19 December 2007

No salt, no salt

As soon as it starts snowing in St. Louis, the salt comes out.  Large amounts of coarse salt are imprecisely dumped on sidewalks and streets, presumably to help melt the snow and ice, but that purpose would be better served by using finer grains and spreading it out more evenly.  As it is, the salt is more of an eyesore, environmental contaminant and (I imagine) pet foot irritant.

Big, big grains of salt.  I could take my traveler's cheques to a competing resort.  (That is, I'm leaving town for Texas tomorrow.  Yay!)

17 December 2007

RP tops himself

The morning after Ron Paul raises over six million dollars, more money in one day than any other candidate in history, the top political headline is Joe Lieberman's endorsement of John McCain.  These days, how can a principled politician and relative outsider raising tons of money for a presidential run not be big news?  It's got to be bigger than one political has-been endorsing another.

58,000 people contributed to the campaign yesterday, 24,940 for the first time, and the median donation was only $50.  Maybe the values of liberty are finally becoming mainstream again!

UPDATE:  Ron Paul was the most-searched-for Republican presidential candidate in all of 2007 on Yahoo!, and the most-searched-for candidate of either party in the last thirty days.  Awesome.

06 December 2007

Four degrees of separation

While preparing my materials to apply for academic positions I figured out that I have an Erdős number.  An Erdős number is much like a Bacon number, the number of movie links from an actor to Kevin Bacon.  For example, Stephen Merchant was in Hot Fuzz with Lucy Punch, who was in Being Julia with Maury Chaykin, who was in Where the Truth Lies with Kevin Bacon, and there's no shorter chain, so Stephen Merchant's Bacon number is 3.

Paul Erdős was a famous mathematician and a prolific publisher of academic papers.  He wrote a paper with Douglas B. West, who wrote a paper with Clyde P. Kruskal, who wrote a paper with Ron K. Cytron, who wrote a paper with me.  So my Erdős number is 4.

Danica McKellar has an Erdős number of 4 and a Bacon number of 2.  I still have no Bacon number.  I'll have to work on that.