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Daniel Yokomizo
Lives in São Paulo, Brazil
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Daniel Yokomizo

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One sometimes hears political activists complain of "suspiciously convenient timing" when media coverage of an important and controversial event related to their cause is drowned out by some unrelated news event dominating the headlines.  For instance, in domestic US politics, there were suspicions raised recently in some quarters that the various votes to give fast-track authority to the US president to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement were deliberately timed to coincide with other headline-grabbing events, such as the multiple shootings in Charleston, or the recent significant Supreme Court decisions on the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality.

But actually, the laws of probability predict such "convenient" coincidences to occur with a surprisingly high frequency, even in the absence of any conspiracy to co-ordinate timing (for reasons similar to those behind the birthday paradox, linked below).  To oversimplify things slightly, if

* a controversial event that the authorities would prefer not to draw attention to occurs every X days on average; and

* a spectacular event dominating the headlines occurs every Y days on average;

then just from random chance, we would have

* a coincidence in which a controversial event conveniently occurs on the same day as a spectacular event will occur every XY days on average.

The frequency of such coincidences also rapidly increases if one widens the window defining such a coincidence, for instance

* a controversial event will occur within a day of a spectacular event every XY/3 days on average;

* a controversial event will occur on the same week of a spectacular event every XY/7 days on average;

and so forth.

For instance, in this month of June in domestic US media, "controversial" events included two votes for TPP and one vote to reauthorise the Patriot act, while "spectacular" events included the Charleston shooting, two major Supreme Court decisions, a celebrity very publicly becoming transgender, and an extensively covered prison break, among others.  This suggests values of X and Y comparable to 10 and 5 respectively,  so that same-day coincidences should be expected about once every two months, and within-a-day coincidences once every two to three weeks.  This is admittedly a very back-of-the-envelope calculation involving a fairly short time interval of analysis and a rather subjective interpretation of what is "controversial" or "spectacular", but I expect these numbers to be of about the right order of magnitude.

One could in principle try to set up a more careful test to see if there is a statistically significant correlation between the timing of "controversial" and "spectacular" events, though given human nature I would expect that a negative result for such a test would do little to change the minds of someone who sees such a coincidence and is convinced that it is not purely due to chance.

EDIT: the same analysis suggests that a day with two or more spectacular events should occur about once every 2Y^2 days, on the average.  It seems that today could be one of these days, at least as far as the US media is concerned.
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In summary, if Americans stop shooting people, they'll have more time to focus on important issues about freedom, quality of life and their own future. Quite surprising. 
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Great visualization on global warming.
Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise
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China, Russia and India, Brazil will do nothing about it.
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Minimalist shelter-like housing.
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"CH2O is the PhD project of Robbert Krebbers and has as its goal a formal version of the ISO standard of the C programming language. A problem with this is that the C standard is fundamentally inconsistent."
abstract: CH2O is the PhD project of Robbert Krebbers and has as its goal a formal version of the ISO standard of the C programming language. A problem with this is that the C standard is fundamentally inconsistent. There are three versions of the CH2O semantics: a (small step) operational semantics, an executable semantics, and …
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One often hears of the states of the USA described as "laboratories". I did not know the source of this wonderful description; perhaps unsurprisingly, it is Louis Brandeis. Here's the original document. (It's quite a thing, too, re. Oklahoma and the manufacture of ice, with footnotes like “So far as appears, no natural ice is harvested in the state for commercial purposes”; Brandeis in dissent.) The quote:

«To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.»
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"SOLVED BY CALCULUS!"
Zeno of Elea was an ancient philosopher who came with dozens of paradox, which proved such things as "motion is impossible" and "motion is impossible". A lot of people think calculus solves some or all of the paradoxes, but it doesn't. It just gives us the tools to better describe the paradoxes ...
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Social progress happens when people realize the thing they thought would destroy civilization merely became another box on a census form.
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The question is of course ill-defined, since “largest”, “possible”, “inhabitable” and “world” are slippery terms. But let us aim at something with maximal surface area that can be inhabited by at least terrestrial-style organic life of human size and is allowed by the known laws of physics.
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Declare Your Language. A book about declarative language definition with the Spoofax Language Workbench. View on GitHub Download .zip Download .tar.gz. This is a book (in progress) about declarative language definition with the Spoofax Language Workbench. The aim of Spoofax is to separate the ...
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+Felipe Lessa ​it's about how mixing actual paint is a PITA and usually fails to deliver the theoretical color wheel due to assorted reasons (e.g. chemical reactions between pigment). It's possible to get green but a first attempt usually is grey or brown.
This article explains why it's not as easy as we naively expect http://static.sewanee.edu/chem/Chem&Art/Detail_Pages/Projects_2004/Maehara/index.html
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It appears that +SourceForge took over the control of the 'GIMP for Windows' account and is now distributing an ads-enabled installer of GIMP. They also locked out original owner of the account, Jernej Simončič, who has been building the Windows versions of GIMP for our project for years.

So far they haven't replied to provide explanations. Therefore, we remind you again that GIMP only provides builds for WIndows via its official Downloads page.
Source for version 2.8 (Stable). GIMP releases available from gimp.org and its mirrors contain the source code and have to be compiled in order to be installed on your system. For instructions, how to build GIMP from source code, please see this page.
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Have him in circles
321 people
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