Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Coffee Club Card

So, my campus coffee shop has a card. When you buy a coffee, you get a punch. After ten punches, you get a free coffee. So, at the outset when you are about to buy that first coffee, you have a funny supply curve that you face. The price line is at the price of coffee for the first ten, but then it goes down to zero for the eleventh, then the price for the next ten, and so on. This isn't very interesting... just something I was thinking about as I drank my coffee today.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Battle of the Pundit Fans

Ok, so what is it with political pundits and having catchy phrases and names for their fans. Like, Limbaugh has always had his "ditto-heads" (which is a terrible name) and fans of Sean Hannity have been "hannitized" (also terrible...). So, anyway, I thought that perhaps only conservative pundits got to name their fans, until I saw that fans of Paul Krugman call themselves "Krugmaniacs" (not as many possible negative interpretations, but still silly...). So here is my idea. We rent out a steel cage match from the WWF folks for the pundits on a pay per view special. We warm up with the most vocal members of each sect battling one another in a royal rumble style. This would make millions!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

My Excuse For Being Rude

Ok, so we had lunch with Dr. McCloskey with the econ club Thursday. She was a great speaker with some very interesting points about economics and economists. This isn't why I'm writing, however. I'm writing because I have found a serious flaw in my personality.

I get to the table with my food and she has already sat down. I realize that I don't have a soda, so I put my food down, talk a second, then excuse myself to get one. On the way there, I realize that she didn't have a soda either. So now I have a problem. I SHOULD have asked if she would like one. This makes me look like a thoughtful and polite person. But I didn't.
Why didn't I?

I assumed that if she wanted a soda, she would have gotten one for herself.

They were free afterall. It didn't occur to me until I was pouring mine that the machine was kind of out of the way and I had been here before, so I knew where to get the drinks. Anyway, I felt stupid, and I couldn't very well go ahead and get her one, because I didn't know what she wanted. So... I suck.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Ah, Beer!

Why is it that light beer has taken over the US beer market? I didn't see ANY light beers while in London (3 months) or in Austria (1 month). And, they drank a hell of a lot more of it. Then, I was watching a rerun of Cheers from back in the eighties in which two guys came in and ordered light beers. They were made fun of for ordering such unmanly beer. What happened!?! Why did beer turn in to grass water? Can this shift in taste be reversed?

In comes the modern microbrewery. Micros seem to be picking up more and more of a market. Here in Indiana, Upland Brewery has seen robust growth. There are similar stories elsewhere. I certainly hope a Starbucks sort of thing happens with beer... I would love to be able to get a pint of oatmeal stout at every Applebees... or really, just a beer than isn't served frozen solid would be nice.

In beer news... all of my homebrew is officially gone. The last batch was an intense IPA/IIPA/Strong Ale. We never got the official alchohol content, but it had to top 8%. Took us a while to finish all five gallons off, needless to say.

Also, I had a second bottle of Stone Ruination. Whoah. That is a hoppy freakin' brew. I still think ours was hoppier, but not as balanced. Good stuff. I Love Beer!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Well, this sucks...

So... I didn't get my Perkins loan this year, thinking that I would need to have room under the cap for next year (since I will need to stay on another year to get more math before grad school). I just hope that I can still get some Perkins next year. You know, it is certainly understandable that my family, which makes about $18,000 a year, should get a funding cut. I just hope this doesn't go through, or else there's still some funding... something.

Dr. Deirdre McCloskey

Well, it looks like we will have a famous economist coming to little BSU next week! Dr. McCloskey will come to speak for two days and the econ club has been given the chance to have lunch with her. Should be a good experience... if I can just get some more people to attend!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Google Scholar

I don't know if anybody has used this, but Google Scholar is the best thing ever. Ok... not better than oatmeal stout or IPA... but it kicks sliced bread's ass. Check it out.

Also, Discrete Systems is my biatch. I tore it up on the last test, 99% A+. Proof by induction, logic, stuff like that. Puzzle:

Let S(n) = Sqrt[2 + Sqrt[S(n-1)]], with S(0) = Sqrt[2]. Show that this screwy thing is increasing. I think I got it.

Idea: Ebay buyer model with price search ala Sargent's Dynamic Macro. I got it written down, but it doesn't look like anything special.

I feel cocky today.

Something I learned today: the definition of a metric space. Is an encyclopedia of cool math stuff.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chris Silvey

The econ blog world is much poorer today. If you are ever in North Central Indiana (which will make Ithica look like paradise, I'm sure), I will buy you a round of Arrogant Bastard.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Math Kills

Math has claimed another victim. Jacqueline from Budding Economist has decided against econ because of all of the math. Her blog should still be interesting when I want to argue for a tax on missiles or something of that sort.

Also, I hereby declare that, if I get in to grad school, I will not take Super Smash Brothers with me. That game lies. It says, "I won't take up too much time. Really I won't. Just one game... five minutes at most." Three hours later my fingers are raw and I still haven't finished my PDE homework. This is why I am writing so late (12:37 AM my time).

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A (Non-Mathematical) Model For Information Flow

Imagine you have a cylinder of fluid. You drop a sugar cube in to it. How quickly does the liquid become well mixed? Can you find equations for the composition of the fluid at any point (x,y,z) in the cylinder at any time t? Does this work as a model for how new information flows through society? Or am I just making things up. My thinking:
Imagine that the sugar is a new invention.
The inventor tells somebody about it. The neighborhood about the inventor (the sugar's initial placement) becomes well mixed. Then the second group of people spread the word... and the neighborhood about them becomes well mixed. And so on... this would be a rather dense fluid that we've dropped the cube into... just word of mouth... would take a long time for the entire cylinder to become well mixed... possibly not at all. But what if the inventor had access to cable news? Then things get well mixed very quickly. Like dropping the sugar into water or something with a catalyst or something. I don't have the physical details down very well.

Also, I hate the symbol xi (this thing: ΞΎ). I absolutely hate the damned thing. How do you draw it? I just scribble a bunch and apologize... or replace it with an actual FREAKING letter.

Also, Chris Silvey's site has gotten me addicted to Brad Delong's site. Now I have to check another page at least once a day. I feel like I should drop one so that the addition is online-time neutral. But I can't. Damn it.

Maxwell's Equations

So... I'm taking Partial Diff Eqs, but I haven't had Calc 3 yet, so I'm not extremely comfortable with some of the operations. I am supposed to show that each component of the electric and magnetic fields in Maxwell's Equations solves the wave equation. I have no idea how to do this. Anybody have a clue?