A friend of mine posted the following on his facebook wall yesterday (partly swedish, but should be comprehensible for most):

Terrordåd i Europa 2006-2009 enligt Europol:
Totalt antal: 1770
Islamic: 6 (0.34%)
Right Wing Ethno-Nationalist and Separatist: 1596 (90.17%)
…Left Wing: 106 (5.99%)
…Other/Not Specified: 62 (3.50%)
tack <name withheld by me> för statistiken

What I took notice of is that Islamic terrorism seem to be the least of our worries, regarding Europe as a whole. Which is startling considering how often one hears, mostly right wing, politicians cry wolf about this relatively insignificant source of terror.

I couldn’t get myself to do put the message on my own profile without verifying the sources and numbers first, so I downloaded SAT-TE 2007 and SAT-TE 2010 from the EUROPOL publications website, and lo and behold it turns out that whoever put these numbers together in such a disingenuous way deserves a visit from the special finish Father Christmas, for being a very naughty boy indeed. Here is the correct summary of the numbers found in the aforementioned reports:

Sources of Terror in Europe 2006-2009 according to EUROPOL:

Islamist: 4 (0,22%)
Seperatis: 1590 (87,65%)
Left-Wing: 144 (7,94%)
Right-Wing: 6 (0,33%)
Single-issue: 8 (0,44%)
Other/Not Specified: 62 (3,42%)
Total: 1814 (100%)
Feel free to double check my sources and calculations in this google documents spreadsheet.

Turns out that not only is the perpetrator incapable of summing numbers correctly, ie. the total number is 1814 not 1770, but more importantly the numbers for “Separatists” and “Right-Wing” have been merged into one, despite the fact that they are represented separately in both of the aforementioned reports.

Why would anyone misrepresent numbers like this? I mean if the double-dealer behind the first summary wanted to save one line of text, he could have merged the non specific “Single-Issue” and “Other/Not Specified”. Which would make a lot of sense, considering that the “Single-Issue” category is absent in the report covering 2006.

Maybe we can hint at a possible motive by looking at the numbers differently. The following table is based on the same numbers as the one above but disregards “Seperatist” terror:

Islamist: 4 (1,79%)
Left-Wing: 144 (64,29%)
Right-Wing: 6 (2,68%)
Single-issue: 8 (3,57%)
Other/Not Specified: 62 (27,68%)

Now look who’s dominating the european terror statistics! I’ll leave any guesswork regarding the delinquents political sympathies and antipathies as an exercise for the reader.

On a lighter note, it turns out that “Team Islam” is doing even better than originally reported, which makes you wonder, did our wannabe deceiver get his numbers from the same source that I did? But it also makes it 50% more infuriating that this idiot has muddled the numbers in order to serve his own agenda.

There is exactly one person on facebook with the name originally attributed to the summary and he’s from Sweden which matches the language of the original text, so I’m going to send him a link to this post, giving him a chance to point out any errors I’ve made in the process of making him look so statistically opportunistic and incompetent.

Or rather I’ll notify him as soon as I’ve checked my firewalls and installed Varnish in front of the webserver, just in case he’s the vindicative type and well enough connected to utilize tools like the Low Orbit Ion Cannon in a significant way. In which case I’ll have to move my server to somewhere under the Akamai umbrella anyway (as VISA and Mastercard recently learned the hard way).

But considering that I withheld his name in this text, he probably won’t bother. Which is fine by me as I don’t care about the motives of this small fry in particular, but I do find it worthwhile to try and expose this wrongful representation of numbers with a very interesting message. A lie that I assume is spreading through facebook statuses like a wildfire.

Also note that real politicians misrepresent numbers all the time in order to further their own positions, they are however in general a little bit better at it.

In closing, I’d like to add that Randal Munroe posted this strip on the same day that I found out about the above, so I guess yesterday wasn’t a total loss from a “honesty in number representation matters” point of view ;)

Santa Wants YouEver notice that Santa is an anagram for Satan? If so, then please allow me to introduce you to a small collection of movies that will get you into the true spirit of Christmas.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but the common theme is a reinterpretation of the attributes traditionally assigned to “Father Christmas”.

And for me this is eerily reminiscent of the numerous Calvin & Hobbes strips of Calvin questioning the nature, underlying motives and legal authority of Santa Claus in arbitration a distinction between good and naughty.

