Bookmarks

Pedro da Costa Felgueiras, Lacquer & Paint Specialist (Japanner) | Spitalfields Life
>> “My earliest memories are of Sunday church, and of the gold and coloured marble, which I found quite overwhelming. But everybody else wanted new things – because they were surrounded by old things, they wanted plastic.” << That was mid-60s to 70s over here. wood panelling was painted over in bright Dulux white and primary plastic colours with heavily patterned wallpapers was everywhere. Things go round...
Surge in Covid cases tests Sweden’s go-it-alone approach | Financial Times
>> “So far Sweden’s strategy has proven to be a dramatic failure,” said Lena Einhorn, a Swedish virologist and prominent critic of its strategy. “Four days ago we had eight times higher cases per capita than Finland and three and a half times more than Norway. They were supposed to have it worse off than us in the autumn because we were going to have immunity.” << This thing is hard. No easy answers, but might have been better had Europe (in the wide definition) followed Asian countries.
How to Recalculate a Spreadsheet
There is much more to this than I thought there was. Comes back to walking a graph with extra logic as often with software processes.
How Fishers Became Data Scientists to Strengthen Their Marine Protected Area | Hakai Magazine
>> "Enlisting locals also made logistical and economic sense for the researchers. “All fishers know how to drive a boat,” says Markovina, explaining that the savings on charter fees allowed project funds to stay in the community. And, of course, fishers brought a depth of local knowledge—navigation skills and where to find fish, for instance—to the team. Understanding how and where to lay a rock lobster net on the ocean floor translated well to deploying the BRUVs. The fishers were extremely reliable and professional research partners, says Markovina." << Hakai Magazine is some kind of foundation funded publication about coastal waters. Looks OK. Above seems a logical move to me...
Blitzed cities still deprived 75 years after war
>> "Daniel Todman, professor of modern history at Queen Mary, University of London, says this shows a pattern of places that were poor before the war continuing to be poor decades afterwards." << No causal link, simply that poor people tend to end up living in cheaper housing near strategic targets.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC): "There are folks running around on TV blaming progressivism for Dem underperformance. I was curious, so I decided to open the hood on struggling campaigns of candidates who are blaming progressives for their problems. Almo
>> "I was curious, so I decided to open the hood on struggling campaigns of candidates who are blaming progressives for their problems." << Ms Ocasio-Cortez mentions a meager and insufficient budget figure that is way above the maximum that UK candidates for the Westminster parliament are allowed. I am so glad that there are limits to election expenditure in the UK. I know that they are imperfect and that they can be gamed, but at least there is an anchor point.
Philip Pullman Returns to His Fantasy World
>> "Every day from roughly 10 until 1, Pullman sits at his desk in a monkish study at the top of the house and produces three pages, longhand. He has written three pages a day ever since he started writing. Habit, he is fond of saying, has written far more books than talent." << Now is that three pages as printed (1,200 words roughly) or three A4 wide lined (nearer 600). Good quote.
The Linux Commands Handbook
Tour of coreutils plus process monitoring and control and env/xarg. Nicely presented with example outputs. One web page means accessible and printable EXCEPT for the use of images to show the appearance of the terminal in some of the worked examples. No ALT or TITLE or DESC tags.
One Square Inch
>> "One Square Inch of Silence is very possibly the quietest place in the United States. It is an independent research project located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, which is one of the most pristine, untouched, and ecologically diverse environments in the United States. If nothing is done to preserve and protect this quiet place from human noise intrusions, natural quiet may be non-existent in our world in the next 10 years." <<
Silence Like Scouring Sand One of America’s quietest places, and the valiant effort to keep it that way
>> "Cities drown us in sound. Buses grinding gears and motorcycles grumbling, woofers thudding, endless engines combusting, trucks beeping, and street-corner preachers calling down damnation on it all — what does it do to the human being, whose ears evolved as a warning system?" << One thing I will always remember about March 2020 is the silence in the centre of a large city.
WRITING FOR THE INTERNET ACROSS A HUMAN LIFETIME
Not sure about the plain text format (I reckon that html will be pretty well supported from now in along with pdf). I like the rss generator in shell and will try to adapt that one for an article feed.
Is a billion-dollar worth of server lying on the ground?
>> "Having recently introduced a "please explain to me what how a | is used in a bash shell" question in my interviews, I am surprised by how many people with claimed "DevOps" knowledge can't answer that elementary question given examples and time to think it out (granted, on a ~60 sample size)." << Pipelines combined with shell parameter expansion and avoiding bashisms could get... complex. Author explains how rapid recruitment leads to tendency to use one kind of cloud provider.
Distraction free writing used to be the norm with technology
I loved my alphasmart but left it with the College when I changed job. Only for input, not good for editing. Cheaper to buy an old Thinkpad and run Linux/*BSD with X and a simple editor.
AI Camera Ruins Soccer Game For Fans After Mistaking Referee's Bald Head For Ball
>> "The AI camera appeared to mistake the man's bald head for the ball for a lot of the match, repeatedly swinging back to follow the linesman instead of the actual game. Many viewers complained they missed their team scoring a goal because the camera "kept thinking the Lino bald head was the ball," and some even suggested the club would have to provide the linesman with a toupe or hat." << This article would be a good reference for convincing white van driver tendency people that AI is not a panacea and that auto-everything may bring issues. Illustrates the shallow part of 'greedy, brittle, shallow, opaque' well.
The Man Who Carried Computer Science on His Shoulders
>> "Dijkstra’s major software projects, the ALGOL 60 compiler and the THE multiprogramming system, had given him a sense that programming was an activity with its own rules. He then attempted to discover those rules and present them in a meaningful way. Above all, he strove to transform programming into a mathematical discipline, an endeavor that kept him busy for several years to come. At the time, these were completely uncharted waters. Nobody else seemed to be devoting their attention to such matters." << We need a history of this second industrial revolution. One that puts things into a perspective.
Pretty CSV viewing on the Command Line
Uses perl and column. Might have bash assumptions.
A Neighbourly Solution to the 'X is Deprecated?!' Conundrum
>> "From my own experiences with Xorg internals, I agree completely. A whole lot of the code there is noticably better than corresponding paths in certain Wayland compositors. There is more thought; domain expertise; engineering and pure elbow grease behind it than you might have been led to believe -- if you have only listened in to the collective moans in various discussion groups." << Refactor the old code to make a smaller X server could be good for legacy projects,
Scientists warn of new coronavirus variant spreading across Europe | Free to read | Financial Times
>> "A coronavirus variant that originated in Spanish farm workers has spread rapidly through much of Europe since the summer, and now accounts for the majority of new Covid-19 cases in several countries — and more than 80 per cent in the UK." << Seeding from returning holiday makers (again). Compare with HK, Korea &c
Cover - GNU AWK
Looks OK as an overview.
awk: BEGIN { ... | Jemma Issroff
>> "Awk is useful for data file manipulation. Already, having used it for a few days only, I wish I had invested time in learning it earlier. My usual workflow when encountering a data file is to import it into Google Sheets and use their builtin functions. If those weren’t enough, I would write little code snippets to somewhat awk..wardly get the information I want. Awk is way more powerful than what I was doing before." << Coreutils for the win
Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method | Hacker News
>> "I would guess that most people reading this are not anywhere close to that level, and likely do not need an advanced note-taking system. They would be better off spending time on their work, rather than spending time perfecting their system. This is especially true now that notes are often digital, and can be searched in their entirety in an instant." << Just text files. Shorthand pad and doodles/maps on A4 printing paper offline. Coreutls allow later analysis to be added as needed.
What if Leave and Remain switched sides? - UnHerd
>> "Elsewhere, Britain has been busily securing a trade agreement with Turkey, a deal worth £20billion that will make it easier for Turks entering Britain." << And so it goes. Loving the Turkish coffee in Stirchley.
Hundred year mistakes | Fabulous adventures in coding
>> "There were several hundred kilobytes of existing C source code in the world at the time. SEVERAL HUNDRED KB. What if you made this change to the compiler and failed to update one of the & to &&, and made an existing program wrong via a precedence error? That’s a potentially disastrous breaking change." << Strange how decisions made decades ago (1970s?) live on in code where the electronics has turned over several times already
Only this government could miss the open goal of free school meals | Marina Hyde | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "[...]Most of their policies have the half-life of a particularly unstable radioactive isotope. It’s explicitly a government of superforecasters who can’t see up to next Friday. Messaging is now so Dadaist that in the same week that they’re fighting Rashford they leak the tale that they’re planning to abolish quarantine for City dealmakers and hedgefunders[...]" << This is a humourous sketch but, yes, there does seem to be a bit of a lack of any overall picture.
Free Linear Algebra textbook: independent study
A scholar and a gentleman has provided a very rich resource on linear algebra. My plan is to work through the first chapters using the pdf then if happy purchase a dead tree copy off Lulu
Towards Anarchitecture: Gordon Matta-Clark and Le Corbusier – Tate Papers | Tate
>> "Unusually among artists of his generation, Matta-Clark was trained as an architect at Cornell University, where he was taught by some of the most eminent architectural theorists of the era and from where he graduated with a BArch in 1968. Recent scholarship reveals him to have been a far from indifferent student." <<
‘Culture wars’ are fought by tiny minority – UK study | Society | The Guardian
>> "It concludes that unlike in the US, climate change is not a culture-war issue in the UK. In Britain, it found that 85% of voters believe climate change concerns us all. The most sceptical group were voters described as “disengaged traditionalists”, where the figure was still 76%. Meanwhile, 79% of all voters say gender equality is a sign of progress." <<
My search for novelist Rumer Godden's famed French summer - BBC News
>> "A terrace gave on to a formal garden, and then beyond that to the greengage orchard, the eating of whose fruit by the narrator is an Eden-like entry into the mysteries of adolescence. And then through a blue door you were by the willows and reeds of the river." << Greengages when ripe are... special. I agree.
The government’s free schools meal fiasco reveals the Conservative Party’s greatest weakness | Prospect Magazine
>> "Between January and September 2020, he said, the food bank in his Harlow constituency gave out 118 tonnes of food—nearly double the tonnage of last year—and nationally, 32 per cent of households have experienced a drop in income since late March." << I think we need kitchens in commandeered leisure centres. A warm meal, no questions asked. >> "The government spent £522 million on encouraging people to Eat Out to Help Out, but apparently cannot find a tenth of that to stop children going hungry. It is a choice to spend the money on pensioners and pizza parlours, not the poor." << No hiding place here I think
‘It’s a superpower’: how walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier | Fitness | The Guardian
>> "O’Mara, 53, is in his element striding through urban landscapes – from epic hikes across London’s sprawl to more sedate ambles in Oxford, where he received his DPhil – and waxing lyrical about science, nature, architecture and literature. He favours what he calls a “motor-centric” view of the brain – that it evolved to support movement and, therefore, if we stop moving about, it won’t work as well." << That's it. Keep moving.
I miss Microsoft Encarta - Scott Hanselman's Blog
>> "My kids can't possibly intellectualize the scale that data exists in today. We could barely believe that a whole bookshelf of Encyclopedias was now in our pockets. I spent hours and hours just wandering around random articles in Encarta. The scope of knowledge was overwhelming, but accessible. But it was contained - it was bounded. Today, my kids just assume that the sum of all human knowledge is available with a single search or a "hey Alexa" so the world's mysteries are less mysterious and they become bored by the Paradox of Choice." << The notebook application was good as well. Copy text and images to your notebook (with references and links back to Encarta) and add your own text. Great for projects
Is Anyone Watching Quibi?
>> "“A thing Jeffrey always says is ‘I’m not a child or mother, but I made movies children and mothers loved. I know millennials better than millennials.’ ” Katzenberg had at times been well served by his intuition, and he remained convinced of its acuity. “I say, ‘Where’s your data?,’ ” Whitman says of their contrasting styles. “He says, ‘There is none. You just have to go with your gut.’ ”" << Randomness is important and there is selection bias. Data can contain an image of the assumptions used in its collection.
No Knead Soft Sourdough Rolls – Weekend Bakery
Halve for 6 rolls. A 1:1 poolish then a main ferment then a rise
In & Out The Eagle | Spitalfields Life
The typography on those posters - especially the grotesque faces - is bonkers but ace at the same time. I can just about remember boxing posters like this being pasted up by men with buckets of paste and brooms.
Meet the Excel warriors saving the world from spreadsheet disaster | WIRED UK
>> "The problem is that executives see a false dichotomy when a flawed or potentially risky spreadsheet is spotted. They tend to believe they can either continue using the spreadsheet as is or upgrade to a formal, bespoke software solution, which will be expensive. But there’s another way: mitigating the risks of the spreadsheet. “They should be thinking about how well they can control that, and what controls we should be implementing,” he says." << End user programming needs to happen somehow, best to devise a framework for it
Working out Covid-19 and the political classes – politicalbetting.com
>> "Meanwhile, armed police burst into a gym that remained open in Liverpool to close it down this week. The feeling of injustice is intense. The evidence that gyms spread Covid-19 is, perhaps surprisingly, absent." << I'd have thought that Merseyside's finest had perhaps other pressing duties. Such as organised crime and drugs trafficking and perhaps a bit of attention to the PREVENT agenda?
The Panic Attack of the Power Brokers The city’s “permanent government” has always built its way out of crisis. But what if it can’t?
>> "If that sounds dire, consider for a moment that veterans of the 1970s crisis are saying that this one could be more threatening than the one the city faced in those days. The urban rot of the 1970s was at the margins; this time, it is the core that is hollowing. Even in the depths of 1977, the year of the blackout and the Son of Sam, Manhattan was vibrant — “a luxury fantasyland,” in the words of one contemporary journalistic account." << Suspect that London will bounce back perhaps at a less geared level. But we shall see.
How The Dude Was Duped By Big Tech
>> "A few days after the author of this article presents the case to a Facebook PR person, the problem is solved. Nobody had reported his website for “abusive” material — just like the film revolves around a kidnapping incident that has never taken place. The website has all this time been incorrectly labelled “by our automated tools” as spam, according to the spokesperson. “Our apologies for the inconvenience.”" << Somehow, the cause being a random glitch in an algorithm seems to make this worse than if someone actually complained.
Bring back the ease of 80s and 90s personal computing | by probono | Aug, 2020 | Medium
Acorn Archimedes: 2 second boot up from ROMs. Applications all in one bundle. Built in BASIC provided both assembler and a fairly structured interpreted language that allowed you to write GUI applications (!Genesis multimedia?). And !Draw was amazing.
Crown Prosecution Service solicitor accused of targeting judge ex-wife's lover through work computer systems
>> "Ainge denies five charges of unauthorised access to information under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and one count of stalking. The case continues." << Another database misuse prosecution. By the look of it made worse by the physical stalking element, and again no allegation of data being sold or passed on to interested parties. Trial just starting.
Christopher Strachey
>> 'Work out what you want to say before you decide how you want to say it." (Strachey's First Law of Logical Design) << Sort of an insiders outsider (establishment outrider?). Connected but detached.
No One Lasts Long on St. Matthew Island
>> "At other sites of brief occupation, it’s the same. The earth consumes the beams of fallen cabins that seasonal fox trappers erected, likely before the Great Depression. The sea has swept away a hut that visiting scientists built near a beach in the 1950s. When the Coast Guard rescued the Great Bear crew in 1916, they left everything behind. Griffin, the archaeologist, found little but scattered coal when he visited the site of the camp in 2018. Fishers and servicemen may have looted some items, but what was too trashed for salvage—perhaps the gramophone, the cameras, the champagne bottles—seems to have washed away or swum down into the soil. The last of the straggling reindeer, a lone, lame female, disappeared in the 1980s. For a long time, reindeer skulls salted the island. Now, most are gone. The few I see are buried to their antler tips, as if submerged in rising green water." << The edges show us our future in some ways
Shell Scripting Tutorial by Steve Parker
Looks nice. I like the use of sh so portable.
Saturday Comics about bash and commands
Nicely done small pieces of information about bash commands and related stuff.
ARX, Arthur and RISC OS - Paul Fellows
>> "It turned out, it would boot fine if you left it long enough, but if you didn't turn it off for very long then it didn't reset properly, and this was because the fan on the board was still spinning and the back EMF on the fan was enough power to keep the ARM running. And that's why you've got an ARM in your phone today, it would take no power to keep a 3 micron ARM with 25000 transistors would run for 30 seconds off the energy stored in the fan." << Nice physics question there. Half I omega-squared...
Trump’s money troubles: cutting advertising spend in key states points to problems
>> "By contrast, where is the equivalent to ‘build the wall’ or ‘make America great again’? Those were soundbites that were both positive policy or vision, and played into the rest of his election narrative. This time, his messaging has been all over the place and his behaviour even more erratic that usual – which is not how you get the media to put across election-winning campaign highlights." << Populist regimes need to find something positive to *construct* eventually. They can't really keep complaining about things because at some point, they become responsible for the things. If you think X is wrong, well just change X, you are the government sort of argument.
Apple tells Telegram to take down protestor channels in Belarus
>> "Apple painted this target on their own back when they decided they’d be the sole distributor of software for the platform." << User saagarjha on good old HN making an important point about Apple's blocking of aspects of the Telegram messaging application specifically in Belarus. The various opposition groups in Belarus are making use of Telegram to organise apparently. CF Teargas and Twitter by Tufecki earlier
Straight through sourdough with local wheat
>> "Davide Longoni, one of my favorite Italian boulangers, once taught me that you have to “talk” with your grain. “The type, the soil, the weather: learn to understand it”. With this attitude I started working with the stone-ground flour of lavett wheat from the Wieringermeer two years ago. No particularly high protein percentage, but the taste is overwhelming." << 390g/246g (65%) with a local wholemeal wheat. Working on UK local wheats where I can, hard to get though.
Swedish minister tells students to 'get a grip'
>> "It is not acceptable that adults act in any other way than by taking responsibility." << In general, I agree with this. But one has to remember that it is difficult to get people to behave in ways that render them unemployed.
Enough With the passion
>> All the second-years sit back and smile triumphantly. “Excuse me, Tanya,” I say, mouth in a frozen grin, “but I must say a little something about the word passion, and I must say it now, before I burst into spontaneous flame.” She looks around, confused, for the corporate culture from which she has just come has taught her to use the word passion to describe her interest in design. << Bingo. In the UK our somewhat corrosive irony prevents widespread use of this kind of vocabulary, but one hears it now and again.
A Meditation on Space (in Four Parts)
>> "Its interior space still dazzles almost two millennia after its construction, channeling the power and the glory of the Olympian gods to seduce every visitor. The messiness of life is all forgotten in spaces like this. Alas, there are very few buildings that work like this one." <<
Disgraced cop, 55, spared prison term after admitting he abused police systems to snoop on his girlfriend's ex
>> "The Powys County Times reported that he had "dishonourably" left the force after being caught "unlawfully accessing information about the ex-partner of a woman he was in a relationship with" at Aberystwyth Police Station in April and May last year." << Computer Misuse Act usually results in non-custodial apparently so nothing special about the community service order. This is part of the grunge data world. The more low quality data about people that seeps into databases, the more temptation there is to trawl what is there, and the wider the range of people with access.
Last Call for Gumshoes
"For nearly 50 years, a tight-knit group of San Francisco private eyes—intellectual, swashbuckling, anti-authority lefties—practiced their craft in the pursuit of truth and, hopefully, justice." Like the coat. Most of the work is probably boring and slightly sordid however.
5 Bakers on the Advantages of an Old Sourdough Starter | Topic
>> "I think it’s beautiful when people have ancestral sourdoughs. It’s an exciting thing. But all the microbial analysis suggests that when you put sourdough starter [you get] from anywhere in your [own] kitchen, it’ll become your flour, your water, your kitchen. Its microbial origin doesn’t stay with it. It’s always evolving into where it is." << I'd worked this one out as well. 11 generations or so for a yeast organism I think.
WBO — Collaborative whiteboard
Very nice. Just want to save the whiteboards as a pdf.
What Is the NFAC, & Who Is Grandmaster Jay? | Complex
>> "The NFAC is a militia comprised of Black members whose core is believed to be largely ex-military. The group, for the most part, is well run (some use an accidental firearm discharge as an example of its lack of organization), with all of its public actions being coordinated with law enforcement and local governments, which has resulted in no known violence." << 10/10 for the name, but I still think all of this stuff with the hardware raises the stakes too high. I prefer the (current) UK way.
Tom Hollander’s A Life in the Day is quite brilliant.
Echoing another twit, I *really* want that baked porridge recipe. Some aspects of this were 'eeeeww' but others strangely comforting.
Hairy Bikers Spelt Sourdough - Gilchesters OrganicsGilchesters Organics
Just found this when I'm half way through a 'straight through' 100% spelt sourdough using Gilchester's wholemeal spelt. I've noticed the extra sugar and the use of a poolish. So I'm expecting a fragrant tasty and nutritious brick. We'll see.
FAQs on Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission
60 pages of information about aerosol transmission of the virus from a group of scientists in america who think that their public health authority is being a bit slow on information about this mode of transfer. Has links to evidence and detailed discussion.
K: The Overlooked Variable That's Driving the Pandemic - The Atlantic
Superspreaders and cluster-busting.
Seeing Theory
Nice interactive and animated presentation at a Maths level higher than Speigalhalter's book. You can download a (not very visual and quite formally presented) pdf textbooklet as well.
anyone using bwbasic under linux? - Google Groups
This ancient Google groups post contains links to the (64 bit) rpm and deb packages for a compiled version of bwbasic. The rpm package is for Centos 7 but installs fine without dependencies on Fedora 32. The post also details the directive OPTION VERSION "DARTMOUTH" to run as Dartmouth basic - that is the one that started it all.
Max Hawkins - Randomized Living
>> "For the past two years I’ve been letting randomized computer programs decide what I do." << Shades of Georges Perec. Except actually Perec used deterministic processes I think (magic squares and a street map).
Last phase of the desktop wars? | Armed and Dangerous
>> "It's this: Microsoft Windows becomes a Proton-like emulation layer over a Linux kernel, with the layer getting thinner over time as more of the support lands in the mainline kernel sources. The economic motive is that Microsoft sheds an ever-larger fraction of its development costs as less and less has to be done in-house." << Been thinking about something like this for some years. Why stay in a saturated legacy market?
Jay Van Bavel on Twitter: "Ok, no need to panic. The door won't open and the elevator won't move. But I use the call button to contact the staff from the elevator. They promise to call a repair man from the elevator company to help us escape." / Twitter
The new normal. This would be science fiction to my PhD student self four decades ago to be positive.
9 Famous Geniuses Who Were Also Huge Coffee Addicts | HuffPost UK Food & Drink
>> "He also had 50 different coffee cups, and he would ask his secretary to select one, and give a valid philosophical reason for his choice." << The fact-check link is dead alas. I like the trollish aspect of this. I'd be citing a colour rotation or a shape criterion myself. Not sure if there always is a *philosophical* reason for small everyday choices.
The fuel of philosophers — Illustrated Philosopher
Coffee graphic. >> "Derek Parfit, was so eager to continue his philosophical work, that he would fuel himself with instant coffee mixed with warm water from an ordinary tap rather than waste time boiling a kettle. He was busy, but not so busy that he could neglect his stimulant." << Big cafetiere and a microwave springs to mind as an alternative.
Like a Thames whale, Boris Johnson has got stranded at Westminster | Marina Hyde | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "Today, British people were invited to enjoy the spectacle of Johnson shutting pubs – for an hour – and the irony of being hectored that they are “in the last chance saloon” by the very people who herded them back to the saloon and bought them half-price lunches there." << Predictable trolling, but this quote does point up the Janus like nature of current policy. You could in principle be fined £10k for talking to some people in your garden whom you see in the pub perfectly legally later on the same day...
LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 10, 2020 [LWN.net]
>> "BigBlueButton worked out well for LPC, but it must be said that this system is not perfect. It's a mixture of highly complex components from different projects glued together under a common interface; its configuration spans literally hundreds of XML files (and some in other formats). It only runs on the ancient Ubuntu 16.04 distribution. Many features are hard to discover, and some are outright footguns: for moderators, the options to exit a meeting (leaving it running) and to end the meeting (thus kicking everybody else out, disposing of the chat session, and more) are adjacent to each other on the menu and look almost identical. Most worryingly, BigBlueButton has a number of built-in scalability limitations." << But they got it to work for a 600 delegate conference. With some server nursing. In my experience, the installation on a small start up in the US in use by one of my employers works OK most of the time but connections can become slow...
2011:07:18:tune-improve-fedora-fonts-typeface-ubuntu-like-sharp-fonts - blog.andreas-haerter.com - IT, web and nerdy stuff
gsettings command lines useful on Fedora 32 for turning on anti aliasing without installing the tweak tool in gnome shell. Steps 2 and 3 are sufficient to get anti-aliasing enabled for my user session. I'm not bothered about the infinity style fonts. LCD subpixel rendering helps on the small screen.
Farmerama Radio Cereal series
Bread advocacy. 6 episodes and, at the risk of being obvious, food for thought.
Bee Wilson · Flour Fixated · LRB 24 September 2020
>> "In 2009, the average human had access to 498 calories a day from wheat compared with 349 calories from oils, 333 calories from rice and 281 calories from sugar and other sweeteners. In some countries, such as Turkey and France, per capita wheat consumption is a great deal higher and in others, such as Cameroon (where maize is the staple food) or the Philippines (rice), much lower. But it’s striking that wheat consumption has been increasing fast since the 1960s, even in traditional rice economies such as China and Japan. The supply of wheat in China rose from fewer than 200 calories per person a day in 1961 to nearly 600 in 2009. Across Asia, the gradual substitution of wheat for rice has been a near universal marker of economic development." << Via HN. Article mostly about 'plain' flour as used in cakes. World figures include pasta I imagine
A Cryptologic Mystery
>> "After copying and verifying a header in the message, the agent would remove the corresponding page from their secret OTP codebook and add each key digit to each corresponding message digit using modulo-10 arithmetic (without carry). The resulting "plaintext" digits are then converted to text with a simple substitution encoding (e.g, A=01, B=02, etc., although other encodings are generally used). That's all there is to it. The security of the system depends entirely on the uniqueness and secrecy of the OTP codebook pad given to each agent." << Remarkably low tech and old school. Recollect issues with a one time pad being repeated by Soviet cryptographers during end of 2nd world war and the US being able to break those signals (all from embassies) some months/years after.
Human Cost of Dyslexia report: All Party Parliamentary Group for Dyslexia
No stats on a quick skim: was expecting at least a comparison of free school meal recipient percentage with a dyslexia assessment compared with whole school population percentage with a dyslexia assessment. Wondering how I get the crosstabs.
The battle over dyslexia
>> "For Elliott, this is not just a matter of scientific accuracy. He also believes that the current system entrenches inequality, because children from poorer backgrounds tend to be less likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia. “Reading difficulties are real. I’ve seen thousands of kids with reading difficulties,” he told me. “You know what? Very few of the ones I saw in the inner cities, in the council estates, get diagnosed with dyslexia.”" << Must be working on different council estates from the ones my students came from. The record for an art school maths class was 12/15 students in the class with some form of dyslexia assessment. At 16 and up it seems to differentiate by vocational subject field. Whatever the label, people need to find strategies to manage text and printed materials.
AT&T Archives: The UNIX Operating System - YouTube
Got to dig the mullets. Surprising how much this overview still fits command-line unix. Graphical environments not so much. The other thing is the papers everywhere in huge piles. Then the keyboards - crack of doom when typing fast. Finally, Ken T looks like something out of a Hammer Films production. Must have been good times.
Exclusive: The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke . . . Is Now Officially Broke
>> "Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement. In other words, he's given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the  James Bond of Philanthropy." << $2 million assets at age 89 is hardy broke but still an excellent adventure.
A new study from Rwanda is the latest evidence for just giving people money
>> "This is called “cash benchmarking.” The idea is that people often know what’s best for them, and by giving them money, they can spend it whatever way best meets their family’s needs. We should introduce other aid programs only when we can demonstrate that they do more good than cash itself. Sometimes they do; often they don’t." <<
network-manager: Please restore removed init script.
And the Debian project senior members wonder why they find it hard to recruit package maintainers?
Ed Miliband revels in making Boris Johnson look like a second-rate conman | Politics | The Guardian
>> "You could have been forgiven for imagining you were lost in a 2019 time warp. The House of Commons debating the Brexit withdrawal bill, nearly a year after that very bill had been passed. A bill that had been negotiated by the prime minister, declared “an oven-ready triumph” by the prime minister and on which he had won an 80-seat majority at the general election after promising a despairing country that he would “Get Brexit Done”." << Deja Vu all over again... This is almost funny if it wasn't so serious
Coronavirus: The story of the big U-turn of the summer
>> "What has baffled school leaders is why, with almost five months between the cancellation of exams and the issuing of calculated grades, there wasn't a more thorough attempt to test the reliability of results in advance, including with real schools. Ofqual's defence to all of this, according to Mr Halfon, could be summed up as: "Not me, guv."" << This failure of any kind of testing baffled me as well after reading one of the worked examples. Monte Carlo style analysis with simulated schools with simulated pupils comes to mind as a possibility. That feature of the debacle that ended up with C grades turning to U grades as a result of the 'stack ranking' aspect of each school's previous performance adjustment would have stuck out like a saw thumb (or iceberg?). The testing that was done was against *known exam results*.
wttr.in weather in command line with curl/wget or in browser
pure genius. I'm playing around with the forecast formats. I'd like a one line pure text format.
Aram Saroyan and the Art of the One-Word Poem
How short can something be and still be writing as opposed to typographic art? Most of these were produced as posters or art books with images. Aphoristic writing might be enough to float free from the typography.
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral
This article is applicable to a greater or lesser extent to many Western countries. It is noticeable that Asian and African countries with recent experience of pandemics have got the measure of the beast (2 years, radical change in everyday life, test isolate and treat) quickly.
Probability Theory: The Logic of Science Reading Course Introduction - YouTube
What an *excellent* idea. Still no flattops in evidence.
Interview with Will Kurt on his latest book: Bayesian Statistics The Fun Way | by Federico Carrone | This is not a Monad tutorial
>> "The biggest inspiration for this book was E.T. Jaynes’ “Probability Theory: the Logic of Science”. My secret hope is that “Bayesian Statistics the Fun Way” can be a version of that book accessible to everyone. Jaynes’ book is really quite challenging to work through and is presents a pretty radical version of Bayesian statistics. Aubrey Clayton has done an amazing service by putting together a series of lectures on the key chapters of this book" << Jaynes for the common reader is quite an ambition! Flatops rule.
Why Bayesian Stats Needs Monte-Carlo Methods — Count Bayesie
>> " [...] 71% is generally not considered a strong belief in anything. So it is not inconsistent, nor suprising for someone to believe a candidate has 71% chance of success and they still lose. Even when looking at typical p-values, we wait for 95% percent certainty before making claims (and many feel this is a pretty weak belief). But for some reason whenever election polls come up, it seems even very statistically minded people suddenly think that 51% chance is a high probability." << Needs to be written in letters 3ft high in managers' offices! Interesting approach on the page. I need to learn more about this approach.
Netpbm - Wikipedia
Ascii based bitmap graphics format. 8 bit colour available and easy to write to from C
The story of ispc: first benchmark results (part 5)
>> "The idea of keeping the source code secret may seem strange. After all, we all worked at the same company, right? As it turns out, some teams would jealously guard their source code, only making binary releases available to other teams at Intel, and only at well-defined delivery points. It was one defense against the jerks." << Hence all the bugs and exploits...
Infinite Descent – An introductory pure mathematics textbook
University first course: set theory, functions and so on. Free as in beer (downloadable pdf) and spirit (LaTeX markup available on github, which itself provides a learning experience). Just wish that it was on Lulu so I can get a printout. I find thinking easier away from the screen and with a pencil.
Why it is Important that Software Projects Fail
>> "This paper boldly challenges the long established misconception that the catastrophic failure of expensive software projects is detrimental to society. Historical analysis of bureaucracies such as the Australian Tax Office shows that massive software automation has not increased their real efficiency since the 1950s. Any increase in the efficiency of individual workers has simply been consumed by increased bureaucratic complexity, as predicted by Parkinson's law. As the primary net effect of software is to facilitate bureaucratic complexity it is therefor essential that software projects fail if society is to function effectively. In this way the heavy burden of guilt can be lifted from the shoulders of the numerous project managers that have subconsciously devoted their careers to ensuring that projects rarely, if ever, succeed." << Top quality trolling, as with all satire, there is a grain of truth.
nitter
Twitter without the noise!
Linux Upskill Challenge
20 sessions (days) to learn how to set up and administer a server. I can see why the author suggests setting up an aws or digital ocean virtual server - you get to see real log entries and all the noise associated with a live server. I'll probably wimp out and use an old laptop with a static internal IP address.
Massacring C Pointers (2018) (wozniak.ca)
HN discussion of a review/deconstruction of an old book about an important topic in programming. The title of the book reviewed is Mastering C Pointers, and the author of the book is Robert Joseph “Bob” Traister Sr. Looks like Mr Traister died in or about 2007, so the blog author can take heart from the fact that no third edition is likely to be forthcoming. The book author was some kind of hobbyist tinkerer with early DOS based C compilers. This is quite an interesting discussion around issues about standards, editing, authority of information &c. The blog author includes program examples from the book with comments and arrives at the hypothesis that Traister was relying on a specific compiler implementation on a small and primitive target machine - so verifying code to some extent but not testing for portability. Traister's publication history is eclectic to say the least. Google knows of 28 titles. So say 200 pages each, 400 words a page, 28*80000 words or something like 2 million words...
Alexei Fridman
>> "Following the death of Joseph Stalin and the general amnesty,[2] cities with warm climate filled with criminals and the crime rates skyrocketed. Police was failing, and while in high school Alik and many other young men joined "the neighborhood watch" brigades organized by Komsomol and police. He did not miss a single training session in military sambo, and acquired many knife scars from the street action. He was the only one who remained alive from his team of four by the graduation." << A city in Kyrgyzstan from context. What I know of the post war history of the USSR is probably Moscow centric and based around the cold war stuff. I had no idea that there was this level of internal anarchy.
JPL C Coding standards 2015 [HN discussion]
Q. How do you write software for a spacecraft? A. Carefully.
Lex Fridman Podcast
Used to be the AI podcast. Actually videos on youtube but most important thing is the sound track (talking heads)
The Easy Ones – Three Bugs Hiding in the Open
>> "The fix was a few lines of code to stop traversing after twenty navigation nodes, presumably saving a few million dollars in server and power costs. I didn’t find this bug by looking at the monitoring graphs, but anybody who looked at them could have." << "Web scale" servers need careful monitoring apparently. It is the potential electricity saving that interests me.
They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?
>> "The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up. At the same time, the climate grows hotter and drier. Then, boom: the inevitable. The wind blows down a power line, or lightning strikes dry grass, and an inferno ensues." << cf Stephen Pyne's books. The answer is probably along the lines of not wanting to be blamed for not preventing the small fires.
AMANDA GHASSAEI
Adobe research lab member. Lots of mathematics and code going on. The recursive universe game of life page springs to mind.
Coronavirus: PM's U-turns create a 'climate of uncertainty', says Conservative
>> "Too often it looks like this government licks its finger and sticks it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. This is not a sustainable way to approach the business of governing and government." << I think that the penny is beginning to drop.
About GNU Readline
>> "I sometimes think of my computer as a very large house. I visit this house every day and know most of the rooms on the ground floor, but there are bedrooms I’ve never been in, closets I haven’t opened, nooks and crannies that I’ve never explored. I feel compelled to learn more about my computer the same way anyone would feel compelled to see a room they had never visited in their own home." << Slackware is something like a cross between a car scrapyard and a really good second hand bookshop. Seriously, a nice essay here.
The Broken Algorithm That Poisoned American Transportation
>> "...it generates a kind of algorithmic map based on expected land use patterns (businesses will generate more trips than homes) and socio-economic factors (for example, high rates of employment will generate more trips than lower ones). Then it will estimate where people will generally be coming from and going to. The third step is to guess how they will get there, and the fourth is to then plot their actual routes, based mostly on travel time. The end result is a number of how many trips there will be in the project area and how long it will take to get around. Engineers and planners will then add a new highway, transit line, bridge, or other travel infrastructure to the model and see how things change. Or they will change the numbers in the first step to account for expected population or employment growth into the future. Often, these numbers are then used by policymakers to justify a given project, whether it’s a highway expansion or a light rail line." << GIGO applies. Surprised only travel time modelled as choice factor. Why not cost/availability as well?
Bread price may rise after dire UK wheat harvest
>> "Since 85% of the wheat used for flour is grown here in the UK, flour millers will have to make up the shortages caused by this year's dire harvest with imports." << One of the triumphs of UK farming has been the selection of varieties of wheat that allow a high enough protein yield to bake decent bread. This has happened in the past 40 years or so. I can remember the grain elevators in Birkenhead and Liverpool with the grain ships coming over the pond from Halifax loaded with wheat. They have all gone (luxury flats and a huge scrap yard).
Why Johnny Won't Upgrade
>> "And that’s exactly the downside: your software will be more than happy to install a broken, changed, reduced, functionally no longer equivalent, spyware, malware, data loss inducing or outright dangerous piece of software right over the top of the one that you were using happily until today. More often than not automatic updates are not done with the interest of the user in mind. They are abused to the point where many users - me included - would rather forego all updates (let alone automatic ones) simply because we apparently can not trust the party on the other side of this transaction to have our, the users, interests at heart." << Slackware is joyously and pragmatically UN-automated.
Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member
>> “It is a fairly specific workflow that is a challenge for some newer developers to engage with. As an example, my partner submitted a patch to OpenBSD a few weeks ago, and he had to set up an entirely new mail client which didn’t mangle his email message to HTML-ise or do other things to it, so he could even make that one patch. That’s a barrier to entry that’s pretty high for somebody who may want to be a first-time contributor.” << So using a basic protocol that predates the Internet is considered too high a barrier to participation at a senior level in the project? Interesting.
Challenge to scientists: does your ten-year-old code still run?
>> "What Nicolas Rougier needed was a disk. Not a pocket-sized terabyte hard drive, not a compact disc — an actual floppy disk." << Artists have been dealing with this one for some time, as have the game emulator enthusiasts. Time for skills sharing?
Thonny Python IDE for beginners
The 'xxl' packages come with lots of python modules ready to go. The generic .tar.gz archive installs fine on Slackware 14.1. Main system requirement is glibc later than 2.15. Nice simple clear editor to use.
A/UX
>> "In 1988, Apple released the first version of their Unix-based operating system. It was a complete multi-user Unix kernel with preemptive multitasking and memory protection. It could run regular Unix programs and X-windows1 programs like other Unix boxes, but it could also run Macintosh programs. Practically all existing Macintosh programs could run in a kind of classic environment. But you could write a special kind of program that lived in the Unix environment, had Unix virtual memory and memory protection, and used the Macintosh toolbox to create its user interface." << Sounds like MacOS X but it was five years before that...
A clean start for the web
Lobste.rs comment page on the A Clean Start for the Web article
A clean start for the web
Author is making a case for a division between Documents and Applications, the former having its own protocol and browser. Problem: how to define or limit a 'document'. Would such a Document Web need to reproduce the *appearance* of, say, a music score from the 17th century? or a Maths notebook by someone like Ramanujan? If not, how do you define the standards.
Apple’s Fortnite feud and Microsoft xCloud ban have put the future of iPhone gaming in jeopardy - The Verge
>> "Cloud gaming offers a different vision of game development and distribution than the one Apple offers, or for that matter Sony and Nintendo. Games of the future may not need players to own powerful hardware or even to pay full price for the title itself. Instead, a cloud server far away and a monthly subscription service could, in theory, deliver a Netflix-style buffet of all-you-can-play offerings. All of it would be available on your TV, phone, tablet, or whatever other screen you have handy that can link up with a relatively speedy internet connection." << Which is all cool but what about the metadata when moving off the subscription? Client device records interactions somehow? So much 'user generated content' is being lost when companies tank or 'users' decide to stop paying.
Coronavirus: Teens' anxiety levels dropped during pandemic, study finds - BBC News
>> "In October, 54% of 13 to 14-year-old girls and 26% of boys of the same age said they felt anxious. When surveyed in May - several weeks after schools shut to most pupils and nationwide lockdown restrictions came into force - the proportion dropped to 45% of girls and 18% of boys." << Surprising result: sample was 1000 so 3% ish sample error but still. Could be seasonal variation?
Spenser's Boston: Amazon.co.uk: Parker, Robert B., Kumagai, Kasho: 9781883402501: Books
>> "This was the absolute worst collection of photographs I have ever seen. Nearly all were under lit and poorly composed. Almost none of them were evocative of Boston in any way. Imagine a picture of a car door with a caption of 'Mt. Vernon St.' !!! I do not exaggerate. In the days of film, these are photos that any amateur would have thrown away. I can't believe this book had an editor and was ever published. How the revered and cherished Robert B. Parker got associated with this book I cannot understand." << Sounds like my kind of stuff. Starting with one of the novels though.
UNIX, Bi-Grams, Tri-Grams, and Topic Modeling
Nice use of command line favourites (tr, sed, cut, uniq, sort) to analyse a series of texts
Bibliogram
Front end to Instagram for when I need to look up something someone posted. No Javascript, no tracking, and fast!
A-Levels and GCSEs in 2020
Looks like the Ofqual algo had more edge cases than a thruppenny bit, (that is old money).
GCSE results 2019: The main trends in grades and entries
Turns out that the 'condition of funding' students in FE colleges being forced to retake Maths and English until they turn 18 are skewing the grade profile. Headline pass rate for 16 year old year 11s is 71% ish and the headline pass rate for CoF victims is 20%, and there are getting on for 200k of them. Makes sense as the demographic dip in teenagers works its way through schools...
National percentage figures for GCSE grades
Looks very useful. Above link goes to the M section for GCSE Maths
JUDEA PEARL - COGNITIVE SYSTEMS LABORATORY
The causality man
A-Levels: The Model is not the Student
>> "Let’s start with the model used by Ofqual to predict grades (p85 onwards of their 319 page report). Each school submits a list of their students from worst student to best student (it included teacher suggested grades, but they threw those away for larger cohorts). Ofqual then takes the distribution of grades from the previous year, applies a little magic to update them for 2020, and just assigns the students to the grades in rank order. If Ofqual predicts that 40% of the school is getting an A then that’s exactly what happens, irrespective of what the teachers thought they were going to get. If Ofqual predicts that 3 students are going to get a U then you better hope you’re not one of the three lowest rated students. And so on." << Tom Haines' blog post reinforces my personal view that the issue here is the application of stack ranking to large collections of students. Madness.
