Wow, it's been awhile, huh? The last time I posted was a solid five months ago. Yikes.
The big news: We're moving to San Diego!
Jess will start her neurosurgery residency there, at UCSD, in late June.
More big news, in case you missed it: We, um, got married. In October. Which, given how rapidly our lives have been moving, seems like about 10 years ago. In a good way. :-)
Anyway, that's the massively incomplete life update.
Now, on to some insightful (if I do say so myself) political analysis:
If a bevy of states hadn't decided, at a late date, to move their primaries up to February 5th, the race would arguably be all but over, now, with Clinton the presumptive nominee. Why? Because Obama ended up winning a large majority of the delegates in these states, and beat Clinton in the popular vote in all but two of them.
All of these states were originally scheduled to hold primaries well after February 5th; the delegate differential is shown beside each:
As it happened, Obama won 12 states to Clinton's 9 (with MO a tie), but if these states hadn't voted, it would have been Clinton 7, Obama 4. Furthermore, Obama netted +106 delegates in these states. Now, at the moment news agencies are reporting that Clinton leads in delegates (including superdelegates) by 72 (1077-1005); this would have been 178. That alone might not appear to be an insurmountable lead, but the ratio of delegates would have seemed much more definitive. These late states contributed 592 of the 2082 delegates currently tallied for the two candidates combined. Obama won 349 - 243. So if these states hadn't voted, the delegate count would be 834 - 656. Psychologically, this would have clearly cast Clinton as the front-runner. And since voters are kind of sheep-like, as a rule, this would have made it much harder for Obama to win later states. In fact, polls before February 5th would have showed Hilary with a definitive lead, which might have turned it into essentially a landslide.
Now, I've decided I'm rooting for Obama, so I'm happy things came out the way they did. I just think it's weird and interesting the way the schedule influences things so much. posted by Miles 1:23 PM
This is a map showing all the places we might be moving to, next year. J gets to submit a rank list, and she's tha' BOMB . . . but in the end, it will be the "match" algorithm that determines where we live for the next seven years. It's basically absolute; either we go where the algorithm sends us, or J can't become a neurosurgeon.
As my friend Darren once said . . . "You must really like this girl, huh?"
Since it's been a long while since I last posted, I'll give you a (very) brief summary: I finished my dissertation, graduated, traveled around mexico, moved to upstate NY, started AI postdoc, and got chickens.
I decided to do a little ego-pumping this morning to get me going. So I went and looked up my Neuron paper in the ISI citation index, and then looked up the impact factors of all the journals my paper has been cited in. It's been cited 28 times:
Journal (times cited)
Nature Reviews Neuroscience (3)
Annual Review of Psychology
Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Journal of Neuroscience
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Of course, most of these citations are people saying I'm wrong. :-)
That's okay. I know the truth. :-p posted by Miles 9:46 AM
Okay, after I just posted, when I clicked "view blog", talksinmaths came up, but so did an obnoxious, big pop-up ad. I think my brother had mentioned something about this before. If you see this as well, can you leave me a comment below? Even better, if you can look at the source code, or otherwise figure out how I can make it stop, that would be much appreciated! posted by Miles 8:29 AM
You know you've been spending a little too much time in front of your computer when you notice your mouse-clicking finger is fatigued . . . after a night's sleep, when you first sit down in your office in the morning to start working.
But: I will get this thesis done, damnit!
I got a nice jolt of positive feedback this morning from my advisor, after she read my second paper (of the three constituting the thesis):
This is a gorgeous paper -- my favorite as well.
I've made some suggested changes, mostly with the view that it's better to let other people tell us how elegant this is, etc. But not much. It's just so so so pretty already.
Definitely helped me feel like I really am going to make it . . . posted by Miles 8:07 AM
Also, if anyone out there knows how to automate grabbing this kind of data, pipe up; I'd love to combine all the data and see the leaders amongst all minor leaguers, regardless of level. posted by Miles 11:23 AM
My brother came up with a list of "middle names" for all of the presidential candidates, that's pretty entertaining. Highlights include:
Rudy "Dear Evangelicals, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, You Don't See The Drag Video Online, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, Nor The Bit About Living With A Couple Gay Guys, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, Also I'm Not Corrupt, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11" Giuliani.
And then there's this article apparently from the Boston Globe, though I found it on what seems to be a mormon-friendly, Salt Lake City newspaper's site; it goes into Romney's strategy & planning concerning fundraising amongst & through Mormons:
It's technically illegal for a church itself to "advocate on behalf" of a specific candidate, so they kind of tip-toe around it . . . I wonder if this will become the subject of smear attacks (re: "illegal" fundraising tactics) at some later point in the campaign.
Actually, even if he doesn't win the nomination, he might be a lock as the vice-presidential candidate, because Mormons would still contribute in droves. What the heck would happen if there were a Giuliani-Romney ticket? Could the Republicans win Massachusetts and New York? Could they lose the South to the Democrats over Giuliani being a transvestite and Romney being a Mormon (which seems to be least palatable to evangelicals)?
