The PoCS: Principles of Complex Systems
A course on the Principles of Complex Systems at the University of Vermont.
mathematics  complexity 
march 2017
CocoNuTs: Complex Networks
A course on Complex Networks at the University of Vermont.
mathematics  complexity 
march 2017
To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics
The ancient Greeks argued that the best life was filled with beauty, truth, justice, play and love. The mathematician Francis Su knows just where to find them.
february 2017
Teaching Calculus, the Beautiful Language of Change
Move…accelerate…reach the peak…bottom out…transform…

So many ways to look at change, to talk about change. Change is inescapable. And change can be scary, especially when you don’t understand what’s happening. Yet change can also be an opportunity for growth, for progress, for new insights.
teaching  mathematics 
january 2017
Möbius transformations revealed
Möbius Transformations Revealed is a short video by Douglas Arnold and Jonathan Rogness which depicts the beauty of Möbius transformations and shows how moving to a higher dimension reveals their essential unity. It was one of the winners in the 2007 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge and was featured along with the other winning entries in the September 28, 2007 issue of journal Science. The video, which was first released on YouTube in June 2007, has been watched there by nearly two million viewers and classified as a “Top Favorite of All Time“ first in the Film & Animation category and later in the Education category. It was selected for inclusion in the MathFilm 2008 DVD, published by Springer.
january 2017
The Twin Prime Hero
It’s well known that consecutive prime numbers become more widely separated from each other as they become larger. The twin prime conjecture stipulates that, despite this, there are infinitely many pairs of prime numbers that are separated from each other by only two (for example, 11 and 13). Zhang proved a weaker variant of this conjecture: that there are infinitely many pairs of prime numbers that are separated from each other by some fixed number that is greater than two, but less than 70 million.
mathematics  people 
december 2016
Practical Deep Learning For Coders
Welcome to fast.ai's 7 week course, Practical Deep Learning For Coders, Part 1, taught by Jeremy Howard (Kaggle's #1 competitor 2 years running, and founder of Enlitic). Learn how to build state of the art models without needing graduate-level math—but also without dumbing anything down. Oh and one other thing... it's totally free!
deep_learning  tutorial 
december 2016
Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016
Visualization continues its merging into the everyday — less standalone and more of a medium that blends with words. I think this is partially because of a concentration on mobile. There’s simply less visual space on a phone than there is a giant computer screen, so the visualization is stripped or split up into smaller pieces that are more easily digested while scrolling. Whereas last year seemed exploratory and long explainer-ish, this year was nimble and quickfire. Or maybe this year’s election season is still fresh in my mind. I can’t be sure. I am sure though that there were a lot of good projects this year. Below are my favorites in no particular order.
december 2016
Linear format equations and Math AutoCorrect in Word
TeX-reminiscent syntax for writing equations in Microsoft Office programs.
september 2015
Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer
But he became restless, and the business world beckoned.
article  biography 
july 2014
Backing up your computer is easy
“The best backup solution is one that has multiple levels. This means (1) having a local copy of your computer files, and (2) keeping another copy off-site or in “The Cloud” to protect against any data loss due to fire, flood, or theft.

Here is how you can set up a robust, secure backup system that, once set up, will require virtually no additional maintenance on your part:

For the local copy of your backup, use Time Machine. It’s as easy as plugging in a USB hard drive and hitting “go”.

(In addition to Time Machine, SuperDuper is an excellent app for making bootable clones of your computer that can be stored locally or off-site.)

