Going Greek

It’s bad enough that we’re using Greek letters for hurricanes and product release phases (how’s that for juxtaposition?), but yesterday’s presentations became progressively top-heavy in their use of mathematical notation. Even though I used to be a math gΣΣk, it was too much and I bugged out around 2:30 to go biking. (That’s the excuse I’m sticking with.)

Seven lakes loop

I used the
Minneapolis’ parks deparment map to outline a loop to the south that took me along the Mississippi river then past seven (!) in-town lakes (Hiawatha, Nokomis, Harriet, Calhoun, Isles, Cedar, and Spring) for a total of 32 very flat miles.

The trails generally separate the cyclists (and skaters) from the pedestrians. The bike portions have a green line down the middle. Weather and wear have worn it down in parts, making it confusing when the bike trail makes a hard left and the pedestrian one continues. Around three of the lakes, the bike trail is intended to be one way, which I realized when a skater gave me the finger-shaking and scowl of disapproval. The paths are generally wide enough, though. It looks like I’ll have an opportunity to explore the northern part on Wednesday, where I hope to actually cross the Mississippi. (Trivia: Radio station call letters change from Kxxx to Wxxx.)

Very few of the other cyclists were wearing helmets. None of them smiled back. (Usually I see a 50% “wave back/head nod” rate here.) If I were to generalize, I’d also say they are also oblivious to the large, red octagon traffic placards (aka “Stop Signs”). It’s possibly a student thing. (Go Golden Gophers!)

The city has a network of downtown bike lanes smack dab in the middle of the road. On the right is car traffic going the same direction. On the left are opposing bus lanes. Sometimes. When I came back into town, rush hour was in full swing. Police were “helping” to direct traffic so people could get out of the parking garages. The problem is the roads are already clogged with cars. When the traffic changes, the officer has to move/stand somewhere. Guess where she stands? This was yet another time I was glad to have a rear view mirror to time my incursion into the traffic lane and not take out the person with the gun. I overshot my destination because I couldn’t figure out how to make a (legal) right turn in front of all that traffic.

This morning’s seminar series started off with someone trying to quantify “The Value of Visualization.” He presented this formula on the total profit of visualization, F, is:

F = nm(W(ΔK) – Cs – kCe) – Ci – nCu

    n is the number of visualization users
    W(ΔK) is the value of the knowledge gained from each visualization session
    m is the number of sessions
    Ci– development costs
    Cu– costs per user (time they spend learning, tailoring and selecting)
    Cs– costs per session (conversion of data)
    Ce– Perception and exploration costs

Here’s a simpler approach:

  • One Picture = 1,000 words
  • One Word is worth $0.50. (Values range from 0 (this blog) to as much as $6.00 (fictitious accounts from writing services hawking their pay-for advice). Most magazines pay less than $2.00 per word. Unestablished writers will be rocking to get $0.50 per word.)
  • Good visualization = 1 picture * 1,000 words/picture * $0.50 / word = worth $500
  • This is not too far off. Getty Images charges $79 – $249 for a royalty-free image, depending on the size of the image. Subscriptions to the same are $399/month.

    1 thought on “Going Greek”

    1. Physicist #1: “What’s new?”
      Physicist #2: “pi over lambda.”



      Um, yeah. Biking was a good choice.

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