Monthly Archives: June 2008

Sleight of handle

As I mentioned, the American Scientist web site is undergoing an overhaul. One aspect of the transition that’s still in transition is redirecting http requests so that old links and bookmarks will retrieve the correct document on the new site. … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 7 Comments

Jottings on .js

Theorists and theologians of programming languages give a lot of thought to issues like referential transparency, lexical scope rules and idempotency. More often than not, though, programming languages live or die for reasons that have nothing to do with such … Continue reading

Posted in computing | Comments Off

Bloom-filtered Britney

Imagine an unending stream of names: Britney, Brad, Angelina, Britney, Pamela, Jessica, Jessica, Britney, Clay, Brad, Britney, Britney, Pamela, Clay, Brad…. Your job is to keep a running tally of the number of unique names. (The snippet above, with 15 … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 1 Comment

Spam stats

Hormel Foods, the Minnesota meatpacker, reports a surge in sales of Spam. News accounts attribute the rising popularity of the pink meat-in-a-can to higher prices for other commodities. Or maybe it’s the Spam musubi fad. Meanwhile, the other kind of … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, statistics | 6 Comments

Unnatural logarithms

I have a longstanding friendly feud with my Editor-in-Chief over the use of logarithmic scales in graphs. I tend to go for a log plot if there’s the slightest hint of an exponential trend in the data; she argues that … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 5 Comments