For backing up your data to The Cloud, we recommend Backblaze as the service to keep your bits at a safe distance.”
april 2014
The Science of Scientific Writing
"If the reader is to grasp what the writer means, the writer must understand what the reader needs"
writing  science 
april 2014
Modern microprocessors - a 90 minute guide
A long introduction to the architecture of modern microprocessors and how they achieve high performance.
february 2014
Canvas is a modern learning management system
february 2014
ArrayFire for GPU Computing
High-level language for GPU computing
software  research 
december 2013
Planar Choreographies
A beautifully presented collection of choreographies in the N-body problem.
visualization  mathematics 
may 2013
Addicted to work
We work hard because it's easy.
march 2013
“The thing no one ever tells you about joy is that it has very little real pleasure in it. And yet if it hadn’t happened at all, at least once, how would we live?”
january 2013
The Quiet Ones
“In his recent treatise on this subject (its title regrettably unprintable here), the philosopher Aaron James posits that people with this personality type are so infuriating — even when the inconvenience they cause us is negligible — because they refuse to recognize the moral reality of those around them.”

Being an advocate of quiet in our society is as quixotic and ridiculous as being an advocate of beauty or human life or any other unmonetizable commodity.
november 2012
On writing
“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” — W. Somerset Maugham

Tao's post is brief but contains several links to advice on mathematical exposition. Unfortunately it doesn't reveal the three rules.
writing  mathematics 
october 2012
A Crash Course in Information and Visual Design
“Good design is an interesting thing. It's easy to identify but hard to explain. If you have ever tried to mimic good design, you'll really know what I mean. Sometimes, even with the "inspiration" right before your eyes, you struggle with creating something that feels as "tight" as the original piece.”
september 2012
Learnable Programming
What about “Learnable Mathematics”?
teaching  programming 
september 2012
“Sumatra is a tool for managing and tracking projects based on numerical simulation or analysis, with the aim of supporting reproducible research. It can be thought of as an automated electronic lab notebook for simulation/analysis projects.”
software  research  workflow 
september 2012
An introduction to PyObjC
“PyObjC is a bridge between Python and Objective-C. It allows Python scripts to use and extend existing Objective-C class libraries; most importantly the Cocoa libraries by Apple.

”This document describes how to use Objective-C class libraries from Python scripts and how to interpret the documentation of those libraries from the point of view of a Python programmer.”
programming  python  cocoa  osx 
september 2012
Emergency Elisp
“Most Lisp introductions try to give you the "Tao of Lisp", complete with incense-burning, chanting, yoga and all that stuff. What I really wanted in the beginning was a simple cookbook for doing my "normal" stuff in Lisp. So that's what this is. It's an introduction to how to write C, Java or JavaScript code in Emacs Lisp, more or less.”
programming  emacs  elisp 
september 2012
Console productivity hack: Discover the frequent; then make it the easy
Clever, but somehow an overkill. Using the fish shell appears to be a better solution.
workflow  unix 
september 2012
Top 10 Git Tutorials for Beginners
Extremely clever people lacking empathy should not be allowed to design user interfaces. When they do, what you get is badly designed software for which you need lists of tutorials like this one.
september 2012
An introduction to Emacs Lisp
“As a long-time passionate Emacs user, I've been curious about Lisp in general and Emacs Lisp in particular for quite some time. Until recently I had not written any Lisp apart from my .emacs.d setup, despite having read both An introduction to programming in Emacs Lisp and The Little Schemer last summer. A year later, I have finally written some Lisp, and I thought I'd share the code as an introduction to others out there curious about Lisp and extending Emacs.”

