my blog
Politics, data mining, and a dash of the scientific method from an up-and-coming computational social scientist.


... are things I enjoy doing passably well in my spare time.
The common criteria here are: 1. spontenous, and 2. cheap.

ultimate disc

... calls to me. I am a big fan of this hippie/geek sport. It's fast, team-oriented, and blends speed and endurance in a sustained CV workout. You call your own fouls in Ultimate -- no refs -- which leads to a clean kind of competition based more in personal excellence than animosity. I love it.

I'm pretty good too. I played three years on BYU's unofficial traveling team, Occlusion, driving 14 hours at a stretch for weekend tournaments in Denver, Albequerque, Santa Cruz, Portland, and so on. We slept on couches and usually came home sore but victorious. I'm also undefeated after two sweltering D.C. hat tournaments played in the community fields by the FDR memorial. And I'm usually a ringer in rec leagues and church pickup games. I'm slowing down, but experience counts in Ultimate.

The governing body for Ultimate in the U.S. is the Ultimate Players Association (UPA). The best site I know for strategy is the Ultimate handbook. Check it out if you want a surfeit of tactics and diagrams. Then go play. And don't use a Whamo.


... is the most difficult board game in the world. Two players take turns placing stones on a 19 by 19 grid, trying to secure territory and capture opposing pieces. According to wikipedia, "the number of possible Go games exceeds the number of atoms in the universe."

Because of the demands it makes on pattern recognition, Go has proven to be a difficult problem in AI. The world's best computer programs are no match for a strong amateur human player. Neither am I. After two years playing the game, I'm ranked ~6k on the kiseido go server and climbing slowly. I find the game fascinating, partly because there's no room left for another chess player in my family.

If you want to learn to play Go, I recommend starting at Sensei's library, a wiki site dedicated to the is also good, but a little overwhelming. is a great repository of Go problems similar to the chess problems you see in the paper. The Go Teaching Ladder taps the collective heuristics of hundreds of go players by reviewing games -- an excellent resource for learning to play better


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web comics

My three favorite web comics.