Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ohhh Durkheim

Just a quote I want to share with you all that I found when reading for my classical theory class:

"Thus the scholar who dies from excessive devotion to study is currently and not wholly unreasonably said to have killed himself by his labor."
-Emile Durkheim, Suicide, p. 46

What? Lol!
That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steven Colbert taking presidential mockery to new level

Steven Colbert is running for president in 2008. No, seriously. Even USA Today and the Associated Press are even documenting it.


The second video shows him announcing his candidacy.

He says he'll enter the primary of South Carolina, his home state. Okay, I have to admit, it is kind of hilarious. I mean, Colbert in a debate with other presidential candidates would be pretty darn entertaining. But it totally undermines the seriousness of the presidential race. If he's in a debate that all of the other candidates are taking seriously, and he's just cracking jokes, it will be all the more difficult for voters to keep in mind the gravity of electing a president.

But if he does actually run, enter the debates, and hold out through the end of the primaries, I hope he at least takes some good jabs at Hilary.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monkeys and Super Computers

I thought I'd begun to get along with statistics. Things were going rosy. Two weeks ago, my statistical understanding took a nose-dive, and since then, I've come up with the perfect analogy to describe my statistical woes:

Let's say there a group of brilliant scientists who want to teach a monkey to use the NASA space station's super computer (and let's also say the monkey is potentially capable, completely ignoring all creation vs. evolution debates). So, the scientists put the monkey down in front of this super computer, and the monkey just stares at it. The scientists show the monkey how to run some programs and encourage the monkey to do the same. The monkey just sits there and picks lice off himself. They scientists are all like, "Hey, monkey, we know you can do this, just watch us and repeat what we do!" And the scientists keep showing the monkey crazy complicated NASA-like software.

In the meantime, one of the scientist's kid is sitting in the corner (because it is bring your kid to work day at NASA), and the kid is playing on a leapfrog-type-kids-computer toy. And the computer toy is making all sorts of cool noises, and it's colorful, and the monkey really wants to go play with the kid's computer. He tries to leave his seat, but the scientists are like, "No, monkey! Stay here, we know you can figure out our NASA super computer! In fact, even though you haven't done anything buy pick your own lice, we're going to make you take a midterm and you have to get a B or better or you flunk out of grad school! Besides, you don't want to learn how to use that silly toy, this computer is so much more powerful!"

Right, so, even though the monkey could probably learn the basic of using a computer from the scientist's kid's computer toy, the scientist are being stupid and making him sit in front of their NASA super computer and pick his own lice.

So, yes, I'm the monkey. Every week in class, I watch my prof run sophisticated statistical software and talk about how powerful it is. I drink my Starbucks pumpkin spice latte (come on, I don't have lice, you weirdos), and wish that I could go play with pretty picture statistical software with colorful graphs and point-and-click cross-tabulations and at least figure out the basics. But my prof says, "No, no, little grad student! You don't want to go play with kids' software! This software is so much more powerful! In fact, even though you've just been sitting here every week drinking your Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, I'm going to make you take a midterm, and you have to get a B or better or you flunk out of grad school!"

And so, I'm a monkey sitting in front of a powerful NASA computer when all I really want to do is go play on the fun computer toy. And the midterm's on Thursday.