Posts

The polar plot of sine
Feb 18, 2016A couple weeks ago a friend asked for intuition as to why the (polar) graph of \(r = \sin\theta\) is a circle. It’s a fairly easy fact to prove algebraically, but neither he nor I had any intuition as to why it should be true, nor did the internet come to our aid. I thought about it for a bit and came up with an explanation, and since I couldn’t find it anywhere online I’m posting it here in case it’s of interest to anyone else. 
How I Teach Gerrymandering
Oct 8, 2015Crossposting from the brandnew MIT ESP teacher blog: I wrote a post about how I teach gerrymandering. It of course starts with the famous cartoon. 
My Feeds
Jun 14, 2015A couple people have asked me for this, so here’s a list of all the RSS/Atom feeds I follow. It’s autogenerated from Feedly, with some manual removal of dead things. If you want to import the whole assembly into your RSS reader (which I don’t recommend), you can grab the list in OMPL format. 
Physics is addicting
Sep 30, 2014Something halfbaked that I’ve been thinking about lately: I think physics is addicting. In particular, I think learning physics is addicting in a way that math tends not to be. 
Five Minutes of Make
Aug 31, 2014If you’ve ever compiled a large software project, you’ve probably usedmake
. If you’re like me, you probably think thatmake
is some arcane tool that only fiftyyearolds with giant beards know how to use. This summer, I learned I was totally wrong, andmake
is actually really simple and really useful. I’m still not an expert, but all of the tutorials I could find online would have taken me five hours, and I think knowing five minutes^{1} ofmake
now is way more useful than knowing five hours ofmake
“someday”. 
My summer at Khan Academy, part 1a of n
Aug 19, 2014This summer I was a software intern at Khan Academy. I worked on the infrastructure team, which mostly meant working on performance tuning and dev tools. This is the first of what I hope will be several posts about the various projects I worked on. And this is really only the first half of this post – a nontechnical overview. So stay tuned. 
Obligatory
Aug 9, 2014So I made a blog. And here’s the obligatory selfreferential first post. I think I’ll leave it at that.