Epiphanies

Art, Technology

Beyond the Models of Linear Regression

Fri, 18 Nov 2022

What The barriers between the different professions that use statistical modeling are breaking down. Today, we have much more compute power and a lot more data to play with, so different groups of researchers have been developing strategies to create their own, far more nuanced, models of the world. Statistical modeling is entering into an ecumenical era. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Numpy: Fast Arrays for Python

Tue, 15 Nov 2022

An NumPy is a Python library for applying functions to multi-dimensional arrays.The package includes operators for mathematical, statistical, logical, shape manipulation, and for sorting, selecting, and random simulation. NumPy processes arrays fast thanks to the vectorization, which is running a single action across large arrays for data. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

A Stoic's Guide to the Good Life

Sun, 06 Nov 2022

What When you wake in the morning, reflect on the day ahead. Know that you will meet people who will be busybodies, ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, selfish, wrote Marcus Aurelius in Meditations. Needy people zap your energy. Social media zap your energy. Stop doing things that do not have a clear purpose, he advised. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Plow as Greatest Technology

Mon, 17 Oct 2022

A Civilization arose when humankind moved beyond food collection into food production.Up until the Neolithic era, starting at about 3,200 B.C. man mostly hunted for food. Every day would be devoted to finding the next meal, be it hunting or foraging. Only when people started cultivating the soil for crops did they produce enough food to free up the days for other activities. And it was the invention of the plow that saved us from early extinction. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

All You Need to Know About Tyler Childers is Right Here

Wed, 31 Aug 2022

A After Nashville, I jumped off the Highway to take State 50 south and west, backroading my way to New Orleans. I did not check the weather and soon was stuck in a torrential downpour. The rain falls to Biblical proportions in this part of the south. There was an ice cream shop that also sold salads. I ducked in and ordered one, then stood there, because I was the only customer. The teenager behind the counter asked me what my favorite Tyler Childers song was. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Photos: A Decade on Suydam Street, Bushwick

Sun, 31 Jul 2022

What Bushwick is like purgatory. You can have as much fun as you want, but you can not leave until you learn something important about yourself. I planted myself there as a tax dodge, when my new job would not let me use Maryland as a permanent address. But my first Brooklyn Airbnb host, Ginger, taught me the Airbnb racket so well (check those ratings!) that, in the decade that followed, I ended up making friends with people who stayed at my place from the world over. And one afternoon at Pearls, I randomly met Tania, who taught me how to love NYC, and all the mad people there. What a weird decade that was. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Ongoing: Raymond Carver Short Story Synopses

Wed, 01 Jun 2022

A In their brevity and terseness, the short stories of Raymond Carver suggest a darkness inarticulated, a state of perpetual unease that mapped very well into those last few years before the Internet, when answers did not arrive instantly through text or Google. This post will (eventually) summarize each one of the 37 short stories in his last collection, published in 1989. I will not comment on the stories here, but just try to capture, by plot summation, the mysterious precision of Carver, at least at a surface level. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

A Compendium of Python Commands

Tue, 10 May 2022

A I love the Python programming language. It is the most intuitive of all the languages, I feel. After you use it awhile, you can pretty much guess the proper syntax for an operation, and you would probably be right. Still I need a handy reference guide from time to time. So here is a collection of basic Python operations, presented not so much as a form of instruction, but as a guide for quick consultation. I also cover the creation of lists and dictionaries, functions and file input and output. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

How to Spot a Revolution

Sat, 16 Apr 2022

A The first thing you notice is the anxiety, the growing frustration of small things not fitting together like they should, an unease that the things taught to you are not entirely true. Things are pretty well laid-out these days. But once there was a time when everything was possible, with different people trying out wildly different things. Over time, however, they converged on what is now known as The Way. For us here today, it is really just working out all the messy little details and edge cases around supporting The Way, with specialists talking to other specialists. But then someone discovers something. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Desert Sculpture of Donald Judd

Tue, 22 Mar 2022

Donald Millions of years from now, after humans eradicated themselves from the planet, alien creatures will wonder about the meaning of the large concrete blocks lined up across a Chihuahuan Desert plateau, created by Donald Judd. Arranged into small stand-alone clusters, each set of boxes is a unique and mysterious configuration. A Stonehenge of our own. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Who is Up for Some Grinding? 19th Century Tennessee AgTech

