Links II

September 21, 2015

PhD Comics is coming out with a sequel to their movie.

Untrusted is a cool game where you have to modify the javascript which creates each level in order to pass it. (progress is saved via a cookie in your browser).

Catches win matches. And Z-score‚Äôs Cricket Stats Blog is the only place I’ve seen to provide any statistics on the matter.

Spooky Inference and the Axiom of Choice by Matt Baker. Don’t forget to click through all the links he provides. Infinite hat problems are weird!

The AFL ladder. Yes I know the home and away season is behind us for another year. But this clean site looks like it may be my go-to for 2016.

Review: WeatherWoman (Movie)

September 20, 2015

Those of us above a certain age in Australia will remember a time when SBS did not have advertisments. These days, you even see English language movies on the national multicultural broadcaster, presumably as a result of increased commercial pressures. In ye olden times, however:

Movies were not in English. Often European, sometimes Asian (but never from Bollywood).

Ratings often contained the advisories: (s,n,a) (sex, nudity, adult themes). In practice: you see breasts.

The movies could be anywhere on the spectrum from arthouse classic to plain weird.

Where does WeatherWoman fit in this spectrum?

It is in Japanese.

You see breasts.

And it is squarely located in the weird end of the spectrum.

So what’s it about, you ask? Let me try to describe it without giving away too many spoilers.

There is a woman, who is presenting the weather on TV. While performing this job, she flashes her panties, live on TV.

Understood it so far? Well, that is the plot. And yes, it is somehow perfectly possible to make a feature length film with this plotline. OK sure, there are a few other scenes, such as the scene where you see breasts that I alluded to before, as well as an epic battle between the two alpha females at the end. But it’s the panties that drive the storyline.

It’s something that will go down in the annals of Japanese weather history.

I didn’t make up that last sentence by the way. This is a direct quote from the film.

One and a half stars. Because it will go down in the annals of Japanese weather history.

Review: YJ MoYu YuSu 4x4x4 for Speed Cubing Stickerless (with pink) (X-cube 4 Mechanism)

September 19, 2015

My old 4x4x4 cube from Mefferts (which will always have a special place in my heart as the first thing I ever bought online) no longer turns very well, and after recently experiencing the difference between my 4x4x4 and a high quality cube, I was motivated to score myself a replacement.

Hence, This cube was procured from the HKnow store.

Let me first be clear about what this cube is not:

It is not a cube for the serious speed-cubist. If you’re going to be playing with your cube a lot and/or want speed, then you want to get yourself a higher end cube.

The turning mechanism is perfectly adaquete for the purposes of recreationally solving the cube. As advertised there are no stickers so you don’t have to worry about the colours falling off. For me, the yellow and green colours are a little close for comfort but your colour perception may be different. Each side of the cube is 6cm long.

So if you are looking for a cube to recreationally solve a few times. Or to put on your mantlepiece to show off. And you’re a tightarse who doesn’t want to spend the extra money on a higher end model. Then this is the cube for you.

Would recommend.


June 1, 2015

If presented with a tarball with a tar.lrz extension (e.g. after waiting many hours for one of these torrents to download), proceed as in the following example:

lrzuntar Ubuntu_14.04_LTS_sage-6.7-x86_64-Linux.tar.lrz

The Prime Number Theorem (up to a constant factor)

April 14, 2015

It is suprisingly easy and pretty to give an elementary proof that the prime number theorem (that the number \pi(x) of primes less than x is asymptotic to x/\log x) is true up to a constant factor. (I will address only the part where we show that there are many (i.e. at least ~cx/\log x) primes less than x.)

Consider a binomial coefficient {n \choose k}. Let p be a prime. We first want to know what the largest power of p is which divides {n \choose k}. There is more than one way to express the answer, the most elegant one I know of is as follows:

Add the numbers k and n-k in base p (by the usual primary school algorithm). Then the number of carries that occur in this addition is equal to the greatest power of p dividing {n \choose k}.

What is most important for us is the fact that this number is no more than \log_p n.

