### Calories in Christmas Ale for 2011

There are approximately 278 calories in each 12 fluid ounces of Great Lakes Christmas Ale this year, if my math is correct. Below are my calculations, if you would like to know how I came to this answer. To calculate the number on your own: grab a hydrometer, calculate the final gravity, plug your findings into the equations below, and let me know if I did it right!

First we need to find the original gravity:

Alcohol(by weight) = 76.08(OG-FG)/(1.775-OG)
7.5 = 76.08(x - 1.012) / (1.775 - x)
7.5(1.775 - x) = 76.08(x - 1.012)
13.3125 - 7.5x = 76.08x - 76.99
90.3025 = 83.58x
x = 1.080
OG = 1.080

Now, for the calories calculation:

C = 851(1.080 - 1)(1.080 + 3)
C = 851 * 0.080 * 4.080
C = 277.77

Historical Values:
Christmas Ale 2010 = ???
Christmas Ale 2009 = 313.25
Christmas Ale 2008 = 242.45

### Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?

 Paul W. Litchfield (via Summit Memory)
I have been reading through primary sources at the University of Akron's Archive for a research paper that I am writing, and I have come across some interesting documents. Below is an essay written in 1937 for the Chamber of Commerce by the CEO of Goodyear, Paul Litchfield. Based upon his latter writings, such as this one, he has what contemporary business people might consider to be an outright liberal attitude. It is likely that his views were shaped by the post-depression unionism movement as well as the rise of communism and fascism.

In the first four sections he discusses the labor laws and customs of Great Brittan, Canada, Australia, and the US (specifically with rail roads). The transcription begins at section five. The emphasis is mine.

### Steve Jobs

I am not the type of person who is normally enthralled with famous people whom I do not know, but I am truly saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs. It could just be that I am huge fan of his company’s products, after all some of those products led me to where I am today. The first computer I used was an Apple IIe (for playing the Oregon Trail), and HyperCard on the Macintosh is what sparked my interest in computer programming. Of course I know that Steve Jobs could not have create these products without teams of intelligent and dedicated individuals, but based upon the history of Apple it seems that Steve provided the environment which allowed these people to excel.

My perception is that Mr. Jobs had a vision for products that few people outside of Apple could comprehend, and fortunately he stood by those ideas while the rest of the industry went a different direction. He did not suffer from the myopia that many other tech industry executives suffer from, and Apple is positioned for the future because of it. Apple focused on quality products rather than commodity products, Apple retained hardware expertise rather than outsourcing all of its hardware engineering to Asia, Apple synchronized its products while other firms allowed rifts to grow between segments. Apple became what it is today because Steve Jobs saw things differently from his peers.

Many people are different or think different, but too many people suppress their uniqueness in order to fit in with their peers. It is the safe thing to do and it happens just as much in the business world as it does in high schools. It seems that Steve had the courage to embrace his unique perspective. This is why I admired him. And, if I can teach my own children one thing I hope it is that they should embrace their unique perspective on the world. To that end I have included the commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave to Stanford in 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a \$2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

A prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

### k-D Tree Nearest Neighbor Search

Yesterday I posted a simple demonstration of the kD tree data structure, today I am posting an animation of the nearest neighbor search algorithm for it. The tree itself should be very straightforward for any one familiar with trees; the nearest neighbor search is where things get a little tricky. I looked up the nearest neighbor algorithm on Wikipedia and was not entirely clear how it worked. I suspect that most people would not understand the description there unless they already understood the algorithm, which is probably why you are here. So, I created an animation that hopefully makes things easier to understand.

The first step is to locate the location where the point would be located if it were added to the tree. As the tree is traversed the distance between the point and the current node should be recorded. Next, you have to go back up the tree evaluating each branch of the tree that could have points within the current minimum distance. Check out the animation below to get a better idea of how it works.

Great explanation and visualisation - helped me a lot. Same story here about the Wikipedia article. :D

### k-D Tree

For my current algorithms class I am working on a program that demonstrates the power of k-D trees, but before I implement any new data structure or algorithm I have to completely understand how it works. So, I created an animation that shows how a k-D tree is constructed. Later I will create an animation explaining the nearest neighbor search of a k-D tree.

A k-D tree is similar to a binary tree except that it can be used to search over k dimensions. Each level of the tree represents an alternating dimension, when traversing the tree the portion of the point represented by by the levels dimension is evaluated.

To keep things simple the example below only shows two dimensions; it is easier to expand the data structure, once you understand it, than it is to expand the example.