the novanet

Archive for the ‘Smarts’ Category

Function Recipes

I was looking for some inspiration for what to cook up tonight, and while browsing through my recipes noticed something that stuck out just a bit. Apparently, I made up this zoned (!) quesadilla recipe while sitting in a class.


Edit: Looks like hints on solving some induction problem.

Written by Matt

2014/03/25 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Smarts

Editing Arches Photos

When a photo isn’t worth rescuing, it can be pretty dang fun to just blow it away.





Written by Matt

2013/12/02 at 6:36 pm

Rttr – Learning jQuery

Rttr "ritter" source code

Rttr “ritter” source code

I was in Cheyenne for work things this last week and walked into Barnes & Noble for the first time in years. It took me a while to find where the technical books had gotten moved to, but once I did I decided to buy a jQuery book. jQuery is a powerful Javascript library that helps empower front-end web developers (the guys who program what you see on your browser).

I spent an evening skimming the book, and then got to work on an actual project today. You can see the results at the top of this very blog.

Using jQuery, the fancy title box at the top of the site embeds and cycles through any images (of appropriate dimensions, that are locally hosted) already on the site. You may notice as you scroll down that it also has a funky way of moving on its own, to try to give you tantalizing peeks through the small view-port. On a post like this, you won’t see any cycling (there’s only one image, after all) but go check out the main site or any post with lots of images and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Back when I bought this domain I told myself I’d use it for learning to develop for the web. Glad I finally am.

Written by Matt

2013/07/25 at 4:13 pm

Facebook Integration


So, I just spent the afternoon getting facebook like buttons and facebook comments on my site. The downside to this is, any old comments will appear nuked to anyone that can’t trawl through the comments database (in other words, everyone who isn’t me).

So, that’s too bad, but hey, shiny! Oh, and if all went well, this post’ll show up automagically on my facebook timeline. The gratuitous Baltar shot is to test some image tie-ins back on the FB side.

Let me know if you find any problems on the site.

Written by Matt

2013/02/18 at 2:27 pm

Backpacking Partners

The wilderness is vast but a two-person tent is not.

-Ken Hilton, on poor backpacking partners.

Written by Matt

2013/02/12 at 6:01 pm

Published – A Follow Up

Awhile ago I had a post celebrating my getting published. A year later there’s finally a pdf up on the web, so for my own sake, here’s a link to that as well, and the abstract below.

Lossless 3-D reconstruction and registration of semi-quantitative gene expression data in the mouse brain

Matthew A. Enlow, Tao Ju, Ioannis A. Kakadiaris, and James P. Carson

As imaging, computing, and data storage technologies improve, there is an increasing opportunity for multiscale analysis of three-dimensional datasets (3-D). Such analysis enables, for example, microscale elements of multiple macroscale specimens to be compared throughout the entire macroscale specimen. Spatial comparisons require bringing datasets into co-alignment. One approach for co-alignment involves elastic deformations of data in addition to rigid alignments. The elastic deformations distort space, and if not accounted for, can distort the information at the microscale. The algorithms developed in this work address this issue by allowing multiple data points to be encoded into a single image pixel, appropriately tracking each data point to ensure lossless data mapping during elastic spatial deformation. This approach was developed and implemented for both 2-D and 3-D registration of images. Lossless reconstruction and registration was applied to semi-quantitative cellular gene expression data in the mouse brain, enabling comparison of multiple spatially registered 3-D datasets without any augmentation of the cellular data. Standard reconstruction and registration without the lossless approach resulted in errors in cellular quantities of ~ 8%


It’s been quite a while since I did the work that resulted in that paper. That summer I decided research was what I wanted to do, but I also learned that I didn’t want to do it in computational biology. The work was fun and interesting, but it just wasn’t for me. I’ll leave the organics to my folks.

So, I started looking for what I would go to grad school for. I had been studying Japanese for a year back then, and thought, if I was lucky, I might just find a field that would let me combine my budding passion for language with what I’d spent all my time at university doing, computer science. Trawling the wikipedia computer science page I saw a magical field within the domain of computer science with a key word in it: “language”. A few clicks later I had the Ph.D. thesis of some Australian guy entitled “Making Lexical Sense of Japanese{English MachineTranslation: A Disambiguation Extravaganza“.

