Saturday, January 31, 2009

SongSmith Song using falling stock prices

So I found this bit on Microsoft's SongSmith... which is a composition tool, you can basically sing and it will give you an auto-accompaniment.. (first cuts I've seen on other youtube seem to sound horrendous though) this Gem is great because I never thought a falling market would sound so cool... check it.

Taleb's Life Tips

I originally saw this on a blog post. It is a list of Taleb's top 10 life under uncertainty tips... pretty practical... he's a bit much sometimes, but even for a hyper optimist like myself, this dash of salty pragmatism is important.
check the original Timesonline article here

From the Times article

“The only way you can say ‘F*** you’ to fate is by saying it’s not going to affect how I live.

Taleb's top life tips (with my l33t translations in parenthesis)

1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
(Be skeptical with your Financial Planner, NOT with your friends when they say to take a left at the next light.)

2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
(Make friends, most people don't suck, you won't find a winning lottery ticket on the ground if you are in your mom's basement playing Everquest.)

3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
(If your gut says this guy is really not a Nigerian prince needing to transfer some money to an offshore account, then he probably isnt. When something looks wrong... it's a TRAP!!!!)

4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.
(Looking good is always the next best strategy, people always remember you NOT on your rise to glory, but ALWAYS as you fall from grace

5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
(Just because something looks easy, it's not.....)

6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.
(Fear of failure is the mind killer, better to fail 10,000 times than win an empty victory)

7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer [conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’].
(Avoid people who are giant balls of unfun.... they will infect you with their epic lameness)

8. Don’t read newspapers for the news [just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors]. The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or [again] parties.
(Your ancient mammal brain's ability to pick up on BS through body language is more trustworthy than the Anonymous Wizard behind the curtain)

9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
(Don't build up a "do all the right things and you'll get your reward" psychology, the world truly does not work that way. You have the furthest to fall if you hit the wall of reality with such notions. The human condition is imperfect but it is the human condition after all)

10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.
(Try to treat everyone equally, those high perched individuals you try to appease will probably disdain your obvious attempt at validation, those who are of lower status will appreciate your evenness)

Goat Armed Robbery

So apparently authorities in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

No commentary needed on this one, the article speaks for itself. Thanks to Cody R. for the find.

OMG Spinning Sharks

So my friend Matt told me he saw this on the news this morning, I did a little digging and found this video... what is super funny is that that shark looks suspiciously like Armaggon's special move from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles:Tournament Fighter (SNES) from back in the day...."

See the infield footage below.... coincidence? I think not!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Virgin Mobile - Secretary - May be TOO Awesome For Work

So my friend Melissa linked me to this Advertisement for Virgin Mobile she was responsible for check it. LOL (THIS MAY BE TOO AWESOME TO WATCH AT WORK) It is a LEGIT commercial but my buddy just told me he was watching it and his boss rolled up, good thing he's quick with the minimize button.

Watch more MySpace videos on AOL Video

Beyond Here: There Be Zombies

So my friend Jamie S. sent me this and it just made my day..... (Layoff news abound makes for a muddy Thursday).... apparently some jokers in Texas hacked a Road Sign to say... ZOMBIES AHEAD.... pure awesomeness indeed...

Speaking of Zombies I watched George Romero's Diary of the Dead yesterday... its pretty good... actually... Think Cloverfield/Blair Witch with zombies... alot like Left 4 Dead the Xbox 360 game which is awesome incarnate...

By the end of the movie you want to rip the camera guy's head off for being a terrible human being though.... The best character in the film is the Amish Farmer guy though... watch it and you'll see what I mean....


My friend David P. (MIT Alum) just sent me this to go with the Zombie goodness.

So apparently the kids at MIT have quite a few sign goodness hacks as well

BTW the building in the Godzilla picture is real, I saw it when I was in Cambridge for a Wedding on the MIT campus... totally awesome looking. Check the 411 here on wikipedia

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Starcraft Studies at Berkeley

My friend Cassidy PD found this one, so apparently at UC Berkeley students can take a course in Starcraft..... LOL

UC Berkeley students with an interest in real-time strategy games and the competitive gaming landscape are encouraged to participate in this class.

This course will go in-depth in the theory of how war is conducted within the confines of the game Starcraft. There will be lecture on various aspects of the game, from the viewpoint of pure theory to the more computational aspects of how exactly battles are conducted. Calculus and Differential Equations are highly recommended for full understanding of the course. Furthermore, the class will take the theoretical into the practical world by analyzing games and replays to reinforce decision-making skills and advanced Starcraft theory.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Police Impersonation like Whoa

A 14-year old boy has been charged with impersonating a Chicago police officer after police say he walked into a station house and ended up partnering with another officer on a traffic assignment for about five hours Saturday before he was found out.

