30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

## Squid Skin is Like an LED Screen

Television images are sometimes displayed on giant LED (Light Emitting Diode) hoardings. Instead of a fluorescent screen with an electron beam scanning side to side over it, the LED screen is a large array of tiny glowing lights, independently controllable. The lights are individually brightened or dimmed so that, from a distance, the whole matrix shimmers with moving pictures. The skin of a squid behaves like an LED screen. Instead of lights, squid skin is packed with thousands of tiny bags ...29 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

## Simple Explanation of Big O Notation

The simplest definition I can give for Big-O notation is this: Big-O notation is a relative representation of the complexity of an algorithm. There are some important and deliberately chosen words in that sentence: relative: you can only compare apples to apples. You can't compare an algorithm to do arithmetic multiplication to an algorithm that sorts a list of integers. But two algorithms that do arithmetic operations (one multiplication, one addition) will tell you something meaningful; re...One of the best, down-to-Earth explanations of a concept that can get incredibly complex.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

## Disproving Santa Claus with a Back of the Napkin Calculation

There is another approach to the extraterrestrial hypothesis of UFO origins. This assessment depends on a large number of factors about which we know little, and a few about which we know literally nothing. I want to make some crude numerical estimate of the probability that we are frequently visited by extraterrestrial beings. Now, there is a range of hypotheses that can be examined in such a way. Let me give a simple example: Consider the Santa Claus hypothesis, which maintains that, in a ...At one house a second, it would take Santa three years to visit all the houses in America alone.