I teach political economy and statistics at a large public university in the US. You can find my academic website here.

The Waste Book very occasionally collects my passing thoughts on politics, economics, statistics, data visualization, life, culture, and everything.

We aim for funny, will settle for intriguing, and, the times and the Internet being what they are, resign ourselves to a certain amount of bemoaning.



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naked promotion

computing · February 16, 2013 · comments

Wedding Website using PHP and CSS

by Chris Adolph

Unhappy with the pre-fab wedding websites available on the web – and not a little suspicious about the uses to which my personal data would be put by generous companies willing to give me a site for free* – I built this website for my upcoming wedding.

To possibly save you some trouble, I provide my code as a platform for building your own site on the following conditions: (1) the code is not warranted for any purpose whatsoever, nor is any documentation or support supplied or promised; (2) you may reuse or rewrite the code without additional permission; and (3) you may not charge anyone for use of the code, in original or revised form, nor may you charge a fee for use of any website built using the code. Note that my wedding site uses proprietary fonts (not included) and image files containing original artwork, personal photographs, and streaming videos (also not included and not available for reuse). You’ll need to supply your own fonts and images, and you’ll need rewrite the website code as necessary to display your fonts and images.

With all those caveats out of the way, you can find my PHP codebase, stylesheet, and file structure here.


*As they say – with a Yakov Smirnoff accent, no less – if you can’t figure out what product a social networking site is selling, then product is you!

tags: technical

computing · March 20, 2012 · comments

Social Science Computing for the Mac in 15 Steps and $29

by Chris Adolph

as a uantitative social scientist, I use software every day that many people have never even heard of. At the same time, I don’t even have a copy of Microsoft Word or PowerPoint on my laptop. As you might imagine, just finding, installing, and configuring scientific software can be quite a distracting quest. Students embarking on quantitative social science careers may be interested in how my own computing environment is set up, so they can get on with the business of using these tools instead of searching for them.

I’ll assume you’re a Ph.D. student in political science, sociology, economics, statistics, or a cognate discipline, and that you want to develop solutions for at least a few of the following tasks: modern statistical computing, editing code, typesetting scientific papers, making lecture slides, producing publication quality scientific graphics, and developing websites. I will also assume that you use a Mac. Most of the applications below exist for Windows in some form, and many exist for Linux/Unix, but I will leave advice for finding these resources to another day and to commenters.

Where do you get started? I’ll begin with step-by-step recommendations for essentials, and then follow with some optional extras.  read on

tags: technical

computing · January 3, 2012 · comments

Workaround for PPower4 error under MacTeX
using PDF version 1.5

by Chris Adolph

PPower4 is an elegant but no-longer maintained post-processor for LaTeX slides that replicates the essential features of PowerPoint. The beamer class has largely replaced PPower4, but for those of us with lots of legacy PPower4 slides to maintain, or who simply like PPower4 for certain tasks,* here is a workaround for an annoying bug.

If you try to use PPower4 to process a pdf file made with a recent version of MacTeX, you’ll get an error like this one:

This is PPower4 version 0.9.4.
de.tu_darmstadt.sp.paul.PDFParserException: Encountered "838" at line 0, column 2536948.
Was expecting:
  "xref" ...

Why happening!? MacTeX now outputs pdf version 1.5, which has extensions that PPower4 doesn’t know how to parse and is unlikely to ever be able to handle.

Make better! Just add \usepackage{pdf14} to the preamble of your LaTeX document. I offer no guarantees or additional support, but it worked for me.


*I still use PPower4 for graduate lecture slides. The light backgrounds and assorted chrome on beamer are nifty in short presentations, but if I had to stare at beamer slides for three hours straight every day, I think I’d scratch my eyes out.

tags: technical

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Content © 2011–4
Chris Adolph

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Erika Steiskal

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