This is the power of social engineering..... and luck.... ROFLCOPTER

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Inspired by the recent Donkey Punch Movie linked below... I thought I'd roll out a public safety announcement (Street Fighter 2 homage version...) to prevent forest fire... I mean.. well you know what I mean =)

Donkey Punch - The Movie

Yes that movie title is is the Rotten Tomatoes review, and YES, it is ACTUALLY titled Donkey Punch.... and YES that title heading says "the most SHOCK(er)ING thriller of the year".

Ian M. did some digging and found this info from wikipedia, check out the details here.

A commenter from IMDB had this to say:
"After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident (insert: FATAL donkey punch) the others argue about what to do, which leads to a ruthless fight for survival."

This one is... goes under the too hilarious to be true moniker.

Friday, January 16, 2009

MOOCOWS with Windows 9.0

Ok so not quite, but when I was at NCSU they had this cow with a plastic window in the side... when I tell people about it they usually think I'm joking but i'm dead serious.... check the youtube video of a cow with a window in it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Risk Management - Value at Risk - A cursory view

I saw this article from the NyTimes linked off of (an entry about Value At Risk) and I thought it was pretty good so I thought I would share.

Here is the article from the NyTimes talking about Risk Management

He breaks down some basics about Risk Management and gives nice explanation of how Value at Risk works...

From the article

VaR isn’t one model but rather a group of related models that share a mathematical framework. In its most common form, it measures the boundaries of risk in a portfolio over short durations, assuming a “normal” market. For instance, if you have $50 million of weekly VaR, that means that over the course of the next week, there is a 99 percent chance that your portfolio won’t lose more than $50 million.

Given the calamity that has since occurred, there has been a great deal of talk, even in quant circles, that this widespread institutional reliance on VaR was a terrible mistake. At the very least, the risks that VaR measured did not include the biggest risk of all: the possibility of a financial meltdown. “Risk modeling didn’t help as much as it should have,” says Aaron Brown, a former risk manager at Morgan Stanley who now works at AQR, a big quant-oriented hedge fund. A risk consultant named Marc Groz says, “VaR is a very limited tool.” David Einhorn, who founded Greenlight Capital, a prominent hedge fund, wrote not long ago that VaR was “relatively useless as a risk-management tool and potentially catastrophic when its use creates a false sense of security among senior managers and watchdogs. This is like an air bag that works all the time, except when you have a car accident.” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of “The Black Swan,” has crusaded against VaR for more than a decade. He calls it, flatly, “a fraud.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dolphin Gangs Roll Deep

So I had a hilarious discussion over beers and pizza this weekend with some friends. I asked the age old question... "what is your opinion on dolphins?"... anyhow that turned out to be pretty funny and somehow I was schooled that apparently fast food firms usually get 'retarded cows' at auction cuz they are cheap. Thus your McDonalds burger may be from a 'retarded cow'. I'd need to look more into that one though...
Anyhow on the subject of dolphins... I had read in the past that Dolphins totally roll in Gangs... and practice kidnapping... much like people do in 3rd world countries.... I looked into it a bit more and found this gem from how stuff works... check it here

So think twice before you smile at a dolphin... he may try to shank you...

My friend Sarah G. says of dolphins... "they are the cute and intelligent mammals of the sea"... Intelligent indeed Sarah....

From the article
In Shark Bay, on the coast of Western Australia, researchers from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth have observed gangs of male dolphins harassing and intimidating sexually receptive mature female dolphins. The researchers, led by biologist Richard Connor, documented several cases in which male dolphins, working in groups of twos and threes, “kidnapped” females from other dolphin groups. The females were then held captive for as long as one month.

As part of one two-year study that began in 1995, Connor studied a “supergang” of 14 adult male bottle-nosed dolphins in Shark Bay. Although he had studied other groups of dolphins that teamed up in twos or threes, this appeared to be an alliance of several smaller gangs united to form the supergang


Here is a great article from the Onion... on if Dolphin's evolved opposable thumbs..

"I believe I speak for the entire human race when I say, 'Holy fuck,'" said Oceanographic Institute director Dr. James Aoki, noting that the dolphin has a cranial capacity 40 percent greater than that of humans. "That's it for us monkeys."