Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One Bad Song

Did you ever notice that certain albums, that are otherwise great, have 1 or 2 horrible songs that ruin the entire album? In rare occasions, I actually have to delete songs from an album playlist because I dread listening to them.

Here are some examples:

Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted - Conduit for Sale
James Blunt - Back to Bedlam - "Out of My Mind" and "So Long Jimmy"
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots, Pt. 2
Wilco - A Ghost is Born - Less Than You Think

Not Tone Deaf

I verified that I am not tone deaf by taking the musical skills test at this site. (My results shown below). It's kind of fun, but takes about 6 minutes. I think perhaps I could have done a little better if I took it in a quiet place while I wasn't working on three other things. On the other hand, maybe that helped since I think I used more of my unconscious mind because I was simultaneously doing other things.

Friday, November 17, 2006

HOA Smoking Ban

This article (HOA Rule Forbids Couple To Smoke In Their Own Home) produced an unexpected survey result. Only 36% of people agree with me that it is legitimate for a homeowners association to have a rule regarding smoking.

I always wondered about the argument: "where am I supposed to smoke - out in the cold?" I guess there is something about the sanctity of the home that people always seem to want protected. As a Libertarian, I usually agree. But you have to draw a line any time you are doing harm to others.

I'm sure the next logical step will be for the smokers to sue the HOA for expenses of treating their frostbite -- right after the money runs out that they got from the tobacco companies for making them smoke in the first place.

Professor Bigfoot

Every once in a while, you read an article that sounds exactly like something you would see on The Onion, except it is completely legitimate.

Today I enjoyed an article in that category: Professor's Bigfoot Research Criticized

Monday, November 13, 2006

November = ebay

If you're like me and you have a pile of stuff you've been meaning to list on ebay, consider putting it on your high-priority list for this week or next week.

I suspect that the latter weeks of November are the best time of the year to list items on ebay, since it is when people are looking for some holiday gift bargains. December is probably too late, because people will worry that it might not arrive in time for the holiday.

Beware Biased Endorsements

Test Your Knowledge: New York Times Editorial Board

The New York Times endorsed 12 candidates in last week's mid-term elections. What would you guess is the probability that all 12 of the candidates they endorsed were Democrats?

a) 4095 to 1 (about .02% chance)
b) 100% chance
c) No way to tell - they evaluate each candidate on his or her merit, without regard to party affiliation.


If you selected (a), give yourself 1 point. This is the mathematically correct answer, assuming they planned to evaluate each candidate on his or her merit, without regard to party affiliation. But you only get 1 point, because this was not the correct answer.

If you selected (b), give yourself 2 points. This turned out to be the correct answer as I myself witnessed on the New York Times website endorsement page prior to the election.

If you selected (c), give yourself 0 points. You clearly do not have any familiarity with the New York Times.

What is the point of the above? The point is that you should not go to the New York Times for thoughtful analysis of elections. It is equivalent to asking a cheerleader for a High School football team, or the parents of the quarterback, which team they think should win. They will give you an honest answer, but it is completely impossible for them to remove their bias. And thus it is a mostly worthless exercise to consider their predictions, if you are truly trying to determine which side is better than the other.

By the way, if you think this endorsement thing is just an unusual phenomenon related to maybe President Bush, or the war in Iraq, did you know that the New York Times hasn't endorsed a Republican candidate for President since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 (54 years ago)?