The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Archive for September 2006

Star Wars music

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Written by S

Sat, 2006-09-30 at 13:15:32 +05:30

Posted in funny

Bash completion

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Picks up everything in /etc/bash_completion and /etc/bash_completion.d by default.
complete -p shows all the available completions, and one can modify and reuse them.
alias ll=[TAB] will actually complete the alias, and function car[TAB] will actually complete the function!
As for how to write one’s own functions to be used for completion, it’s in this tutorial.

Written by S

Mon, 2006-09-25 at 16:39:37 +05:30

Posted in compknow

Queue psychology

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Three days ago, when I went to the Railways reservation centre for cancelling a ticket, going there early (about 25 minutes before the place opened—it usually takes 1.5 hours; it took only 40 minutes this time), I began to think “I must find out what the optimal time to arrive here is”. Arriving too early (two hours early, say) is obviously stupid, and so is arriving at peak hour. Again, apparently many people had similar thoughts (“If I’m there before the place opens, it will be empty-ish and I can be done soon”), but were awfully inefficient in their implementation: the place was practically full by the time it opened. It rapidly grew after the last 15–20 minutes; so if I’d arrived 10 minutes later, I’d have left considerably more than 10 minutes later. The matter clearly allows for much thought.
I’d almost forgotten about the thought, until I saw this post at the Tasty Research blog.
It is disturbing to see so many people post enthusiastically about queue-butting.
Anyway, it appears that “Queue Psychology” or “Queuing Theory” is quite established:
* Karl Kruszelnicki has some very interesting things to say in Part 1 and Part 2.
* This BBC article takes a look at “evolutionary psychology” in general, and talks about queues in passing.
There are also allusions to a “You are how you wait” article, but I can’t find it on the net….

Written by S

Sun, 2006-09-24 at 15:53:35 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

The “Singleton” in “Singleton bound”

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Is a person. Might seem hard to believe, though.
Searching for [R C Singleton "Singleton bound"] throws some references.
Probably Maximum distance q-nary codes is the paper.

Written by S

Thu, 2006-09-21 at 15:16:07 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

“i before e”

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For some reason, people in some countries are taught a “rule” of spelling (as if there were any) that says

I before E / Except after C

or something similar.
A stupid “rule”. We were never taught it, and with good reason, I’m sure.

Here’s a Slashdot post (attribution when I find it — I copied it down and the search engines haven’t picked it up yet…):

I could feign a plebeian ignorance, but I inveigh your deceiving sleights. By seeing correspondence I’ve received, including eight receipts from my leisure activities and a weird lein on my sovereign freight sleigh, a weighty surveillance can be unveiled: SOMETIMES E COMES BEFORE I!

Now, where are my reindeer?! (for my sleigh!!)

Signed, der Weihnachtsmann

There’s an even better version at a page titled The I Before E Deceit Unveiled:

Just when we fancied that spelling had become a science, a prescient foreign geisha woman named Deirdre Oppenheimer came down from the heights of a glacier, tore off her veil, seized an ancient financier, and shamed our consciences grievously. “This society is inefficient!”, she inveighed. “I wasted my leisure becoming proficient in cuneiform hieroglyphs. Either reimburse me with the value of the Einstein coefficient, or I will drag this man back to my hacienda in Muncie, wherein he will forfeit his life!”

I feigned interest, but looked for our feisty concierge Neil, whom I might inveigle into reining in this weird being. But he had gone to Anaheim, Beijing, Madeira and Taipei with Alexei to shop for a beige geiger counter. His absenteeism made me feel like queueing for the exit, but the only sound was the neighing of the sheik’s eight reindeer, chewing their edelweiss.

