Ben Peoples Speaks

September 13, 2010, 12:36 pm
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There’s a thing floating around the internet where it asks you a bunch of math questions really quickly, then asks you to think of a vegetable.  It’s here.

I proposed, on Reddit, that this is because 90% of people (a number I made up) think of carrot when asked to think of a vegetable.  I was called out on this number, so I decided to run an experiment.  The hypothesis is that the math questions have nothing to do with it, other than distracting you, so you have a rapid response.  I set up a series of Mechanical Turk hits, in two groups.  Group 1 had a single question: “Name a vegetable”.  Group 2 was a little more complicated.  As with the original, it asked 7 questions, then the 8th “Name a vegetable.”

To investigate the role that the math has to do with it, there were four groups of questions in Group 2.  The first was the same as the questions in the gif above.  The 2nd were historical questions.  The 3rd were different math questions.  The fourth was color questions (often involving fruit, but no vegetables).  It was emphasized that the HITs would still be approved if the questions were incorrectly answered.

Average time for the Group 1 (single question) was 13 seconds, and Group 2 (8 questions) was 43 seconds.  Each HIT was presented to 20 different people.

Results are being analyzed now.  You can download the raw files here.

Except in one group, the most common vegetable was carrot (20-45%), followed by cucumber.

Very preliminary results are:

20 Respondants when asked “Name a vegetable” (alone): 45% Answered “Carrot” 15% Answered: “Cucumber”, “Spinach”, or “Tomato” 10% Answered “Onion” 5% Answered “Broccoli”

Of 80 survey respondants, in all groups: 15% answered “Carrot” 10% answered “Cucumber” 10% answered “Tomato” 8% answered “Onion”

Of the 20 who answered the questions in this image: 25% answered carrot 10% Cucumber 10% Onion 10% Brinjal (a type of eggplant)

Of the 20 who answered the other math questions: 20% answered carrot

Of the 20 who answered color questions (one question was what color is a tomato): 10% answered carrot 20% answered tomato

Of the 20 who answered the history questions: 30% answered carrot All others were 5%

Architecture Grad Programs
September 8, 2010, 8:09 am
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So I’ve been shopping around for architectural grad programs I can do preferably part time, here in Pittsburgh.  There are three schools that offer architecture programs.  From talking with them, CMU is out.  CMU is a very intensive program that would require a 16-month sabbatical from my job.  It would be awesome, but financially not doable.  (And my company would have to hire someone to replace me while I’m gone, which could get awkward when I return depending on the current status of the economy).

The 2nd folks I talked to were Pitt, who only have an undergraduate program.  They recommended I check out Chatham’s program.  Surprisingly, to me, Chatham’s graduate program is co-ed (Chatham’s undergrad is women only), they also have no penalty for part-time students– that is, you are charged a flat per-credit fee, even if you’re full time.

Chatham’s Masters in Interior Architecture (MIA) program is fascinating.  It’s a 2 year full time program, or longer if taken part time.  The program is designed for folks like me who don’t have an undergrad degree in architecture.  The curriculum is interesting, and is designed for someone to get employment as an interior designer within an architecture firm.  This is a little like a set designer — you work with a TD (architect/engineer) to figure out how to build your scenery (building), and you need a reasonable understanding of how scenery (buildings) are built, so you don’t design 4′-2″x8′-4″ flats for no good reason.

More on the program here: — if I’m going to do an architecture grad program, this is the one.

Anyways, I haven’t a clue if I’m going to go down this road, and I have a lot of other things to work out before I do.

September 7, 2010, 12:00 pm
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Another idea that’s been kicking around, but still waiting on time & capital to make happen is the “colorcube”.

The idea is a children’s toy that requires interaction and encourages exploration.  It doesn’t have a button that makes it go.  The device is simple: a 2″ frosted cube that lights up in any of 6 colors, and several patterns.  The devices are sealed (probably potted), and are solar chargable.  They also talk to each other via IR when in proxmity, so the blocks will interact.

I still haven’t a clue what they’ll do, but the idea is to have them do different things depending on how they’re configured and what they’re doing.  If you shake it, it does one thing.  If you rotate it 90 degrees, it’ll change colors in a predictable manner.  If you let it sit too long, it’ll turn back off.

The solar charging could be combined with a UV “oven” that will charge & disinfect the surface of the cube.

Anybody interested in this thing?

Long weekend
September 6, 2010, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just finishing up a very nice long Labor Day weekend.

Friday involved a bit of running around, but I can’t talk about much of that yet.  Over the weekend, we installed two dozen cup hooks in the stucco-over-brick walls of our patio to hang lights on, which now look super lovely.  We also finally got the trellises up for the roses. The trellises are attached to 3″ angle brackets, which are attached to the stucco-over-brick walls with hammer-in nail anchors.  These worked really well, and look really clean.  The whole thing will be covered in roses in a year, but it’s nice to actually use the correct tool for the job for once.

Also, today, smoked ribs.  Super tasty, 4 hour smoking at 250F.  Made them pretty quick, no overnight spice rub.  I typically do paprika, smoked paprika, pepper, a little cumin, a little garlic powder, and a little ground cayenne pepper.   Halfway through smoking, you baste with 1:1 cider vinegar and bourbon, then cooked up some nice bbq sauce out of the Smoke & Spice book.

Flying machine tests were pretty OK, except I drained the battery on the airside module, so ran into troubles with that in today’s tests.  Otherwise looked like it might be ok.  We’ll see later in the week when I get a chance to get out and test.  So fricking close.

Did you know I play the harmonica?
September 2, 2010, 12:21 pm
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Not very well, but I enjoy it.

Harmonica Improv 1

Audio Transcription
September 2, 2010, 9:38 am
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Over the last weekend, I recorded a lot of audio.  I was looking for a way to easily make that unedited audio searachable, or at least indexable.

I came across several solutions:

So I took a chunk of audio, and tried transcribing it various ways.  The most accurate was, of course, manual transcription, followed by Mechanical turk.

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The non-Prayer Cards
September 2, 2010, 8:44 am
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A week ago today, my father in law passed away in the hospital.  This isn’t about that.

This past Sunday, we had a visitation for his friends & family.  He was non-religious, but we wanted something like a prayer card for him.  We decided this about 11:30am on Sunday, and we had to be dressed and out the door by 12:30pm.

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