Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Archive for June 2011

Practical Problem Solving

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I frequently read announcements or descriptions for software that sound interesting, except that I have no real reason to use them.  When I do find a reason to use one, it has often been so long that I have only a vague recollection of the item in question.  In the most recent such case, I found myself with a set of inequalities for which I wanted sample solutions.  I seem to remember something called a “master system” that could solve problems, but perhaps not that particular kind of problem.  However, that phrase is particularly resistant to searching, so I completely failed to find the page in question.

Fortunately, I managed to find a few other relevant items with a slightly different search.  The documentation for Minion and the python-constraint module each seemed to be exactly what I wanted.  In fact, each could easily solve a small-scale version of my problem, within a second or two.  However, each would spend more than a day on the full-scale problem without any apparent progress toward a solution.

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Written by eswald

27 Jun 2011 at 10:28 pm

Posted in Technology

Analyzing the Pairwise Matrix

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In the course of researching various voting methods, I came across a note that there are 720 unique orderings for pairwise defeats among four candidates, accounting for symmetry.  I have also noticed that Wikipedia’s convenient summary table of criteria met by various methods contains several unsupported claims, including at least one which has been questioned on the discussion page of another article.

I, for some crazy reason, have become interested enough to attempt to analyze as many situations as I conveniently can.  This may possibly provide objective research for the issues at hand, but is in large part just an itch to scratch.

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Written by eswald

17 Jun 2011 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Politics

Note to Self

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Do not lean inflatable items against outside walls to let them dry.

The wind is strong, and the roses are unforgiving.

Written by eswald

10 Jun 2011 at 11:56 am

Posted in Lifestyle

Obviously Correct

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I’ve been running across something of a theme lately. There’s something of an engineering principle that cuts across disciplines, into many aspects of life. As with much of engineering, it involves a trade-off, and can be tricky to pull off.

Dutch road designs call for design to be obvious so that correct, safe behaviour becomes the way that people will naturally drive.
David Hembrow

In a well-designed system, simple things should be simple, and the “obvious easy” way to do simple common tasks should be the correct way.
David A. Wheeler

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Written by eswald

7 Jun 2011 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Cycling, Technology