I turned to Sheila, the Budweiser heiress. “Cease your surveillance of the sleigh and its freight! We must stop the reign of this plebeian atheist!” I must have hit a vein, because she deigned to put down her counterfeit kaleidoscope proficiently, albeit only to point out a weird Klein bottle full of nucleic proteins. “Therein is the skein of meiosis,” she said, “the leitmotif of our species, of seismic importance to our homogeneity. It would surfeit a meistersinger, a sovereign, or even an omniscient deity like Poseidon.”

Decreeing my obeisance, I offered the paperweight, a Meisterbrau stein, and a Holstein heifer to the heister. Agreeing that it was sufficient, she reinstated the old wisenheimer, fleeing with spontaneity via Boeing to Beirut.

John Burkardt

That page is part of a Wordplay page, which I must read soon… looks quite interesting and useful. Others: on Kuro5hin. There is an anagram generator here

Written by S

Mon, 2006-09-18 at 20:56:52 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Dan Brown parody

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By the National Review. Like this:

That could only be my friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, the Royal Historian and Ambassador-Plenipotentiary to the Exchequer. He was awarded a knightency by Queen Elizabeth the II for his amazing volume on the House of Percy, in which he revealed for the first time the ninth earl’s involvement in a Rosicrucian-Illuminati-Masonic conspiracy to do, er, something or other.

“Good evening, old fruit!,” he exclaimed as he shimmered in, his monocle popping out. “I say, how the devil are you, old bean? Lawks-a-mercy, had a spot of bother getting up the apples and pears, don’t you know! Good lord, is that settee kosher or wot? Must ‘ave a knees-up round the old Joanna, eh!” (Did I not already tell you my research skills are second to none?: I based this dialogue on The Code of the Woosters, a useful compendium of contemporary slang). His manservant, Rémy Legaludec, stood by, menacingly.

There’s also Dumbledore’s death in the style of…” by the Guardian, among which is Dan Brown. And Dan Brown. Of course, Chaucer is the best. It is interesting that almost ten years after having read Enid Blyton, I find the parody recognisable and funny.

2007-01-29: I found a Straight Dope message board thread discussing how things would look If LotR Had Been Written By Someone Else!? This thread grew to about 40 pages long, so someone collected it. That collection has gone off the web now, but you can still find it at the Wayback Machine: here. Later versions are actually worse. The June 6 version seems ok (and later ones don’t — some links that you follow won’t work), but I haven’t checked exhaustively and you might have to try even older versions.

Written by S

Sat, 2006-09-16 at 08:54:18 +05:30

Posted in funny

A source of humour

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Is the rec.humor.funny archive. Two interesting ones I saw so far:
Shotgun weddings in Pakistan
Letter to Lemon Tea.

There are also the posters at Despair, Inc, such as “Winners never quit”.

Ok, this is turning into the “funny bookmarks” post. Here’s a list of female streakers, after watching the streaker-scores-goal video.

Written by S

Wed, 2006-09-13 at 20:14:42 +05:30

Posted in funny

Clipped proverbs

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Some proverbs make sense (sometimes more sense) if you truncate them — dropping the last word off, or even several words. Here a few:

A penny saved is a penny.
People living in glass houses shouldn’t.
In spring, a young man’s fancy.
A rose by any other name would smell.
He who fights and runs away, lives.
All work and no play makes jack.
All’s well that ends.
A mind is a terrible thing.
Familiarity breeds.
Hell hath no fury like a woman.

There are also simple modifications — these are more common, but some below (from an article about Whiz Bang — whoever heard of it?):

Familiarity breeds attempt.
A thing of beauty has a boy forever.

Veering offtopic (might as well extract everything the article has to offer), there’s:

Her hair was bleached, her eyebrows penciled, her lips painted, her cheeks rouged, her eyes belladonnaed, her nose powdered, and when she entered the car with him, even her mind was made up.

1920s’ society is illustrated by:

Dad, here comes a gang of girls dressed in funny pants.
Knickers?
No, they’re white folks. (May 1925)

More proverbs here. And here.

Written by S

Wed, 2006-09-13 at 12:34:45 +05:30

Posted in funny

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