24 October 2007

Great minds think alike...or do they think at all?

I have to say, I haven’t written anything for a little bit because, and let’s be honest here (chuckle…), I haven’t really had a lot of time. This is no excuse, I know, and I will try to be better at typing my thoughts for all to see. As I noted, I’ve been pretty busy lately. I had the marvelous opportunity to take the most important test that I’ve taken up to this point in my life. The topic: probability and mathematical statistics. The test: six questions and four hours. Needless to say, it was pretty intense. So I’ve taken the past couple of weeks to study and prepare for that, and now I’m playing catch up with everything else I have to do. Some (not all) of these are my research, grading homework for an upper division stats class, and of course the three (not so easy) classes that I’m taking this semester. But like I said before, it’s no excuse.

Just chillin' at my desk in my office

I guess I feel, from reading all of my friends’ blogs, which are all deep and insightful, that I need to come up with something good to write about before I write anything. I learned many things from my mom, and one of those is that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. OK, she really didn’t teach me that, and anyone who knows me can argue that I say many stupid things…which leads me to today’s topic. Disclaimer: if you are expecting anything deep or insightful (or remotely good), feel free to turn back now as you will not find it here. Disclaimer 2: if you get nauseous or sick from hearing statistics talk, etc. than I will not be offended if you redirect to a better blog, say HaleStorm or Untitled Statements. These two blogs will fill your Jones for a good blog.

Now having disclaimed all y’all sufficiently, I am going to start with one of the most inspiring statements I’ve ever heard. A very wise man (namely, Utah State University’s Math/Stat department’s only, Dr. Chris Corcoran) once said, “A p-value is a very powerful tool; however, it should not preclude us from using our brains!” This p-value [the probability that you observe something as extreme, or more extreme, as what has been observed, given the null hypothesis is true] of which Chris speaks is exactly the thing about which I am not going to write. It’s the other part: the using our brains part.

There is a very big problem with the human race. We don’t use our brains!!!! As I mentioned above, I grade homework for a 5000-level stats class. Today as I was grading said homework, I read something that one of the students had written, and I almost wet my pants. The student wrote, “We can see from this plot that the data form a straight line, except that it is a curved straight line.” Huh?!? I had a very hard time not writing, “Look, it’s either a straight line, or it’s a curved line…ya moron!” Of course, I didn’t. But it’s the same thing as saying to someone across the room, “Hey, I’m going to walk over to you in a straight line,” and then walk in a parabolic shaped curve to them. Another student tried to convince me that my desk was brown because it is brown, and someone even attempted to BS their way through the homework telling me that peanuts are nuts except that they aren’t nuts. I wanted to scream. Please people, you are in a 5000-level class. I don’t care if it’s Statistics, Economics, or FCHD 5120, we should be able to use our brains.

So what is it about me (us) that, as Dr. Corcoran stated so beautifully, “precludes [me/us] from using [my/our] brain(s)?” To be frank, I haven’t thought that much about it. Call it laziness. It could also be the 12 pack of Livewire I drink every few days, or the countless hours I waste away on videogames. I could be wrong, but these might have something to do with it. But anyone who knows me can list at least 10 instances in which I’ve failed to use my brain. Please list these in the comments section.

In closing, may we all get our pulses and membranes working, turn the light on upstairs, and make the world a better place. Except me…I’m excused from using my brain.

If I only had a brain! (Is it too cliche?)
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15 October 2007

Let's Be Honest Here

Let’s Be Honest Here

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we live in a very pop culture world: a world in which nearly everything has a popularity rank. (Aside: when I say nearly everything, what I mean is that as n gets closer and closer to infinity, the group that contains popularity ranked things gets closer and closer to containing everything.) I’m talking about music, movies, architecture, interior design, the clothing industry, etc. Unfortunately, we can classify important, sacred things in this category, such as marriage. But I don’t want to talk about any of this. What I do want to talk about is our pop-culture-vernacular. I am going to define it as the great ability we have to create and articulate phrases, slang, etc.; but that, like many other things in pop culture, we have the great ability to overuse, misuse, and even slaughter these phrases, slang, etc. One (or two) in particular that I would like to address is (and I know you’re all thinking random, but that is my good friend Garrett’s territory) let’s be honest, and equivalently, I’m not going to lie.

