Sunday, January 8, 2012

I am Zit Pomney and I am running for President

I am Zit Pomney and I am running for President.  I have a vision for America.  I want to bring jobs to this country.  I know I am the front runner but I am a tough boy, I can take the attacks from the other candidates.  I will get America back to work.  I will work hard for America.  America is a great place with great people.  And we need to balance our budget

"I love how the current candidates don't actually say anything of substance 99.9% of the time.  So I have created my fictional characters, meet Zit Pomney"

Ron Paul can't win or can he?

"One of Ron Paul's top people was just talking about this...
Most candidates win the White House based on their viability. You see this with Romney and Obama.
Ron Paul will win based on his ideas.
... You can vote for Obama or Romney because you think they can win, solely on the basis that they can win. You can vote the party line... solely on the basis of that person being a Democrat or Republican.
But you vote for Ron Paul because you like his ideas. And his ideas aren't half bad."

"Why is the media avoiding Paul? Avoiding is the wrong word. Completely tearing apart the guy every chance they get and cozying up to other candidates.
On Bush 2, he clearly seemed unqualified. He didn't have a long history in Texas. Before that, his businesses seemed to be tied to his family legacy. And in office, we ended up with perpetual war based on false information. Oh yea, and we were attacked.
With Obama, he only had 4 years of experience in Senate and no real big agenda except for Obamacare and a message of change. And in office, we are seeing some of the worst economic times, especially for the middle-class. ...
What does the media expect could happen if Ron Paul were in office? We get invaded by Iran?
The only thing that makes sense is that Ron Paul will dismantle the sleazy private/public relationship that has existed for several decades.
That or they are just really scared of real changes but don't really understand why they are scared."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thirty second review of top modern TV shows

This is a short review of about a dozen top TV shows that have appeared in the last decade or so.   I advise you purchase the DVD TV sets and watch them based on your own schedule.

These aren't sorted in any particular order but the better shows will normally appear at the top.

  1. The Wire (10/10) - (Urban gang land violence) So far the best TV show I have seen.  It was getting predictable and dry towards the end of the series but I don't think there is any better show that feels "real".  It is dark and gritty and highly watchable.
  2. Dexter (9.9/10) - (Almost comical look at a serial killer do-gooder) Dexter is the show about the serial killer that also happens to be a blood splatter analyst in the police department.  Normally he finds another bad guy or serial killer and does away with him.  It is also a dark series with lots of gore and sometimes it can be serious.  But I tend to find some of it comical.  The Wire is not comical at all, Dexter can be.  It is comical in its sense of irony.  The top serial killer just happens to work for the police.  And it is a really good show, probably one of the best ever created.
  3. Breaking Bad (9.5/10) - (Chemist turned drug dealer) - Breaking Bad is the more serious version of Weeds.  Walter White, the main character, is an obsessive, neurotic, family-loving middle-aged smart guy that is using his genius to sell drugs.  He gets away with it most of the time, the other time everyone is out to kill him or screw him over.  It is good maybe a little bit too stylized.  There are too many moments of someone or something just sitting out in the dessert and we are supposed to appreciate the moment. 
  4. The Mentalist (9.1/10) - (Really observant showman solves crimes) - You may disagree but I think this is the most complex show I have watched.  Each episode is like a puzzle you have to figure.  It is a smart program if you are into smart programs.  Some of the characters are a bit dry and the later episodes are becoming too easy to figure out.
  5. The Shield (9.3/10) - (Bad but also Good cops try to get away mayhem) - If you google "The Shield", some consider it the "Cops version of the Wire" or the "White version of the Wire".  That is basically what it is, a different look at urban warfare through the eyes of the cops.  And also appears on network TV so it is less gritty than the Wire.
  6. Star Trek TNG (10/10) - Still the best sci-fi TV series out there.
  7. Numb3rs - (8.5/10) - Standard TV fare, predictable  crime drama where they throw in math problems in solving the crime. 

Python matplotlib plotting setup for cygwin

Matplotlib is a popular python library for generating plot graphics.   It works with cygwin win32 but some non-intuitive steps are required.

Install cygwin:

CYGWIN_NT-5.1 1.7.9(0.237/5/3) 2011-03-29 10:10 i686 Cygwin
I am using cygwin with setup 2.7.3

Install python through cygwin:

This document describes installing python and matplot with cygwin.  For most windows users and cygwin users, normally you would use the external python executable.  I tend to prefer all of my script oriented applications running through cygwin including python.

Python 2.6.5 (r265:79063, Jun 12 2010, 17:07:01)
[GCC 4.3.4 20090804 (release) 1] on cygwin

In the cygwin setup.exe installer, install:

The freetype libs, python-gtk, python-tk, libpng

Download matplotlib from sourceforge:

I am using the latest version matplotlib-1.1.0 as of 1/2012.

Issues with standard python install and cygwin:

The typical 'python install' will not work with cygwin.  You need to modify a configuration file and run some other additional commands.

In the root directory of the expanded matplotlib directory, edit the setup.cfg.template configuration file.

Around line 70 in the file is a commented line, uncomment the line such that you have:

tkagg = False

Run install and watch it fail

Try running 'python install'

It should fail with an error like the following:

2 [main] python 2796 C:\cygwin\bin\python.exe: *** fatal error - unable to remap C:\cygwin\bin\cyggfortran-3.dll to same address as parent: 0x18660000 != 0x69780000
Stack trace:


Exit cygwin and close all cygwin instances including the one you are working with.  You won't be using the typical  cygwin prompt for the next command.

In windows explorer, open the cmd.exe or windows command

You will need to run rebaseall.  First, shut down any long running processes like sshd, close all Cygwin prompts and so on.

Type the following commands:

cd \cygwin\bin
PATH=. rebaseall -v

And you should get several lines of output.

Run install and watch it succeed

Try running 'python install' command again in the matplotlib directory

Running Example Program:

# python
Python 2.6.5 (r265:79063, Jun 12 2010, 17:07:01)
[GCC 4.3.4 20090804 (release) 1] on cygwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
import matplotlib.pyplot as pyplot

About Me (Berlin Brown resume):

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Campaign, help from political science community

After this race is over, I wish a fair politic science group could look at the media's handling of this race.
Here are some BIG missteps in how the media handled this race:
  • Sarah Palin, why prop her up at all?
  • Rick Perry enters the race and within two weeks, he is a front runner
  • Herman Cain, once again, why prop him up?
  • And then Newt's rise
  • Look at the criticism against Ron Paul.
Someone could just look at the timing and wording of discussion on the candidates. It is obvious they have their favorites.
CNN and Fox didn't campaign for Ron Paul 24/7 like they did with other candidates. But they did have Ron Paul on their programs. Ron Paul had to defend his own platform. But CNN, Fox did the campaigning for the other candidates.
And it is easy to spot, just look at the amount of coverage, wording and discussion.