the Year.

Unsurprisingly, Dodger shortstop Corey Seager was a unanimous selection as National League Rookie of the Year, and Tiger starting pitching Michael Fullmer was selected as the American League Rookie of the Year. Seager is also one of the "finalists" for the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, which means that he's guaranteed to have finished in the top three for the award. (I am guessing that he'll place third and that Kris Bryant of the Cubs will win the award.)

In the National League, outfielder–infielder Trea Turner (who had an amazing partial season for the Nationals) finished second in the voting, and starting pitcher Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers finished third. For Seager's award, "unanimous" means that he was placed first on all 30 ballots.

In the American League, catcher Gary Sanchez (who was amazing in his partial season for the Yankees) finished second in the voting, and outfielder Tyler Naquin of the Indians finished third. See this page for the complete tabulation of vote totals.

RIP Ben Bushman (1942–2016)

Ben Bushman, long-time principal of Beverly Hills High School (which I attended), has died.

New SMBC: "Why I Could Never Be a Math Teacher"

I am amused. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 U.S. Election Cartograms

Mark Newman has again posted cartograms for the United States election results.

(Mark ought to give those of us who know him a secret link for the sarcastic version.)

Aside from the joy of squishing the continental USA, they also provide a very nice visual way to normalize out by something (population, population density, etc.) to help make maps less misleading.

History-Book Chapter Title Proposal: "Mr. Trump's Wild Ride"

Inspired by Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, I want to advocate "Mr. Trump's Wild Ride" as the chapter title for history books when they discuss our current adventure (assuming there is somebody left around to write history books).

Please place the royalties next to my grave.

Among my lessons this week is that 24 hours is about how long it takes for my snark to get back up to full blast after very bad news. (It came back in fits and bursts well well before then, and my sense of humor is pretty dark anyway.) Actually, I think I knew this before, but I was reminded of it.

Update: And if you don't know The Wind in the Willows, then I strongly suggest you look up the character Mr. Toad. In certain respects, the resemblance is uncanny. ;)

What Happens at MBI Stays at MBI (Once More, With Feeling)

I'm heading to the Mathematical Biosciences Institute yet again. This time, I am presenting a talk in their workshop on population models in the 21st century. I'll mostly be discussing prior centuries.

Update (11/15/16): Sign that I have been to MBI way too often: Some of the hotel staff now recognize me from past visits.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Awesome UK Location Names

When it comes to naming locations, the UK definitely wins big!

Take this "Brokenwind"... (and learn to name again?)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

RIP Leonard Cohen (1934–2016)

Singer–songwriter (and poet) Leonard Cohen, who was extremely influential, has died.

His music provides appropriate overtones these days. Here is Everybody Knows.

2016 Baseball Players Choice Awards

The Players Choice Awards have been announced. Among other things, José Fernández was a posthumous winner of their National League Comeback Player of the Year award. He deserves the award richly, but it's a shame that he's not around to enjoy it and to build on what could have been a Hall of Fame career.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

You can read the California government's statement of defiance on this page. Go California!

My home state will be a beacon amidst the darkness.

(It's a brave new world.)

We've Made a Huge Mistake

Thanks to Peter Mucha for passing along this compilation of clips from Arrested Development. It made me laugh, and I really needed that this morning!

The world is still fucked, but it's been a good run.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Making Beds and Falling Dominoes

Anybody who knows me at all knows that of course I am not happy about the result (to say the least). But it is what it is. We made our own beds.

Mainly, right now I'm scared. And I think I am not welcome here, though I know I need to stand in line on that one. (Atheists and scientists/intellectuals and social liberals weren't singled out, as other have been lately, but we probably will be.) Maybe I'll apply to my old job in Oxford, though I'll give myself some time to process things first. Selfishly, it's good news for me that California is in many ways its own world.

What else? I am, emphatically, a 'citizen of the world' before I am an American. (Theresa May, eat your heart out.) And good luck to all of us.

On a positive note, I did see some hope today — e.g., the scene at Susan B. Anthony's grave was incredible, by the way, and the video from my peeps at the Sante Fe Institute was fantastic — and sometimes we have to get through a wake-up call. (It is easy to understand why people are angry. And people didn't pay enough attention.) Despite proverbial echo chambers and majority illusion — what, did you think I wouldn't get network analysis in here somewhere? — I have quite a few friends who hold significantly more conservative views than I do, but they are my friends, they are well-spoken, they are civil, and they often make very good points. We disagree (sometimes very strongly), but it's proper and productive discourse, and I learn from them. And I am very happy to have them as part of my network.

There is a nice quote from Star Wars that I think is relevant now, so I'd like to share it:

"Remember, the Force will be with you always."

