Tag Archives: coursera

What can we prove?

Evidence mounts in the strange case of proving that Kevin Bacon, the man who is seven degrees from everyone, has never been to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

The hypothesis: Kevin Bacon has NEVER visited the Liberty Bell


Exhibit A: Kevin Bacon standing in front of a VW beetle – not the Liberty Bell


Exhibits B-E: The Liberty Bell with accompanying visitors, none of which are Kevin Bacon


Exhibit F: The Liberty Bell, yet again, without Kevin Bacon anywhere in sight


Conclusion: Hypothesis accepted – Kevin Bacon has NEVER been to the Liberty Bell


What’s wrong with this argument?

Special thanks to Paul Offit, MD, whose Coursera Vaccines Class inspired this investigation


Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Two minutes into my latest coursera lecture….

Two minutes into my latest coursera lecture (introduction to interactive programming in python) the instructor indicated his frustration in javascript programming saying that it’s a terrible language. This may be the case… so far I don’t have a lot to compare against, but I have been enjoying learning JS in codecademy and I’m dying to know why he thinks so.

If you have experience programming in javascript and python (or other languages…ruby?) let me know if you agree with the above statement and what makes you think so. As a new programmer I am interested in learning as much as possible – if I can understand what faults people see in these languages I think that would be very instructive.



Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock

The first project in ‘An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python’, a course I am taking / watching in Coursera is writing code to analyze the results of randomly generated  rock paper scissors lizard Spock games. This game is an adaptation of the standard rock paper scissors with two added items… because it comes from Big Bang Theory, of course it has Spock.

By the way, we often play Rock Paper Scissors at home, but try to come up with new symbols  fairly often.

(Alien populates asteroid, asteroid smashes spaceship, spaceship shoots alien)

(The witch commands the flying monkeys, The flying monkeys carry away Dorothy, Dorothy melts the witch)

The trick for me when writing this code was remembering to import the random module and getting the syntax correct for the if/elif/else statements:

if difference == 1 or difference == 2:
winner = “player”
if difference == 3 or difference == 4:
winner = “computer”
if difference == 0:
winner = “tie”

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Intro to Genetics and Evolution

I wanted to point any readers to what looks like an interesting online class offered by Coursera that is just starting. It’s called Introduction to Genetics and Evolution.The class officially started Wednesday, Oct 10, so there is still plenty of time to join in. I’m following it and would love to talk with any of you about that material if you decide to follow along. Two good reasons to check it out:

#1 It’s free

#2 There’s no risk in signing up – if you sign up and then don’t participate, there’s no penalty

If you decide to check it out, let me know. I’d love to have people to discuss the course with.


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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


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