Nelson Mandela Goes to 11

6 Jun 2007

I was fortunate that my Oxford classmates and the school let me and some buds play a spontaneous set at the end-of-the-year black-tie awards ceremony last week. Former pros Ean and Reba let me and Gabe be honorary members of their band Tales from the Birdbath for a night. If it’s not the first time Spinal Tap has been played in tuxedos, it certainly was the first time it was played in tuxedos in a venue named after Nelson Mandela.

An exerpt:

Politics and Online Porn

10 Dec 2004

Religion plays a role in politics unique to the modern era. The civil rights movement in the 1960′s alienated many of the religious southern Democrats, and the Moral Majority of the late 1970′s more closely aligned religious interests with political interests of Republicans. As a result, religious Americans have shifted from voting evenly between a two-party dichotomy and more consistently with Republicans. This isn’t news.

Simultaneously, there has been an explosion in online e-commerce, security, and data transfer, which means you can buy just about anything you want from the safety and privacy of your own home.

It’s hard not to notice the “moral” rhetoric of both parties in this election cycle. Abortion, gay marriage, and other wedge issues have driven the narrative on both sides, instead of coherent arguments for or against specific economic, and foreign and domestic policies. Emotion and righteousness got a lot of people out to the polling booths last month. Some Republicans are even championing their recent victory as a victory of good over evil.

I’ve been curious for a while to know if there’s sociological value in examining internet trends more closely. Lots of data is readily available to all, but some of the newest and most relevant to the current political discourse is that surrounding pornography consumption.

The Process

I’ve been managing credit card processing for a huge portion of all online adult websites for a number of years. We’ve processed tens of millions of transactions. We take the security and identity of users and partners very seriously, so for the sake of the privacy of buyers and the private parent company, I’m only using aggregate quantities for this analysis – quantities that are already reported to the IRS, credit bureaus, banks, and shared with advertising and non-advertising partners.

Step 1 – I consolidated all purchases made during the last presidential election cycle (2000-2004) by tracking only one transaction per anonymous individual. Subscriptions and multiple purchases didn’t count towards more porn bought. Consumers numbers were then totaled by county, then state.

Step 2 – At first glance, the number of consumer data points for each state was very closely correlated to its internet penetration. The more internet access a state’s population had, the more online porn it bought. Not surprising, since these are internet purchases.

Step 3 – Data got interesting when consumer data points were compared to the number of internet users instead of the entire state population. I’d imagine you could drill deeper into other demographics – gender, age, marital status – to get even more interesting results, but we don’t store this information and wouldn’t use it if we did.

Step 4 – Comparing purchases per 1000 internet users to election results and election survey results produced a fairly highly correlation (0.51 and 0.46 in the charts below with R-squared’s of 0.31 and 0.21, to be exact). For simplicity’s sake, I only used binary presidential voting results. Here’s a graphs of the data points with a basic single variable linear regression trend line included:

Conclusion: Republicans buy more online porn, but not necessarily because they’re Republican.

One factor to consider in further analysis: people that live in close geographic proximity to each other (dense urban areas) tend to vote Democrat while those that live in sparsely populated areas tend to vote Republican.  It’s possible that if you’re more isolated, you might find online porn more appealing than someone who’s constantly surrounded by people (the Alaska data point hints at this – they buy the most porn, but vote only mildly Red).  It’s also possible people surrounded by others have more incentive or means to find free alternatives.

Conclusion: There is a positive correlation between those that consider themselves very religious and those that buy online porn. Explaining this is a little trickier.

Population density may play a role, but there have to be some other factors involved; it’s certainly not as obvious as “religious people are statistically hypocritical.” It would be interesting to see numbers on what people think religion says about pornography, numbers on cheating, and offline/real-world alternatives to online adult entertainment before drawing conclusions. Maybe porn is a viable substitute for infidelity, or at least an explanation for the trend line.

U.S Census Bureau CPS Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2003
Voting and voter survey results: USA Today 2004 Presidential Election Results by County

URGENT: Wild Animal on the Loose!

25 Jan 1998

After a few months of bear-sitting, we here representing Wesleyan Cross Country have decided that the creativeness in stealing The Bear that once made it what it is (to teams other than Williams) is gone. With the exception of a few violent escapades, there were no respectable efforts to take it from us since we acquired it late in this year’s cross country season.

Because of this, and the fact that we may not have gained our furry friend as admirably as we would have liked, we present a challenge to NESCAC cross country teams. Our community seems to be closer than in past years, possibly because of post-season play woes. We feel that the bear is ready to transfer again with the new semester. He is open to all types of small New England liberal arts educations. We offer T. Bear to another school with no price attached – tuition and board provided by you. In fact, while you are reading this, Mr. Bear is waiting to be picked up at the location described below. We understand that Williams may have the most profound relationship and more than half of NESCAC schools have never had the bear, and this was taking into consideration. But not too much.

