MapReduce Red Herring

2008 January 30

The whole MapReduce thing is peripherally interesting to me (peripherally because I don’t have thousands of computers that I need to keep busy).

There was this scathing article about it, but from what little I know about MapReduce, most of the arguments don’t seem to address the whole point of MapReduce, which I got the feeling was to reliably and quickly do all kinds of simple computations on ridiculous amounts of data using a bazillion small computers, and have the computation get faster as you add more computers to make it easy to throw money at any scaling problems.

Automate Scam Baiting

2008 January 30

this makes me think that the automation of scam baiting seems like an interesting AI problem. An obvious score function: the length of the resulting email volleys, which has the nice property that it corresponds to “amount of scammer time wasted.”

Pink

2008 January 24

The city of Kunming appears to have discovered Pink's "Get the Party Started." I'm completely in favor of other people being infected by catchy songs that previously in my life have been stuck in my head on infinite repeat.

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Interesting (but preliminary-sounding) experiment where explaining to hotel maids how much exercise they were actually getting seemingly causes them to get the effects of exercising.

. . . .Basically, almost every moment of their working lives is spent engaged in some kind of physical activity.

But Langer found that most of these women don't see themselves as physically active. She did a survey and found that 67 percent reported they didn't exercise.

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Modern bombs don’t tick

2008 January 22

1999:

Narrator: . . . Airlines have this policy about vibrating luggage.

Narrator: Wa.. wa.. was it ticking?

Airport Security Officer: Actually throwers don't worry about ticking 'cause modern bombs don't tick.

Narrator: Sorry, throwers?

Airport Security Officer: Baggage handlers. But, when a suitcase vibrates, then the thrower's gotta call the police.

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I'm looking for the opposite or the converse of GNU fold — a command line program that would join word-wrapped text into a single line per paragraph. In other words, something that would take input containing adjacent lines of text like this:

now is
the time for
all good men

to come to the
aid of their
country

where adjacent paragraphs were separated with blank lines, and produce output with one line per paragraph, like this:

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Cardamom

2008 January 16

I just spent some time searching for a reasonable replacement or substitute for cardamom. I'm trying to find the spices needed to make masala chai, and in a quick survey of several recipes, all of them call for cardamom. By chance, I happened upon the fact that black cardamom is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. I found the name of black cardamom in Chinese (草果, cǎo guǒ) and discovered that I can buy it pretty much anywhere (including back home in Zhongdian) for local, non-import prices. read more…

Pink

2008 January 16

The city of Kunming appears to have discovered Pink's "Get the Party Started." I'm completely in favor of other people being infected by catchy songs that previously in my life have been stuck in my head on infinite repeat.

read more…

Pink

2008 January 15

The city of Kunming appears to have discovered Pink's "Get the Party Started." I'm completely in favor of other people being infected by catchy songs that previously in my life have been stuck in my head on infinite repeat.

read more…

Calmness Failure

2008 January 13

Today, while returning a mobile phone, I lost my internal cool for the first time in a long time. The store I bought the phone from has a 7 day return, 15 day replacement policy, but it took a lot of work to return the phone. It all went something like this:

Day 1 morning: I buy the phone

Day 1 evening: I go back and try to return it because of lack of Wi-Fi (I don't have any use for 3G). I am refused after about a half hour of explaining to three different people, but am given an offer to take me to a nearby Nokia Care the next day

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