More Ramblings from a Los Angeles Programmer

November 15, 2009

What does the science say: Energy Drinks

Filed under: debunking, meta, science — Tags: , — Josh DeWald @ 10:48 am

I have posted a new entry on my new blog devoted to these things (so my programmer readers don’t have their RSS reader unnecessarily flooded with large texts about things they don’t care about). This one is about energy drinks, specifically whether or not they are bad for you. I don’t really make any attempt to show their benefits or efficacy.

Briefly: I can find no evidence that popular energy drinks are any worse for you than other soft drinks.

Available here: and here:

I am looking to create a more collaborative way of doing all these if any interest turns up… but right now I think most of this is for my own amusement 🙂


July 3, 2007

Answer to my “Considered Harmful” poser

Filed under: daily life, linguistics, meta — Josh DeWald @ 3:02 pm

Immediately after I posed my question, I realized I should have asked Language Log (a great “language as it’s used” multi-contributor blog) first. I emailed one of the contributors (Mark Liberman specifically). Rather than just answer my question, he made a full Language Log post!

Of course, the first part of the article makes me realize how little research I did prior to my question. There’s a Wikipedia entry and if you do a Google search for “Considered Harmful” the Dijikstra article that I was thinking of is the first result (as I mentioned in my previous entry). Turns out that that wasn’t in fact the first usage, but seems to have started the trend. But if I hadn’t been thorough, then we wouldn’t all get the full analysis courtesy of Language Log.

Thanks guys!

Update: It helps if I link properly.

June 2, 2007

Playing around with RSS

Filed under: coding, meta, technology — Josh DeWald @ 7:31 pm

I finally got around to doing some non-work coding after going to Google Developer Day 2007 (in London). One of the big themes was ‘mashups’, which have become pretty common. Anyhow, I’ve never been much of a web developer, but I’m a huge user of Google Reader and probably add at least 1 feed a day. Anyhow, while I was there I remembered that I’ve been wanting to “classify” the data in them so I can group them together, maybe pull some trends out.

I’m not really anywhere near that yet, but I’ve got a “feed analysis” toy up on my site. When you’re there you’ll quickly see how much I’m *not* a web developer. You can just enter the URL to an RSS feed (by default it’s just the feed from my blog) and it’ll try to extract the “interesting” phrases and sentences from it. I’m not quite sure where I want to go with this, but I hope to keep tinkering with it enough that it becomes something  useful for me. I believe there are already similar tools out there, but it’s still fun to play with.

Would love to hear from anybody on what types of features you’re looking for in terms of feed grouping/trending. Right now it can really only serve as a sort of ‘auto-tagging’ tool. I’m interested in document classification, but am fairly new to it, so as my naivety goes down, so should the tool.

Create a free website or blog at