Blog Posts

All models are wrong

2017 November 30

All models are wrong. Some models are useful. — George E.P. Box

Tags: complex systems data science

Life In Burlington

2017 November 13

Seen about town today… My taking note of this little flypost coincided with the the publication of this warning by 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries. Serendipity, perhaps. I try hard to see all sides, but I can’t help but feel that many actions of the current administration are truly mean-spirited, and not of the “help those who help themselves” or “cruel to be kind” variety. No doubt there are other explanations. ... Read more …

Tags: burlington

Welcome Back, Kotter

2017 November 8

Seen about town today… A dude on bicycle with boombox playing John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” (the theme from “Welcome Back, Kotter”) at high volume. A woman standing next to a parked car, screaming through the window at a baby in the back seat. A fellow in a big SUV evincing considerable road rage when the car in front of him stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Woman in a ragtop with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. ... Read more …

Tags: burlington

Mewling, Spitting, Dogs, Doors, Lights, and Body Armor. Oh, and Socialism Sucks.

2017 October 27

Seen about town today… A half-dozen or so young women, hugging and making mewling noises A really cute puppy named “Suzie” Folks in lift trucks putting up holiday lights on Church Street A dog sitting on a cushion in the window of Burton’s downtown store, yawning A red door, being painted black Someone who’d cut little holes in their window screens—about 3 cm in diameter. They were sitting by the window, watching the world go by, and spitting onto the pavement below through one such hole. ... Read more …

Tags: burlington

You Are Amazing!

2017 October 24

Seen about town today… Near the Royall Tyler Theatre Near College and Center, someone was trying to parallel park and failing miserably. They hit the curb with their car angled at about 45-degrees. I guess the dismay was visible on my face. Another passer-by noticed, saw the car, looked me in the eye and said “Yup. That’s ugly.” A few blocks down on College there was a group of five women – one was giving a tour. ... Read more …

Tags: burlington

Art Spiegelman: How Not To Position a Lavalier Mic

2017 October 19

Art Spiegelman is speaking at UVM right now. What is the subject of his talk? Something about comics and graphic novels, I gather, but beyond that I could not say. An acute listener could, however, ascertain a great deal regarding the resonant frequencies of Mr Spiegelman’s chest cavity. A badly positioned microphone and inept sound reinforcement meant that only the lower frequencies emanating from Mr Spiegelman’s general vicinity were amplified. ... Read more …

Tags: uvm

Hume on What Makes Truth Agreeable

2017 October 18

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Section X: “The first and most considerable circumstance requisite to render truth agreeable, is the genius and capacity, which is employ’d in its invention and discovery. What is easy and obvious is never valu’d; even what is in itself difficult, if we come to the knowledge of it without difficulty, and without any stretch of thought or judgment, is but little regarded. ... Read more …

Tags: philosophy

Butthead, Chubbs, and the Cycle of Destruction and Renewal

2017 October 17

Seen about town … A note, dropped on the sidewalk, giving thanks to Butthead and Chubbs. The continuing cycle of destruction and renewal at UVM.

Tags: burlington

Armada for Ron

2017 October 15

For Ron: With love, –Montag

Tags: burlington

I Almost Cried

2017 October 11

This came in the mail today and I almost cried. Someone who works at Cranbrook House sent this to me. They tried once and it was returned, and they tracked me down and resent it. Finally after forwarding it found its way here. Enclosed was a thank-you note and a photo of an etching I made in 1978, when I was a teenager at Cranbrook School. The note reads: Dear Mr Cafiero - Just a short note to tell you how much I enjoy seeing your artwork that is displayed at Cranbrook House on a daily basis. ... Read more …

Tags: art