Category Archives: General Interest

More SMH Bashing

I read an interesting article in the SMH a few days ago about a technique for preparing children to learn to read by increasing their ‘phonemic awareness’.

The first thing I think when I read about any innovation is “does it really work?” — the evidence was addressed by a single paragraph:

After 13 weeks [...]

Innumeracy in the SMH

From an article in today’s SMH:

The State Transit Authority’s own figures show the number of people travelling without a ticket or with the incorrect ticket has shot up by more than 40 per cent in the past year.

Is this true? Unfortunately it’s contradicted by the very next paragraph:

From March 1 to May 31, 2008, officers [...]

Keep Your Hands Off My Holidays, AHA

From an ABC report:

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) says people should be forced to forfeit some of their annual leave if they do not take enough holidays. The association says Australians are saving up too much money, while the tourism industry is floundering. AHA chief executive Bill [...]

Computer Scientists as an ethical elite

… every culture … needs a kind of self-questioning, ethical elite … Perhaps you see very little link between the Charles of 1267 with all his newfangled French notions of chastity and chasing after Holy Grails, the Charles of 1867 with his loathing of trade and the Charles of today, a computer scientist deaf to the [...]

A Dialogue

The year 2329. Two humans in ostentatiously futuristic garb are removing a 21st century human from a block of ice.

Future Human 1: “What is your name?”

21st Century Human: “Jake — what happened to me?!?”

Future Human 2: “You have been frozen for 300 years”

Jake: “Thanks for thawing me out — what are your names?”

FH1: “We have [...]

Books from India Update

I received the ‘Eastern Economy Edition’ of “Advanced Topics in Types and Programming Languages” last week.

It’s a well constructed hardcover.

The negative points are: - It has an ‘inky’ smell. - The paper is thinner than usual, so you can see the printing on the other side of the page.

Neither is a real problem.

Google Translate is not always so useful

Emboldened by my previous success, I decided to translate the subject of some Chinese-language spam: 卓越的指引管理让战斗力数倍提升

Apparently this means: “Excellent management guidelines several times to enhance the combat effectiveness”

I don’t know if the translation is inaccurate or the subject is poorly written.

It reminds me of the apocryphal story about the translation software which when used from [...]

Laptop design stupidity

A relative of mine has a recent HP Pavillion laptop. (I suggested that she get a Mac, but she was concerned about MS Office compatibility).

I was doing some telephone support trying to reattach it to her wireless network tonight. I was ultimately unsuccessful, but I did learn two reasons why HP laptops suck.

HP has their [...]

How to increase your Ycombinator Karma without really trying

Project Euler for non-mathematicians?

This site has potential to be quite interesting, depending on the quality of the instructions.

It may also self select an interesting group of people — I wonder what a version of Slashdot which only those people knew about would be like?