A-Level results 2020: How have grades been calculated?
>> "But a central tenet of Ofqual’s “algorithm” seems to be that teachers would be able to reliably rank students. In “normal” circumstances I expect that there would be a strong correlation between teacher assessment and examinations. By “normal”, I mean if both students and teachers were aware that teacher assessment and ranking was going to be used prior to starting studies, if subjects had course work that can be objectively assessed and consistent across all students taking a subject and of course if the full two years had been completed." << Above from a comment by 'John' (this morning at 2:30 am - a lot of teachers are under a lot of pressure on this one). Like 'John' I see the central issue as the allocation of a single unified rank order. Imagine 1000 GCSE Maths students taught by 15 different teachers. The resolution of marks scale for mocks is smaller than the rank range by a large factor. How much confidence are you going to place in the ranks allocated globally? I'd be pushed to rank a class of 30 that I had taught myself let alone manage the merge process. The article is great, I like a worked example with concrete detail when trying to understand a process as convoluted as this.
The growth of command line options, 1979-Present
>> "This table has the number of command line options for various commands for v7 Unix (1979), slackware 3.1 (1996), ubuntu 12 (2015), and ubuntu 17 (2017). Cells are darker and blue-er when they have more options (log scale) and are greyed out if no command was found." << Nice data set there. Function creep abounds.
A-level results: Ofqual 'reviewing' exam appeals guidance
>> "He also called for Ofqual to re-examine extreme cases, such as students downgraded from a teacher-assessed C to a failing U grade. "Young people, after two years on a course, should really not be coming out with a fail when they haven't had the chance to sit the exam," Mr Barton said." << I'm trying to get my head around how a teacher grade of C got ranked so low by the school/college that it translated to a U when 'adjusted'. The school/college in question must have had a really low pass rate. I'd expect that in GCSE Maths in an FE college with thousands of 'condition of funding' retakers and therefore a famously low pass rate. But not A levels! Might need to simulate one of those...
A-levels and GCSEs: Student tells minister 'you've ruined my life'
>> "Because students had not taken any exams, "we took the view there wasn't going to be any new information that could justify rejecting someone to whom we'd made an offer", she said" << Commendable academic logic being displayed there in Oxford. I think the percentage of grade changes larger than 2 must be tiny and one hopes they will be sorted on appeal. My suspicions focus on the ranking process within the school somewhat as well. Trying to put 200+ entries in rank order given the underlying distribution will result in a very small change in 'score' altering the middle ranks considerably.
NYH Hoc
This enhanced version of the Higher Order Calculator compiles fine on Slackware and works well under rlwrap (so I can use the readline editing and up arrow for last command &c). Nice calculator, good for slightly more complex stuff. HOC was originally from Kernighan and Pike 'The Unix Programming Environment'. The first couple of iterations provided me with a flavour of what you can do with a parser generator. Use cc -std=c89 and it all works with the yacc provided by bison in compat mode.
K&R C | B³₂
List of differences between K&R first edition C declarations and -std=c89 and later.
RSS EPAG STATEMENT ON GRADE ADJUSTMENT IN 2020 EXAMINATIONS IN THE UK
>> "Any statistical algorithm embeds a range of judgements and choices; it is not simply a technically obvious and neutral procedure. Calibrating this year's estimated grades to previous years' exam results is one such choice. How to take account of evidence of individual students' prior attainments is another. How to take account of uncertainty is another." << Brings to mind Spiegelhalter's comments on school league tables. Ranking 240 children (8 form entry comprehensive, Maths GCSE so everyone enters exam) will produce uncertainties, especially in the middle ranks, which is where grade boundaries might be falling (actually around 66th percentile on average).
Of Modes and Men Cut-and-paste, the one-button mouse, WYSIWIG desktop publishing—these are just a few of the user interface innovations pioneered by Larry Tesler
>> "He sat her in front of a blank computer screen and gave her a printed page of text that he had marked up with corrections. “See this text?” he asked. “Pretend it’s on the screen. And see these proofreading marks? Your job is to make those changes on the screen. How would you do it?” “Well,” she said, “I have to insert something there, so I would point there, and then I would type what I wanted. And to delete this, I would draw through it.” Tesler took notes as Adams invented, in effect, the modeless user interface for text editing." << Wonder if Ms Adams got a bonus? Still searching for the caret. Bravo had an inverted V pointing to space between letters I gather
Google Books: Fumbling the Future Chapter 9
The editor with the Royal Typewriter basically adopted computer based copy editing when presented something like TextEdit or Leafpad. Wonder how 'track changes' or version control was handled. I read about the use of the caret *between* letters as the visual representation of the text insertion point somewhere as well.
[TUHS] The most surprising Unix programs
>> "Theory, though invisible on the surface, played a crucial role in the majority of these programs: typo, dc, struct, pascal, egrep. In fact much of their surprise lay in the novelty of the application of theory." "Originators of nearly half the list--pascal, struct, parts, eqn--were women, well beyond women's demographic share of computer science." << Doug McIlroy's list. Typo sounds a fun project.
stderr - [TUHS] Graphic Systems C/A/T phototypesetter
>> "One afternoon several of us had the same experience -- typesetting something, feeding the paper through the developer, only to find a single, beautifully typeset line: "cannot open file foobar" The grumbles were loud enough and in the presence of the right people, and a couple of days later the standard error file was born..." << Hilarious that a need for typeset paper documents drove the development of Unix. Next time a local genius starts sounding off about bureaucrats...
Think 'sanctions' will trouble China? Then you're stuck in the politics of the past
>> "Here, after all, was an exciting new business partner: master of a realm in which there were virtually no labour rights or health and safety regulations, no frustrating delays because of squabbles between political parties, no criticism from free media, and no danger of judgment by independent courts. For European and US companies doing manufacture for export, it was a dream come true." << Singapore-On-Thames is a possibility here but mild in comparison.
Interview with Lorinda Cherry
>> "Cherry: No, the graphics is easy. The hard part is getting a language that you can teach to a math typist that will just flow off her fingertips to complicated graphics. I think the language part of that is what was neat about it. It's still what's neat about it. The graphics part of it, I think Tech is still better as far as what EQN does and what Tech does. From a mathematical standpoint I think you'll find Tech better, but I don't think Tech stuff is anywhere near as natural to work with." << Ms Cherry co-wrote eqn, typed a lot of text into a teletype and developed a statistically based dictionaryless spell checking program called 'typo' which I am now trying to find a copy of.
[TUHS] In Memoriam: J.F.Ossanna
>> "Joe sold the (not really existent) UNIX system to the patent department of AT&T, which in turn bought the urgently needed PDP11. Without that there would be no UNIX. Without Joe there would be no UNIX." << Ossanna was some kind of middle manager figure who also wrote serious and complex programs in assembly and later in C for the new machines running this new system. The story about the Echo metalised baloon is good as well.
OpenBSD -current - Frequent asked questions
I've installed a snapshot and there has been a pretty big library update, so waiting until weekend to try installing any packages.
Re: scp host:file* /tmp/nonexistent
>> "So the behaviour cannot be changed! If you read the code, you'll see how it iterates it's copying method over each of the source arguments, to the target. "scp host1:a host2:b c/". This is how it worked *since day one* as rcp, and as a result in scp." << One quote about an obscure case using scp compared with cp shows how the software written today will constrain future choices, and how hard it is to change the way widely used commands work (the accumulated layers of scripting and automation built ontop of the command).
What Is a Japanese Kissaten and How Is It Different From a Café?
>> "(Hint: in the Aichi prefecture, central area of Japan, look in residential areas for a revolving light. Many kissaten in this area have these lights outside the entrance which makes spotting one easier.)" << Love that little detail. The author is talking about a yellow revolving road works light on top of the sign on the pavement outside the shop. Sounds like a kissaten is basically a greasy spoon cafe - older generation and beginning to become rare now.
We Need to Talk About Ventilation
>> "Strikingly, in one database of more than 1,200 super-spreader events, just one incident is classified as outdoor transmission, where a single person was infected outdoors by their jogging partner, and only 39 are classified as outdoor/indoor events, which doesn’t mean that being outdoors played a role, but it couldn’t be ruled out. The rest were all indoor events, and many involved dozens or hundreds of people at once. Other research points to the same result: Super-spreader events occur overwhelmingly in indoor environments where there are a lot of people." <<
How Earth’s Climate Changes Naturally (and Why Things Are Different Now)
Good heavily referenced summary of the history of Earth's climate through deep time. Some of my geology is out of date (50 years since school geography lessons).
He Found ‘Islands of Fertility’ Beneath Antarctica’s Ice
>> "There’s no sunlight beneath half a mile of ice, so of course there’s no photosynthesis. Instead, we’ve identified a number of microbes called chemolithoautotrophs, which basically eat minerals for a living. They get their energy from the oxidation of inorganic compounds, and they get carbon from carbon dioxide. We also discovered that methane was diffusing upward from the sediments, fueling bacteria that oxidize methane for energy." << Free energy -> life
Do We Need a Theory of Everything?
Dr Hossenfelder doing her thing (and it is a good thing). I think of physics and science generally as giving us explanations of how things work and what (usually opposing) forces interact to make what we know.
Coronavirus: Pubs 'may need to shut' to allow schools to reopen
>> "And so actually, closing some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be required to enable us to open schools." << We are all nodes in a diverse range of connected graphs. Join one and leave another to try to keep the overall number of infections below some limit. Interesting note on the shift in infection age distribution...
Dragan Novakovic’s Brick Lane
Old negatives scanned and processed - very nice images. Comment about the last image pointing out the change in the skyline and land use over the just under 50 years from these images.
Git foundations
Liking Day 2 but with a comparison and duplication only of changed files somehow to avoid duplication. Perhaps the files that don't change could be symlinks?
Why Cornel West is hopeful (but not optimistic)
>> "I think we have to be jazz men and jazz women. We have to be improvisational. We have to recognize that the abstract has its role to play, the academy has its role to play, but there’s a whole host of other dimensions that have their role to play." <<
My Midlife Crisis as a Russian Sailor
>> "As we quickly discover, Little Oransky is also a wonderland of birds. Gulls and their aggressive cousins, skuas, shriek and cry their own improvisations—birdsong that Andrey will later call “merry and badass jazz.” They wing back and forth along populated cliffs like morning commuters in some vertical city." <<
Tech Insider - Unix - Project Athena
A small cache of industrial history relating to the X Window system developed on top of Unix.
What’s Going on Inside the Fearsome Thunderstorms of Córdoba Province? - The New York Times
>> "As Lenardon explained to Nesbitt, the region was beginning to see ever more storms escalate in both size and intensity. “Before, it was impossible for me to imagine more than one damaging storm a year,” he said. “Now I expect three or four.”" << Heat drives dynamics as a general principle...
Terry Scales, Painter | Spitalfields Life
>> "I dropped in on the Foundation Course and they said, ‘Thank God you’ve turned up because one of the tutors has been taken ill! Can you take the class?’ And afterwards, they said, ‘Can you come back tomorrow?’" << That's how it starts; a casual sessional teaching arrangement. Then you wake up one day with a career that spans three decades...
Installing LyX with existing TeX Live on Ubuntu 16.04 | Ruoxi Wang
You have to set $PATH to texlive manually in Lyx (tools | preferences | paths and look for Path prefix) if you installed texlive from the DVD using install-tl.
symbolic link - how can I symlink my home folder from another drive? - Ask Ubuntu
This looks like a plan for migrating 500Gb to 2Tb drive without trying to resize the home partition: dd the existing drive to front of new drive. Make a partition with rest of space. Use mount --bind to mount home/Pictures etc to corresponding directories in new partition.
[FF 70]How do I get rid ow the "What's New" button? | Firefox Support Forum | Mozilla Support
"Update: It seems I've found the solution. "browser.messaging-system.whatsNewPanel.enabled" in about:config seems to remove that "gift"..." Another one to add to the (steadily increasing) about:config tweaks I have to add when installing Firefox.
Coronavirus updates: Barcelona surge in infections as residents told to stay home - BBC News
>> "UN Secretary-General António Guterres has given a lecture in London warning that Covid-19 is an "X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built”." << UK showing effects of the hollowing out of public services over the last 15 years or so certainly. No stockpiles of protective equipment. No spare intensive care capacity. Care homes left to fend for themselves in a pandemic that affects mainly older people... the list goes on.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK
Just linking to this in case Boris' bunker gang try to make it disappear. Apparently PHE is too thorough in tracking down COVID deaths compared to other UK nations. Ultimately it is excess deaths that matter.
gnome - Taking screenshots of all (or specific) virtual desktops/workspaces (or: windows beyond/larger than current desktop)? - Ask Ubuntu
The script works fine with xwd -root > ~/file$desk.xwd substituted for the maim script originally used. Xdotool is under accessibility in slackbuilds. This is with jwm window manager - does not depend on Gnome or whatever.
macos - Should the .bashrc in the home directory load automatically? - Stack Overflow
This page clarifies the relationship between .bashrc and .profile when you have a mix of login shells and interactive shells working under a graphical session. TDLR: .profile should include .bashrc
NVIDIA DRIVERS Linux Display Driver - x86
This is the blob needed for the T61p according to nvidia's page
Putin, the Potemkin president
>> "How and when tacit, mass support for Putin's rule will shift is still a mystery of collective psychology. The nature of conformism suggests it could be a dramatic one-off event, perhaps triggered by a random, or rather insignificant-seeming, development." << Catastrophe theory springs from my inner Dom
Fix for dmenu 6.2 on Slackware compile fail
Compiling dmenu from source fails on Slackware 14.2 with an error about function parameter not being found. This arises from an older fontconfig on Slackware (Not broken? Don't fix!). Workaround is to add a line to drw.h with "#define FC_COLOR "color"". It is a hack. It does work.
Setting up the st terminal — martijnvos.dev
>> "As you can see this whole process isn’t exactly rocket science. Due to Suckless’ documentation, or the lack thereof, it can take quite some time to figure out though. That doesn’t mean I regret installing st as it taught me the commands diff and patch. It’s also my first foray into the world of C." << Alter config.def.h then recompile as root. The make script then saves a new config.h. I found that the config.h file does not have write access by default.
LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software' • The Register
>> "Vignoli got back to us to further clarify the consultation process. The strategy document “has been available to community members for two weeks,” he said, but only for those subscribed to a board-discuss mailing list. “If people are interested – as it looks from their reactions – they should have subscribed to the board-discuss mailing list,” he told us." << Goodbye any chance of getting colleges or adult education centres to use LibreOffice. And this guy is surely not for real?
History of UNIX Manpages - Kristaps Dzonsons
>> "Where do UNIX manpages come from? Who introduced the section-based layout of NAME, SYNOPSIS, and so on? And for manpage authors: where were those economical two- and three-letter instructions developed? The many accounts available on the Internet lack citations and are at times inconsistent. In this article, I reconstruct the history of the UNIX manpage based on source code, manuals, and first-hand accounts." << Kristaps Dzonsons' page on the history of man pages is industrial archaeology for the computer era.
Daring Fireball: On iOS Apps Peeking at Your Clipboard Contents
>> "I think almost all of this is just sloppy programming, not data collection. Even if you really did want to make an app that steals people’s clipboard contents, there’s absolutely no reason you’d check the clipboard contents this frequently. It’s just sloppy programming. But once revealed, a sloppy implementation like LinkedIn’s looks sketchy as hell." << Hanlon's razor in action. This week saw Barclay's bank using a Way Back Machine URL for a javascript library on the bank's display page (not the banking app) and now this. CopyPasta all round, turtles all the way down, one day it will implode.
Ramakrishnan Muthukrishnan - Brian Kernighan on the typesetting of "The Go Programming Language" book
"The input was in XML, with a tag set of about 25 items for headings, paragraphs, index terms, program insertion, simple tables, and the like. A Go program converted this either into HTML for rapid viewing on the screen and potentially for an e-book version, or into troff for printing. Using XML was a mild nuisance when writing but the error checking was very helpful." XML -> ms macros -> troff -> ps
McGrath wins Kentucky Senate primary - POLITICO
>> "But McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who was backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, had a superior organization and massive fundraising advantage that proved too much to overcome. She raised more than $40 million ahead of the primary, significantly outraising Booker and even McConnell. She spent more than $12 million on TV in the race, compared to less than $2 million from Booker, and her campaign won significant margins in the state’s rural counties outside Louisville and Lexington." << Kentucky has a population of 4.4 million. That is about 30% more than the West Midlands combined authority. Someone is making money out of elections hand over fist over there...
GCSE and A-level autumn exams offered in all subjects - BBC News
>> "The watchdog says that following the autumn exam season, exam boards will have to issue replacement certificates for the summer results - "if students request this", meaning students can keep the summer grade if it is higher." << Usual UK muddling through here but probably a sensible idea if logistics can be managed. External exam venues with schools verifying id?
Milton Glaser, Master Designer of ‘I ♥ NY’ Logo, Is Dead at 91 - The New York Times
>> "When Milton was a young boy, an older cousin drew a bird on the side of a paper bag to amuse him. “Suddenly, I almost fainted with the realization that you could create life with a pencil,” he told Inc. magazine in 2014. “And at that moment, I decided that’s how I was going to spend my life.”" << This is how it works
CSS mouseover for text and images without JavaScript
Mouseover to change an image is needed for my new home page
Learn LaTeX in 30 minutes - Overleaf, Online LaTeX Editor
>> "In this guide, we hope to give you your first introduction to LaTeX. The guide does not require you to have any prior knowledge of LaTeX, but by the time you are finished, you will have written your first LaTeX document, and hopefully will have a good knowledge of some of the basic functions provided by LaTeX." << Good reminder of basics! Site also has a section on Tikz
OpenBSD Is Now My Workstation | SogubSystems - Bioreports
>> "Sometimes applications crash, it happens. But it seems to happen a lot more in OpenBSD with X applications. It has happened enough where I’m just used to looking in $HOME for .core files to see if that was the cause." << I just stopped using xfce/mate and went with default wm. No more core dumps. Video driver stuff? Therefore hardware and arch dependent.
The Labour 2019 election review is a blueprint for Starmerism
>> "Expect this to be a theme of the Starmer leadership: social liberalism, tempered with a firmer position on law and order, all the while deflecting from the cultural areas that divide voters, and shifting the conversation onto the firmer economic ground that unites them." << That space on the economically left socially right plot is going to be pretty crowded!
Good luck using generative adversarial networks in real life – they're difficult to train and finicky to fix • The Register
>> ""But with GANs, it's so difficult to tell because it randomly gets worse and then better again and you can't really figure out how or why very easily. There is no really good indication of when you've trained it sufficiently long enough; the best way of assessing your model is to just look at the images themselves."" << Interesting application and the film clips are especially impressive - the stability of the colour over hundreds of frames. Still AI shows its limits...
Charles Jones, Gardener & Photographer | Spitalfields Life
>> "Jones’ grandchildren recall that, in old age, he used his own glass plates as cloches to protect his seedlings against frost – which may explain why no negatives have survived." << Flourishing as a gardener and photographer late 19th C so I'm guessing using a large plate camera and contact printing and toning the prints. This suggests to me that the print was seen as the final product - photo graphy = drawing with light - so perhaps negatives were seen as not needed any more?
Bolton's Book Says Trump Impeachment Inquiry Missed Other Troubling Actions - The New York Times
>> "Mr. Trump in this telling has no overarching philosophy of governance or foreign policy but rather a series of gut-driven instincts that sometimes mirrored Mr. Bolton’s but other times were, in his view, dangerous and reckless." << Random walk
Un naufragio personal: OpenBSD in a laptop, part 3
"Summarizing: the 6.6->6.7 upgrade process is smooth, quick and without glitches nor surprises. Again, kudos to OpenBSD people, you are awesome." Time to update the OpenBSD laptop page
Dexamethasone is first life-saving coronavirus drug - BBC News
"UK experts say the low-dose steroid treatment is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus. It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth." So a third phase treatment. Now we just need one for the second phase and the first fever phase and the throughput will drop
Coronavirus News: How Asia’s Densest Slum Chased the Virus - Bloomberg
"Authorities have knocked on 47,500 doors since April to measure temperatures and oxygen levels, screened almost 700,000 people in the slum cluster, and set up fever clinics, official data show. Recognizing the need to isolate residents in the tenement where as many as eighty share a toilet, those with symptoms were shifted to nearby schools and sports clubs converted into quarantine centers." I had thought that we would be doing the 'isolate' bit in the UK. Requisitioned hotels and paramedic health workers triaging cases.
Jon Stewart Is Back to Weigh In - The New York Times
>> "Twenty-four-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11. There are very few events that would justify being covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So in the absence of urgency, they have to create it. You create urgency through conflict." << Jon Stewart. Just limit news programs to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening at allow the networks to stagger their programs so the junkies can get their fix.
Walking Is Making a Major Comeback | Outside Online
>> "“There is a lot of research on creativity while walking,” says Jennifer Udler, a therapist in Potomac, Maryland, who practices “walk and talk” therapy with her clients. “Our dopamine, our serotonin, all the feel-good chemicals, are being released when we walk. And that’s not just mood. It’s creativity, it’s de-stressing, it’s lowering cortisol—there’s a lot of chemistry involved in this.”" <<
Boris Johnson is in trouble inside and outside his own party | The Independent
>> "In fact the most stringent measures were taken by Johnson, advised by Dominic Cummings, before the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies was definite about them. Johnson was indeed following the science, but it was the science of opinion research rather than of epidemiology. Public opinion, fearful of the disease and watching other countries lock down, was ahead of the scientists." << And people will decide to reduce social distancing as well. Watch the retail numbers...
The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running Now - Scientific American
>> "So far, Fancourt says, people are encouraged to follow classic mental health strategies: getting enough sleep, observing a routine, exercising, eating well and maintaining strong social connections. Spending time on projects, even small ones, that provide a sense of purpose also helps." << Really must sort the garden out...
The Hidden Algorithms Underlying Life | Quanta Magazine
"I think there needs to be some kind of minimal computational activity by the learner, and if any learning takes place, it must make the system more effective. Until a decade or two ago, when machine learning began to be something that computers could do impressively, there was no evidence of learning taking place in the universe other than in biological systems." Contextual knowledge is always the issue. Machine learning always seems brittle
Bolton rips Trump: ‘Getting reelected was the only thing that mattered’ - POLITICO
>> "Bolton plans to write that he was “hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision” during his tenure as national security adviser, from April 2018 through September 2019, “that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations.”" << What is the point of power unless you have policies?
Pandemic Time: A Distributed Doomsday Clock - NOEMA
>> "The simultaneous dimming of Betelgeuse and the global emergence of COVID-19 were curiously rhyming phenomena: disruptions of familiar, reassuring rhythms, both with latent apocalyptic potential. Had two such events coincided in antiquity, our more astrologically inclined ancestors would have been very worried. If light traveled instantaneously, events would have coincided in an interesting way. Betelgeuse is around 700 light-years away, according to the most recent distance estimates, which means the dimming we observed in February actually occurred somewhere around the time the Black Death was making its way around the world." << Via longform.org
Why Tory MPs are increasingly worried about the government's ability
>> "It’s part of the story as far as the failure to reopen schools is concerned. The major barrier to reopening schools is that government guidance is that they must observe social distancing and that no class should have more than 15 pupils in it, in order to easily contain any new outbreaks. The problem – as you’ll know if you’ve visited a school recently – is that, of course, the average class size is almost double that in size." << Keep banging this point home and one day the penny will drop. The reason Germany, Denmark and other countries can reopen schools is that they spend enough money to have smaller class sizes!
Science and Technology Committee (Commons) - Publications - Committees - UK Parliament
Check here for transcript of Tuesday 9th June hearing around 16th or so
Oral evidence: UK Science, Research and Technology Capability and Influence in Global Disease Outbreaks, HC 136
It transpires that Hansard produce transcripts of oral evidence to select committees around 5 days after the hearings...
Why I broke with Boris Johnson
>> "It took six years for Margaret Thatcher’s governments to begin to stop listening to alternative voices. The same patterns had emerged within six months of Johnson becoming Prime Minister, and within six weeks of his general election victory last December. In her early years the Iron Lady relished argument and intellectual debate – and those internal jousts strengthened her for the public battles with her true opponents. In the starkest of contrasts, the team inside today’s No 10 has often preferred to greet internal dissent with retribution – much of it pre-briefed to favoured journalists. Throughout the Westminster village every Tory had quickly learned the score: do, say and tweet as you are told – or else." <<
Coronavirus: Ministers consider NHS contact-tracing app rethink - BBC News
"An experiment within a stationary train carriage found that when users moved from a distance of 3.5m (11.5ft) to 4m, signals became stronger rather than weaker because of the way metal objects were reflecting the radio waves." Agile programming team rediscovers basic electromagnetic theory.
Coronavirus: enforcing UK lockdown one week earlier 'could have saved 20,000 lives' | World news | The Guardian
>> "Before March, scientists believed the UK had far fewer infections than it actually had. But it later became clear that between 1,500 and 2,00 cases arrived from Italy and Spain in the first two weeks of that month. At the time, the modellers assumed about two-thirds of infected people coming into the UK were not being identified, but Ferguson said a more accurate figure was about 90%." << (90/66)^3 if we take 9 day delay and doubling time of three days. Roughly 2.5x
Scientists turn on Boris Johnson over UK’s coronavirus response – POLITICO
>> “We … made the rather optimistic assumption that somehow — which was policy — that the elderly would be shielded and particularly the most vulnerable would be shielded as the top priority,” Ferguson said. “And that simply failed to happen.” << I wonder if "which was policy" means that the modellers were required to assume effective isolation of care homes as an input. If so then 'guided by the science' means 'guided by the scientific models based on assumptions we mandate' which is a tad different
Coronavirus: UK economy could be among worst hit of leading nations, says OECD - BBC News
"In its latest assessment, the OECD found that the UK's largely service-based economy meant that it had been particularly badly hit by the government's lockdown restrictions." And issues with supplies depending on outsourced supply chains.
Homes to be heated by warm water from flooded mines - BBC News
>> "Plans are also underway at Rugeley in Staffordshire, where a former coal-fired power station will be turned into a village of 2,300 homes heated partly by water from disused shafts." << Sounds very good to me. Will need a trip out to see that. The power station was a huge site
To Coretta Scott | The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
>> "I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human system it fail victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes." << >> "Bellamy emphasized that the [change?] would be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This, it seems to me, is the most sane and ethical way for social change to take place." <<
Fintan O’Toole, ‘Comfort is best found in Seamus Heaney's poems’, in The Irish Times (31 Aug. 2016)
>> "It was what his whole life as a poet had articulated with such astounding eloquence. In a speech at the National Museum in March he put it directly: “We are not simply a credit rating or an economy but a history and a culture, a human population rather than a statistical phenomenon.”" <<
COVID-19 dashboard based on data from PHE
Looks good. Runs on a small server that someone has just put up
Rereading: The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey | Books | The Guardian
>> "Without a proper accounting of loss, these acts are final: not a scratch on our consciousness when the listed building is replaced by a loud nothing, protected by a corrugated fence and a battery of surveillance cameras. No record has been left behind of our shame in failing to resist. And no memorial, in Mabey's direct and effective prose, to the processes of weather, the complex entanglements of predatory humans and indifferent nature." <<
How Google Docs became the social media of the resistance | MIT Technology Review
"Johnson created the Google Doc in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death, but she had been compiling resources since the death of Ahmaud Arbery, whose murder by a father and son in February didn’t lead to arrests until video of the incident was released in May. “I’ve been doing this [sharing links for direct action] since 2014 with my own network of friends and family,” Johnson says. She’d never created a public Google Doc like this, and chose it over Facebook and Twitter because it is so accessible: “Hyperlinks are the most succinct and quickest way to access things, and you can’t do that on Facebook or Twitter. When you say ‘Contact your representative,’ a lot of people don’t know how to do that.” Direct links in the Google Doc make it much easier for people to get involved, she says." Interesting - people need permanence and authoring tools
The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test - The New York Times
"It was while working for the World Health Organization tracing Ebola outbreaks in Uganda that Dr. Henry developed her ideas about how best to respond to public health emergencies. The keys to an effective quarantine, she came to understand, were communication and support, like food and medical follow-up, not punitive measures." It is the medical follow up we need now, for all diagnosed cases of COVID so the possible descent into ARDS can be detected early.
Covid Radar
Another one of these analysis pages. They seem to be using the COVID symptom study so small self-selecting samples in most regions
Non-COVID excess deaths ONS thread
Very informative - I wish they put these on a more permanent Web page. Geographical correlations suggesting many were non-diagnosed COVID. Inquests delayed so expect more stress related mortality as hearings catch up allowing registrations.
Coronavirus: what a second wave might look like
"In the near future, governments will need to delicately balance the needs of the economy and social life with suppressing the spread of the virus. Test, trace and contain and local responses are key elements of the strategy. Epidemiological models and concepts like R can help in establishing where, how, when and for how long, the government needs to intervene to prevent the second wave." Test, trace and ISOLATE.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey pilot Statistical bulletins - Office for National Statistics
Thursday is sample day...
After Reopening Schools, Israel Orders Them To Shut If COVID-19 Cases Are Discovered : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR
>> "Dr. Arnon Afek, who is helping manage Israel's coronavirus response, played down the outbreak, saying a spike in cases was expected when schools reopened. "It wasn't a surprise," he said. "It happened also in South Korea and Singapore."" << September, when the school system will start to fully open, is going to be interesting
'We were packed like sardines': evidence grows of mass-event dangers early in pandemic | World news | The Guardian
>> “Very few people actually go to these events” as a proportion of the population. The events are outside, and “you don’t actually come into contact with that many people. So the total number of contacts made in these situations compared with every day in a pub for instance, is really negligible.” << The model of attending a footy match or race meeting that the SAGEes seem to be using differs from the intense day-long immersion including travelling on crowded trains, queuing in crowded bars, and shouting yourself hoarse that many will recognise. Not to mention the state of surfaces and catering hygiene.
The Spy Who Came Home | The New Yorker
>> "He compared his situation to that of Voltaire’s Candide, who, after enduring a litany of absurd horrors in a society plagued by fanaticism and incompetence, concludes that the only truly worthwhile activity is tending his garden. “Except my garden is the Third Precinct,” Skinner said." <<
Rage, fear, and confusion - dj patil - Medium
>> "There was a young data scientist that pulled me aside before a meeting on how data and technology might be able to help on community policing. He showed me data that he had cobbled together from multiple systems where he showed the rate over time of how police stopped white vs blacks and it was about equal. And then he showed me the search rates after they were stopped and they were staggering. It showed how much more likely you were to be searched if you were black. As we dug in, he showed how you could tell which officers contributed to doing the most searches and matching it to those that had the most complaints. When I showed his results to the other police chiefs they all asked how they could get that kind of data so get those officers off the streets. The chiefs didn’t have the basic data systems to know which officers were a problem." << When you manage a process you need metrics
Coronavirus: Scientist who advises government warns lockdown being eased too soon | Science & Tech News | Sky News
>> "Although the government has focused on the reproduction number, which measures the speed of the spread of the virus, the number of cases is an equally important factor in determining the number of deaths." << Higher starting point for exponential growth if R goes (much) above 1
Dominic Cummings, the Nostradamus of north London, has done it again | Financial Times
"At Monday’s press conference, Mr Cummings played the Nostradamus of north London: “Only last year I wrote explicitly about the danger of coronaviruses.” Turns out it was a bit more complicated than that. Instead, last month, on Mr Cummings’ first day back at work after his Durham trip, one of his blogs from March 2019 was edited to add an express reference to coronavirus. History will be kind to Mr Cummings, for he intends to rewrite it." This strange incident was what stuck in my mind as well. Straight after the return from the family estate, after a two week absence from affairs of State, our hero decides to make minor alterations to an ancient blog post to mention the latest virus.
UK public still staying home to huge degree and even getting used to lockdown life, new data reveals | Ipsos MORI
"76% say it would be acceptable to force bars and restaurants to continue social distancing over the very long term, versus 17% who disagree. 38% would find it acceptable if restaurants and bars were allowed to choose whether or not to enforce social distancing." Wonder what happens if the government decides to open up completely in Summer. Stampede? or Crickets...?
COVID Underdogs: Mongolia - Indi Samarajiva - Medium
"Countries are used to giving aid to places like Mongolia, to sending advisors. It simply does not compute that they should have been getting advice from Mongolia the whole time."
The truth about why Cummings hasn't gone: Johnson is too terrified to sack him | Marina Hyde | Opinion | The Guardian
"Part of what’s disturbing was the vignette of a Britain Cummings himself did much to foment: grimly polarised, reflexively aggressive and running with an undercurrent of menace. His crowning triumph – the successful campaign to leave the EU – was a masterclass of stoking and exploiting divisions, unpleasantly emotive half-truths or untruths, and evidently considered itself above the law."
Cummings’ contempt for lockdown rules makes the public feel like fools | Fintan O’Toole | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "So why does his odyssey during lockdown produce a whole different kind of emotion? Because it reaches into the innermost experiences of millions of people. It cuts right through to the pain of a loved one dying alone, of grandchildren growing distant, of precious human bonds being forcibly severed. It grabs hold of that torment and it squeezes the meaning out of it." <<
Public Policy and the Past: All the damage they can do
"But consent comes from the ‘bottom’, allied to co-operation and contract from the ‘top’ (or what passes for the top these days). Take a hammer to that sense of community – to honesty, believability, transparency – and you are gambling with the whole edifice of compliance." This bit worries me
barney | Origin and meaning of barney by Online Etymology Dictionary
>> "And adds that "Come, come, that's a Barna' Cassell," is "a reproof to an exaggerator, or liar."" << Seems about right
What Xi knew: pressure builds on China’s leader | Free to read | Financial Times
>> "“The small infection numbers outside Hubei are related to low testing rates,” says one Chinese doctor who asked not to be named. “We did not have many test sites outside Hubei. If we want to figure out the real infection rate, we need to conduct large-scale antibody testing to see how many people used to be infected.”" << Antibody testing
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Wear and tear. The fate of Dominic Cummings
"In this case, though, not merely a media story. There are literally tens of thousands of people out there who can say, and are saying, "My spouse or my parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle died in a care home because the government failed to protect care homes, and died frightened and alone because I obeyed the rules. Now I learn that you disregarded the rules, and the PM is happy with that because of who you are." I would think almost everyone in the country is within two degrees of separation of someone who can say that." Just had a think, and, yes it is 2 degrees of separation although I did not know the family directly...
Thread by @RussInCheshire: The week in Tory: 1. Clapped for health workers 2: Then increased the fees paid immigrant health workers to access the life-saving service t…
"And there are 12 hours of the week to go." A week is a long....
Why are Africa's coronavirus successes being overlooked? | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "Ghana, with a population of 30 million, has a similar death toll to Senegal, partly because of an extensive system of contact tracing, utilising a large number of community health workers and volunteers, and other innovative techniques such as “pool testing”, in which multiple blood samples are tested and then followed up as individual tests only if a positive result is found. The advantages in this approach are now being studied by the World Health Organization." << Two level approach - presumably the pools are households or streets?
Human trials of British coronavirus vaccine to reach 10,000 - Reuters
>> "Researchers are mainly looking for healthcare staff and other public-facing workers to join the trial as in order to get a clear signal on the vaccine’s efficacy, they need a minimum number to catch the coronavirus in their everyday lives. An initial trial that started on April 23 has already seen more than 1,000 volunteers aged 18-55 receive the injection and Oxford said phases II and III will add people aged 56 and older as well as children of 5 to 12 years." << These people are doing us all a great service as well as increasing their own safety. Hope no major side effects come up
UK's first coronavirus contact-tracing group warns of difficulties | World news | The Guardian
>> "Dr Bing Jones, a retired Sheffield GP, helped start the group a month ago out of frustration that contact tracing had been abandoned in England. “We sat down and thought: this is a major omission – a schoolboy error. We have got one of the biggest crises you can possibly imagine and one of the major building blocks of the public health management of an epidemic is not being done,” he said." << May 22: Science and Technology committee chair keeps asking why official test and trace abandoned, and was getting few answers in the evidence session this morning.
How much difference would an earlier shutdown have made? - The Post
"The word ‘model’ can describe many things, from an all-singing, all-dancing climate model which simulates the action of the entire atmosphere and ocean system down to cubic-kilometre units, to a simple statistical curve which says ‘if X goes up by 1, Y will go up by 2’. The Annan model is very much at the latter end."
Guile Reference Manual
"When you quit your Guile session by evaluating (quit) or pressing Ctrl-D, the history will be saved to the file .guile_history and read in when you start Guile for the next time. Thus you can start a new Guile session and still have the (probably long-winded) definition expressions available." Great news for bottom up programming kind of. You can scroll through history using up arrow but definitions not loaded. Might have to invoke guile with definitions filtered out and loaded like this... cat .guile_history | grep '('define | uniq > .guile_defs guile -l .guile_defs I wonder which version this feature was added in? Not in 2.0 but in 2.2 up
When SimCity got serious: the story of Maxis Business Simulations and SimRefinery | The Obscuritory
"He was interested in the idea of “agent-based modeling,” a way of simulating complicated behavior from the bottom-up. The way he explained it in a lecture at George Washington University in 1995, he used the example of writing a computer program that simulates a flock of birds. We could come up with a complicated formula to control an entire flock of birds flying around. Or instead, we could make each of the birds “think” for themselves, and when they’re all together, we can see larger patterns of behavior emerge." Bottom up modelling
Coronavirus: Can schools double classes with no extra rooms? - BBC News
"These small groups will have one teacher and will learn, play and eat separately, arriving and leaving school at a different time from other small groups of pupils - each group staying two metres apart from any other." Space and staff? Not to mention the detail of these staggered start and end times
Reopening schools is a question of logistics, not of risks
"There is no central government record of the number of unused rooms in the average school because this hasn’t, up until now, been particularly useful information and most school leaders I spoke to did not know for that reason. However, two happened to have copies of their timetable planning from the last academic year, and, at any given time, 95 per cent of their classrooms were in use." Nice to see a journalist actually doing some research. FE Colleges have room utilisation targets of course and often timetable up to 100% on paper
Parliamentlive.tv - Science and Technology Committee : Should primary children go back to school?
"The decision to open primary schools or not is a political one, it is not a scientific decision" Less of the 'driven by science' stuff perhaps
Parliamentlive.tv - Science and Technology Committee : Corona virus R number
This section just goes over the R number and the way it condenses down to care homes &c
The co-morbidity question | The Actuary
>> "This conclusion is consistent with our discussions with two critical care consultants, who have confirmed that COVID-19 ICU patients are broadly representative of general hospital patients (albeit with the most and least healthy tails of the distribution removed) and that “COVID-19 patients admitted to our ICU are generally healthier than our normal patient population, but despite this, have a high mortality. People are dying in middle age, with many years ahead of them.”" << If you are over 50, avoid catching corona virus.
What We Know About Your Chances of Catching the Virus Outdoors - The New York Times
"The good news: Interviews show a growing consensus among experts that, if Americans are going to leave their homes, it’s safer to be outside than in the office or the mall. With fresh air and more space between people, the risk goes down." Downside: watch outdoor eating and shared surfaces e.g. loos
DfE's chief scientific adviser hasn't assessed school reopening guidance
>> "When asked what evidence the department has considered in relation to this, Rahman said: “I don’t know, I don’t think I was necessary at the PPE meeting. You’ll have to ask SAGE that.” Greg Clark, chair of the committee, replied: “But you’re the chief scientific adviser to the DfE.” Rahman responded: “I am. I’m not sure when they discussed PPE, it was a general PPE discussion.”" << Interesting approach
texlive - How to install TeX Live offline on Ubuntu? - TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange
Installing texlive 2018 (my standard) on Linux by mounting the iso image thus avoiding optical disks and disk drive errors
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » 28 Weeks Later: The Coronavirus Aftermath for the NHS and its Political Implications
>> "My own hunch is that rather than a large second wave that the virus situation will shift from a pandemic pattern to an endemic one. I suspect significant ongoing numbers of new cases for many months to come, perhaps around 100 Covid-19 inpatients per million population for the rest of the year. Even if the numbers are less than this there will be a need to have such reserve capacity as to be able to cope with a second wave, should one occur." << Sobering
He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19. - The New York Times
>> "Every year, he said, there are probably 600 or 700 people who die from coronavirus infections in France and thousands more from other respiratory illnesses. “The fact that people have died from a coronavirus in China, I don’t feel like it means much of anything for me,” he said. “I don’t know, maybe people don’t have anything to do, so they’ve gone looking in China for something to be scared about.”" << Got that one wrong didn't he? Always suspicious of shouty profs who put their name on papers that they have not contributed to. The planned independent large scale drug trials will find any success. In which case, one up for the prof.
Software exoskeletons
"Programmers need to understand that sometimes a program really only needs to run once, on one set of input, with expert supervision. Scientists need to understand that prototype code may need a complete rewrite before it can be used in production." And once it has run, it will need to be changed...
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Joe Biden’s VP pick – the case for 40/1 Iraq war veteran Tammy - Page 3 — politicalbetting
"I saw some of the original code, via a friend. I have seen a lot worse. It's code as scripting, really. One long file of functions." Another data point on the Ferguson/Imperial College model original code fandango. Can't see why the professor does not just release the original file. This is two IT specialists (Carmack being famous) that think the actual program itself was workmanlike if not production quality
Covid data display from ONS figures and a bit of theory
"Real-time tracking of an epidemic, as data accumulate over time, is an essential component of a public health response to a new outbreak. A team of statistical modellers at the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU), University of Cambridge, are working with Public Health England (PHE) to regularly nowcast and forecast COVID-19 infections and deaths. This information feeds directly to the SAGE sub-group, Scientific Pandemic Influenza sub-group on Modelling (SPI-M), and to regional PHE teams." Calculates Re values for today broken down by region WITH CONFIDENCE INTERVALS
What are the risks of COVID? And what is meant by ‘the risks of COVID’?
