How to easily import your own Python packages

Python is my favorite language by far, but here’s one thing it’s absolutely terrible at: package management. Some decent tools (easy_install, pip) exist, but what if you’ve created your own module or package?  Ideally, you could start Python from anywhere and simply run: >>> import mypackage If you’re running Python from the same directory where…

The 5 Greatest Guest Rap Flows

And now, for something completely different…my nominations for the 5 greatest guest flows in rap songs. 5. Jay-Z – final verse on Lupe Fiasco’s Pressure Rumor has it that, for this track, Jay-Z walked into the studio and laid down this flow in a single take (apparently not an unusual feat for Jay).  My favorite…

If You Love Nostalgia, You’ll Love Retro-Proteins

I’m not sure how real this is, but the possibility is mind-bending: New Scientist reported yesterday that an ancient super-powerful antibiotic was reverse-engineered from current-day proteins.   GenomeWeb states the achievement quite succinctly:  The researchers then worked backwards to find the genetic sequence of the original peptide — active 59 million years ago — and…

Genomics is the beginning of the Second Age of Science

When you think about it, humans have always known more about the cosmos than about themselves.  The earliest ‘wise men’ were astrologers, observing the orbits of the stars and theorizing about the composition of the universe.  The oldest and most renowned scientific institutions (Copenhagen, Hamburg, even Oxford’s science department) were founded by physicists.  The most…

5 Reasons I Hate MATLAB

I’ve used MATLAB almost ever single day for the last year, and I can say confidently that two things are true of MATLAB: Every engineer has used it. No engineer likes using it. Certainly, there are lots of great things about MATLAB – and MathWorks would be glad to tell you what they are.  So…

The Starcraft AI Contest

I don’t usually post non-original work, but this was too good not to share.  A group from Berkeley won the Starcraft AI contest by building a truly formidable computer player – one with some absurd tactics.  Here’s my favorite video from their post: Sparky the Wonder-Drone (the lone purple drone played by Berkeley’s ‘Overmind’ AI)…

The Watson Challenge

The NetFlix Challenge has forever become part of machine learning lore.  In exchange for giving data gurus a smidgeon of anonymized user data and $1 million, NetFlix received not only an incredible set of recommendation algorithms from the winning team: they also earned the reverence of every AI and data mining guru out there, for…