Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Search History

Wednesdays in April around 11 a.m., watch out! I'm on fire.

(A summary of my all-time searches courtesy Google Web History. [It keeps track of your searches if you're logged into your Google account. I just saw that it has an option to keep track of all the websites you visit if you so wish to keep track of that < I do not >.])

Tallahassee Democrat - Whoops

To all:

The Agency for Enterprise Information Technology (AEIT) has received reports from several agencies that some agency computers have been infected as a result of visiting the Tallahassee Democrat website. Our office has contacted the Tallahassee Democrat regarding these reports. The Tallahassee Democrat is aware of the situation and the newspaper is working with corporate headquarters to find and fix the problem. The parent company contracts with external parties to provide advertisements to fill in space on the website and Democrat staff believe one of these advertisements is the problem source.

It is important to note that the end user does not need to click on the affected add to become infected, but opening the page may result in the Trojan being downloaded to the computer. We also have received information that some anti-virus software is not preventing infection.

AEIT is working with SUNCOM network staff to temporarily block this website from agency access.

Please do not access the Tallahassee Democrat website until this issue is resolved.

Mike Russo, PMP®, CISSP, CFE, CGEIT™
State Chief Information Security Officer
Office of Information Security
Agency for Enterprise Information Technology
State of Florida
850) 922-7502

Monty Hall

Alright, ladies and gents. This is the end all be all of the infamous Monty Hall problem, which I encountered a number of years back and which keeps rearing its ugly head in the company of friends, some of whom argue about its explanation re: mathematical probability v. "standard logic."

[Somewhat related detour first:] A while back, I ran across a friend's post of Lockhart's Lament --- one mathematician / educator's criticism of America's standards and practices of math education. It's a compelling document, but if you're interested in arguing about the different sides of that, see the sequel to that column.

Anyway, a co-worker today was talking about teaching math to her daughters (who are home schooled) and so I searched out this document for her. I found it on Dr. Keith Devlin's great column on, Devlin's Angle. After poking around a bit, I stumbled across his entry for the infamous Monty Hall Problem, a very good read if you have about 10 minutes or so. He gives a great description and a few great explanations of the problem (as well as a great suggestion about human psychology), but if you don't have 10 minutes or so (or don't want to click through), I'll quote a concise section of it here.


Suppose the doors are labeled A, B, and C. Let's assume the contestant initially picks door A. The probability that the prize is behind door A is 1/3. That means that the probability it is behind one of the other two doors (B or C) is 2/3. Monty now opens one of the doors B and C to reveal that there is no prize there. Let's suppose he opens door C. Notice that he can always do this because he knows where the prize is located. (This piece of information is crucial, and is the key to the entire puzzle.) The contestant now has two relevant pieces of information:

1. The probability that the prize is behind door B or C (i.e., not behind door A) is 2/3.

2. The prize is not behind door C.

Combining these two pieces of information yields the conclusion that the probability that the prize is behind door B is 2/3.

Hence the contestant would be wise to switch from the original choice of door A (probability of winning 1/3) to door B (probability 2/3).


If that still doesn't work for you (and you still don't want to read the full column with multiple explanations), you can head over to this site (which only appears to work in Internet Explorer) to test out the problem yourself --- you can click through the problem yourself, or have the computer run the test 10, 100, or 1000 times to see how it works out.

This is what I got:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bieberville on Twitter

This stuff scares me.

It's not a secret that Justin Bieber is a tween superstar. But ever since they changed the Twitter homepage to scroll through seemingly random tweets as I log in, I've seen a Bieber devotee posting their love every time I go to the site. I had to click through to a user named "DaBieberVille," and their feed started to scare me.

Then I saw something interesting... the above tweet, posted from the web, which looked like a picture. I didn't know you could do that! I clicked the tweet, and it popped up here. So... someone made an ASCII type post that only makes sense when you view it in a Twitter feed?

Now that's dedication.

Also, check out the bottommost tweet on this screen capture:

"Retweet if you're █████████████████████ 100% Belieber (If you don't retweet, you're not one)"

I have no idea what that thick bar is doing in that tweet. Is it some foreign characters that won't render properly on my computer? Or are you supposed to fill in the blank?