"As COVID-19 changes from being seen as a societal threat to a problem in risk management, it is essential that we get a handle on the magnitudes of the risk we face, and try to work out ways to communicate these appropriately. Note that I am only covering the lethal risks, not the potentially important consequences of illness or treatment." Spiegelhalter's latest. Its a goodie.
We should be very wary of the R value - UnHerd
>> "There’s an interesting statistical anomaly called Simpson’s paradox. It is that you can find a trend going one way in lots of individual datasets, but that when you combine those datasets, it can make the trend look like it’s going the other way." << Yay! Let's hear it for Eddy. >> "Simpson’s paradox is a specific case of a wider class of problem known as the “ecological fallacy”, which says that you can’t always draw conclusions about individuals by looking at group data. A topical example: local authorities with above-average numbers of over-65s actually have a lower rate of death from Covid-19 than those with below-average numbers. But we know that older people are individually at greater risk. What’s going on seems to be that younger areas tend also to be denser, poorer, and more ethnically diverse, all of which drive risk up." << Which, of course, means if you happen to be a mature gentleman living in a hip and cool neighbourhood because you prefer it to the straight places, you had better be careful.
Rate of infection spread in Denmark 'higher since schools opening' - The Local
"According to a new analysis from Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI, the so-called reproduction rate has increased from 0.6 to 0.9, still below the crucial figure of 1, which means that each infected person on average infects on average one other over the course of their illness." Hard to disentangle other changes but some evidence. If the confidence interval on our current composite R in the UK is up to 0.9 already then opening schools could tip us over the 1.0.
Pensioners 34 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than working age Brits, data shows | UK news | The Guardian
>> “For example, taxi and bus drivers (who have contact with the public) have very high Covid-19 death rates, whereas heavy truck drivers (who mostly don’t have public contact) don’t have high rates.” << Seal the drivers into their cabs and make prepayment for bus rides mandatory?
Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reëntry | The New Yorker
"The four pillars of our strategy—hygiene, distancing, screening, and masks—will not return us to normal life, but, when signs indicate that the virus is under control, they could get people out of their homes and moving again. As I think about how my workplace’s regimen could be transferred to life outside the hospital, however, I have come to realize that there is a fifth element to success: culture. It’s one thing to know what we should be doing; it’s another to do it, rigorously and thoroughly." The new normal
“We saw the virus coming and failed to respond”
>> "You asked me about the WHO, and of it being accused of showing bias towards the Chinese. It may have looked like that to some, but maybe they were just trying to draw lessons from the Chinese. In general, I think, we failed: we saw it coming and we failed. Each nation looked at the last one to be affected and said, “What did they do wrong?” rather than, “What can we learn from them?”" <<
As States Rush to Reopen, Scientists Fear a Coronavirus Comeback - The New York Times
>> "By contrast, he said, Sweden is trying to achieve “herd immunity” by letting young, healthy people become infected at what they hope will be slow, steady rates. Primary schools are open, higher ones are closed, everyone is asked to be careful in public and older adults are asked to stay home." << I suspect this is where we will end up in UK. 40% single person households in Sweden, 28% in uk. That is a 1.4x ratio...
Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models | MIT Technology Review
>> "One company that supplies sauces and condiments to retailers in India needed help fixing its automated inventory management system when bulk orders broke its predictive algorithms. The system's sales forecasts that the company relied on to reorder stock no longer matched up with what was actually selling. “It was never trained on a spike like this, so the system was out of whack,” says Sharma." << Isn't this just GIGO for the 21st century? A reminder that deep learning is greedy, brittle, opaque, and shallow. This is the brittle one I think...
Opinion | The Coronavirus Quagmire - The New York Times
"Meanwhile, ordinary Americans have basically behaved responsibly, social distancing before it was required, accepting an unprecedented lockdown with only marginal protests (notwithstanding Twitter coverage), and going out gingerly rather than recklessly as lockdown orders have been eased." People lead the lockdown and will probably determine the speed of the opening up after the first wave and before the second wave arrives in the winter period. "Maybe it’s justified as a judgment on our hollowed-out industrial capacities, our loss of what Bloomberg’s Dan Wang calls the “process knowledge” required to suddenly shift from making semiconductors to making swabs or masks. Leadership and industrial capacity can’t just be willed into existence; certain kinds of sclerosis can’t be easily escaped." I think there are issues for UK here. And within England we don't have local or regional governments with agency so Westminster need to get it right this time.
Rupert Beale · Short Cuts: How to Block Spike · LRB 21 May 2020
>> "We need a vaccine. The good news is that the virus is not mutating in such a way as to make immunisation especially difficult. One extremely crude vaccine consists of killed virus. This induces very decent immunity in experimental models. More sophisticated vaccines may well be better, and there are more than ninety in various stages of development. Vaccines that induce neutralising antibodies to the virus are strongly predicted to work: maybe not perfectly, and maybe not without complications, but I don’t know a single immunologist or virologist who thinks a vaccine is impossible." << Positive, along with the intense work on treatments for the worse effects of the virus for those who end up in hospital.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey pilot - Office for National Statistics
The one to watch. See how the confidence intervals move in as they test more. This is the "how many people have it right now" test. I'm waiting for the "how many people we think have already had it" (antibody) test. That tells you about the iceberg
Scotland Coronavirus Tracker
Nicely presented data. There is a country comparison table/multiple bar chart towards the bottom of the page
PM address to the nation on coronavirus: 10 May 2020 - GOV.UK
>> "And last, we must make sure that any measures we take do not force the reproduction rate of the disease - the R - back up over one, so that we have the kind of exponential growth we were facing a few weeks ago." << This is new - linking changes to the value of R (presumably the UK average)
Opinion | The World Is Taking Pity on Us - The New York Times
>> "America has a failed federal government, laughed at and pitied the world over. But America is not a failed state. It will be saved by its scientists and doctors, its hospitals and universities, its nimble and creative companies, and leaders in the statehouses who act more decisively than the family of frauds in the White House." << Over in the UK, we have Boris. With hollowed out local authorities, cash starved health services and mixed messages. Some hope on testing, no apparent plan for trace and isolate.
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson to launch Covid-19 alert system - BBC News
>> "Prof Leitch reiterated what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier this week - that the key message for Scotland "remains 'stay at home'" - and added: "I think the messaging is really important.... the best protection for this virus is your front door. There isn't any question about that."" <<
Coronavirus: How Boris Johnson Sided With "Doves" Over "Hawks" To Slow The UK's Exit From Lockdown
>> "Serology data gathered in the last two weeks has also concerned government experts. While chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said back in March that he expected around 60% of the population to eventually contract the virus, achieving “herd immunity”, it is currently believed that the percentage of those who have had it is in the low teens or high single figures. This also raises the possibility of an extremely deadly second wave." << First few weeks of the ONS random longitudinal survey coming out on Thursday.
Jenny Odell on nature, art, and burnout in quarantine - Vox
"And it is striking that when we had to sit down and classify essential workers, it was caregiving. It wasn’t the heads of high-frequency trading firms. Now we have all these essential workers and we call them heroes, but, in most cases, we pay them like shit. They’re often not being given proper protective gear. So we’re praising these people as essential and treating them as disposable. There’s just such an unbelievable disconnect between our revealed reality here and our economic system."
Countries beating Covid-19 — EndCoronavirus.org
Looks to be a clear summary. Another multiple graph. Vertical axis is estimated number of cases scaled to uniform height.
[PD] 64bit runtime error 'couldn't read file "/usr/tcl//pd-gui.tcl"'
Puredata on Slackware 14.1 has hard coded directories in the source code which don't match the /usr/lib64/ scheme used by slackware
Americans Didn’t Wait For Their Governors To Tell Them To Stay Home Because Of COVID-19 | FiveThirtyEight
"The Cuebiq data suggests that behavioral changes were largely driven by people making a voluntary choice to stay home rather than being forced to do so by a state-sanctioned stay-at-home order." Mobile phone location data showing the same kind of story as the OpenTable data and the Apple Maps query data. People started socially isolating before they were told to. Nice example of multiple graphics array to show state trends
When Will It Be Safe to End Coronavirus Lockdowns? | The New Yorker
>> "The argument that we should be discussing how to reopen the economy is really important. But that statement that we have flattened the curve is wrong. In about a third of the states it’s flat. In some of them it’s going down, which is even better, and, in about one-third of them, like in Texas, it is rising. So there is not any consistent picture." << They are trying to use county level data to estimate R for each state and track that as different states do their different things. Will be interesting to see how that unfolds...
Sounds Of Silence In Spitalfields | Spitalfields Life
>> "[...] there is the chorus of birds – the cooing of the doves amusing themselves on the flat roof of our neighbour’s house, the drilling of the robin that visits our garden, the sweet twittering of blackbirds, the squadron of high pitched blue tits, the chattering magpies, the marauding gang of seagulls that took a wrong turn somewhere a week ago and barked at the cat, and the ka-ka-ka-wing of crows. This symphony grows from morning to a final crescendo at evening." <<
Can we escape from information overload? | 1843
>> "Winston went into the dark for a month in a bid to escape the digital bell-chimes, the bouncing icons, the bulletins and info-blasts – our exhausting daily scroll. “But when you go into the dark for a long time,” Winston admitted to me, recently, “you’re not going into a void. You’re going into yourself. And good luck finding blissful empty quiet there.” There was nothing to compete with the loud, incessant inner monologue or drown it out. I wondered, then, whether we’d created and refined all our sparkly informational distractions because on some level we knew the relentlessness of the subconscious had the real power to overload." << Interesting, but, like Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, not something I'd want to try for myself. One of the worlds most influentual religions has a lot to say about stilling the mind...
Opinion | Can Rocky Mountain Laboratories Find a Coronavirus Cure? - The New York Times
>> "[...]It appeared the virus was targeting a specific receptor on cells called ACE2, the same receptor targeted by both SARS and the virus that causes the common cold. “The alarm bells went off then because it suggested that it could be both very prevalent and very contagious,” Dr. de Wit said. The lab immediately made plans to be fully prepared as soon as researchers could get the live virus." << The US has these tremendous facilities and very talented people who are watching developments all the time. And yet...
How Canned Food Revolutionized The Way We Eat - HISTORY
"Running a bustling lab and factory, Appert soon progressed from champagne bottles to wide-necked glass containers. In 1803 his preserved foods (which came to include vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and fish) were sent out for sea trials with the French navy. By 1804, his factory had begun to experiment with meat packed in tin cans, which he soldered shut and then observed for months for signs of swelling. Those that didn’t swell were deemed safe for sale and long-term storage." The solder would have contained lead in those days and possibly an acid flux. Lead ingress into the contents of the tin may have figured in the loss of Franklin's arctic expedition - noone is really sure on that one but recovered corpses had large lead concentrations. Could have stuck to the bottles!
Boris and Cummings' words are coming back to bite | The Spectator
>> "But then I think Cummings an interesting man with some interesting things to say. And I think he is sometimes right, too, not least when he argues that 'Systems are fragile and vulnerable to nonlinear shocks: ‘big things come from small beginnings’ and problems cascade; ‘they come not single spies/But in battalions’. Prediction is extremely hard even for small timescales. Effective action and (even loose) control are very hard and most endeavours fail'." <<
League tables just don't add up | New Scientist
"To illustrate the impact of ignoring the effect of sample size, Goldstein took A-level performance figures for 10 schools in one local authority and used standard statistical theory to calculate "confidence intervals", a type of error bar, for each figure. It emerged that the confidence intervals on each school's performance were so large that they encompassed those of every other school--making it impossible to rank them with any confidence." Small sample errors...
Handwashing only ‘soap tabs’ could help halt spread of COVID-19 in developing world | LSHTM
"It is also environmentally friendly and makes handwashing easier than other settings, because rather than go to where there is a facility with soap and water, you can take the soap with you, in a pocket or a purse. This also means there is no reliance on others providing handwash facilities as in public places." Could do with some of those for when public transport reopens!
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | LSHTM
The other group that has modelling activity that informs UK government policy decisions. The broad agreement of these groups - using independent implementations - tends to bolster confidence.
John Carmack's impressions of the Imperial College covid modelling software
"Before the GitHub team started working on the code it was a single 15k line C file that had been worked on for a decade, and some of the functions looked like they were machine translated from Fortran. There are some tropes about academic code that have grains of truth, but it turned out that it fared a lot better going through the gauntlet of code analysis tools I hit it with than a lot of more modern code. There is something to be said for straightforward C code. Bugs were found and fixed, but generally in paths that weren't enabled or hit." Sounds OK from the programming point of view. At least it isn't some AI black box with no transparency
Imperial College model: basic conceptual structure
The satellite view of the model that got us into lockdown. The original was '15000 lines of C' but this is an enhanced version that takes advantage of modern computers and that allows modelling of different countries.
Estimating the number of infections and the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 14 European countries - Imperial College London
Imperial College model web page
What we know, and what we don’t, about the true coronavirus death toll - Full Fact
"In countries with low levels of testing, spikes in overall mortality may be the first sign that a large outbreak is happening. In others, the lack of such a spike may provide a degree of reassurance that authorities are not missing a hidden epidemic. The New York Times, the Economist and the Financial Times now publish updated figures for excess deaths in multiple countries. The New York Times and the Economist show Jakarta, Indonesia with only 84 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in March, but 1,000 total excess burial licences (according to the New York Times) or 1,543 (according to the Economist)." The excess mortality puzzle: data sources
UK launches large-scale coronavirus app test – POLITICO
"But Gould said there was no “minimum percentage” for the U.K. to be satisfied. He said even if 20 percent of the population downloads the app it will still offer insights into the virus, and from 40 percent takeup upward it can begin to make a big difference to the track-and-trace system." Depends on if there is a difference between the subset of the population who download and successfully use vs the rest?
UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal • The Register
"We cannot state it plainer: on iPhones, apps cannot send out their IDs via Bluetooth when the software is in the background, and on newer Android builds, IDs cannot be transmitted after a few minutes in the background. And Apple and Google have refused to allow the tracing app to send out IDs in the background." I'll see how the Isle of Wight trial goes before buying an Android phone to replace my trusty Blackberry specifically to support this app. I can understand the desire for public health bods to get the full contact graph, but then there is a lot to be said for just running with the default api that Apple and Google are providing
The Life-and-Death Divide Between Flushing and Corona
>> "“If you see differences in the spread of infectious disease among different populations, that’s highlighting the differences in social dynamics. If everyone were mixing with each other homogeneously and equally, then you should see relatively comparable infection rates and we’re not seeing that,” Lee said." << The micro-detail of physical interaction graphs might be culturally determined. Plus learning lessons from those countries that have experienced corona virus pandemics
COVID-19 with Chris Whitty - YouTube
Gresham College's Professor of Physic being calm and clear
To mask or not to mask: Modeling the potential for face mask use by the general public to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic - ScienceDirect
"Model simulations, using data relevant to COVID-19 dynamics in the US states of New York and Washington, suggest that broad adoption of even relatively ineffective face masks may meaningfully reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and decrease peak hospitalizations and deaths. Moreover, mask use decreases the effective transmission rate in nearly linear proportion to the product of mask effectiveness (as a fraction of potentially infectious contacts blocked) and coverage rate (as a fraction of the general population), while the impact on epidemiologic outcomes (death, hospitalizations) is highly nonlinear, indicating masks could synergize with other non-pharmaceutical measures." Every little helps. Depends on density of course and NY has a very high density. At present in Brum centre density very low outside and on nearly empty buses, but after end of may could become higher especially on trains metro and buses. You can get some idea of what the modellers are up to by looking at the table of parameters. Huge probable ranges, with multiply coupled differential equations...
The Cancer in the Camera Lens | The New Republic
Sinclarian quality satire here, via daringfireball It looks to me as if most people in the US are looking to their state governments for guidance and to set public health rules. I gather that state govenors are linking up in clusters to coordinate their response based on local data. So the presidential circus becomes a distraction rather than a help?
Floating Power Plants Are Taking to the High Seas – gCaptain
"Karpowership has the biggest fleet of the vessels. Starting from the first ship for Iraq, which took three years to build in 2010, it now operates 25 such ships in 11 countries from Mozambique to Cuba to Indonesia. Coronavirus hasn’t slowed work, opening some opportunities for new markets instead." "The company converts existing dry bulk vessels, buys engines in bulk and builds them “one after another, almost like a production line,” Harezi said."
The Ecological Vision That Will Save Us - Issue 84: Outbreak - Nautilus
>> “Our social system has become so disconnected from nature that we no longer understand we still are a part of it. Breathable air, potable water, productive fields, a stable environment—these all come about because we’re part of this elaborate system, the biosphere. Now we’re suffering environmental consequences like climate change and the loss of food security and viral outbreaks because we’ve forgotten how to integrate our endeavors with nature.” <<
Coronavirus deaths: how does Britain compare with other countries? | David Spiegelhalter | Opinion | The Guardian
"You would think it would be easy for a bean-counting statistician to count deaths – the one certain thing (apart from taxes). But it is remarkably difficult. I have stopped taking much notice of the number given out at the daily press conferences, as it is only based on reports from hospitals, oscillates wildly around weekends, and recently included deaths that occurred a month ago. And this week the number of UK deaths jumped up by nearly 5,000 to 26,097 in one day – rather close to Starmer’s count – by retrospectively including non-hospital deaths that had tested positive for the virus." Probably going to have to be excess deaths compared to 5-year running average per month or something
xkcd: Tags
It took me a few seconds...
At The Solidarity Britannia Food Bank | Spitalfields Life
"They are the people who clean our offices and homes, they drive taxis, they cook and serve food to us in restaurants and cafes, they deliver our parcels, and wash our cars. With them, we have a functioning city but, without them, the city comes to a standstill. We are all co-dependent upon each other, and in these times of the pandemic, such people are not only falling through the gaps, but they are falling fast and hard." Perhaps more so in London and the large cities. Informal renting means little control on evictions I suppose.
The Design Squiggle
"The Design Squiggle is a simple illustration of the design process. The journey of researching, uncovering insights, generating creative concepts, iteration of prototypes and eventually concluding in one single designed solution. It is intended to convey the feeling of the journey. Beginning on the left with mess and uncertainty and ending on the right in a single point of focus: the design." Via daringfireball The left hand part is the labour intensive and expensive bit that people don't like paying for. Hence all the templated designs you see.
Coronavirus deaths mapped: Every region now at least 25 per cent below peak | News | Health Service Journal
"HSJ’s unique analysis shows the spread of hospital deaths confirmed as coronavirus cases to date, by trust and area, as well as the regional growth trends." Which is heartening, but the action now is excess deaths from all causes perhaps?
Why Georgia Is Reopening Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic - The Atlantic
>> "Canavaggio has spent days crunching the numbers to figure out whether reopening his bar is worth the safety risk, or even feasible in the first place, given how persistent safety concerns could crater demand for a leisurely indoor happy hour. “We can’t figure out a way to make the numbers work to sustain business and pay rent and pay everybody to go back and risk their lives,” he told me. “If we tried to open on Monday, we’d be closed in two weeks, probably for good and with more debt on our hands.”" << Mr Weatherspoon thinks he can make it work here from around June. I won't be first in the queue for a veggie brek
The Technium: 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice
"Don’t trust all-purpose glue." This chap knows..
Washing Ziplocs, eating bread crusts: Americans are discovering frugality - Vox
"She helps clients, before and now, work through how to persevere, to trust that there will be enough. Birchall’s own household found itself down to one roll of toilet paper (“because I do not hoard”) but, just as she tells her clients, the universe provided and she was able to buy more before it became a problem. She says an important guideline is that everything in your home be able to have a permanent place — i.e., if there’s no place for your collection of 20 glass bottles, you cannot have 20 glass bottles." We are keeping 14 days worth of food and consumables in case we need to self-isolate. Apart from that it is just turning over the stock now so spending on groceries about normalish, just all in one go each week instead of spread out here and there
Government's top scientist explains why the covid-19 death toll is higher than official figures show - Birmingham Live
“We are confident that the great majority of the population have not had Covid, in your area and in every other area of the UK. Therefore, the ability for this to take off again in a really serious second wave, if we are not careful, is absolutely identical.” No regional differences in deconfinement
Downtown is for People (Fortune Classic, 1958)
"What will the projects look like? They will be spacious, parklike, and uncrowded. They will feature long green vistas. They will be stable and symmetrical and orderly. They will be clean, impressive, and monumental. They will have all the attributes of a well-kept, dignified cemetery."
In Italy, 'Suspended Shopping' Helps Those Facing Economic Hardship During Pandemic : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR
"On a recent morning, a shopper asks that 10 euros ($10.83) be added to her bill for what's called la spesa sospesa, "suspended shopping." The concept derives from the century-old Neapolitan tradition of "suspended coffee" — when a customer in a cafe pays in advance for someone who can't afford it." Sounds quite an idea
Top Aide to Boris Johnson Pushed Scientists to Back Lockdown
"With the government coming under criticism in the U.K. for not locking down earlier, the accounts suggest Johnson’s most senior adviser understood the severity of the crisis and was pressing for action to be taken more quickly. Some on the panel clearly agreed. The advisers were heading toward recommending a lockdown soon anyway, one of the people said." Intervention may have made things better than they could have been.
Avoiding the worst – Le blog de Thomas Piketty
"This is what we should be concerned about: the epidemic could rise to record numbers in the poor countries where the health systems are not able to cope with the shock particularly as they have been subjected to austerity policies imposed by the prevailing ideology in recent decades. Confinement implemented in fragile ecosystems may moreover prove to be totally inappropriate. In the absence of a minimum income scheme, the poorest will rapidly have to go out to seek work which will re-launch the epidemic."
Jonathan Raban: ‘I felt pretty happy that I was still alive’ | Books | The Guardian
>> “Trump may well turn out to be more of a danger for the rest of the world than for the dis-United States. But whatever happens is going to be a bloody, bloody mess.” << Well, he got that one more or less bang on
Google's mobility data summary up to April 17th
Will be interesting to see how this changes after Bank Holiday
Apple's COVID Mobility Data - kieranhealy.org
"Apple recently released a batch of mobility data in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The data is aggregated from requests for directions in Apple Maps and is provided at the level of whole countries and also for a selection of large cities around the world. I folded the dataset into the covdata package for R that I’ve been updating, as I plan to use it this Fall in a course I’ll be teaching. Here I’ll take a quick look at some of the data. Along the way—as it turns out—I end up reminding myself of a lesson I’ve learned before about making sure you understand your measure before you think you understand what it is showing." Via daringfireball. Fire up RStudio and play, but read the cautions!
Social Distancing With My Mother | Spitalfields Life
"There is something thrilling about walking down the middle of the road. It is not the risk of getting knocked over as much as knowing you are doing what you are not supposed to do, a small yet exhilarating rebellion. I shall be disappointed to return to walking on pavements again once lockdown is lifted." I walked down the middle of a 6 lane dual carriageway yesterday for a bit. The silence was profound. This is on a road that would usually be rammed full of cars. Perhaps we need a couple of no car Sundays when 'normality' returns. (The kicker is in the end of the linked page)
'Khichuri': An Ancient Indian Comfort Dish With A Global Influence : The Salt : NPR
"To make this flavorful, mushy, one-pot dish, my mother would dry roast moong dal (yellow split mung beans), then throw it in a pressure cooker, with some rice, a couple of veggies and some spices. Lo and behold, 15-20 minutes later, we had hot, steaming khichuri. Ma would serve it with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) on top, and some spicy mango pickle and sweet potato fries (my favorite!) on the side. Sometimes, my father would make deem bhaja (a simple omelet with onions and green chilies) to go with the meal. And occasionally, if we were lucky, there would be a hot, crispy piece of fried fish." Looking for a non-pressure cooker recipe
My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore? - The New York Times
"[...]Ashley started assembling 30 boxes of survival-food kits for the staff. She packed Ziploc bags of nuts, rice, pasta, cans of curry paste and cartons of eggs, while music played from her cellphone tucked into a plastic quart container — an old line-cook trick for amplifying sound. I texted a clip of her mini-operation to José Andrés, who called immediately with encouragement: We will win this together! We feed the world one plate at a time!" Mr Andres is needed in UK and possibly the UN "After a couple of weeks of watching the daily sales dwindle — a $12,141 Saturday to a $4,188 Monday to a $2,093 Thursday — it was a relief to decide to pull the parachute cord. I didn’t want to have waited too long, didn’t want to crash into the trees." As with the OpenTable data set, ordinary people started locking down before the officials published the orders. That means that ordinary people will decide when to come out of their houses...
RAPID ASSISTANCE IN MODELLING THE PANDEMIC: RAMP
"(e) Any individual who is strongly committed to working on COVID-19 pandemic modelling, and who is not assigned to a task before the end of April, is invited to educate themselves via the Isaac Newton Institute resources such as those at https://www.newton.ac.uk/event/idd (overview + links to reports) and at https://www.newton.ac.uk/event/idd/seminars (seminar listings with recordings and pdf slides) and then join in the RAMP discussion forums when these are launched. In general we anticipate a greater need for scrutinizing and prioritizing the emerging literature on COVID-19 than for adding to it." Reached point where critical analysis more important than new papers. Sort of encouraging,
How to make good no knead artisan bread with Indian Atta flour | TRFL the home of LoafNest
>> "[...]While it is whole wheat flour made from hard wheat, it is different to normal whole bread flour in the various ways. Atta flour is very smooth and fine in its texture. Even though it is whole wheat, the texture of the flour is more close to unbleached white flour. It is made with a special way of stone milling as opposed to the roller milling used for bread flours. The milling breaks down the starch in the wheat more. Atta has about 15% starch damage compared to 4-5% starch damage in bread flour. This makes the flour and breads taste somewhat sweeter. Atta has relatively high level of ash (burnt starch) at about 1% which gives the flour a unique flavor and a slightly darker color. Because of the high starch break down, the flour can absorb significantly more water than a bread flour. Atta has high gluten that holds the dough together even when rolled into very thin breads." << Implications: more water than strong bread flour and suggestions from other pages to add some acid to the water. Plenty of chapati flour around at present because of Ramadan having started. I bought a small bag of mixed grain attar to experiment with (and to actually make chapatis for curry).
Margaret Burbidge obituary | Science | The Guardian
>> "The British-American astronomer Margaret Burbidge, who has died aged 100, was the principal author of a watershed scientific paper in 1957 that set out the evidence for chemical elements having been formed inside stars. In essence, the work of her and her collaborators proved that the iron in our blood, the oxygen in our lungs, the calcium in our bones, even the carbon in our DNA was made in the hearts of massive stars and then exploded back into space billions of years ago." <<
Trump wants to reopen the economy. The restaurant and airline collapse shows that’s not easy. - Vox
"This table shows, day by day, how much reservations and seated walk-ins fell from the day one year before in a range of domestic and global cities. And it demonstrates clearly that bookings were tumbling in all kinds of places before mayors and governors ordered their restaurants closed." OpenTable data set. Format is a bit back handed (dates in reverse order, and percentages are lost bookings not percentage of covers booked). Will need to mark each line in the table with the date of lockdown in that city.
Exclusive: deaths of NHS staff from covid-19 analysed | News | Health Service Journal
>> "It may be that this rigour is protecting staff better than some fear and the results can be considered cautiously reassuring. However, this finding is not a reason to slacken off on the appropriately rigorous use of PPE, but rather to wonder why others, who are likely involved in what are generally considered to be lower risk activities, are becoming infected and consider whether wider use of rigorous PPE is indicated." << No NHS staff fatalities (yet) among intensive care staff or those considered at highest risk. So we need to tighten protective equipment for those in less hazardous kinds of care, not loosen them?
How COVID-19 Is Wreaking Havoc On Our Ability To Make Things — Including Vaccines | FiveThirtyEight
>> "Other expected supply chain issues with vaccines are shaped by years of international trade patterns. For example, doses of vaccines are delivered in glass vials, and there’s been a global shortage of glass stretching back to at least 2015. The medical glass industry was just beginning to catch up with increased demand, Robinson said, and now, novel coronavirus vaccines will create additional pressure. Even if the vaccine is loaded into 10-dose vials, that’s still hundreds of millions of vials that will be needed, he told me. Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is developing a novel coronavirus vaccine that Robinson regards as one of the most promising. “[Janssen has] already preordered 250 million vials, and that might be all that’s out there,” he told me. “We’re trying to procure another 200 million.”" << Connections many layers deep
Addressing the strain the coronavirus has put on America's food supply chain with José Andrés - 60 Minutes - CBS News
"José Andrés: From now on, we gonna be giving the respect they deserve to the delivery pizza guys, to the women sitting on the supermarket, feeding entire families in the neighborhood only by being there and putting her life at risk. All of the sudden, that immigrant that you thought that maybe you didn't like is the one that has been helping feed your community. All of a sudden we are gonna be more respectful to everyday Americans because now those everyday Americans, in my eyes, they are the heroes that kept America going, that kept America fed."
David Spiegelhalter on Twitter: "New @ONS data: 18,516 deaths registered in the week ending April 10th, 7,996 more than usual. 6,213 COVID, so 22% of this excess did not have COVID-19 mentioned (was 41% last week). More readiness to put COVID on certifica
"New @ONS data: 18,516 deaths registered in the week ending April 10th, 7,996 more than usual. 6,213 COVID, so 22% of this excess did not have COVID-19 mentioned (was 41% last week). More readiness to put COVID on certificate?" So virus deaths now showing up in national stats quite clearly. Answers Hector Drummond's points based on earlier data.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » The Index Case. Dealing with Covid-19 inside our care homes
"The index case (colloquially, ‘patient zero’, but more accurately, the first documented patient in a disease outbreak within a particular population), was a patient recently discharged directly from hospital, into the care home." Is there no other way of looking after discharged residents? Can temporary wards not be used for basic care while patients still infectious?
Boris Johnson skipped five virus briefings in early days of pandemic - Axios
>> "“The interesting thing for me is, I’ve worked with Singapore in 2003 and 2009 and basically they copied the U.K. pandemic preparedness plan. But the difference is they actually implemented it," Hibberd told the Sunday Times." << Summary of the Sunday Times thing. I don't think this is down to individuals...
Forecasting s-curves is hard – Constance Crozier
"This is not to say that it is impossible to model or predict s-curves. Only that, contextual information about the system you are modelling is likely required. For biological systems, are there physical parameters which govern the initial growth rate? For technological changes, can the final level-off be reasonably estimated? This information is application specific. In other words, data enthusiasts (such as myself) should leave the modelling up to the professionals." Sounds like a plan. The video of progressive fits as the data set unfolds is great
Coronavirus: Predicted grades leave 'many questions unanswered' - BBC News
>> “Some of my friends have been predicted three or four A stars, so what if the teachers have a limit on the number of A grades they can award? "If they put us in rank order, I could be disadvantaged on the basis that my school year happens to be a really strong one academically.” << This child will go far. She has demonstrated a good understanding of the difference between norm referencing and criteria referenced assessment, and has shown implicit understandng the difficulty of aggregating ranked positions between institutions. Still a really tough situation though.
Capitalists or Cronyists? | No Mercy / No Malice
>> "In Depression-era Scotland, my dad was physically abused by his father. His mother spent the money he sent home from the Royal Navy on whiskey and cigarettes. He took a huge risk and came to America. My mom took a similar risk, leaving her two youngest siblings in an orphanage (her mom and dad had both died in their early fifties), and bought a ticket on a steamship. She had a small suitcase and 110 quid that she hid in both socks. Why? Because they wanted to work their asses off and be rewarded for the risks they were willing to take. This is capitalism, a beacon of hope for people who are smart, hard working, and comfortable with risk, promising a greater share of the spoils than those who are not." << Via daringfireball. I'm guessing Glasgow. In Liverpool, people were hopping over the ocean to work unregistered in New York in the 30s as a regular thing.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » China Crisis
>> "For as with banking in 2008, it turns out that this is another area where profits are privatised and risks are socialised. Producers who used stretched supply lines across continents were able to win contracts on price against those who kept supply lines short, taking advantage of the lower wages paid further afield. The risk that those stretched supply lines might be broken by very rare events has been borne by the rest of us. We just didn’t realise it." <<
Estimating the number of infections and the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 14 European countries - Imperial College London
Imperial's COVID-19 model (given that all models are wrong)
How the first cable was laid across the Atlantic | WIRED UK
"[President Buchanan's] verbose message will have caused headaches for the operators. The reception across the cable was terrible, and it took an average of two minutes and five seconds to transmit a single character. The first message took 17 hours and 40 minutes to transmit." Some serious self-capacitance there
The First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable Was a Bold, Beautiful Failure - IEEE Spectrum
"Public sentiment toward the cable quickly cooled, however. By the end of 1858, rumors abounded that this was all an elaborate hoax or a fraudulent stock scheme aimed at fleecing unsuspecting investors. Similar to today’s conspiracy theorists who refuse to believe that the Apollo moon landing was real, the cable doubters were not convinced by souvenirs, messages from heads of state, or effusive press coverage." 1857 here by the way...
Birmingham wander - the lost byway
"Birmingham is a Ruin Porn Paradise of which I only caught a glimpse. With every corner of London being magicked into luxury buy-to-leave apartments for offshore oligarchs to dump their ill-gotten gains, it was uplifting to see large parts of a city seemingly left to its own devices. Birmingham offers hope, for now at least, although god knows what effect HS2 will have." Well, we are getting the 30 story skyscraper that will put most of the 'art deco' ruins in shadow at various times of day. Then we have the conversion of old factories into 'luxury appartments'. But not too bad yet.
Whither England? - Travel - TLS
"It seems now to be a rite of passage for the middle-class, middle-aged Englishman to go off on a long walk and then to write a book about it. Psychogeography has become a field sport. The generally accepted rules of the Great English Walkabout are these: you must be alone; ideally you should be suffering from some personal loss or great anxiety; along the way you are required to make rather obvious yet nonetheless vaguely interesting remarks about the landscape and about English history; and if possible you should at all times adopt a mysterious, mellifluous and melancholy tone." Personally, I can't wait to get back to walks as conviviality.
Why One Expert Is Still Making COVID-19 Models, Despite The Uncertainty | FiveThirtyEight
"So, even though models are for making ideas clear, the path to making one isn’t always so clear. Yet for all their imprecisions, they’re still better than nothing. Either we can use models, trying to stay cautious about how much they’re really telling us, or we can rely on conjecture, gut reactions and expert opinion alone. Only the first path is a transparent one with a built-in mechanism for self-correction." Bayes versus the baying of tabloids and conspiracy people?
Bill Withers: The Soul Man Who Walked Away – Rolling Stone
>> “What else do I need to buy?” he says. “I’m just so fortunate. I’ve got a nice wife, man, who treats me like gold. I don’t deserve her. My wife dotes on me. I’m very pleased with my life how it is. This business came to me in my thirties. I was socialized as a regular guy. I never felt like I owned it or it owned me.” << Grown man does not feel need to overachieve
In Convalescence With My Mother | Spitalfields Life
"Like everyone else, I want life to go back to normal. At the same time, it was that ‘normality’ which delivered the pandemic. That normality was also the cause of climate change, deforestation, wars, streams of refugees, scarcity of resources and excessive consumption. So I wonder, what is the normality without all of the devastation and how do we get there?" I like stories where people recover after a few days of illness. Something to hold onto amid the grim toll of death. Many will be asking what the new normal is, not sure there are any answers yet
Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting* - Forge
"Until then, get ready, my friends. What is about to be unleashed on American society will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again. It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other, and it will come from the left and from the right. We will do anything, spend anything, believe anything, just so we can take away how horribly uncomfortable all of this feels. And on top of that, just to turn the screw that much more, will be the one effort that’s even greater: the all-out blitz to make you believe you never saw what you saw. The air wasn’t really cleaner; those images were fake. The hospitals weren’t really a war zone; those stories were hyperbole. The numbers were not that high; the press is lying." Cynical perhaps but probably accurate. By some unconfirmed insider accounts in the UK people have taken the lockdown more seriously than the government expected... and perhaps they will be slower to come out than expected.
Unemployment checks are being held up by a coding language almost nobody knows - The Verge
>> “I think it’s a sign of the benign neglect of the systems that serve people in poverty,” said Tracey Patterson, Code for America’s senior director for social safety nets. << Universal Credit is brand new, but has parameters that delay payments built in as a policy. Might not always be the technology. Ultimately this is about political choices
US Stimulus Being Slowed by Ancient Computer Language COBOL - Bloomberg
"The way old COBOL code was written also makes it hard to update. Modern computing languages break programs into chunks, each with a specific purpose. COBOL programmers often weaved everything together, which means code changes can damage or disable other parts of the program. This phenomenon, known as spaghetti code, is more of an issue than any inherent difficulty in learning the language. But it makes the work hard and time-consuming." Also the 'magic numbers' taken from business procedure manuals and used in switch/case style blocks. So Case 89 means something specific relating to the July 1965 procedure document - and you try finding a copy.
Poll shows most Americans won’t immediately venture out when social distancing ends - Vox
"According to the polling data, just 20 percent of Americans would immediately return to normal activity once state restrictions are lifted, while 71 percent would wait to see whether the change in guidelines led to increased confirmed Covid-19 cases before deciding what to do. And 10 percent would continue limiting social contact regardless of developments." Early adopters, late adopters and laggards again I suppose.
Communicating the coronavirus crisis | plus.maths.org
>> "One of the problems here is scientific disagreement, which always exists and, through social media, is much more public now than it used to be. There can be disagreement for various reasons: people might disagree about values, or they might have access to different information. They can even have the same information and come to different interpretations. It is difficult to play this out in public because most people don't realise just how much disagreement there is in science. The media still present an idea of science as a monolithic body of "facts". This is complete nonsense because scientists argue all the time. Though there are of course some things they don't argue about, where there is an agreed body of knowledge." << David Spiegelhalter's take from last month. The other issue is that when politicians say that decisions are 'driven by the science' they have of course defined the range of responses that are possible based on political grounds.
Obituary: Simon Norton - The Jewish Chronicle
>> "When Cambridge refused to renew his contract, family finances enabled him to rent out two flats in his large house while he lived in its “rampantly chaotic” basement, according to Masters, who became his tenant. But Norton was generous to a fault; he was the only Cambridge landlord to reduce his rent when Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax was introduced." << Another one gone power 2. One wonders what the Cambridge managers would have made of Grothendieck
Flowers and plants can teach us about surviving the coronavirus pandemic - Vox
>> "Next, Armbruster wanted to know if he could recreate this, artificially. What he saw could have been a fluke So he found a new trigger plant and tied it down, and photographed its flowers every six hours. “Within a day or so the flowers were back in the right orientation,” he says." << Chalk one up for whole-organism field biology
Education was never the sole focus of schools. The coronavirus pandemic has proved it | Education | The Guardian
"Headteachers went from running an ordinary school to organising a virtual school, a childcare centre and a food delivery service. They had two days to turn it around. Education was never the sole focus of schools, and it’s a shame it has taken a pandemic to prove it." Throw in safeguarding and the protect agenda and you have a local resource that manages interactions with the state. Community?
Restaurants will never be the same after coronavirus – but that may be a good thing | Jonathan Nunn | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "As for restaurants themselves, chef Asma Khan tells me the biggest issue is unionisation. “After this,” she says, “our priority should be to create a powerful union that is the voice of the workers, not the owners and investors.” Pressure groups such as Jonathan Downey’s Hospitality Union, made up of restaurant owners and industry figureheads, are doing vital work in pushing for rent holidays and debt moratoriums while trying not to scare nervous landlords by saying “rent strike”. But this is fighting a problem caused by rampant capitalism on its own terms. Now is the time to start having honest conversations about food prices and supply chains, high rents and civic space, about who restaurants – or at least the ones that get coverage – really benefit." << Union Cafes. Locally sourced seasonal food at economic prices. In lower rent premises outside the centre. Livable wage plus profit share,
John Horton Conway: the world’s most charismatic mathematician | Siobhan Roberts | Science | The Guardian
"For the last quarter century Conway has held the position of Princeton’s John von Neumann distinguished professor in applied and computational mathematics, now emeritus. Before that, he spent three decades at Cambridge, where in the 1970s, he dived deep into the vast ocean of mathematical symmetry. He discovered a 24-dimensional symmetry group that came to bear his name, and, with his colleague Simon Norton, he illuminated the 196,883-dimensional Monster group with a paper titled “Monstrous Moonshine”. Conway also discovered a new class of numbers, infinitely large and infinitesimally small, which are now known as “surreal numbers”. Those achievements earned him a spot as a fellow of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, the oldest scientific society in the world. Conway likes to mention that when he was elected in 1981, he signed the big book of fellows at the induction ceremony and was pleased to see on previous pages the names Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, and Bertrand Russell." Another one gone
British bakers reintroduce World War II bread in coronavirus fight
>> “If standing in supermarket lines during this crisis prompts people to think more deeply and critically about the inequalities and unhealthiness inherent in our food system, all the better,” he added. << 85% brown flour was readily available in Sainsbury's and Tesco a few weeks ago! Roll on flour's return. The National Loaf is quite tasty if you cut the salt in half and add a few rosemary seeds.
The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science - The Atlantic
"Inouye has included Barr’s records in several studies, and collectively his work has become some of the most significant indication that climate change is rearranging mountain ecosystems more dramatically and quickly than anyone imagined. In his work with wildflowers Inouye understood that first flowering came about a month earlier now than when he’d begun the project 40 years ago."
Mierle Laderman Ukeles - Wikipedia
>> "The manifesto is formed into two major parts. In part I, under the rubric 'Ideas' she makes a distinction between the two basic systems of 'Development' and 'Maintenance', where the former is associated with 'pure individual creation', 'the new', 'change' and the latter is tasked with 'keep the dust off the pure individual creation, preserve the new, sustain the change'. She asks, "after the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?"” <<
Official Website: Gordon Hempton, The Sound Tracker®
I'm thinking intensely local sound samples while the lockdown is on so much less in the way of mechanical sound than usual
how to do nothing - Jenny Odell - Medium
"A more recent project that acts in a similar spirit is Scott Polach’s Applause Encouraged, which happened at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego in 2015. Forty-five minutes before the sunset, a greeter checked the guests in to this cordoned-off area. They were ushered to their seats and reminded not to take photos. When the sunset finished, they applauded, and refreshments were offered afterward." My kind of thing for after the lockdown
New York’s Inequalities Are Fueling COVID-19 | FiveThirtyEight
>> “I have no doubt that the most dangerous means of transmitting disease was the subway. … Many a man who was sick must have felt that he had to go to work.” << Dr Royal Copeland, public health manager in New York during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
How to Increase Happiness, According to Research - The Atlantic
"Indeed, one of the survival traits of human beings is psychological homeostasis, or the tendency to get used to circumstances quickly, both good and bad. This is the main reason money doesn’t buy happiness: We get used to what it buys very rapidly and then go back to our happiness set point. And for those of us lucky enough to avoid illness, even the unhappiness from the COVID-19 crisis will be in the rearview mirror before very long."
