Wikipedia Crawl

I was channel surfing and stumbled upon The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He was doing a Michael Caine impression and made some joke that I didn’t quite get. Wikipedia to the rescue! or so I thought…

1:36 am

1:58 am: I split into two simultaneous tabs:

Branch 1:
2:24 am

Branch 2:
2:24 am

There are some real gems in there. Never did find out what Ferguson was referencing though.

xkcd #214.


What a piece of work is iPhone, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.

Hamlet was one of the first people to get an iPhone but I was only 6 months behind! Scientifically speaking, it rocks.

Using elementary set theory, I will describe precisely every way in which it rocks, by articulating the complement.

{How the iPhone rocks}c

  1. No Copy/Paste. Well, no text highlighting in general. These are essential tools, and I feel handicapped without them.
  2. No GPS. This doesn’t sound so bad to most people, (“why do I need to know exactly where I am?”) but once you start playing around with the contacts and google maps then you realize you’d want some sort of functionality of “how do I get from HERE to there?” Basically, putting in GPS would have made the iPhone the closest thing to a URAT* modern society has to offer.
  3. Needs a search filter on Contacts. As fun as it is to flick my contact list to scroll through them all, I would like some sort of shortcut to get to a specific person.
  4. EDGE is slightly slow. But frankly, it works just fine for most of my needs. Even downloading stuff from YouTube isn’t bad with it. I sometimes even turn off Wi-Fi to go to Edge when the network signal is weak.
  5. Calendar only syncs with Outlook 2003 or 2007 on Windows. I would much prefer it to sync with Google Calendar directly. You can access Google Calendar through the web, of course, but I want to use the iPhone calendar “without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace.”*
  6. Headphone jack is recessed. This is so the curved edge of the iPhone is still curved, and it actually protects the structure of the headphone jack, the internal card, and the plug. But it also means all standard headphones wont work without an adapter… $25.
  7. No 3rd party apps — yet. Sure I can go through Safari to do web-based apps, but that’s an inherently bulky way of doing things, and what did I just say about mucking about…
  8. No direct interaction with files — yet. I can’t see the files I have on there (“the files are in the computer*) or do anything with them, such as saving a picture off the internet, deleting songs, editing tags, editing documents.

That’s it. And essentially, most everything will be great when Apple puts out their Software Development Kit (SDK) and lets Google work their magic. Google people are SMRT*.


What do these words have in common?
dollop, suns, noon
Ok, try turning the screen upside down and reading them… (for ‘noon’, try reading it from behind your screen… oh wait… doh!)

I was over at Tom’s the other day. We were talking about Blu-ray and HDDVD and how movies will inevitably be re-released forcing consumers to either cope with the fact that they do not have the pinnacle releases of their favorite movies, or to take cash against a sea of discs, and by conceding, buy them. Sidenote: how much clearer can a movie like the Simpsons get?

Whilst I was making fun of Tom for having multiple copies of some movies in his collection already (Princess Bride, Star Wars… ) he mentioned that there was yet another release of Princess Bride. I was ready to add another $40 onto the running tally (yeah, I keep a tally of close friends’ leisure expenditures in my head, you wanna fight about it?) he mentioned how the cover of this latest release was quite interesting.

If you rotate the cover 180 degrees, the title reads the same way. Thus they have created an rotational Ambigram. Just like the words suns and dollop, it is symmetric under a rotation on the z axis. (z positive is coming out at you, z negative is looking directly into the screen).

The Princess Bride, however, is not a natural ambigram like dollop and suns. It took some nice artistic work for that one. Perhaps there is a job for math majors. “Oh yes I graduated with a B.S. in Math and an emphasis in ambigram synthesis.”

In reading the Wikipedia article it saw examples of other ambigrams. noon, for example, is also a 180 degree rotational ambigram, but you rotate it around the y axis (between the two o’s)

Then there’s the rather impressive x-axis symmetry of
HICKOK DIED DEC 3 1883 — DOC BEECH DECIDED HE CHOKED. Imagine the 1 has no little doohickeys on it. I actually saw this at Asilomar during Harold Jacob’s presentation.

Ambigrams have actually become more popular recently with Dan Brown’s cover for Angels and Demons. Dan Browns books are nice for inciting a little pop-math fever, they aren’t exactly rigorous… but they did lead to a re-release of John Langdon’s (he being the basis for the Da Vinci Code’s protagonist) book Wordplay.

Anyway, this got me thinking… is this a key to more hidden elements in Princess Bride? The 180 degree flips of Wesley and Inigo’s dominant hands during their duel suddenly seem more mathematically significant. This scene is actually called “swordplay/wordplay” on DVD chapter selections. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn….