Monday, July 31, 2006

Correlation ≠ Causation

A cautionary note sounded in every statistical analysis course, but what does it mean? I offer this email sent to Kerry from

Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased "The Sandman Vol. 8: Worlds' End" by Neil Gaiman also purchased books by B. G. Pachpatte. For this reason, you might like to know that B. G. Pachpatte's "Integral and Finite Difference Inequalities and Applications, Volume 205 (North-Holland Mathematics Studies)" will be released soon.
And lest you think that "Integral and Finite Difference Inequalities and Applications, Volume 205" is an ironic name for some edgy new graphic novel, it's not. From the Amazon description: "The monograph is written with a view to provide basic tools for researchers working in Mathematical Analysis and Applications, concentrating on differential, integral and finite difference equations. It contains many inequalities which have only recently appeared in the literature... Will be of interest to researchers working both in pure and applied mathematics and other areas of science and technology, and it could also be used as a text for an advanced graduate course." And, apparently, will be of interest to readers of quality fantasy and/or comics.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hola de la Chocolatería San Ginés

OK, I'm not actually at the chocolatería, but I'm just from there, catching the last Metro of the night, so I'm afraid you'll just have to be satisfied. I can't necessarily endorse Dave's assessment, as I've now sampled only one of Madrid's churros y chocolate, but they were pretty darn good.

As I sat down, there was an instant feeling of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. Admittedly, the physical places are pretty different - San Ginés is much smaller and nestled in a centuries-old close - but late-night fried sweets with stimulant produces an distinct vibe. The churros y chocolate are neither as sweet nor as awakening as beignets and coffee, but they are crisp and delicious. And be forewarned, allow a good bit of time between your massive Spanish dinner and San Ginés; a serving for one is pretty substantial.

(By the bye, for those who know the churros from Central Kitchen at Rice, San Ginés just edged them out.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hola de España

I'm in Madrid for work. It's late, but I still think it's really neat that I can blog from anywhere, so I thought I'd say "hi".

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hendrices departing (ding ding)

Kerry and I spent most of the weekend helping Angus and Julie pack their house into a moving truck. If all goes well with the last-minute items, they'll be off today for Tucson. Angus will be returning to his undergraduate stomping-grounds at the University of Arizona, this time to get a PhD in materials science. Julie will continue doing speech therapy in the local schools. Haley and AJ will do normal kid school things, plus have a pool in the backyard, and grandma, coyotes, and scorpions as neighbors.

Angus was the best friend I made working at Naval Reactors, and our families have been very close for years now. The Hendrices had a Halloween party Kerry's intern year, and she was so tired from the long hours that she crashed by 10pm. They offered that we spend the night, we had breakfast the next morning and hung out for the rest of the weekend. It was a fine time, which we have repeated many times since (even when Kerry wasn't exhausted from work).

We have very much enjoyed their friendship over the years, and it has been a treat to see Haley and AJ grow, from AJ as a newborn to Haley as a tween. Of course we will continue to be friends - Angus will tell you that all of his friends and family are soon moving to Tucson - but it won't be the same with them a few thousand miles away. We will miss them and their weekend breakfasts, and we wish them all the best.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The wily Ken Lay

I admit, I've only looked at headlines and snippets of articles on Ken Lay's death, but I am surprised by the tone. The stories appear to emphasize the fact that Lay will now serve no jail time. It's coming across not as a heart attack, but as bitter spite, an beaten-but-unrepentant man's final middle finger at prosecutors and the thousands of employees and investors that he wronged. Due legal process did find that Lay hurt a lot of people, but this degree of malevolence seems a bit much.