Dr. Fauci Has Been Dreading A Pandemic Like COVID-19 For Years | FiveThirtyEight
“...the thing I’m most concerned about as an infectious disease physician and as a public health person is the emergence of a new virus that the body doesn’t have any background experience with, that is very transmissible, highly transmissible from person to person, and has a high degree of morbidity and mortality." Dr. Anthony Fauci in a routine interview in 2019. The quote never made it to the final article as it was not on topic. This is a 'known unknown' or grey swan event.
Why this crisis is a turning point in history
"The once formidable British state is being rapidly reinvented, and on a scale not seen before. Acting with emergency powers authorised by parliament, the government has tossed economic orthodoxy to the winds. Savaged by years of imbecilic austerity, the NHS – like the armed forces, police, prisons, fire service, care workers and cleaners – has its back to the wall. But with the noble dedication of its workers, the virus will be held at bay. Our political system will survive intact. Not many countries will be so fortunate. Governments everywhere are struggling through the narrow passage between suppressing the virus and crashing the economy. Many will stumble and fall." The article covers all the bases I can think of. The hollowing out of state resources is going to have to change.
Coronavirus: Thousands apply for fruit and veg grower jobs - BBC News
>> "Totaljobs says it has seen 50,000 searches for farming jobs in the past week alone. Steve Warnham of Totaljobs said workers “who have been temporarily displaced due to Covid-19 are now looking for roles in other sectors”. The UK faces a shortage of fruit and vegetable pickers because of travel restrictions on overseas workers." << Given transport - basically a car - this seems sensible. Easy to keep isolation, protective work gear, outdoors. Hope people get a taste for it. We need a benefit system that can deal with seasonal work though.
Coronavirus: Flour mills working 'round the clock' to meet demand - BBC News
>> "It was the most delicious bread I've ever had so we're hooked," says Zoe, who is now on her fifth loaf. "I managed to find the last bag of flour on the shelf last week so I'm hoping I'll be able to find more on my next shop - otherwise my bread journey might be over!" << Could be good if a lot of people get into it. But I'm down to my last couple of Kg now.
Idle Containership Fleet Appears Set to Hit All-Time Record – gCaptain
"In addition to the main Asia-Europe and transpacific trades, carriers have also reduced capacity on the transatlantic, Latin America, Middle-East, Indian sub-continent, Africa and Oceania routes, as up to a quarter of the world’s population is in lockdown and non-essential retailers shuttered." Staggering in the recovery due to different timescales for the peak in each country might allow phased build up of the flow of stock?
Coronavirus: What is the risk to men over 50? - BBC News
"Nearly 10% of people aged over 80 will die in the next year, Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, at the University of Cambridge, points out, and the risk of them dying if infected with coronavirus is almost exactly the same." Absolute proportion as per Spiegelhalter's book! Chapter 1.
Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional - Office for National Statistics
Source of the raw (provisional) data for the Hector Drummond blog post below. Turns out that there is a delay in adding virus related deaths in arising from registration need. The daily virus figures are released without waiting for registration. Still, tracking this over a few weeks should show a rise at some point. Also I'm thinking regional breakdowns for West Mids and London will be ahead a bit
Week 13 ONS graphs, still nothing – Hector Drummond
"Firstly, here’s a graph of the latest all-death numbers in England and Wales, up to 27 March (end of week 13). Bit of an uptick in week 13 after a downward turn the week before. Still no World War 3 though." We'll see if the author updates this in a couple of weeks for the story after 27th March. This chap is a critic of the lock-down and he makes the point that economic depressions have a certain and well documented effect on mortality statistics. I shall keep an eye on the data and the corrections that the ONS publishes as stats change with late notifications from non-hospital cases &c. I am STILL very much keeping to lockdown and following government policies while checking data based skeptics. We can track the analysis over subsequent weeks quite easily.
Worried About Coronavirus? 10 Tips To Help Manage Anxiety | Every Mind Matters | One You
"You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone." Cut the firehose
A beginners guide to self-isolation… – Slugger O'Toole
"Let yourself be a bit slower. Getting your mind to slow down is probably a big adjustment and that will happen gradually, over time. Try not to fight it or resist it, accepting that we are all in this together might be helpful."
In Self-Isolation With My Mother | Spitalfields Life
"Every inch, every doorknob, hinge, every gap, crack and blemish is a prompt, recalling constellations of memories that span epochs of our family life. These stories criss-cross, beginning here and ending over there, their contours no longer precise or clear. Details, chronologies, who actually said what and why, cease to matter as much as that they happened here."
After The Coronavirus Passes, Your World Will Not Go Back To Normal
>> “In terms of the way in which we use technology for information and entertainment, it's going to be a big jump forward,” Thompson said. “To believe that once we're given the go-ahead to go outside that everything is going to go back to normal, I think that's an incorrect assumption.” << Normal will change (and the change will be uneven as per Gibson's "the future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed")
Conservationism You Can Believe In - Sir Roger Scruton
"Conservatives who agree that environmental problems are real and serious, including Scruton himself, see the large-scale approach as dangerous. For him, the place to start is with “oikophilia,” love of the home. Drawing on the insights of Edmund Burke, Scruton sees the “little platoon” of local society as the best place to act on our concern for the environment. We love elements of the natural world that are familiar to us from personal experience. These are the places in which our families live, and to which we are most likely to give, voluntarily, of our time and energy."
Food goes to waste amid coronavirus crisis - POLITICO
"The problem isn’t a shortage of food and commodities. If anything, food waste is becoming a bigger issue as traditionally big, bulk buyers — like college dorms and restaurant chains — suddenly stop receiving deliveries. As a result, millions of gallons of milk are being dumped, and farmers have no alternative but to turn fresh vegetables into mulch." I'm still thinking of those College kitchens. Meals on wheels? Central cooking and distribute to local neihbourhood? Local disaster planning providing a nutritional safety net? I'm in Roger Scruton territory here almost, but unpicking that just in time supply chain is certainly worth looking at
Why is the act of urban walking so revolutionary?
"The reality of the street is what we need to confront, as increasing proportions of the public realm are quietly transferred to private ownership. Whereas there was a long and hard-fought battle to establish the right to roam over private land in the countryside, a fellow urban rambler, Andrew Stevens, remarked to me recently that there is no comparable right to roam in the city. Take Mais’s and Maxwell’s advice to “constantly trespass” and you’ll soon find yourself pursued by members of the expanding army of private security guards." The Management reserve the right to refuse entry...
Coronavirus: Does my grandfather’s 1940 infectious disease advice still hold true? - BBC News
>> "On the landing outside (the quarantined person's room)," it continues, "will be placed the customary bath filled with disinfectant solution; the traditional 'carbolised' sheet may be hung outside the door." Carbolised? I've had to look that one up as well. Apparently it's an obsolete term referring to the use of carbolic acid as a disinfectant to kill germs. "The bath… is intended for the soaking of linen which has been removed from the sick room." << I can remember carbolic soap. It came in big (like six inches) blocks and you used it with a scrubbing brush and bucket to clean floors and stuff. Smelly.
Coronavirus Case Counts Are Meaningless* | FiveThirtyEight
"...interventions such as social distancing are being undertaken to bring down R, although actions can vary from location to location. The goal, though, is to get R below 1, which means that a disease begins to die out in a population. (It will die out gradually if R is close to 1 and quickly if it’s close to zero, say, 0.2.) Finally, if a disease has spread very widely throughout the population, R may eventually fall because of herd immunity. In other words, enough people are immune to a disease because they’ve already had it, it will not continue to spread as fast."
Opinion | There Is No Way Out but Through - The New York Times
"The world that emerges from this cannot resemble the old. If this plague that cares not a whit for the class or status of its victims cannot teach solidarity over individualistic excess, nothing will. If this continent-hopping pathogen cannot demonstrate the precarious interconnectedness of the planet, nothing will. Unlike 9/11, the assault is universal."
This Brooklyn Landlord Just Canceled Rent for Hundreds of Tenants - The New York Times
"The trickle-down effect could be swift and devastating, according to landlords, leaving them scrambling to find ways to pay their own bills, such as water, sewer and taxes at their buildings." I'm guessing that Mr Salerno has managed to build the flats without a lot of debt to service. Still has to pay water/sewage though. More heavily leveraged landlords should start to fail in a couple of months?
Why it’s not too late for baby boomers to open up about their postwar memories
"In terms of what I’ve so far produced, going up to 1962, I think I’ve succeeded, but only to an extent. Putting aside some obvious lacunae – for instance, in my regional treatment, or in my treatment of rural life – where I think I’ve fallen short is in what I might call the emotional-cum-psychological domain: that whole area of feeling, so often largely unspoken and therefore hard for others to retrieve or chart, as the emotionally driven and arguably irrational political earthquakes of 2016 revealed in abundance." Journal keepers and diary writers need to publish their raw material I guess to provide the research base
MHS | Moonscope Lunar watercolours by Rebecca Hind
Russell and Rebecca Hind: paintings/pastels of the Moon
Rebecca Hind » Scintilla: the glittering speck
"Numbers, 31:23 everything that may abide the fire, you shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean; nevertheless it shall be purified with the water for impurity: and all that doesn’t withstand the fire you shall make to go through the water."
Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model  | FiveThirtyEight
"Using a mathematical model to predict the future is valuable for experts, even if there are vast gulfs between possible outcomes. But it’s not always easy to make sense of the results and how they change over time, and that confusion can hurt both your brain and your heart. That’s why we want to talk about what goes into a model of a pandemic. Hopefully, understanding the uncertainty can help you get the most out of all the numbers flying around." Exponential functions with time lags and parameters subject to wide intervals of uncertainty?
Review: ‘In Praise of Wasting Time’ Speaks Ominously of a Digital ‘Grid’ - The New York Times
"The vast majority of knowledge is acquired the old-fashioned way: hard, focused acquisition of increasing expertise. Although there is clearly value to unfocused activity — what Professor Lightman calls the free-grazing mind — to get unstuck, there is no evidence that for most people it makes sense to dedicate anything like half our waking hours to such musing." Yup. Don't underestimate the hard slog, the processing of what is already known and the thorough immersion in a process or field of knowledge. Innovation, the real kind where new things come into being, depends on connections between existing knowledge in often disparate fields however. The 'mathematical walk' (c.f. Hadamard, Poincare) gets important at that stage.
The Coronavirus Is Changing Who We Are - The Atlantic
"As a result, we have created a frenzied lifestyle in which not a minute is to be wasted. The precious 24 hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced to 10-minute units of efficiency. We become agitated and angry in the waiting room of a doctor’s office if we’ve been standing by for 10 minutes or more. We grow impatient if our laser printers don’t spit out at least five pages a minute. We cannot sit quietly in a chair for 10 minutes. And we must be connected to the grid at all times. We take our smartphones and laptops with us on vacation. We go through our email at restaurants, or our online bank accounts while walking in the park. We have become slaves to our “urgent” appointments and to-do lists and addiction to nonstop stimulation by the external world. A momentous but little discussed study by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the British Council found that the walking speed of pedestrians in 34 cities around the world increased by 10 percent just in the 10-year period from 1995 to 2005. And all of this has happened invisibly. Little by little, the noise and speed of the world have increased, so that we can hardly remember an era of slowness and quiet, when we could let our minds wander and think about what they wanted to think about, when we had time to consider where we were going and what we believed in." Via nextdraft mail list
Coronavirus: How to understand the death toll - BBC News
"Nearly 10% of people aged over 80 will die in the next year, Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, at the University of Cambridge, points out, and the risk of them dying if infected with coronavirus is almost exactly the same." Spiegelhalter doing his relative risk thing. Probably correct!
Opinion | Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies - The New York Times
"First, when you have a political movement almost entirely built around assertions that any expert can tell you are false, you have to cultivate an attitude of disdain toward expertise, one that spills over into everything. Once you dismiss people who look at evidence on the effects of tax cuts and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, you’re already primed to dismiss people who look at evidence on disease transmission." As the facts change so must our opinions. It is not 'a U-turn' to change policy when the data shows a clearer signal. Science is Baysian, politics is not so incremental
How are food supply networks coping with coronavirus? - BBC News
>> "There is an old military saying that while "amateurs talk about tactics, professional soldiers study logistics". Meanwhile, the Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu wrote that “the line between disorder and order lies in logistics”." << We need a National Hoard. Seriously, three months worth of dry food for the whole nation stored in a system of warehouses. Rotate stock in and out again. Trigger supply when something like this happens.
How Coronavirus Tests Actually Work | FiveThirtyEight
>> "Just like DNA can identify a person, RNA can identify the virus that causes COVID-19. Isolating it requires a series of steps — adding different chemicals and repeatedly spinning the sample in a centrifuge — that aim to separate the sample into layers like a fancy cocktail shot, with the layer containing the RNA floating on the top. Then the RNA has to be further purified. There’s more than one way to separate out RNA, and companies sell kits that include the chemicals you need to make it work (called reagents, because they’re used to induce a chemical reaction)." "From there, the RNA is mixed with short segments of DNA called primers. The primers and RNA get combined with loose building blocks of DNA, enzymes that work like genetic construction crews, and more reagents. Mix it all up, and your RNA turns into DNA." "Finally, the new DNA needs to be replicated until you have enough of it to actually study. That’s another chemistry kit — more primers, building blocks and reagents — doing what basically amounts to biological copy-paste, over and over. This is called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the primers used here are especially important. These replication primers are basically fragments of the virus you’re looking for, Smith said, that will bind to the genetic material of that specific virus and nothing else If there’s no COVID-19 in the sample, then COVID-19 primers won’t replicate any DNA." <<
Opinion | I’m a Doctor in Britain. We’re Heading Into the Abyss. - The New York Times
"Though I experienced neither fever nor breathlessness, I was told to self-isolate for 14 days. That’s where I am now, in self-isolation. And I’m not the only one from my hospital. After just one patient with Covid-19, a quarter of our junior staff are off with coughs and sniffles we would normally work through. A single case of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in our hospital." Can we get a factory making protective equipment up and running FAST?
UK backs away from “herd immunity” coronavirus proposal amid blowback - Vox
>> “Is it ethical to adopt a policy that threatens immediate casualties on the basis of an uncertain future benefit?” he wrote. << If there is no acquired immunity, then we get this every year?
How Trump Designed His White House to Fail - The Atlantic
"One factor that is hard to understand if you haven’t worked in a White House is how senior officials—and, particularly, the president—can choose to be soothed by a constant stream of praise. You’re in a powerful position. When people meet with you, they’re generally nicer than usual. They tell you you’re doing a wonderful job. They tell you how great you are. Walking around those hallways, decorated with portraits of people like Lincoln and Washington, it’s possible for a president to fall into the trap of thinking that he’s as great as people tell him, or as great as those images hanging on the walls." Just hoping our more critical political process continues and is effective.
BSI open letter to Government on SARS-CoV-2 outbreak response | British Society for Immunology
"The UK leads the world for the quality of our immunology research. Given our current lack of knowledge on SARS-CoV-2, our community of immunologists have two asks. Firstly, we feel more needs to be done to ensure social distancing to limit the number of COVID-19 cases in the short term, especially for vulnerable members of our communities. This will enable us to buy time until we understand the virus better and can begin to develop therapeutics. Secondly, to aid efforts, we call on the government to release their modelling data to allow scrutiny from the scientific community to better predict the course of this outbreak." The British Society of Immunology open letter perhaps carries more weight than some of the others we have seen.
Worldometers: UK coronavirus numbers
Show me the numbers
Coronavirus: UK measures defended amid criticism - BBC News
>> "He also said the new coronavirus is likely to become "an annual seasonal infection"" << Herd immunity not enough? Or is it shift mutation of the virus?
Slowing down the covid-19 outbreak: changing behaviour by understanding it - The BMJ
"Changing behaviour is not easy. However, there are many strategies to help people change behaviour that focus on increasing motivation, capability and/or opportunity to perform the behaviours. [3,4] Here we focus on strategies that improve motivation or capability."
How to Edit – Rands in Repose
"Print it out and read the thing again, but do not edit as you read. Start at the beginning and read to the end. Leave your red editing pen alone. You want to best approximate the first reading experience by someone else. Okay. Red pen time. Now edit harshly. How does the story sound in your head? Slash anything that detracts from the narrative harmony."
Watch again: Boris Johnson makes coronavirus announcement after COBRA meeting - YouTube
I really hope these guys are right
British government wants UK to acquire coronavirus 'herd immunity', writes Robert Peston - ITV News
"The strategy of the British government in minimising the impact of Covid-19 is to allow the virus to pass through the entire population so that we acquire herd immunity, but at a much delayed speed so that those who suffer the most acute symptoms are able to receive the medical support they need, and such that the health service is not overwhelmed and crushed by the sheer number of cases it has to treat at any one time." Hope that iceberg has a really long submerged bit
How to fight the Covid-19 coronavirus with soap and water. And why it works so well. - Vox
"Now, lucky for us, coronaviruses are a bit like the oil mentioned in the above example: bits of genetic information — encoded by RNA — surrounded by a coat of fat and protein. Thordarson likes to call viruses “nano-sized grease balls.” And grease balls, no matter the size, are the exact type of thing soap loves to annihilate." We like soap
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) - Our World in Data
Our World in Data page on the famous virus
Uses This/Katherine Cox-Buday
"They would not need to own what we colloquially consider a "computer", nor a screen. Instead they would use augmented reality glasses that displayed windows from a remote session running on the appliance (John Gage's "the network is the computer" idiom). Let's throw some haptic gloves in there as a hand-wavey (literally) way of performing input." Clipboard on which I can write text, mathematics and doodles. Then wave to and have the resulting pdf file rendered in perfect publication ready copy. Document structure derived from a mind map.
The Rise and Fall of WeWork | The New Yorker
>> “It’s bright and bustling,” she went on. “People are chatting in small groups, or having coffee and working on a laptop. You’re convinced that they are busy and doing things well. It’s interesting, because that’s what they were selling: this energy, this magnetic, productive buzz.” << Perhaps I'm just an old cynic but I find that cranking out stuff is one thing and having coffee and a chat is another. I tend to avoid meetings (the ones with agendas, action points and a time limit) unless there is an actual problem to solve.
Abdu Sharkawy - I'm a doctor and an Infectious Diseases... | Facebook
"I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they " probably don't have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know..." and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess." Seems about right to me. I like the contain -> delay -> mitigate approach. Thinking mainly about barriers to infection and very moderate social distancing right now. "I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. " Could be side benefits on increased basic hygiene. Openable windows on trains would be good!
Welsh cakes recipe - BBC Food
In honour of St David's day. Will pluck up courage to make some this month...
BitClub Network Was "Too Big to Fail," but Cost Investors $722 Million | Westword
>> "It’s ironic, of course, that something as supposedly inviolable as Bitcoin, a digital currency untethered from the corporate banking system and subject to meticulous, independent verification of each transaction, should become such rich ground for scams and frauds. But ever since the “genesis” block of Bitcoin was first mined eleven years ago, there have been convoluted efforts to game the system, along with cryptocurrency empires that were too big to fail but did." << Perhaps the whole thing is a massive troll?
Crispin Tickell: Gaia and the human impact: Earth system science.
"Looking back it is strange how uncongenial the observation was to the practitioners of the conventional wisdom when it was put forward in its present form over a quarter century ago. Unfamiliar ways of looking at the familiar, or any rearrangement of the intellectual furniture, tend to arouse emotional opposition far beyond rational argument: thus opposition to the idea of evolution by natural selection, of continental drift and tectonic plate movement, and more recently of cometary or asteroid impacts from space." This is the chap who convinced Mrs T that she had to speak about climate change in the 1980s
The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries • The Register
"I don't want a 10,000-year lifetime for a clock, but I'd like a smartwatch that has a chance of being loved and used when I've been dead for two centuries. How would it be powered? What logic circuits would it use, given that complex SoCs today become unobtainable and irreplaceable after a few years at most? What display has centuries-long MTBF? And what software architecture, let alone communications, will combine beauty, utility, reliability and long-term durability?" My film camera was manufactured around 1970s and is still going strong, does not need a service yet. Right now, I'd like a 20 year laptop (to match my old coat)
Roman Spelt Slipper Bread | Bread | Recipes | Doves Farm
Spelt yeast recipe
Baking Tips & Tricks | Baking Mad | Baking Mad
15g of this is 7g of quick easy bake, so double amounts.
Sourdough bread recipe for beginners - it is very easy - Foodgeek
This is a white flour recipe with some wholemeal added for taste
Wholemeal Sourdough Recipe | The Sourdough School
Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s straight through 100% wholemeal sourdough recipe to try. Uses a tiny amount of starter, 76% hydration, and a series of short kneads early in the bulk ferment. Looks OK so far with Tesco's Stoneground Wholemeal bread flour (the low rent end of artisan baking)
Can Farming Make Space for Nature? | The New Yorker
>> "He believes that farmers in the twenty-first century must cultivate as much as they can on their land—fungi for the soil, grasses for the pollinators, weeds for the insects, insects for the birds, pasture for the livestock—for the long-term goals of carbon capture and food production. “How do we feed the nine billion?” Fiennes said. “We feed them through functioning ecosystems.”" <<
More satisfying minimalism from McDonald's
"Joining these are a new series of posters from Leo Burnett for McDonald’s UK, which abandon photographs of juicy burgers or crisp fries and instead simply opt for words. Surely an ad creative’s delight to work on, the posters prove that we need no more than text to get us feeling peckish. The campaign was created in collaboration with renowned typographer David Schwen, and clearly hark back to Schwen’s earlier series titled Type Sandwiches." No relation. Via daringfireball
We Fixed An Issue With How Our Primary Forecast Was Calculating Candidates’ Demographic Strengths | FiveThirtyEight
"(If you want to get very technical, when programming in Stata, please remember that local macros aren’t stored in the program’s memory when you execute another do-file from within the shell of a master do-file.)" Environment sanitised when a new shell started?
Sourdough, 100% rye (100% rågsurdegsbröd)
Apparently you can use a wheat based sourdough for this loaf
xfce4-power-manager issues | The FreeBSD Forums
The quest for a core dump free desktop continues
An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter - POLITICO
>> "And today her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate. If she’s right, we are now in a post-economy, post-incumbency, post record-while-in-office era of politics. Her analysis, as Bitecofer puts it with characteristic immodesty, amounts to nothing less than “flipping giant paradigms of electoral theory upside down.”" << At a tactical level I hope Bitecofer has if correct. At a more strategic level, there needs to be a way of building some consensus over changes that have long lead times (decarbonisation &C).
Electric or Not, Big SUVs Are Inherently Selfish - VICE
"The electrification of the Hummer is not a signal of climate progress. It is a declaration that it’s still OK to be an asshole." Electric big car. Mostly recyclable metal. Not spraying PM24 in my lungs. Sounds OK if you are into that kind of thing
Iowa has already won the worst IT rollout award of 2020: Rap for crap caucus app chaps in vote zap flap • The Register
"So all they had to do was find a smartphone, find the download instructions, download it, figure out how to log in, navigate a new interface, and figure out how to input the right numbers in the right boxes. And read the email instructions. Which include the fact that the test PIN they had been sent to try it out wouldn’t work on the day of voting. For security reasons, they’d get a new one. No one was given any training. And no one was on hand to set it up or answer questions."
Kneading wet dough by hand | King Arthur Flour
"The second batch of ciabatta will be mixed and kneaded entirely by hand. Our ciabatta recipe has a hydration level of 80% (the weight of the water compared to the weight of the flour). These hand-kneading techniques work quite well in the 67% to 80% range — as long as you don't mind getting a little messy." Doing a Handelman Ciabatta recipe with 70% hydration and giving this a go.
The Ghost Hunter — The Atavist Magazine
"He told me that the Oregon coastline around the town of Manzanita was dotted with bits of beeswax and broken porcelain, the purported remnants of a galleon wreck. Native people once made arrowheads out of shards of china."
A way can be found between the EU rock and the GB hard place. But will Boris Johnson let us take it? – Slugger O'Toole
"The way Irish unity will be achieved is 'bottom up', via the incremental integration of economies, infrastructure, standards, business mergers, cross-border trade volumes, people from north working in the south and vice versa." Rob Dowling in the comments section. I think this comment highlights the importance of 'permeable borders' to nations. Part of my general feelings about the unreality of nation states.
The changing industrial landscape of Britain - BBC News
"John Davies is an influential British landscape photographer who has been photographing Britain's industrial heritage since the early 1980s." 81/19 looks like an essential purchase
SIMON WECKERT
"99 second hand smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps.Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic." Good spoof. Via daringfireball
Brexit is done: Now for the hard part
"Unlike every FTA the EU has negotiated, this is about adding trade barriers, not taking them away." This is what I have a real problem with in this whole Brexit project. What must it be like walking into a negotiation with the objective of making things worse?
Brexit is a culture war with economics as collateral damage
>> Orwell’s words from 1946 sum up Brexit: “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” <<
Britain after Brexit will not be alone, but it will be lonelier
>> "The direct influence of British political choices on those of the neighbours will also vanish. British politicians will press their noses against the EU windows as decisions that affect them are made. Those decisions will determine the evolution of the single market and EU trade and climate policies. Without the UK, the EU will still have 450 million people and produce 18 per cent of world output. It will also remain the UK’s most important trading partner. The UK’s self-exclusion will matter." << The truth of the 'take back control' slogan will perhaps emerge over the next months and years
Britain after Brexit will not be alone, but it will be lonelier
"Britain after Brexit will not be alone, but it will be lonelier British politicians will press their noses against the EU windows as decisions that affect them are made" The truth of the 'take back control' slogan will perhaps emerge over the next months and years
“Britain has not left Europe; it has just stepped into another room” – Slugger O'Toole
"And when I think about what it means to me to be European, as well as profoundly English, I inevitably end up not with the EU flag or the day-to-day business of the Brussels institutions [...] but a gut sense acquired in childhood that foreign isn’t frightening, and lives opened up to the world will be more exciting than ones shut away from it." Growing up in a sea port you get used to people who look different to you and who speak other languages. Just one of those things I guess.
Stephen Joyce, last direct descendant of James Joyce, dies aged 87 | Books | The Guardian
>> "Stephen was the son of Giorgio Joyce, the son of James and Nora Joyce. His birth in February 1932 was marked by the Ulysses author with the poem Ecce Puer, which also mourns the death of Joyce’s father. “Of the dark past / A child is born; / With joy and grief / My heart is torn,” wrote Joyce. “A child is sleeping: / An old man gone. / O, father forsaken, / Forgive your son!”" <<
James Joyce’s grandson and the death of the stubborn literary executor | The Outline
"In a 2006 article for the New Yorker, the journalist D.T. Max chronicled some of his actions in defense of his family’s privacy: denying “nearly every request to quote from unpublished letters”; suing scholars attempting to publish new editions of Ulysses; suing the Irish government for staging Bloomsday readings; and threatening one performance artist with a lawsuit for having “‘already infringed’ on the estate’s copyright,” presumably by having memorized a passage from Finnegans Wake." This strikes me as a really good strategy for making sure that the author's work is not read or appreciated by a new generation. Criticism needs to be written to justify careers after all. I still have a sneaking admiration for the man
Google’s silent Chrome experiment crashes thousands of browsers and angers IT admins - The Verge
"After complaints, Google was forced to reveal it had launched an “experiment” on stable versions of Chrome that had changed the browser’s behavior. The experiment was made silently, without IT admins or users being warned about Google’s changes. Google had simply flipped the switch on a flag to enable a new WebContents Occlusion feature that’s designed to suspend Chrome tabs when you move other apps on top of them and reduce resource usage when the browser isn’t in use." A laudable change to increase battery life on smaller devices leads to unforseen problem especially with virtualised or thin-client systems. Many thousands of admin-hours wasted on trying to find out what the problem was in corporate helpdesk systems. Perhaps an 'enterprise' channel for Chrome?
What I learned watching Bernie and Biden for hours on end - POLITICO
"While in Washington, I watched Sanders struggle to generate excitement among his Senate colleagues, in Iowa I watched Biden, the candidate with the most Senate endorsements, struggle to generate enthusiasm among a small group of voters in Council Bluffs, on the Nebraska border." We could end up with "4 more years of *this*" to quote Gil Scott-Heron.
Will Robert Caro’s biography of LBJ ever be finished? | The Spectator
"His task became longer and harder as he got closer to the studied reality, as he collected more complex questions — and realised there existed more complex answers." Strikes me as fractal: each level of detail hides another set of levels
Maslin recipe
"This does make a very large loaf, so it’s useful if you have a quite a few mouths to feed. Russell made toast with it the day after and it was still fine, but beyond that it goes stale quickly." Halve the quantities to make a 700g ish loaf. The historical demonstrator didn't measure the flours. Must be working from volume by eye?
Historic Mixed Grain Bread | Savoring the Past
"Wheat became the largest export crop for the Mid-Atlantic colonies in the 1700s. When George Washington decided to diversify away from tobacco, he chose to cultivate wheat. Consumer goods that were imported into the colonies were often paid for in wheat flour." Liverpool and Birkenhead late 1970s / early 80s. The grain elevator demolished and the flour mill mostly demolished with the old building turned into 'luxury flats'. The grain ships from Canada stopped coming as UK farmers used cross bread grains to increase protein yield. I wonder if we will see the grain ships back...
Suma Wholefoods Three Seed Maslin Bread | Suma Wholefoods
Maslin loaf recipe scaled to 500g flour total but omits the barley. Could substitute 50g of rye for the barley.
Maslin Bread - OAKDEN
"An authentic Medieval bread would have been round and domed shaped with a flat bottom, (from having been allowed to rise before baking) and be baked on a bakestone or the flat floor of a bread oven without it being in a tin – each loaf would have commonly been made by using around 4lb of flour (1.9kg)." One day, I'm going to bake a full size maslin loaf on a stone. For now, this 1Kg loaf will do.
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes | The Fresh Loaf
"Simply put, the intended reader of this book is the professional baker. Here and there Hamelman makes a nod to the home baker, but it doesn't take long for the amateur baker to realize that Hamelman is not all that interested in his or her plight. The continual references to steam injectors and oven vents, proper posture when lifting 75 pounds of dough, and potential injury from improperly holding 7 to 8 foot long peels while unloading dozens of loaves of bread quickly make the amateur realize this book was not intended for him." Personally, my lower vertebrae welcome a healthy regard for motions and weight. But, yes, a copy on order from Amazon.
Pain Rustique from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman
50% sponge and autolyse before adding yeast and salt to the dough. Very little shaping. Just under 70% hydration. My doughs always spread a bit so we'll have to see...
Cardiff's Fitzalan High class all receive A* GCSE grade - BBC News
>> "We call him the maths whisperer, he instils the belief that they have practised the hardest maths that they have to ever to face so why be scared of an exam?" << Good for them
Draw all roads in a city at once
Very nicely done. The SVG files will open fine in Inkscape.
How to make a basic loaf of bread | Bread, Cakes And Ale
"A good rule of thumb is 750g of water to 1000g (1kg) of flour. This makes a slightly sticky dough. If that scares you, just reduce the water to about 70% – ie 700g water to 1000g flour." Quite a lot of water. Sponge based recipe so I might try this one
In the red corner, Big Red, and in the blue corner... the rest of the tech industry • The Register
"The irony, of course, is that open computing has produced the most fevered upsurge in new technology since the Industrial Revolution. The richest companies in the world are the tech giants - Apple, Google, Microsoft itself - all borne aloft ultimately on open hardware, open software and most critically, open networking. The common language that defines the Internet is its APIs. They are how everything plugs together."
[PDF] Biological homeostasis of the global environment: the parable of Daisyworld | Semantic Scholar
The original daisyworld paper - downloadable as pdf for once
Daisyworld: A review - Wood - 2008 - Reviews of Geophysics - Wiley Online Library
Nice paper with some differential equations and discussions of stability for the original model and for the extended models.
Daisy World – cellular automata style | Excel is my passion
"This seemingly simple model, merely thought experiment, brought interesting insights on global ecosystems. Idea that remarkably simple feedback responses can have impact on global variables was very interesting. Fact that two seemingly competing species can be actually in some kind of symbiosis increasing survival chance for both of them was just incredible." Wondering if I can do this without the macros...
Telex and telegrams are still big business for Dorset company | Bournemouth Echo
>> "The arrival of email and file transfer sites did not destroy the market for telexes. Unlike emails or faxes, telex has ‘legal document status’ in every country of the world, and each successfully transmitted telex counts as proof of receipt as well as sending." "Certain industries – including banking, aviation and maritime – still rely on it, as do secure users such as embassies, governments, post offices and military organisations." << Bills of Lading now electronic I think but interesting...
Liberal England: A 1937 film on the dangers of pollution from burning coal
"Smog was the deadly downside of Britain's industrial might, as this powerful and revealing documentary spells out. In 1937, coal was Britain's lifeblood; it fuelled her industry and heated most homes." Grandad was hospitalised around end of Jan most years as the greeny-yellow fogs descended...
Stumbling and Mumbling: Two conservatisms
"Scruton defined conservatism as the “instinct to hold on to what we love, to protect it from degradation and violence and to build our lives around it.” The creative destruction of the free market economy, however, often endangers what we love. It is always threatening to destroy traditional communities and industries. Coal miners and steel workers in the 80s, protesting against pit and plant closures, were conservatives on Scruton’s definition but certainly not Thatcherites. And Patrick Minford’s vision of a post-Brexit economy in which manufacturing disappears is surely alien to the Scrutonian love of tradition." Thatcherism has always struck me as revolutionary, or at least radical.
Stumbling and Mumbling: Inequality under New Labour
"So, yes, Blairites are right: New Labour did greatly slow down the increase in equality we saw under Thatcher. But – in hindsight – it did not do enough to tackle the inequalities that most matter." Moral: Always drill down one level (at least) below an aggregated indicator.
Schools warned against 'gaming' exam league tables - BBC News
"The stopping of national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, in science had meant schools had put more focus on English and maths, to the detriment of science, said the report." Well of course. Once you go down the route of published metrics that collapse a process as complex as education down to a few numbers inevitably the schools are going to maximise the numbers.
How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy - Vox
>> "UC Berkeley linguist George Lakoff calls this the “framing effect.” As Lakoff puts it, if you say “don’t think of an elephant,” you can’t help but think of an elephant. In other words, even if you reject an argument, merely repeating it cements the frame in people’s minds. Debunking it is still useful, of course, but there’s a cost to dignifying it in the first place." << Lets all just chill out and not follow the idiot stream. Just for one month. >> "I call this “manufactured” because it’s the consequence of a deliberate strategy. It was distilled almost perfectly by Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News and chief strategist for Donald Trump. “The Democrats don’t matter,” Bannon reportedly said in 2018. “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”" << This page comes up first for Bannon's notorious giveaway of the strategy
Crowds and Technology
"What is new and interesting is how social media has transformed age-old crowd behaviors. In the past decade, we’ve built tools that have reconfigured the traditional, centuries-old relationship between crowds and power, transforming what used to be sporadic, spontaneous, and transient phenomena into permanent features of the social landscape. The most important thing about digitally transformed crowds is this: unlike IRL crowds, they can persist indefinitely. And this changes everything."
The Internet of Beefs
>> "A beef-only thinker is someone you cannot simply talk to. Anything that is not an expression of pure, unqualified support for whatever they are doing or saying is received as a mark of disrespect, and a provocation to conflict. From there, you can only crash into honor-based conflict mode, or back away and disengage." << I really think some people like being angry.
Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips are offering Labour a miracle diet — it won't work | inews
"There are a couple of problems here: the Labour Party did not lose touch with towns. It lost support among elderly voters and socially conservative voters everywhere – but because these voters are more likely to live in towns, their defection only cost Labour seats in towns. But the same types of voters saw Labour losing support in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North constituency, just as it lost support in Wakefield and Redcar." Ebbing tide lowers all boats and might ground a couple
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Infrastructure: the Conservatives’ necessary but misplaced priority
>> "The manufacturers of Bird’s Custard, a food product, who have been in the city for a great many years, were quoted as an example. The motor industry, on the other hand, is a cyclical industry and whilst Birmingham is very prosperous, it and the Midlands, to the extent of dependence on the motor industry, are living dangerously in their prosperity. Therefore, it hurts these areas the more when industrial and commercial employment of a non-cyclical kind leave the area. Such a movement can prove a great future potential loss to the city and surrounding area.” << A previous attempt to even out geographical differences
Brexit: Price rises warning after chancellor vows EU rules divergence - BBC News
"Sajid Javid told the Financial Times the UK would not be a "ruletaker" after Brexit, urging businesses to "adjust"." Er - I think we will be taking rules. Possibly from USA, possibly from EU and possibly from China. Lets face it they are the three silos in the world.
The Smartphone Has Ruined Space - The Atlantic
"The disquiet associated with these activities is usually theorized as labor swelling to fill what was once private time. I’ve previously used the term hyperemployment for the endless jobs everyone has, over and above the job they may get paid to do. My colleague Derek Thompson has called Americans’ almost religious devotion to their jobs workism. But hyperemployment and workism are also partly consequences of the built environment becoming more super-spatial. It’s not just that the work comes home with you, but that the office does as well. Infinitely portable, the smartphone turns every space it enters into a workplace. Once Salesforce is launched, whatever room you occupy is a conference room." Georges Perec once thought of having parts of a house in different neighbourhoods of a city. The bedroom in one place, the kitchen in another near the market, and the sitting room handy for conversations. Looks like it is happening the other way round, like a geometrical involute
How the Netherlands got universal health insurance with a private market - Vox
"Gijs van Loef is a proponent of this view. He argues that managed competition is an oxymoron — that market competition and social collaboration are fundamentally at odds. He cites those rising costs and the Netherlands’ middling performance on life expectancy compared to its European peers. Is this what people are paying for?" The GP triage before access to outpatient minor emergency ward is good. Shared costs and inequality bad.
Voter Migration 2019
"In terms of voter migration, the main story is that voters left Labour. Nine out of 41 voters left. They left for different reasons and went to different places, but they left. That partial collapse of the Labour vote is the most important fact of the 2019 election and explains why Labour did so badly. By comparison, the Conservatives were relatively stable and gained seats because Labour weakened." Each pictogram is 300k votes
Samuel Beckett letters offer insight into his inner thoughts and personal life
“Nothing of interest to tell. Writing at an end. Tired of it all” Sammy signs off
Ballytrain departure – Frank McNally on the polite capture of a Monaghan RIC barracks
“I wandered for months through the small lakes and little hills of Monaghan. I saw sieges of heron in the reeds and waited for bat-tailed otters near Carrickmacross where they are said to pass through when going from one lake to another. I was able to disprove the lines: ‘From Carrickmacross to Crossmaglen/You meet more rogues than honest men’.”
Harry McGee: It looks like advantage Fianna Fáil and the Greens
"The world has changed a lot since George Gallup popularised polls almost a century ago. Then everybody was willing to participate. Now in the US people don’t bother, especially from the most marginalised sections, and pollsters have to make assumptions about how some demographics vote. That’s guessing in other words." I am seriously considering a subscription to the Irish Times. Sanity from a small country
Ofsted seeks judgement-free approach to 'stuck schools' - BBC News
>> "It said the 410 "stuck" schools in isolated areas of England needed extra support, not to be inundated with unsuccessful improvement schemes. Chief inspector of schools Amanda Spielman said a new non-judgemental approach was needed, offering the schools tailored support." << About time they realised. Can we dismantle the 'improvement' industry please? Save some change.
The Future of Politics Is Bots Drowning Out Humans - The Atlantic
"One of the biggest threats on the horizon: Artificial personas are coming, and they’re poised to take over political debate. The risk arises from two separate threads coming together: artificial-intelligence-driven text generation and social-media chatbots. These computer-generated “people” will drown out actual human discussions on the internet." At which point, I retire to a small cabin in the woods on a planet where it always rains, feed the cat, and await the spaceships
Russia's Cyberwar on Ukraine Is a Blueprint for What's to Come | WIRED
"Instead, the intruders had exploited the company’s IT helpdesk tool to take direct control of the mouse movements of the stations’ operators. They’d locked the operators out of their own user interface. And before their eyes, phantom hands had clicked through dozens of breakers—each serving power to a different swath of the region—and one by one by one, turned them cold." I wonder what would have happened if the technicians had pulled the power lead out of the PC? Default on or default off?
Meet Cliff Stoll, the Mad Scientist Who Invented the Art of Hunting Hackers | WIRED
"In 1986, Cliff Stoll’s boss at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs tasked him with getting to the bottom of a 75-cent accounting discrepancy in the lab’s computer network, which was rented out to remote users by the minute. Stoll, 36, investigated the source of that minuscule anomaly, pulling on it like a loose thread until it led to a shocking culprit: a hacker in the system." Stoll's book is cheap on Amazon and an interesting read (I Oxfamed my copy a couple of years ago). The geezer does Klein bottle hats now... and that home-made robot he uses to pick the parcels is totally ace
Chrome OS has stalled out
"Certainly, Linux environment support is great for enthusiasts and developers, but there are very few commonly-used commercial applications available on Linux, with no sign that will change in the near future. It's another dead end." Up to a point, Lord Copper. If they added anti-aliasing to the linux Xorg support then I could do all of my 5% tasks from a side loaded Ubuntu installation. ChromeOS can do the other 95%.
The Art at the End of the World - The New York Times
"We did not panic. Instead we rejoiced. The natural obstacles on and around which the jetty was built, along with Smithson’s prolific writings, suggest he designed the jetty to be both difficult to reach and difficult to see. He constructed it during a drought in 1970; he knew the water would someday rise."
