aeon flux revisited

For those of you who have no idea who or what aeon flux is, Mike Russell has a page about the history of aeon flux and how it came to be.

You might actually enjoy the boston globe version of the comic.

Definitely get the original animation dvds and watch them. They’ll be worth your time, I swear. Watch the animations before you watch the charlize theron movie if you can. Then judge the movie.

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the onion’s tribute to the nepal crisis

Onion had this to say about bush and nepal.

WASHINGTON, DC—Against strenuous objections from his advisors, President Bush began a hunger strike Monday to protest human-rights abuses in Nepal, vowing to subsist solely on water and vitamin supplements until “the twin clouds of violence and oppression are lifted from the land.”

Someone’s watching nepal besides nepali folks and also has a sense of humour about it.

burn coffee not wood

Somewhere in the blogosphere, I came across Java logs.
Cool concept. I hear coffee is the second highest trading commodity in terms of dollars. Now that’s a whole bunch of coffee grounds if you ask me.
Nescafe, being the largest producer of instant coffee could use that java-log technique.
I haven’t tried it but maybe I will this winter.

relevance, classification and folksonomy

I recently attended a long now seminar by Clay Shirky on classification. He started with the difficulty of digital preservation and then went on to why prevalent categorization schemes don’t work in the long run. The recording of the seminar will probably be available at the long now site if you missed it. He posts his writings on his website as well.

The gist of his talk was that heirarchical classification as prevalently used today, in libraries, directories etc are a result of a core group of people modelling the usage behaviour of a larger group of people, which, in the long run messes up and miscategorizes things. The key to doing better classification is to have the larger group do the modelling itself, using degenerate linking between things, sort of like del.icio.us tags for flickr tags. In fact he actually proposed tags / folksonomy and free-text search engines as providing better value. You will have to view/listen to his talk to figure out the pitfalls of classification and the benefits of folksonomy. I’ll probably do a bad job of reporting it here.

I agree with all he says. However, I’d like to add that the primary purpose behind classification whether it’s heirarchical categories or folksonomy, is to be able to find and recall things easily later on. There are other benefits you can get but that’s beyond the scope of what I’m proposing. The desire or need to find things is driven by one key concept among many, the context you’re coming from and the relevancy of what you’re trying to find to that context. So, the question is what do we know about relevancy? Have studies been done on it to come up with theories of figuring out what relevancy is, how we understand it, how it works, how we can use it?

Google started on the right track with it’s page rank algorithm. That’s one kind of relevancy. Expanding on that, relationships between things/resources are more important to relevancy than the resources themselves. What about source of the resource, or the time it was created, or the context in which it was created. Context is harder to track though. That’s another science in itself. In fact, if we start tracking the value and composition of relevancy, it will feed into understanding context. And vice versa.

This article begs to be updated in the near future.

state of the weather

This morning while watching the news half-heartedly during breakfast, I caught a snippet about the weather guys watching another caribbean tropical-storm. The 27th this year. That sounds like an awful lot of disastrous storms this year. Which got me thinking about past years and the number of storms each year that we’ve tracked it. I’m almost positive that the number of big storms forming each year has started going up in the years. Keep in mind that there are many variables here.. what we track each year and the criteria of eligibility for a storm to be tracked, the criteria for a storm to be deemed disastrous, the amount of damage done in terms of dollar value.. So, it could be that if we normalize all these over the years (kinda like normalizing for infation), we don’t really have a huge growth in the number of tropical storms.

So, I’ve decided to dig into it to create some sort of stats that I can put up as graphs to help me visualize (ughh)..

We’ll see where we get with this. Updates to come.

Update:

Got the data from http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/index.html . It’s amazing what you can find on the net these days.

Did a little data munging with grep and excel.. came out with these two charts.

total no. of storms

trend

You can’t really see a trend (unless you really want to see one – there seems to be a slight upward trend but, not by much). So, maybe we’re just getting better at recording data over the years. Pfft, statistics.

Update 11/14/2005:

moving average plot with an interval of 10.