It doesn't surprose me that the trees still grow in Manhattan. After all they're captives. They still grow, because life always tries to grow.
What amazes me is the birds cheeping away. You can fly! You must have visited quieter, calmer places? Here in the city no-one can hear you sing. The machinations of the city drown everything out beyond a couple of metres - the cars, the subway, the helicopters. Not a place for easy singing.
Do you like it here? Do you have a good territory? All this human noise, is it a curse or an irrelevance? Or maybe, is it all worth it for the central park?
I'm going to a conference next week, and the conference invites me to "Download the app!" Well, OK, you think, maybe a bit of overkill, but it would be useful to have an app with schedules etc. Here is the app listed on google play.
Oh and here's a list (abbreviated) of permissions that the app requires:
"""This application has access to the following:
Now tell me, what fraction of those permissions should a conference-information app legitimately use? (I've edited out some of the mundane ones.) Should ANYONE install this on their phone/tablet?
Not only is Boulder Colorado the Hebden Bridge of the USA (I'm told it's "where all the hippies went"), but it also has a really impressive amount of craft beer. Following a tip-off (thanks Bob), tonight I went to sample a few IPAs in the Mountain Sun pub. For the education of no-one except myself, here are my tasting notes - first in visual form:
then in words:
Not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, these are all lovely beers, very well served, but when they're sitting next to each other I have to compare them. Hence the ups and downs in the notes. The winner for me is definitely the Illusion Dweller. The ratings over at ratebeer tell almost the opposite story for some reason, with Illusion Dweller the only one not scoring ninety-something. Who knows what to make of that.
Updates - more beer I've tried from Mountain Sun:
More beer from other breweries:
My faves, I think, are 1123, Hoppy Knight, Illusion Dweller.
Haggis and orange - why of course! This salad serves 2. The red wine vinegar really helps the flavours marry, and the beansprouts add a nice bit of crunch - if you're being posh you could also/instead add some pomegranate seeds.
In a large bowl, break the haggis into small pieces with a spoon. The haggis we had was a little dry so I also added a dab of oil at this point.
Now prepare the orange. First, with a zester, scrape off about 1/4 of the orange's zest, into the haggis. Then, with a knife slice the top and bottom off the orange, then stand the orange on a chopping board and slice off the rest of the peel. Then cut the orange into segments, and cut each segment in two, so you have little bite-sized bits. Pick out any pips. Add the orange pieces to the haggis, and also tip in the small amount of juice from the chopping board.
Add the rocket and the beansprouts, and mix. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix it to dress evenly. You won't need to season much, since the haggis brings a lot of seasoning.
Serve with toast.
I saw Brandon Mechtley's splmap which is for plotting sound-pressure measurements on a map. He mentioned a problem: the default "heatmap" rendering you get in google maps is really a density estimate which combines the density of the points with their values. "I need to find a way to average rather than add" he says.
Just playing with this, here's my take on the situation. You don't average the values, you create some kind of interpolated overall map, but separately you also use the density of datapoints to decide how confident you are in your estimate at various points on the map. Python code is here and here's an example plot:
Dataviz folks might already have a name for this...
The Little Woodford Cafe does a nice line in sandwiches. They often have a Sandwich Of The Week which adds variety. Here I'm just noting down some good ones they've done, for the purposes of sandwich-filling-inspiration:
There seem to have been two separate person under a train incidents on the London underground today. I know nothing about either of them, but there was also one last Friday - and the cluster of events, well, first it made me feel awful, but then I wondered if there were any stats to help understand how common these events are.
Well yes there are. For example you can see some old-ish data for 1998-2005 here. I couldn't find any more recent data - you could file an FOI request if you like. BUT - TfL's twitter feeds tell the public whenever travel is disrupted. And since they use the standard form of words, it's quite simple to go through and find all occurrences, for example, for 2013 so far. So here they are:
date,lines 2013-01-15,northern 2013-01-28,district+hamandcity 2013-01-29,central 2013-02-03,northern 2013-02-10,piccadilly 2013-02-15,central 2013-02-16,victoria 2013-02-25,circle+district+hamandcity 2013-03-07,bakerloo 2013-03-10,jubilee 2013-03-14,victoria 2013-03-26,victoria 2013-04-05,central 2013-04-09,circle+others 2013-04-09,central
Fifteen in total, so far for 2013. Roughly one per week. This is not the same type of data as the old data I linked above (it includes fatalities and nonfatalities, I expect, whereas the old data is just for the former).
You can do some basic statistical modelling on this: if you assume these are independent events and model them with a Poisson distribution, then you find the probability of seeing two-or-more incidents on one day is 1.04% - which essentially means there's nothing particularly weird about seeing it happen at some point over the past three-and-a-bit months.
This clementine cake is lovely and juicy, with a nice sweet chewiness to the crust. And look at that crumb:
When I took the next photo I accidentally left the flash on - but it does show off some of the bright orange colouring in the cake:
It's an easy cake to make. Cos of the juiciness it doesn't keep for that long... but that's no problem. If you have a pressure-cooker it really speeds up the bit where you cook the clementines (or tangerines, or whatever).
Put the clementines (WHOLE AND UNPEELED, but without any stalky bits) into the pressure cooker, or a big pan with a lid. Add cold water to cover. If it's a pressure cooker, put the lid on, bring it up to pressure, and cook for 15-20 mins. If it's a normal pan, simmer gently (covered) for 2 hours.
Then turn off the heat, release the pressure, and let the clems and the water cool down. You have to let them cool before the next step, so the clementines don't scramble the eggs! Here's a picture of our clems cooling on the back step.
Put the clems into a food processor and blend them up. (It's handy to keep some of their cooking water in case the mixture needs a bit more liquid, but in my experience it's generally not needed.)
Crush the cloves in a pestle and mortar. Add the flaked almonds and crush them too. No need to crush the almonds too fine - the point of the flaked almonds is to give an occasional bit of crunch to the cake.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then mix in the clementines. Then add everything else, and mix it up.
Pour into a 21cm springform tin (greased, and with baking paper in the bottom) and bake at 180 degrees (gas mark 4 or 5) for about an hour. Cover the cake loosely with greaseproof paper or a tray, for the last 20 minutes or so.
Take out of the oven and let it sit in the tin for 10--20 minutes or so, before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool properly.