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Dan Schmidt
Works at Disney Research
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lived in Newton, MA
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Dan Schmidt

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"Dickens worked at his names: he tried out Martin Sweezleden, Sweezleback, Sweezlewag, Chuzzletoe, Chuzzleboy, Chubblewig, and Chuzzlewig, before ending up with Martin Chuzzlewit." http://david-crystal.blogspot.com/2012/06/on-language-in-dickens-3-names.html
The third theme in my talk on Dickens at the Hay Festival was the way he uses puns and sound symbolism in naming characters. It's a familiar point, immediately recognized in Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas...
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Dan Schmidt

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The microwave dilemma

Imagine that you have just put some food into your microwave and set it to heat for one minute. After fifty seconds you walk up to the microwave and glance inside; it looks like your food is ready. Do you:

1. Turn off the microwave immediately and retrieve your food, thus proving that you are incredibly impatient and are incapable of chilling out and waiting for even ten measly seconds; or

2. Wait for the timer to finish, thus proving that you are so at the mercy of external rules that you are willing to stand around for no reason even though your food is perfectly hot just because the timer claims it has ten seconds left to run?

This is the microwave dilemma.
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I watched most of yesterday's World Series of Poker final table broadcast on ESPN2 with varying amounts of attention and was pleasantly surprised. Showing the hole cards at the end of each hand is so much better than the usual practice of showing them during the hand that I can't believe that everyone doesn't do it. For one thing, it gives the commentators something to do other than say "He's a 29% dog" or crack jokes. The commentary was pretty good, e.g., minimal Norman Chad (I couldn't remember his name just now and found it by googling "annoying poker commentator"). Antonio Esfandiari was quite good and even Phil Hellmuth's spots were acceptable. It was more compelling than I would have predicted; the fact that every hand started with the possibility of someone busting out probably helped.

There are now three players left and they finish it off starting at 9PM Eastern on Tuesday.
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I like a lot of modern music but it is hard for me to imagine that Brian Ferneyhough is doing anything but having a colossal joke at the expense of contemporary-music pianists here.
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+Christos Dimitrakakis  >seems like the output of an automatic transcription algorithm that not only could not figure out the measure

And what algorithm/program would that have been...in 1981???
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Dan Schmidt

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Hey everybody (sorry, I haven't been maintaining my Boston-only circle), we (Honest Bob and the Factory-To-Dealer Incentives) are playing again this FRIDAY at the lovely (okay, not really) CANTAB in CAMBRIDGE with a bunch of other great bands from HARMONIX.

9pm: Parachuter
10pm: Honest Bob
11pm: Father Octopus
12am: Giant Target

Downstairs at the Cantab
738 Mass Ave
21+, $5

I will see YOU there.
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The world is a very small place.
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Wow. I had never heard of Donnie Iris before this Metafilter question (http://ask.metafilter.com/192763/help-me-find-this-vaguely-described-classic-rock-song), but every single thing about this song and video captures 1983 so perfectly that it almost seems like a parody. If you're wondering what it was like to watch MTV in the 1980s, this pretty much sums it up.
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Ah, the 80s, when even the band's accountant could become a star.
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Dan Schmidt

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You all know that you only need 23 people in a room for there to be a greater than one-half probability that two of them share a birthday.

But how many people do you need for there to be a greater than one-half probability that every single day of the year is the birthday of someone in the room? Exact answers please, no simulations!

(Assume of course that there are exactly 365 days in a year.)
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2287 is correct, nice! There's actually a fairly nice equation for it if you are familiar with Stirling numbers (which I wasn't): discussion at http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/26772/birthday-coverage-problem. Juhana's 2365 shows up in the comments too.

I just brute-forced it by writing a little inductive Python program that computes the probability distribution of how many days a population of N covers (working forward from 0 people covering 0 days) and seeing when the probability of covering 365 days passes 1/2.
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My list of canonical "I know there's an h in there somewhere" misspellings, in alphabetical order: bahn mi, Ghandi, Kaaaaaahn!, Stendahl, woah. You'd think Bhuddism would be in here, but for some reason I rarely see it.
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rhythm.
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Man, this visualization bothers me.

We're clearly seeing how often various kinds of pitches are thrown compared to each other, but what visual element is proportional to the number of pitches of that type?

Is it the radius of the circle? Lots of graph-makers make that mistake, and this guy has already made it multiple times with other graphs (maybe I'll bring them up later).

Is it the area of the circle (proportional to the radius squared)? That's usually what these things should mean, although I generally dislike denoting values with circle sizes because they're harder to compare visually (it's trivial to see that a bar is exactly twice the size of another one, but it's hard to see that a circle is exactly twice the size of another one), plus I never know whether to trust that the designer wants me to measure in 2D vs 1D.

But wait, that's not all! The circles are shaded to look like spheres! So maybe I should be comparing based on the radius cubed!

The sad thing is that I know that this designer is a big Tufte fan.
News, analysis and opinion from the fan perspective.
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And we don't even know if that "fourth" is accurate! The slider fraction appears to be about 1/4 if we go by radii and 1/6 if we go by areas. So does this prove that the graph is supposed to be 1D? Or is the graph supposed to be area-based and the writer was bad at estimating areas? Or does the writer actually have access to the original stats and we shouldn't take the statement as providing any information about the graph? I honestly have no idea.
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Dan Schmidt

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What object have you owned for the longest time? What object have you owned for the longest time that you still use (as opposed to being a keepsake)?

For me the answers to both questions is the same: a magnetic chess set I've had since I was 5 or so. I'm not sure I could point to anything else from before age 10, even books (I've repurchased a few).
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The white quilted blanket on our sofa was made by my great-aunt who died no later than 1981 or so, so it's at least that old.
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Since it is possible that at least one person could be impressed by my amazing Carcassonne skills:
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Wow, you out warlocked the Warlock. That guy is a prick.
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My latest linguistic peeve: people saying "over-under" when they mean "odds".
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People
Have him in circles
296 people
Nick P (TheHakku)'s profile photo
Royce Odle's profile photo
Phill Hunt's profile photo
kaillany miranda's profile photo
Grant Murray's profile photo
Caleb Epps's profile photo
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Chris Foster's profile photo
Root Shell's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Senior software engineer
Employment
  • Disney Research
    Senior software engineer, 2014 - present
  • Harmonix Music Systems
    Senior software developer, 1996 - 2013
  • Looking Glass Studios
    Programmer, game designer, project director, 1991 - 1996
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Newton, MA - Cambridge, MA - Somerville, MA - Boston, MA
Story
Introduction
Used to make video games (Looking Glass Studios, Harmonix Music Systems), now doing research in mathematical optimization and inference. Frontman (vocals, guitar) for Honest Bob & the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives.

Bragging rights
Guitar Hero, Rock Band
Education
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    S.B., 1987 - 1991
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
dfan