Category Archives: Things I’ve Learned

Programming Tip: Open and Close at the Same Time

One useful programming habit I picked up at some point is: if you open or start something, immediately close it or end it. If you open a bracket, immediately write its closing bracket. If you open a file, immediately write … Continue reading

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Overfitting

One of the things I learned in math is that a polynomial of degree N can pass through N+1 arbitrary points. A straight line goes through any two points, a parabola goes through any three points, and so forth. The … Continue reading

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Removing Missing Podcast Episodes from iTunes

So I figured something out today. I add and remove podcasts in iTunes all the time. And every so often, iTunes loses track of, er, tracks. This usually shows up in a smart playlist, where a podcast episode exists in … Continue reading

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Da da da

Today is National Grammar Day, but rather than rail against common misuses of the English language like the insufferable language snob that I am, I thought I’d mention a peculiarity of language that I happened to notice. The German word … Continue reading

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Atheist Contributions

James Osborne (1834-1881) was an early settler of Seattle, who opened the Gem Saloon (seen in the illustration to the left). His obituary said that “He maintained a reputable saloon patronized by the best citizens of the type that patronized … Continue reading

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Why Is Universalizability a Good Thing?

Back in 2010, Greta Christina wrote about liberal and conservative moral systems. At the core was a set of studies showing that while everyone shares the same core values — fairness, minimizing harm, authority, purity, loyalty, and a few others … Continue reading

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Natural Selection in the Fossil Record

table.figure { background-color: #f0f0f0; } table.figure caption { caption-side: bottom; font-size: 90%; padding: 1em; background-color: #f0f0f0; } For quite some time now, I’ve had a question: We can see evolution in the present. And we can see natural selection in … Continue reading

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