Tue, 15 Mar 2022

The Just south of Nashville, the Tennessee Agriculture Museum is housed, understandably enough, in a barn. The main level is well-stocked with AgTech wonders from years gone by: mills, mechanical harvesters, a covered wagon and even a sheep treadmill. But like any barn, the upper level is the place for the best rummaging. Here, they stashed the gear they have not gotten around to fully displaying or even figuring out what to do yet, a bric-a-brac of primitive, discarded agricultural technology. The showcases of plows and cultivators alone are worth the climb. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Nyla Showed Me Around The Abita Mystery House

Thu, 24 Feb 2022

The Just north of New Orleans, in Abita Springs, Louisiana, The Abita Mystery House is a museum of sorts, a fascinating collection of southern folk art housed on a compound fronted by a vintage gas station. It is the creation of artist John Preble. Here is where you will find the 32 foot alligator, a spaceship and a robot, miniature cityscapes of old sordid New Orleans, dysfunctional arcade games and a friendly cat, who accompanied me from building to building. Perhaps most fascinating were the dioramas: One depicted a tornado ripping through a trailer park. Another portrayed the death of the dinosaurs. A third depicted dancing skeletons. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

A Visit to the Home of William Faulkner

Tue, 22 Feb 2022

A Here are some photos from the Oxford Mississippi home of William Faulkner. He purchased this 1848 primitive Greek revival house in 1930, right before writing Light in August, a Southern Gothic novel that cemented his reputation as a literary writer. He named the home Rowan Oak, after the rowan tree, long a symbol of security and peace, and this place definitely has a calming feel about it. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Stage Dresses of Patsy Cline

Fri, 18 Feb 2022

The On stage, country music legend Patsy Cline often wore beautiful and uniquely-designed dresses sewed together by her mother, Hilda Hensley. The family grew up poor, in Winchester, Virginia, and her mom was a seamstress for the rich and elite of Winchester. So when Patsy started performing, it was natural for Hilda to assemble these dresses, often from designs by Patti herself, which were rich in fringes and rhinestones. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

E.O. Wilson and the Fight for Evolutionary Biology

Mon, 14 Feb 2022

A At the age of 13, Wilson was the first person to discover the presence of invasive fire ants within the U.S., by surveying a vacant lot near his home in Mobile Alabama. The pesky creatures had come, via cargo ship, from Brazil by the way of Argentina. In short, he was a naturalist, someone who observes the natural world, watching for all the changes there. So when Wilson first came to Harvard, it was as an outsider, a specimen-collecting prodigy who still needed education in some basics of biology. He arrived just in time to counter a revolution. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Low Cut Connie: The Last Great Rock n Roll Band in America?

Mon, 31 Jan 2022

Low Rode out a snowstorm last weekend to see this band and it was so worth it. The Philadelphia-based Low Cut Connie has my vote for best Rock n Roll band in America, a rightful heir to the gritty likes of the Iron City Houserockers or the J. Geils Band. Front man Adam Weiner is a hyperactive force of nature, a barroom Elton John and a friend to no piano. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

David Byrne: American Utopia

Sun, 09 Jan 2022

A No microphone stands, no drum riser, no video montages, no amp stacks: The American Utopia show from David Byrne is a very high tech and beautifully staged show that totally rethinks how live music should be presented. Everything had been stripped away from the stage except the necessary performers themselves, who had the room to physically express their music. At times, this percussive-heavy roving assemblage resembled a fractal marching band Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Powerful Grip Of Robert Gordon

Tue, 21 Dec 2021

Rockabilly I shook the hand of rockabilly legend Robert Gordon, after he played the Jesse Malin Christmas Show in the Bowery Ballroom in the Lower East Side, New York. Despite being well into his 70s, he still had a powerful grip, the grip of a farmer. I would not want to get into a ballroom brawl with him, even in his sunset years. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Magical Thinking and the Enlightenment

Sun, 19 Dec 2021

How Science wins out, if barely, and only because it actually works. By the 1500s, most people knew of the stars, if only because they were the basis of time-keeping and the calendar. They lost interest when the astronomy turned to the talk of numbers and formula. But this did not dim their view of what the movement of the stars could foretell, in their minds. And as long as the astrologers kept predicting dire outcomes, they would be proven right often enough in those turbulent times. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Restore a MySQL Database from a DigitalOcean Backup