The first film covers capture and training of a prime specimen:

The second short is a cautionary tale for prospective handlers (caution: might be too gruesome for small children):

If these two short films above tickle your fancy, you’ll be happy to know that they’ve turned the underlying ideas into a feature film:

And there is no way that I’m not going to see this as soon as the chance arises, preferably with a group of friends equally able to appreciate this sort of humour.

And as stated in the headline, my children will watch this as part of their formation. I hope it will give them a strong appreciation for the bravery and overall otherworldliness of the Finish people besides from teaching them the importance of sealing of the mantle piece during the holidays.

[Movies official site]

Daniel Radcliffe and Colin Farrell

The kind of awkward where a person is so sincerely enthusiastic about something that she cant help herself for being awesome in a way which leaves no doubt about her acting in anything but earnest by its near perfect mismatch with present company and context.

Best part for me is around 1m 14s where he gets thrown of by the clapping of the audience, and bursts out with “Shh, quiet!”. I take that reaction as a sign that he’s so focused on sharing the wonderfulness of Tom Lehrers magic that he’s become oblivious to everything else, his self declared nervousness included, than doing it justice in his performance.

So in brief: I’m impressed and thrilled by Mr. Radcliffe’s display of earnestness and courage in choosing to perform something he personally finds interesting over some guaranteed crowd pleaser aligned to the lowest common denominator.

Video brought to my attention via [myextralife.com]

Oh my $deity! Why wasn’t I informed about this? This literally changes everything!

Ever since I started writing this blog, I’ve become increasingly dependent on various digital Thesauri in order to spike my language towards new levels of insufferable self indulgence. And tonight my abuse led to the startling discovery that there exists something as wondrous as “Word Spectrums”. My first one revealed itself in the Thesaurus part of the Oxford dictionary that has been strapped on to the latest version OS X Snow Leopard.

There is the old platitude of images speaking louder than words, but seeing that this image is little more than a collection words, I’m a little uncertain of whether you then add the words in the image to a thousand, or if you need to calculate some sort of word per pixel density fraction and multiply that by a thousand?

Putting the trifles of the eternal word-image rivalry aside, I implore you note that the measuring unit, at least for this particular spectrum, is facetiousness. The discovery alone that facetiousness is used as a measuring unit by the most cunning linguists that Oxfords Press has to offer, clearly exposes that the Awesome Scale mankind has been adhering to until now, is alarmingly under developed.

I’m currently left in a state far too awestruck to even consider initiating the arduous contemplation on how the SI-system relates to facetiousness as a unit of measure.

Webcomic

Source: http://www.dotgif-comic.com/04/sliding-dissertation/

It’s hard not to admire the inconsiderate dedication to consistency and level of discipline displayed by the Germans in handling logistical tasks of overwhelming complexity. At least as long as one does not find oneself at the receiving end of their rigorously orchestrated efforts.
Take the new Berlin central railway station as an example. The dastardly Teutons practically succeeded in denying power hungry travelers access to AC power plugs in all of the 44,000 square meters of commercial space within the station. Thus demonstrating attention to detail at a level that ought to impress even the most compulsive obsessive among us

My search did not include the restricted VIP area, where I assume that electrical outlets are in ample supply, as I didn’t want to afford myself the price of admission or the company of the prospective co-inhabitants of a den based on such dubious aspirations.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind in the slightest, to pay a reasonable price for the privilege of being comfortably seated for a couple of hours, while my laptop suckles on of the AC outlets of my gracious hosts, preferably receiving coffee and/or edible items as part of the exchange. But in the case of Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the obvious amount of effort put into denying travelers in transit the opportunity to recharge their electrical equipment borders on the ridiculous.

Luckily the planners missed at least one spot, and I’m currently writing this at the Segafredo Coffe Shop on the ground floor near the Invalidenstrasse entrance, approximate coordinates: 52.525641, 13.368591.

I hope that this rant, besides from letting me indulge in my urge to lambast whoever masterminded this roguish approach to customer service, will serve as my small contribution to Googles grand scheme of making worthwhile human knowledge available to powerless travelers everywhere. And perhaps even serving as an example of knowledge → power in a sense slightly less abstract than the saying usually implies.

So a big thank you to this particular Segafredo outlet, I’ll be sure to stop by whenever I have time to kill at Berlin Hbf. And a big FU to Deutche Bahn or whoever is responsible for making Berlins main station so purposely transit traveller unfriendly.

