The horizontal size at the top of the lake is proportional to the square root of the surface area, as it’s a one-dimensional representation of a two-dimensional quantity.

Mean depth is represented by vertical size 1/4 and 3/4 of the way across the lake.

Note that color on this graph does not translate directly to the color of water; at this color, already enough light has been absorbed by water above such that photosynthesis can no longer be sustained, and at this color, the lake is actually pitch black.

Note also that areas on this graph are not in proportion with volumes of water the corresponding actual lakes hold, as vertical distance is much more pronounced than horizontal distance on this graph. Crater Lake is still about 14 times longer across than deep.



This image made using Raphael.js.

People Quoted by MIT’s Class of 2013

Here is the distribution of origins of quotes that members of MIT’s Class of 2013 placed in the caption for their photo in Technique, the MIT yearbook.

(proverb) |||||||
(snarky continuation to or modification of proverb) |||
Douglas Adams |||
Muhammad Ali
Maya Angelou
Guillaume Apollinaire
Aristotle |
Neil Armstrong
J. M. Barrie
Pina Bausch
Yogi Berra
Tony Bertucci
The Bible ||||
Craig F. Bohren
Anthony Bourdain
Bill Bowerman
Zapp Brannigan
Rita Mae Brown
Art Buchwald
Ferris Bueller
John Cage
Caltrain Operator
Albert Camus
Lewis Carroll
Tucker Chan
Charlie Chaplin |
Shuang Chen
Winston Churchill ||
Jean Cocteau
Joseph Conrad
Paolo Couhlo
Leonardo da Vinci
William DeMille
Walt Disney ||
The Eleventh Doctor
Andrew Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Dr. Seuss |||||
Albus Dumbledore
Max Ehrmann
Albert Einstein |
Jim Elliot
Ralph Waldo Emerson ||
Jonathan Donlan Escrow
Michael Faraday
William Feather
Richard Feynman
Henry Ford
Michael J. Fox
Viktor Emil Frankl
Benjamin Franklin |
Robert Frost |
Thomas Fuller |
Oscar Gamble
Mahatma Gandhi
James Hedrick
Jimi Hendrix
William Ernest Henley
D. J. Hicks
Steve Holt
Lou Holtz
Elbert Hubbard |
Hunter from Hack, Punt, Tool
Steve Jobs
Michael Johnson
Ben Jones
Benito Juarez
Alan Kay
Garrison Keillor
James Keller
Jack Kerouac |
Ken Kesey
Jonathan Larson
Bruce Lee |
Philip Levine
Lil Wayne
Abraham Lincoln
Clarise Lispector
David Lynch
Niccolo Machiavelli
Bob Marley
Groucho Marx
Patrick Keane Marx
Arthur Mattuck
John Maxwell
Harvey McKay
AA Milne
Thomas S. Monson
Stan Musial
Azar Nafisi
Pablo Neruda
Shauna Niequist
Friedrich Nietzsche ||
“Nobody, Ever”
Isaac Newton
Barack Obama
James Oppenheim
Randy Pausch
Norman Vincent Peale |
Wilfred Peterson
Steve Prefontaine |
Marcel Proust
The Qu’ran
Ayn Rand |
Real Housewives of Atlanta
Rainer Maria Rilke
John D. Rockefeller
Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt ||
Arnold Ross
Leo Rosten
Maja Rita Rudolph
Johnny Rzeznik
Carl Sagan |
Jean-Paul Sartre
Delmore Schwartz
Michael Scott
Jerry Seinfeld
Mike Shinoda
Hugh Sidey
Brad Snodgrass
St. Augustine |
St. Catherine of Sienna
Homer Simpson
Lemony Snicket
A Softer World
Garth Stein
Neal Stephenson
Barney Stinson
Publius Terentius
Mother Teresa |
Hunter S. Thompson
Henry David Thoreau |||
J. R. R. Tolkien |
José Aponte de la Torre
Harriet Tubman
Mark Twain ||
Mike Tyson
(unknown) |||||||||||||||||
Henry van Dyke
Vincent van Gogh
Wernher von Braun
John von Neumann
Gore Vidal
Kurt Vonnegut
Bill Watterson |
Walt Whitman
Marianne Williamson |
Oscar Wilde |||
Captain Witwicky
P. G. Wodehouse
Eiji Yoshikawa
Warren Zevon
Derek Zoolander

The Nature of Discrimination, the Obsession Over Equality, and the Fallacy of Human Rights

Does your school have a Black students society? Or a Korean club? How about an Indian students club? What about a Latin American culture society?