I printed it off immediately, right there in the middle of my shift at a government job, and read it all. The descriptions of the algorithms tried and tested in the Ph.D. had me excited to jump ahead to the results; I wanted to see that data with the same thrilled anxiety that has you wanting to skip ahead in the latest chronicle of your favorite fictional character’s adventures. Clearly, this was the field for me. I was getting off reading the Ph. D. thesis of some stranger published ten years before.

That summer, I decided what I would do with my life for the next few years. The next summer the Critical Language Scholarship(CLS) would take me to Japan and finally give me real instruction in Japanese. After that, I would do a year at Tohoku University in a program that lets you focus the majority of your time on research. I’d work under Professor Inui Kentarou, who just happened to go to school with that Auzzie guy from earlier. This seemingly random fact, along with the amazingly fruitful results from my year of research at Tohoku, would be my key into the University of Melbourne for graduate school, where that Auzzie just happened to be head of the Natural Language Processing lab. Six years (more, knowing me) of my life, figured out over a few hot summer days in a desert in Washington.

CLS had over 600 applicants to their Japanese program; some thirty odd hopefuls got in. Of course they took me, they had to. After all, I had a mission. I got in to Tohoku without any problem, and was so caught up in my dream I was reading definitive texts on NLP while my friends were climbing rocks.

Reading at the belay station

But things stopped going quite the way I had planned for them to. Nothing really came of my ambitions at Tohoku, and now that it’s two years after I hatched my Plans a very different Matt is making decisions. The hardest depression spell I’ve ever had wrecked a semester, depression and your grades but I’ve somehow made my way out of it with an appreciation for life I’ve never felt before.

Graduate school no longer seems as immediate. Even with graduation within sight no applications filled with the fevered writings of a man with a Vision have been put in my mailbox. I’ve been offered a job in a town where I’ve learned how to love my life, which is so full of loving friends, adventures, fun, and beautiful sites that I’m rather at a loss as to how I came to have it.

Maybe the day will come that I’m giving as much time to my noggin as I currently am to my climbing rack and skis, but it’s somewhere out on the horizon. Give it two years, when a new and changed Matt is in the wheel again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got four days of skiing to attend.

けやけやそりゃどうせな  けやけやそりゃどうせだめだ  やめられないやめられない  どうせだめだけどやめられない

Written by Matt

2013/01/10 at 10:45 am


Ken in Boulder Canyon

Finals week came and went. Since I dropped half of my class-load back in October it was hardly stressful times for me. Ken and I talked about taking a trip at the end of the week and climbing for a few days to celebrate the end of school, but one of my two finals lay on a Thursday. Unperturbed, I sent an email to the class’s instructor asking if I couldn’t take it a few days early.

From: Matt Enlow | To: Professor X

Professor X,

Would it be possible for me to take the final exam early on Monday, or, failing that, Tuesday?
Matt Enlow
From: Professor X | To: Matt Enlow
An alternative final exam is only allowed for an extreme situation. Can you provide me a reason for your request?
Professor X
From:  Matt Enlow | To: Professor X
Rock climbing is certainly extreme. I’m just not sure if it’s quite the sort of extreme you’re looking for.
From: Professor X | To: Matt Enlow
See you Thursday.

So it was that Ken and I climbed in Boulder Canyon on Wednesday, spent time eating and drinking with his cousaunt (sic) in Boulder proper afterwards, and I studied not one bit for my final exam at ten the next day

Priorities, baby.

Me in boulder canyon

(Oh, and count ‘em — that’s two days of T-shirt climbing in December)


Written by Matt

2012/12/18 at 2:42 pm

Sick, Brah: The Ineloquence Of Talking About The Outdoors (from

I spent two hours this morning without a shirt pulling on plastic rocks screwed into boards canted out fifty degrees in a small room on the fifth story of an old, beat up building in downtown Laramie with my Thailand-bound climbing partner Ken (also shirtless). In those two hours of chalk, sweat, and demon snarls I expressed a vocabulary not exceeding fifty words, with the three most frequent being “rad”, “gnar”, and “sick”.

Ken is a graduate student in French, I’m a hobbyist linguist seventh-year college student, and I feel both of us would rank “conversating” intelligently not too far under climbing on our list of Things We Enjoy. What I’m saying is, there’s no excuse for the way we talk when we’re “getting our bro on”, as it were. We discussed our habit of bro-speak (and in particular, a growing fear that the word “gnar” was working its way into every-day life) during noontime coffee, and later in the day he sent me an email with the link I’m putting below.

