Strange Musings *hyuk*
Sunday, October 31, 2004
  8:44 PM — New Blog!
I now have a new blog that I've just started. Star Stories will be a (copyright protected) work-in-progress towards a collection of multi-cultural constellation myths.

Monday, October 25, 2004
  6:45 PM — Cheeks of a Snow-Country Child
Kasugai Gummy-s, found in your neighborhood Asian Food Store (such as Hong Kong Supermarket in Flushing), have the BEST slogans on them EVAR!!! I'll post them here as I finish the bags of them. They also come in the most unusual and intriguing flavors. You have to try lychee (a Chinese fruit). Not quite Engrish, as they're mostly super flowery text, rather than poorly-translated, but still entertaining. Apple is J Sue's fave slogan.

Related Links:


Sunday, October 24, 2004
  10:56 PM — More Monkeys
RE: Infinite Monkeys throw Infinite Shit at Infinite Computers

Tortoise points out to me that "the probability of one monkey typing Hamlet is not 0, it is roughly 1/50^200,000, where 50 is the number of allowed characters and 200,000 is the number of characters in Hamlet." The probability that any single monkey types all A's is the same. The infinite monkeys could theoretically ALL type all A's. Or all B's, or any other combination that isn't Hamlet. It's possible. However, the probability of it is zero.

We will ignore any characters before or after the script of Hamlet. Let x=50^200,000, that is, the number of possible documents the length of Hamlet. In 200,000 characters, there are x possible documents. Looking at one specific monkey's output, the chance of that particular document being Hamlet itself is 1/x.

My brain hurts.

For more laughs, check out the Brunching Shuttlecocks'
article on other things the monkeys might type.

Friday, October 22, 2004
  1:15 AM — Character Stats
The first three are PCs, and the rest are NPCs. Yeah, I'm a geek. Two individuals have a parenthetical Charisma; these individuals have a modifier dependent upon the number of people present, and whether the character is familiar with them.

Self Str 7 Dex 8 Con 8 Int 16 Wis 17 Cha 15 Elven Mage/Druid
NTC Str 10 Dex 7 Con 14 Int 18 Wis 17 Cha (10) Human Bard
JSP Str 9 Dex 14 Con 10 Int 16 Wis 17 Cha 11 Kender Fighter
Peeper Str 3 Dex 10 Con 5 Int 5 Wis 10 Cha 13 Familiar
T$ Str 12 Dex 14 Con 9 Int 15 Wis 13 Cha (12) Human Bard ?
JLG Str 14 Dex 12 Con 10 Int 14 Wis 16 Cha 11 Cleric ?
J?? Str 11 Dex 10 Con 11 Int 16 Wis 17 Cha 14 Human Ranger

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
  8:25 PM — Update!
Hopefully you're more observant than my students and noticed the changes around here. I went with a cleaner style that also allowed names of recent posts to be listed. Also, for the first time I figured out how to allow people to leave comments! Not sure if it wasn't available for free before, or I just didn't see it, but here it is now. :) I'm starting to like how this all works, especially since I know a little bit about .css style sheets.

  8:05 PM — Voting?
Well, I got my PA absentee ballot on Friday, filled it out Monday, but I couldn't mail it today and WHY? Because I don't have any stamps. @#*&. Nader was listed as a presidential candidate, but there was an extra "warning" sheet of paper saying that as of when the ballot was sent, they hadn't yet decided his eligibility (none). I voted for Pres and Senator (drats, I can't vote out Senator Santorum until 2006, which's also when I get to approve gay marriage back in MA). For the other positions I don't like making an uninformed vote, so I would normally leave them blank. This year, upon somebody's suggestion (I forget who, let me know if it was you), I wrote in Ralph Nader for all the unimportant positions. I figured perhaps I'd make a pollster chuckle.

Saturday, October 16, 2004
  11:55 PM — Soap Box
Jon Stewart (of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) appeared on CNN's Crossfire lately. As you watch, note how Stewart attacks the Crossfire format, and how they attack him personally. Also see if you can count how many jabs he makes that no one in the audience catches.

  9:12 AM — Balancing Act and Seatbelts
I started writing a comment on the blog of my friend "Unofischal," when I realied I wanted to write a whole post about it here.

