learndorphins

Online classes

This fall, Stanford has been offering free online classes this fall in three subject areas of computing: Artificial Intelligence, Databases, and Machine Learning.   It’s different from MIT’s excellent OpenCourseWare series in that Stanford is offering a course you can play along with while MIT is providing the materials for self-study. For two of the courses, two …

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Dolphin Kick

When I first heard someone mention the term dolphin kick, I thought it was a reference to the 1980s Patrick Duffy show, Man from Atlantis. The BBC says the dolphin kick “replaces a standard underwater leg kick with a whipping motion that minimizes water resistance.”[1] It’s a little easier to make sense of this if …

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Seat belt fines

During a long bike ride yesterday, I noticed several road signs calling attention to a fine of $101 for driving without a seat belt. I’d noticed these signs before, but while traveling at the glacial pace my winter legs permitted, I read them a lot more than once 😉 Upon passing of House Bill 1460, …

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Dates

I’ve been researching date/time formats for inclusion in a software product, and wanted to share some of the thought processes involved.Use case: an engineer or scientist wants to plot something over some time period. All time periods are possible, so we must provide years down to minutes. For example, a coastal engineer surveyed said he: …

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Got Milk

There are a variety of milk-based products available in the store. Just sticking to cow’s milk for the moment, here’s the periodic table of viscous milk products, ordered by decreasing fat content: Butter – 81% milk fat. A stick of butter (8 tablespoons) has 97.2 grams of fat (880 calories!), which breaks down into 62% …

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RFID 101

I don’t watch much television , but when I do, it’s because my Tivo’s found something cool.  Like: last night’s introduction to RFIDs by Dr. Chris Diorio, chairman and CEO of Impinj[5]. His presentation is available online[1], so I will just summarize some of the things I learned. Who wants them? Business! Among the benefits: …

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Price trends

I don’t drive as much as I used to, but yowza, $54.87 to fill up my gas tank today.  For some historical perspective, the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy who publishes weekly gasoline prices.  Here, they attempt to explain gas pricing, best summarized as: World crude oil prices reached record levels in …

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Pasta puzzle

I’ve been having a lot of fun reading “How to Fossilize Your Hamster“[1], an entertaining and enlightening collection of quirky science questions and experiments one can do to observe the the principles. It’s very conversationally written with abundant humor. For example, in answering the best way to get ketchup out of the bottle, where they …

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