We'll (hopefully) all get through this. I am sure it will be rough and it will take time, though. And as long as we don't all nuke each other before we work things out (proverbial falling dominoes, etc.), we'll make it through.

Thank you for listening.

Now does anybody want to talk about math? (Or games or D & D or ... ?)

Update: Not that I need a link to the actual event for this post, but here is one anyway. Clinton has now conceded to Trump. We live in interesting times. Here is what The Guardian had to say about the America's new populism.

2016 Gold Glove Awards

Amidst my somber and fatalistic mood at the moment because of where things currently stand with the election, I just noticed that Major League Baseball's Gold Glove Awards (for fielding excellence) have been awarded. This article lists the winners.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Baseball's Award Finalists

The finalists for Baseball's major awards were announced today.

The Dodgers' Corey Seager (who will win the National League Rookie of the Year award) is in the top 3 of the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) balloting as well!

Land of Confusion

Here's a thematic song (an awesome song) for the night before. It also has one of the all-time great music videos.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Do Yoga Pants Lead to Eternal Damnation?

All you people who wear yoga pants are fucked.

(And I'm an atheist, so I'll see you at the party!)

Friday, November 04, 2016

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

They Ain't Afraid of No Goat (Cubs Win)

The deciding Game 7 of the 2016 World Series just ended. (I blogged about it yesterday.)

The Chicago Cubs won today's game (and thus the World Series) by a score of 8 to 7 in 10 innings (and a brief rain delay). Wow! The last time the Cubs had won a World Series was 1908(!), and they hadn't even gotten into the World Series since 1945. Their curse is over, and they ain't afraid of no goat. (The Cubs were down 3 games to 1 and game back to win an exciting and historic series. Back to the Future, Part II was off by only one year.)

The Cleveland Indians, the opponents of the Cubs, also have a long drought, having not won a World Series since 1948.

Both teams (and especially the Cubs, who are a juggernaut) have built teams that are going to be great for several years. The Cubs were the favorites before the season even started, and rightly so.


Update: Here is the box score for the game.

Update: Wow, an old Harry Caray commercial for Budweiser just aired. Cool!

Update: Ben Zobrist has been named the World Series MVP.

Update (11/03/16): And take a look at this tweet from 2014. (Tip of the cap to Boing Boing.)

Update (11/04/16): The victory parade was apparently the 7th-largest gathering in human history. Very cool! Choice quote (you provide the joke): "The Cubs celebration crowd even beat out the 3.5 million people who went to Rod Stewart's 1994 concert in Rio." (Tip of the cap to Doug Pearson for his post on Facebook, which I saw through Chris Howland's 'like'.)

"Detection of Core–Periphery Structure in Networks Using Spectral Methods and Geodesic Paths"

The special issue in European Journal of Applied Mathematics on "Network Analysis and Modelling" that I co-edited also includes a research paper that I coauthored. Here are some details about that paper.

Title: Detection of Core–Periphery Structure in Networks Using Spectral Methods and Geodesic Paths

Authors: Mihai Cucuringu, Puck Rombach, Sang Hoon Lee, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: We introduce several novel and computationally efficient methods for detecting "core–periphery structure" in networks. Core–periphery structure is a type of mesoscale structure that consists of densely connected core vertices and sparsely connected peripheral vertices. Core vertices tend to be well-connected both among themselves and to peripheral vertices, which tend not to be well-connected to other vertices. Our first method, which is based on transportation in networks, aggregates information from many geodesic paths in a network and yields a score for each vertex that reflects the likelihood that that vertex is a core vertex. Our second method is based on a low-rank approximation of a network’s adjacency matrix, which we express as a perturbation of a tensor-product matrix. Our third approach uses the bottom eigenvector of the random-walk Laplacian to infer a coreness score and a classification into core and peripheral vertices. We also design an objective function to (1) help classify vertices into core or peripheral vertices and (2) provide a goodness-of-fit criterion for classifications into core versus peripheral vertices. To examine the performance of our methods, we apply our algorithms to both synthetically generated networks and a variety of networks constructed from real-world data sets.

"Network Analysis and Modelling: Special Issue of European Journal of Applied Mathematics"

I co-edited a special issue of European Journal of Applied Mathematics along with Ginestra Bianconi.

The special issue is on Network Analysis and Modelling. Also take a look at our editorial, which introduces the issue.

As you can see from this screenshot, our editorial involved a very speedy review process (including time travel).

Update (11/06/16): I blogged briefly about our time-traveling experience for the Improbable Research blog.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

It's Going to Game 7!

With Chicago's victory today, tomorrow is going to be Game 7 of the World Series between the Cubs and Indians, two teams who have not won in a very long time. One game to rule them all. Very exciting!

(And Bill Murray's "I Ain't Afraid of No Goat" t-shirt is fantastic!)