There are serious ideas in Dominic Cummings' work – but I'm not sure he's serious about them
>> "The big problem is that if you’re looking to hire IT specialists, “weirdos”, economists and top-notch project managers, you’re already looking at a tiny field. That’s outside of your control. Eliminate everyone in that small field who doesn’t want to work for a government that is pro-Brexit and/or on the right, and you have a yet smaller one. That, again, is outside your control. But anything you do that which winnows the field further after that is in your control and, the more you do it, the harder it is for a fair-minded observer to conclude that you’re serious about reforming the machinery of government." <<
How Harvard’s vast collection of glass plates still shapes astronomy | Astronomy.com
"The story of the people behind the plates is told beautifully in Dava Sobel’s new book The Glass Universe. The book ends around World War II, but the collection certainly doesn’t, with plates made until 1989. Astronomers are still using the collection, and even finding new ways to keep it scientifically useful. “I don’t think anybody has ever made a list of what the discoveries were from the plate stacks because they were used in a lot of other ways,” said Owen Gingerich, an astronomer and historian of science at Harvard.." Cartes Du Ciel?
Astronomy archaeology – finding 120-year-old observations – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen
"A glass plate from 1919 is something special. It shows a solar eclipse that was recorded in Sorbal in Brazil by the English astronomer Arthur Eddington." And here's me thinking that particular plate would be safely in an archival storage box somewhere...
The Death and Life of a Great American Building | by Jeremiah Moss | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
>> "“This neighborhood has changed and adapted many times over the generations,” said Berman. “It was a fashionable district, then a honky-tonk entertainment area, and then a center for the art world. It has seen many lives, but most of those changes relied on the adaptive reuse of the existing buildings and moved at a moderate pace of change. The type of change we’re seeing now is unprecedented in the neighborhood’s history, and would erase all the layers that have accumulated over the generations.”" <<
Timothy Morton - Wikipedia
"Within the mesh, even the strangeness of strange strangers relating coexistentially is strange, meaning that the more we know about an entity, the stranger it becomes." I'm going to have to read this stuff slowly. A touch of the Hofstadters with the multiple recursion
Climate Change and the attention economy: Pause, breathe, reclaim time and take care of the earth – Slugger O'Toole
"Attention is that to which we attend. William James once observed in his book The Principles of Psychology that what we attend to is reality. Alan Wallace adds that our very perception of reality is tied closely to where we focus our attention. Only what we pay attention to seems real to us, while what we ignore seems to fade into insignificance until we are blindsided and events suddenly call out for attention, such as climate change." People get absorbed by twitter stuff and neglect their localities. Coops again?
The St Petersburg vegans cooking up a revolution - BBC News
"Once a month, the eight people who work at the Horizontal takeaway hold a meeting in which they air any grievances, discuss updates to the menu, and vote on any changes they may want to make. The front of their restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall that serves vegan burgers, hot dogs and nuggets to go, is covered with stickers promoting anti-fascism, anarchism, and other vegan outlets in the city." Cooperatives a way of pointing to future you want rather than negativity all the time?
Spiderman Hacker Daniel Kaye Took Down Liberia’s Internet - Bloomberg
>> "On it they found WhatsApp messages between Kaye and his hacker friends, discussions on an encrypted chat app with Marziano, a photograph of the type of security camera used in the Liberia botnet, and a video showing someone using the Telnet internet protocol to control a large botnet." << Telnet? 1980 wants its protocol back. Really underlines needs for some standards on 'internet of things'. Stuff like security cameras have a lifetime measured in years to decades.
An Artificially Created Universe | Institute for Advanced Study
>> "The stored-program computer, as conceived by Alan Turing and delivered by John von Neumann, broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things. Our universe would never be the same." << Von Neumann's engineers had a fair amount to do with the 'delivery' as well as the programmers (lead by Mrs Neumann)
Chernobyl: The end of a three-decade experiment - BBC News
>> ""This place is more than half of my life," says Gennady Laptev. The broad-shouldered Ukrainian scientist is smiling wistfully as we stand on the now dry ground of what was Chernobyl nuclear power plant's cooling pond." << "I was only 25 when I started my work here as a liquidator. Now, I'm almost 60."
An Alternative Lunar Ephemeris Model - slunar.pdf
"An examination of the frequencies in the terms of theAstronomical Almanacmodelof Eqs. (1–3) and of the new model of Eqs. (17–19) gives some interesting insights intothe lunar motion. The frequencies in theAstronomical Almanacmodel are all computedas functions of the mean anomalies and mean longitudes of the Sun and Moon,16whilethe frequencies in the model given by Eqs. (17–19) are determined entirely by a curvefit." Exceptionally clever method allows direct computation of the rectangular coordinates of the Moon in ecliptic J2000.0. Errors about 3 times worse than the D46 formulas for longitude and latitude from Astronomical Ephemeris, so around two-thirds of lunar disc width most of the time with two lunar disc widths worst case.
1993JBAA..103..289J Page 289: Arthur Philip Norton (1876-1955): the man and his star atlas
Arthur Philip Norton (1876-1955): the man and his star atlas Originals the lot of 'em
A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys
So sad. I can remember the aftermath of 9/11 and how Giuliani provided hope and leadership
Michigan Central and the rebirth of Detroit
>> "So what prompted him to take the risk? “We're on a major artery, Michigan Avenue,” he says. “It's close to downtown Detroit. I just thought it had to come back. And we're so close to the heart of the city that it would come our way. And thank goodness it did.”" << Cities always come back because of the connections? Or because whatever level of economic activity there is will increase as the economy lifts?
The most important question about new Conservative MPs: how much do they care about debt?
"The Conservatives were elected on a manifesto that made up for what it lacked in length with incredible specificity: it’s just that the specific pledges cannot be reconciled with one another. Boris Johnson has committed both to increase public spending and to keep income tax, national insurance and value-added tax flat or falling – while also reducing debt as a proportion of the United Kingdom’s GDP over the course of the parliament." The end of Sound Money as a conservative policy I guess
The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History | WIRED
"All across Maersk headquarters, the full scale of the crisis was starting to become clear. Within half an hour, Maersk employees were running down hallways, yelling to their colleagues to turn off computers or disconnect them from Maersk’s network before the malicious software could infect them, as it dawned on them that every minute could mean dozens or hundreds more corrupted PCs. Tech workers ran into conference rooms and unplugged machines in the middle of meetings. Soon staffers were hurdling over locked key-card gates, which had been paralyzed by the still-mysterious malware, to spread the warning to other sections of the building."
Things don't only get better: why the working class fell out of love with Labour
"The political consensus around economics in the past 30… but I would say… 70 years has assumed that almost anything other than work generates economic value. I have been assured that capital generates value, that technology generates value, that state planning generates value, that universities generate value, that friendship generates value. But significant though all these things are, if work, if labour, is ignored then a constitutive and decisive feature of value is ignored. That is one of the reasons why a universal income, severed from work and vocation is a blind alley for Labour." Old time religion
Severance – Slugger O'Toole
"I grew up in an Irish Unionism which viewed Irishness and Britishness as not just compatible but complementary. From one viewpoint, this was a principled line drawn against the extremes of both British and Irish nationalisms; from another a nightmare of cognitive dissonance and sheared loyalties. Partition was both a tragedy and a necessity; London simultaneously a faithful protector and feckless betrayer. Loyalty and dissent entangled in quantum indecision. To be and not to be." John Stewart Bell grew up in the province...
The Beginning of the End of the United Kingdom – Slugger O'Toole
"In 1918 the United Kingdom as it had existed was blown apart by a trifecta of landslides; a Tory landslide in Great Britain driven by a three-way split in the centre-left vote; a Sinn Féin landslide in most of Ireland; and an Ulster Unionist landslide in what would soon become Northern Ireland."
In a devastating election, is Northern Ireland the crack where the light gets in? – Slugger O'Toole
"This is not a Pollyanna hot take on why it’ll all be ok. Nothing is ok, and there will probably be chaos. But it is a statement of fact that the politics of the past here cannot hold. Those who rely on it cannot ultimately succeed. Those who tried new things in this election were rewarded. We need to come to a deep and profound realisation that – because of England’s Brexit – nothing in Northern Ireland can ever be the same again." Parties standing aside to allow a two way vote
Rory Stewart: 'This general election feels like American politics' | British GQ
>> "It’s very, very striking, because what it suggests is that British politics is beginning to feel more and more like American and European politics – in other words, this new style of campaigning where you have this very simple, three-word slogan and you just drive it home again and again and again. You don’t talk about the details or the “how”. It’s an extraordinary strategy. The problem with it is it’s a very difficult way of running something. It’s not an ideal way of sorting out practical problems. It gives you the big headline and it gets you the votes, but it doesn’t tell anybody how things are going to work." << Rory (the still Tory) gets it
Daring Fireball: Time's 2019 Person of the Year: Greta Thunberg
>> “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” she says, tugging on the sleeve of her blue sweatshirt. “That is all we are saying.” << And >> "Thunberg really riles up conservatives. “Why are we listening to a child?”, they ask, when they’re not frothing at their mouths over her celebrity and prominence. “Why are we doing nothing while global calamity grows ever more imminent?” is the response. They really seem to go after her in a viciously personal way — proof to me that she’s somehow really touched a nerve." << Famous Mrs Thatcher quote springs to mind
Derek Raymond - Wikipedia
>> “I’ve watched people like Kingsley Amis, struggling to get on the up escalator, while I had the down escalator all to myself.” << This page has class
Imgur: The magic of the Internet
Trend lines based on opinion polls up to morning of GE2019. Individual result spreads give a sense of confidence intervals (opinion polls are not random samples)
McKinsey & Company: Capital’s Willing Executioners ❧ Current Affairs
"McKinsey is capitalism distilled. It is global, mobile, flexible, and unabashedly pro-market and pro-management. The firm has an enormous stake in things continuing more or less as they are. Working for all sides, McKinsey’s only allegiance is to capital. As capital’s most effective messenger, McKinsey has done direct harm to the world in ways that, thanks to its lack of final decision-making power, are hard to measure and, thanks to its intense secrecy, are hard to know."
The Smartest Guys in the Clubhouse | The New Republic
>> "He reliably kept outsiders—a group that included, for years of his tenure, even the players in his employ—on a need-to-know basis when it came to the work that he and a “decision sciences” team were doing as they collected and parsed every available bead of data that the game could provide. He was so devoted to efficiency that he engaged consultants from McKinsey to audit the organization (and, inevitably, to disrupt the org chart) every year. The collective mission was to ensure that the Astros brand of Moneyball would stay artfully (yet efficiently!) poised on the bleeding edge of managerially minded innovation." << So constant churn preventing any form of accountability - nice
This Impeachment Is Different—and More Dangerous - POLITICO
"But as information channels have multiplied, real “broadcast democracy”—the shared and broad engagement with a common set of facts —has disappeared. An abundance of choice means fewer focus on the news, and those who do are more engaged politically, and more partisan. No doubt, there is more published today about impeachment across a wide range of media than before, but it lives within different and smaller niches." Lessig on echo chambers
The Ladder Up | VQR Online
"For many years, my Puerto Rican homeland was not the island but the fried chicken and Chinese takeout joint on 156th and Broadway, merengue on the boombox where men played dominoes and women sold mangoes on sticks peeled and cut to look like roses. My grandmother has lived in the same apartment on this corner for sixty-four years now."
Climate change: Greta Thunberg mobbed at UN climate talks - BBC News
"Even within developed countries the poorest are the most affected whenever there are climate disasters or impacts, but they are not the ones who consume more and contribute the most to the causes of climate change." Sounds about right to me. Last Wednesday: huge tailback from Church Road to Vale in Edgbaston, so got off the bus and walked ahead of the cars for a mile or so. One person in each car. Being an affluent neighbourhood, mostly big cars...
How good have climate models been at truly predicting the future? « RealClimate
"In an upcoming paper in Geophysical Research Letters, Zeke Hausfather, Henri Drake, Tristan Abbott and I took a look at how well climate models have actually been able to accurately project warming in the years after they were published. This is an extension of the comparisons we have been making on RealClimate for many years, but with a broader scope and a deeper analysis. We gathered all the climate models published between 1970 and the mid-2000s that gave projections of both future warming and future concentrations of CO2 and other climate forcings – from Manabe (1970) and Mitchell (1970) through to CMIP3 in IPCC 2007." Notes and refs available but not actual paper with the force function corrections (unless in notes)
Climate change: From the beginning, models have been remarkably accurate - Vox
"It turns out that even those crude early models were fairly accurate, which is remarkable given the sophistication of the science and the available computing power. None of the models the authors analyzed got it badly wrong." Pity the paper is closed access.
Climate change: animation shows US leading the world in carbon emissions - Vox
"While atmospheric carbon is gradually absorbed by the ocean and plants, a large fraction, about 20 percent, lingers for millennia. That means a big chunk of the greenhouse gases emitted at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution is still heating up our planet today. If we were to magically cease emitting all greenhouse gases at once, the planet would likely continue warming for a period of time. This leads to the next point." single integration time constant or (I imagine more likely) a cascade of leads/lags from different sources? Lumped system model would be good
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Thoughts from a Big Beast
"In answer to a question on the steps needed to combat climate change, he made two points. First, while it was now high on the agenda, the talk was still of setting targets and changing dates by when steps would be taken and not on the actual steps which needed to be taken. Second, those steps (and as an example, he named raising two taxes he had introduced as Chancellor) would be individually extremely unpopular. If parties only ever worried about short-term popularity, what went down well with focus groups and opinion polls, nothing would ever get done. That was why sensible governments worked out what their priorities were, did them as soon as they were elected, explained what they were about and why, made sure they worked properly, eased off the closer it came to an election and awaited the judgment of voters on the whole after a 4/5 year term rather than obsessing about the immediate ratings. If the measures had been properly explained and worked, then voters would be more willing to accept them; if they didn’t work you were stuffed anyway. But to achieve effective change you needed to be willing to endure unpopularity. That, of course, presupposed that parties knew what they wanted to do and had a plan for getting there." Takeaway: the likes of Dom will get you a 'win', but won't necessarily guarantee that the 'win' is actually viable. Develop a plan and stick to it...
Why the Walkman, DVDs and “dumb phones” have enduring allure - Vox
>> "The kind of ritualistic interaction with a physical object that Paulus describes contrasts with the seamlessness of digital life. The physical objects themselves are also unique; they deviate from the monotony of the sleek aesthetic that’s come to dominate the world. “I think a lot of people are maybe bored with the sameness of everything,” Marks, of Collectors’ Weekly, said. “The culture’s becoming more monochromatic in some respects. So I think that the advantage for people who are weary of that is that these objects are messier and a little more difficult to deal with.”" <<
Pisa rankings: Why Estonian pupils shine in global tests - BBC News
"Estonia has made high quality early years education a priority." Kindergarten from 3, school from 7. Sounds like a plan. Build the house from the foundations instead of trying to build it roof down
Ivan Rogers on Brexit: the worst is yet to come | Prospect Magazine
>> "I fear it all points to a repetition next year of exactly the syndrome we have suffered for the last three. And a repetition of the myopia on which ultimately lands us with a poor and deteriorating relationship on multiple things that really matter, economically and strategically. I am just stating the likelihood—I personally frankly think near-certainty right now—that the incentives on both players now play out this way." << Section C, the ghost of Christmas future, is the kicker.
The Plan to End Boomers' Political Dominance - The Atlantic
>> "After the 2007 financial crash, though, he noticed something alarming. He was regularly visited by young couples—the man might be a nurse, his partner might be a cashier at the local supermarket—who worked hard and lived frugally, yet found themselves “camping in the spare room of his parents’ house, with a baby in a box at the bottom of the bed, and they couldn’t see how they would ever get anywhere to live.” Often, Willetts would give them whatever help he could—very little—and then head over to a local residents’ association meeting, where he would talk to “completely decent people” in their 50s and 60s who owned their own home but wanted no further houses to be built in their neighborhood." << Link any form of central government support for local council to house building target. You can vote NIMBY but you'll pay for it.
Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”: the story behind the Thanksgiving staple - Vox
>> "And Guthrie was, in fact, disqualified from the draft because of his arrest record. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he told NPR in 2005. “And so I turned it into a song. It took about a year to put together, and I’ve been telling it ever since just about.”" <<
This Is Why Your Holiday Travel Is Awful - POLITICO
"So I began calling friends who’d had senior roles in state and federal government, and then sought out some on the long list of people who had spent a portion of their careers working on the project. No one had ever traced the full sweep of the efforts to remake the station, and why they always failed. Trying to make sense of the swirl, I built a timeline on a spreadsheet, which grew to nearly 600 entries. After years of research, a picture began to emerge—one that, beyond the scope of any given anecdote, told a dispiriting story about the futility of present-day American government, and reshaped my view of progressive politics." Cities are hard to reshape
Carr: Fog, Fog, Fog...and Fatigue – gCaptain
"I pulled back the throttle and put my boat in neutral. I made a Securite call. “Securite…adrift in position…standing by for any concerned traffic…” No calls came back. I had no idea what time it was, sometime in the middle of the night. The fog was even thicker than before. I shut down my boat’s Westerbeke engine. So quiet, not a sound. Floating in a big ocean with nothing in sight. I lay down on the cockpit bench, covered in layers of thermal clothing and foul weather gear."
‘Take it from me. Dying is a full-time business. No time for a lap of honour’ - The Jewish Chronicle
>> "Opera entered his life in the 1970s when the conductor Roger Norrington, who lived in the same artists’ colony around Camden Town, asked if he’d take a look at a Mozart score. Jonathan said, “I don’t read music.” That’s all right, said Roger, “I do.”" <<
How Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series developed its cult following - Vox
>> "All seven of French’s books are set in Dublin (French, who was born in the US, went to Trinity College, and settled in Dublin in 1990), and six of them form the loosely connected Dublin Murder Squad series. Because French’s first novel came out in 2007, and her most recent in 2018, they form a portrait of Ireland during its Celtic Tiger boom, the ensuing crash, and its long, bleak aftermath. That’s perhaps part of why in these books, murder is usually about real estate, which is so precarious, and the detectives never stop thinking about class." << Which seems a bit of a corner case from a statistical point of view.
Principles for Purposeful Business | The British Academy
"The Future of the Corporation programme is one of the largest and most ambitious ever conducted by the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It lies at the heart at the heart of the future of capitalism, the future of humanity and the future of our planet. This second report builds on the November 2018 report, “Reforming business for the 21st century”. It revisits the case for change and highlights that climate change, the urgency of delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), technological developments, the increasing dominance of companies without significant tangible assets, and negative perceptions of business make this agenda particularly urgent. It identifies how change can and should be achieved. It sets out a series of principles to guide lawmakers and business leaders in any jurisdiction towards the policies and practices that can release the potential of business to profitably solve the problems of people and planet, and to prevent business from profiting from harm." 44 pages less some full page pictures
BBC - BBC Food blog: The ale-barm method: Worthy of revival or just barmy bread?
"In England noblemen's bread, manchet was always made with the barm method, whereas the commoners' bread maslin was a sourdough. Barm bread survived until World War Two and even later in the North of England largely as barm cakes. Curiously, the old method of making a sponge, or thick batter of flour and water with the barm was still used with the new industrially produced yeast, and was re-introduced to Europe from Vienna where the first yeast factories were established. This became popular in France as a 'poolish', the favoured method of making crusty bread such as a baguette" Am I seriously thinking of brewing some beer to make a wort to bake some bread? Well, it is a project
Against Economics | by David Graeber | The New York Review of Books
>> "Ever since Hume, economists have distinguished between the short-run and the long-run effects of economic change, including the effects of policy interventions. The distinction has served to protect the theory of equilibrium, by enabling it to be stated in a form which took some account of reality. In economics, the short-run now typically stands for the period during which a market (or an economy of markets) temporarily deviates from its long-term equilibrium position under the impact of some “shock,” like a pendulum temporarily dislodged from a position of rest." << Skidelsky quoted by Graeber. What if there is no equilibrium? (Sort of similar to Lorenz's famous question about climate)
Money creation in the modern economy | Bank of England
"This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans. Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits. The amount of money created in the economy ultimately depends on the monetary policy of the central bank. In normal times, this is carried out by setting interest rates. The central bank can also affect the amount of money directly through purchasing assets or ‘quantitative easing’." Data available in spreadsheet and report as pdf, from 2014
The Jungle Prince of Delhi - The New York Times
>> “Have you noticed that a factual error appearing in respected printed form tends to be copied by other researchers in the same field, until, inevitably, it competes with the truth for credibility?” it read. “The writers who perpetuate these mistakes rarely do so from evil motive: They have no axe to grind, they simply do not have time to check and double-check each fact, so they rely on the scholarship of their predecessors.” << New Statesman, just about pre-mainstream Web.
Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished - BBC News
"The reason so many people are excited by Bitcoin is that it solves that problem. It depends upon a special type of database called a blockchain, which is like a huge book - one that Bitcoin owners have independent but identical copies of. Every time a Bitcoin is sent from me to someone else, a record of that transaction goes into everyone's book. Nobody - not banks, not governments, or the person who invents it - is in charge or can change. There is some very clever maths behind all this, but this means that Bitcoins can't be faked, they can't be hacked and can't be double-spent." That'll do but I'd add a sentence about proof of work because that bit uses so much electricity
Earth on Nautilus: The Deep Time of Walden Pond
"Their other candidate was the early 1960s, when the world was most heavily contaminated with fallout from the atmospheric testing of thermonuclear weapons during the Cold War. The cesium-137 peak in lake deposits is so widespread that scientists already use it as a timemarker in sediment cores, as we did at Walden."
Wail: The Life of Bud Powell
"Walker says: “You had to pick up things from Thelonious—he didn’t show them. He experimented a lot with quarter-tones and half-tones. Bent notes. You could learn a lot from him if you really listened. But he didn’t show you.” Monk’s refusal to show followed from his maxim, that if a musician couldn’t hear what Monk was doing, how was he going to play it? Monk had no interest in explaining to those who’d demonstrated they hadn’t been listening (or couldn’t hear)." A certain logic in that
Abstractions on Nautilus: Mathematicians Calculate How Randomness Creeps In
"Next, shift the tiles so that the empty space moves one square in any of four possible directions: up, down, left or right. (For the sake of mathematical elegance, Chu and Hough considered a board whose sides wrap around and meet each other, so that tiles are never stuck in corners.) Make the choice at random. The board will now be in a new configuration — no longer exactly in order, but not that far off either. Repeat this process. As you continue sliding the empty square around, the board will depart further from the original ordered arrangement." Wrap-around strikes again.
Eric Tucker: Exhibition fulfils 'unseen' artist's final wish - BBC News
Reminds me of that painter that did biblical stories in some red-brick town near london
GitHub - MimiOnuoha/On-Algorithmic-Violence: Attempts at fleshing out the concept of algorithmic violence.
"Along similar lines, it seems we're overdue for a term that allows us to easily (if imperfectly) articulate some realities of the moment we find ourselves in today. Specifically, we need a phrase that addresses newer, often digital and data-driven forms of inequity. I want to posit the phrase algorithmic violence as a first step at articulating these negotiations.2 Algorithmic violence refers to the violence that an algorithm or automated decision-making system inflicts by preventing people from meeting their basic needs. It results from and is amplified by exploitative social, political, and economic systems, but can also be intimately connected to spatially and physically borne effects."
GitHub - cfenollosa/bashblog: A single Bash script to create blogs. Download, run, write, done!
A bash based and fairly readable script to publish a blog. Still a bit fussy. I want a script that will simply take all the markdown files in a directory and format them to a notes page. Might try to cherry pick functions out of this script
Garry Winogrand’s Stunning Scenes at the Brooklyn Museum - The Atlantic
>> “Sometimes I feel like … the world is a place I bought a ticket to,” Winogrand once said. “It’s a big show for me, as if it wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t there with a camera.” <<
‘Thin to win’: How Democrats are building the case against Trump - POLITICO
>> “The biggest insight I’ve had in trying complex cases is that you want to be the one telling the simple story, and you want the other side to be telling the complicated story,” said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Illinois. “Whichever side telling the simple story wins, and it’s simply because of the way the human brain works.” << Might be how the brain is wired to allow quick decisions to avoid the raptors, but reality is not similarly bound.
Trump’s Populism Has Nothing to Offer the Populace - The Atlantic
"Poland, like the United States, is divided between young, educated, urban, internationalist cultural liberals and older, rural, nationalist, and nativist cultural conservatives. But unlike the United States, Poland isn’t equally divided between parties of the left and the right; Law and Justice is politically dominant. That dominance may stem in part from the party’s growing control of the press. But there’s more to it than that. The single biggest reason for Law and Justice’s popularity, Aleks Szczerbiak, an expert on Polish politics at the University of Sussex, argued in a blog post last year, is that “the government has delivered on several of the high-profile social spending pledges” it made when first elected, including an initiative that offers every family a monthly subsidy of roughly $125 a child. This program has helped cut Poland’s rate of extreme child poverty from almost 12 percent to less than 3 percent. Law and Justice has also increased payments to the elderly and pledged to hike the minimum wage. Business groups have grumbled, but as the Times notes, Duda’s government has “built a floor under low- and middle-income families” that is “wildly popular.” It has established a political majority by doing what Trump has not: going right on culture but left on economics." Tories will make the promises but we will see if they deliver.
CfEM blog: What do this year’s GCSE maths result tell us? - The Education and Training Foundation
"This is a ‘tough gig’ and it’s never going to be easy. Colleges are working with a cohort of students who have not yet achieved grade 4 despite years of maths classes and all the interventions and coaching which secondary schools provide." Total waste of time and money. Design a qualification based on a real world need-to-understand curriculum reflecting the importance of statistics, percentages and measures. Make the assessment flexible and situated. Leave 'school maths' behind.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » The People Will Speak
"The reality is that Britain will be taking back control from an imperfect system as a member of an organisation and giving it up for the rigidity and permanence of treaty obligations, with the added bonus of being subject to foreign courts, some of them with little interest in transparency (ISDS tribunals anyone?)" This post crystallises my vague feelings of concern. We are leaving a trans-national body that we can influence and replacing that with treaties.
‘Can Any of These People Beat Trump?’ - POLITICO Magazine
"The instincts that guide Bennet—being pragmatic, deliberative, restrained—are what many Americans say are precisely what’s needed to run the White House. But now, perhaps more than ever, those instincts are the opposite of what’s needed to win the White House." We have reached the era of Zaphod a couple of centuries early.
How To Set Write Permission On ext4 Partition In Ubuntu Linux - It's FOSS
Using ext4 formatted USB external hard drive you have to do (from root) chgrp users /dev/sdb1 chmod g+w /run/media/keith/MUSIC to be able to back up the music
PG&E Power Outage: Alone in the Dark - The Atlantic
"When the power went out at homes and apartment complexes and businesses and schools, the richest region of the richest country on earth went dark. It was a mess. The elderly were stranded in upper-floor housing units, their elevators out of service. People who use wheelchairs, sleep-apnea machines, hearing aids, and respirators—as well as electric cars and e-bikes and computers and cellphones, and on and on—struggled to find portable generators or to move to places unaffected by the outages. Mothers sent around spreadsheets of neighbors who were ready and willing to store breast milk in their freezers." Battery in each house that can store three days worth of power. Would smooth out the daily demand cycle so no need for fast spin-up gas fired power stations any more and could be used to store wind/wave/solar as produced, and would provide a 'civil emergency' safety cushion.
Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” | Ars Technica
"Imagine no more. We asked three cracking experts to attack the same list Anderson targeted and recount the results in all their color and technical detail Iron Chef style. The results, to say the least, were eye opening because they show how quickly even long passwords with letters, numbers, and symbols can be discovered." Looks like you have to do a two step process Step 1: find a text Step 2: apply a sampling method that destroys the dictionary words
Choosing Secure Passwords - Schneier on Security
"A typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. The root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's usually something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90% of the time) or a prefix (10% of the time). One cracking program I saw started with a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "temp," "123456," and so on. Then it tested them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!," and so on. It recovered about a quarter of all passwords with just these 100,000 combinations." So use some method to scramble the characters in a phrase - so you can remember your phrase and apply the method on scrap paper and then discard. Nothing permanently stored but avoids dictionary words.
Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked • The Register
Article and associated comments explore practical password management issues.
Break before make, abstractions, and sleazy ISPs
"This is why I say some of this stuff is entirely too complicated. We've brought this upon ourselves: building breathtakingly high stacks of ridiculous systems where few (if any) people can keep the whole thing in their head. Just like code, configs also have to "run" on people first in order to be written and reviewed honestly, and if you can't know the stack, there's no way to know what will really happen." Perhaps we are really on a huge disk being held up by flying turtles?
MAIB: Watch Officer Was Watching Videos on Phone Before Grounding – gCaptain
"According to the MAIB, for about 2 hours prior to the accident, the officer of the watch had been unaware that Priscilla was drifting away from the planned passage. Once noticing that the vessel was off track, the officer chose an alternative route that resulted in the vessel heading directly into the Pentland Skerries." There are situations where people should not really be watching tubies
Life in the City
'Evolution in an urbanizing world' Results and observations on urban wildlife, via the Wired article
How Cities Reshape the Evolutionary Path of Urban Wildlife | WIRED
>> "He was now enamored with the idea that urban cauldrons of noise, heat, and filth are not only as authentically “natural” as any other habitat but also the perfect venues in which to observe evolution at its fastest and most inventive. A bearded and slightly cherubic man, Munshi-South speaks engagingly about his epiphany despite the notable softness of his voice. “For most organisms, cities are incredibly stressful,” he says. “So you'd expect that the evolutionary responses would have to be pretty strong for them to exist in that environment.”" <<
College Students Don’t Want Fancy Libraries - The Atlantic
>> "Yet much of the glitz may be just that—glitz. Survey data and experts suggest that students generally appreciate libraries most for their simple, traditional offerings: a quiet place to study or collaborate on a group project, the ability to print research papers, and access to books. Notably, many students say they like relying on librarians to help them track down hard-to-find texts or navigate scholarly journal databases. “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers,” as the writer Neil Gaiman once said. “A librarian can bring you back the right one.”" << Big rooms. Shelves. Plenty of tables and chairs. Not hard really. Could even use surplus office space downtown.
How to use the Windows Disk Error Checking feature on an external drive | Seagate Support UK
Clear instructions from non-spammy site. One of my ntfs formatted usb hard drives is playing up and fsck isn't up to the task for this format
Tips For Manipulating The Sourness Of Your Sourdough
Yeast farming. Mine always come out vinegary
Bread with character: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes for sourdough | Life and style | The Guardian
"If you're going to bake bread every day or two, maintain your starter in this way, keeping it at room temperature, feeding it daily, and taking some of it out whenever you need to. However, if you want to keep it for longer between bakings, add enough flour to turn it into a stiff dough, then it won't need another feed for four or so days. You'll just need to add more water when you come to make the "sponge" (see below). Alternatively, lull your starter into dormancy by cooling it down – it will keep for a week in the fridge without needing to be fed. You'll then need to bring it back to room temperature and probably give it a fresh feed to get it bubbling and active again. Combine these two approaches – keep your starter as a stiff dough in the fridge – and you can leave it for two weeks before it will need your attention again. If you know you won't be baking for a while, you can even freeze the starter; it will reactivate on thawing." Big feed after a bake. The starter is doing quite well at present.
The Coming Boeing Bailout?
>> "Unlike Boeing, McDonnell Douglas was run by financiers rather than engineers. And though Boeing was the buyer, McDonnell Douglas executives somehow took power in what analysts started calling a “reverse takeover.” The joke in Seattle was, "McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing with Boeing's money."" << Via Daringfireball
Coming on strong: choosing the best flour – danlepard.com
"Strong white flour usually contains high levels of a type of protein called glutenin, causing the dough made from it to be able to hold its shape rather better than stretching easily. Where dough made from an Italian 00 flour or French T55 can be pulled and lengthened easily, dough made from strong white flour needs to be coaxed gently into performing a similar act otherwise it will tear. Though strong white flour will contain gliadin, the stretchy protein, don’t expect the same extensibility with dough made from it." Lidl strong white is cool
Zero Dollar Laptop Manifesto
"You may ask, "Why isn't someone doing something to roll out the zero dollar laptop?" In developed-world economies and cultures we're familiar with centralised solutions. We're less familiar with localised, decentralised, do-it-yourself solutions. In this case, that "someone" is you." An oldie but a goodie
Hovis as it used to taste - The Bread Kitchen
"Both wheatgerm and blackstrap molasses can usually be bought from health food stores. Some major supermarket chains also stock these ingredients." Add 10% wheat germ to white flour and add molasses to the water.
Quarter of secondary pupils 'get private tuition' - BBC News
"The social-mobility charity is calling for financial support for disadvantaged families to have access to tutoring." Should we perhaps improve teacher-student ratios in schools in poorer areas first so as to eliminate the need for tutoring?
The Wun Show: Douglas Crockford has been sniffing JavaScript's bad parts again • The Register
"This is quite annoying and distracting, but no more so than an economy-class, transatlantic flight in a cramped, middle-aisle seat in front of a poorly disciplined ADD boy-child whose seatback kicks are Poisson-distributed with Lambda around 4.7 per minute." Classic
The Early English Bread Project | Bread as a cultural force in early England
"The association between women and bread stretches back through the Middle Ages to prehistory. Women did not just make the bread that was vital to survival; the transformation of grain to flour was also women’s domain, and the labour required for this dwarfed the effort of making the bread itself. Indeed, grinding grain probably took more of women’s time than any single other household activity, and the evolution of this task is the story of women’s lives in the early Middle Ages."
Composers as Gardeners | Edge.org
"My topic is the shift from 'architect' to 'gardener', where 'architect' stands for 'someone who carries a full picture of the work before it is made', to 'gardener' standing for 'someone who plants seeds and waits to see exactly what will come up'. I will argue that today's composer are more frequently 'gardeners' than 'architects' and, further, that the 'composer as architect' metaphor was a transitory historical blip."
Pitch_In-C_Change.pmd - Pitch_In-C_Change.pdf
Contains notated form of the 53 themes In C.
Terry Riley's "In C"
"When I hit "play," I was surrounded by a cloud of music that seemed to contradict itself at every turn — as if it was in a state of suspended animation, but it kept changing all the time. It was filled with energy and forward motion, yet it was somehow calming. It was highly repetitive but organic. It was rhythmically intricate but it grooved. It was often hard to pin down, but it didn't seem very complicated." Multi-story Car Park orchestra and Birmingham Conservatoire performance this Friday.
The Central Telegraph Office was serving spam 67 years before vikings sang about it on telly • The Register
"Telegraphy had its innovations, some less welcome than others. Over 16-17 December 1903, The Times sent 88,847 telegrams soliciting purchases of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, VM Dunford, deputy controller of CTO, explained in an article he wrote in March 1915." Spam!
How to Back Up Your Linux Device to Amazon S3
Would rather just use rsync but looks feasible for documents (less than 10Gb)
Rsync – To Slash or Not To Slash? – Rants & Raves – The Blog!
Trailing slash on *source* copies top level directory
HOWTO: Backup using Rsync to NTFS
rsync command line: no trailing slash on target folder
Linux man pages
Handy searchable reference when bash prompt not to hand
Bad Spad And Dangerous To Know: How Dominic Cummings Could Shape Both Brexit And The Snap Election | HuffPost UK
>> "One of Cummings’ big successes, however, was the creation of specialist sixth form maths schools, in London and in Exeter. Within a few years, they have already outperformed most private schools in their results and university placements, while taking in a diverse mix of students. A history graduate himself, Cummings hired a maths tutor to get him up to postgraduate level in the subject, and wanted to create a UK version of the Kolmogorov Physics and Mathematics School in Moscow." << Perhaps he should have stuck to the Maths education project, getting funding from a range of sponsors and building something.
How to insert a superscript in Sway? - Microsoft Community
Colleague really likes sway on Windows 10. Only way to do maths formulas is to do them in Word and then import the Word file. Years ago on MacOS there was a TeX based application where you could type the code and copy the formula into preview...
Almost one-fifth of Britons 'do not use internet' - BBC News
"40% of those earning less than £12,500 do not go online 70% of all respondents "uncomfortable" with targeted advertising and data tracking" Basic 2Mb/s connection for all through wifi from street lamps? Configurable advert and tracker blocking nudged to on by default?
The Conservatives are failing to make headway in the Brexit supporting North and Midlands – Slugger O'Toole
"In the West Midlands, both Labour and the Conservatives are down 14%, the Lib Dems are up 12% and the Brexit Party are up 12% on Ukip’s 2017 performance. Given that they are basically static in terms of the Labour vs. Tory contest, the Conservatives would be unlikely to make much of a dent in Labour’s 24 MPs, other than in ultra-marginal seats such as Newcastle-under-Lyme (Labour majority: 30).The Lib Dems aren’t really in contention anywhere here."
Beto O’Rourke Says the El Paso Shooting Changed Him - The Atlantic
"In the hospital rooms and memorial services in El Paso, O’Rourke thinks he’s found his real reason to run. On his trip to New Hampshire, I watched him try to express his new mind-set during his speech at the state convention in Manchester. In front of waves of black-and-white BETO signs, he tried to explain the shooting’s root causes, linking it to a larger legacy of injustice and hate—arguing that with so much trouble in America’s history, “sooner or later it was going to find us.” He concluded with a call for an overhaul of the immigration system, reparations for African Americans, and mandatory government buybacks of assault weapons. Many in the crowd seemed to lock in as he was speaking." Just trying to get my head around a country where I could by an assault rifle as easily as I can buy a strimmer here...
Robert Frank's Unforgettable Rolling Stones Documentary - The Atlantic
>> "“There are too many images, too many cameras now,” Frank once told Vanity Fair. “We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn’t an art anymore. Maybe it never was.”" << RIP Robert Frank. I'm going back to Polaroids sometime soon I think, so each image counts.
The Italian Ritual of "fare la scarpetta" | ITALY Magazine
"In his book about medieval eating habits, Fabrizio Vanni proposes that the act took place following the introduction of tomatoes to the Italian diet back in the late 16th century. Before this time sauces tended to be thicker and more robust; with the introduction of the tomato, sauces became lighter and therefore required mopping up. Another suggestion regarding the origin of la scarpetta is that back in a time when wasting food was frowned upon, the bread merely became a tool to be used much like cutlery." In a family owned Italian restaurant I was handed some bread at the end of the meal as a scarpetta. It was a nice sauce as well!
Y Y Zhu College Lecturer in Politics @PembrokeOxford & IR DPhil @NuffieldCollege @UniOfOxford. Erstwhile political hack. Sic transit gloria Twitter.
Yuanyi Zu posts on twitter about parliament
'My dad invented crop circles' - BBC News
"The pair travelled the countryside at night using a plank and a piece of rope to make the curious shapes, which appeared throughout Wiltshire and Hampshire." Locii revision activity?
The Computer That Predicted U.S. Would Win the Vietnam War - The Atlantic
>> "In practice, this meant creating vast amounts of data, which had to be sent to computing centers and entered on punch cards. One massive program was the Hamlet Evaluation System, which sought to quantify how the American program of “pacification” was proceeding by surveying 12,000 villages in the Vietnamese countryside. “Every month, the HES produced approximately 90,000 pages of data and reports,” a RAND report found. “This means that over the course of just four of the years in which the system was fully functional, it produced more than 4.3 million pages of information.”" << Most of the input data was massaged to support the positions taken by the general of the day (c.f. Bright shining lie and Hastings' history)
We have become a land of permanent crisis. This suits the blustering liars of Brexit | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "A determination to get Brexit over the line drives it. Nowhere are the inadequacies of its macho politicians more evident than in their delusion that there is “a line” and once over it we can move on. Brexit isn’t just for Halloween. It is for life. It is a never-ending diversion from our real problems because we cannot cut ourselves off from our nearest neighbours and largest trading partner." << Fish swimming in water don't see the water.
Dominic Cummings: 'System failure’ how Vote Leave's guru wants to redesign the UK's future | UK | News | Express.co.uk
"He suggests the latest policy decisions should be shaped by evidence drawn from quantitative models and experiments, just as the latest aircraft designs are honed in the laboratory by data drawn from wind tunnels." An aircraft wing operates in a region that is not chaotic (Reynolds and Prandtl parameters). Good luck with getting data that does not reflect the bias of those collecting it, and with developing models that avoid chaotic dynamics. Personally, I'll stick to the meat sacks and their political instincts on Kahneman grounds.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Fingering the index. A proposed technical change that is hugely important
"Candidly, it is now showing its age. There are substantial problems with the way in which it is compiled, but perhaps its most fundamental flaw is mathematical. You and I think of producing an average by totting up a total and then dividing it by the number of items you added up. This is called the arithmetic mean and this is how RPI is produced. Unfortunately, when you are calculating an average rate of inflation, this method will, all other things being equal, overstate the underlying rate of increase, because people will tend to buy cheaper goods instead of paying for the more expensive item. In these circumstances, the generally accepted better method is to use what is known as the geometric mean. You can’t do this in your head. You multiply all the different numbers together and then take the nth root of the product, where n is the number of items." I'm presuming that the geometric mean is less affected by substitution of lower priced items than the arithmetic mean? Will need to model that one out.
Donating to Slackware - Page 54
"They may not like the public eye, they do their best work 'behind' something - whether that be a camera, a canvas, a musical instrument, a fourth wall or a computer screen. The medium acts as a divider between themselves and the world through which they can interpret it in the context of their own skills and experience." Shades of The Craftsman
Ivan Rogers: the realities of a no-deal Brexit | Coffee House
"We face the most explosive political week for years, perhaps decades. But remarkably little of the debate is about our real options. We should be thinking 10 to 20 years ahead, not 10 weeks."
politicalbetting.com
"Third and last, trying to bypass Parliament has achieved the extraordinary feat of making Jeremy Corbyn look reasonable. Many of his past associations, and plenty of his basic ideas, are anathema to a majority of voters (though quite a few of his actual policies are pretty popular). But who can object to an Opposition leader who calls for more debate, more deliberation, more votes? Keeping the doors of the House of Commons open is hardly a radical demand from the Far Left." Hold your nose and look at the *policies*
History of the punch card - Reference from WhatIs.com
"Despite this and the fact that he never actually built an analytical engine, Babbage's proposed use of cards played a crucial role in later years, providing a precedent that prevented Hollerith's company from claiming patent rights on the very idea of storing data on punched cards."
Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Is Falling - The New York Times
>> "Underlying many of the problems, they say, is the government’s austerity program, which was instituted after the 2008 financial crisis and has eaten away at funding for social programs, transportation and other things that might counter the negative trends. Things have probably not been helped by the chaos in Parliament over Brexit, which has forestalled efforts to come to grips with the growing problems." <<
Is Brexit A Rerun of the 1930s? [Slugger O'Toole ]
"If Brexit goes wrong, it is precisely the young and clever who will be the big losers. It is this group also which was most heavily opposed to Brexit in the first place. These too are the people whose standards of living had already since the late 1990s departed most dramatically from those their parents took for granted, with poor job security and startling declines in home ownership, now at levels among the under 40s well below that before Margaret Thatcher began her council house sales programme. People with property are much less likely to rock the boat than those without. This is a profoundly underappreciated reality." And so McDonnell's policies make some sense on the generational split of the state's resources
The Brexit endgame begins
"Now, the decisive phase of the Brexit story will take place with an almost exclusive focus on process and little attention to the underlying arguments. It completes the professionalisation of our politics, the conversion of voters into speculators and tacticians, co-conspirators in a procedural game. YouGov has already polled voters on their approval of prorogation as a strategic device – an odd thing for voters to have to think about." The flattening thing. Not everything is a game or puzzle. What actually matters is our future relationship with the mainland, through which most of our imports and exports flow, and from which we populate our public services.
Dominic Cummings is no chicken - UnHerd
"I know that Cummings is a fan, because he regularly quotes them. His blogroll includes links to LessWrong, Slate Star Codex and Eliezer Yudkowsky, three of the key parts of the Rationalsphere. His blog posts – like those of Scott Alexander, author of Slate Star Codex – are immensely long, although Alexander’s are clear and funny and designed to hold the reader’s hand through a complex argument, while Cummings’s tend to be a grab-bag of talking points thrown together with no discernible – to me, at least – structure. But a lot of the material, and the names mentioned, are similar." These people need to go out and learn about dynamical systems. They could get us all killed.
This isn’t a coup. We should still be concerned and angry. – Slugger O'Toole
"When Parliament is prorogued, all business stops. As Jayne McCormack has pointed out, there are now question marks over the Domestic Abuse Bill for Northern Ireland and legislation for historical abuse survivors." Collateral damage part 1
Slackware is creating a secure, full featured, bloat-free Linux-based operating system | Patreon
"Slackware is free, open source software that gives you everything you need to recompile the entire operating system and make any changes you like. The package system is constructed from shell scripts using standard utilities, and easily modified scripts are used throughout so that users may customize their operating system without having to recompile anything. Included software is changed very little (usually not at all) from the way the upstream developers intended. Einstein once said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" -- and when it comes to an operating system, trying to make things "easy" does not always achieve that goal." Patreon account takes place of the old Slackware store. Nudge theory in action.
Leaked documents reveal Tories' dramatic plans for schools | Education | The Guardian
>> "The document advises against going public with this line, warning “it would undermine the ‘hearts and minds’ aspect of the announcement with the numerous audiences we know value TAs – parents, teachers, heads and SEND lobby. This needs to be handled very sensitively if we are to protect the positivity of the announcement.”" << Its about class sizes and the expectation that students with challenging behaviour be integrated. Try 35 students with a couple of challenging behaviour students and a handful of students with dyslexic tendencies and see how you get on. Smaller class sizes could be a way forward. Expensive.
Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Ten Signs a Claimed Mathematical Breakthrough is Wrong
"For a blogger like me — whose opinions are both expected immediately and googlable indefinitely — this question actually matters. Err in one direction, and I’ll forever be known as the hidebound reactionary who failed to recognize some 21st-century Ramanujan. Err in the other direction, and I’ll spend my whole life proofreading the work of crackpots." The days of writing in BLOCK CAPITALS in purple biro on pages torn from an exercise book have gone by the look of it.
Index of /MONALISA/download/java - legacy Oracle jdk
I'm assuming these are license compliant as they stop at version 8. I need jdk v7 for legacy reasons (cest la vie)
[SOLVED] Connect Internet (Simple Question) Beginner
Using a command line session to connect to the Internet without network manager in Slackware. Assumes wpa2 wifi connection and compares ifconfig and ip commands.
The War at Home: Remembering Foster and Laurie | City of New York
"1971 was not a good year to be a cop in New York. The city was dying, everyone agreed, and not from natural causes." Not your average institutional writing
Paying Attention | The New Yorker
"I want to forget the surreal months spent at Fresh Kills, where we fought with seagulls for scraps of body parts and watched the most glorious violet-and-orange-gold sunsets over the Statue of Liberty and the Harbor. During the night shifts, it didn’t look like the city there; it didn’t look like anything on the planet. We wore white Tyvek suits, goggles, and masks, and scavenged for bones and teeth amid the twisted metal and shattered concrete of the debris fields, dodging the excavators, earthmovers, and other behemoth machines that lumbered and crushed heedlessly past." Edward Conlon writes about his police work in a literary way - might try one of the books
Cop Diary - The Sun Magazine
" [...] Every week or so, I still run into George on the street, and we say hello. I like him, as far as it goes. The feeling is as mutual as it can be, I think, between two people who wouldn’t hesitate to shoot each other. As he’s a hit man and I’m a cop, the odds of such an occurrence happening are less remote than they would be otherwise." The stuff on procedure is exhaustive.
Gone — The California Sunday Magazine
>> "I left the ridge and headed deeper into the woodlands of California, clutching a remarkable book called Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests, written in 2001 by wildlife biologist George Gruell, that documents the ecological changes to the mountain range since Chauncey Wright discovered his rock of gold. The photos date back as far as 1849 and depict great swaths of the Sierra with only a scattering of trees. The forest looks strangely forlorn. More than a century and a half later, these same locations reveal an entirely different Sierra. What was once sparse is now densely packed with pine, fir, cedar, and manzanita. A forest that supported 64 trees an acre in pre-settlement times now boasted 160 trees an acre. The modern eye sees this mountain-to-mountain vegetation as proof of the forest’s good health. Like the border-to-border almond trees in the valley below, vigor would appear to be nature at its most eloquent. But that is not what nature intended. “The landscapes of today may look attractively lush,” Gruell writes, “but the thickening forest threatens us with several problems.” " << cf Stephen Pyne's work on the role of fire in ecology. Commercial clear cutting reduces the diversity in cover and gaps in the canopy.
FAIR
'Fairness and accuracy in reporting' is one of those American non-profits that campaigns about the quality of journalism.
Deconstructing Google’s excuses on tracking protection
"Apple and Mozilla have tracking protection enabled, by default, today. And Apple is already testing privacy-preserving ad measurement. Meanwhile, Google is talking about a multi-year process for a watered-down form of privacy protection. And even that is uncertain—advertising platforms dragged out the Do Not Track standardization process for over six years, without any meaningful output. If history is any indication, launching a standards process is an effective way for Google to appear to be doing something on web privacy, but without actually delivering." Known as kicking the can down the road in the UK
Scientists Find Stardust Buried in Antarctic Snow - The Atlantic
"When the scientists analyzed the ash, they found something unusual: a radioactive form of iron. The isotope, known as iron-60, is rare on Earth. But it is produced in abundance in space, when a star, having exhausted the fuel that makes it shine, explodes." Just a reminder about where all the elements heavier than Helium come from...
Buying a Chromebook? Don't forget to check that best-before date • The Register
"Here is a tip. Open up your Chromebook, and Chrome, and go to chrome://version. Check the Platform section, at the end of which is a code name. For example, an HP 14-ca050na has "stable channel snappy". Then head here, look up the codename, and note that it matches HP Chromebook 14 G5. This is listed in Google's table with an AUE date of November 2023." 6 years but from when the 'platform' was released, i.e. the model introduced.
Politics Is Still Downstream of Culture
>> "Andrew Breitbart, the late ever-controversial right-wing gonzo journalist (not to be confused with the dreary Trump-propaganda organ that now bears his name) used to have a saying that “politics is downstream of culture.” Meaning that: 1. People’s political opinions are mostly not thought-out or analytical so much as an expression of what they think is valuable, cool, scary, smart, stupid, impressive to their friends. 2. People generally put more of their hearts and free time into cultural pursuits – from mass media and video game consumption to churches, schools, museums, gun clubs, bowling leagues, etc. – than political ones, so the attitudes that pervade the the larger spaces of their lives affect the smaller ones, not just in what they believe but who they know and trust. 3. Young people in particular are much more into getting their values and their “facts” from cultural rather than explicitly political sources." << Trying to find the source of the Andrew Breitbart quote is proving to be like spelunking the echo chamber of right wing web sites. This reference gives a bit of context but still no source quote
“Bicycle for the Mind” - Learning By Shipping
"4/ The article is from March 1973 of Scientific American. A detailed look at the history of the bicycle. The chart that was so fascinating is here. You can see just how efficient a human on a bicycle is. No condor though :-)" Essay on the computer as bicycle for the mind quite by Jobs/Kay. Nice early video stuff. Interesting correlation chart...
Bruce Schneier: The security mirage - YouTube
For future watching...
Ditch cars to meet climate change targets, say MPs - BBC News
>> "But there’s a warning that more research is needed on the environmental impact of the batteries of electric vehicles. The report warns: “Hydrogen technology may prove to be cheaper and less environmentally damaging than battery-powered electric vehicles. The government should not rely on a single technology.”" << Hydrogen should be developed anyway because the UK happens to be good at it with hydrogen fuel cell research happening in several centres
Will Trump Fatigue Bite Him in 2020? - POLITICO Magazine
"Never before has the late Andrew Breitbart’s axiom that “politics is downstream of culture” seemed more apt. The culture of celebrity, reality television, cable-TV food fights, and Twitter now defines national politics at its highest level." Seems about right.
Neither rogue nor wily fixer, Varadkar confounds British
"Where the UK see a plot, designed in Brussels and executed via Dublin, to kill any success Brexit might have, Ireland and the EU27 see the EU doing its job. There is a misalignment in how the bloc and its institutions are perceived. In Dublin, the purpose of the EU is seen, through solidarity and a single market, to amplify the voice and maximise the power of otherwise small countries." Sometimes, I wish we were in a small country. The Black Country Social Democratic Republic. Peaky Blinder Republic. Sounds ok.
We talked to aging experts about the 2020 field. Here’s what they told us. - POLITICO
>> "Biden’s former brain surgeon, Kassell, went a step further: “I am going to vote for the candidate who I am absolutely certain has a brain that is functioning. And that narrows it down exactly to one.”" << Well, it is a view!
Why we lie about being retired - BBC News
>> "Sometimes we talk about grey riots or silver riots taking place. If you raise the retirement age then people who expected to retire in one, two, three or four years, [then suddenly] they're not able to - because you've just changed the age at which they collect their pension. "We've seen it in a lot of countries, especially in Europe, I think it could get worse," says Prof Bloom. << Modest universal income and significant voluntary sector sharpish I think. The key as always is housing, ease of downsizing in this case.
slackware.no
Unofficial slackware still builds the 32bit iso for current each morning
Tuscan Bread (Pane Toscano) | King Arthur Flour
Sponge based recipe that can be cooked on a pizza stone
Carr: LORAN Overboard – gCaptain
"Here we were sailing to Norfolk from Bermuda, shooting stars every day at morning and evening twilight, and the sun throughout the day, including my favorite, Local Apparent Noon (LAN), when you can obtain both latitude and longitude with a single line of position (LOP). This is done by timing your LAN shot and computing longitude using the shots Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)." As an armchair navigator I'm going to have to read up on LAN. I do not however condone or approve of the vandalisation of ship's equipment.
KDE Plasma5 for Slackware, introducing Qt 5.13 in the July’19 update | Alien Pastures
The most recent slacklive iso for Plasma5 has a really useful range of applications - LibreOffice, VLC, Digikam and Kdenlive to name just a few, along with the usual KDE suspects (Kate and Kile)
Mission Jurassic: Searching for dinosaur bones
"In a circular way, part of the answer lies in the fact that they were so big. If you want to derive as much calorific value as possible from so impoverished a feedstock, you employ a giant fermentation tank. That's essentially what sauropods were: colossal fermentation tanks on legs. And with their long necks they would rake vegetation from their surroundings for perhaps 16-20 hours a day. They can't have had much time for sleep."
Why Are Stock Buybacks So Popular? - The Atlantic
>> "The rise of the stock buyback began during the heyday of corporate raiders. In the early 1980s, an economist named Michael C. Jensen presented a paper titled “Reflections on the Corporation as a Social Invention.” It attacked the conception of corporations that had prevailed since roughly the 1920s—that they existed to serve a variety of constituencies, including employees, customers, stockholders, and even the public interest. Instead, Jensen asserted a new ideology that would become known as “shareholder value.” Corporate managers had one job, and one job alone: to increase the short-term share price of the firm." << Gaming one variable again without any consideration of 'externalities'
Exxon Eyes Exit from UK North Sea After 50 Years -Reuters – gCaptain
"Assigning a value to oil and gas assets in the North Sea is complicated because many fields and infrastructure are nearing the end of their lives and require dismantling, or decommissioning, an expensive process which can offset years of production revenue." Running from de-commissioning operations and towards new shale deposits. Makes perfect sense but I wonder which countries will end up being saddled with the cleanup costs?
Idling LNG Tankers Hint at Increasing Appeal of Floating Storage – gCaptain
"The use of floating storage is a risky business because anticipated heating demand may be softer, as happened last winter, and charter rates may shoot up to new records, as already forecast by the shipowners." Ships full of liquefied methane standing off waiting for the prices to go up!
Baloo - ArchWiki
160Gb of music handouts and photos. 2Gb index, about 3 hours to complete indexing but UI responsive most of the time. But search works! Balooctl status is the command to use to check progress.
500-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered in Baltic Sea Looks 'Like it Sank Yesterday' – gCaptain
>> “It’s almost like it sank yesterday – masts in place and hull intact. Still on the main deck is an incredibly rare find – the tender boat, used to ferry crew to and from the ship, leaning against the main mast. It’s a truly astonishing sight,” he added.<< Nice images.
WeWork isn’t a tech company; it’s a soap opera - The Verge
"In that article, an anonymous Silicon Valley partner calls SoftBank a “big stack bully,” which is a poker expression for someone who has so many chips that no one else will bet. [...] The investments made by SoftBank are huge — and often push the companies SoftBank has invested in past their competition in both valuation and scale." This thing where companies don't need to make a profit to get investments that are large enough to crush competition (Amazon in the early days?) is a bit like nationalising industries to subsidise them. But not as widely criticised.
Ful Mudammas - Ancient Vegetarian Middle Eastern Recipe
Using small favas with the skins on and cooked onions and garlic. I'm going for skinned larger beans cooked from dry but keeping the rest of the recipe the same.
In game of Brexit chicken, Boris Johnson driving a Mini, Brussels is driving a bus
"The root of the problem is well-known to political scientists. It’s a voting cycle. Option A is beaten by B. Option B is beaten by C. But then option C is beaten by A. And so the cycle continues. Every option is opposed by a majority. Simply putting things to a vote, no matter how many times, can’t solve this." Sort of like non-transitive dice?
Swap, swap, swap, and bad places to work
"I stand by my original position: have some swap. Not a lot. Just a little. Linux boxes just plain act weirdly without it." I have seen this one myself puggling around with desktop installs. Nice to have my suspicions confirmed by a professional sysadmin
Primo Levi's CARBON - YouTube
The element that causes all the trouble, reflections by a master chemist.
The science and magic of breadmaking | Science | The Guardian
"Making bread was surely one of the first chemistry experiments. Finding that ground grain (a dry, loose, hard and bland substance) mixed into a rough porridge with water could be transformed into a flavourful, puffy, moist mass that was crisp on the outside, simply by placing it near a fire, was an extraordinary discovery. These flat breads can still be found in the world as the Middle Eastern lavash, the Greek pita, the American tortilla and the Indian chapatti."
Deep Dive with Lewis Porter: The Inspiration(s) Behind John Coltrane's "Impressions" | WBGO
>> "That all these people made use of Gould's theme without anyone — Gould included — expressing any disapproval shows how differently people treated “intellectual property” back then. Ideas flowed from one person to another. As Coltrane said to Frank Kofsky: “It's a big reservoir that we all dip out of.”" << Of course they did, it was 'the music' and everything was in the performance, the scales and notes just the platform
The Three Mother Preferments And How To Use Them | Stella Culinary
"For every 17°F/9°C your room temperature raises or drops, the yeast activity will be doubled or cut in half, taking the yeast half the time or twice the time respectively to achieve the same amount of fermentation." A remarkably useful factoid.
Baking Updates | Lallemand Baking
All about yeast and enzymes from a yeast brewer.
Cauliflower shortages as extreme weather kills crops - BBC News
>> "We've been paying between £1.50 and £2.00 per head of cauliflower, it would normally be about 50 or 60 pence each." << They have often been two for a pound on the food market, but none seen recently. Looks like spinach...
The polarisation of party supporters since 2015 and the problem of the 'empty centre' – in maps | British Politics and Policy at LSE
"The first is an economic dimension about whether you prefer pro-free market economic policies on the one hand, or redistribution of wealth and a greater role of the state in the economy on the other. The second is a cultural dimension, which I referred to as communitarian-cosmopolitan, but which other commentators have described as “open versus closed”. It concerns the relationship of your community with the outside world, draws on issues such as EU membership and immigration, and, to coin David Goodhart’s terms, is about whether you are “from Anywhere” or “from Somewhere”. Since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and Donald Trump won the US elections last year, both political analysts and journalists have been discussing this dimension. Immediately after Brexit, the Economist published a leader entitled “The new political divide” in which the editors suggested that the “open against closed” now divide matters more than that between left and right."
The Brexit Blog: Government by cult
"Instead, it simply ignores, or denies the existence of, this problem, as if no-deal can make it disappear. More generally, advocating no-deal Brexit is a throwing-up of hands into the air and saying Brexit is all too complicated, fantasising that by doing so the complexities dissolve. They don’t, they just re-appear the day after no deal but in more acute and urgent form." I suspect that Professor Grey is no fan of Brexit. He definitely has a point here - a rapid transition to third country status seems to resolve little. Can anyone explain again what is so wrong with staying in a customs union?
Inside the mind of Boris Johnson’s right-hand man – POLITICO
>> "He describes himself as “not a Tory, libertarian, ‘populist’ or anything else” and in a January 2017 essay outlined his reasoning for joining the Brexit campaign. “I thought very strongly that 1) a return to 1930s protectionism would be disastrous, 2) the fastest route to this is continuing with no democratic control over immigration or human rights policies for terrorists and other serious criminals, therefore 3) the best practical policy is to reduce (for a while) unskilled immigration and increase high skills immigration ... 4) this requires getting out of the EU, 5) hopefully it will prod the rest of Europe to limit immigration and therefore limit the extremist forces that otherwise will try to rip down free trade.”" << Sounds like rejoining later down the road. But the path integral over UK economy's history during the isolation period will be significant and result in loss of wages and even lower savings rate than currently. Risky?
Brexit: Email slip-up reveals no-deal fishing patrol 'uncertainty' - BBC News
>> "At this stage, there is a lot of uncertainty about the sufficiency of enforcement in a no-deal because we have 12 vessels that need to monitor a space three times the size of the surface area of the UK." << Smuggling springs to mind. Quiet coves on North East, disruption to police cooperation with countries in Europe, thin sea patrols, big tariff differences, economic distress in localities.
UK power cut: National Grid promises to learn lessons from blackout - BBC News
"It said it could take enforcement action, including a fine, after train passengers were stranded, traffic lights failed to work and thousands of homes were plunged into darkness during the blackout." Just mandating some more resilience in the system might be better? And perhaps a fallback for underground trains as used to be the case.
How to Use Free Pallets to Build a BBQ Restaurant: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
"This Instructable will walk you through the process of designing and building a BBQ themed restaurant with a VERY small budget. We relied on our own ingenuity, our scrounging ability and our creativity to make a restaurant that looked like we had spent a fortune, when in fact we did not. The secondary goal of this project was to keep as much out of landfill as possible, as construction is one of the leading producers of landfill waste, we re-used, re-purposed, recycled and bartered our way through this project." Hipster interior the hard way
How Conservatives Can Save America - The Atlantic
>> "It is no secret that liberal democracy is most secure when individual freedom and diversity are pursued in a relatively orderly fashion, in a well-established institutional framework, under responsible leadership, within the bounds set by entrenched and consensually accepted "rules of the game." Such "stable diversity" should be acceptable to conservatives but abhorrent to authoritarians (perhaps a diversity that is entrenched and unchallenged is actually the worst kind of all). On the other hand, the prospect of some wholesale overthrow of the system in pursuit of greater unity should be appealing, even exciting, to authoritarians, but appalling to conservatives. Liberal democracy would seem least secure when conservatives cannot be persuaded that freedom and diversity are authoritatively supported and institutionally constrained, and when authoritarians can be persuaded that greater sameness and oneness––the "one right way" for the "one true people"––lie just at the other end of the "shining path."" << You need to read the definitions - not common sense ones .
London's Falling, and a U.S. Trade Deal Won't Save It - The Atlantic
>> "Paradoxically, though, “some of the things [the U.S. is] asking for make a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland more probable,” Sam Lowe, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform in London, told me. He noted that even if Britain were willing to acquiesce to U.S. demands for different standards on agricultural goods, the same cannot be said for the rest of the EU." << That Venn diagram is getting more crowded
Xbox daddy bakes bread with 4,000-year-old Egyptian yeast • The Register
"The yeast woke up right away. I was totally surprised. Usually, when you collect a wild yeast sample, you get a horrible, black, gross muck for a few days, and then you start to get the yeast taking over and amplifying, when you get a higher statistical percentage of yeast than other stuff you don't want. In this case, a lot of stuff grew – some stinky stuff – but I could tell there was a ton of yeast growing right away. It was kind of remarkable. On the second day it was bubbling like a real starter. I kept feeding it for the rest of the week because I wanted to be sure that we were only seeing stuff that ate Einkorn. It was a huge pain in the ass. You have to sterilize the flour for a couple of days, make sure that no modern yeast gets into the samples while you're feeding them. Even then, there is a bunch of modern stuff in that sample." Awaiting the DNA tests. I sympathise with the stinky stuff, my sourdough always goes into pure acetone after a couple of bakes.
Starters and Ferments - How to Bake | Shipton Mill - Home of Organic Flour
"A “Sponge” is faster than a poolish because all or most of the yeast is added to the sponge itself. Often used in whole-grain or rich breads to improve flavour and digestibility but in less time than a poolish. The front-loading of the yeast into the sponge means that the final mixing can often be done approximately an hour after the sponge is made." I'm going with a poolish rather than a sponge based on this definition.
Is the government bluffing about a no-deal Brexit? - inews.co.uk
"One of our shared failings as a species is a tendency to overvalue secret information at the expense of information that is freely available. We saw that recently in the row over the leaked diplomatic cables in which the US Ambassador, Kim Darroch, made a series of observations about the workings of Donald Trump’s White House, at great expense to the taxpayer. These same opinions could very easily have been obtained by purchasing a subscription to the Washington Post." Good writing as always.
A Look Inside: Debunking Myths - Modernist Bread
The baloons on the flasks look hilarious but having the myth of water type debunked is good.
Talk about unintended consequences: GDPR is an identity thief's dream ticket to Europeans' data • The Register
"Of the responses, 24 per cent simply accepted an email address and phone number as proof of identity and sent over any files they had on his fiancée. A further 16 per cent requested easily forged ID information and 3 per cent took the rather extreme step of simply deleting her accounts." Presumably the email address and phone number associated with the account? But still a bit random. "First off, lawmakers need to set a standard for what is a legitimate form of ID for GDPR requests. One rail company was happy to send out personal information, accepting a used envelope addressed to the fiancée as proof of identity." A standard is a good idea.
A GUIDE TO USING YOUR LOAF | The Independent
"So how do you slow down a dough? Use less yeast than a recipe specifies. Use colder water. Let the dough rise in a cooler place, perhaps start it in the fridge, and leave it overnight. Extreme cold slows down, even halts, yeast action, but doesn't kill it. Extreme heat does." Not too little though...
Baking Guide: Food author Tom Jaine on his passion for breadmaking | Food | The Guardian
"The bread gave rhythm to our morning's work and became essential to our culinary identity. Neither the recipe nor the materials were special, but it was properly worked and there were no shortcuts or additives. It tasted of itself."
Turkish flatbread with za'atar (Zahterli pide) - A kitchen in Istanbul
"Pide is perhaps best known as Turkish pizza, shaped a little like a ship. But it is also the name of a simpler variety, made from the same dough but without any toppings and served alongside meze or other food such as kebabs. Today is all about the latter variety, though on this occasion I’ve subsituted the more traditional sprinkling of sesame seeds or nigella seeds with za’atar, the Middle Eastern herb mix." Works well with 30% wholemeal for a bit of taste. Just oil and rosemary for minimal topping.
The ancient Egyptian yeasts being used to bake modern bread - BBC News
>> The ancient grains are more difficult to bake with, because they contain very little gluten, but Mr Blackley says the yeast "loved" them: "They created a nice structure and a cake-like crumb - very soft." << I can do cake crumb without using ancient yeasts!
The Man in Seat Sixty-One - site map
Reading these travel suggestions
Deal with disadvantage before unity, argues Senator Mark Daly – Slugger O'Toole
>> "Openness about the past should be matched by honest planning for the future, suggests Mark. “One lesson of Brexit in relation to the issue of holding referendums is that you do not hold a referendum and then try to figure out the future. That work needs to be done now, because if you don’t do that work now you are adding fuel to a tense situation and then all it needs is a spark.”" << Not so sure about the integration of housing and schools - imposed? By whom? Would we be happy with that in Birmingham right now? If not, why would it be OK for NI? I certainly agree with the paragraph quoted above.
James Meek · The Two Jacobs: The Faragist Future · LRB 1 August 2019
"Eventually the economic dimension of politics will reassert itself, and the Faragists will have to negotiate the reality of Britain’s place in the world: 2 per cent of the global economy, less than 1 per cent of the world’s population, curating 18 per cent of the world’s international bank liabilities." Oops... quite a lot of debt.
The Iraq War Was a Failure—War With Iran Would Be Worse - The Atlantic
"Inside the Bush administration, we thought we were ready to remake Iraq for the better—but we were not. We were ignorant, arrogant, and unprepared, and we unleashed human suffering that did no good for anyone: not for Americans, not for Iraqis, not for the region. Almost two decades later, the damage to America’s standing in the world from the Iraq War has still not been repaired, let alone that war’s economic and human costs to the United States and the Middle East." David Frum telling it as he sees it
The enduring value of the political heretic | Nick Cohen | Standpoint
"I always listen to heretics. Their inside knowledge of the movements they have left means that it is worth taking the time to talk to them, as long as you remember they don’t have a sacred status. Minorities can be as wrong as majorities, and just because their former allies revile them does not mean they are right. But come now, look around—in our times heretics are the best guides we have through the mire."
Ian Bogost’s new book explains what it means to play.
"Another compelling part of Bogost’s argument is that successful play happens when we take the mundane—work, chores, the daily commute, a typical book review—and “defamiliarize” it by willing ourselves to see the potential for meaningfulness and engagement that we hadn’t noticed before. Bogost describes the process of defamiliarization as creating a playground." Doing that with clearing the back bit of the yard. Seems to be working.
Yahoo Mail’s Plan to Fix Email: Make Computers Read It - The Atlantic
"That’s because email is the last gasp of information technology not under a single corporation’s close control. Ian McCarthy, whose team runs Yahoo’s email grocery feature, sees email as the ultimate open marketplace, where people connect with organizations because they choose to do so. On email, people have greater control over their identities and relationships than they do on social media or messaging apps. Maybe more than anywhere else online."
The Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords and the Future of Work - The Atlantic
"And he discovered another correlation in his test: The people who did best tended to score high on “openness to new experience”—a personality trait that is normally not a major job-performance predictor and that, in certain contexts, roughly translates to “distractibility.” To borrow the management expert Peter Drucker’s formulation, people with this trait are less focused on doing things right, and more likely to wonder whether they’re doing the right things." When the going gets weird... A disposable ship by the sound of it
The Scottish independence fight is only going to get messier | Coffee House
"[...] Scotland has the highest drug fatality rates in Europe, Edinburgh’s new sick children’s hospital can’t open because of safety concerns, and NHS Scotland last met its urgent cancer referral target in December 2012. These are things that matter but nationalism distorts priorities into background noise as it elevates symbols and sentiment above the material facts of life. Dissenters may cry ‘misdirection’ but the voters know they are being deceived and, on some level, they want it. Its political rivals put mere bread on the table but nationalism gives the people something to believe in." Planks and moats. I'm a bread on the table kind of guy and in the West Midlands (same size population as Scotland) we need housing and jobs sorting.
Assume that Johnson is set on no deal—how do MPs stop him? | Prospect Magazine
Try assigning Bayesian priors to this set of outcomes.
Why every small-plates restaurant has the same playlist - Vox
>> "Background music in “hip” establishments can have a deleterious effect by signaling who does and does not belong in the venue regardless of a neighborhood’s historical makeup." << Turkish cafe/bar in Stirchley was playing Joni Mitchell, Mark E Smith and various guitar instrumentals the other day while I was having my hummus. Seems relatively inclusive?
Possibly timely items from my reliability list
"Leap seconds are a thing, and so days can change lengths in systems that many humans use for civil timekeeping. The planet's rotation has been slowing down which has been giving us positive leap seconds for a few decades, but who's to say it might not go the other way some day?" Lunar tidal drag means that the Earth day is (very gradually) getting longer. I'll have to check stuff like the Chandler wobble to see if we would ever need to subtract a second but I doubt it.
The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music
Downloadable recordings from the dawn of recorded music. Cylinders and 78s. Plus analysis and research.
Savings ratio UK | Economics Help
>> "A very low savings ratio can indicate: Unbalanced economy with over-reliance on consumer spending. Build up of personal debt. Current account deficit, (with imports greater than exports.)" << Saving rate off a cliff currently.
15 Percent Is Not A Magic Number For Primary Delegates | FiveThirtyEight
"How many delegates is harder to say; it depends on how much variation there is from district to district. But for some rough guidance, I looked back at candidates who finished with between 10 and 20 percent of the vote in the Republican primaries in 20162 in states that allocated some of their delegates by congressional district.3 In the average district, there was about a 3-point gap between a candidate’s statewide vote share and that candidate’s districtwide vote share." Averaging over a complex geographical distribution smooths over some dis-continuous dynamics. 'Branching histories'
You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off! - YouTube
This is basically where we are. Proportionality is key, and Halloween is only the start, not the landing point.
Fast Software, the Best Software — by Craig Mod
"A typewriter is an excellent tool because, even though it’s slow in a relative sense, every aspect of the machine itself operates as quickly as the user can move. It is focused. There are no delays when making a new line or slamming a key into the paper. Yes, you have to put a new sheet of paper into the machine at the end of a page, but that action becomes part of the flow of using the machine, and the accumulation of paper a visual indication of work completed. It is not wasted work. There are no fundamental mechanical delays in using the machine. The best software inches ever closer to the physical directness of something like a typewriter. (The machine may break down, of course, ribbons need to be changed — but this is maintenance and separate from the use of the tool." Typewriters are not programmable in general - no extensibility.
[T]today it's worth remembering the striking difference in the way the EU and UK see the backstop
As others see us
How to Extend/Reduce LVM's (Logical Volume Management) in Linux - Part II
This works fine for the root lvm but you have to resize the swap lvm partition by using # swapoff /dev/cryptvg/swap # mkswap /dev/cryptvg/swap # swapon /dev/cryptvg/swap That took a little googling. I want hibernate to disk available so I can save the work setup while needing a kernel reboot (and passphrase) to resume just in case I leave the laptop on the bus
Sam Sweeney: The Unfinished Violin (Album Review) | Folk Radio UK
"It was when Sweeney began investigating the history of his instrument that he learned that Richard Howard had been a music hall performer. Called up in 1916, Howard died at the Battle of Messines on 7th June 1917 while fighting for the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. This knowledge led to the development of the Made in the Great War show and now The Unfinished Violin album."
The Berlin Celebration Concert - Beethoven, Symphony No 9 Bernstein 1989 - YouTube
The CD of this, with the modified lyrics in the 3rd movement, is wonderful. Bernstein's background as an opera conductor adds to the music.
Daring Fireball
"Once we allowed email clients to act as de facto web browsers, loading remote content from servers when messages are viewed, we opened up not just a can of worms but an entire case of canned worms. Every privacy exploit for a web browser is now a privacy exploit for email. But it’s worse, because people naturally assume that email is completely private." I usually use an offline email client. This branch of surveillance had not occurred to me before now.
Scottish word of the day: Guddle - The Scotsman
"Less well known, perhaps, is the word ‘guddle’ which has the added appeal of describing not only the mess typical of a teenager’s bedroom but also any confusing or complex situation." Definitely a guddle at the moment
1 school exam grade in 4 is wrong. Does this matter? - HEPI
"You might expect that the reliability of school exam grades should be at, or close to, 100% for all subjects. As the chart shows, this is (almost) the case for (all varieties of) mathematics, at 96% (expressed on the horizontal axis as a probability of 0.96), but increasingly less so for other subjects – for economics, for example, the reliability is about 74%; for history, about 56%." Writing subjects have subjective and hard to reproduce marking shock! Who'd have thought it?
Richard Thompson’s The Cold Blue Film Score | Folk Radio UK
>> "Of Thompson’s score, Nelson stated, “I’ve known Richard Thompson for close to 40 years, and I should have learned by now never to take him — or his work — for granted. I was stunned at how deep he dove into the nuances of The Cold Blue, to create a whole original score that both speaks to the time of the events depicted, and to our times today. I can’t imagine any other artist capturing the essence of this project in quite the same way, with quite the same articulation and clarity of purpose. And, oh yeah, he DOES know his way around World War Two airplanes.”" <<
England's seaside towns where young people might disappear - BBC News
"The biggest decline in the number of under-30s could be in the north of England, where every local authority with a coastline, except Liverpool, might see a fall in the number of young people" The 'except Liverpool' might just include the Wirral side as well. New Brighton has large Victorian terraced houses going for 70 to 80K and good schools with parks. You have to pay the tunnel tax though...
[SOLVED] disabling D-Bus
Like giant hogweed. Disabling dbus, consolekit, avahi and all the other stuff for giggles.
What is wrong with us?
"Third, you need to be ambitious. You should aim to plant not 11 million trees but 110 million trees; build not a million homes in five years, but two million and build them with government money, and make them beautiful." Could do that if we wanted
Your biz won't be hacked by a super-leet exploit. It'll be Bob in sales opening a dodgy email • The Register
"One of the most common methods used to introduce malware remains, still, the faithful email attachment. According to a 2018 survey from Verizon, this was the chosen method for 94 per cent of all attacks, with Office and PDF documents the favorite delivery vehicles." A lot to be said for plain text emails only plus scanned file-sharing
Tony Connelly
This is one geezer who provides a triangulation point from outside the bubble.
Labour peer says no-deal Brexit 'almost inconceivable'
"The Labour peer said that nobody born in this century had voted in the referendum of 2016. He also said he believed that business leaders and trade unions would be much more involved in a second campaign." Yes, around 700,000 join the electorate each year and, sadly, 1.8 million have left (quick google on death rate) in the way we all eventually leave the electorate. Democracy is not a snapshot.
10 things that stopped Brexit happening - BBC News
>> ""I thought, 'Oh my God, they haven't got a plan…they haven't got a plan… it's like Lance Corporal Jones'. It was, 'Don't panic, don't panic,' running around like idiots."" << Thanks to Dave and George
Education publisher Pearson to phase out print textbooks - BBC News
"Pearson said students would only be able to rent physical textbooks from now on, and they would be updated much less frequently." The digital books will have DRM on them, so you have to keep paying for access now to basic information. Makes projects like OpenStacks more important.
New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal 'to spite Obama' - BBC News
>> "Moreover, they can't articulate any 'day-after' strategy; and contacts with State Department this morning suggest no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies, whether in Europe or the region." << BBC quoting the Mail on Sunday quoting a diplomat's confidential email to the foreign secretary. Absence of 'day-after' strategy seems to be fairly common these days...
James O’Brien and the lost journalistic art of asking decent questions… – Slugger O'Toole
>> "Sound familiar? I’m not sure I go with all of O’Brien’s solutions, but creating “an environment in which politicians will be too frightened to drawl out yet another deceitful soundbite, secure in the knowledge that it will be forgotten by teatime” is certainly in my top five." << Book ordered
Tom Crewe · The Confidence Trick · LRB 4 July 2019
>> "As a gospel, ‘confidence’ – and the imperative to protect and project it – is inclusive, easily comprehended and, crucially, flexible, because it will always favour the status quo, even as the status quo changes. By equating political and economic stability, and both with the wellbeing and security of the entire populace, it provides a broad, apparently public-spirited justification for existing social hierarchies and for shibboleths like the constitution, the Union and the monarchy. It also has the benefit, if articulated by a skilled politician, of sounding commonsensical, even non-ideological." <<
How an ace-hole AI bot built by Facebook, CMU boffins whipped a table of human poker pros • The Register
>> "After each simulated hand between the gang in an iteration, the code reviews how well the traverser played, and whether it could have have done any better against its virtual opponents, given their known individual strategies. The algorithm calculates the traverser's counterfactual regret, or in other words, how much the traverser regretted not making a move that would have turned out to be beneficial. At the end of the iteration, this counterfactual regret is used to update the traverser's strategy so that there is a higher probability of it in future making an action that it previously regretted not making. And then it's on to the next iteration and another traverser is picked." << Rules of the game provide a success criterion so doesn't need training data &c
Sam Shepard - Interview Magazine
>> "SHEPARD: It was also a bit scary. I mean, people talk about the 1960s in a nostalgic way, but to me it was terrifying. People were getting assassinated. There was Vietnam. There were race riots. It felt like everything was going to get blown up sky-high. It didn’t feel like flower power. It felt like Armageddon." <<
Playwriting Class - November 6, 2006
>> "Well, culture itself is always gonna be poverty-stricken. We don’t live in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia or Greece. We live in a destroyed culture. There is no culture here. It’s shreds of stuff . We’re amongst shrapnel. So if you’re looking for culture to support your attention, then you’re out of luck. The question to ask is “What is attention? Do we even understand the first thing about what attention is?” I mean, they’re these definitions that don’t define anything. We don’t understand what attention is because we’ve been hammered by non-attention. The thing to do is to try and discover what attention is, what is the substance of it. It’s a tool that’s also true of actors. We work with material that is constantly moving."<<
Sam Shepard: 'America is on its way out as a culture' | Stage | The Guardian
>> "The situation, he believes, is irredeemable. "We're on our way out," he says of America. "Anybody that doesn't realise that is looking like it's Christmas or something. We're on our way out, as a culture. America doesn't make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit's a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you'll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw."" <<
The Weird Stenographer: Sam Shepard on His Long Writing Life | Literary Hub
"It was splendid, really; I felt kind of like a weird stenographer. I don’t mean to make it sound like hallucination, but there were definitely things there, and I was just putting them down. I was fascinated by how they structured themselves, and it seemed like the natural place to do it was on a stage."
Articles by Jack Shafer | POLITICO Journalist | Muck Rack
Tracking Jack...
Carr: Tropical Storm Barry - Where do we go from here? – gCaptain
"We watched clouds roll in, the barometer drop, and winds increase. Wind force increases fourfold for every doubling of wind speed. When winds reach 60 knots the force is four times what it was at 30 knots. Soon we could not talk, we had to yell to communicate. Rain was coming at use horizontally. We kept two crew in the cockpit for an hour at a time. They were harnessed to welded padeyes, and wore diving masks. We used the engine to take the strain off the anchors, engaging the engine RPMS to just keep us headed into the wind. In the dark of night this could only be down by staring at the lighted compass." Riding out a storm.
On Generative Algorithms: Introduction · inconvergent
"I've always been fascinated with patterns. It doesn't really matter what kind of patterns; I've played with networks, leaves and leaf venation, branches, lightning, flocking, tracing outlines of shapes, river formation, rock sediments, landscapes, slime mold, lichens, reaction-diffusion, cellular automaton, some fractals, and a few other things. I think what I enjoy the most is how complex and intricate results you can get from a set of simple rules."
UN Report: The Full Picture of Poverty in the UK is Obvious to Anyone who Opens their Eyes – Slugger O'Toole
"His report followed an almost two-week trip around the country last November, holding consultations in ten cities including London, Newcastle, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Belfast. It is also based on the testimony and interview with groups and individuals he met (including Jobcentre staff, food-bank volunteers, government representatives, and politicians from all major parties). In addition, his team received almost 300 submissions from our various national human rights institutions, NGOs, groups and individuals."
A Better Measure of Health Than Body Weight - The Atlantic
"Except in extreme cases, no single number gives a good idea of whether a person is functionally healthy or not. The common numbers are not directly or easily changeable. As these numbers continue to dominate health care, however, an emerging body of evidence is finding useful and cheap numbers that anyone can track. If these new numbers aren’t being taken seriously, it may be because they seem too obvious." I suspect these proxy measures are based on cultural correlations in behaviour. Thinking back to my youth half a century ago family members were labourers in various ways - fit as a fiddle and very strong but by no means a healthy lifestyle by today's standards.
Give us our daily artisan bread: How did we gain a passion for seeded sourdoughs and hand-crafted ryes? | The Independent
Scroll down for Bertinet's recipe. Looks quick.
How to make the perfect focaccia | Food | The Guardian
"Your choice of flour depends very much on what kind of focaccia you’re after. Using plain flour, as in Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, or even finer “tipo 00” flour as in The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook, will give you a softer, more tender crumb; while Richard Bertinet’s mixture of strong bread flour and coarse semolina in his book Dough creates a more robust, chewy texture." Experiment: Scale this down to 500g flour and cut the salt in the dough itself...
Does TV Makes You Dumber and More Populist? - The Atlantic
"The effect persisted throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with regions that were exposed to Mediaset earlier than others voting for Berlusconi in greater numbers. To verify that Mediaset was the relevant factor, the authors compared towns and villages that were able to get good reception with neighboring ones that initially had a poor signal due to physical obstacles, such as a mountain range. Amazingly, Italians who had good access to Mediaset for random geographical reasons voted for populists in greater numbers than their neighbors who did not." I wonder what the fcbk echo chambers on a smart phone does to participants (on all sides).
