‘Random Acts of Medicine’ Review: Paging Dr. Chance
People who end up in the emergency room complaining of chest pains a few weeks before their 40th birthday are very similar to people who end up in the emergency room with chest pains a few weeks after their 40th birthday. But on a chart, the former are 39 years old and the latter are 40.
The point of these studies isn’t to titter or sigh at the peculiarities of human reasoning but to use these natural experiments to estimate the effect of medical procedures. If the only reason that near-18 and 18-year-olds are prescribed opioids differently is the semantics of “child” and “adult,” then we can use the discontinuity in prescriptions as a natural experiment—it’s as if prescribing around the age of 18 were randomly assigned. The authors find, for example, that compared to the just-under-18s, the just-over-18s were 12.6% more likely to later be diagnosed for an opioid-related adverse event such as an overdose. The greater rate of overdose is valuable information—but imagine the difficulty of trying to convince an Institutional Review Board that it would be ethical to randomly prescribe opioids to young people.
On the bonkers color palette of Garfield comics
One thing Garfield doesn’t get enough recognition for is truly bonkers, impressionistic color choices. This sidewalk is pink and yellow. Jon wears purple pants. Every panel is like an Easter basket.
Consistently zany. Sometimes.
If one of the lines paſs through the centre, it is evident that it cannot be biſected by the other, which does not paſs through the centre.
I probably could have done without ye olde spelling, but nice web conversion otherwise.
'Soviet Space Graphics' takes you inside the cosmic visions of the USSR
One new book transports readers back to the early days of Soviet spaceflight with an unbelievable collection of stunning, colorful and nostalgic images. “Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR,” (Phaidon, 2020), released April 1, is a masterful compendium of images showcasing space design ideas from the then Soviet Union from the 1920s through the 1980s. It highlights the beauty of early space design in imaginative, colorful artworks.
Book Cover Archive
Covers of books.
History of Cartography
The first volume of the History of Cartography was published in 1987 and the three books that constitute Volume Two appeared over the following eleven years. In 1987 the worldwide web did not exist, and since 1998 book publishing has gone through a revolution in the production and dissemination of work. Although the large format and high quality image reproduction of the printed books (see right column) are still well-suited to the requirements for the publishing of maps, the online availability of material is a boon to scholars and map enthusiasts.
On this site the University of Chicago Press is pleased to present the first three volumes of the History of Cartography in PDF format.
Security Engineering: Third Edition
Emily Wilson on Translations and Language
In a recent Twitter thread, Emily Wilson listed some of the difficulties of translating Homer into English. Among them: “There aren’t enough onomatopoeic words for very loud chaotic noises” (#2 on the list), “It’s very hard to come up with enough ways to describe intense desire to act that don’t connote modern psychology” (#5), and “There is no common English word of four syllables or fewer connoting ‘person particularly favored by Zeus due to high social status, and by the way this is a very normal ordinary word which is not drawing any special attention to itself whatsoever, beyond generic heroizing.’” (#7).
Using Twitter this way is part of her effort to explain literary translation. What do translators do all day? Why can the same sentence turn out so differently depending on the translator? Why did she get stuck translating the Iliad immediately after producing a beloved translation of the Odyssey?
She and Tyler discuss these questions and more, including why Silicon Valley loves Stoicism, whether Plato made Socrates sound smarter than he was, the future of classics education, the effect of AI on translation, how to make academia more friendly to women, whether she’d choose to ‘overlive’, and the importance of having a big Ikea desk and a huge orange cat.
Probability and the Real World
What aspects of the real world involve chance? What does mathematical probability tell about about those aspects? What concepts from mathematical probability can be illustrated by interesting contemporary real data? This web site records my efforts to articulate some answers to such questions. It is aimed at readers who have either read some “popular science” style account of probability, or taken a college course involving probability. So I won’t explain very basic stuff, and I mostly avoid discussing material easily found elsewhere.
NES/Famicom: a visual compendium
NES/Famicom: a visual compendium aims to showcase the very best pixel art, box art and product design on each system. Spread over 536 pages, it features more than 170 classic games, with articles on the leading developers, interviews with key figures in the industry and mini-features on subjects such as packaging, fan art and unreleased games.
Algorithms by Jeff Erickson
This web page contains a free electronic version of my (soon to be) self-published textbook Algorithms, along with other lecture notes I have written for various theoretical computer science classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 1998.
0th edition (prepublication draft), December 2018
New York's Strand bookshop begs to avoid official landmarking
The Strand says it needs flexibility “to do future upgrades and change with the needs of the community”, and that the proposed status would mean every repair and upgrade “would have to go through the slow bureaucracy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission” and cost money.
An artist on creating the retro art for a new edition of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers
The Folio Society is responsible for a number of beautiful editions of classic works of science fiction. Earlier this fall, it began offering another fan-favorite edition: Robert L. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.
In addition to the additional commentary, the Folio Society commissions original art for each book, beautiful illustrations that complement the scenes are you read them. The Verge spoke with artist Hickman about his approach to illustrating Heinlein’s classic novel.
Simple Risk Measurement
Simple Risk Measurement is written to help you measure complicated risks using a process that’s simple enough to work out on the back of a napkin and powerful enough to organize a rocket launch.
If you are an engineer motivated by the reduction of risk and are frustrated by how to measure your progress, you may find this documentation useful. Simple Risk Measurement can get you started towards a comprehensive and scientific approach to risk. It is designed to enhance subject matter experts who work with risk, especially those who mitigate complex risks on an ongoing basis.
The Literary Turing Test
To evaluate if a non-fiction book should have been a paragraph
This site is an adjunct to the book Hacker’s Delight (Addison-Wesley, 2003, 2012).
A lot of this may be bit twiddling trivia, but maybe that’s also useful when trying to write constant time code without side channels.
Static Program Analysis
These notes present principles and applications of static analysis of programs. We cover basic type analysis, lattice theory, control flow graphs, dataflow analysis, fixed-point algorithms, widening and narrowing, path sensitivity, relational analysis, interprocedural analysis, context sensitivity, control-flow analysis, several flavors of pointer analysis, and key concepts of semantics-based abstract interpretation. A tiny imperative programming language with pointers and first-class functions is subjected to numerous different static analyses illustrating the techniques that are presented.
Exploring the Future Beyond Cyberpunk’s Neon and Noir
Which microgenres are bubbling up, and which trends and themes best describe how creators are imagining the future? Here are nine suggestions.
The World’s Newest, Most Gloriously Designed Maps
Calling all map enthusiasts: the North American Cartographic Information Society will soon be releasing the 2018 Atlas of Design, its latest compendium of the world’s newest and best maps. Every two years since 2012, NACIS, a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes cartography, has released a new volume of maps, carefully selected from hundreds of entrants by a panel of judges. This year reveals a bumper crop of map-makers: NACIS received over 300 submissions for just 32 spots.
A Graduate Course in Applied Cryptography
And its textbook.
A beginning reader can read though the book to learn how cryptographic systems work and why they are secure. Every security theorem in the book is followed by a proof idea that explains at a high level why the scheme is secure. On a first read one can skip over the detailed proofs without losing continuity. A beginning reader may also skip over the mathematical details sections that explore nuances of certain definitions.
An advanced reader may enjoy reading the detailed proofs to learn how to do proofs in cryptography. At the end of every chapter you will find many exercises that explore additional aspects of the material covered in the chapter. Some exercises rehearse what was learned, but many exercises expand on the material and discuss topics not covered in the chapter.