Other Fancy Stuff

I am not Jackie Paper, but I do have some stuff of some potential interest (if not very fancy) that does not fit into any of the other catagories in the header.

Data visualization

While I have not researched or written much related to data visualization, I have thought about the topic and do find poor data presentation excessively common.

Some basic principles of data presenation seem to be violated relatively frequently. Using the same colors or symbols to represent different variables is not deceptive but makes quickly establishing context more difficult. Similarly varying bigger-is-better and smaller-is-better makes examining graphics more difficult. (I favor bigger-is-better, partially because such focuses on more of a good quality (e.g., performance) rather than less of a bad thing (e.g., solution-delay). When stacking contributions to a single metric, smaller-is-better can be used to provide greater insight into the relative contributions of detrimental components.)

Data is also surprisingly often not presented relative to a baseline. While such makes absolute significance more difficult to discern, it often facilitates denser presentation of data. Obviously, normalized presentation presents one data provider as the norm, further increasing density.

Rock, Parchment, Sword, Dragon, Wizard

On the television show Jane and the Dragon, Rock, Parchment, Sword was presented as a variant of Scissors, Paper, Rock. Just as "Lizard" and "Spock" can be added to Rock, Paper, Scissors, "Dragon" and "Wizard" can be added to that variant. The expression of the rules is somewhat straightforward:

Sword cuts parchment,
Parchment covers rock,
Rock distracts dragon,
Dragon frightens wizard,
Wizard charms sword,
Sword tickles dragon,
Dragon burns parchment,
Parchment confounds wizard,
Wizard teleports rock,
Rock breaks sword.

Caught Off-Guard

The following very short story was written as a 10-minute write exercise at the Writing Stack Exchange; the topic was "caught off-guard". I took a little more than ten minutes. Some corrections have been made for spelling and grammar, but otherwise the story is unmodified from its original form.


The packaging said that assembly was simple, requiring only the supplied parts and fifteen minutes, but after twenty minutes trying to follow the included instructions he was at a loss of how such a simple piece of furniture could be so difficult to assemble.

"Shouldn't that panel have the finished side facing upward?" his wife asked as she passed by the room.

"Aargh!" He restrained himself from throwing the Allen wrench as he considered the prospect of disassembling the partially built desk for the third time.

He was near the point of giving up when his eight year old daughter came into the room.

"Is my desk nearly finished, daddy?"

"No, I am having some difficulty with the instructions, but I am sure I will have it done before you go to bed." He certainly hoped that was the case.

He rubbed the Allen wrench against his shirt to wipe away the sweat that had accumulated and a cloud of smoke billowed quickly from one end.

"You have summoned Allen, Genie of Wrench. You may make one wish."

Hardly believing his senses, he asked "Okay, I wish for a billion dollars."

"No. I am only a genie of assembly."

Possible Future Additions

It might be good to put up a collection of quotes. Organizing such would be a substantial effort, and I stopped collecting quotes years ago.

While my productivity in writing verse, Christian musings, and computer-related works has been very low, my activity outside of these areas has been even lower. I do find some areas of physical science and engineering interesting as well as some of the social sciences, but I am not likely to write anything especially interesting or insightful in these areas.