[1605.08081] Bell's Universe: A Personal Recollection - Reinhold Bertlmann
The sock-wearer's personal memoire of John Bell and work at CERN.
BERTLMANN'S SOCKS AND THE NATURE OF REALITY - document
How to explain entanglement to people in the pub / class full of teenagers.
John Bell - Indeterminism and Nonlocality (1990) - YouTube
Video from CERN
The passions blowing Boris Johnson into No 10 could yet bring him down | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian
"Vote Leave offered no programme at all. In their complacent belief that a Remain victory was guaranteed, Cameron, parliament and the media did not insist that we must define what Brexit meant before voting on it. The referendum therefore didn’t produce a mandate but a blank cheque, which fanatics have scribbled on ever since."
Sapped by Brexit, it’s little wonder we dream of doing a Nick Clegg | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian
"Rob Ford, Manchester University’s professor of political science, ran the numbers for me. First past the post is a “non-linear” system or, as others might put it, a dazzlingly stupid way to organise a modern democracy." Non-linear systems can exhibit 'structural stability', providing a steady state for large ranges of variables. Linear systems just move back and forth as the forces wax and wane. I can see a need for a bit of non-linearity in the electoral system. Perhaps a system like the Scottish parliament where a fraction of seats are awarded on a proportional representation system, and others have FPTP?
G. B. National Grid status
Tells you about current mix of electricity sources being used in UK grid. Nice dashboard layout (for larger screens)
Six constitutional questions raised by the election of the new Conservative leader | The Constitution Unit Blog
"This is the first time that party members will potentially directly elect a new Prime Minister, and this innovation is happening at a time not only of minority government, but with the governing party severely divided. Some senior Conservatives have signalled that they might go so far as to vote no confidence in a new leader who sought to deliver a ‘no deal’ Brexit, while some candidates in the race suggested a possibility of proroguing parliament to avoid MPs blocking a ‘no deal’. In this post we address six of the most burning constitutional questions raised by these controversies."
Joanne Bartley: Has our Party gone mad? No Deal Brexiteers are acting like pro-Corbyn extremists. | Conservative Home
"A 16 year old member and I dared to mention our support for Rory Stewart. We voiced our agreement with his message of compromise and we admired the realism in his Brexit plans. It became clear very quickly that we held the ‘wrong’ view. Our brand of moderate, pragmatic conservatitism was seen as a threat to our Party. It is natural to disagree about who should be leader, but I left the meeting feeling my Party is moving away from me." Hollowing out. Is this just a generational change or something more challenging?
BBC Radio 4 - The Reith Lectures - Downloads
Jonathan Sumption's Reith Lectures 2019...
Our illiberal empire of rights - UnHerd
>> “The problem about the legal model is that it marginalises the political process. When a judge identifies something as a constitutional, or a human, or a fundamental right, he is saying that it derives from a higher law than the ordinary decision-making processes of the state. He is declaring that its existence and extent are not to be determined by political choice. Yet, very many judicial decisions about fundamental rights are themselves political choices only made by a smaller and unrepresentative body of people.” << Jonathan Sumption’s Reith lectures: quoted by another lawyer.
Calculate distance and bearing between two Latitude/Longitude points using haversine formula in JavaScript
Haversine is one I've not used for quite a few decades!
Jeremy Hunt: the last Cameroon
>> He returned to the all-consuming issue of Brexit one last time, adding: “I passionately believe our future as a democracy is at stake. Faced with the risks of Brexit and the risks of damage to our democracy, I would say you have to deliver Brexit and make a success of it. You have to accept Brexit, accept the reality and you have to move on.” << Even if there is actually no longer a majority for this thing (which has still not been defined)? Even if we have had an election or two since with unclear results? Do these people actually have any *theory*?
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Brexit: Some Inconvenient Facts that the Tories need to face
"In Continental Europe, the following two days are All Saints and All Souls. From April Fools to the Day of the Dead. Someone in Brussels had a dark sense of humour when the date was chosen." I'm hoping some kind of common sense prevails. But I'm not too hopeful.
History will wonder how we trusted Boris with Britain | The Spectator
"We spent an idyllic two days walking the streets of Ravenna; contemplating Byzantine mosaics; basking in Italy. Here is a country in a state of chronic political paralysis, of which the inhabitants contrive acceptable lives. Perhaps this is our own destiny — to be ruled by weak governments incapable of addressing education, welfare, NHS funding, productivity, infrastructure, control of non-EU immigration, credible defence policies — yet amid which most British people will meander onward, not noticing themselves becoming relatively poorer." Quite high unemployment in Italy, although I appreciate the point being made (life goes on, government is not actually that important everyday as long as basic processes function). Policies do matter though.
This is a note
Tim Shipman's view of the second Tory leadership debate
Classic.
Tory leadership race: the inside story of how Boris Johnson nailed it... down to final vote | London Evening Standard
"He started by re-reading Robert Caro’s great biography of Lyndon B Johnson, which describes how the 36th US president amassed influence by predicting Senate divisions through meticulous research, rigorous cross-checking and multiple sources." LBJ didn't have no spreadsheet - he had pieces of card with 90-something names on them. Just don't mention Precinct 13
Maersk Signs Up H&M for Carbon-Neutral Biofuel Trial – gCaptain
"Maersk says the biofuel in the pilot project is the same blend of used cooking oil and heavy which has been tested and successfully validated in a trial driven in collaboration with the Dutch Sustainability Growth Coalition (DSGC), and Shell his year. It is also certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) body." If you burn oil you get carbon. I assume that the carbon liberated by burning this fuel is compensated by carbon being bound somewhere else? Perhaps the carbon bound / carbon liberated ratio will need to be 1.05 soon so not 'neutral'?
Theresa May - strategic mistakes and the Irish question
Useful summary. Has the main points plus view from RoI perspective.
The Conservative leadership debate showed the true scale of the party’s identity crisis
"In Howard Brenton’s 1980 play A Short Sharp Shock, patrician Tories watch aghast as their party is suddenly populated with used car salesmen and white Rhodesian mercenaries. The play captured the nastiness of early Thatcherism so well, and so cruelly, that there were calls for it to be banned." I can remember those times: 'businessmen' put in charge of newly-formed hospital trusts on the basis that they had run a central heating company or similar. Interviews with Mrs T.
Re: Using ISO image of installer DVD as repository - How?
This sources.list entry allows apt to treat a loop mounted iso image of a dvd as a local repository... deb [trusted=yes check-valid-until=no] \ file:///home/richard/dvdmount \ stretch main contrib ...wondering if I can adapt this to the blue-ray image for offline installation?
PyRoom — distraction free writing
The tarball extracts and installs fine on Slackware current with Python 2.7x. Works fine even though no apparent updates for 10 years. Lets hear it for scripting languages.
The Real Foods Guide to Pulses, Beans and Peas
Useful table with suggested soaking and cooking times.
The New Wilderness (Idle Words)
"For the purposes of this essay, I’ll call it ‘ambient privacy’—the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record. Not every conversation needs to be a deposition." Digital rights management of (for instance) an ebook takes away our unregulated right to lend our book to someone else. Universal surveillance leads to the recording of the minutae of our (mostly somewhat boring) lives. Hence a need for a new kind of protection -or simply a forgetting of the trivia after a few days/weeks/months
Rory Stewart is a reminder of what Boris Johnson used to be | Coffee House
>> "None of that means what Stewart has done during the Conservative leadership election is irrelevant or unimportant. He, like Matt Hancock, has run towards conversations about difficult and important things like social care when many of their colleagues have run away. When (if) the Conservatives ever decide to start taking the business of actually governing seriously again, they may just appreciate that sort of courage and seriousness." << How many years will that be? 5? 10?
Listeria outbreak: Health secretary orders NHS food review - BBC News
>> "Staff, patients and families deserve so much better - our NHS should be at the forefront of supporting people to make healthy choices. "I have instructed the NHS to conduct a root and branch review of hospital food." << Insource food preparation? Hire cooks, set up kitchens, subject to hygiene inspections like other restaurants? Perhaps employ local people and pay living wage?
The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson | The New Yorker
>> "When Johnson returned to London, he confessed to an editorial writer at the Telegraph that he had no political opinions. “You must have some,” the colleague reassured him. “Well, I’m against Europe and against capital punishment,” Johnson said. “I’m sure you’ll make something out of that,” came the reply." << Where do they get them from?
What my focus groups of wavering Tory voters said about the leadership race - Lord Ashcroft Polls
>> "Most had not heard of Rory Stewart until he entered the race. Our participants’ overall reaction was gently positive. “He was talking about traveling across, was it Africa or somewhere, with no shoes on. He had quite an interesting youth;” “He looks after prisons, doesn’t he? He’s trying to do some good work there;” “He wants to fulfil the people’s choice to leave. He sees it as a bit of a tricky one but he’s going to make it happen;” “I think he’s quite trustworthy actually. The problem is, he’s another Old Etonian, and do we need another one of those?” The two words most frequently uttered in response to his campaign video were “sweet” and “interesting” – but while many liked what he had to say, few could see him in the top job: “It’s very romantic, isn’t it;” “He’s an interesting bloke but he doesn’t look the part, unfortunately;” “Is he for real? Where does he come from? It sounds like he wrote a song;” “Sweet, but do we want him running the country?” “Not a strong figurehead who’s going to lead us through. Could be a good number two;” “If you whacked him with a cold salmon he’d fall over;” “I look at him and I can’t take him serious. He’s making some fair points but I wouldn’t want him to be the face of the country.”" << 'Sweet' and susceptible to cold salmon bashing are not ways I would choose to describe an ex-MI6 officer with combat experience myself, but then looks can be deceptive. This whole page is hilarious and a salutary reminder of what most people think about what is in the news. >> "But one consistent theme was that people were interested first and foremost in the candidates’ apparent character and competence – they had simply given up listening to policies or plans, whether on Brexit or anything else: “They’ll say one thing to your face and then get in the car and say ‘ha, they bought that one, didn’t they’;” “Whenever I read about them, the underlying thing that I just can’t seem to get past is that they’ll do whatever it takes just to be leader and then change their mind;” “I’ve heard it and heard it and heard it and now I’m exhausted with listening to all their twaddle.”" << How do we get away from the popularity contest and back onto policies? There was research on centre-right voters going on rhetoric and centre-left voters going on policy.
Which Countries Become Tax Havens?
Tax havens are small wealth countries with effective administrations. Extra income from businesses coming in must not be offset by loss of tax revenue.
Eastern Germany on the brink of demographic collapse | Financial Times
>> "His community is lively and his churches well-attended, but a simple ratio gives him pause for thought. For every baptism he celebrates, Mr Grosser presides over five funerals. He knows what this mismatch means for the future of his parish, but does not want locals to lose heart: “You cannot allow demography to sap your courage,” he said. “This place is worth living in and loving, even if there are dark demographic clouds on the horizon.” " << Japan is well down this road.
Easy Soft Flatbread Recipe (No Yeast) | RecipeTin Eats
Basic milk based recipe - pan fried bread. Try with daal.
Polish Rye Bread Recipe - The Bread Kitchen
50:50 rye / wheat flour with 62% water/milk plus honey. Plenty of rising time (3h + 2h) given the yeast (2 tsp 'dried', so 1.5 tsp quick).
Boris Johnson supporters want no-deal Brexit and less talk of climate change – new survey of party members reveals
"Members of political parties are, generally speaking, more zealous than members of the public. Some argue that it might be better to leave the choice of the country’s PM up to MPs. They, at least, have a direct mandate from voters. And, since governments in parliamentary systems must retain the confidence of the legislature in order to stay in office, allowing MPs to choose would at least guarantee a chain of democratic accountability from executive to electorate. That is bypassed completely when party members alone make the decision." That paragraph applies to all the party leaders of course.
Tory leadership contest: Rory Stewart warns over 'electoral bribes' - BBC News
"On Tuesday, Mr Stewart will say his party's reputation for economic prudence is at risk and, while a negotiated Brexit deal will create some "headroom" for extra spending, any money available should be spent on technical education and digital infrastructure." I'm not so sure about that 'headroom' but I like the technical education idea.
Poorest Communities Fear Loss Of £2bn EU Funding After Brexit | HuffPost UK
"Very little is known about how the government plans to replace EU structural funding worth £2.1 billion (€2.4 billion) a year after Brexit. The government has pledged to set up a UK Shared Prosperity Fund, but it has yet to publish details of how much money will be allocated and how it will be distributed. A final decision on the design is expected after the Spending Review, which has been delayed beyond autumn because of the Conservative leadership election."
"Candidates are supposed to pay attention to the voters' backstory, not the other way round": my E2 Summit speech - Lord Ashcroft Polls
"Since stepping down from the role I’ve continued with the research, since it struck me that while commentators were always blessed with an abundance of opinion, real evidence was in rather shorter supply. Another reason was that pointing out the difference between what voters think and what politicians and pundits think they think is an appealing way to create a certain amount of mischief." Later "The political atmosphere is only heightening this sense of unease. The relentless pace of politics, and the constant barrage of news, information and misinformation, brings its own angst. People are finding their political views becoming stronger as they react to events and respond to what they hear from the other side. At the same time, many feel they are having to become more guarded about what they actually say, with people ever more ready or even eager to take offence. All of this adds to the sense of division that people are constantly being told is the hallmark of national life in both our countries." Methodology uses demographic data about constituencies and focus groups.
The UK will probably never be as ready for no deal as it was in March | The Institute for Government
"Some point out that stock piling ahead of October will be harder than it was in the spring – warehouses are booked up in preparation for Christmas. Some doubt that no deal will really happen, while others will be unsure what key date to work towards. Will it be 31 October? Or a couple of weeks into November? Could there be a 'technical extension' to the end of the year? That may not matter to the Tory leadership contenders – but it is a critical piece of planning information." Hadn't thought about the Xmas retail ramp up.
Housing and populism: West European Politics: Vol 0, No 0
"This paper bridges the economic and values-based approaches to populism by arguing that the geography of wealth inequality offers a convincing explanation for the pattern of populist vote share. Drawing on fine-grained house price data in the UK and France, it is shown that the pattern of house prices ‒ even within small districts ‒ plays a major part in shaping support for Brexit and Marine Le Pen. The findings illustrate how longstanding variation in local wealth shapes the geography of discontent and drives populist appeal. Populism, the article concludes, is primarily a politics of place, and place is a product, in part, of the housing market." Housing again. I'm going with Dominic Cummings branching histories myself.
High rents 'make young people less mobile' - BBC News
>> "Rising rents mean young people are less likely to move to UK cities where average salaries are higher, a report indicates. The number of young people in private rented accommodation who moved for a new job has almost halved in 20 years. Despite the higher wages available, financial incentives for moving are lower, say researchers." << Almost everything comes back to the cost of housing.
Shut down issue in 6.5 - DaemonForums
Mystery solved
Britain is horribly divided – but that’s also the fault of remainers | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
>> "The kind of free-market capitalism this country was forced to embrace 30-odd years ago always sweeps the past away; now, of all the countries of Europe, we are surely the most weightless. In the absence of any instinctive popular understanding of our national past, the Brexiteers can tell their absurd tales of splendid isolation, the glories of the second world war and the wonders of empire, as well as averting their eyes from the island of Ireland. But history-blindness is there on the remain side as well, in the continuing denial of the great mess of stuff that sat behind the Brexit vote, and how tin-eared many pro-Europeans seem when they sound off." << Interesting take, and, yes, there is more of a sameness now than I remember.
In fearless pursuit of absurdity - the hunt for NF Simpson - Telegraph
>> To everyone's delight, the young audience at the reading laughed uproariously. "In the 1950s," Wally observes, "the actors had difficulty with the elephants and absurdity, but now they understand it because today the world is perceived as absurd. We realise what a chaotic mess we have made of the planet." << Canal boats fine but damp.
Trump Undermines the U.K. and Bullies Theresa May - The Atlantic
"Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have made it clear that the U.K., if it wants a free-trade deal, will have to choose America’s regulatory framework over the European one, putting the U.K. in a position of being unable to conclude a trade deal with the EU 27, its largest trading partner. Such a deal would include provisions on chicken and access to the National Health Service that would almost certainly not make it through the House of Commons." Not just chicken, it is food standards generally, and potentially major threat to UK agriculture (and ROI exports). Also what of the NI-ROI border?
Rory Stewart on the stump
Remarkably sensible for a Tory
A Latter-day Lawrence of Arabia Shakes Up Britain’s Tories - The New York Times
>> "Under the hashtag “Where’s Rory?” they have posted photoshopped photographs of Mr. Stewart at Niagara Falls, onstage with the Spice Girls and striding between the Egyptian pyramids. One of them wrote: “You’re being chased by Rory Stewart. He wants to debate you. You jump in a taxi and escape. You breathe a sigh of relief. The driver turns around. It’s Rory Stewart."" << I actually find this refreshing. Hasn't a hope in hades of course but hope he finds a role
Boris Johnson Is Back. Thank Donald Trump and Nigel Farage - Bloomberg
>> "If he wins, Johnson could find he can do nothing with the prize he has long coveted. The EU is almost certain to refuse to renegotiate May’s withdrawal agreement. More likely, the price for another extension would be high, if it was on offer at all. Nor does there seem the remotest possibility that this parliament will accept a no-deal Brexit, as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow noted in the U.S. this week." <<
Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart makes me cringe, but at least he listens | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian
"Stewart is a Tory MP straight out of central casting: Eton, PPE at Oxford, the Foreign Office, OBE, FRSL, FRSGS, ETC. PP. A strong hint of MI6 pervades his career before becoming a member of parliament. But here he was, peering with earnest concentration into his phone camera as he camped in coffee shops and, at one point, near a McDonald’s." He should come up to Brownhills. He could sell tickets.
And as the last count stumbles to a halt, it’s thanks to everyone… – Slugger O'Toole
"For wicked problems like Northern Ireland there may be no ‘stopping rule’, but on Slugger, to borrow from my Swedish friend and colleague John Kellden “understanding is the stopping rule.” In other words, we try to push hard as is necessary for understanding, but not harder." There is no stopping rule for politics of course. It is a non-periodic chaotic system.
How Michael Gove's reforms drove me out of teaching | Education | The Guardian
"According to all the different criteria against which I have been judged, despite the constant shifting of goalposts, I have been outstanding. I worked hard; I delivered engaging yet academically challenging lessons – despite us all being told that these two concepts were mutually exclusive; I assessed pupils in rigorous detail against ever-changing marking schemes; I completed fatuous administrative tasks within all deadlines. I was at the top of my game. I should have been seeking promotion opportunities. Instead I found myself, along with my pupils, becoming increasingly insignificant. Now the school to which I gave my twenties is haemorrhaging good and outstanding teachers." 2014 vintage but still relevant as the ghost of Gove still works its way through the blob like a zombie. Truly "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed". Just teach stuff and tell them to stuff the paperwork.
Andrea Dunbar: The teenage Bradford 'genius' who told it like it was - BBC News
>> "There was never a golden age when working class people were being listened to and elevated. There are outliers and I think Andrea was very much an outlier. She had the skill but there was a little bit of luck as well involved. But that's true for every writer." "The thing that has changed, she believes, is the time and resources schools have to nurture talent. The numbers of students taking GCSE and A-Level drama have dropped by a third in the last decade." << Perhaps less OFSTED, paperwork, target setting, progress monitoring and more listening?
How Rory Stewart can save the Tories | Coffee House
"I was right about Stewart’s low tolerance for bureaucratic abstractions and managerial verbiage. The unfolding months saw a calm, determined but very focused coup that deposed dissembling mandarins and ensured direct ministerial control in an effort to try to restore order and control on prison landings. The ‘hands off’ ministerial conventions that sustained mediocrity and under-performance in our criminal justice system were ditched in place of polite but relentless questioning." Nationalise prisons. Then minimise the number of people sent to prison. Ken Clarke had the right ideas as home secretary before the weirdo took over. Stewart is an unusual politician. One to watch.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Johnson now evens to succeed TMay as PM
>> "Over the past three years, very little of the inner May has been let out. She has stood at that sodding lectern how many times and repeated that "nothing has changed". She has mouthed platitudinous slogans like "Brexit means Brexit", which means nothing. It is remarkable how we still don't really know this person whose every act has been microscopically examined over and over again." << @El_Capitano on Political Betting comments. I have wondered about this myself. But according to my reading I have the terrible suspicion that there is actually nothing there. As one No 10 insider who was quoted on the BBC live feed today said (paraphrase) 'as things got more difficult, the circle got narrower'. I think 'how sad', then I remember Windrush and the language schools...
Playdate: Edge Article Excerpt
>> And the surprises keep coming. For all its retro trappings, this is a thoroughly modern bit of hardware. The 2.7-inch black-and-white screen has a resolution of 400 × 240 – around four times the pixels of the Game Boy’s screen. Much like the E-ink screen you’d find on a Kindle, it’s not backlit – the difference is that it’s tremendously reflective, the visuals wonderfully sharp and clear in the California sunshine. The in-built speaker looks minuscule, but is so powerful that we have to hurriedly hunt for the volume controls, lest any passers-by be alerted to the existence of this bizarre little gizmo. << Someone is going to root this and have a Linux on it within hours of release. And I can think of about 30 uses for it.
Japanese macaque, snow monkey (Macaca fuscata), shouting, displaying Stock Photo: 2940437 - Alamy
Dominic Cummings' 'flying monkeys' about to be released from their cages to elect a leader.
EU 'failed' over UK's Brexit vote, says Juncker - BBC News
>> "When asked if the EU should have "interfered" more in the UK referendum on EU membership he said "yes"." << Not the best choice of words there. Interfere implies underhand puppet string stuff to my ear. Perhaps 'transparent upfront clearly branded EU statement and comment' would have been better.
Students 'may have been unfairly deported' over English test cheat claims - BBC News
"The service used voice recognition technology to try to find out who had cheated by having someone else sit their test." That will be based on a statistical likelihood. Like any statistical test there will be type I errors and type II errors. Wonder why the type II (false positive) errors were ignored. Would it not simply have been easier for a police officer or other official to interview the suspected student and ask them to describe their studies, their hopes for the future and their impressions of the UK? One can gauge basic English level quite quickly that way.
The problem with levels- gaps in basic numeracy skills identified by rigorous diagnostic testing – Great Maths Teaching Ideas
>> "We must not fall into the trap of confusing instantaneous performance for retention and transfer – learning. I have written about this extensively before. Learning must not be seen as a checklist of visit-once objectives. Even the highest attaining students need to occassionally revisit some of these elementary topics for which their “fluency fitness” has fallen. A green cell in a spreadsheet indicating that they can do a skill today should not be taken as a proxy that they will be equally as fluent in this skill in six months’ time." <<
Raj Chetty’s plan to change how Harvard teaches economics - Vox
>> "Because Chetty and his co-authors (Harvard’s Nathaniel Hendren and Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez and Patrick Kline) posted all their data online — thus enabling others to run their own analysis and see what factors predict economic mobility — it quickly reoriented the debate about equality of opportunity in think tanks on both the right and left. Conservatives argued it showed that single parents hurt mobility; the Center for American Progress used the data to argue that unions improve mobility." <<
Turkey shows Britain that a customs union can hurt – POLITICO
"Ankara hopes that Brexit could shift the balance: The prospect of the U.K. also joining a customs union with the EU is "seen as an opportunity," said Carnegie's Ülgen. That would be a chance to link up with London to force the EU to grant the customs union partners a greater say. "The economic weight of the U.K. will make this question much more politically expedient to resolve," Ülgen said."
Candidates Who Explain Progressive Policies via Conservative Principles Could Be Uniquely Persuasive - Pacific Standard
>> "Importantly, "there was no backlash to conservative framing among liberal participants," the researchers add. Thus the most successful approach "advocated for progressive policies in terms of conservative value concerns."" << Conservatives heart, liberals head?
Most parents reject nearest school - BBC News
>> "A more successful system, he argues, could have a lower proportion getting their first pick, as it would show more people trying to get into the "best schools"." "At present, because most entry is based on how close people live to schools, he says families often "do not bother applying" to the highest-achieving schools because they have no realistic prospect of getting a place." << Tricky one. Sorting by perceived quality of local school and self-estimated likelihood of achieving a place at another school.
Polling and the Conservative Loss of Political Ascendancy - WPI Economics
Exhibit 5 is especially interesting.
James Kanagasooriam: The left-right age gap is even worse for the Conservatives than you think | Conservative Home
"Good businesses start with their customers and repeatedly refine the proposition until they get product-market fit. They don’t start with the product and then try and find an appropriate market." Is this not the problem? product-market fit coupled with segmented channels using social media resulted in (for instance) a vote for 'Leave' that was actually about 6 mutually incompatible leaves.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Food for thought for would-be defectors to the Brexit Party
"For it is not a party, but a company controlled by Nigel Farage. He appoints the board. There are no members." Red flag here. I wonder at the need for such tight control. Does Nigel not trust the movement? Contrast with Corbyn's Labour: trade union route, NEC independent, membership structure. Appeals process including legal action if needed. Transparent funding.
The Brexit Party look set to dominate at the European Elections in Great Britain as the Conservatives collapse – Slugger O'Toole
"I ran the forecast model again, except I merged the forecast votes for the Remain supporting parties into a single “Remain List”. The results are striking. Whilst the Brexit Party might still have still been the largest party, it would have been a close run contest, and the combined list would have favoured in 26 seats, in comparison to the 20 seats they are favoured currently." Labels and names
How Angela Merkel Keeps Power in a Man's World - The Atlantic
"Another lesson from the Merkel manual is to out-prepare the man across the negotiating table. She lets men (it’s still usually men) bluster uninterrupted until they run out of steam. When her turn comes, her calm command of facts reduces their grandiloquence to its simplest components. Merkel does not counter bombast with bombast, but with deflation." OFSTED inspectors (gender independent)
The Pivot | Asymco
"Companies sell objects or activities that they can make or engage in but customers buy solutions to problems. It’s easy to be fooled that these are interchangeable" I think people buy stuff and 'experiences' just for fun as well.
Mark the Ballot: Why I am troubled by the polls
"As I see it, the latest set of opinion polls are fairly improbable. They look under-dispersed compared with what I would expect from the central limit theorem. My grandmother would have bought a lottery ticket if she encountered something this unlikely." Could this be an example of a fat tailed distribution?
BBC World Service - 13 Minutes to the Moon
Podcasts about Apollo missions. Strange not on actual radio any more.
Fishing quotas in Europe: Who gets the right to fish? | EUROPP
"Whether it is the disappearance of fishing communities around the coast, the controversy over larger and larger factory trawlers, or the alarm over the privatisation of a public resource, many of the concerns about contemporary fisheries management are about how the resource is divided, not just the total amount. The systems in place vary significantly. For example, while fishers in Belgium and the Netherlands fish many of the same species in the same waters, the government-rationed quotas of the former, and market for ownership rights in the latter, are worlds apart in management approach. These are designed with different priorities in mind and lead to very different socio-economic outcomes for the fishing industry, fishing communities, and wider society." I didn't know that UK policy is to sell a large chunk of our quota to non-UK companies. So fate of fishing communities on the coast is actually determined by the Westminster government within the national quota.
Tilde.Club: I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds
"This is the story of an accidental network of hundreds of people all (sort of) working toward a vague common goal on a ridiculous project that did not exist two weeks ago." I'm sure I pinned this in 2014...
Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult Industry | WIRED Paul Ford
>> "When I was a boy, if you’d come up behind me (in a nonthreatening way) and whispered that I could have a few thousand Cray supercomputers in my pocket, that everyone would have them, that we would carry the sum of human ingenuity next to our skin, jangling in concert with our coins, wallets, and keys? And that this Lilliputian mainframe would have eyes to see, a sense of touch, a voice to speak, a keen sense of direction, and an urgent desire to count my actual footsteps and everything I read and said as I traipsed through the noosphere? Well, I would have just burst, burst. I would have stood up and given the techno­barbaric yawp of a child whose voice has yet to change. Who wants jet packs when you can have 256 friggabytes (because in 2019 we measure things in friggin’ gigabytes) resting upon your mind and body at all times? Billions of transistors, attached to green plastic, soldered by robots into a microscopic Kowloon Walled City of absolute technology that we call a phone, even though it is to the rotary phone as humans are to amoebas­. It falls out of my hand at night as I drift to sleep, and when I wake up it is nestled into my back, alarm vibrating, small and warm like a twitching baby possum." << How's that for a paragraph? I'm a decade ahead of Ford, but still amazed. I feel like a traction engine driver confronting a Tesla sometimes...
Germany’s AfD turns on Greta Thunberg as it embraces climate denial | Environment | The Guardian
"The Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD) is expected to launch its biggest attack yet on mainstream climate science at a symposium in parliament on Tuesday supported by a prominent climate change denial body linked by researchers to prominent conservative groups in the US." Here we go...
British Steel seeks government loan for 'Brexit issues' - BBC News
"It paid a nominal £1 fee for the assets, but pledged to plough up to £400m into the business, which it rebranded British Steel. Workers had to take pay cuts and reductions in their pensions in return, and the company recently returned to profit." So presumably the employees get first shares of these new profits? Not holding my breath
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » It is now an 91% chance that TMay will be out this year - Page 2 — politicalbetting
Montecarlo analysis to estimate the effects of different percentages on likely numbers of seats in the forthcoming EU elections. Smaller vote percentages have a disproportionally large effect.
Inequality driving 'deaths of despair' - BBC News
>> "He warned of the dangers of disillusionment if people did not feel fairly rewarded for their work - and that extreme wealth seemed to be gained by "taking rather than making"." << Not just extreme wealth. Someone who bought a house in the South East in the 1970s/80s is now sitting on wealth that outstrips any normal wage that could be earned over the decades. That is a disincentive, although unlikely to be repeated.
One-time-pad
"In fact, you can produce any desired word or phrase from any one-time pad -encrypted message, as long as you use the 'right' wrong key. There is no way to verify if a solution is the right one." Sounds like a novel plot
Canadian Embassy
"Communicators received telegrams from the various divisions, typed them into the communications format and simply transmitted them on the appropriate circuits. Key generators did the encryption and decryption automatically. These machines provided an added level of security in that they fed a continual stream of characters down the circuits whether or not there was any traffic. Thus any would-be interceptor was unable to tell when a message began or ended, or even whether a message was actually being transmitted." Is this still a one time pad system? Or pseudo-random deterministic?
HF Propagation Conditions In Detail
Love stuff like this
Musings on Markets: Uber's Coming out Party: Personal Mobility Pioneer or Car Service on Steroids?
"In June 2017, I presented a different approach to valuing companies like Uber, that derive their value from users, subcribers or members. In that approach, I began by valuing an existing user (rider), by looking at the revenues and cash flows that Uber would generate over the user’s lifetime and then extended the approach to valuing a new user, where the cost of user acquisition has to be netted out against the user value." He calls this a bottom up valuation. It produces a wide range of possible valuations based on assumptions.
How Powerful Is Mark Zuckerberg? - The Atlantic
"Facebook gets people to use its products, and it uses the actions that people take to manufacture more useful data about their tendencies, as Shoshana Zuboff has laid out in her book Surveillance Capitalism. That is to say, all the things we control about interactions with the empire—the friends we have, the photos we post, the text we write—are not the information that Facebook is after. These are the raw material for the machine-learning processes that generate Facebook’s real power: their ability to forecast what you’ll do when faced with a set of choices."
SNP election launch hit by leaflet fiasco | HeraldScotland
"One party insider said there appeared to have been “spreadsheet” problems, with small errors rippling across thousands of names and addresses. The source said younger voters would probably brush off the problem, but the party was worried that older voters - those most likely to vote - would be annoyed. " I think 'younger voters' should get up off their arses and change the demographic participation assumptions that people make pretty quickly. Plus spreadsheets.
Umberto Eco Makes a List of the 14 Common Features of Fascism | Open Culture
>> While Eco is firm in claiming “There was only one Nazism," he says, “the fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change.” Eco reduces the qualities of what he calls “Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism” down to 14 “typical” features. “These features," writes the novelist and semiotician, "cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.” <<
The Use of Knowledge in Society
F. A. Hayek's essay on information completeness.
Financial Risk Forecasting
"The book concludes by focussing on the forecasting of risk in very large and uncommon events with extreme value theory and considering the underlying assumptions behind almost every risk model in practical use – that risk is exogenous – and what happens when those assumptions are violated." One for Taleb's views
Which numerical computing language is best: Julia, MATLAB, Python or R? | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal
"Data is often read from and written to a number of formats, including text files, CSV files, Excel, SQL databases, noSQL databases and proprietary data formats, either local or remote. This is where R absolutely shines. It was designed for scientific data, and it shows. It can handle complicated data structures with a variety of formats and origins, with many packages that provide a variety of ways to access and process the data. It can handle data sets that are much bigger than what can fit into memory." I want to learn one of the big four, so R looks like the Swiss army knife. "Heavy computations often get outsourced to either high performance computing clusters or the cloud. We can rent a 72-core machine on Amazon Cloud for $1.16 an hour, making that 20 times faster than most desktops." Interesting...
"Which countries in the world do not belong to any trade blocks beyond WTO? The Holy See, Mauritania, Monaco, Palau, Timor-Leste, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Western Sahara. After no deal Brexit, Britain is set to join them."
Isle of Man - Wikipedia
"The Isle of Man is neither part of the European Union, nor has a special status, and thus did not take part in the 2016 referendum on the UK's EU membership. However, Protocol 3 of the UK's Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome included the Isle of Man within the EU's customs area, allowing for trade in Manx goods without tariffs throughout the EU.[49] As it is not part of the EU's internal market, there are still limitations on the movement of capital, services and labour." Food for thought
globalinequality: Shadows and lights of globalization
"Today’s globalization represents a rebalancing of the world, where Asian incomes, not as in the past, only in a few countries like Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, but in the giants such as China, India, and Indonesia, as well as in populous countries like Vietnam and Thailand, are catching up with Western incomes." A re-post of a published article. Just thinking aloud: the graph coincides with the drop in fertility in Chine/India around 1980s/90s. Demographic transition?
globalinequality: Democracy or dictatorship: which works better?
"Formally speaking, American companies were organized like the Communist Party. In both cases, to paraphrase Bertold Brecht, the leadership selected their employees, or their citizens. In one case the dictatorship was in the social sphere, in another in the work sphere." Hilarious. I think.
Stumbling and Mumbling: Against solipsistic politics
"It’s not just about what you want, but about what others want too. The very essence of politics is about how we manage conflicts between different attitudes, and how we might change those attitudes – the latter being a job not just for politicians but for everybody" No hear must feel as they say in my local social club. Underneath the attitudes and opinions are the realities of geography, economics and logistics.
Robert Halfon: Does May's selfish machine care at all about the Party's future – or the thousand plus councillors who lost their seats? | Conservative Home
"Second, it is true that Corbyn lost seats, but he also did badly in local elections in the run up to the 2017 election. If Labour sorts out its position on Brexit, then its voters in the North could return to the Labour fold. If Corbyn goes and is replaced by someone like Angela Rayner, that is likely to bring its voters back home. Their message on austerity still resonates with working-class voters struggling with the cost of living and fatigued with cutbacks in local government and public services." Straight from the horse's mouth. Services, jobs (that pay), houses. It isn't hard.
‘Massively unfair’ gulf in bus fares between London and rest of England | UK news | The Guardian
"The fragmented system was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, when the Conservative government deregulated the bus industry across Britain, except in London. Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show that the number of passenger journeys in England have dropped by 4.2% outside London since March 2005 and soared by 23.5% in the capital over the same period." Congestion charging? Rest of article useful information. Birmingham's Stagecoach tentacle caps fares at something like £2.60. Day pass £4.50 or something.
Great Yarmouth school a 'fourth emergency service' - BBC News
>> "When people have got nowhere else to turn, they turn to us," she says. "We've uncovered more and more need. The more you ask, the more you find out - there's a level of hidden poverty that you would not be aware of." << The modern way.
java - How to make FreeMind render fonts smooth again? - Ask Ubuntu
"use the following solution (assumed that you use the regularly installed Freemind startup script written in bash) Make a config file for FreeMind ~/freemind/freemindrc and copy the option below into it. _JAVA_OPTIONS='-Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=on -Dswing.aatext=true'
I talked to my Leave-voting constituents about Brexit. This is what I learnt
>> "[...] If Labour doesn’t identify the concerns of those who voted against the status quo and take steps to address the discontent and disaffection that lay behind their decision to do so, there is a risk it will not govern for a long time. I represent a Labour seat where nearly 70 per cent of people voted Leave and I wanted to understand why so many did. I spoke to seven people from my Ashfield constituency who opted to exit the EU – one person from each age group between twenties and seventies. I wanted to hear the stories behind the statistics and identify some common themes that might help Labour reconnect with our natural base." <<
Most depressed English communities 'in north and Midlands' | UK news | The Guardian
"In Bidston, in Birkenhead, Merseyside, which has the second highest prevalence of depression in England (20.2%), more than half of children live in poverty." Real shame, but I need to point out that the photo at the top of the article is actually New Brighton looking towards the Liverpool dockside. Bidston's estate has no such open sky view.
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Media Release: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ | IPBES
"Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities." Only the executive summary is available at present. The full report comes later. Strange that this organisation has to use Dropbox to disseminate the deliverables!
Brexit vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities | JRF
"In more technical terms we also find a significant ‘interaction effect’ between a person’s level of education and the educational profile of the area where they live. The level of support for Leave among graduates varied much more than among those with low levels of education across different types of areas and different parts of the country. For example, whereas the level of support for Brexit among people with GCSE or below qualifications was 16 percentage points lower in high-skilled areas than low-skilled areas, it was over 30 percentage points lower among people with A Levels or a University degree." Locality matters. We are so dependent on others.
Brexit has exposed our education apartheid - UnHerd
"As the National Centre for Social Research points out, the average level of support for leaving the EU among degree-holders was just 26%. This compares to 50% among those with A-levels, 61% among those with O-levels or GCSEs, and a striking 78% among those with no qualifications. Almost every study of the Brexit vote since has confirmed that low formal educational attainment is a major predictor of whether or not somebody backs Brexit, just as it is a major predictor of whether or not people vote for populist, nationalist or Eurosceptic parties elsewhere in the world."
The decline of homeownership among young adults - Institute For Fiscal Studies - IFS
"The key reason for the decline is the sharp rise in house prices relative to incomes. Mean house prices were 152% higher in 2015–16 than in 1995–96 after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, the real net family incomes of those aged 25–34 grew by only 22% over the same twenty years. As a result, the average (median) ratio between the average house price in the region where a young adult lives and their annual net family income doubled from 4 to 8, with all of the increase occurring by 2007–08." Goalposts not moving, they are dancing a samba
Housing Crisis: Renters Are Driving British Voters to Labour - Bloomberg
>> "New analysis shows that Britain's long-festering housing shortages contributed to the 2017 election that cost the Conservatives their majority. While Brexit divisions cut across party lines, Britain's housing problems overwhelmingly benefit Labour. Now, it seems the government may finally be grasping the extent of the problem. “Young people without family wealth are ‘right to be angry’ at not being able to buy a home,” said Prime Minister Theresa May Monday in a speech focused on housing." <<
Could a rentquake topple Trump? - UnHerd
"US Republicans and UK Conservatives alike should be terrified that so many people feel they’ve been permanently excluded from the dream of a property owning democracy – especially given that this bloc now includes workers on salaries that were once sufficient to secure a place on the housing ladder." Build houses. For rent. In a protected market so as not to pauperise the mortgage payers.
Are these the last gasps of our old political order? - UnHerd
"They are probably renting or, if they are not, then heavy mortgage payments and few savings mean that their family is one crisis away from financial disaster. And they lean instinctively against Brexit, or if they voted for it then they have concluded that it is being managed disastrously. The Tories are losing them." Build houses. Not hard.
"Presse" Hell
Pre-ww2 version of twitter! HELLSCHREIBER system of low-tech facsimile transmission specialised to typewritten text
Rockex Cryptosystem
"The real problem in any one-time system like Rockex was the production (and distribution) of vast quantities of genuinely random keystream tape. Rockex twin master tapes ( and machines) were produced at Hanslope from 1944 to 1947. Then Rockex and key tape production was moved to the Palace of Industry at Wembley for a year and in early 1949, it all moved again to Borehamwood [3] where production continued until the MK5 Rockex became obsolete during the late 1960's." They used actual noise with gates apparently - so genuine entropy
UK local elections: what we learnt | Financial Times
"Its performance in areas such as Sunderland — a city that voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum but that provided three Lib Dem pick-ups on Thursday — highlighted the possibility that its success was due to non-Brexit issues, or sheer voter anger at the two big parties." Basically uniform success across leave/remain areas.
A cry to ‘get on with Brexit’ or a Remain backlash? In fact, neither side triumphed in the local elections | The Independent
"Meanwhile many people will have voted for whoever they thought would make sure their bins were emptied or prevent a new building in their back yard." That would be me if I had a vote (Unlike the honourable member for Uxbridge, I noticed the lack of a polling card)
Liberal Democrats and Greens surge to victory as Conservatives suffer landslide defeat
"In our system, the first aim of the Green party is to act as the political equivalent of the carbon tax, forcing the big two parties to pay an electoral price if they continue to put forward inadequate solutions to the climate crisis. This is the first result in which we can genuinely say they look able to do that, and not merely act as a irritant on Labour’s left flank in a handful of urban areas."
Forecasting Local Election Net Seat Gains/Losses 2019 | Elections Etc
Forecast between 200 and 990 Labour gains. Actual, 80 odd Labour losses. The council seats up on May 2nd tallied 56% leave against 44% remain in the referendum.
Stanford quantifies the privacy-stripping power of metadata | TechCrunch
"The UK government appointed independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, noted in his review of investigatory powers last year that “the distinction between “content data” and metadata …is rapidly fading away in modern network environment” — quoting that conclusion from a prior EU-funded Surveille Report."
Facebook is trying to make the word “private” meaningless | The Outline
"But what his presentation elided was the fact that Facebook does not need to see the content of what people are saying in order to advertise to them. The metadata — who, or what (as in a business), you’re talking to, and even where you are or what time the conversation is taking place as it comes together with other pieces of information — provides more than enough information to make a very educated guess about what you’re interested in, to the point that knowing specifically what you are saying adds almost nothing." Traffic analysis?
