Mad Libs and Python

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. As I have written previously, I intentionally scaled back on my blogging. I didn’t want to scale back to the point that I have not written a post since July. But my life has been busy lately, a topic that may be the subject of a future post (for those who care about what goes on in my life). Continue reading


Math: Still Not Everywhere

It’s been a while since I shared something on this site (I’ve been studying for the past month for two qualifying exams, and that consumed all my time). Here I share an excellent article that introduced me to the idea of the “mathematical elite” as a real, socially relevant, and powerful (politically and otherwise) group.

While you’re there, check out the work of Cathy O’Neil (mathbabe). I ready Weapons of Math Destruction in a day during the spring and found it eye-opening and enthralling. I think anyone who works in quantitatively intense subjects should read that book.


This is a guest post by Michael J. Barany, a postdoc in History at Dartmouth.

One year ago, I wrote a post for the Scientific American Guest Blog arguing against the widespread truism that mathematics is everywhere. The post laid out the history of mathematics as a special and exclusive kind of knowledge wielded by privileged elites. I claimed that the idea that math is everywhere not only gets the history wrong, but also misrepresents how mathematics matters most in most people’s lives, and may be a misguided premise on which to build a more inclusive and responsible discipline. If we start by recognizing the bias and exclusion that affect who gets to use advanced mathematics to intervene in the world, we might get better at responding to those biases while empowering the vast majority in the mathematical non-elite to hold the mathematical elite accountable for the great power

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Let’s Create Our Own Cryptocurrency

Today I’m sharing my favorite blog post of the week, written by a blogger with username cranklin.

Have whatever opinion you want about crypto-currencies, Bitcoin, and so on, but many in the business world take blockchain technology very seriously. (I read about it regularly in The Economist, and a new book by David Birch entitled Before Bablyon, Beyond Bitcoin, imagines a new crypto-currency world order with money entering a new evolutionary state, with everything from governments to community churches issuing their own coins; the book is on my reading list.) Perhaps the best (and most-fun) way to lean about the technology is to create your own crypto-currency. Then share it with your friends and family because why not.

Perhaps at some point in the future I will create my own coin and write about it as well. If I do, I will be using this post as a reference.

I’ve been itching to build my own cryptocurrency… and I shall give it an unoriginal & narcissistic name: Cranky Coin.

After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to use Python. GIL thread concurrency is sufficient. Mining might suffer, but can be replaced with a C mining module. Most importantly, code will be easier to read for open source contributors and will be heavily unit tested. Using frozen pip dependencies, virtualenv, and vagrant or docker, we can fire this up fairly easily under any operating system.

I decided to make Cranky coin a VERY simple, but complete cryptocurrency/blockchain/wallet system. This implementation will not include smart contracts, transaction rewards, nor utilize Merkel trees. Its only purpose is to act as a decentralized ledger. It is rudimentary, but I will eventually fork a few experimental blockchains with advanced features from this one.

The Wallet
This currency will only be compatible with…

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Downloading S&P 500 Stock Data from Google/Quandl with R (Command Line Script)

DISCLAIMER: Any losses incurred based on the content of this post are the responsibility of the trader, not me. I, the author, neither take responsibility for the conduct of others nor offer any guarantees. None of this should be considered as financial advice; the content of this article is only for educational/entertainment purposes.

While most Americans have heard of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), most people active in finance consider the S&P 500 stock index to be the better barometer of the overall American stock market. The 500 stocks included in the index are large-cap stocks seen as a leading indicator for the performance of stocks overall. Thus the S&P 500 and its component stocks are sometimes treated as “the market.”

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Looking For America (Part 2 of 5): A vision of America — A View From The Middle (Class)

My Dad’s next blog post in his series. Take a read!

My vision of what America is and should be all about was formed in my childhood years. I’d go to school and we’d stand in the classroom, face an American flag, put our hands over our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We’d have pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln framed and hanging […]

via Looking For America (Part 2 of 5): A vision of America — A View From The Middle (Class)

Looking For America (Part 1 of 5): It’s getting … tiresome — A View From The Middle (Class)

My dad has written some nice blog posts about the state of American politics and culture this week. Have a read! Here’s the first part.

I’m tired. This grand American experiment is 241 years young now. It’s been quite a struggle to build it up, right from the beginning. Wars have been fought to buy and hold on to a nation’s independence, to make men and women free no matter the color of their skin, to look upon each other […]

via Looking For America (Part 1 of 5): It’s getting … tiresome — A View From The Middle (Class)