On Saturday, January 13th, 2018, Hawaiians got an alert that said: BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. It took 38 minutes for people in Hawaii to realize this was a false alarm. The whole timeline was released by Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) and is available here. Why did this happen? An employee at HEMA clicked the wrong button during a routine test.

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New Year in Many Timezones

New Year is my favorite holiday, it’s something that everyone on Earth celebrates, and it also reminds me of how amazing it is that we all share the same calendar. Another thing I love is choosing how I am going to use the next year of my life. Not simply resolutions, but evaluating what’s working, doing more of that. For example, I have a 60-day streak on Duolingo for Spanish, and I want keep it going, with no interruptions.

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The Algebra of Data

This book introduces an algebraic model of data. If you are familiar with relational algebra, then you can think of data algebra as a generalization. If you are not familiar with relational algebra, then you have a lot less to un-learn. In the book, the authors regard the decision to force all data into tables as a historical mistake that we are still living with today. One symptom of forcing data into tables is the null value.

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Income distribution over two centuries

200 years ago, everyone was poor 40 years ago, the income distribution had two modes, and global inequality was higher than it is today Now, there is a single global middle class, and global income inequality is low, and most people are rich by 200-year-old living standards. What’s weird is that within individual countries, inequality has gone up in the last 40 years, but globally it has gone down. This is an example of Simpson’s paradox.

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Homer's Iliad

The Iliad is a story of the Trojan War, specifically the Greek Hero Achilles and King Agammemnon, and how their conflict over a concubine delays them winning the war. The story takes place around 1260 BC - 1180 BC. The story was originally passed down through the generations orally as a poem, which explains some of the repetitive aspects of the written version. It was written down by Homer around 760 BC - 710 BC.

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Math has no god particle

There is an interesting article from FiveThirtyEight about the Atlas of Lie Groups and Representations, and more generally about why mathematicians are reluctant to talk to the press. They explore the difference between physicists and mathematicians with respect to the press. This point came up: The asymmetry in storytelling between math and the other sciences may also be because the research has different start-up costs. You need billions of dollars to build an enormous tunnel to house a particle accelerator to discover evidence of the God particle, also known as the Higgs boson.

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I am software engineer with a passion for mathematics and reducing human error.