Sunday, September 30, 2007

Clean house in style

Time to tidy up around the homestead but not sure whether some unexpected company might be stopping by? How about doing it in a $300, dry-clean only, apron?

And a pair of bejewelled rubber gloves to protect your manicure?

(Scary, methinks.) Add a rhinestone do-rag and a four-figure pair of shoes and you should be good to go. Just be careful when you're unclogging that drain.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tiny Ural

I did a search on "Ural" in Flickr and was rewarded beyond all my imagining. Sadly, the domain seems to have been already snapped up.

Ural Dnepr
Ural Dnepr,
originally uploaded by Max le ferrailleur.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rien ne va plus

The game of roulette has been on my mind lately, for no good reason, and I have been thinking of what it would be like to stretch the concept out mathematically by altering the number of pockets the ball could fall into for any given spin.

Roulette Wheel
Roulette Wheel,
originally uploaded by refmo.
Instead of having just 38 pockets, how about increasing it somewhat by replacing the plain old integers with something more transcendental? Of course, you couldn't build a physical wheel with enough pockets to accommodate all the transcendentals (or even the ones over a finite interval of the number line), but notionally you could rig something up which would choose a random real number by spitting out an infinite number of nonrepeating digits after the decimal point, and if it matches the one you had selected in advance, you get to win all of the bets placed. The house would have an edge corresponding to the zero and double-zero slots by taking all bets when a rational number comes up.

For it to be a sensible game of chance, you would want to be tossing your bet in against a pot of transfinite cardinality - either or more bettors placing finite bets, or else a denumerable number of bettors making transfinite bets would do well to make the pastime worth one's while. To keep things moving along, it would be well to have the random number generator spitting out digits at a faster and faster rate so that the process converges in a finite time, and I presume those betting would use similar random digit devices to select their own numbers to bet on as well. Rather than having something with an infinite number of lottery balls to construct their pick, or choosing one of the known transcendentals, or something, that is.

In the happy event that the house pays off on a bet, that person would have the privilege of figuring out what to do with a transfinite amount of winnings in such a way that does not destroy the economic basis of civilization.

At any rate, this scheme seems better than the opposite extreme: a roulette wheel with only a single pocket on it. Ugh, boring. Especially if you are the casino.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Denotatively bankrupt

The other day I went to the bank for some help.

"I have a question about my High Performance Money Market Account," says I.

"Surely, sir, what is the question?"

"I'd like to know why it is that I am getting $0.80 a year in interest when I think I should be making $80 instead."

It turned out not to be a data entry error, as I'd hoped, but a pitiful 0.04% APR for deposits under $5000. And if you want to crack the 1% rate of return, you have to put no less than $10000 into the account.

To her credit, the bank representative agreed with me that the cash might be better off stuffed under a mattress.

This, by me, is a sorry way to use the term High Performance and worthy of being mocked. Here for any marketer with the chutzpah to embrace the notion is my list of that choice of words extended to other areas:

  • High Performance Windows - panes made of opaque black glass in frames that do not open.

  • High Performance Perfume - a small flask of water with a vaguely swampy aroma

  • High Performance Air Conditioning - a damp and stale whisper of air, roughly at ambient temperature

  • High Performance Camouflage - white fabric with black piping

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some thoughts while sorting my sock drawer

  1. A pair of socks I found in a sort of Paisley motif made me think that someone should produce clothing with actual protista shapes in the design. That way I could be styling at work with a pair of socks with an attractive Naegleria motif.

  2. Instead of video games where young people shoot people up or run them over or whatever, how about a nice sock drawer simulator where you have to pair up the matching patterns as efficiently as possible? There could be some socks with designs not found in real life, such as animated weaves, luminous thread, flaming toes, or whatever the graphic designer dreams up. I think this would be a fine way to inculcate important life skills to the next generation.

  3. I ended up with some leftovers which lost their mates. Thus, "All we like socks have gone astray." (via)