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Daniel Hawes
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"The Kebra Nagast is Abyssinia’s most important indigenous Christian Wisdom Literature. It is often described as the account of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, their son Menelik, and how the Ark of the Covenant came to reside in Ethiopia. However, one would be tragically mistaken to consider it ‘just another religious story surrounding the famous encounter of Israel’s Wise-Man King and the Queen of the East’.
Instead, the Kebra Nagast must be seen first and foremost as an important ecclesiastical commentary and interpretation of the Christian Faith, as viewed through the spectacles of Ethiopia. Given Ethiopia’s unique history as an island of Christianity with roots dating back to the days of the Apostles, the text should be of singular interest to any person interested in Biblical scholarship.
Additionally, the Kebra Negast must be seen as a sort of spiritual manifesto of Ethiopians’ national identity, or Ethiopiannes. In particular, the Kebra Nagast functions to identify Ethiopians as the ordained ‘Keepers’ of the Biblical covenants between God and Man, and Ethiopiannes as being ‘in-keep’ of the covenants ordained by the God of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob. 
This identity is shared by Ethiopian Jews (Beta-Israel), Ethiopian Christians, and Ethiopian Moslems alike and is central to the ancient heritage of this fabled country."

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Just posted a little thought piece that came about through conversation with friends. Somewhat in relation to the Isla Vista shootings, but more as just a general note. Check it out, tell me what you think.

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Quant Quotes  Some words of wisdom from quantitatively minded people:

“There are 2 possible outcomes: If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.”
--Enrico Fermi 

"Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful."
--George Box & Norman Draper

"Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things."
--  Waldo Tobler

"Luck is probability taken personally."  
-- Chip Denman

“With a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is likely to happen."
--Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller

"There’s always a default. Choose your default, or your default will choose you."
--Andrew Gelman

"Visualization can surprise you, but it doesn’t scale well. Modelling scales well, but it can’t surprise you."
--Hadley Wickham

"He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense."
--John McCarthy 

"I had the most remarkable experience this evening. While coming in here I saw license plate ANZ 912. Calculate for me, please, the odds that of all the license plates in the state of Washington I should happen to see ANZ 912."
--Richard Feynman

"Mathematical conventions are just that, conventions. They differ by field of mathematics. Don't ask us why matrix rows are numbered down but graphs are numbered up the y axis, nor why x comes before y but row before column. But the matrix layout has always seemed illogical to me." 
-- Brian D. Ripley (answering a question why print(x) and image(x) are layout'ed differently)

"At the heart of quantitative reasoning is a single question: Compared to what?"
--Edward Tufte

#R   #Statistics

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I'm trying to make up my mind on whether this is useful, or a recipe for frustration. (Note: I mean this particular way of collaborative LaTeX editing, not LaTeX itself). Has anybody here tried this before? Any thoughts?

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Python for Kids
A Playful Introduction to Programming

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Great paper. Great summary. 
"While it's profoundly difficult predicting the developmental trajectory of any single individual, this research suggests we can influence the odds that people will retreat within themselves or unleash the fundamentally human drive to explore and create."

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Another 10 bets you will always win
Check out the first 10 bets at:

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I live at the Jersey Shore. Did you see Brian Williams of NBC reporting from the hardest-hit area? That's where I live. The area has been devastated. Entire towns were destroyed. There are mile-long lines for gasoline at the few stations that have any. I'm hearing a lot of people in other parts of the country complaining that people shouldn't “politicize” this natural disaster, and I have one thing to say to them:

Shut up.

Just shut the hell up. There's an election next week, and this is politics. Now is exactly the right time to point out that we have one candidate who wants to eliminate or cut FEMA (it depends on which day you ask him), who thinks the states should handle this stuff themselves, who thinks disaster relief should be a for-profit enterprise. One candidate who said that it is “immoral” to borrow money to help disaster victims. One candidate whose idea of “small government” is to leave people to fend for themselves.

Mitt Romney staged a photo op pretending to collect canned goods to send to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. His staff spent a few grand at Walmart and handed out cans for people to be photographed handing back, and he got his picture taken picking up boxes of stuff. What a jackass.

Remember when Paul Ryan got his picture taken pretending to volunteer at a homeless shelter? At least the thing he was pretending to do would be good if other people actually did it. The Red Cross neither needs nor wants your canned goods. All that does is create a logistical problem to transport the items. They don't accept that kind of donation because it doesn't help.

More to the point, we don't need your canned goods. Canned goods? Really? Do you think we don't have grocery stores out here? We have more canned goods than we could ever possibly need. How clueless can you be and still be seen as a viable candidate for president?

What we need is power. We need the lines and transformers and substations fixed. We need a more resilient infrastructure. And we need gasoline, very badly – but fixing the power will take care of that, too.

Mitt Romney thinks the states should take care of all of this themselves. He thinks New York City should be pumping out its own subway tunnels. He thinks the president shouldn't have brought FEMA to New Jersey with him, or sent those Navy ships to land the helicopters on. He thinks the power companies whose services go out every time it rains need less regulation. He thinks the market should be left to deal with the cleanup. He compared it with his experience cleaning up a school football field after a celebration. And he thinks what we really need is some canned soup.

Heckuvajob Brownie – remember him, from Katrina? – said the president responded to Hurricane Sandy too quickly. That's the Republican philosophy in action. Need to rebuild your home? Borrow money from your parents!

Meanwhile, Romney ignores questions from reporters about his intentions for FEMA. His party insists that disaster relief funding requires offsets. And now they're attacking our Republican governor, Chris Christie, for doing his job and working with the president to help the people of his state, rather than adhering to the Republican religion. We're all very grateful that Gov. Christie doesn't adhere to that religion.

But Mitt Romney does, and Paul Ryan does, and the party in general does. No state has the resources to deal with this kind of thing, and privatizing it would be despicable. We live in a society; let's act like it. Let's elect people who act like it. Not people who stage photo ops pretending to do things that won't help anyway.

Meanwhile, if you want to help, we don't need your old clothes or your dusty cans of cream of mushroom soup. Text “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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