Yes? Yes? Mostly yes? All yes?

What about a White students club? No? Why not? That sounds racist? In that case, why is a club dedicated to Black students not racist but one dedicated to White students racist?

In the autumn of my sophomore year at MIT, I walked into a 6.006 exam, and saw the following on the board.

Good luck on 6.006, Miriam! *

*The actual name on the board was not Miriam. I chose a different name so as to redact who this message was aimed toward.

That bothered me. I wasn’t sure what it was for a while, and then it occurred to me. What if what was written on the board was instead the following.

Good luck on 6.006, Mexicans!

My guess is that most people are not disturbed by the first sign but are disturbed by the second. Why? What is it that makes saying good luck to Miriams okay but saying good luck to Mexicans not okay?

What do you think about people who lock their car doors upon seeing certain types of people? What do you think about people who lock the doors of a building? Is your answer to these two questions different? If so, why?

Ten years ago, it was socially acceptable nearly everywhere to make derogatory homophobic remarks in joking mannerism, but now, any influential figure in America better be on the side for homosexual rights, or have a serious mark on their reputation: Brendan Eich was pressured into resigning his position at Mozilla due to his history of supporting California’s Proposition 8, despite one’s stance of homosexuality clearly not having anything to do with their technological abilities (although I have heard at least one person argue that there isn’t necessarily no connection), and even Chick-fil-A decided to switch over to the pro-gay side after significant negative publicity. To hear the world making social progress is wonderful, but at the same time, one that has witnessed both of these two social standards with such a short time of transition in between has to wonder how a huge mass of people could have such a dramatic, synchronized change in thought so readily. What I believe is probably the case is that many who now nod towards homosexuality don’t actually approve of it, but feel the need to adhere to the social standard. And even if I think anti-homosexual stances are absurd, I would still more respect someone who is anti-homosexual and is willing to say so than someone who is anti-homosexual but says they support LGBT rights because society discourages their particular mindset. And I would want to encourage people to express their actual opinions. And if the number of people who actually warmly smile at homosexuality is much less than what it appears to be from listening to the crowd of the world, than we are not actually making that much social progress. We’re making less: we have simply donned a layer of deceit.

I feel that we as society have reached a stage where we frown at discrimination more frequently because the people around us tell us that we should frown at discrimination and not because we fundamentally understand why such forms of discrimination are awful. Why is discrimination by race, gender, or orientation bad? It’s because one who denies someone a certain right or ostracizes them based on their race, gender, or orientation wrongly asserts that these make them less qualified, when to the best of our knowledge those attributes are unrelated to their ability to responsibly exercise their rights or hold constructive memberships or positions. The wrong in wrongful discrimination lies in the misattribution of credit and blame. It is transmitted by social atmospheres dominated by people who believe wrongly that such credit and blame is properly attributed.

Continue reading “The Nature of Discrimination, the Obsession Over Equality, and the Fallacy of Human Rights”

Three years of zyxyvy

Today, zyxyvy turns three.

Let’s take a look back.

Though this blog commenced as a series of thoughts and associations on life and its properties, it expanded to include a lot more.

Statistics and data visualization eventually became central to this blog, starting with this collection of statistics on the Iliad. Looking back through the various graphs and charts, I would highlight this map of United States highways, this world map, this to-scale representation of planetary moon systems, this analysis of world flags, this chart of moons by apparent size from planetary surface, and this map showing populations of landmasses.

Reflecting, one of the non-statistical posts I like the most is this criticism on people celebrating 11:11:11 11/11/11.