For those of you who don’t know of this animal or don’t understand read on: in past years, the bear has surfaced at multiple cross country meets, most notably the ones including the teams of the Little 3. There are multiple stories that claim the true origins of the giant stuffed beast, but these are insignificant for this mission. Most stories are consistent with the fact that bear has changed hands many times, and he has welcomed change with open paws, provided the change was a well-deserved non-violent exchange. It has been an unspoken rule that after each exchange the new team would be allowed to affix one item representative of his new owner’s team (we recently made him a working Wesleyan University Student ID).

After visiting two other countries, T. Bear and his paraphernalia have been sitting at Wesleyan for a few months. Certain coaches have notified our coaches that they are onto us, and want “their” bear back. This is only an incentive to keep it longer, but we now fear the only way the bear will get to visit another school is if there is a confrontation that results in no less than a royal rumble. We look forward to getting him back in the future via creative means, and that can only happen if he leaves us for a time.

If nobody claims (“finds”) T. Bear by the end of the month, we will let our teammates with conflicting interests have a chance at it — a very good chance.

Keep us informed of your pursuits and good luck to you all.

what could these be for?

1. The first letter of the All-New England Conn College’s male or female captain’s first name.

2. The second letter in the last name of Hamilton’s head coach.

3. If you take the name of the Trinity library and add up the number of letters, that number letter in the alphabet is what you are trying to find (A=1, B=2, etc…).

4. The number of letters in the first name of a graduate student at Tufts from a town in southwestern Connecticut on the Men’s Cross Country team will equal the number of the letter in the alphabet that you are trying to find (same logic as 3).

5. This team’s fifth man at the 1996 SUNY Cortland Invitational. 4th letter in his hometown. The men’s team was 22nd overall at this meet.

6. The second letter in the last name of the fastest Williams runner to hook up with a coach.

7. The third letter in the last name of the runner that ran the 101st fastest time ever on Wesleyan’s home course, Veterans Park.

8. The second letter in the last name of a female Bates running astrology guru.

9. The second letter in the 1997 New England D3 Mens’ Regional Champion’s middle name.

!. The fourth letter in the title of the magazine that named a NESCAC alum “Sexiest Author Alive.”

@. The number of schools in NESCAC in 1980 (ALL the letters in the spelling of the number of schools).

#. The second letter in the first name of the fastest beer-miler in NESCAC history (no puking!).

$. The fourth letter in the spelled-out number of letters in all 4 of the 1997 Wesleyan captains’ last names.

%. The first letter of the home state of this year’s women’s Little 3 Champion’s older brother.

&. The first letter in the last name of the tallest graduate of the same high school as Chelsea Clinton’s in NESCAC.

*. The NUMBER (no letters) of Wesleyan’s NESCAC Mens’ team finish in 1993.

the plot thickens…

Follow the maze through the shortest path. The order of the symbols you pass through is the order of the corresponding blanks below.

The bear is at:

__ __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __   __

 r _________________________________________________________________________
|t|    ___ &___________ |   |_  |   | _________________ | * |   |9 _____ 8 7|
| | | |   |_ ___|   | __| |   | | | |____ | ____________| | | | | |___  | | |
|___|___| | |   | | |_____| |$|___|_______| __  | __  | | |___| |____ | | | |
|  _______|___|___| | ______|___  |   |   |__ | |__ |___| | ____|  ___| | | |
| |%  | ____________|_______|   | | | + | | __|  ___|6 ___|_______| ____| | |
|___| |___________ 7 ______ | | | |___|__ |__ | | ____|& 1|  ____ |_______| |
|9 _____________  | |  _____| | |___  |  _| __| |  _____|___| ____| 3 | ____|
| |2 _____  |   |+| | |    ___| |   |  _|_____| | |   |   | |_______| |_____|
| | |  ___| | | | | |_| |%|   |___|___|   | # |@|$|%|___|________ | __| ____|
|__ | |_______|_____|  _   _|________ | |___|_____________  | | __|__ |____ |
| __|2 ___  |   |   | |     |   |  ___|  ^|   |   |__ |   | | |__ | __|  ___|
|_____|   | | | | | | | |#|___| + |_  | | | |___| |  _| | | | | __|_  | |   |
|   |  _| |___| |_| |_|______ | |_  | | |___|   |4| |  _| |___|_  | | __| | |
| |___|  _|  _ @|  ___________|_  |___| |  ___|___| | | __|  __ |___| 7 | | |
| | ____|  _|   | |___  |   |   | | 6 | | |  ___ ___| |__ | |  _| |1 _|___| |
| |_______|___|___|   |___|___|___| | |  ___|  ____ |  _____| |  ___|  __@ _|
|___   _ @ _____   _|____8 _________| | |   | | ____|   |  0| | |   | |   | |
| | | | | | | __| | |_   _|!  |  __ | | |2|___|_______|___|___|___| | | | | |
| |___| | | |__ | |__ | | __| | | __| |  ____   ____  ____    |   | | | | | |
|  _____| |  ___ 8| __| |__ | | |_____| |  ___|____ |___  | | | | | | | | | |
| | |  ___| |   | |__ | | __|___|  _____|+| ________|   | |__ | | | | | | | |
| | | |  _  | | | | __| |__ | __ _|   |  _|____ | __ 3|___ %__| | | | | | | |
| |___| | |_| | | |__ | | __|_  |  _| | |  _____|___| |$  |__ | | | | | | | |
| | 7 | |_____|___|6____|___ 5|4|3| __|   |   |   ____| |____ | |_| | | | | |

Good luck!

