Friday, February 17, 2006

Elucidating My Religion

I took the religion quiz, and agree completely with my results:

I do primarily consider myself a Buddhist, although I am sure the other two would be a better fit if I knew more about them. One thing I learned in this process is when I read a little bit about Secular Humanism they listed Kurt Vonnegut as a notable secular humanist. He is probably my favorite author, and very in line with my philosophical worldview.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

US States

Here is the map of states that I have been to (on solid ground):
Here is the map of our 1998 cross-country trip when I hit many of them:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Driving Into the Sun

I have a theory that people who live on the East coast will, on average, have slightly more vision problems than people on the west coast.

The theory is that most cities are along the coastline, and most people drive in to the city in the morning and then drive home in the evening. On the East coast, this means that at many times during the year you will be driving directly into the sun in the morning and evening. The opposite holds true for the west coast -- they would generally never be driving into the sun unless they live west of where they work (which would be the exception more than the rule).

The only slight issue with the theory is that I have found cities like Los Angeles to have a downtown area that is more distributed than cities like Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Maybe the Freakonomics guys can look into this for their next book.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ESP Game

I found a cool game called the ESP game. You get paired up with a random partner and you work together to try to enter the same word to describe random images (with certain words being restricted like in Taboo). Note my ranking of #2 (I got hooked and played one night for about 45 minutes).

It is an interesting game for a few reasons:

1. Sometimes it seems like it is not another person that is your partner, because I usually seem to get paired with people who are extremely fast. This goes against the more common premise that most people are idiots, especially when doing things on the internet. So it almost seems like a computer. Also, I have found that when you get the same image again you match the same word as before - another clue that it is a computer partner and not a person.

2. I wonder if maybe this is just some sort of psychology experiment. You could study some cool things. For example, I noticed that once you get a picture of something, you are more likely to guess that word for subsequent pictures. For example, if the answer is "water", then for the next picture you might guess "water" even though the subject of the picture is really "lake" or "mountain".

3. People always seem too willing to pass. This is silly, because you only get the big point values if you get all 15 correct. I usually make them wait until I eventually come up with a winning word, which is good for them even though they might noty realize it.

4. I wonder what happens if your partner bails during the game. This has never happened to me, which is another reason I question whether it's really a person.

5. You can tell that some people will stop guesssing if they think they have already entered the perfect word. These are not good team players.

6. It is annoying when people don't identify things intelligently. Like they'll have a picture of John Kerry. So you try "Kerry", "senator", etc. But your partner had entered "blue" because he is wearing a blue tie.

Check it out at

It's Official - I Am Italian

I thought Christy was the Italian one in the family, but turns out that it is me. I ran my passport photo through and the following were my top matches in their celebrity database:

1. Al Pacino (64% match)
2. Frank Sinatra (51%)
3. John Cusack (43%)

See photos below for proof!