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Presidents Who Did Not Run For Re-election

There have been many single term US presidents. Far smaller, though, is the number of presidents who, after being elected, chose to not run at the end of their first term. In fact, there are only three:

James K. Polk – promised to only serve a single term if elected

James Buchanan – realized he had messed up the Union and left it for Lincoln to deal with

Rutherford B. Hayes – promised to only serve a single term if elected

If we include those presidents who served less than a single full term, there is only a single president who did not run for re-election: Andrew Johnson, who cut his losses after being impeached.

A Place in Bangladesh called Matlab

As someone who does scientific computing, I was aware of the Matlab software package. I was therefore astonished to discover that Matlab is also the name of an area in Bangladesh.

I first read about it an an article in The Economist about population growth and fertility rates, where Matlab is aptly being used for a scientific experiment:

Between 1974 and 1996, Bangladesh turned a district called Matlab into a giant demographic experiment: some villages and households got family planning, others did not.

The Approach Towards Universal Publishing

Denis Pelli (NYU professor of psychology and neuroscience) and Charles Bigelow (professor at RIT and graphic designer of, among other things, Wingdings) wrote in Seed Magazine about how the fraction of the world’s population who write and publish is increasing rapidly, with the endpoint of everyone being a publisher coming, suprisingly, in the next few years:

In our analysis, we considered an author’s text “published” if 100 or more people read it. (Reaching 100 people may seem inconsequential, but new-media messages are often re-broadcast by recipients, and then by their recipients, and so on. In this way, a message can “go viral,” reaching millions.) Extrapolation of the Twitter-author curve (the dashed line) predicts that every person will publish in 2013. That is the ceiling: 100 percent participation. Provided current growth continues, the prediction of imminence is robust. Increasing the stringency of the criterion for “publishing” from 100 to 1,000 readers would reduce new-media authorship tenfold, but merely delays the predicted 100 percent participation by a year under this model.

An Asteroid Named Plimpton

I had an article in the Boston Globe Ideas section this weekend entitled Naming the sky: The true story of one man’s quest to give George Plimpton a permanent presence in orbit, about my successful attempt at naming an asteroid after George Plimpton.

The official citation for the asteroid is below:

7932 Plimpton Discovered 1989 Apr. 7 by E. F. Helin at Palomar.
George Plimpton (1927-2003) was an American author, editor, actor and all-round Renaissance man. As the founding editor of the Paris Review, he fostered the careers of many now-famous writers. A giant in the world of participatory journalism, he chronicled his exploits as an amateur in many fields, especially professional sports.

Average Cost of a Child

From Duggar Economics: The Costs of 19 Kids in the WSJ:

When you add it all up, it’s not uncommon for a single child to cost a normal, middle-class family something like $1.1 million, from birth through the undergrad years. To get some perspective, the median price of a home in 2008 was $180,100. It is commonly said that buying a house is the biggest purchase most Americans will ever make. Having a baby is like buying six houses. Except that they don’t increase in value, you can’t sell them and after 16 years they’ll probably say they hate you.