Sun, 28 Nov 2021

How One limitation of using MySQL for home use is the lack of an undo button. One sloppy MySQL statement can wipe out an entire column of data, or so I found recently. And while MySQL has a variety of backup and restore mechanisms, they do not work if you do not actually use them. Fortunately, if you are using DigitalOcean droplets, I found that you can still restore a corrupted database, by this crude but nonetheless effective hack. Here is how. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Transcribed Greek Classics Begot Renaissance

Fri, 12 Nov 2021

A The 15th century humanists, as they came to be known, were obsessed with restoring, editing and evaluating ancient Greek texts. They rebelled against medieval schooling, which hammered on logic and theology, and instead sought the more exalted thinking of the Ancients. This work proved to be groundbreaking, for it led to serious contemplation of what Aristotle, Hippocrates and Ptolemy were actually saying, and how much of it was true. In effect, these evaluations were the seeds of original thought. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Inside the Museum of Jurassic Technology

Sun, 07 Nov 2021

A Photography in not permitted inside the Museum of Jurassic Technology, but in a sense it does not matter. Photos of the exhibits would be meaningless, if not a harmful source of information once escaped into the outside world. The proprietor, David Hildebrand Wilson, has little insight to offer regarding the contents of his museum, which occupies an unassuming Venice Boulevard townhouse in Culver City California, deep in the heart of Los Angeles. And even the most thorough of note taking -- The gift shop helpfully sells notebooks and heavyweight pens -- will still leave you wondering what you just saw, and what you thought you learned. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Habits: The Building Blocks of Success

Sun, 10 Oct 2021

A From small things, big things one day come, so argues James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits. Making major changes in your life require not so much great upheavals to the daily routine, but rather lots of small, concrete steps in the desired direction. Small changes in daily habits may not seem significant, but they are the compound interest of self-improvement -- or of self-destruction. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

When Duke Played Carnegie Hall

Mon, 06 Sep 2021

The The reviews that came in from the press on the debut of Duke Ellington's planned magnum opus were mixed at best. The highbrow classical music critics were less than impressed. Even the jazz critics skirted around the question of how much delight they took in the evening's signature piece, "Black, Brown, and Beige: A Tone Parallel to the History of the American Negro." The night, January 23, 1943 could not have provided a more well-articulated juncture between two worlds, the European-dominated "serious" classical music and the jazz sensibilities emerging from the dance floor with an entirely new set of aesthetics. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Railroads of My Youth

Mon, 09 Aug 2021

Photos If you were trainwatching in the late 1970s, especially in the northeast U.S., you never knew quite what you would see, thanks to the all bankruptcy-related railroad mergers at the time. It was an exciting time to be a railfan, it turns out, truly the twilight of the railroads as a major force in the country. The U.S. industrial era was drawing to a close. The great amounts of coal mined from the mountains were no longer needed to serve the factories in the Midwest. And the railroads were shrinking, fast. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Bushwick Friday Dinner: Birria Tacos and an Elote

Sat, 07 Aug 2021

Birria Friday night, I made dinner ($18) with a couple of offerings from Bushwick street vendors. The Red Tacos, or Birria Tacos, are a Mexican dish that seem to be catching on quickly in NYC, or at least in my neighborhood of Bushwick. The red tortillas for the fried birria tacos, quesabirrias and mulitas get their flavor from the drippings of the barbecued carnitas prepared for the dish. The accompanying consomme, into which you can dip your tacos, is also made from the drippings. So good. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Mako, the Templating Library for Python

Sat, 24 Jul 2021

Mako Mako is a template engine for Python. A Python program built to generate a HTML-formatted page can use Mako to populate data on that Web page, with the custom data added in that was generated or imported by Python itself. Here is how to use Mako to insert data, imported by Python, to a customized Web page. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

White Boy Summer 63

Thu, 22 Jul 2021

The Jan Berry, the mastermind behind Jan & Dean, was never an easy guy to lionize. He was the opposite of Brian Wilson, the shy mastermind behind the Beach Boys. Jan was ruthlessly ambitious, brash, outgoing high school jock, even bullying at times. He certainly enjoyed his share of white privilege, right up until he plowed his Vette into the back of a parked truck. And while The Beach Boys have become an institution of popular music, and even a part of the California mythos itself, Jan & Dean never could make the transition to more serious, sophisticated pop music. The fame of Jan & Dean took some weirdly dark turns, before shrinking unceremoniously from public view in the late 1960s. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

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