Dancing Elephant statue Dressed to match the Google lobby Farther up the John Muir Trail

Newest images: HoneymoonMOB rideMarissa + MarkChicagoDumbarton Oaks

Hystory of the Pythian

In June, the New York Times discussed the Pythian, where I used to live. The article reveals many tidbits of the building's history. The original structure, was built in 1927 for the fraternal order the Knights of Pythias. Originally, it had few windows, and contained 13 lodge rooms, a bowling alley, and a billiard room.

The Pythians continued to own the building, renting it out for various uses, until 1958, when the New York Institute of Technology bought it. It converted to condos in 1980, adding windows, including the greenhouse-type windows on some floors in the front.

According to the Times, the building's facade has been shrouded for a while for restoration. It should be finished by the end of July. The project hadn't begun when I moved out at the start of 2008 (a few months after I actually moved to DC).

posted on Jul 17, 2009 1:56 pm (comment · share or email)

Honeymoon

It's been three-quarters of a year since I posted on Alpie.net. Greater Greater Washington has taken up much of my time, as has preparing for a wedding. I'm hoping to make a new effort to get all of the pictures in the interim posted, including wedding and engagement pictures, last fall's trip to France, and even the uncompleted photos from our 2007 trip to Southeast Asia (whoops!).

For our honeymoon, we went to the Caribbean island of Curacao. We stayed at a resort in the quiet western end of the island, lounged around on our patio and at the pool, and went on a great boat ride. I snorkeled for the first time.

We also got to visit Willemstad, the island's city; those pictures will be the next installment.

Bird Cacti Flowers
Water Down to the beach Fish
Beach On the boat Secluded
Nook Flying fish Bungalows
Our room Our view Up the road
Kindle Lizard

posted on Jun 27, 2009 11:30 pm (comment · share or email)

MOB rides the streets of DC

On Saturday, a mob of cyclists assembled at Freedom Plaza in "bike tie formal". Their mission: to ride to Dupont Circle and then Columbia Heights' Red Derby, to show the colors of DC's new Ministry of Bicycling (MOB), pass out informational flyers on cyclists' rights and responsibilities, and have a lot of fun.

Mission accomplished.

Unfurling the flag Rock star founder MOB attire
Fearless leader Route review The whole MOB
On the road Pennsylvania Avenue Fountain
Circling Dupont MOB on the move Bike tie formal

posted on Sep 15, 2008 8:01 pm (4 comments · share or email)

Innumeracy in the FBI

Freakonomics blog discusses this piece from the LA Times:
State crime lab analyst Kathryn Troyer was running tests on Arizona’s DNA database when she stumbled across two felons with remarkably similar genetic profiles. The men matched at 9 of the 13 locations on chromosomes, or loci, commonly used to distinguish people.

The [Federal Bureau of Investigation] estimated the odds of unrelated people sharing those genetic markers to be as remote as 1 in 13 billion. But the mug shots of the two felons suggested that they were not related: One was black, the other white.

In the years after her 2001 discovery, Troyer found dozens of similar matches — each seeming to defy impossible odds.

If Troyer had an understanding of statistics, she might have realized that a 1 in 13 billion unlikely event actually has a very high probability of coming up, if you compare everyone in the database to everyone else, in about 1.4 trillion comparisons.

This is an example of the famous birthday problem. If you take a typical elementary school class (of, say, 23 people or so) and ask each child for his or her birthday, despite being 366 possible birthdays, there's actually a more than 50% chance that two children will share a birthday. (Assume there are no twins in the class.)

When people don't understand mathematic concepts like this, they can reach faulty conclusions, like believing that this finding makes the whole DNA system useless (it's not) or believing that a match is absolute proof of guilt (also not).

posted on Aug 21, 2008 2:18 pm (comment · share or email)

Cute Bedeken Heading to the ceremony
Carrying the train Becca and Stef All ready
Axelrods down the aisle Millers down the aisle Circling
Ceremony The kiss Hora I
Hora II Up on chairs Man windmill
How about it? Like a wedding cake A brief dancing break
On the dance floor Around the back Kristin & Aman
Hands in the air Harold & Laura Becca & Stef again
Dancing Conga line I Conga line II
Way back Hooray! Egyptian
Together Me & Stef Cutting the cake
Eating the cake Zoom Future bride and current bride
Girls of Duke I Raise the roof What dance is this?
Girls of Duke II Finally getting to eat

posted on Jul 9, 2008 12:06 pm (comment · share or email)

Cherry red Cherry Washington Cherry Jefferson
Jeff with the family Apple Blossom stroll
Chomp Tourists Tidal
Monumental Backdrop Cherry Capitol
Forgotten Purple Doors of Georgetown
Quiet Nice house Lawn
Stairs Meadow Spires

posted on Jun 17, 2008 7:19 pm (comment · share or email)

All the fees that're fit to charge

Airlines charge a lot of fees—for phone reservations, changing a non-refundable reservation, checking bags, snacks. At this rate, our future airline tickets will look something like this.

When we buy a ticket, most people just look at the bottom-line price. But the fees can completely change the equation, especially if you end up having to change your plans now that some airlines are charging $150 per ticket.

Rick Seaney of FareCompare has a handy chart of fees. Keep it in mind next time you book. Now, why don't some of those travel sites start including this information with their price comparisons?

posted on Jun 11, 2008 12:08 pm (comment · share or email)

Living Liberally in 50 states

When I joined Drinking Liberally at the start of 2004, it consisted of a handful of (great) people meeting in a bar in New York. Now, on its five-year anniversary, the organization has grown to over 250 chapters including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and even four foreign countries, and expanded to include Eating, Laughing, Screening, and Reading Liberally. Happy birthday Living Liberally!

posted on May 29, 2008 4:25 pm (comment · share or email)

Blog of the Month

Marc Fisher of the Washington Post just named Greater Greater Washington his Blog of the Month. It begins: "When a D.C. cabbie refused to take David Alpert from downtown Washington to a scruffy neighborhood clear across the city, the poor hack had no idea with whom he was dealing." Thanks Marc!

posted on May 28, 2008 11:15 am (1 comment · share or email)

30th Birthday

Since I started Greater Greater Washington, I've been getting behind on photos. Here is my 30th birthday celebration in January.
End with M Kitchen chat Laitins
Big smiles Wow Tristan speaks
Yalies Sujit speaks Girls of Wilmer
Beep Beep beep Alvaro speaks
Matt speaks iPhone Two conversations
Silly Matt Hi camera! Snack face

posted on May 17, 2008 12:32 pm (comment · share or email)

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