We immediately get

\displaystyle \prod_{p\leq n}p^{\log_pn}\geq {n\choose k}

which is of course equivalent to

\displaystyle n^{\pi(n)}\geq {n\choose k}.

Make a good choice of k and we are within a constant factor of the prime number theorem!

The Butterfly Theorem

March 1, 2015

Let M be the midpoint of the chord PQ of a circle. Let AB and CD be two other chords of the circle passing through M and let X and Y be the intersection points of PQ with AD and BC respectively. Then M is the midpoint of the segment XY. Butterfly Theorem diagram (from wikipedia) Proof: The space of all degree two polynomials vanishing at the four points A, B, C and D is of dimension 2*. Thus it is spanned by the equation of the circle and the equation of the union of the lines AB and CD. Choose coordinates such that the line PQ is the x-axis and the point M is the origin. Then the coefficient of x in both our spanning polynomials is equal to zero, hence this coefficient is also zero in the equation of the union of AD and BC. Therefore M is the midpoint of the segment XY, as required.

*To see this there is a six dimensional space of degree two polynomials and we are imposing one linear condition each time we require the polynomial to vanish at a point. These four conditions are linearly independent since it is easy to find degree two curves passing through three of these points and not the fourth (e.g. a union of two lines).


February 11, 2015

Daniel discusses why what you see on your TV screen may be misleading. I wonder what the BCCI think of this.

An Oldie but a Goddie: Why South Africa has never won the f**ng World Cup.

On the Time Spent Preparing Grant Proposals. (hat-tip to SY).

The Dot and the Line (A Romance in Lower Mathematics) (youtube). This is actually a book, which I learnt on Saturday when I found the book in the Boundary Street Markets.

And last but not least, Australia will be competing in Eurovision 2015. And there is a petition calling on TISM to be our entry.

The Quest for the Perfect Pad See Eiw

February 4, 2015

That is, the quest for the perfect Pad See Eiw that is not located in Sydney. This quest has now entered its tenth year and we now discuss last night’s entry, from Thai Nakonlanna in St Lucia, Qld.

Unfortunately there will be no pictures, even though I had my camera with me. Sorry if you’re the type of person that actually thinks a picture is worth a thousand words.

Before we get to the food, I want to mention the cost. The Pad See Eiw with chicken here was 12AUD. As a point of comparison, Thai La-Ong charges 10.5AUD (dinnertime price). There’s this myth floating around that Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, but after seeing prices here in Brisbane I’m calling Bravo Sierra on that one.

With much anticipation the first mouthful left the plate, was delicately transported upwards on a fork and entered the mouth. In an instant, I knew that this was not the one. It’s hard for me to describe exactly what was wrong in words, though I feel it was not sweet enough.

I don’t know why I bother continuing on this futile quest. I really should give up.

Ender’s Game

January 9, 2015

It was yonks and yonks ago that I read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and enjoyed the book so much that I happily continued with the sequels. It was with some trepidation however with which I approached the movie, as I had heard some indifferent reviews but also because of the following result:

Theorem: The book is always better than the movie.

(Proof: exercise left to the reader)

The movie follows exclusively the major plotline of the story. Thus it is essentially about Ender and Ender alone. It does at times skip through this storyline at a fast pace, sacrificing character development to do so which makes some of the scenes appear less meaningful or understandable when compared to the book version.

Disappointingly, the entire plot line involving Locke and Demosthenes is missing from the film. Thus if you’ve only seen the film, then you won’t get . The joke in is still understandable.

After watching the film, I felt I had to reread the book again to make a comparison between the two – as well as to test how accurate my memory of the book acually was. It felt weird reading dialogue which was inserted directly from the book into the film and thus I had just heard.

My recommendation is that the book is a must read. The movie is optional. Based on m y personal experiences with Jurassic Park and The Lost World (both of which I saw before I read), it is perhaps better to watch the movie before reading the book if you want to do both and for some reason haven’t yet read the book.

On the Translation of Poetry

December 20, 2014


Taken at the Seoul Museum of Art.


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