August 09, 2009

Niagara Restaurants

I was raised on the American immigrant narrative of the Chinese Restaurant. I have a grandfather, uncle, and father who ran Chinese restaurants as young men. Whenever I order Chinese food, I always imagine a family of fresh immigrants making a go at the American dream.

But the ethnic restaurant story seems to have been passed on to another group in recent years. I just returned from Niagara Falls where we encountered not one, not two, but five Indian restaurants. On the way to look for Taste of India, we passed by Bollywood Cafe and International Indian Buffet, and we finally stopped at Punjabi Hut for a bite. There were thousands of tourists crawling the streets, and not a Chinese restaurant to be seen.

I wonder why. Maybe all the Chinese entrepreneurs have moved back to Hong Kong.

Posted by David at 02:59 PM | Comments (2)

August 13, 2009

Free Market Healthcare

The one great thing about shouting at healthcare town halls is that Boring Health Care Legislation has suddenly become a Riveting Heath Care Debate.

The American public is suddenly paying attention. Does that mean we have a chance to legislate the best-policy-plan instead of than the plan that has the most moneyed interest groups supporting it?

What is the best plan?

Continue reading "Free Market Healthcare"
Posted by David at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2009

Time To Build A Treehouse

It's a good time to build a treehouse.

Last week I started building another treehouse. The last treehouse I built was several years ago at our old house in Pennsylvania, and I was impressed that, this time, the lumber seemed to be much cheaper even though we're building a more ambitious project.

It's not my imagination - lumber prices are historical lows.

Meanwhile Home Depot is gaining share.

Posted by David at 12:02 PM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2009

Javascript Reversi

OthelloThere should be more Javascript games. Programming in Flash requires either bushwhacking through tools like MTASC or buying a commercial tool from Adobe. Javascript is more like BASIC on the Apple II or TRS 80: it is a programming language that comes with every computer, that any kid can learn.

Here is Javascript Reversi, an exercise in a basic turn-based board game. The computer player limits itself using wall time, so the faster the Javascript interpreter, the stronger the play. On Chrome, the Javascript opponent can beat me (though I am a very poor player).

If you know how to write a good reversi position-evaluation function that would make the computer stronger, please let me know.

Posted by David at 09:21 PM | Comments (50)

August 27, 2009

Coin Flips Are Biased

In a shocking (shocking!) development, Persi Diaconis, Susan Holmes, and Richard Mongomery have published a convincing theoretical model that shows that, even with idealized physics, the geometry of a coin flip inherently favors the side that starts on top.

The professors explain this bias by drawing our attention to the axis of rotation of a tossed coin.

Continue reading "Coin Flips Are Biased"
Posted by David at 11:12 PM | Comments (3)