## “Beauty walks a razor’s edge; someday I’ll make it mine.”

Dusting off the old blog? Not really, but I figured it was time for a post, even a minimal one.

Thanks to the marvelous WordPress plugin [Jetpack][1], I can now use [LaTeX][2] to typeset math [on my blog][3]. How does it look? Like this: $latex x^n + y^n = z^n$. Or this:

$latex \displaystyle\sum_{n = 1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6}.$

Pretty cool, no? [1]: http://jetpack.me/ [2]: http://www.latex-project.org/ [3]: http://en.support.wordpress.com/latex/
Posted in Fun, Geek, Math, Random | 4 Comments

## “I’ve got pi here, and I’ve got pi there; I’m pi-winning!”

Yes, that’s a Charlie Sheen reference which will almost certainly be lost on any future readers of this post. Oh well, such is life. And this post is not actually about Charlie Sheen; it’s about math! On [Pi Day][1] 2011, the ever ardent [Vi Hart][2] posted a video explaining why pi is wrong, and why we should all be using a new constant—tau, equal to two pi—instead. The argument, alluded to by Vi and elaborated on in [Michael Hartl][3]’s [Tau Manifesto][4], is surprisingly convincing, and it’s one which I—a math major who has yet to develop a good intuitive understanding of trigonometry—find rather interesting. Of course, pi has long been deeply entrenched in mathematics, and it seems unlikely that Pi Day will give way to the less mnemonic [Half Tau Day][5] any time soon; however, all change must begin somewhere, and that beginning cannot come until people understand what’s wrong with the current situation. Watch the video, read the manifesto, and decide for yourself. Continue reading
Posted in Fun, Geek, Math | 1 Comment

## Thus ends Introduction to New Media.

Well, I just finished up my final exam for [Prof. Macek][1]’s [Intro to New Media][2] class about half an hour ago. This term has been quite interesting—to say the least—and blogging has proven to be surprisingly fun (most of the time). I think I’ll continue blogging now and then, though my future blog posts will probably be more personal and/or technical, and less media-oriented. Anyway, I figured I should make note of the conclusion of my “new media” blogging. All good things must come to an end, and this end should always involve a Johnny Cash song. Enjoy: Peace out, y’all. π [1]: http://shmacek.faculty.noctrl.edu/ [2]: http://shmacek.faculty.noctrl.edu/Courses/IntroNewMedia/Newmedia.html

## Check out Ben Gura’s site.

Ben’s a student in the [Computer Science II][1] class I’m precepting this term, and he is also taking [Web development][2]. He was lamenting the fact that no one links to his site, and thus that it isn’t in Google. I offered to link to him from my blog that no one reads. π [Here you go.][3] P.S. I’ll have to talk to him about those JavaScript links…. [1]: http://gcmuganda.faculty.noctrl.edu/classes/Winter11/161/CSC161Winter11.htm [2]: http://scr.csc.noctrl.edu/courses/ifs115/index.htm [3]: http://bagura.students.noctrl.edu/portfolioWeb/index.html
Posted in Intro to New Media, Random, School | 1 Comment

## My final project for Intro to New Media

[One of my classmates][1] in Prof. Macek’s new media course requested I post a link to my final paper on my blog, so here you go: “[Captioning & accessible video on the Web][2]”. I was also asked about whether or not any progress had been made towards a useful, automatic captioning system based on speech recognition. I’m too sure about developments in this area, but I did find a short paper by Trmal, et al. describing [an automatic speech recognition–based system for captioning parliamentary meetings in the Czech Republic][3]. The system appears to be reasonably successful; however, the paper notes that captioning parliamentary sessions is, in some ways, unusually easy due to the carefully enforced rules of procedure which ensure that a speaker’s voice is generally unimpeded by the voices of others and by background noise. [1]: http://iinteractive.blogspot.com/ [2]: http://jdrascher.students.noctrl.edu/final.html [3]: http://www.kky.zcu.cz/en/publications/1/TrmalJan_2010_OnlineTVcaptioning.pdf
Posted in Intro to New Media, School, Web, Writing | 1 Comment

## Citizen protests… in North Korea?!

Man, I’ve really been neglecting this blog lately, and, in accordance with the First Rule of Blogging, I must go out of my way to point this out. π In my defense, the past week has been pretty hectic, with real analysis homework, a project due and a test to take in my operating systems class, and final preparation for the [ACCA][1] programming competition today. I’ll try and get back in the swing of things over the next week, but right now I just wanted to share a couple of news stories I was just reading about. More protests against abusive regimes have broken out, [this time in North Korea][2]. North Korean citizens have long suffered under the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il, and the Asian press is reporting that fear of Kim Jong-il’s son and potential successor, together with still worsening economic conditions, [may have sparked the protests][3]—the first of their kind in the secretive totalitarian state. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, these protests will have on the broader North Korean population. On one hand, many international relations scholars share the opinion of Chinese professor Liu Jiangyong, who feels that there is “not a big chance for North Korea” due to the extreme isolation of the country’s population. On the other hand, even small, sporadic protests represented a marked chance in the North Korean social atmosphere. Moreover, the Asia News Network [reports][4] that news of the Egyptian protests *has* reached some North Korean citizens through Chinese television broadcasts and clandestine phone calls. Making an already tense situation even tenser, South Korea has begun a “psychological campaign” of its own, [dropping leaflets][5] about the recent Egyptian democracy protests to its troubled northern neighbor. The North Korean government, in turn, has responded as it usually does: by [threatening military action][6] if the South continues its leaflet campaign. Such posturing on the part of the North is hardly new, of course, but it does reflect on how seriously the North fears any attempt to assail its official state worldview. The citizen protests of the past few days and the South’s attempt to inform North Koreans of similar dissent elsewhere face tremendous hurdles, but they also appear to have left the North Korean government slightly uneasy, and such efforts might play a decisive role in the eventual democratization of North Korea. [1]: http://acca.cuchicago.edu/ [2]: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/MB25Dg01.html [3]: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/First-public-protests-against-the-Kims%E2%80%99-regime-20861.html [4]: http://www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php?id=17592 [5]: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-25/south-korea-prods-north-by-dropping-leaflets-telling-of-mideast-protests.html [6]: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/27/us-korea-north-campaign-idUSTRE71Q0EO20110227
Posted in Intro to New Media, News, Politics | 5 Comments