Author Archive: Paul Epps

Competitive Programming: UVa 612 – DNA Sorting

[Link to problem] One measure of “unsortedness” in a sequence is the number of pairs of entries that are out of order with respect to each other. For instance, in the letter sequence DAABEC, this measure is 5, since D is greater than four letters to its right and E is greater than one letter to its right. This measure is called the number of inversions in the sequence. The sequence AACEDGG has only one inversion (E and D) — it is nearly sorted — while the sequence ZWQM has 6 inversions (it is as unsorted as can be — exactly the reverse of sorted). You are responsible for cataloging a sequence of DNA strings (sequences containing only the four letters A, C, G, and T). However, you want to catalog them, not in alphabetical order, but rather in order of “sortedness,” from “most sorted” to “least sorted.” All the strings… Read more →

Heaven’s Door

Did you know Bob Dylan has a line of American whiskeys? Merry Christmas to me! (From me.) Read more →

Student Loan Debt Sets Record

U.S. Student Loan Debt Sets Record, Doubling Since Recession — Bloomberg What happened to parents saving up to pay for college? Is that not a thing anymore? I don’t find it morally defensible to encourage a kid to incorporate academics into his or her life from an early age, to emphasize the importance of education, then when the kid is admitted to college to say “Congratulations, here’s your student loan application. Have fun paying that off till you’re 60.” Read more →

More Christmas Songs That Should Be Banned

A pair of hop-a-long boots and a pistol that shootsIs the wish of Barney and BenDolls that’ll talk and will go for a walkIs the hope of Janice and Jen — “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” Baby dolls for little girls and guns for little boys?! Continuing to segregate and advertise toys based on gender just works to perpetuate nasty sexist stereotypes, plus it severely limits the development of all young people. Be sure to engage in a conversation about sexism with your friends and families over the holidays! Read more →

Sailing to Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The youngIn one another’s arms, birds in the trees– Those dying generations – at their song,The salmon?falls, the mackerel?crowded seas,Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer longWhatever is begotten, born, and dies.Caught in that sensual music all neglectMonuments of unageing intellect. An aged man is but a paltry thing,A tattered coat upon a stick, unlessSoul clap its hands and sing, and louder singFor every tatter in its mortal dress,Nor is there singing school but studyingMonuments of its own magnificence;And therefore I have sailed the seas and comeTo the holy city of Byzantium. O sages standing in God’s holy fireAs in the gold mosaic of a wall,Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,And be the singing?masters of my soul.Consume my heart away; sick with desireAnd fastened to a dying animalIt knows not what it is; and gather meInto the artifice of eternity.… Read more →

The Time for Song and Frivolity is Over!

A colleague went to see his son’s Christmas pageant, a day care thing where the kids try to sing “Jingle Bells.”  He says once his older daughter got to kindergarten, the school didn’t do singing Christmas shows anymore . . . THIS IS KINDERGARTEN! THE TIME FOR SONG AND FRIVOLITY IS OVER! DO YOU HEAR YOUR PARENTS GOING AROUND SINGING ALL THE TIME? THAT’S WHAT GROWING UP IS ALL ABOUT! ALL JOYOUS ACTIVITIES ARE SURRENDERED OR STRIPPED AWAY FROM YOU! Read more →

Activities That No One Does Anymore

I got an email today from a company wanting to introduce me to their faxing API (Application Programming Interface). Faxing!? Will they also help me do other activities that no one does anymore, like playing the zither or baking my own bread? Read more →

Are You Sure?

I was closing out of Remote Desktop Connection Manager and got the popup shown here. Am I sure? To the extent that we can really be sure about anything, then yes I’m sure. Why is the No option selected as the default? Is there an assumption that I’m flying by the seat of my pants, acting randomly and without certitude?  That I’m not a confident person? That I lack the courage of my convictions? Read more →

Hour of Code

View this post on Instagram Two of the most important takeaways from the #HourOfCode: “Today I felt good about myself. Today I learned: you can have fun even if it is hard.” – Nicole (2nd grade). Thank you Mrs. Nerkizian for sharing A post shared by Code.org (@codeorg) on Dec 8, 2018 at 11:50am PST Read more →

Angelino Heights

The “Charmed” house: Scheerer House, Queen Anne cottage: Out of place amongst the Victorians: Heim House: Sessions House, 1889: The gardener said the house was used in a DiCaprio movie but didn’t know which one (Pretty sure it wasn’t Titanic.): The Michael Jackson “Thriller” house: Read more →

Elvis Costello at the House of Blues

First time I’ve seen a concert at House of Blues in Anaheim. It’s a general admission standing room venue that holds I’d say around 1,500 people plus a seated balcony that you can get into for a premium price. Pros and cons you can probably guess: You’ll have to stand for about 3 hours but once the show starts, you don’t really think about it. If the 64-year-old performer can stand for the whole show, so can I. On the plus side, you can get quite close to the stage. Maybe not right in front unless you’re first in line to get in, but the sides of the stage you can get to easily. Also, you get to see an A-list performer in a small room. I don’t go to concerts in large venues anymore — Staples Center, Honda Center, the Forum, Rose Bowl, etc. I wouldn’t enjoy that. I… Read more →

Troll College

Via Scott Adams: Improve your trolling with these tips and techniques Classic and effective troll responses Rules for custom created responses that own your target Read more →

Competitive Programming: SPOJ – Glass Beads

Link to problem Once upon a time there was a famous actress. As you may expect, she played mostly Antique Comedies most of all. All the people loved her. But she was not interested in the crowds. Her big hobby were beads of any kind. Many bead makers were working for her and they manufactured new necklaces and bracelets every day. One day she called her main Inspector of Bead Makers (IBM) and told him she wanted a very long and special necklace. The necklace should be made of glass beads of different sizes connected to each other but without any thread running through the beads, so that means the beads can be disconnected at any point. The actress chose the succession of beads she wants to have and the IBM promised to make the necklace. But then he realized a problem. The joint between two neighbouring beads is not… Read more →

The Saints Went Marching In

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. — Matthew 27:51-53 It is an easy thing to tell a lie, but it is difficult to support the lie after it is told. The writer of the book of Matthew should have told us who the saints were who came to life again and went into the city. and what became of them afterward, and who it was that saw them — for he is not hardy enough to say that he saw them himself; whether they came out naked and all in natural buff, he-saints and she-saints; or whether… Read more →

A Reading From the Book of Numbers

And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. — Numbers 31:13-18 The language is a bit archaic but you understand what’s happening: Kill the boys, kill their… Read more →

What Comfort Can You Give Him?

When you get a person to look at the sun as it bakes down on the daily carnage taking place on earth, the ridiculous accidents, the utter fragility of life, the powerlessness of those he thought most powerful — what comfort can you give him from a psychotherapeutic point of view? — Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death Read more →

Doe Library

View this post on Instagram “My favorite library, Doe Library.” ? #berkeleypov by @amincaptures #ucberkeley #library #books Edited by UC Berkeley A post shared by UC Berkeley (@ucberkeleyofficial) on Nov 13, 2018 at 9:46pm PST Read more →

Daily Affirmation

I start my daily commute by saying “OK Google, drive to work” into my phone, and Google responds by showing me the fastest route. This morning, Google thought I said “have to work”: Read more →

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