And now that I’ve stooped to the level of juvenile abbreviations I might as well add that the building housing Berlin Hbf. will fail to impress, interest or even stir in the slightest, anyone who has had the profound pleasure of spending time at the modern marvel that is Kyōto Station <cue: Kanye West>.

Copyright 2008, Maya Bonde Haaland

Kyōto Station, a modern wonder of architectural grace and wonder, which makes the new Berlin Haubtbahnhof seem like a missed opportunity in comparison.

Kyōto Station, a modern marvel of architectural grace and wonder, makes Berlin Hauptbahnhof seem like a missed opportunity in comparison.

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course...

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course...

Make your love locomotive enter her tunnel on a full speed -‘Milton Cotton’

It is a pitiful squander of a talent that Mr. ´Milton Cotton` is wasting away as a e-mail spammer and not in devoted servitude of Muses Polyhymnia and Calliope.

Rather t seems that by his own dispositions he has involuntarily subjugated himself to the whims and scorns of the followers of Thalia

I found myself in need of a pronounceable but randomly generated string tonight, and decided to indulge myself with writing a single line of inconsequential Javascript that would output such a string when pasted into the address line of a webbrowser.

Which led to the following line of code, that only a blind mother could truly love.

Copy the the line to the address field of you browser or press this link to see the magic happening.

javascript:rc=function(c){return Math.floor(Math.random()*c)};do{for(s='',i=0;i&amp;lt;7;i++){s+='aeioubcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyz'.split('')[i%2?5+rc(19):rc(5)]};} while(!confirm('Suggestion: '+s+'\n'+'Decline for new suggestion'))

It’s been a few years since I last did any significant amount of Javascript programing, but I feel confident that the result of executing this script will be a dialogue that asks the user to suggest a string of 7 characters which alternate between vowels and consonants chosen at random.

The most fun part of writing this one-liner was making the string as short as possible. And I even stumbled upon a good use for the very under utilized do-while loop in the process.

I’m satisfied with the result, but I’d love to see examples that achieving the same functionality with an even shorter piece of code.

For good measure, I’d also like to provide a rewrite of the above which adheres more closely to my criteria for good source code:

function RandWordPass(){ /* class constructor */
/*	initialization
	Set up methods and variables. Use closure techniques to enforce
	object encapsulation.*/

	/****************************************/
	/* begin internal definitions (closures)*/
	/****************************************/
	var default_length = 7;

	/* helper method
	  returns random number from 0 to ceil-1 */
	var ceiled_rand_int = function(ceil){
		return Math.floor(Math.random()*ceil)
	}

	/* constant arrays of characters*/
	var vowels = 'aeiou'.split('');
	var consonants = 'bcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyz'.split('');

	/****************************************/
	/* end internal definitions (closures)*/
	/****************************************/

	/****************************************/
	/* begin method definitions */
	/****************************************/
	/*	function: generate(length)
		Generate a random string alternating
		between vowels and consonants
		Arguments:
			length: password length, optional
		Returns: String of requested length */
	this.generate = function(length){
		length= length||default_length; //falback to default value

		/*bind closures to method*/
		var rc = ceiled_rand_int;
		var c = consonants;
		var v = vowels;

		var s = '';
		for(var i=0;i&amp;lt;length;i++){
			if(i%2)
				s+=c[rc(c.length)]
			else
				s+=v[rc(v.length)]
		}
		return s;
	}
	/*	function: suggestions_box(length)
		Run a dialogue box that suggest passwords
		as long as the user keeps declining the dialogue.
		Arguments:
			length: password length, optional
		Returns: Does not return */
	this.suggestions_box = function(length){
		do{
			var s='Suggestion: ';
			s+=this.generate(length);
			s+=&amp;quot;\nDecline for new suggestion&amp;quot;
		}
		while(!confirm(s));
	}

	/****************************************/
	/* end method definitions */
	/****************************************/
}

Feel free to provide suggestions for improvements and/or point out obvious errors in the above, as an exchange on the art of writing Javascript which doesn’t leave dogs, children and pregnant women crying due to being such an incomprehensibly broken mess is a suitable pastime for Gentlemen Of Code to engage in.

[from PHD comics]

image

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About this blog

The name is inspired by the saying: "perfection is the bane of all good things".
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