13 Feb 2014 @ 5:05 PM 

We moved from Abilene, Texas to Seattle, Washington back in April 2013. I am fond of saying “we escaped to Seattle” as my affection for Texas is quite low. Seattle, by comparison, is amazing. I have found every possible group to satisfy my million hobbies.


  • I joined the Washington Scottish Pipe Band in August 2013, a Grade III Pipe Band. The pipe major, Jim Guthrie, is quite particular about rudiments. I have relearned every song I already knew and been practicing my embellishments daily for 6+ months and I am still not good enough to march with the band (my own opinion). I think I will be ready soon and I am very happy with how far my skill has come.



  • There is a park across the street and down a couple houses from our townhouse. In May 2013 I began assisting the Friends of Licton Springs once a month in maintaining the wetlands at the park by clearing invasive species, planting plants, cleaning up garbage, etc.
  • I began assisting the Ingraham Robotics Club in September, 2013 for their first year doing an FTC team (FTC 7462). We did great. We built this fantastic robot and made it to rank 7 of 32 teams at the State Championships.
  • I became the IEEE Power & Energy Society Seattle Chapter Webmaster in December 2013. We also added a Facebook Page too.
  • Seeking out more robotics groups, I found Swerve Robotics located in Woodinville and offered to help with their website in January, 2014. Swerve has been awesome  and I have begun writing a plugin for their website in an attempt to reduce maintenance overhead. Swerve is incredibly organized, using Podio for project management. Podio has an awesome API for retrieving information remotely. Swerve’s website is based on Drupal so I am writing a Drupal plugin which should allow us to automatically convert Podio App entries into Drupal nodes. According to the lead mentors at Swerve, this will allow us to teach the students process. We create a App Content Item on on Podio and assign and author. The author writes the content and assigns a reviewer. The reviewer reads and updates the content and then approves or denies the publish of it. When published, Podio sends a Webhook call to the Drupal website and Drupal will request the Podio App Content object data and update the Drupal node (in theory).


There are an insane amount of activities to do in the greater Seattle area. We have easily done more in Seattle in 10 months than we did in Texas in 4 years.


With all my work helping other groups with their websites, I am finally thinking of making my website more functional. I may rip the whole WordPress part of it down and put up something far simpler… and I may not. Yay for my first post in forever.


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Last Edit: 13 Feb 2014 @ 05:05 PM

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 18 Aug 2012 @ 8:43 AM 

This image has been floating around the Anti-Vaxxer circles. It contains the following four misleading statements:

1 – What would you think if an infectious disease specialist published a study showing that 81% of children who contracted pertussis (whooping cough) were fully vaccinated?
2 – And what if that infectious disease specialist told you the pertussis vaccine was effective about 50% in children in general but only 24% of the time in 8-12 year olds?
Dr. Witt’s study was published in March 2012 in Clinical Infectious Diseases

3 – What if the vaccine manufacturer admitted that it has never studied how long the vaccine lasts in children 4-6 years old?
4 – And what if the CDC said that a booster shot of that vaccine is not approved for 7-9 year olds?
Both of these statement [sic] were made to a reporter for Reuters in an article published April 2012.

The clear conclusion these four statements are attempting to convey is that vaccinations do not work. Insinuation aside, neither the articles they are referencing nor the data they present support such a conclusion. The blogger at SkewedDistribution does an excellent job of explaining the math which people fail to grasp:

Immanuel Pfeiffer Middle School has 1000 students enrolled. The students are vaccinated at the same rate as the rest of California (93%); therefore, 930 students are vaccinated and 70 are not. There is an outbreak of pertussis at IPMS, with 100 cases. Of these, 81% of the cases are vaccinated (n=81), and 19% are unvaccinated (n=19).  The question, then, is what is the rate of pertussis in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated students?

The rate for vaccinated students is: 81/930=8.7%

The rate for unvaccinated students is 19/70=27.1%

I think it is instructive to use an analogy instead of just numbers:

Imagine a sample of 1000 adults. Of these adults, 93% or 930 adults at one point knew enough math to understand the above example and 70 never learned basic math. There is an outbreak of 100 cases of Math-itus (people who fail to understand some simple math) brought about by viewing some skewed data created by anti-vaxxers desperate for signs they are correct. Of these, 81 of the people at one point knew the math and are in denial while 19 people never knew the math in the first place. The question, then, is what is the rate of Math-itus to non-math-itus?

The rate for “vaccinated” students is: 81/930 = 8.7%

The rate for “unvaccinated” students is: 19/70 = 27.1%

If we stopped my above satire prior to the answers at the end, we could use it to claim:

1 – What would you think if a mathematician published a study showing that 81% of adults who contracted mathitus (fooled by numbers) knew math at one point?
2 – And what if that mathematician told you that math instruction was effective about 50% in when the people first learned it but only 24% of the time later in life?

The clear skewed conclusion implied from the above is that math instruction causes people to fail to understand math. So we should fight teaching math in schools!


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Last Edit: 30 Dec 2014 @ 01:30 PM

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Categories: Rambling

 12 Dec 2011 @ 10:46 AM 

Kind of a dreary winter here in Abilene, Texas. Temperatures have ranged from freezing (20’s) to nice (60’s). The sky is often overcast. We spend our evenings inside watching Netflix. We have recently taken to watching all the Star Trek series. Sharyn watched the original series all the way through. Now we are watching TNG together. We haven’t watched an episode which I don’t recall in some way. I am so glad that I watched Star Trek as a kid instead of so many other whimsical shows I could have seen. Star Trek: The Next Generation has such cool ideas and explores such high-minded areas. It feels oddly out of place when I compare it to the partisan bullshit going down in our government lately. It feels to me like we had a few years there where we were approaching a unification on a large scale. Only now it feels so distant. I miss living in California. Texas is so bereft of good will. What a depressing place.

I have endeavored to take more notes digitally of late. I have been reading less and less as I grow older. I used to have this amazing patience and would read for hours. I am now more impatient than ever. I am a slow reader and it just takes too long to get through a book. It is like I have so much work to do, I just can’t bring myself to start. So I make lists of books I would like to read but I never go to the trouble of buying them because then I will need to read them. I can’t bring myself to read much fiction anymore because it feels like a waste of time.

I recently updated my Wish List 2011 on Amazon to reflect books and media which I would definitely like to read. I will likely buy them for myself given enough time and then I will update the list. Not that anyone actually reads this blog since I post to it so very rarely. But just in case someone does read it and intends to get me a gift to keep me occupied for the long boring winter, I know I am very hard to shop for so the wish list is your best bet.

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Last Edit: 13 Dec 2011 @ 11:54 AM

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