Hi there. I’m Brian, online handle
betaveros, and this is a blog where I post just about anything. I used to introduce myself at length here, but now that I have a real website let’s just talk about this blog. I always used to describe it by saying I post a lot of “random stuff”, and many other people describe their blogs that way too, but after a while (like, a few years?) I realized this is a cop-out from actually trying to describe the content of blog, not to mention overselling my ability to generate true randomness. On a good day I can maybe score 65% on the Aaronson Oracle (where 50% is perfectly random and 100% is completely predictable).
I like mathematics and computer science, so I post about these topics. That’s where the blog name comes from: “Bounded-error” is the B of the complexity class BPP, the class of decision problems solvable by a randomized Turing machine (with probability bounded away from 1/2), and “Log” is the inverse of the exponential function. I also record things about my life here; you can naturally interpret “Log” as a list of records, the same meaning that gave us the word “blog” in the first place. Sometimes I am counterproductively perfectionist about my posts, so taken literally, the title is also a reminder to myself that it’s okay to make and publish mistakes sometimes. (If you spot any mistakes, please let me know.)
As I go over in more detail below, the posts on this blog are very old and many have been migrated twice, so I don’t have good stats that I can use to convincingly recommend posts to read. Still:
If you’re interested in high school olympiad stuff: My posts about my experiences at IMO 2012 (the contest itself is covered in Part 4 for Day 1 and Part 5 for Day 2) and IOI 2014 (both days of the contest itself are covered in Part 2) are somewhat popular. I look back at all my olympiad experiences five years later in Olympiads: The Infinitely Overdue Retrospective, which is probably the single post on this blog I’ve spent the most time trying to write.
I realized while compiling this list that there’s actually pretty little math on this blog. Just Enough Elliptic Curves to Be Dangerous is probably the best recent example (of few), and people still look at Matrix Intuition from time to time.
Generic persuasion, advice, or just waxing philosophical? Recent stuff includes How to Choose an MIT Username, Writing for the Mundane, and On #DeleteFacebook. Older stuff (which I do not claim to actually be good, but would like to offer anyway, in the hopes that people who really just want to read posts from years ago will see them instead of the other posts with even lower quality) includes Pangs; On Islam, Headlines, and Definitions; and Variance.
Oh yeah, there are also puzzles.
I’ve made and posted a couple grid-based logic puzzles and a handful of puzzlehunt puzzles on this blog, but haven’t found much time or inspiration recently. (When I have had good ideas recently, they’ve gone into the Galactic Puzzle Hunt. If you’ve never heard of puzzlehunts, I did write a fairly comprehensive Introduction to Puzzlehunts.)
For logic puzzles on this blog, instructions are generally on top of the post, sometimes with external links. I post a lot more mutants and hybrids than classic types, though, so many puzzles are one-of-a-kind. If you’re new to them, Sudoku is the classic classic logic puzzle type — all the rules are different but I think solving these puzzles involves the same kind of mindset.
Puzzle 43 / Fillomino [Nonrectangular + Walls] (not too hard once you get the hang of it) is probably my favorite, followed perhaps by Puzzle 45 / Fillomino [No-Path] and Puzzle 31 / Fillomino [Sashigane], which are both harder. I guess Fillominoes are pretty awesome because you can slap whatever you want onto them and get a fun variant.
These images are made with my own program for the purpose, Gridderface. It’s written in Scala and is open-source on GitHub with some hopefully usable documentation. Also, if you use Paint, you can do Slitherlinks and variants with a flood-fill tool; try it and see.
I started blogging in fourth grade. My blog has suffered through four-and-a-half revivals and two platform migrations, and I’ve deleted a lot of the old posts, so I’m not even sure if I can count it as the same blog any more. Kind of a Ship of Theseus deal.
- 2006, September to November: Blogs sound cool in theory but not in practice — I mostly post a bunch of boring descriptions of each school day (albeit with the tone of an excited fourth grader).
- 2008, February: Roughly the same thing happens again.
- 2010, April to August: A long sequence of vaguely depressed philosophical and futuristic rambling.
- 2011, August: Long rant that doesn’t feel right on Facebook leads to posts about self-analysis and personality flaws which inexplicably segue into the current randomness.
- 2011, November: To make things more confusing, I start posting logic puzzles because all my friends are doing it, neatly alongside all the other teenage-angsty posts.
- 2012, February: I migrate this blog from Blogger to WordPress for some not-particularly-inspired reason.
- 2017, November: After my posting activity slowly ground to a halt, I migrate this blog onto Hugo, the static site generator, and GitHub Pages + CloudFlare.