After watching the NCAA Championship game with Francis, the other night, I read Bill Simmons' take on the game, and felt compelled to respond. He actually answers a lot of reader queries in mailbag columns, so maybe I'll even get a response. :-p
Here's what I wrote him:
Bill, in your April 3 column you noted that Florida had 5 players projected as top-10 (Noah, Brewer, Horford) or second-round (Green, Richard) picks. I know he's one dimensional, but Lee Humphrey absolutely shoots the lights out and clearly already has NBA 3-range, so why isn't he considered potential NBA material, as a Steve Kerr type specialist? While watching that game didn't you find yourself thinking, every time Humphrey drilled a 3, "Oh, man, that was a dagger!" In the first half, Ohio St. went on a 7-1 run to close within 2 with about 5 minutes left in the first half, and then Humphrey hit a stopper three; Ohio St. never closed the lead to less than 5 the rest of the game. With 9 minutes left in the game, Ohio St. went on a 5-0 run to bring a 14-point deficit back under double-digits; bang, Humphrey stops the momentum with a dagger 3. Anyway, maybe it's reading too much from a few clutch performances (6-12, 4-8, 4-8 and 4-7 on threes in the '06 & '07 final four games), but . . . damn, the kid is just Money. If I were an NBA coach I'd sure want him on my bench, ready to come into the game when my team's down by 3 with 4 ticks on the clock, and in that role he'd be a heck of a lot more useful than most of the DNP regulars cluttering NBA rosters.
Also, on a far more important note, the funding finally came through to make my postdoc at RPI official. Woo-hoo!
Switching back to a far less important note, allow me to introduce the 2007 model of the Ragin' Rhinos: (my keeper-league fantasy baseball squad)
C: Chris Ianetta (COL) 1B: Albert Pujols (STL) 2B: Chase Utley (PHI) SS: Miguel Tejada (BAL) 3B: Miguel Cabrera (FLA) OF: Jason Bay (PIT) OF: Chris Young (ARI) OF: Scott Podsednik (CHW) DH: Jim Thome (CHW) SP: Johan Santana (MIN) SP: Ben Sheets (MIL) SP: Greg Maddux (SD) SP: Doug Davis (ARI) SP: Adam Eaton (PHI) SP: Edgar Gonzalez (ARI) RP: Jorge Julio (FLA)
OF: Matt Kemp (LAD) OF: Josh Hamilton (CIN) RP: Jonathan Sanchez (SF) RP: Octavio Dotel (KC) SP: Roger Clemens (Unsigned)
On the Disabled List:
OF: Carlos Quentin (ARI) SP: Freddy Garcia (PHI) SP: Bartolo Colon (CLE) SP: Pedro Martinez (NYM) SP: Francisco Liriano (MIN)
In the Minors:
OF: Adam Lind (TOR) SP: Mike Pelfrey (NYM) SP: Tim Lincecum (SF) SP: Micah Owings (ARI) SP: Scott Elbert (LAD)
Huh . . . only in writing this down did I realize how tilted my team is towards the NL: 22 of 30 players. Anyways, that's the team. With Clemens, Colon, & Martinez stashed away until later, and loads of young new talent with high upside (Ianetta, Young, Quentin, Hamilton, Kemp, Pelfrey, Lincecum) it's a team that I clearly built with the playoffs in mind. I don't expect my team to lead the ZHL (Zen Holist League . . . okay, keep it clean, kids) in regular season total points, as it has the last three years, but I think I should be really strong come September. If everyone's back in action, I'll be able to run out a pitching rotation of Santana, Sheets, Clemens, Martinez, Garcia, Colon, & Maddux, to go with my all-world Pujols-Utley-Tejada-Cabrera infield. Not bad.
Oh, and my crop of rookie "flyers" includes four (Hamilton (2 votes), Lincecum (1), C. Young (5), & Pelfrey(2)) who were picked by 10 different members of ESPN's panel of 17 experts to win the NL rookie-of-the-year. posted by Miles 10:24 AM
Inspired in part by reading the Dalai Lama's book "The Universe in a Single Atom", I've recently taken up daily meditation - a simple form, for now, just trying to attend to my breathing, and let thoughts go when they come, with my eyes open but sort of allowed to defocus. This is per the instruction of a fellow at a local Tibetan Meditation Center, and I've really been enjoying it (by which I don't mean "blissing out" or anything, just appreciating the peace, the focus, and the "presentness".)
Anyway, today I meditated for about 15 minutes, and when I got up my vision was blurry! I could only see clearly at very short distances. It's been over an hour, now, and although my distance vision is improved, I'd say it's still not entirely back to normal. Anyone out there ever heard of this kind of thing before? Any guesses as to how or why it would have happened - in terms of anything from biophysical mechanism to chi?
I've never needed corrective lenses of any kind, and normally I have essentially perfect vision - I actually just had it checked a few weeks ago. What my experience today reminded me of was when the ophthalmologist gave me eye-drops to dilate my pupils (or something); the same sort of thing happened then, with my vision going all blurry for a long period of time, and then slowly coming back, near vision returning sooner than far. Jess said then that what the eye-drops do is just paralyze a muscle (or nerve?) that controls . . . I forget, either dilation & contraction of the pupils, or the shape of the eyeball / lens, or something. Anatomy is not a strength of mine.
* * * *
p.s. - I couldn't post this the first time around, because Google's automated checker algorithm decided talksinmaths was a likely "spam blog", and made me jump through hoops to prove that I'm human, just to get them to have an actual human check on it. Weird.
p.p.s. - Jess says her best guess is actually that my visual cortex started adapting; I fed it defocused input for long enough that it "decided" that must be normal & tried to adjust, somehow. posted by Miles 7:33 PM