Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dream inventory

Several times during my dreams last night, a clerk or attendant asked if I wanted a plastic bag to carry my [whatever] in. I had to say yes, because I'd forgotten my reusable fabric bag in the corner of my room.

And behold! -- when I awoke, and the reusable fabric bag was in the corner, and not packed in my purse where it usually resides. My brain is willing to release its grip on certain ties to reality while dreaming, but apparently my purse inventory carries over from one world to the next.

This post's theme word is cockaigne, "an imaginary land of luxury and idleness." I suffer from inadequate inventory in dreamy cockaignes.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another dream

I dreamed last night about different approaches to try to compute this calculation I am working on. It's a real calculation, that I am working on in my waking hours; it made for a rather unexciting dream. In the dream, I was just as stymied and frustrated as I was in real life.

Sometimes my dreams are just a rehashing of the day.

This post's theme word is scoria, "in metallurgy, the refuse or slag left from smelting," or "porous cinderlike fragments of solidified lava." The scoria of my mind comprises calculations, symbols, and silly wordplay.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wherein I dream about my future dog

I dreamed last night that M., E., A., a little white terrier, and I went to a fancy theater to see The King's Speech. The terrier was very well-behaved, as were the other members of the group, although the dog was the only one who had to be smuggled into the theater in my backpack. The theater seats were gross, so I had brought a folding semi-seat of my own, and sat upon it. Everyone jockeyed to be close to the center of the theater. The movie dragged on for hours -- there were two intermissions. (NB, this does not reflect my actual experience of the film, which was shorter, dog-free, and a third thing to finish this list.)

This post's theme word is leal, "loyal." This word is medieval, archaic, whatever. I had to look up this word the third time it occurred in George R. R. Martin's books, and then I noticed it everywhere -- "I am your leal servant," etc.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cool blue car

There was a very curious car outside my building this afternoon.
So bright!

This post's theme word is jehu, "a fast driver; the driver of a cab." That jehu had a rockin' electric blue ride!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Netflix overfitting

How can you tell that I've been watching movies on R.'s Netflix account? One glance at this screen should explain it:
That's right: the top two recommended categories are "British period pieces featuring a strong female lead" and "critically-acclaimed mind-bending movies." This screen made me laugh for several minutes. Netflix is parodying my own preferences back to me with a straight face!

My comments are thus: (1) machine learning should be applied to more areas of my life. It is obviously useful, hilarious, and interesting. Also, (2) I am not terribly worried about the filter bubble so bemoaned on BoingBoing. Partially because I am aware of the automated personalization that is happening around me, I'm not worried about being trapped in a bubble with only my own viewpoints mirrored back at me. I constantly tweak my catalogued "browsing behavior" to see what sort of changes it induces in automated systems. For example, I rated a lesbian romantic comedy/thriller (season 5) as five stars on Netflix just to see how that would affect the action/adventure/scifi/British-period-...-strong-female-lead balance of recommendations. (This was also a joke on R., who didn't know I had done this and was quite puzzled by the temporary diversion of his Netflix recommendations.)

I think Netflix overfitting is an interesting case of the filter bubble. As long as Netflix's genre suggestions are interesting, I always find something I'd like to watch before I get to the point of browsing all videos, or looking one up by search. So most of the time, Netflix's suggestions are good and I watch them and like them and so Netflix is working me into an overfitted profile. Hence "British period pieces featuring a strong female lead."

This post's theme word is prolepsis, "anticipating and answering objections in advance" or, apparently, "the literary device of referring to a thing by its future state." Certain applications of predictive machine learning seem to evince prolepsis.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stormy skies

There were extremely dramatic clouds above this castle on my walk home.This view alone is enough to convince me that there is a princess imprisoned in that tower. Against her will, of course. Unfortunately I left my armor, sword, and steed in my office; otherwise her rescue would have been immediate.

This post's theme word is ortzikara, "the time when a storm is brewing." A sense of gloom and foreboding permeated the ortzikara.