For myself, I'm finding these days that I GLADLY put nearly all my time into prep for teaching. If I didn't do the best job I could, I wouldn't be happy enough to enjoy my personal life. If I didn't take time to relax now and then, I wouldn't be effective enough to do a good job. I know I'm in the right place now because these balance properly on their own, and I don't need to worry about which should get more time.

I may not become internationally recognized, but I know I'm making a big difference in some student's life.

When I was in college, school was my life. Everything revolved around what classes I was taking, what my homework was, and so on. For my students, college is just a small piece of the puzzle, and not always a high priority. The same student whom complains that she can't afford the textbook wears the latest fashions and is on the cellphone as soon as I dismiss class. One of my good students asked a week ahead for a make-up exam date. The reason: she had to take her former boyfriend to court because he wasn't pay child support claiming the kid wasn't his. Another good student missed her test without telling me in advance, and just yesterday told me the reason was she's been having violent morning sickness. Not to be cold hearted but to uphold my standards, I asked for a doctor's note and she showed me the result of her pregnancy test.

Which brings me to a whole 'nother rant. CONDOMS! The first girl (woman?) had lost health insurance for a semester, so she stopped taking the Pill. (But didn't stop fucking.) I've chanted this one to many of my friends, so if you've already heard it, you can stop reading this post: without health insurance, the Pill is $27-30/month. WITH health insurance it's still $10-20/month. Condoms sold individually are less than a dollar. If you fucked daily, that'd also be about $30/month. A cellphone bill is $30-60. This woman chose her cellphone over a healthy, sane, and happy baby.

I compare educating people about condoms, and using condoms, to using a seatbelt in a car. You don't plan to get in a car accident, but you should wear a seatbelt anyway. Abstinence-only people don't plan to have sex, but they should know about condoms anyway. For a long while I was on the Pill while abstinent. I didn't plan to have sex on any given day, but I wanted to not have to worry about that when I did decide that I would. When I'm driving my car, I don't plan on getting in an accident, but I still buy a safe car. Maybe abstinence would be equivalent to using the breaks in the car: avoiding sex entirely, avoiding accidents entirely. Is being rear-ended like date-rape?

Q says that so-called "emergency contraception" would be like an air bag, but my personal favorites are withdrawl and the calendar method. Withdrawl is where you're having sex, and the guy pulls out before he comes. Not that effective as there's still sperm in "pre-come" (pre-ejaculatory fluid). That's like bailing out of the car as it's hitting the brick wall. Tuck and roll! The calendar method is a remarkably ineffective version of the "rhythm method" (natural family planning). Done properly, a woman using natural family planning will take her vaginal temperature and record her vaginal mucus consistency daily. The calendar method means just keeping track of when you last had your period and abstaining when you think you're most fertile (approximately 2 weeks before). That would be if you only drove on the wrong side of the street when it's not rush hour.

Thursday, October 14, 2004
  9:24 PM — T-Shirts 1.1
Additional wacky T-shirt sources:

And while I'm plugging webcomics, Schlock Mercenary is going full time and asked readers to plug it.

Ooh, and buy tickets for my chorus! Our upcoming concert is being held on Sat Nov 6, 8pm, in Worcester MA and will feature two 20th century classical pieces from British composers. Price is $24 general, $18 students, and we're damned good so it's worth it!

Thursday, October 07, 2004
  9:32 AM — Commercialism in the Name of Anti-Commercialism
I finally found a "Straight But Not Narrow" pin through They've got all sorts of good pins and bumper stickers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
  10:43 PM — Veep Deb
Tonight I listened to the Vice Presidential debate with half an ear. Some of the highlights:

Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck finding good drinking games for these. Anyone have a link?

Monday, October 04, 2004
  10:53 PM — Election forthcoming
On my last day in Pennsylvania this summer my voter's registration card arrived. I recently sent in my absentee ballot request and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. Perhaps I shall call the Lancaster County Voter's Registration office to make sure they got my request.

Meanwhile, I realized there's an even BIGGER question. In 2006, do I vote out Senator Santorum, or do I approve gay marriage?


WARNING: This blog often contains disturbing stories of science and math as used in every day life.

If you are easily disturbed or a Luddite, surf on elsewhere.

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Location: New England, United States
October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / February 2004 / March 2004 / May 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 /


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