I’m going to be honest here, I use the phrases too, but only because I’m so in to the in things of the day, i.e., music, movies, stats, etc. so I’m not trying to bash anybody who uses these phrases. I just think that they are…for lack of a better word…silly. I mean, if I were to say, “Let’s be honest here, cheesecake is the best dessert ever…” I mean, it’s really not something that I’m going to lie about, so what I’m really saying is, “This is my opinion, and I want it to be passed off as truth, but I think cheesecake is the best dessert ever.” I could be wrong here, but when these phrases are used, I don’t think that the subject at hand is something about which the user is going to be lying!

Speaking of honesty, the real reason that I wanted to write this blog is that I truly believe that honesty is indeed the best policy. I mean, let’s be honest here. I had an experience the other day, which experience I’ve had umpteen [fanciful designation for an indeterminate number] million times, and which I wish I could say is never going to happen again. I know the human race, however, and I’m not sure I exactly trust it. The experience I had entails the following: I was going to be Salt Lake for a party of a buen amigo, so I figured I would also like to see an old friend. I texted her, but it turns out that she was going to be in Logan for the weekend (where I currently reside). I told her that I was going to be back on Saturday, we confirmed some plans which consisted of apple brewskies and movie theatres. When I got back to Logan and texted her that I was back, guess what? [“No just tell me.” --GAW] [“OK.” --Me] She never texted me back. Point: if you don’t want to do something, don’t lie about it. Don’t confirm plans with no intention of carrying them out. I’m not going to be dishonest here: I don’t care if you want to spend time with me or not. It's not going to hurt my feelings if you don't, just tell me! I’m not going to get offended if you just tell the truth!!!

Well I’m not really sure how to sum it all up, so I’m going to leave with some happy pictures. :)

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14 October 2007


OK so I'm new to this whole blog and I'm not really sure what I'm doing, what to write, etc. But I thought I would take a moment of your time (assuming that someone is actually reading this) and talk about something that's been on my mind a lot lately.

Here we go.

Let’s talk about the only thing that even matters: Superman. Yes, I’m talking about the grown man in blue tights and a cape AKA the man of steel. In the not yet distant enough past (the past summer) I was watching the movie Superman Returns with a really good friend (with whom I would very much like to be more than friends, alas I was inspired to write about…Superman). Moving on… I was watching said movie with my friend and she made a very interesting comment. When Lois inevitably ignores Clark Kent, she (my friend) comments on the stupidity and blindness of Lois saying that she’s so in love with Superman that she doesn’t even realize that she sees him every day, that she works with him, and is even somewhat rude to him! If she could just give Clark a chance, who is obviously in love with her and she has to know it (or at least see that he’s interested), she would get to know him and see that HE IS SUPERMAN!!!

Okay, I realize that this may not be the best thing in the context of Superman Returns, since Lois is married/engaged and I in no way condone infidelity in marriage (or dating, etc.), but (and I know it’s completely corny, cheesy,…,n) here is what was running through my brain as she (my friend) is saying this: Why don’t you take your own advice? Clark Kent is a seemingly average guy, just like the majority of us guys out there, and all he wants is for the girl of his dreams to just give him a chance. That’s all I want.

A good friend (and bishop) of mine uses the analogy of his wife shopping. I’m sure that everyone has either experienced this personally, or can at least relate to the analogy (that’s where you compare stuff…ha ha…). He talks about going shopping, say, for a new shirt. He’ll go to the store, and if he finds one that he likes, he’ll take it. Then he says when his wife goes shopping, she’ll find, say, a sweater that she likes. But instead of purchasing it, she puts it back on the rack, leaves the store, and heads for the next store. She’ll look there and see if she can find something she likes a little bit more. She repeats this process going to maybe five, twenty five stores. Can anyone guess what happens in the end? She goes back to where she started and purchases the first sweater that she found. Isn’t this, in one way or another, like the Superman story?

Take home message: give the average guy a chance, even if he is a nerdy guy who parts his hair, wears glasses and loves doing math. He might just be Superman…

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