Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a collection of humorous things

Did you know NASA allowed the public to vote on the name of the new living quarters in the International Space Station, which prompted Stephen Colbert to beg people to vote for him, and he won easily? NASA says they need to think about this (they have veto power), which causes a US Congressman to declare "the people have spoken."

Also, there's a website with a magic box that can tell the gender of the author of a 500 word inputed text. but it thinks I'm a man. thanks to Ron Young for this.

I'm off to supernationals tomorrow. 318 is playing in the k-8, k-6, k-12 under 1600, k-9 under 1250, k-8 under 1000, and k-8 under 750. my goal is 50%. :)

Saturday is World Pillow Fight Day. (probably better not to tell the kids?!)


Anonymous said...

What does 50% mean? Winning half of the sections 318 is entered in?

ATH2044 said...

"...a magic box that can tell the gender of the author of a 500 word inputed text. but it thinks I'm a man."
First of all, Liz, I'm not surprised & you should take that as a compliment.
Secondly flipping a coin should have a 50% chance of being right, so that's not saying much. (I prefer the obsolete Austrian Schilling for this exercise since one side features a lovely pair of criss-crossed flowers while the other side sports [You guessed it.] an enormous phallic number one)! You can decide which side is heads & which is tails. (Or maybe you could flip for it.)
& of course third, there doesn't seem to be much magic in that box.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, the algorithm wrongly decided that I'm female, although by a narrow margin (Female Score: 973, Male Score: 951).

I have a hunch that the more skilled the writer one is, the less likely one is to be predictable by the algorithm.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

ATH2044 -- on one level I find that compliment totally offensive. (on the other, *much smaller* level, thanks!)

I didn't really look at the key words all that carefully, but I would imagine it's about either forcefulness or talking about things rather than people or excessive use of adjectives. or use of the exclamation point, which I think I mentioned a few years back, (remember Ron?) *always* sounds very girly to me.

yeah, by 50% I had meant winning half the sections. think that's obnoxious/ napoleonic / totally from outer space? I don't really expect to win three. I think I expect to win like, 1.8. Three is just my goal. Maybe it also seems obnoxious to expect to win 1.8 sections(?), but the kids seem as good as in previous years when they've done so. but i guess there is no reason that everything shouldn't suddenly change.

phishcake5 said...

I went to the thrift store but all the best pillow-fighting pillows were already taken.

ATH2044 said...

I kind of expected you might find such a "You throw like a girl." type comment offensive & in a universal/global sense, I actually agree. However, the half-baked marketing genius who developed the "magic" software probably was just using a bunch of readily available (gasp!) statistics for the basis of the evaluations. Whether they did or not, they're probably reflecting a strong cultural bias. What you may have missed in all this is that you've clearly fooled the team of wizards who dreamed up this beast & they were most likely standing on the shoulders of giants technologically, so thus you've confirmed another of your hidden talents. Maybe with practice you could trick a polygraph into thinking you're lying.
Now back to something that's come up somewhere previously at least once in this blog: Do women play chess differently from men? Or could a machine discern the gender of a player by analyzing say 50 of his/her games (assuming the players involved were wearing pants/kilts at the time)? I wonder if the accuracy of the guesses would depend on the ratings of the players. One might imagine that bad chess is bad chess & really good chess is really good chess regardless of gender. But what about all those "highly stylized" players in the middle, say in the range of 1700-2300?
[No offense to anyone rated below 1700, it's just that statistically speaking you're more likely to be playing "bad chess" than someone over 2300.]
I actually have a few very thinly researched hunches about how gender differences affect the resulting play or style, but I have nowhere near enough data to make any grand pronouncement. I'm sure at least Elizabeth will be glad to hear that.

Ron Young said...

I pasted one of my USCL weekly prediction blogs in the magic box and it came out male by about a 4:3 ratio. But when I ran one of my double-dactyls by it, it came out 45-2(![I think I can be forgiven the exclamation point]) female, and I hadn't even exaggerated my tittles.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe the magic box just obtains identifying information about you (or whoever set up your internet account) from your ISP.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a pillow fight can be used to determine who will comprise the new leadership of the uscf. Can pillow fighting technique be any less of a qualification than, say, "active listening"?

Polly said...

Maybe we can have a pillow fight in between the 4th and 5th rounds on Saturday. Winning team gets 3 points added to their tie breaks. I'm sure the good folks at the Gaylord would love to see 5100+ kids using their pillows in a massive pillow fight.

ATH2044 said...

It looks like the "magic box" just scans for certain words & evaluates based on their occurrence. The thing doesn't seem to care about structure or other more subtle indicators at all. If you ended up with a score like 45-2, you've somehow managed to avoid most of the key words. That would be similar to evaluating a chess position by counting the pawns.
I like the idea of a pillow fight on Saturday with results to count towards tiebreaks. As far as selecting new USCF leadership, I'd only want to use pillow fighting to determine the outcome in the case of a close race, say within 10% of the vote total. That way the "will of the people" wouldn't be trampled on if there's a clear consensus.
Now if Elizabeth Vicary were involved in a close election, flipping a coin would make perfect sense using the Austrailian $1 which features Queen Elizabeth on one side & a bunch of kangaroos on the other.

Anonymous said...

The genie seems to think the Fake Sam Sloan is female.

ATH2044 said...

SuperNationals Spoiler alert!
OK, I'm sure Elizabeth will be posting lots of gory details, pictures, & (hopefully) a bunch of games from the event, but for those of you (me) who just can't wait.
Here's the distilled results of the IS 318 teams:
K-8 2nd place
K-6 4th place
K-12 U1600 24th place
K-9 U1250 5th place
K-8 U1000 5th place
K-8 U750 1st place
Blitz K-9 1st place
Blitz K-6 1st place

That's three first place finishes out of the eight competitions (3/8 = 37.5%). Throw in that big second place, & you have HALF of her teams winning first or second place, which is not too shabby even though they're heavy on the under sections & blitz. That sounds like a lot of trophies!
Congrats to Ms. Vicary & all of her IS-318 teams.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate what you are doing.

Add these dates to your calendar.

September 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

October 9 National Chess Day. (Ask Gerald Ford)

January 21, Squirel Appreciation Day.

There's nothing like sittin' in a park playin' chess, and appeciatin' th' squirells, YArrrrrrr!

-Knight Fork and Spoon