Author Archive - Charlie

About Charlie:

How many indie kids does it take to screw in a light bulb? It's an obscure number - you've probably never heard of it.

Women’s World Cup Final

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Americans have come to expect superiority in all sports. We have the best basketball, baseball, and football teams in the world. We have 2,549 Olympic medals, more than any country. We have even produced the most Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest winners. Why can’t we produce the best soccer players?

Actually, we can. The US Women’s National Team has made a comeback at this year’s Women’s World Cup, overturning deficits in games as well as the downward trend since we last won a World Cup in 1999. In fact, the USWNT is the joint most successful women’s team with two titles, tied with Germany who won both titles since 1999. We are the only team to make it to at least the semifinals in every tournament so far, and this year we’re in the finals again, contesting for a record breaking third World Cup.

Each star on top of the logo represents a World Cup victory. Three would nicely match the existing three in the logo.

Some might scoff at the importance of superiority in soccer, whether men’s or women’s, but Americans should take special pride in the fact that we have one of the best women’s teams in the world, even while we don’t have the best men’s team. The success of our women’s program is a testament to gender equality and opportunity for all athletes in the US. Consider that a country that values soccer as much as Italy didn’t even qualify their women’s national team for the Women’s World Cup. The USWNT defeated the best footballing country in the world, Brazil, in the quarterfinals of the competition this year. Our fantastic team is built not so much on a strong soccer culture in the US, but on decades of promoting female athletes, including great funding for our women’s program compared to other countries. In fact, it is the success of our women’s team that could very well continue the development of a strong soccer culture in the US.

Kelley O'Hara representing Stanford on the national team.

If this isn’t enough to get you excited about the USWNT, consider that three players of the twenty on the World Cup squad are Stanford graduates: Nicole Barnhart ’04, Rachel Buehler ’07, Kelley O’Hara ’09. No other school has as many on the team.

The USWNT faces Japan in the final tomorrow, Sunday July 17th, at 11:45 Pacific time. The USWNT has never lost to Japan in any of their 25 meetings. What a perfect chance to watch the US dominate at yet another sporting event. Go USA!

Six Word Story Contest Winners

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

A huge thanks to everyone who participated in our Six Word Story Contest! We had over 125 entries, and so many of them were fantastic.

We’ve selected three prize winners, with a good mix of plot, humor, and wit:

Freud seems skeptical about that third one.

Tree falls, crushes mime.  No sound. by Seth.

Large crowd, cheering my name? …Zombies! by Sophie.

Freud slipped and yelled “Mother Fucker!” by Carlo.

These were also great, and definitely worthy of an honorable mention:

To do: Overthrow Dictator, Celebrate, Repeat.
It seems counterintuitive, but trust me.
Julius Agreer came, saw, and concurred.
The men never saw Earth again.
Gun-show ticket scalpers never succeed.
Fwd: fwd: I moderately support this!
Jack Bauer, Red-Green colorblind. Boom.
Hitting command+S: illusion of productivity.
Six foot woman, five foot coffin.
For sale: Hemingway book, never read.
Horse tattoo is now a giraffe.
Fired employee stole rope and stationery.
In search of baby. Have shoes.
For sale: assless chaps. gently used.
Invisible sheep make herding more fun.
Jedi mind trickster gains free refills.
Scrabble in Chinese was really hard.

Thanks again for all the entries, all but one of which were actually six words long! Well done! Our winners will receive a brand-spanking new TUSB t-shirt, as well as a gift certificate.

TUSGraph: Why Dates are at 6:00 PM

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

TUSB Writing Contest: Six Word Stories

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Hemingway's decent submission to our contest.

The Unofficial Stanford Blog’s latest contest:

Prove your wit by submitting entries.

Who has time for long stories?

Six words, no fewer, no more.

Submit via email, twitter, or comments.

Use hashtag or subject line “sixwordstory”.

Unlimited entries, prizes for the best.

Writer’s Block? Here are good examples:

I did! For the whole post!

One tree – thousand matches. One match…

Scientists just broke up; no chemistry.

From ugly duckling to beautiful cassoulet.

Emo cowboys draw weapons, shoot themselves.

Escape velocity meant nothing without her.

It sounded better seventeen hotdogs ago.

Good luck! Enter by February 27th.

TUSGraph: Recorded Lectures

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

For the first time at Stanford, I’m taking a class which I have to watch online. It’s amazing how inefficient this is. I wish I could say it takes me 2.5 hours to watch a 1.5 hour lecture online because I’m replaying sections I misunderstand. Hopefully I’ll settle into the region of learning soon. Today I spent 0 minutes watching my 90 minute lecture, though…

TUSGraph: Outsourced

Friday, January 7th, 2011

There’s some great stuff going on in the visual information world outside of my posts (hard to believe, right?). I thought I’d highlight some here.

First up is actually by a fellow Stanford student, Edward Segel. It’s a slick but simple recap of all of Pitchfork‘s album reviews from 2010, with a nice interface. If you’re like me and you hate reading words, then use this to skip the details of the Pitchfork reviews and go straight for the heart of the matter with the numerical album ratings. Well done, Edward. Pitchfork should be working harder to get a nice normal distribution.