Next time you’re standing around a campfire, count the number of friends you have who are smart enough to potentially climb the corporate ladder, but dumb enough to climb mountains for “fun,” able to talk in the jargon of business, but prefer to talk in the dialect of radness, at least on weekends. You probably know lots of people like that. Or maybe you are people like that.

via Sick, Brah: The Ineloquence Of Talking About The Outdoors |

Written by Matt

2012/11/10 at 8:14 am

Photo Editing Inari Shrine

Playing around in software I previously only considered useful for browsing through my folders and folders of digital photos has taught me the value of even the simplest, automated digital editing.

It can take a picture from this

to this

Look at how much more prominent the statues are, while their foggy, eerie background is still preserved. I first started using photos edited in this way just a little bit ago with my photos from Korea, but from now on it’s going to happen to all photos before I look at uploading them.

That’s not too say the color-normalization always goes well – infact, I’ve noticed it is often unflattering to skin tones. But hey, who wants to see people in photos anyways?

These photos were taken from the first thing we visited during our second day in Kyoto, which I reckon’ you’ll see more of someday in the future.

Another set of before and after, this time, pictures of a swimming hole I went to on my second day in Korea:

What’s in a Name

Saturday I attended a gathering at the famed watering hole “Waterr”, where everyone was suppose to be fashioned in red. I say this as an explanation for the lousy amounts of it you can see in the photo below the next paragraph.

I had invited my 後輩 from the lab, that is, another study abroad guy who joined Inui-ken with the new semester. He’s sporting a name that seems to be fairly common within our generation: another Matt. Note that when I write his name in English, there’s nothing to be done about it but to write it exactly the same as mine. We’ve only got the one script, after all.

In Japanese, we have a few more options.

Matt and Matt

On Japanese Syllabaries

When Matt and I both signed up to go to a fare-well party our lab was holding on, the event’s list of participants had both our names written on it, but each written in a different script. One was written in Katakana, and the other, Hiragana.

Katakana and Hiragana are symbols standing for the exact same sounds – that is, there is a one-to-one correspondence between Hiragana and Katakana characters. The difference lies only in shape and usages, and from those differences comes a sort of… gut feeling, if you will; some sort of subconscious association between the characters and something in the back of your mind. Thus the same word will have a different impact written in both of the syllabaries.

Katakana was traditionally established and used by men. It is characterized by simple figures, sharp angles and straight edges. Nowadays it is used to transliterate foreign words like “rock climbing” into the closest thing Japanese can get: ロッククライミング (rokku ku-rai-mingu), as well as as a sort of italics for Japanese words. This is the script I’m use to seeing my own name in, as foreigners’ names are written in it.
Hiragana was developed after Katakana by aristocratic women looking to get into the world of early Japanese literature but who found themselves forbidden to use the manly Katakana script. So, they created their own. Compared to Katakana, Hiragana are far more fluid, flowing, and soft. They often have loops and bends, features completely lacking from Katakana. If I tell you both of the following characters are for the same syllable, one written in Katakana and the other in Hiragana, it should be obvious to you which is which.


Hiragana is now the standard way of inscribing the sounds of the Japanese language itself. It is used as a reading guide above difficult or rare Kanji words (this is called “furigana”). It is also the script used for the grammatical particles and affixes that appear in standard Japanese.

Your typical written sentence in Japanese will consist mainly of Kanji and Hiragana, with Katakana appearing only when an imported foreign word needs to be used.

With all that background laid out, perhaps you’ll have a glimmer of why Matt and I goodnaturedly started arguing about whose name had been written in Hiragana – まっと – and whose had been written in Katakana – マット. We both wanted to be the the original and manly マット, because Hiragana is girly and its not okay for men to be feminine. We set up our arguments and eventually took it to the courts.

I presented a rather strong case. I had been at the lab for a longer period of time, and was also the elder Matt. You have may heard that seniority is a Big Deal in Japanese culture. Furthermore, I’m just more manly, dangit. Look at all my adventures! Just look! With those details in the clear, it should be obvious that my face was in mind when the sender wrote マット.

We eventually took the argument up to the top, and the gent who sent off the letter bowed to my side of the case. Go me.

Go マット!

Written by Matt

2012/06/26 at 3:30 pm