This is a step-by-step tutorial on writing a non-trivial Emacs extension using Emacs Lisp.
elisp  emacs 
september 2012
Why you don't overturn the Big Bang via a media interview
“However, a careful reading revealed something new: the university press office wasn't ultimately the source of the hype. The lead author of the paper was part of the problem.”
science  culture  media 
august 2012
The Positive Power of Negative Thinking
“From this perspective, the relentless cheer of positive thinking begins to seem less like an expression of joy and more like a stressful effort to stamp out any trace of negativity. Mr. Robbins’s trademark smile starts to resemble a rictus. A positive thinker can never relax, lest an awareness of sadness or failure creep in. And telling yourself that everything must work out is poor preparation for those times when they don’t. You can try, if you insist, to follow the famous self-help advice to eliminate the word “failure” from your vocabulary — but then you’ll just have an inadequate vocabulary when failure strikes.”
august 2012
Science funding: Duel to the death
“Physicists, chemists and mathematicians in the United Kingdom are furious about funding reforms that they say threaten blue-skies research.”
politics  mathematics  physics  science 
august 2012
Writers should not fear jargon
A flip rejection of jargon reflects a greater hostility to difficult language.
science  writing 
july 2012
LaTeX Templates
This is a collection of LaTeX templates to use for different types of documents such as letters, CVs, presentations, theses, articles, and more.
typography  tex 
april 2012
Rise in Scientific Journal Retractions Prompts Calls for Reform
Dr. Ness likens scientists today to small-business owners, rather than people trying to satisfy their curiosity about how the world works. “You’re marketing and selling to other scientists,” she said. “To the degree you can market and sell your products better, you’re creating the revenue stream to fund your enterprise.”
april 2012
How to GitHub: Fork, Branch, Track, Squash and Pull Request
“This guide will teach you how to properly contribute to open source projects on GitHub.”
march 2012
Now Can We Start Talking About the Real Foxconn?
“Compared to the lies, the truth just doesn’t make good theater.”
march 2012
Installing SciPy and NumPy on Mac OS X
The installation succeeds but several of the tests fail. Tested with the 64-bit Python installed by Apple under OS X 10.7.
software  osx  python 
february 2012
Transforming a Shell Script into an Automator Action
“Creating an Automator action from an existing script has several advantages. First, the user has a user interface with which to modify the parameters. Plus, the script can be reused in multiple workflows. Workflows can be assembled, and customized, by users with little or no knowledge of the command line or scripting languages. An action can deploy a complex solution that consists of multiple files or resources as a single bundle. By starting with an existing solution, development time is minimal.”
scripting  osx 
february 2012
The Behavioral Sink
“So what exactly happened in Universe 25? Past day 315, population growth slowed. More than six hundred mice now lived in Universe 25, constantly rubbing shoulders on their way up and down the stairwells to eat, drink, and sleep. Mice found themselves born into a world that was more crowded every day, and there were far more mice than meaningful social roles. With more and more peers to defend against, males found it difficult and stressful to defend their territory, so they abandoned the activity. Normal social discourse within the mouse community broke down, and with it the ability of mice to form social bonds. The failures and dropouts congregated in large groups in the middle of the enclosure, their listless withdrawal occasionally interrupted by spasms and waves of pointless violence. The victims of these random attacks became attackers. Left on their own in nests subject to invasion, nursing females attacked their own young. Procreation slumped, infant abandonment and mortality soared. Lone females retreated to isolated nesting boxes on penthouse levels. Other males, a group Calhoun termed “the beautiful ones,” never sought sex and never fought—they just ate, slept, and groomed, wrapped in narcissistic introspection. Elsewhere, cannibalism, pansexualism, and violence became endemic. Mouse society had collapsed.”

