Quick thought: Letter frequencies in crossword puzzles

Just a quick follow-up on my last post about Crossword puzzles and our new website, CrossWorthy.net. (New puzzles there every Sunday! Check it out if you haven’t had a chance.) Our crossword-filling algorithm works in such a way that it maximizes the remaining possibilities left by each word, based on the other letters in thatContinue reading “Quick thought: Letter frequencies in crossword puzzles”

Slow and steady… gets published eventually?

Lately, I feel like I’ve been talking about fracking nonstop. I’ve been researching fracking as a public health scientist since January 2018, but in this transitional time for me—graduation looming, the job search ever continuing—it seems that the last two and a half years of fracking research are all flashing by one last (?) time.Continue reading “Slow and steady… gets published eventually?”

Some AI transcriptions of popular song lyrics

Amazon Transcribe is a Siri-like tool that can write down text from an audio recording. It’s probably useful for closed captioning, etc. I thought I’d have some fun by feeding it a few famous songs: Shake It Off (Taylor Swift) “people, people, but people, people. Hey, just think you’ve been getting down and out aboutContinue reading “Some AI transcriptions of popular song lyrics”

Coronavirus, Disease Burden, and the New York Times

So, UChicago just canceled their entire spring term, migrating all classes to online platforms and sending students home after we take winter quarter finals next week. Suddenly, I have one week to say bye to all the friends and acquaintances I’ve made over the last four years. And graduation? Senior week? The concerts and showsContinue reading “Coronavirus, Disease Burden, and the New York Times”

Statistics, or Stories?

Politicians make me queasy. So do self-help books, Twitter wars, linguistics professors, even TED talks. It’s not that they lack value—Twitter excepted, of course—it’s that they rely too heavily on examples and stories to persuade. Why? It’s effective. As Chip and Dan Heath put it in Made to Stick (one of those self-help books), anecdotes—simple,Continue reading “Statistics, or Stories?”

Deconstructing Humor using Text Mining on /r/Jokes

I recently turned in a project for an elective class I’m taking on humor where I analyzed a bunch of jokes posted to the /r/Jokes subreddit. I thought that some of the results were applicable to this blog, so I’ll summarize the interesting ones here: 1) Donald Trump jokes are funnier than average Jokes thatContinue reading “Deconstructing Humor using Text Mining on /r/Jokes”

Corruption of the Youth! Profanity in Music, 1958–2019

There are many neat studies on the internet of lyrical content in popular songs. People have claimed that music is getting more repetitive and sexual, among many other things. Here’s a cool analysis of word sophistication, n-grams, and lyric sentiments. Wanting to do something similar, I scraped the weekly Billboard 100 list of songs sinceContinue reading “Corruption of the Youth! Profanity in Music, 1958–2019”