Welcome to my homepage. The following are a list of posts from all the subsections of my blog (listed in the sidebar). To see more, go to the archives for each section.
- Check out the Information Visualization MOOC from Indiana University. [data_science visualisation mooc]
- How people read online: Why you won’t finish this article. [reading behavioural_psychology]
- Map of world ancestry derived from genetic data (companion to the paper A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History (2014)). [genetics map]
- The Matrix Cookbook by Kaare Brandt Petersen, Michael Syskind Pedersen: this is a useful reference for different matrix operations [mathematics PDF book]
- International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) is a worldwide synthetic biology competion for undergrads that has been held since 2003.
- My picture is in the 2013 Year end report from The Perl Foundation (TPF) on the very left of page 5 in the PDF. From what I hear, paper copies of this will be sent out to people that attended TPF events in the past few years, meaning it'll go all over the world! [perl]
- Music Animation Machine [music animation visualisation]
This device (check out the GIFs!), called the Organ Care System, extends the life of organ transplants by providing an environment for the organ by keeping warm blood flowing while it is in transport. There are other systems that do the same, but this looks more portable.
Engineering Map of America from PBS' American Experience
I saw this article about how one of the people promoting people to learn to code doesn't actually know how to code. This isn't actually that big a problem. The actual problem is that too many people think that computer science is about programming computers. Ostensibly, yes, that is what you do when you program, but really, what you want to do when you program is to learn about algorithmic thinking. You want to be able to think about logic and control flow and state. Those skills can be learned without a computer. Many of the most prolific computer scientists did not need computers to do computer science. This is why I like the CS Unplugged materials. You really need to check out their videos on YouTube.
Some more info on the Marvel Comics API from last time: apparently they use a graph DB which makes sense for what they are doing. There is a video from the GraphConnect New York conference here. This other video is mainly the same but there is a QA session at the end (@ 34:40).
Two links on DIY tooling. Pat Delany has been working on making open-source machine tools for cheap. His work on the MultiMachine is driven by a desire to make toolmaking tools available to anyone around the world:
It’s strange, but at my advanced age I realize that machine tools are about all that I believe in. The lathe, shaper, and mill built the foundation of our current standard of living and there is no reason why a cheap and easy-to-build multipurpose tool could not help the 500 million people that need simple water pumps or the billion people who live on a dollar a day or less. Thanks for getting a crazy old man started.
Here's another cheap tool: Mini circular bench saw from scrap.
I got quoted in this newspaper article about UH's startup accelerator, RED Labs. As I said in the article, I would really like to see more CS, engineering, and tech-related students join the program and get involved. The Computer Science Entrepreneurship Workshop+Startup Lab - RED Labs was a good start for reaching out to the CS students and there are more initiatives underway for the next semester, but we need to grow a passion for creating new things — I know it's there, but we need more expression and drive.
This article titled Girls and Software, while written about the gender problem faced in the software industry, had a different effect on me. It reminded me why I love the Internet and online communities. When you can "hide" your AFK identity behind a pseudonym, people don't treat you with the same AFK prejudices. I remember that I was able to converse with people much older than me and they didn't know they were talking to a 12-year-old. This was quite a freeing feeling as I could push myself to do things that you wouldn't expect from someone so young.
I read this article by Peter Seibel about code reading a few weeks ago. I love the idea of literate programming, but often you can't code that way because there is too much clutter. Short pieces of code like Backbone are easier to read from beginning-to-end. A comment by dmunoz on a Hacker News post about a 55-line Python task queue (thread) really sums up the sentiment nicely:
Absolutely. I'm always pleased when documentation includes some pseudocode for what the system generally does, without the overhead of configuration, exceptional control flow, etc. It's not always possible with large systems, but makes it a lot easier to see the forest, not the trees, in even mid-sized code bases.
(via Which code to read?)
This video of an autonomous boat demonstrates mapping and path planning on water. Now I'm wondering if the open-source vehicle I shared last time could be augmented with drive-by-wire to make a cheap driverless car testing platform! (via Evan Lee)
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