“In Calhoun’s heaven, hell was other mice.”
january 2012
Lexical and dynamic scoping in Emacs Lisp
Lexical scoping for Emacs Lisp was introduced as an option in Emacs 24. Before that Emacs Lisp had only dynamic scoping. This article offers a very clear and detailed description of the differences between lexical and dynamic scoping.
programming  elisp  emacs 
january 2012
Gitolite installation tutorial
Very clear tutorial on how to install gitolite on a server.
git  server 
december 2011
Compiling OpenSceneGraph under Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
Instructions for compiling OpenSceneGraph under OS X 10.7.
openscenegraph  osx 
november 2011
Cocoa Emacs 24 fullscreen support under Lion
A patch, now obsolete, for fullscreen support in Emacs under OS X 10.7 and higher.
emacs  osx  cocoa 
november 2011
Cinder is a community-developed, free and open source library for professional-quality creative coding in C++.
c++  visualization  programming  graphics 
november 2011
Luddite Legacy
“But the nature of what constitutes work today—the notion of a full-time job—will have to change dramatically. The things that make people human—the ability to imagine, feel, learn, create, adapt, improvise, have intuition, act spontaneously—are the comparative advantages they have over machines. They are also the skills that machines, no matter how smart, have had the greatest difficulty replicating.”
technology  general 
november 2011
Stan Richards's Unique Management Style
“Creativity doesn't need a muse. It needs a drill sergeant.”
november 2011
The Hazards of Confidence
“Overconfidence arises because people are often blind to their own blindness.”
october 2011
Thoughts on porting NumPy to PyPy
Information on the future of NumPy and other numerical Python libraries.
python  numerics 
october 2011
“Beaker is a library for caching and sessions for use with web applications and stand-alone Python scripts and applications. It comes with WSGI middleware for easy drop-in use with WSGI based web applications, and caching decorators for ease of use with any Python based application.”
python  webapp 
october 2011
How to back up iCloud data
Although iCloud is very convenient for sharing data between several devices, the backup situation with iCloud (and every other cloud solution) is a backward step for people who care about their data.

The instructions at this link imply that, if we want to have local backups, we have to periodically export all calendar and address book data. Let's hope that this will happen automatically in future versions of iCloud enabled programs.
osx  ios  backup 
october 2011
Dennis Ritchie
“C is a poster child for why it’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it.”
october 2011
Requests: HTTP for Humans
Pythonic replacement for urllib2
october 2011
Writing modern C++ code
Nice overview talk by Herb Sutter on how to write clean, safe, and fast code in "modern" C++.
october 2011
Laws of Productivity
If you think crunch times are a great idea, and working 12+ hour days plus weekends is commendable, then you might be interested in what corporations and scientific studies have reported on the subject.
october 2011
Performance Python
How to write (or reuse) numerical code in Python.
python  numerics 
october 2011
Dealing with Timezones in Python
When you take the current time, always use datetime.datetime.utcnow(). If you are taking in user input that is in local time, immediately convert it to UTC.
october 2011
Git Immersion
A step-by-step tutorial for learning how to use git.
git  tutorial 
january 2011
Tools of the Modern Python Hacker: Virtualenv, Fabric and Pip
Very useful, concise, introduction to the goodness provided by virtualenv, fabric, and pip.
python  server  admin 
november 2010
Running Shells in Emacs
Comparison of the choices for interacting with a shell from within Emacs
emacs  tips  unix 
november 2010
Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
"We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough. But as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that."
october 2010
What excites a mathematician
"There have been rumors about a dream chalk, a chalk so powerful that mathematics practically writes itself," writes Professor Satyan Devadoss, on the website of the math and statistics department at Williams College, "a chalk so amazing that no incorrect proof can be written using this chalk. I can finally say, after months of pursuit, that such a chalk indeed exists. It is called the Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk."
september 2010
The E-Textbook Experiment Turns A Page
For a few years now, people have been expecting electronic textbooks to take off in a big way: They're cheaper than traditional textbooks, easier to carry around in a backpack, and seem like a natural progression for students who have grown up playing and working with digital devices. Despite all that, traditional textbooks have prevailed — until now. The game changer, according to Matt MacInnis, may be a little thing called the iPad.
september 2010
Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds
“But the place does not behave as a collective; it lacks the monks’ instincts. It behaves as a collection of atomized particles, each of which has grown accustomed to pursuing its own interest at the expense of the common good. [...] The only question is: Can [civic life], once lost, ever be re-created?”
september 2010
Infinite Life
"A starry firmament, or sand cascading through one’s open fingers, or weeds springing up time after time: the first conception of infinity, of the uncountable and the unending, is not recorded, but it must have been stimulated by experiences such as these."
august 2010
Git smart HTTP transport
How to access git repositories over HTTP or HTTPS.
july 2010
A Visual Git Reference
Brief, visual reference for the most common commands in git.
february 2010
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