Saturday, October 30, 2010

Polygons on a Sphere

It's this shape:
Convex polygon with no holes.

And a couple of instances of them go around a sphere in different directions (the blue dot shows the orientation, which is different from the direction of travel, and the red dot is the centroid):

Far from the center of the projection, they get distorted:
Polygons distorted near the edge of the projection.

When one wraps around to the other side of the projection it gets all screwy, but I couldn't get a screen cap.

Same repository as last time, now additionally depends on Shapely.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Contra xkcd, I'm sure thousands of corporations are helmed by people who seek guidance in prayer, horoscopes, tarot, &c. and doing just fine.

Most of these ideas don't even theoretically make sense ("health care cost reduction" isn't a market anyone can "make a killing in," which is why governments have to step in; I believe remote viewing is supposed to require people at the remote location; if the military were using hexes then they would probably keep quiet about it, and they have certainly at least tried it; and I don't think anybody would expect "crystal energy" to be energy in the sense of the physics term "energy").

And in any case, just because "capitalism" is "profit-focused" doesn't mean that individual firms succeed in discovering every possible path towards maximizing profits. Ruthlessness doesn't imply omniscience.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dollar? I never even &c.

Via Atrios, I knew that it was widely believed that the US would not act to devalue the dollar, but I was also under the impression that the context of that position was that, while a falling dollar would be (potentially) beneficial to our economy, there are some number of reasons against trying to pursue those ends. I didn't realize Geithner's position was actually in the opposite direction, that we need to do all we can to strengthen the dollar.

I mean fair enough, some people are in the "let's try anything" camp while others are more towards the "let's not mess with anything and see how it shakes out" side of things. "Let's take whatever people in the 'try anything' camp suggest and run in the opposite direction" seems so pointlessly sadistic as to be off the reservation entirely.

You camp on a reservation right.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Livin' on a Sphere

I've been mucking about trying to get something that looks something like what's described here, but on the surface of a sphere (not about to try modeling any kind of actual fluid dynamics, just trying to mimic the behavior).

I used a sinusoidal projection so each screen pixel represents about the same area of the sphere. It took me way too long to figure out I should be using regular old vectors in R3 instead of muddling through with latitudes and longitudes.

Brighter green points are heavier, and the blue point is their weighted average. The red point repels the green points and moves to the blue point whenever the green ones slow down sufficiently.

So this is early in a cycle, when the red point has recently moved to the weighted average location:

Early in cycle, origin of impulse close to center of points.

And this is later on in a (later) cycle, as the repelled points are converging towards the antipode:

Later in the cycle, new center far from origin of impulse.

Source here ("" is shown, but there's other related crap in there), requires Numpy and pygame.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Preview of my Master's Thesis

The phrase "I am not a human being" is a restatement of "no homo," QED, I rest my case, nullus.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Means are the Ends

Ezra can't understand why anyone would want to require people to pass a drug test to collect unemployment: but it's not about the drugs, it's about the test itself, and making people submit to it.

The proposed policy differs from Carl Paladino's proposal to put welfare recipients in prison in degree rather than kind. There is no rational motivation, no goal to be accomplished, beyond the stigmatization and restriction of liberty imposed by the enforcement mechanism itself.

It's also blatantly unconstitutional, but when has that ever stopped the police state.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Out of Comptrol

I didn't know that
  1. "controller" comes from "counter roller," meaning I guess that "to control" comes from "to counter-roll";
  2. "comptroller" is a misspelling of the same word, "born of ignorance and continued in darkness" (that's what she said); and
  3. the "P" is silent.
What I'm still not clear on is whether "the 'P' is silent" means that you're supposed to say "com'troller" because you wouldn't say the "P" in French (would you? I have no idea), or whether you're just supposed to ignore the ignorance-born/darkness-continued–ness of it and say "controller."