von stein

miscellany

Apr 22

Apr 20

Fitting an elephant

A general goal of modeling and statistics (or perhaps, even, science more generally) is to find an equation or set of parameters that fits one’s data.

As reported by Enrico Fermi, von Neumann once quipped, “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.”

And lo, it was done: Drawing an Elephant with Four Complex Parameters


Apr 19

I like ellipses and question marks far too much.




(via clevermanka)


Apr 17


“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Col. Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of 20 adobe houses built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”



Apr 15

Apr 11

When I was a child, it was believed that animals became extinct because they were too specialized. My father used to tell us about the saber-tooth tiger’s teeth — how they got too big and the tiger couldn’t eat because he couldn’t take game anymore. And I remember my father saying, with my brother sitting there, ‘I wonder what it will be with the human beings that will be so overspecialized that they’ll kill themselves off?’

My father never found out that my brother was working on the bomb.

Richard Feynman’s sister, Joan (via historical-nonfiction)

Well, then.

(via jtotheizzoe)

*tugs at collar awkwardly*

(via clarabeau)


Apr 10

Apr 7
pourmecoffee:


Fuck the King.

pourmecoffee:

Fuck the King.


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