I think the generation gaps are getting smaller... I'm 24, and these 13-yr-olds are stumping me on this Twitter shit.


Saw this today on the Twitter homepage (@TheJonasSource). Lazy, or resourceful?

These Gnarly Beasts

An online music collective that I formed in February has finally released its debut album. You can download it here:

I wrote a blog post about it on the group's Tumblr page here:

Feel free to stream, download, share with friends, and comment. You can email the group: thesegnarlybeasts [at] gmail [dot] com.


A Supposedly Fun Trick I'll Try Again Sometime

The internet is very quick at changing, so this little ditty might not last for long.

I went to Google "Wind wind etc. etc." --- a sentence from one of David Foster Wallace's essays. One of the links that showed up was the full essay, hosted on the New York Times website. When I clicked on the link, it took me to the full essay.

But I usually compulsively open a new browser window and feed a link in directly before sharing it on Facebook or Google Reader. To see if anything changes.

Which. Well, if you go to this link directly, it will ask you to log into NYT:

BUT, if you click over from the Google search returns page, it should let you view the page without logging in:

Furthermore, though, you could simply hit the "Cached" button on the Google link and see Google's downloaded version of the page, complete with highlighting of your search terms:

Because, I don't know if everyone knows this, but Google downloads the internet. This was the main part of their search idea that has allowed them to return search results very quickly. I don't know how long Google caches stay intact (or if they move them around their server space), but in case the internet ever disappears, there will probably be a copy of at least half of it at Google.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Facebook "Like" Violates Your Personal Space.

For in-depth coverage of the new "Like" campaign Facebook has launched, check this:

Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out

A wonderful blog post that I would have to recreate here if I had not seen it. Instead, I will summarize:

Facebook is trying to connect its users to all kinds of websites.

Every Facebook user is automatically signed up to "partner" with these sites.

To opt out, you must change a privacy setting AND you must block certain applications through Facebook.

From the above blog post:

So to recap to completely opt out you need to

1) Go to your to your privacy settings ->Applications and Websites and uncheck box at the bottom.
(Here's the link:§ion=applications)

2) Then click on the links to Yelp, Pandora and on Facebook and click on “Block Application” (Here's the link to these pages:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

These Gnarly Beasts! Live!

ADB just posted these videos from a birthday party we played.


Alien Lover, Baby

Our full album will be available this Friday, April 23 on our Bandcamp page. While you wait, there are singles on there now!

Also while you wait, check out our mumblings and musings on our Tumblr page!

Monday, April 19, 2010

These Gnarly Beasts - Future Love / Alien Lover, Baby

Our final single before the full blown release. Jessi sings about science and cells and love in the future. Andrew sings of foreign love. Enjoy!

Future Love / Alien Lover, Baby

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Anniversary Edition

Today, Jessica "JeJe Anne" Reath and I celebrate four years — a presidential term, an undergraduate degree — together.

I don't consider myself a mushy person (and I don't think most people who know me would) but I do believe in honesty — a necessary ingredient in any serious human interaction and one that Jessi and I have planted and nurtured and grown together.

The truth is that, as I think anyone in a longterm relationship can testify to, it hasn't all been a trip to the Fireworks, Candy, and Puppy Dog Store. But I've learned just as much (if not more) from Jessi during this time of my life than I did in any class or in any book that I read, and I continue to learn from her and from our relationship on a daily basis and I love her dearly for it.

The "proof" as they say, is in the pudding (I wanted to make a pun on "picture proof" here, but I couldn't work out a good enough way of doing it):

Jessi is a wonderful, honest, supportive, strong, bold, caring, beautiful partner, and these scanty words do not do her justice.

Here's to four more years.

And more.

I love you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

These Gnarly Beasts - Summer of Love, 1692 / Remix

Here's our second single offering:

Summer of Love, 1692 / Summer of Love (Punk Rock Scientist Remix)

Check it out! Our first single is still up, and we'll have one more small release before we lay out the 16-track beast.