Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Has the package installed correctly?"

This post will either be a staid and serious discussion of what is probably a completely n00b-tastic issue I'm having with Python, or more likely devolve into a rant. Important note: nothing in this post should be regarded as factual without further checking. If you find that I have made a factual mistake, please let me know in comments.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Turning coffee into...

In the mug: Clover-brewed Hawaiian Ka'U. Tasty, tasty.
In the earhole: Blut Aus Nord, 777. (The whole thing, all three volumes.)
On the pad: seminar talk about TCT.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Grepped from Facebook

On my Facebook wall (in response to a post about the Republican record on job creation):
Joe: Just tired of Democrats taking credit for everything good that has ever happened since the beginning of recorded history and blaming everything bad on those rascally republicans.

Me: As I've said many times before, one-party rule is no democracy's friend; the role of the loyal opposition is critical in modulating the ability of a power-bloc or party to implement its will. (Checks and balances don't spring into action on their own: they are the result of someone in power standing athwart and shouting "stop!".)

Of course, since I am of a progressive bent, I favor the political ascendency of party/ies close to my own vision of how to solve the country's problems; and will start from a skeptically pessimistic position about the outlook of a proposed solution beginning from premises as different as those held by many conservatives... but there are plenty of instances of "conservative" proposals which end up improving on whatever the status quo was, or even solving the problem entirely. Alternatively, there are plenty of examples of places where conservatives negotiated a provision into a solution, which may have weakened the solution slightly but enabled the solution to move forward under the endorsement of all the major powerholders -- thus making it much less likely for the program to come under partisan fire in the near future.

[Note that the inverse is also true: bad solutions with strong bipartisan support, such as a lot of the privacy violations of the War On Terror, are almost impossible to dislodge.]

So let's think historically for a moment. From the New Deal realignment of the parties until Gingrich, the Republican party was constructive when in the minority and, when in power, allowed the Democrats room for constructive contribution. Consequently, shit got done. The shit that got done under Republican majorities tended, in my view, not to work as well, but it was not nothing.

Then Gingrich happened, and by "Gingrich" I refer to a wholesale revision of the Republican party's strategy for participation in government: when in the minority, use every procedural method available to block all progress; when in the majority, deny the minority any say in the construction of solutions.

And for that alone -- even leaving aside the dehumanization of their opponents, their embrace of white male Christian supremacism, their reckless fiscal irresponsibility, and their rejection of fact-based inquiry -- I say, for just the offense of undermining the concept of "loyal opposition" in American public life, the Republican party must be stopped, and until such time as the party is willing to return to the table willing to cooperate with the rest of the country, no American has any business voting for them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exploding the public safety net

Just to reiterate: the U.S. doesn't have an "entitlements" problem. It is simply not the case that our safety net programs as a block are exploding and going to bankrupt us all.

What we have is a healthcare cost problem, and one that the rest of the civilized world has figured out how to solve in ways that don't throw poor people into the gutter or into bankruptcy.

Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | The Myth of the Exploding Safety Net

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Upgrades are strictly optional

Can I just say that it annoys the living fuck out of me that, after having basically made the mental switch to Python 3, it turns out that a lot of the powerful non-commercial packages for doing math and science haven't been ported/translated and are only compatible up to Python 2.x!!!

Specifically, dealing with mathematical graphics: the standard sharp object appears to be matplotlib; the examples show some very nice graphics, but it won't talk to Python 3. It's been like two years, people! I understand that some projects aren't actively maintained, but if you do, and there's a new version of the scripting language out, don't ignore that fact!

Bah. Anyway, the main point of this post is to record for myself and my alteri nos that IDLE doesn't deal with matplotlib/pylab in interactive mode. So don't try, just use the basic shell (or, apparently, switch IDEs to something called ipython) if you need interactive. Which kinda sucks, since the whole reason I'm going down this particular yellow brick road is to try to program a very basic visualization tool for finite posets, something similar in feel to the congruence lattice/subalgebra lattice tool in Ralph Freese's universal algebra calculator.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

Got a half a can of store brand pumpkin in the mix, and also someone (cough cough Ms Heelfilcher) came up with the idea of moistening the batter with cider.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Statistics from the weatherman

I wish I could screengrab from apps on my phone. The weather channel app is reporting an overall chance of rain today... but then when I click over to the hourlies, it's never above 20%.

Not mathematically impossible, but not at all how the weather report usually looks.