College Running Pages

19 Oct 1995

After we put up our Wesleyan cross country web page last fall, other schools decided to do the same and contacted me about getting a link from our page to theirs. I’ve gotten enough requests that I decided to start a directory for all schools. Once we get enough, I may start putting nationwide results online in one place.

Visit my running web page directory here!

[West] | [Southwest] | [Midwest] | [South] | [East] | [Northeast]

League Schools

New England Small College Athletic Conference

Protected: Using Homeomorphism to Prove the Four Color Theorem without Computers

5 Jun 1995

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Subtle Cutlery Page

19 Apr 1995

I put up a page for our band, Subtle Cutlery here.

Our EP will be out in the next month. The cover:

Props to the following for their gracious support and inspiration:

Goat, Eclectic, Vlade Divac, Derek, the Mongolian Tribe of Five Llama Hides, Stanley, Noah D, Mocon Mary, Dave Concepcion, Alphonso, Gwynn Coogan, Greg, Chi Psi, Rick James, and Uncle Jim.

Deep Thoughts… with Vlade Divac

19 Feb 1995

Last fall, after discovering the WWW’s most ridiculous web page, the Michael Jordan Fan Page, I decided to one-up it and start the Vlade Divac Fan Page.

It now gets too much traffic for my desktop, so I’ve moved it to the Apollo workstation running my personal web page. It’s a 400t Workstation with 8MB memory and now should be able to be up 24/7. It has more than 300 user contributions and has already been translated into Serbian. It’s a work in progress.

Thanks to the page’s visitors for unearthing these gems:

On Aging

  • “We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot more information in our heads.”

On playing in the NBA

  • “At times, I have to say to myself, ‘Wake up’…”

On Yugoslavia’s chances in the 1996 Olympics

  • “The U.S. will have another Dream Team, so they are the team to beat,…we would be very happy to finish in second-place.”

On playing in the NBA as a European

  • “I don’t think they respected us in the beginning, but I think now they should.”

On the NBA vs Europe

  • “Playing for the national team, you don’t play for money or for anything else, you play for pride…the NBA is the same game, but it’s a style of thinking that’s different. Each year somebody comes over and we get better and better.”

On the NBA Dream Team vs. a European Dream Team

  • “Depends on which team we play…the first team? No way! But I think any other future dream teams, we could win.”

On Europeans in the NBA

  • “I was the first one to break this wall…and now players can come over and not be afraid. I’m talking about players who came directly from Europe without going to college. Detlef helped me, but playing in the NBA, directly from Europe, I was the guy.”

On the war

  • “The last couple of years were really tough for me with the war…people say I should be the happiest man in the world, but I can’t be since my country is at war…one part of my country is dying, so I don’t look so happy. Mr parents, my family and friends are suffering.”

On the USA

  • “I have a feeling that I belong here, I’ll definetly be here for the rest of my life. This is my home, even after basketball.”

On his family and the US

  • “My kids are Americans, they were born here, but they’re also Serbian because I’m from there. They’re going to speak both languages, learn both cultures.”

On “back home”

  • “I’m big over there. Let’s put it this way: Michael Jordan is over here like I am over there.”

On his country

  • “When Monica Seles started playing tennis, I was so proud of here because she’s from my country. People are suffereing and many people are dying, so I’m proud for things that people from my country do.”

On European NBA players’ families

  • “We speak different languages, but we are far away and in the same situation. Missing our families, not going home that often. When we play against each other, we try to get together and have dinner.”

On dedicating his life to basketball

  • “I left my parents when I was 12 to play basketball because we had no team in our town. My father was behind me 100 percent. He didn’t want me to regret it later. I don’t.”

On family

  • “My parents come here almost year during the winter time there so they can save some money and don’t pay electricity. I’m so happy to see them. My parents did everything for us and put us in the right direction. I always say to them, ‘I wish my kids were like yours because we’re successful.’”

On arriving

  • “When I first came here in ’89, I crossed in the locker room, and when I saw Magic, Worthy, Byron and A.C., I couldn’t believe it…I saw those guys on TV and I just couldn’t believe I was playing with them. I was scared. I remember Jerry West was waiting for me at the airport, and whatever he said was great. I din’t know what he was talking about since I didn’t speak English that first year. Everything was new and schocking, but it was great.”

On the war and Serbia/Croatia

  • “You must push yourself and try to leave those things in you home and do your best at your job…sometimes, when I play against Dino or Toni, we talk trash in Yugoslavian, so when we go to the free-throw line, we might have a hard time.”

On dreams and his country

  • “I remember a couple young guys I was helping in a camp in Bosnia. I told them the most important thing is to have a goal or a dream, and take the steps to that dream. The NBA is big there, especially after the road of success that I’ve been lucky to have. It’s much easier when someone does it in front of you and you can follow them.”

UPDATE! Ahmad Rashad just referenced this page and read the first two quotes on NBA Inside Stuff before the Sonics / Kings round 1 playoff game!