Category Archives: Lesser Thoughts

4 More Lessons Learned From 2 Years of Healing a Herniated Disc

If you are reading this I imagine it’s because you are suffering yourself from a herniated disc. I was there too, and still am 2 years later. While I’m not a doctor, and ask you not to take this as medical advice, I hope you might gain something from my experience. My first five lessons that I wrote when I was just 3 months in remain cogent and apt, are a story without an ending. As the injury transitions into a memory rather than an urgent priority, I should leave this map for who ever finds it useful.

1. Recovery has an unintuitive shape.

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3 Rap Perspectives on Turning 30

The librarian part of my mind has surfaced these musical gems for me to re-evaluate, now that I am mathematically deserving. On point 1 Momentum, I am entirely behind. On Distance (2) and Death (3) they are themes perhaps darker than I would like to delve today, but give lots to think about in the upcoming decade.

1. Momentum

Used to think 30 years old then the end comes
Now I feel like I’m just gainin’ momentum

Blackalicious, World of Vibrations


2. Distance

Now I’m pushing past 30. If I bow out as the years close in. Abandon my sound man and band and them.

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More Nuclear Icebreakers – The Most Memorable of 2016-2018

Hello, how are you? Would you like to engage meaningfully with me? How do you feel about this as-personal-as-you-want-it-to-be, non-threatening, question? Those are the hallmarks of a good ice-breaker, and these are the best ones I’ve created or pilfered in the past three years.

1. Describe your ideal burger, layer by layer.

At the SOAK festival in 2016 I suffered back spasms from an extended Butoh session, and in order not to spoil that last night I made a game of laying still in one public location from dusk to dawn. As I needed to entice people to keep me company among the night’s many attractive options, this little ditty came to me.… Read the rest

5 lessons learned from 3 months of healing a herniated disc.

I suffered a herniated disc by foolish jumping off a large drop while camping. It has been the most serious injury of my life to date. As it  invaded almost every aspect of my life, my mood, my career, my friendships, it gave me lots of pause to reflect. This is what learned and wrote after 3 months. However in the end it took me 2 years to be pain free, at which point I wrote a follow up “5 more lessons learned” which also contains more practical lessons than the more abstracted ones here.

1. The thing you can’t do is sitting.

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Trivia Pub Quiz #1—Awesome Festival 2017

Prompted to find alternative ways to entertain my friends due to a herniated disc, I tried my hand at writing a trivia/pub quiz.

Please use, remix, and fix some of the impossible questions.

(The specific genre of audience-tailored trivia for a group of friends owes a deep gratitude to Sumedh Joshi R.I.P.)

 

Trivia-Pub-Quiz

 

Round point structure.

  • 1x 1 points Warmup multiple choice question.
  • 3x  2-point one-correct answer.
  • 1x List as many as possible.
  1. (1 point) The name Mendocino is derived from A).  The 16th century Spanish circumnavigator. or B) A bastardization of the “Mein de Chino” owing to the famed chow mein from the area?
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Suggestions of Fake Profiles in Couchsurfing

I have been investigating profiles of users of Airbnb and Couchsurfing this year as research into personality differences between users of market- and socially-based network hospitality websites. Along the way I have uncovered some suggestive data supporting a rumor that Couchsurfing may have been manipulating the size of its user-base through fake profiles.

After I had assembled datasets of these user’s publicly viewable data, I started to take a look at the sign-up dates of each profile to gauge the ages of the user bases. In inspecting the Couchsurfing set, I found an usual spike in sign-ups in 2013.

Conducting a web search for reasons why this would be I queried the web “what happened to Couchsurfing in 2013”.… Read the rest

3 Ways To Access Wikidata Data Until It Can Be Done Properly

Note: This post is quite old. In fact Wikidata can now be accessed “properly” via the Wikidata Query Service (WDQS). However the techniques outlined below still have their advantages.

The inaugural Wiki Research Hackathon went very well, and I’m affirmed that I feel best when I’m conducting Wiki Research. I was asked to give one of the tech talks of the day about accessing Wikidata data programmatically. Here is an outline of the talk

Purpose:

We’ll be viewing Wikidata as file in its own right for research, not as it’s canonical use case of being used in various Wikipedias.

Native format:

Wikidata is a mostly standard Mediawiki instance except that pages don’t store “Wikitext”, they store JSON blobs.… Read the rest

How A Small Bug I Wrote Started Helping Holocaust Deniers

In my early software education, I’d been taught about how untested  software could result in deadly radiation-therapy machines. But since I never planned to be in the medical devices industry, these sort of warnings didn’t apply to me – after all I was only writing Wikipedia bots. But this week I was proved wrong when another Wikipedian messaged me with a query unlike any I’d received before (empahsis mine):

Hi Max, I’ve pinged you a couple of times, but in case you’re not getting them, would you mind commenting?

It’s about an edit your bot made to Wikidata that changed the infobox of a featured article about a book about the Holocaust, Night.

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U and Why?: Part 2: Snow Bike and the Seven Identities

While Ceephax has exposed me to a hyperactive, ultrajoyful side of myself, Why? has shown me how to cope with inexorable loss of impermanent identities. Just today I was going to go to an event I’d been looking forward to for over a year; the Stupor Bowl is a 50 mile bike ride in Minneapolis, stopping at 9 bars, and on the coldest day of the year. But after ceding a pool table yesterday to a man who my friends told me looked very much like myself, due to his moustache and cycling jacket, I became paralyzed by the self-awareness of my new identity.… Read the rest

Against the Grain: Influencing Factors of Opinion Change in Wikipedia’s Article for Deletion Process

 

This is my final project from my Machine Learning course this past semester. My collaborators and I attempted to find out when, and why users at English Wikipedia’s article for deletion forum, voted against their tendencies. That is, what makes an “deletionist” vote “keep” and when an “inclusionist” votes “delete”? In the end we found that basic machine learning techniques could not perform much better than random, but the intelligence that did emerge came from using information about group herding behaviour, and appeals to the local bureaucratic process.

Against the Grain: Influencing Factors of Opinion Change in Wikipedia’s Article for Deletion Process

Zhiyi Li, Cheng Peng, and Max Klein

Introduction

On 1 November 2015, English Wikipedia hit 5,000,000 articles; but while article creation is much celebrated, deleting an article is a lesser known process.… Read the rest