31 July 2009

Non-predictable analytics

Each of us builds a matrix of predicted outcomes based on specific incomes. We use these to guess how early we should leave for an event, what time we should go to bed, when we should eat lunch, what the weather will be like. Key to build a good predictive matrix is getting good data, reliable data through a process called indexing. I have noticed that some things that should be simple to index and prove nearly impossible to index.

First example, the traffic patterns for the section of the city my parents live in. One morning I can leave at 9:45am and face nothing but solid traffic. The next morning, still a weekday, I can leave at the exact same time and face nothing but open roads. This varying of traffic seems to have no tie in to the day of the week or even hour of the day. Though I am sure that if one set far enough back to look at enough data one could find enough of a pattern to build an acceptable matrix. Such is, however, beyond my skill.

Second example, perhaps even more unpredictable is my sisters’ wakeup time. They seem to go to bed at nearly the same time each night. But come morning, the wake up times vary by hours, which I am grateful for. Sometimes my sisters wake up at 7:30am and sometimes they don’t wake up until after 9:30am. Sometimes they wake up at the same for a whole week. Other times they wake up at different times each morning.

As a whole I have realized that some things are really easy index and thus predict, some things are not.

28 July 2009

Wondering what a non-two-wheel bicycle is

I went to the Library Saturday to get a book to read. Because I had no quarters to pay to park in the parkade I parked on the street a little ways past the library and enjoyed a nice sunny walk. From the place I parked to the Library I walked past City Hall and the following sign:

My first thought was "oh, they don't want anyone getting ran over, this makes sense." Then I stopped and walked back to the sign to reread it. My second thought was "what kind of BIcycle has more than TWO-wheels?" If it has three wheels we call it a TRIcycle (tri meaning three) and if it has four it is fondly known as a 'quad' and is usually motorized. Further, it has just one wheel it is a unicycle and a bicycle with training wheels is exempt as it has four wheels.

My third and last thought on this sign was "why, exactly, did they (meaning whomever had the sign made) clearly and precisely distinguish between BIcycles in general and TWO-wheel BIcycles?"

As I was wondering this I got my camera and took a picutre.

21 July 2009

The Lessons I Never Was Taught

I was thinking the other day of all the things that my parents and the world they came. It was a very different world. A world that was a lot harder than the one that I grew up in. Not in the sense of the peer pressure and the bad things all around but in the sense of the personal tradegy and lessons that one goes through as a child. When I grew up it was towards the end on the time when a child could actual injure themselves on toys.

As I have gotten older I have realized that my parents have given me a lot, they have also taught me a lot of extremely valuable life lessons. I am grateful for these.

Perhaps equally importantly, I am grateful for the lessons they didn't teach me. The lessons that hurt so much they clip your wings and make you not want to fly any more. The lessons that take an incredibly strong person, like my parents, to survive. My parents didn't just survive, they carefully kept their child from having to go through the same painful experiences.

This is not to say that I have led a sheltered life. It has been somewhat sheltered, enough to keep me safe but not to much that I can't stand on my own. But the dark, bitter moments of life, the ones that are so easy to pass on, those haven't been passed on. They were carefully hidden so that only as an adult, with my eyes opened to the world, can I even see hints of such moments from their lives.

I am forever grateful for the lessons my parents taught me. I am also forever grateful for the lessons my parents didn't teach me.

10 July 2009

A Most Fortuitous Encounter

I stopped by the Canary Compound to get some of the bottled water I left there, noting that I was found myself fortunate to have purchased it before the bottle deposit, because the stash in my trunk had been depleted. As I loaded the water into Elazar and couple of cars drove past and I thought to myself “how fortunate would it be if one of those car had the lady that bought the house next door?” In the time it took me to arrange things to make room for the water a lady exited one of the cars and came over. It was indeed the lady who had bought the house next door. We talked and swapped important information. It was indeed a most fortuitous encounter.

09 July 2009

Beware the Monster within

I was watching a rather good Batman: The Animated Series episode ("I am the Night") where Batman paraphrases Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher who once said “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.” I reflected back on a conversation I had had earlier in the day and realized that I had started to become a monster, the very kind of monster that I was fighting.

Further I realized that the sane are the people are the ones who have to fight the hardest. Their fight is not hard because the insane are particularly strong but rather the sane people ones are trying maintain order and the insane are okay with letting it all fall apart. So the sane not only have to battle all the crazy things insane people do but they have to maintain the very ideals that they are fighting for. They can’t fight fire with fire without walking joining the insane. Sure they have some explanation or excuse, but so do the insane. We tag them as insane because their reasoning doesn’t make much sense and the sane people’s reasoning stops making sense too, then the sane have become insane themselves.

These two thoughts together make me think about how easy it is in a war to become the very thing you are fighting to destroy.

How easy it is how the monster within to tame to person without.