Long story short here to set things up: my grandpa (on my mom’s side) died way back in 2002. We had him cremated, and since then, my grandma has been holding on to his ashes. Now that she’s dead, my mom took possession of my grandpa’s ashes and decided to scatter him somewhere he always loved to be: Spring Valley.
So today we took him out there and found a nice place to put him. It was kind of snowy and cold, but we know he’ll be happy out there.
Rest in peace, grandpa. You’re finally back out in the woods where you belong.
So I found this NPR transcript this afternoon discussing a listener’s question about the “shuffle” feature of iPods. Specifically, what the mathematics behind the shuffle feature are. After all, the listener notes, it sometimes seems like the same songs keep coming up while many others are never played.
Keith Devlin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford, answers the question. The shuffle, he says, is meant to be random and in fact actually behaves as a random event. Mr. Devlin explains that people have difficulty recognizing randomness because of the simple fact that one of the features of truly random selection is the repetition of patterns. He uses the example of coin tossing. If you toss a coin twenty or so times, you’re very likely, he says, to get streaks of the same side coming up, like a streak of five heads or something. We tend to see such streaks as non-randomness, though, because such patterns surprise us (after all, it does seem intuitively weird to see five heads in a row when you’re tossing a coin when you know that both sides of the coin have an equal probability of occurring. The magic of independent probability!).
Mr. Devlin concludes, “so, assuming that Apple have designed a really good randomizer in the iPod, then you are going to start getting repeats of songs and you are going to find that some songs don’t come up seemingly for a long time. That’s the way random behavior is.”
30-Day Meme – Day 15: A poem you wrote.
I wrote this poem for my grandpa the night before he died of a rare cancer. I remember reading it to him and watching him slowly fade in and out of consciousness. Everything in this poem is totally true of him. You rocked, grandpa!
A Grandpa is someone you can count on in a mess
Though with woodworking and painting he is easily obsessed
Not a job too tough
Not a place too rough
For this daring man of a ripe old age
Who has lived in the past and seen the future.
Can re-fix a shoe with a single suture.
No need to ask for directions
Full of funny imperfections
This daring man of a ripe old age.
Whether zooming to the store for his lottery ticket
Or checking the numbers—did he win it?
Need I explain?
The daring man of a ripe old age.
The daring man of a ripe old age.
OKAY PEOPLE, it looks like my plans for the second half of July have drastically changed. As you may know if you keep up with my blogging, my dad’s father (my grandpa down in California) died in January. Due to the suddenness and unexpected nature of his death, we were unable to procure me a ticket to go down and be present for the funeral. Because of this, my dad and I promised my grandma that we would find a time this summer to go down and be with her for a few days. Therefore, my dad informed me today that from the 19th to the 22nd, we will be heading down to Brea to spend some time with Grandma Mahler.
THEN he informs me that he was able to snatch up two last-minute tickets on the Sapphire Princess for a week-long cruise to Alaska. He wants to get his Princess black card (you get super perks if you’ve cruised for a certain number of days) and I freaking love cruising, so that was a nice and unexpected surprise. We’ll be flying to Seattle straight from Brea on the 22nd, spend the night in the Emerald City, and then board the Sapphire Princess and be cruisin’ from the 23rd to the 31st.
Awesome? Hell yes. Though I am a bit upset that such a large chunk of my time in Moscow is being cut, who the hell can complain about getting to travel? I also want to see my grandma; it’s been a long time.
My grandpa down in California died suddenly last night.
We weren’t close (he was pretty reclusive, he wasn’t really close to anyone), but still, it was a pretty big shock.
He had Alzheimer’s really bad and spent a lot of time just mumbling incoherently. He died of kidney failure. Yhe center that was taking care of him figures that he had been having issues regarding his kidneys for quite some time but wasn’t really able to express it.
I may be going down to California for the funeral, but we’re not sure if I can get a ticket.
RIP grandpa, you will be missed.