Thursday, June 28, 2018

RIP Harlan Ellison (1934–2018)

The great writer Harlan Ellison (who contributed much to science fiction, as well as other genres) died today.

Here is a picture with him at Dragon*Con in 2003. He complimented me on the shirt I was wearing, and rolled his eyes to signal to me (while I was waiting patiently at the front of the line) that the person in front of me in line for his autograph (who gave him tons and tons of things to sign) was an idiot. For me, he signed a well-read copy of the 35-year retrospective of his work, and he agreed to be in the picture below. Unlike recent Dragon*Cons, Ellison's autograph was free. He seemed to appreciate the fact that I had obviously read the book that I asked him to sign.

Update: Here is an obituary from The Nerdist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Another Living Network

Here is another living network, as one can see especially prominently in the right panel.

Other examples of living networks are fungal networks.

(Tip of the cap to Jessica Rosenkrantz.)

Monday, June 25, 2018

"Detecting Sarcasm with Deep Convolutional Neural Networks"

I think they found it.

(Tip of the cap to Peter Rothman.)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Yet Another Amazing Tiling from Tiling Bot

Tiling Bot has been producing lots of amazing (and often gorgeous) tilings on Twitter. Today's is one of my favorites.

I strongly recommend looking through Tiling Bot's feed.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

What Happens in Oxford Stays in Oxford

I arrived in Oxford last Sunday and will be here for a while, staying in Somerville and hanging out with my peeps (including some of my former students) from College as well as the Mathematical Institute. It's great to still be part of the extended family!

I'll also be participating and speaking at Howison-fest, a workshop in honor of Sam Howison's 60th birthday.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"FU" Stands for "Fundamental Unit"

Naturally, when I see "FU", the first term that comes to mind is "fundamental unit".

Remember: "FUs are biologically well defined".

This screenshot is from this new paper.

(Tip of the cap to Alex Vespignani.)

Ground Control to Major Tom: Perfect Photographic Timing

I approve!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Poincaré Disk: Fantasy Edition

I love it!

A Bulging Visual Illusion

This is a great visual illusion!

(Tip of the cap to Ben Orlin.)

Scholarship: Part of the Scientific Reward System

I may have been slightly snarky. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Apple Seismology

Here is a cool 'Quick Study' about "apple seismology".

Quoting the article's lead: Just as an earthquake’s seismic waves reveal properties of Earth’s interior, elastic surface waves on an apple can tell us about what’s going on inside the fruit.

This research may be a contender for an Ig Nobel prize.

Update: Apple seismology was discussed originally in a 1973 mathematical modeling paper by J.R. Cooke and Richard Rand. (This paper is cited in the Physics Today article above.)

An Alternative to a Faculty Retreat

Instead of having a Faculty Retreat, why don't we have a Faculty Victory this time?


Hitting a Major League Home Run Before One's First Major League Home Run

"Yesterday's" home run by Juan Soto, in a game that was suspended May 15th and completed yesterday, will be part of a great trivia question in the future.

Quoting from the article to which I linked:

On Monday, the Washington Nationals rookie crushed a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, two-run homer against the New York Yankees in the continuation of a game that started May 15 — five days before his big league debut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Soto's blast will not be considered his first major league homer, but it will be counted as a home run hit on May 15.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Female Drosophila melanogaster Respond to Song-Amplitude Modulations"

One of my papers came out in final published form a few days ago. Here are some details. (Also see the paper's supplementary material for an interview with the first author, my former D.Phil. student Birgit Brüggemeier.)

Title: Female Drosophila melanogaster Respond to Song-Amplitude Modulations

Authors: Birgit Brüggemeier, Mason A. Porter, Jim O. Vigoreaux,and Stephen F. Goodwin

Abstract: Males in numerous animal species use mating songs to attract females and intimidate competitors. We demonstrate that modulations in song amplitude are behaviourally relevant in the fruit fly Drosophila. We show that Drosophila melanogaster females prefer amplitude modulations that are typical of melanogaster song over other modulations, which suggests that amplitude modulations are processed auditorily by D. melanogaster. Our work demonstrates that receivers can decode messages in amplitude modulations, complementing the recent finding that male flies actively control song amplitude. To describe amplitude modulations, we propose the concept of song amplitude structure (SAS) and discuss similarities and differences to amplitude modulation with distance (AMD).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Adrián Beltré Now has More Hits than All Other Non-US-Born Players

Adrián Beltré now has more MLB hits than any other non-US-born player who ever played the game!

He passed Ichiro in the game that ended a few hours ago.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

What Happens in Paris Stays in Paris

I am at the airport. I'll be heading to Paris for NetSci 2018!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Excellent Notation for Predator–Prey Dynamics

I approve!

(Tip of the cap to Karen Daniels.)

Triumphant Return of The Power Law Shop

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Jack and Jill had Issues

Mathematics is an Experimental Science


(Tip of the cap to Steve Strogatz.)

Friday, June 01, 2018

A Brief Celebration of #NationalDonutDay