Friday, January 11, 2013

Fox News Hates Math... and facts

During the tail end of the election, Nate Silver ran a meta-analysis of the running polls which predicted an overall likelihood of Obama winning of 79%.  The actual analysis was a pretty exhaustive and thoroughly explained collective statistical analysis that looked at the populations that were sampled and how that affected the electoral result.  Note that the statement was that he had a 79% chance of coming out the winner (that too, specifically in terms of electoral votes) -- not that he'd win with 79% of the popular vote.  Either way, the point is that it wasn't his opinion.  It was the cold hard math.  Which is precisely why conservatives railed on him for being a political ideologue because the idea of math pointing to Obama's victory.

Because, well...  math has a liberal bias after all.  Since it's true.

So then Fox News' show, The Five, where they pit four magnificently idiotic conservative bullshit factories against a phony liberal who feigns ignorance of everything, just came out with their latest enemy -- algebra.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

M. S. Gopalakrishnan 1931 - 2013

I've written at length on this site both about the typical atheism/skepticism topics, but I've also written quite a bit about music, mainly Indian classical music, of course.  Once upon a time, I made feeble effort at Carnatic violin, though now I'm far better a singer than a violinist -- though I should punctuate that point by making it clear that I'm not much of a singer, either.  But there was a reason I was originally interested in the violin to begin with.

Today -- Jan 3, 2013 -- that reason passed away at 2:00 AM in Chennai of what was apparently respiratory failure.

Parur Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan was and still is my favorite violinist ever.  Here was a guy who could emulate vocal intonations to the finest detail...  maintain laser-precise pitch and rhythm at any speed...  imitate the sounds of other instruments...  and practically pronounce the lyrics of every song he played, whether he used all the strings and all his fingers, or he played on one string using only one finger.  Of the Carnatic violin "trinity", he is actually the youngest (by a margin of 1 year), and the first to go at the age of 81.