With the grim and bizarre reality of a Donald Trump presidency finally beginning to recede behind us, it’s a good opportunity to recap his time as president. For previous US presidents, we might expect to now be inundated with articles detailing major accomplishments, critical analyses of policy implementations, and so... [Read More]
A Karen by Any Other Name
The Covid-19 pandemic has shed an unflattering light on some of our society. More people than I’m comfortable with, when faced with a minor inconvenience, will loudly proffer their opinion that perhaps it would be better if some other people died. This extreme entitlement is often personified in American and... [Read More]
A Basic Introduction to Reinforcement Learning and the Julia Language
In this week’s New Scientist, they posed the following puzzle: [Read More]
Do Androids Dream of Electoral Sheep?
There’s been one thing dominating my Twitter feed lately, popping up everywhere no matter how much I try to avoid it. I’m talking, of course, about the army of Twitter bots that Fine Gael have employed to post positive responses to each of their tweets. [Read More]
All the president's boys
Nominative determinism is the idea that people gravitate towards professions which align with their names: Mr/s Baker becoming a baker, Usain Bolt becoming a runner, and so on. While it is often little more than an amusing coincidence, the perceived ability of names to shape our destinies has led some... [Read More]
Are first impressions more important than last for TV shows?
In Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky outlined an experiment in which they asked participants to place their hand in a bowl of cold water. In one trial they were asked to remove their hand after 60 seconds and rate the discomfort they suffered. In the other,... [Read More]
Why did the golden age of The Simpsons end? redux - celebrity cameos
Last year, I wrote about the evolving nature of the writing staff as a possible reason for post-golden-age decline of The Simpsons. While I’d hesitate to argue a causal relationship, the decline in episode ratings did appear to correspond roughly to a change in the writing staff. Nevertheless, there are... [Read More]
Am I the asshole?
The Reddit community /r/AmITheAsshole has a simple premise: users describe a particular situation in their lives and others respond with their opinion of whether the original poster (OP) was the asshole in the situation. A vote is made using a set of initialisms: NTA - ‘not the asshole’: the OP... [Read More]
How Ned got Fland-diddly-anderised
One of the many words The Simpsons has given to us is Flanderisation—the gradual erosion of the nuances of a character until they become little more than a parody of themselves. Although, of course, named after Ned Flanders the term has found use in a number of other works; TV... [Read More]
The problem with folding phones
The prospect of a foldable phone/tablet combo has been causing a stir lately, thanks to Samsung teasing their latest innovation: a phone that unfolds into a tablet. While I don’t particularly fancy one of these devices—not that I could afford one—I can appreciate the technological feats that they are. [Read More]