This next one is all about color. Edgina simply posts a series of photos every day based on a color theme. The brilliant step was taken by dvdp when he noticed how awesome the time-mapped archive of all the images is. You wouldn’t be hurt by following either of those blogs.

Graphing Shakespeare is a sure way to work out both sides of your brain. These detailed script diagrams from Understanding Shakespeare are a visual and literary treat. Ditch the spark notes!.

Everyone loves it when their interests collide. Someone at Bill Sports Maps somehow found a way to nicely combine two of mine: geography and football..

A new take on people and perfection, this graphic is a great conversation starter. It’s very similar to the classic one: When you’re in college you get to pick two out of friends, school, and sleep.

Science nerds here at Stanford are constantly complaining about the scientific inaccuracies in movies, but it’s now nicely consolidated in a simple chart. Or maybe I just find this interesting after my roommate and I calculated that Iron Man would not be able to fly, even if we assumed his “hot pads” were hot enough to excite all the deuterium in the atmosphere enough to create a fusion reaction and propel him forward. Tony Stark must know something we don’t, but that’s not surprising.

Hope those will satisfy your graph cravings until the next TUSGraph. If not, stop by Sporcle!

TUSGraph: LectuRING

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It’s been a rough start to the quarter, kids. My classes have already been disrupted twelve times by cell phones, with the distribution shown above. I’m fairly sure all the emails and texts were on iPhones so they were easily identified, and I assumed it was a call if it was any extended ringtone. Of course, the phone call is the most embarrassing by an order of magnitude for three reasons:

1. You undoubtedly have the weirdest ringtone. No, no one else understands that it is the main theme from the soundtrack of your favorite Bollywood film.

2. Text and email notifications are a simple beep sometimes with a nice background vibration, but calls can last for thirty seconds. Plenty of time to figure out exactly where the offender is sitting.

3. As a result of 1 and 2, the offender scrambles like they are disarming a bomb to turn off their phones. My favorite is either when they frantically open all the pockets of their bag looking for it, or when they almost fall out of their seat trying to get it out of their pants pocket quickly.

Last quarter, someone even listened to a voicemail in one of my small lectures. Appalling.

And for the record, my phone as never gone off in class. Indication of responsible phone etiquette, or lack of friends? You decide.

(Sorry if the icon plot is a bit ridiculous. I’m trying to experiment with different graph styles this quarter.)

TUSGraph: Daylight Wastings Time

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Inventions for Stanford Students

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Bike safety:

Because God forbid anyone just wore a helmet to protect all that knowledge up there. In case of an accident, a helmet might protect what you remember from that foreign language you took in high school:

“Un sac à dos intelligent et signalant par des LED les directions prises par le cycliste : gauche ou droite. Conçu par Lee Myung Su Design Lab et intitulé “Seil Bag”, ce projet a remporté le prix du Design Concept au Red Dot Awards 2010. Explications et vidéo dans la suite de l’article.”

Earthquake safety:

This one is a bit ridiculous. It might calm the nerves of some, knowing they could rush to any doorway during an earthquake.

“In anticipation of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake possibly hitting the city of Istanbul by 2030, an MA design student named Younghwa Lee from Kingston’s University has designed a special kind of door that protects residents from falling quake debris. Designed to ensure safety and reduce injury or death, the door folds horizontally in the middle, while the bottom part remains braced against the floor for support. This allows the door to sit in an angle when the earthquake strikes while the person takes shelter under the fold.”


The World According to San Francisco

Friday, October 15th, 2010


Click the image for a larger version.

TUSGraph: [rustlerustlerustle]

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

A = Why I never hear the professor’s first few words of explanation on a new slide.

B = Secondary (or reflected) peak due to lazy/sleeping/day-dreaming students hearing their classmates turn the page in the notes, and reacting late.

TUSGraph: Coolest Bicycle on Campus

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube DirektBobby’s Goal

TUSGraph: .6x+6

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

I get older, they stay {that saw tooth function of amplitude and period one year, with DC bias of} the same age.

It should also be noted that according to the Half-Your-Age-Plus-Seven rule, at age 23, you are still eligible to date someone of age 18.5.

Which is why I’m a bigger fan of the Three-Fifths-Your-Age-Plus-Six rule. Do the math. It makes sense.

TUSGraph: HOW?sing

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This year, Stanford Housing found a new way to screw up the draw!  They forgot that staff members in row houses get singles, so they overbooked the singles in almost every row house.  The result is mayhem in most of the row houses that will result in either staff members losing their singles (which would be absurd – staff members should quit if they try and force this to happen) or people who got premium rooms in a row house getting doubles or moving to a different house.  It’s just a terrible situation in general, and every year I’m amazed at how housing finds a new way to blow it.

TUSGraph: It’s Not About What You Know…

Monday, May 17th, 2010

One of the great mysteries of graduation day; you don’t learn all that much at commencement, yet your value increases greatly in the seconds you receive your diploma.  As far as I’m concerned, hiring Stanford students for the summer has to be one of the best bargains for labor around.