One of the first things a traveller notices when going to Costa Rica is that almost every town or city is named after a Saint. Growing up in Costa Rica, I just assumed this was something true of all Latin American countries, a legacy of Spanish colonial times. California has San Jose, San Fransisco, etc. I thought it was like that from California to Argentina.
After some travelling in Latin America I realised this was simply not true.
Graphs to accompany my poster presentation.
The data set The generated data is plotted below: Metropolis Hastings Algorithm This visual explanation of the Metropolis Hastings algorithm shows the proposal and the true density along with the Metropolis Hastings step. It was inspired and adapted from code by Balazs Torok.
Diagnostic Plots for Beta 2 via Gibbs Sampler Autocorrelation Plot The autocorrelations are negligable, suggesting good mixing.
Running Means Plot The running means have settled.
Three chain trace plot All three chains seem to be in the same place.
Oscar Wilde once wrote:
“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”
I bought a bus ticket from London to Rotterdam. I did this in order to save what effectively amounts to the price of a handful of beers in London prices. I needed to get to Budapest, and I already had a flight leaving from Rotterdam booked. I spent 8 excruciating hours on a bus from London Victoria to Rotterdam Centraal, to in Rotterdam at 5 am in a cold winter morning.
This week I had an interesting conversation (as interesting as these conversations can get) about the use of spreadsheets in business. I am still a little bit surprised by how often they are used for things they are not really good for. Now, I don’t want to write about how there are better alternatives to spreadsheets. Instead, I’d like to illustrate how powerful non-spreadsheet tools are by describing a task I completed this week using R.
It is a truism that we live in the information age, yet on a day to day basis we engage remarkably little with insights on the personal information we create. Sure, Netflix shows you films you want to see, Amazon offers books you want to buy and Facebook shows you pictures of cats with boobs or whatever it is you tend to click on, but explicit purpose of that is to get your money. What about using all that data to gain insights on who you are, who your friends are, what you tend to talk about?
Aviacion de Cubana There was no toilet paper on the Russian-made Antonov 158 plane which took me and 15 other passengers to Havana. The Cuban state airline, Cubana de Aviacion, clearly does not need have to meet profitability targets. Even the dry sandwich they served tasted of an iron curtain.
Not unlike the other living political museum of China, immigration and customs is relatively straightforward. If you had to guess the political system of a country based on the border control procedures you’d probably guess the United States is authoritarian.
The books I finished reading recently that I thought might be interesting to comment upon were Steven Pinker’s The better Angels of Our Nature, Mo Yan’s Big Breast’s and Wide Hips, Kapuscinski’s The Shadow of the Sun, Robert Mazur’s Infiltrator and David Maurer’s Big Con . Steven Pinker, a psychologist at Harvard, wrote a (way too long) book to argue the world is becoming less, not more violent. What about ISIS, Ukraine, gang warfare and mass shootings?
Prediction markets have the Republican nomination for President of the USA going to billionaire reality TV host and megalomaniac Donald Trump. On the other side of the aisle, self-described socialist Sanders is making Hillary Clinton’s campaign sweat. This isn’t “politics as usual” for anyone except the writers of The Simpsons. According to the party decides theory (or at least my interpretation of Nate Silver’s interpretation) the party, as a loose coalition of opinion forming individuals, can heavily weigh in on who gets nominated.
A few books I recently finished reading are Ben Bernanke’s Courage to act, Dr Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting, Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, an unofficial biography on George Soros, and collection of druggie short stories titled Acid House by Irvine Welsh. I do not expect to do justice to the arguments in the books (read a real book review if you want that), I’m just sharing the lessons I learned from them as a little exercise.