On 2013.11.10, I closed aatzzq, my opinion blog, and merged it into zyxyvy. Some remnants of aatzzq I kept at tyvraquetzy.

On 2014.08.09, following the footsteps of my friend phenomist, I started a Today I Learned page on zyxyvy.

I published eight of my poems to zyxyvy:

Polaris (2012.10.27)
Too Alive (2013.01.08)
Acid Tears (2013.09.28)
Momentum (2013.11.15)
The Staircase (2014.04.06)
In Search of Faded Colors (2014.04.21)
16-004 (2014.07.10)
Could’ve (2014.07.30)

The most popular page on my blog is still The Bart Map, to Scale, and the most common search term leading to my blog is still “bart map”. The search term “zeus sex” is still in the top twelve for most common search terms bringing people here, but it is bested by “sonnhard graubner”.

The day on which zyxyvy received the most views is 2013.06.03, on which there were 1331 views. In total, zyxyvy has accumulated over 71000 views, the countries contributing the most views being the United States (60089 views), Canada (1504 views), the United Kingdom (1242 views), Taiwan (896 views), Australia (694 views), India (400 views), France (246 views), Germany (238 views), Singapore (214 views), Brazil (213 views), South Korea (211 views), the Philippines (197 views), and New Zealand (179 views). Enough countries have visited my blog for one to be able to walk from Portugal to Malaysia passing through only countries that have visited zyxyvy, and zyxyvy is now just one country short (Sudan) of achieving the same for Portugal to South Africa; zyxyvy is also one country short (Panama) of achieving this for Canada to Chile, but interestingly this is a country that has actually visited aatzzq, so it is fascinating that no one from Panama has found their way here yet.

I look forward to another year, where I am hopefully not too swamped by being a student at MIT to continue posting regularly to zyxyvy. I have noticed that I’ve been posting here less frequently, mainly because of blogger’s block (maybe that’s the word?). I hope you still enjoy my musings.

Events Temporally Closer to the Expiration of the Random Milk Than Now

1975.01.04: Milk’s expiration minus 7229 days

1975.04.04: Microsoft is founded
1975.04.30: The Vietnam War (or Resistance War Against America) ends
1976.08.22: Luna 24 lands on the moon, the last probe to do so until Chang’e 3
1976.12.31: New West Campus Houses, often shortened to New House, opens
1978.04: FORTRAN 77 is released, which supports recursion, but not as a standard
1984.01.01: Brunei (or Brunei Darussalam) gains independence from the United Kingdom
1984.09.01: Building E15, often referred to as the Old Media Lab (or Pei Toilet), opens
1984.10.31: Indira Gandhi is assassinated
1991.12.26: The Soviet Union is dissolved
1992.01.09: Wolszczan and Frail discover the first confirmed exoplanet, PSR 1257+12 b.
1992.04.06: Isaac Asimov dies
1994.05.06: The Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France opens
1994.06.22: Julius Adams Stratton dies
1994.10.07: Building 68 opens

1994.10.20: The Random Milk expires

1994.11.13: Sweden votes to join the European Union
1994.12.15: Netscape Navigator 1.0 is released
1994.12.31: Kiribati’s Phoenix Islands and Teraina Islands move to the other side of the International Date Line
1995.06.05: Cornell and Wieman successfully isolate a Bose-Einstein condensate
1996.12.20: Carl Sagan dies
1997.05.31: The Confederation Bridge opens, linking New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
1998.09.24: Iran declares that it will “neither support nor hinder assassination operations” on Salman Rushdie
2005.09.01: Building 46, also known as BCSC (containing the Picower institute), opens
2006.03.06: Montenegro (or Crna Gora) gains independence from Serbia
2007.09.22: Clojure 1.0 is released, which emphasizes recursion in place of looping
2008.07.01: Ashdown House opens again, this time at NW35 instead of W1
2013.12.14: Chang’e 3 lands on the moon, the first probe to do so since Luna 24
2014.04.06: The War in Donbass (or War in Ukraine) begins
2014.04.07: The Heartbleed security bug in OpenSSL is announced

2014.08.05: The making of this post (the 7229th day of the milk)