Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sandwich Nazi

I had lunch at Seattle's sandwich Nazi today, aka Bakeman's Restaurant. As recommended, I had the turkey. Yes, it was good, but not worth the abuse.

I got berated for telling him I had cranberry on my sandwich (which costs an extra 25¢).

If you enjoy abuse, it's a great place. Otherwise... meh. I get abuse all day long at work.

If the polls are skewed...

There's been some concern about the accuracy of polls -- are people telling the truth? Is there a skew towards Obama because people are afraid of appearing racist? Is there a skew towards McCain because polls exclude non-land-line owners (who tend to be older and more Republican)?

Well, I can't answer the "accuracy" question with any certainty. However, being the database geek that I am, I can crunch numbers.

I took the poll data from RealClearPolitics and tossed them into an SQLite database; you can download the database itself here. Taking the latest poll data, here's what the election results look like if the percentage points are skewed in one direction or another.

McCain +62632760McCain
McCain +526321561No winner
McCain +432418233Obama
McCain +33571820Obama
McCain +23571820Obama
McCain +13571820Obama
No Skew35716814Obama
Obama +13711680Obama
Obama +23711680Obama
Obama +33711680Obama
Obama +43711680Obama
Obama +537115810Obama
Obama +638113226Obama

In case you want to play with the database:
ELECTORAL_VOTES contains a mapping from state to number of electoral votes for that state (state, votes).
POLLS contains a listing of each poll; the rows contain: state, poll_date, poll_name, obama, mccain.
LATEST_POLLS is a view containing the latest polls from POLLS.
SKEW is a table containing the integers from -6 to 6.

The query to produce the above table is:
select skew, sum(obama_votes), sum(mccain_votes), ifnull(sum(undecided_votes), 0)
from (select skew, (mccain - obama > skew) * votes mccain_votes,
(mccain - obama < skew) * votes obama_votes,
(mccain - obama = skew) * votes undecided_votes
from latest_polls
cross join skew order by skew) group by skew;

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell's lament

Buddy, I know how you feel. From today's New York Times:
"I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years," Mr. Powell told Tom Brokaw on "Meet the Press" on NBC as he made his endorsement of Mr. Obama. "It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it."
I've also been reading a new biography of Barry Goldwater written by John Dean and Barry Goldwater, Jr., Pure Goldwater. My father -- a Goldwater supporter in the 60s -- gave me an autographed copy. I'm only about halfway through it; so far, though, I'm quite enjoying it and am finding him to be a man whose wisdom we desperately need today. At any rate, I think Goldwater would've been fairly disappointed in the Republican party of today, too.

McCain continues to disappoint me. I had hopes that his shift from his 2000/2004 persona was a ploy to clinch the nomination and appease the powers in the party. Alas, as the NYT article points out with his choice of advisers, he's just going deeper and deeper into neocon territory.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am dead to the Internet

Apparently, the Internet thinks I should be dead, given my current exercise regimen:

Anyway, this is my new standard workout. I've been swimming in Port Orchard Narrows (which, despite the name, is actually a channel/strait, not a port) from Fletcher Landing (short bike ride from my house) down to the tip of Crystal Springs. Google Earth puts it at 1.18 miles. My thermometer puts it at 50°-56°, depending on the day.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I didn't get a chance to follow the news today. Why were there so many folks selling apples on the street corners on my ride home?

Actually, right now I'm feeling somewhat lucky; back in July, I sold all the stock I had and took out a loan against my 401(k) when we bought the house. I wish I could say that it was some keen insight, but it was just pure luck. Not so lucky: working in an industry where much of my compensation comes in the form of stock. I suspect a lot of folks, myself included, will max out on the capital loss deduction come next April.

Scary times.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Flight Simulator

There's an Airbus flight simulator on sale over at DoveBid. It won't install on your PC, though; you'll need a warehouse.

Oh, man... this could be a lot of fun...