While Brexit is ongoing, climate change will never get the attention that it desperately needs
"Climate change is what the philosopher Timothy Morton calls a “hyper-object”: an issue so vast that we struggle to comprehend it most of the time. A crystallising event – unseasonable weather, a diverting statement from a former party leader – can briefly bring it into focus but we can’t consistently hold it in our minds." Research the idea...
Theresa May and Gavin Williamson's reputations should both be destroyed by his sacking
"But the manner and the mood music around it, in which condemnation of the fact of the leak vastly outweighed discussion of its contents, is a familiar and depressing story." Make a fuss to distract attention?
Elizabeth Warren’s Agenda May Prevail But Her Candidacy May Flame Out - POLITICO Magazine
"There have been a lot of “ideas” candidates over the years, staking out high-profile policies and charting new territory for their parties. And they tend to lose." Perhaps she does not care? Just forcing the front-runners to take positions may push the policies home. We could do with affordable housing here in UK.
State of the Nation report: Social mobility in UK 'virtually stagnant' - BBC News
>> "There's still a big shift - if you want to be socially mobile - towards London," she told BBC Radio Four's Today programme. "I think you're three times more likely to move to London if you're from a professional background than if you're from a working class background." << How do we spread the opportunity around? Or London just eats everything
Notes on the Mueller Report: A Reading Diary - Lawfare
Detailed with references. Arguing a case from the contents of the report.
Towards an Information Operations Kill Chain - Schneier on Security
7 steps to counteract destabilisation from outside organisations
MICHAEL WOLF PHOTOGRAPHY
Alas, dead at 64. Nice body of work. Most of us will be living in cities very soon
The Lo-Fi Voices That Speak for America
"...They include a sheep farmer who reports on the agricultural industry for a vast rural audience; an icon of inner-city Baltimore who inspired a character on “The Wire”; and one of the only on-air personalities who broadcasts in the Navajo language. Some are conservative, some are liberal, some avoid politics altogether. In these photos, by Politico’s M. Scott Mahaskey, we glimpse what is being lost when AM radio stations disappear: not just call signs, but places where community is built." Specifically long distance AM radio stations allow for continental audience with (relatively) low transmission power.
The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
"Spatial boundaries have long served a functional role at multiple levels of analysis, helping people make sense of their environment by modularizing it, clarifying who is watching and who is not, who has information and who does not, who belongs and who does not, who controls what and who does not, to whom one answers and to whom one does not."
Fort Wayne Makes Its Own Luck - The Atlantic
"If a city is unlucky—or shortsighted, which often turns out to be the same thing—it bulldozes its architectural heritage of the past decades or centuries, for whatever is the fad of the moment." Sounds like a city I know well... you get high rents in the centre and the same old same old.
AirPods Are a Survival Tool for Open-Plan Offices - The Atlantic
"In a 2018 study, Bernstein and his team found that open offices decrease face-to-face interaction among co-workers by as much as 70 percent, in stark contrast to the designers’ stated goal of collaborative teamwork." There has to be an optimum number of people in an office. And grouping by function probably helps
Council elections: 'Not enough' women and minorities stand - BBC News
Some nice statistics and a story from a student councillor
Manchet Bread Recipe - OAKDEN
Trying to locate a supplier of barm.
UK government under new pressure from MPs to move on NI abortion law reform – Slugger O'Toole
"To be in the UK, they must accept fundamental UK rights." Sounds ok. If you want union, you get the whole union.
This book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. - Vox
"You can’t achieve drawdown unless you sequester [carbon], but right now the only way we know how to do it in a reliable way is photosynthesis. I mean, there are science experiments going on, but it’s not commercial and it’s not practical."
The biggest climate change story in the world this week is quietly playing out in Rwanda - Vox
"In recent months, after extensive discussions with President Barack Obama, Indian leader Narendra Modi has come around to the view that the world needs an "ambitious phasedown schedule" of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. But he also points out that replacing HFCs with cleaner alternatives could cost India between $15 billion and $38 billion through 2050. So he’s asked for aid from richer countries to help make that transition. Other developing nations, such as Brazil and Pakistan, have made similar arguments." Spread over 30 years and the entire industrial world that looks like a good deal.
Silvopasture | Drawdown
"Silvopasture is an ancient practice that integrates trees and pasture into a single system for raising livestock. Research suggests silvopasture far outpaces any grassland technique for counteracting the methane emissions of livestock and sequestering carbon under-hoof. Pastures strewn or crisscrossed with trees sequester five to ten times as much carbon as those of the same size that are treeless, storing it in both biomass and soil." I've seen this in action from a train in the Highlands, unless the cows had just escaped.
Carbon reduction: Summary of Solutions by Overall Rank | Drawdown
Nice clear table. Would like a column that indicates 'degree of relative autonomy' or something, so you can decide which ones to do personally, per neighbourhood, per town, per country &c
School funding per pupil falls faster in England than in Wales - Institute For Fiscal Studies - IFS
>> "In 2017–18 total school spending per pupil in England was about £5,870 which was just 2% – or £100 per pupil – above the £5,760 seen in Wales (both in 2018–19 prices). This is a modest difference, which will include funding for higher teacher salaries in London." <<
Our schools are beyond breaking point – where is the outrage? | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
>> “I can’t even imagine four or five years’ time. I’m not looking ahead at all. And I don’t believe it can carry on like this. Something has to be done, otherwise the education system’s going to implode.” << Last time (late 70s/early 80s) it just sort of ground to a halt and the quality slowly dropped.
Theresa May to face grassroots no-confidence challenge - BBC News
>> "She told the BBC: "I'm afraid the prime minister is conducting negotiations in such a way that the party does not approve."" << I thought the Prime Minister was negotiating for the United Kingdom myself. Governments do have to work for the country as a whole don't they?
The Cult of Death – Slugger O'Toole
"On Saturday a republican splinter group with no electoral mandate marched down O’Connell Street, to the outrage of the entire country. Not 24 hours later that same entire country commemorated and celebrated the armed rebellion of a republican splinter group with no electoral mandate." Interesting piece of writing and a challenge.
Ukraine election: Comedian Zelensky wins presidency by landslide - BBC News
"Throughout the election campaign, he avoided serious interviews and discussions about policy - preferring instead to post light-hearted videos to social media." Perhaps there are no policies? I gather that there is a millionaire in the background so possibly same old same old.
Jonathan Freedland: The Wilson plot was our Watergate | Opinion | The Guardian
"As Peter Wright confirmed in his book Spycatcher, Wilson was the victim of a protracted, illegal campaign of destabilisation by a rogue element in the security services. Prompted by CIA fears that Wilson was a Soviet agent - put in place after the KGB had, the spooks believed, poisoned Hugh Gaitskell, the previous Labour leader - these MI5 men burgled the homes of the prime minister's aides, bugged their phones and spread black, anti-Wilson propaganda throughout the media. They tried to pin all kinds of nonsense on him: that his devoted political secretary, Marcia Williams, posed a threat to national security; that he was a closet IRA sympathiser." I can remember the resignation on telly.
Paul Foot reviews ‘Molehunt’ by Nigel West · LRB 23 April 1987
"Caution was thrown aside in March 1974 after a minority Labour administration was elected in the middle of an unstoppable miners’ strike. In the interregnum between the two elections of that year, and in the months following Labour’s second victory in October, the Wright faction used all their information and their skills, not just to disorientate the Labour Government, but also to ensure that a new, ‘more resolute’ leadership was established over the Conservative Party. At its mildest, this campaign took the form of leaks to the media, ‘catching out’ ministers in lies which were prepared for them, feeding foreign journalists with fantastic notions of the ‘extremism’ of Labour ministers, leaking secret government plans so that they could be ‘neutralised’ before they were announced. It involved burglaries and break-ins at the homes of senior ministers (even the Prime Minister) and their staffs, and even, as has recently been revealed, inspiring ‘disorientating events’, the most important of which was the Protestant Workers’ strike in Northern Ireland in April 1974." This is cited a a source in a Wikipedia article that talks about the failure of the Sunningdale Agreement. Would like to check how credible it seems now.
Decoding the Baltic Dry Index
>> "“Compared to other indices, the BDI is difficult to be influenced by governments, associations or speculators. It is driven by clear forces of demand for commodities and the supply of ships,” says Capt. Amrit Singh, a shipping analyst at Refinitiv." << and >> "“The BDI is now biased towards the larger sectors in order to create more volatility for traders, so it’s not the best way to look at how the market is doing,” says Peter Sand, Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO Shipping Association." << Would that be the re-weighting that removed the 10% handy-size traffic component?
WTO Data
This looks comprehensive and detailed and difficult. Will have to actually read the manual.
Home - Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
Nice range of maps. Fairly large scans available
Baltic Dry - It’s That Time of Year. Again. [2019 Version] | Smartkarma
Advert from Daily Post, 1744, for a very hipster sounding coffee shop. "This is to give notice that the House, late the Virginia and Maryland Coffee-house in Threadneedle Street, near the Royal Exchange, is now open'd by the Name of the Virginia & Baltick Coffee-house, where all Foreign and Domestick News are taken in ; and all Letters or Parcels, directed to Merchants or Captains in the Virginia or Baltick Trade will be carefully deliver'd according as directed, and the best Attendance given, by Reynallds and Winboult. Note, Punch made in any Quantity, in the greatest Perfection, without Adulteration, which is seldom found in any of the most noted Houses ; also Brandy, Rum, and Arrack (neat as imported) are sold in the Vaults under the Coffee-House, at the lowest Prices; where all Customers, we have had the Favour of serving at our late Warehouse in Leadenhall Street, we hope will continue to send their Orders as above. We have receiv'd Advice, that Several Bags of Letters and Parcels are coming which are directed to be left at the above Coffee-House"
What should Kitack Lim tell the Extinction Rebellion kids? :: Lloyd's List
"For a long time, the maritime industry seemed to shrug off its environmental responsibilities, endlessly reciting the mantra that while 90% of everything goes by sea, shipping accounted for just 2.3% of the carbon pumped into the atmosphere each year. That’s way less per tonne-mile than our counterparts in trucking, rail or aviation, so we can just sit back and polish our green and clean halos, right?" Send it by sea? They are reducing bunker use (basically sooty crude).
Baltic Exchange Dry Index | 2019 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast | News
The infamous BDI
Shanghai Shipping Exchange
Index of cost of a TEU from China to various territories. This kind of information existed in the heads of about three people in Liverpool 45 years ago. Telexes and phone lines.
Birmingham Clean Air Zone - map, charges and is your car compliant? - Birmingham Live
"One element that has not been funded is a plan for controlled parking zones just outside the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) area which would have allowed for a free parking permit scheme for residents to park outside their homes and reduce the knock-on impact from other drivers seeking to park and walk to avoid the charges. Coun Zaffar said he was determined to find other means to ensure that scheme went ahead anyway." So we are going to have idiots jamming the local streets (on the route to a major hospital). Genius move.
Suicide of the Ceasefire Babies | Mosaic
>> “Now, that trend [the almost doubling of the suicide rate since 1998] is wholly out of line with what happens everywhere else,” says Tomlinson. He describes a presentation he gave at Stormont, the parliament buildings of Northern Ireland, that includes graphs of the trends in suicide in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. “Of all the presentations I’ve done in my career,” he says, “there’s an audible gasp from the audience every time I’ve done that [one].” << Factor of two increase since GFA
Lyra McKee embodied the patient promises of the Belfast Agreement – Slugger O'Toole
"She was, as the papers say, a rising star of investigative journalism, but not, as so many are in these days of too easy digital contagion, driven by anger or personal disappointment. She had a genuine itch to understand what others (often much better rewarded than she ever was) failed to adequately explain." Back to the future feel about this
A Conversation With Outgoing French Ambassador Gérard Araud - The Atlantic
"Araud: The guy in front of us was negotiating in good faith, Brian Hook. But the problem is that this bureaucracy is so dysfunctional. Obviously there is only one person who can commit the United States, and it’s Donald Trump." Except he changes his mind next week
San Francisco, the City That Apps Built, or Destroyed - The Atlantic
"The city now sits atop a geyser of cash created from what the scholar Shoshana Zuboff calls “behavioral surplus”—the natural resource created from your behavior, which is to say your mind." Could we nationalise the behavioral surplus or would that be too creepy?
15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook
>> "Heated emails flew back and forth between Switzerland and Menlo Park. Solutions were proposed and shot down. It was a classic Facebook dilemma. The company’s algorithms embraid choices so complex and interdependent that it’s hard for any human to get a handle on it all. "If you explain some of what is happening, people get confused. They also tend to obsess over tiny factors in huge equations. So in this case, as in so many others over the years, Facebook chose opacity. Nothing would be revealed in Davos, and nothing would be revealed afterward. The media execs would walk away unsatisfied."" << Machine learning is brittle and the internal weightings don't provide a causal model - they are just entries in some huge matrix.
I'm not an expert on this stuff, but this seems like an interesting part on page 18 of the PDF that I haven't seen other people point out, where Mueller says his conclusions could conceivably be different if not for witnesses lying, invoking privilege, et
Good heavens...
Look, Tories, no one is falling for your “no magic money tree” argument so give it up
"The other is the housing market, where people who spent a few thousand pounds on a house back in the early 1980s have found that they are now magically in possession of a pile worth half a million. At no point did they do anything to earn this money – yet there it is, conjured up from nowhere." This is the issue. I dread the correction of prices.
Teachers 'paying for resources out of own money' - BBC News
>> "But children's minister Nadhim Zahawi said there was "more money going into our schools than ever before"." << and >> "There have been repeated concerns from schools about funding shortages, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing in July last year that per pupil spending had fallen in real terms by 8% since 2010." << So where is the money going? More pupils? Higher employment costs (training levy, NI and employer's pension contributions)?
Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least, not for a while | Ars Technica
"With so many issues to overcome, mmWave sounds like a terrible chunk of spectrum to build a mobile network in until you consider two key points: the higher-frequency means mmWave has plenty of bandwidth and low latency if you can get it, and most of all, the spectrum is available. MmWave isn't being used for much right now because it is such a pain in the butt to work with. So if you can figure out all the implementation problems, you suddenly have a vast amount of airspace to work with." I sometimes dream of internet connections by wifi from every lamp post - with a choice of service providers &c and monthly payments...
In conversation with Sir Ivan Rogers | The Institute for Government
This one is about the future
Ivan Rogers’ Brexit bombshell, digested | Martha Gill | Opinion | The Guardian
A summary of Roger's lecture
Full speech: Sir Ivan Rogers on Brexit - News - University of Liverpool
You can pay £5.95 for a nicely printed mini-book of this speech. Or you can just read it here...
Riley Jake Jackson death: Are halogen light bulbs safe? - BBC News
I'm all for LED based bulbs (assuming that the switched psower supplies included in the plastic globe are safe). However, switching over to LED based bulbs cost me around £50.
Our data | CPR Survey
This is publically funded research - why the limitations and need for licence agreements?
Four out of 10 teachers plan to quit, survey suggests - BBC News
"Where do you see yourself in five years' time? No longer working in education, 40% of UK teachers surveyed by a teachers' union replied." Oops. Perhaps teaching could be a developmental phase?
From Ruth Glass to Spike Lee: 50 years of gentrification | Cities | The Guardian
>> "Collecting his 2014 gold medal awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects last month, the historian and theorist Joseph Rykwert argued that "the price of property in city centres is making it impossible, particularly in the big cities, for any kind of social mix to take place. It's castrating the whole notion of city life."" << This is why I keep banging on about rents being too high...
Building and Dwelling by Richard Sennett review – how to build people-friendly cities | Books | The Guardian
>> "According to the Dutch architect Reinier de Graaf, the people – planners, utopian environmentalists, sociologists, quango soldiers, free-range urbanists, demographic strategists, “place makers”, soi-disant visionaries, soothsayers and, of course, architects – who attend portentously entitled, quasi-academic conferences on, say, The Final Favela, The Shapes of Sprawl to Come or Agglomerative Control Theory are “united through the frank admission that we do not have a clue”." << I often suspected this. Big sentence for start of an article though
La charpente | Notre Dame de Paris
Makes you wonder about fire safety in historic buildings.
The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is dead. Here’s why. - Vox
"Americans understand that there are certain things you can push the Israelis to do and not do because of their own domestic political pressures. But when it comes to the Palestinians, the tendency is to treat them as if they don’t have politics, as if they don’t have a political opposition that they have to answer to, or a public opinion. It’s not only that they don’t understand the nuances of Palestinian politics. It’s that they treat them as though they don’t have politics at all." Regional brokers?
The Ecological Importance of Dams
"When Jensen and I walk out onto the deck above the turbine, a tempest of whitewater flows into the river below us. With the laconic practicality of a government engineer, he explains what the course of his year looks like. Spring, which comes with a rush of snowmelt that needs regulating, is when things are busiest, because he’s trying to balance runoff with downstream water needs and with filling the reservoir for the upcoming summer and fall. He says the reservoir is usually at its highest around July 4, and he thinks they’ll fill it up this year. After an unusually dry winter, the spring has been wet and cold, and it’s been raining more than normal. He says they’re pushing 1,550 cubic feet per second out of the turbine right now. If the reservoir gets too high and they need to dump water, they can let out as much as 6,500 cubic feet per second through bypasses that flow around the turbine. If they release more than that, they start to flood out the fields around Green River. “We have to control it slowly,” he says." Lumped systems model with time constants? Forcing function being the snowfall up the river?
Foxconn is confusing the hell out of Wisconsin - The Verge
"The ground floor consisted of glass-walled conference rooms. They were never occupied when I passed by over the next two days. Their whiteboards remained immaculate; a lone green Ethernet cable coiled on a table never moved." Sounds bad for the local people. Mind you, I once used a classroom once a week for a short lesson where an ethernet cable and, for some reason, a usb mouse remained on the windowsill for the whole academic year. I think someone just left them.
Fintan O'Toole: Are the English ready for self-government?
"It has merely marked out in bright red ink the fault-lines that have long been less vividly present – the drifting apart of England and Scotland; the economic and cultural divide between what Anthony Barnett calls “England-without-London” and the rest of the UK (Wales being the obvious anomaly); the social and geographic rifts between the winners and losers of the long Thatcherite revolution. Brexit, in a worst-of-all-worlds moment, brings all of these divisions to a head while doing absolutely nothing to address them. It reveals a polity that cannot create consensus because it lacks a foundation in social consent."
Birmingham clean air charge: What you need to know - BBC News
"The proposals are to bring in fees for older vehicles, which release high levels of toxic emissions, that are driven within the city's ring road from January 2020. Birmingham City Council has faced pressure from the government to reduce pollution by setting up a clean air zone." Nice for shoppers and those living in the centre. Those just outside ring road could experience worse air quality of course.
Brexit is just one front in Europe’s battle for its soul | Timothy Garton Ash | Opinion | The Guardian
"In a kind of sadomasochistic self-fulfilling prophecy, the Brexiteers have reduced Britain to the very condition of vassalage from which they claim to be freeing it." Taking back control?
Boeing 737 MAX crash and the rejection of ridiculous data – Philip Greenspun’s Weblog
"But to have avoided killing everyone on board, the software would not have needed a “how fast is this changing?” capability. It would simply have needed a few extra characters in an IF statement. Had the systems engineers and programmers checked Wikipedia, for example, (or maybe even their own web site) they would have learned that “The critical or stalling angle of attack is typically around 15° – 20° for many airfoils.” Beyond 25 degrees, therefore, it is either sensor error or the plane is stalling/spinning and something more than a slow trim is going to be required." Software, sensors and systems with very short time constants. The saga continues.
8 reasons to turn down the transmit power of your Wi-Fi - Metis.fi
"By default almost all WiFi access points transmit at full power (100mW on 2.4GHz). This gives maximum coverage and users see a good signal (“full bars”). However, there are good reasons to turn down the transmit power to a fraction of the maximum." A data point!
Standards of Fundamental Astronomy - Home
C routines for most astronomical calculations plus or minus 3000 years from present and with OK accuracy. Why not use these instead of messing about with Meeus and colleagues? At least a common base line
The Incredible Shrinking Fox News - POLITICO Magazine
>> "Fox’s minimal influence is easily explained. While it’s the most popular cable news network, it still draws only a niche audience. Socolow provides the numbers: On an average night, about 2.4 million prime-time viewers tune in, which is about 0.7 percent of the total U.S. population. “With numbers like these,” Socolow writes, “it’s no surprise that Fox News often chases its viewers rather than leading them. In other words: It’s more likely that Fox News caters to the preexisting partisanship of its small but loyal audience than that Fox News actually changes anybody’s mind.” " << Puts the infamous Clarkson quote into some kind of perspective.
The mystery of Star Wars and Tunisia's rundown Brutalist hotel - BBC News
>> "Mr Torkar says Brutalist buildings tended to obey three basic rules - "expose the materials, expose the structure, and make it a unique, memorable design"." << I'd go for the Muirhead Tower myself
Nassim Taleb’s Case Against Nate Silver Is Bad Math
"In the 1930s, the Italian statistician and actuary Bruno de Finetti noticed something interesting about these kinds of bets: In order to avoid arbitrage, the prices must obey the same equations as the mathematical rules of probability, meaning such relationships as Price[A] + Price[NOT A] = 1, and so on."
The Efficient Universe COS 345, Spring 2006: Is this course for me?
Looks like my kind of thing. Dr Wigderson looks like a proper mathematician as well.
Linux Mint's Sobering Update: A Rare Glimpse Into The Personal Struggles Developers Face
"Part of this reaction appears to be fueled by negative feedback that was received in response to the recent logo and website redesign. Lefebvre writes that it caused the team to feel doubtful and uncertain about their direction." Bikeshedding
I was a strong Brexiteer. Now we must swallow our pride and think again | openDemocracy
"Easy access to Europe was the most important reason why so many important foreign companies chose to invest in this country over the past three or four decades. Investment has come in the shape of both manufacturing and services. The Brexit debate about the customs union vs the single market has revealed how blurred and narrow the distinction between the two has become. They are both massive sources of inward investment and job creation." Dawning realisation that this is all real. Hope springs eternal.
“Birmingham isn’t a big city at peak times”: How poor public transport explains the UK’s productivity puzzle | CityMetric
"For a year now, the Open Data Institute Leeds has been tracking most of the buses and trams in the West Midlands, the UK city region centred on Birmingham. We do it by polling the live departure screens that you see at bus stops, even at stops where they aren’t installed." Excellent data set
DIY Tuscan Bread - Pane Toscano recipe | Visit Tuscany
"Apparently the reason for this is the bitter 12th century dispute between Pisa and Florence when the coastal Republic of Pisa placed a blockade on the trade of salt to inland areas. In response to this, Florence resolved to bake bread without using salt. According to another tradition, salt was just too expensive for the Florentines, so they continued making it saltless since bread was simply too important to do without. Essential to real tuscan bread is its baking method - tuscan bread must bake in a wood burning oven." Skip the wood burning oven!
Pass the salt, please! Why Tuscan bread has no salt
Try a whole grain version
Bread Survey - Action on Salt
UK target is 1g of salt per 100g of cooked bread. That corresponds to about 1 tsp (7g or so) in 500g of flour in my recipes. Using 1 tsp of SoLo (KCl/NaCl) gives me 0.5g NaCl per 100g roughly. A bit trickier to get a good rise...
Calcium Chloride | Baking Ingredients | BAKERpedia
"Calcium chloride can be used to replace salt in the production of reduced-sodium bread. Calcium salt can be replaced up to 32% of sodium for brown bread without adversely affecting palatability or product quality." Now to find small quantities....
From Disco to Techno, He’s Seen It on Sugar Hill’s Dance Floor - The New York Times
"Freeman, born outside of Kinston, N.C., said that he left for New York in 1957 on a Trailways bus with $40 and a box of chicken. The son of sharecroppers, he left behind a segregated rural community." Could anyone do that now? Could anyone go to London and get a job and make something?
Buy Yourself a F*^king Latte - The Big Picture
"For some perspective, 40 years ago the median house cost about $62,000 (its over $317,400 today); median income was under $20,000 (its $61,372 today). In 2060, you should expect $300,000 to be about $80-100k today." So house to pay ratio has worsened from 3.1 to 5.2ish in 40 years?
UK productivity continues lost decade - BBC News
>> "He added: "It is also probable that many companies took on labour rather than committing to costly investment, given the highly uncertain economic and political outlook. The low cost of labour relative to capital has certainly supported employment over investment."" << Perhaps it is just the high cost of money and the perceived flexibility of low wage labour?
Potassium Chloride as a Salt Substitute in Bread - viewcontent.cgi
"Unfortunately, salt plays a significant role in the baking process, so it cannot be completely removed. One option for reducing the sodium chloride content in bread products is by partial replacement with potassiumchloride. One study found that replacing 50% or less of sodium chloride with potassium chloridehad no adverse effects on dough rheology, although it did have a slightly bitter or metallic aftertaste. This taste became more noticeable as the percentage of potassium chloride was increased in the product.25,26 Another study performed by Wyatt and Ronan did not find any significant differences between the control product (100% sodium chloride) and the 50:50 ratio breads. The bread found to have the highest acceptability among panelists was one with 75:25% sodium chloride/potassium chloride ratio." The UK 'standard' of 1g of salt per 100g of final loaf (500g flour = 800g loaf) results in 1 tsp per 500g of flour. According to this pdf, using So-Lo (50% KCl/NaCl) looks ok from the dough development angle.
Holmdel Horn Antenna – Holmdel, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura
"With its high sensitivity and horn shape, which allowed for precise pointing, the antenna was ideal for conducting radio astronomy observations. This fact was immediately recognized by Penzias and Wilson, who began using the telescope to study emissions from the Milky Way. During their tenure at the facility in the early 1960s, the astronomers became bogged down by a mysterious background noise that was present wherever the instrument was pointed."
Enginnering a safer world
>> "Old Assumption - Most accidents are caused by operator error. Rewarding safe behaviour and punishing unsafe behaviours will eliminate or reduce accidents significantly. New Assumption - Operator error is a product of the environment in which it occurs. To reduce operator "error" we must change the environment in which the operator works." << Via HN. OpenAccess pdf available.
Jeremy Corbyn target practice film 'totally unacceptable' - BBC News
"It is believed the clip first circulated on Snapchat before being posted on Twitter." Treat all social media the same as standing in New Street with a megaphone. The moment stuff gets into the digital domain, it gets shared...
25 Years Later: Interview with Linus Torvalds | Linux Journal
"I could imagine that we'd have some "framework" language for generating drivers or similar, and we internally actually have our own simplified "language" just for doing configuration, and we do use a few other languages for the build process, so it's not like C is the only language we use. But it's the bulk of it by far, and it's what the "kernel proper" is written in." I wonder what that simplified language for doing configuration is?
Against metrics: how measuring performance by numbers backfires | Aeon Ideas
"But the most dramatic negative effect of metric fixation is its propensity to incentivise gaming: that is, encouraging professionals to maximise the metrics in ways that are at odds with the larger purpose of the organisation."
Linux Journal at 25 | Linux Journal
>>"Our first publisher was Bob Young, who quickly left to leverage his on-the-job learnings into a Linux startup he called Red Hat. When I first met Bob, years later, I told him Phil said, "I taught Bob how to spell Linux." To my surprise, Bob replied, "That's true!""<<
Teardown Of A 50 Year Old Modem | Hackaday
"It’s a wooden modem, and I don’t think anyone I know respects exactly how cool that is. It’s on objet d’art, and it’s useful to store various sundries. I have considered repairing or refurbishing this modem, however there are a few things that make this impractical." The first modem I used was in 1976. 19 inch rack with accoustic coupler on one half and a dial for phoning the number on the other half. The modem was connected to a teletypewriter. We used to dial into a mainframe about 20 miles away and run BASIC. Yes, I have seen line noise (thunder storm) when running my little BASIC program.
Politicians must compromise on Brexit at some point, like it or not - Institute For Fiscal Studies - IFS
"Last week the government published its latest figures on inequality and poverty. A small rise in the poverty numbers got some publicity. Much more striking was the fact that these figures showed zero income growth for households in 2017-18. Zero. That is not normal. In the past 30 years, that or worse has happened only during the 1990 recession and in two years that followed the 2009 crisis."
Violent crime: Police cannot 'arrest' the issue away - May - BBC News
>>"If teachers were to face sanctions over spotting those at risk, she says it would create a "culture of defensive reporting", in which the police and social services would be swamped by referrals." << Yup, I suspect that every FE college in the country would have a 'violent crime referral officer' post appointed as part of the safeguarding team, and that boxes would be ticked pronto and stored in a relational database ready for instant reporting.
Why Are Economists Giving Piketty the Cold Shoulder? | Boston Review
"Asset managers have consolidated to the point that even where competition appears to exist among firms, in fact, the same small set of shareholders runs all the firms in an industry, in such a way that the shareholders benefit from weak competition. Several papers document this for airlines and banking and also show that common shareholders tend to reward the executives at the firm they own on the basis of industry-wide profits, not firm-specific ones." Interesting...
Minimum wage: How high could the lowest salaries go? - BBC News
"More than six out of 10 people on the minimum wage work part-time. A similar number are women, and almost nine out of 10 work in the private sector." 9 out of 10 in private sector because public sector organisations have had to outsource functions like canteen, cleaning, and because most care homes and nurseries now 'private' in the sense of belonging to companies but still being paid at a standardised rate.
Brexit: Home truths - no deal and the Irish border
>> "The precedent value or risk of anything like this is not to be underestimated," says the official. "The EU is an institution of rules, so precedents are something that have to be weighed up carefully." << Here we go...
Brexit at a Belfast School Gate – Slugger O'Toole
"One fifth of all UK food-bank parcels were given in Northern Ireland last year. 20% of food parcels for 3% of the population. Is it a nationalist food bank or a unionist food bank? Asks nobody, ever." And yet... benefit levels much higher in NI. What is going on?
Led by donkeys
"We're taking the historic Brexit pronouncements of our political leaders, turning them into tweets and slapping them up on massive billboards across the nation. See thread for scores of pictures of the project so far (we're 100% crowdfunded - see url link)" Seen these - excellent
“Phony pollster posters prompt palaver” #ImagineBelfast – Slugger O'Toole
"Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics admitted on Friday that it was behind the poster campaign which provoked widespread reaction – mostly positive, some negative – and disappointingly little accurate speculation about its source. Led By Donkeys took some of the blame, Dylan Quinn’s We Deserve Better campaign, along with comedian Shane Todd and many pointing fingers at the Alliance Party." Excellent!
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » No Deal remains imminent and likely
"If you ever want to predict what May will do just imagine what she thinks will get her the most favourable headline in The Telegraph the next day. No deal is less of a short term hit for the tories than revoke so that's what she'd do." I have a nasty feeling that there is a grain of truth in this comment.
Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation | HeraldScotland
"I grew up believing, with my dad and his friends, that doctors, teachers and Labour politicians were the noblest works of God - doctors worked to reduce pain, teachers to spread knowledge, Labour politicians to reduce poverty and increase social equality. I was born in 1934 Riddrie which, with Knightswood, was the best scheme built by Glasgow Corporation (now called Glasgow City Council) being the earliest built under the Wheatley Act. This, the only Socialist Act of the first brief Labour Government after world war I, let local councils start improving the British workers' rotten rented homes by building public housing schemes. These were added to a Glasgow whose pure water supply, plumbing, roads, street lighting, public transport and schools had been municipalised by the former Liberal Party that had also introduced old age pensions, labour exchanges and doles, paying for them by taxing more highly the owners of richer properties. In this way Glasgow resembled London, Birmingham and many big industrial towns."
Huawei savaged by Brit code review board over pisspoor dev practices • The Register
>> "Rob Pritchard of the Cyber Security Expert told The Register: "I think this presents the UK government with an interesting dilemma - the HCSEC was set up essentially because of concerns about threats from the Chinese state to UK CNI (critical national infrastructure). Finding general issues is a good thing, but other vendors are not subject to this level of scrutiny. We have no real (at least not this in depth) assurance that products from rival vendors are more secure."" << Perhaps we should have more code auditing for the basic plumbing from all suppliers?
How do you solve a quadratic equation? G.E. Forsythe (1966) - CS-TR-66-40.pdf
"The moral of the story is that users of computers for mathematical problems require some knowledge of numerical mathematics. It is not sufficient to learn some programming language, and then simply translate formulas from a textbook of pure mathematics into the language of a computer.The formulas and algorithms to be found in most mathematics texts were devised for the exact arithmetic of the real number system. Few authors have given any attention to the robustness of the formulas--that is, to the behavior of the formulas when used with the approximate arithmetic of computers. Until attention is given to robustness in mathematics textbooks, the would-be scientific computer must consult people and writings specifically concerned with machine computation."
Mistakes, we’ve drawn a few – The Economist
Nice material for a lesson
Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for ‘Stubborn’ Number 33 | Quanta Magazine
>> "Diophantine equations are polynomial equations whose unknown variables must take integer values. Their basic properties can stymie number theorists. For instance, no mathematical method exists that can reliably tell whether any given Diophantine equation has solutions. According to Booker, the sum-of-three-cubes problem “is one of the simplest” of these thorny Diophantine equations. “It’s right at the frontier of what we can handle,” Browning added." <<
End-user programming
Three elements for an end-user programming system: embodiment, live system and inbuilt toolchain
A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge | WIRED
Steven Levy piece reprinted from 1984 "[...] They encourage businesses to keep track of things that were previously unquantified or altogether overlooked. Executives no longer have to be satisfied with quarterly updates, for it is now an easy matter to compile monthly, weekly, even daily updates. People use spreadsheets to make daily inventory checks, to find out who has paid their bills, to chart the performance of truck drivers over a period of weeks or months. How-to manuals for spreadsheets often use as an example a performance chart for salespeople — the model breaks down how many items they sell week by week and instantly calculates commissions and even bonuses due. If word comes down that a belt-tightening is in order, a few keystrokes will create a sheet that clearly identifies the worst performers." Already the demand for more data! More often!
conflict - Engineer refusing to file/disclose patents - The Workplace Stack Exchange
"The company has recently decided to dial back the benefits for this program, to a simple $100 "finder's fee" for a patent submission, and an additional $900 for a "good" patent. Since employees write these in their spare time, it doesn't surprise me that the number of applications has dropped from 2 per week to maybe 3 per quarter." Well, there is an innovative and forward looking outfit. Via HN.
Stages, Structures, and the Work of Being Yourself | L.M. Sacasas
"The main idea that emerged for me was this: in our contemporary, digitally augmented society the mounting pressure we experience is not the pressure of conforming to the rigid demands of piety and moral probity, rather it is the pressure of unremitting impression management, identity work, and self-consciousness. Moreover, there is no carnival. Or, better, what presents itself as a carnival experience is, in reality, just another version of the disciplinary experience." No carnivals. On the old Web you did sometimes come across odd little sites that were exhibits of some kind, something to interact with where you had to work out the 'rules of engagement'.
Always On — Real Life
"To borrow sociologist Erving Goffman’s terminology, broadcasting on social media amounts to a substantial expansion of what he called our “front stage,” where we are consciously and continually involved in the work of impression management. In his metaphor of social life as theater, Goffman presumed the existence of a backstage, where we can let down our guard, but the open-ended communication in time and space on social media expands our front stage, divorcing it from any particular place that we could choose to leave." Goffman's ideas dusted off and applied to the glowing rectangles
For Sale: This Massive, Obsessive and (Probably) Obsolete VHS Boxing Archive - The New York Times
"It was the life’s work of Bela Szilagyi, a classical pianist and passionate fight enthusiast, who started the collection in 1979 when he taped a featherweight title match on a Quasar videocassette recorder. Mr. Szilagyi died in 2012 at 78 years old and his wife, a soft-spoken piano teacher, became the collection’s archivist." Never understood collectors. I have too many books, but I do cull them now and again...
enumerate - Exercise sheet with two enumerated columns - TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange
TeX worksheet layouts
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » As we approach the slightly later than planned day of reckoning
"First of all, we should note that it wasn’t inevitable that there would be a decision point now. No attempt was made by anyone to forge a consensus that would have allowed a mainstream way forward to be identified. The Prime Minister made no attempt to reach out to other parties, she made no attempt to include strands from the defeated campaign in the thinking of what Brexit would look like, she made no serious attempt to engage the EU in this process." This. The vote, a narrow majority, then silence and jockeying for power in a party that has basically no vision at all. The home owning shareholding policy is dead: noone under 30 can afford to buy a house without taxpayer help and the shares got bought by operators.
FortranForTheIBM704.pdf
A scan of the complete 54 page manual
fortran automatic coding system for the ibm 704
Strange blog title but nice picture of the Fortran manual
The first iPhone prototype: an exclusive look at Apple’s red M68 - The Verge
"To achieve that level of secrecy, Apple created special prototype development boards that contained nearly all of the iPhone’s parts, spread out across a large circuit board. The Verge has obtained exclusive access to the original iPhone M68 prototype board from 2006 / 2007, thanks to Red M Sixty, a source that asked to remain anonymous. It’s the first time this board has been pictured publicly, and it provides a rare historical look at an important part of computing history, showing how Apple developed the original iPhone." Perhaps they just needed easy access to the parts for testing and tweaking?
Orbit of the Moon - Wikipedia
"The rotational axis of the Moon is not perpendicular to its orbital plane, so the lunar equator is not in the plane of its orbit, but is inclined to it by a constant value of 6.688° (this is the obliquity). As was discovered by Jacques Cassini in 1722, the rotational axis of the Moon precesses with the same rate as its orbital plane, but is 180° out of phase (see Cassini's Laws). Therefore, the angle between the ecliptic and the lunar equator is always 1.543°, even though the rotational axis of the Moon is not fixed with respect to the stars." Well, wow
Paris Review - W. S. Merwin, The Art of Poetry No. 38
"The kind of writing that matters most to me is something you don’t learn about. It’s constantly coming out of what I don’t know rather than what I do know. I find it as I go. In a sense, much that is learned is bound to be bad habits. You’re always beginning again."
Linux Magazine | November 1999 | FEATURES | The Joy of Unix
>> "LM: So you didn't really write vi in one weekend like everybody says? BJ: No. It took a long time. It was really hard to do because you've got to remember that I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough. A 1200 baud modem was an upgrade. 1200 baud now is pretty slow. 9600 baud is faster than you can read. 1200 baud is way slower. So the editor was optimized so that you could edit and feel productive when it was painting slower than you could think. Now that computers are so much faster than you can think, nobody understands this anymore. The people doing Emacs were sitting in labs at MIT with what were essentially fibre-channel links to the host, in contemporary terms. They were working on a PDP-10, which was a huge machine by comparison, with infinitely fast screens. So they could have funny commands with the screen shimmering and all that, and meanwhile, I'm sitting at home in sort of World War II surplus housing at Berkeley with a modem and a terminal that can just barely get the cursor off the bottom line. It was a world that is now extinct. People don't know that vi was written for a world that doesn't exist anymore -- unless you decide to get a satellite phone and use it to connect to the Net at 2400 baud, in which case you'll realize that the Net is not usable at 2400 baud. It used to be perfectly usable at 1200 baud. But these days you can't use the Web at 2400 baud because the ads are 24 kilobytes." << Just in case link gets lost
Convert between Unix and Windows text files
:1,$s/^M//g Works, you have to enter the ^M new line character with Ctrl-V and Enter
Busybox vi tutorial - Krzysztof Adamski
Looks like a useful sub-set of Vim to me
Can I undo multiple times in nvi and/or the original vi? - Vi and Vim Stack Exchange
"The closest thing the original vi has to multiple undo (aside from U which can revert multiple changes within a single line) is the numbered registers, which hold the nine most recent changes or deletions."
What the Hell is Going On? — David Perell
"Television equalized culture. The rich and poor consumed the same entertainment at the same time. In the 1950s, 70 percent of American television sets sometimes tuned into I Love Lucy. Millions of Americans were in sync. They watched the same shows at the same time." Coronation Street theme music heard from each window in turn while walking down the street early evening in late 1970s. All gone now. Good thing?
Free Mag 7 Star Charts - Observing Skills - Articles - Articles - Cloudy Nights
"This project is my attempt to produce a free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts -- the Mag-7 Star Atlas -- capable of being printed at reasonable resolutions on the average home printer. The Mag-7 Star Atlas plots stars down to Magnitude 7.25, with double / multiple stars indicated by a thin horizontal bar. Plotted DSO's (Deep Sky Objects) include all objects on the Messier list, the RASC's finest NGC list, and the Herschell 400 list --- more than 550 DSO's in total." Very nice and handsome
Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Polarized Crowds - Issue 70: Variables - Nautilus
>> "In 2013, James Evans, a University of Chicago sociologist and computational scientist, launched a study to see if science forged a bridge across the political divide. Did conservatives and liberals at least agree on biology and physics and economics? Short answer: No. “We found more polarization than we expected,” Evans told me recently. People were even more polarized over science than sports teams. At the outset, Evans said, “I was hoping to find that science was like a Switzerland. When we have problems, we can appeal to science as a neutral arbiter to produce a solution, or pathway to a solution. That wasn’t the case at all.”" <<
The Man Who Invented Pi | History Today
"Though Jones ended his life as part of the mathematical establishment, his origins were modest. He was born on a small farm on Anglesey in about 1675. His only formal education was at the local charity school where he showed mathematical aptitude and it was arranged for him to work in a merchant's counting house in London. Later he sailed to the West Indies and became interested in navigation; he then went on to be a mathematics master on a man-of-war." Navigation was the new technology of 17th century.
A (Partial) Defense of Debian | The Changelog
"People that have been sysadmins for a long period of time will instantly recognize the value of this kind of stability. Change is expensive and difficult, and often causes outages and incidents as bugs are discovered when software is adapted to a new environment. Being able to keep up-to-date with security patches while also expecting little or no breaking changes is a huge win. Maintaining backwards compatibility for old software is also important." Strange that people have to actually spell things like this out.
Mozilla allow encrypted file transfers up to 1Gb
Looks interesting, will need to try it out
The Mad Genius Mystery | Psychology Today
"Alexander Grothendieck altered mathematics with a velocity that is hard to articulate, so abstruse is his work. He used commutative algebra to solve complex geometrical problems and laid the groundwork for solutions to the Weil conjectures and to Fermat's last theorem. He innovated in pure mathematics, but his work has applications in cryptography and coding theory. Using tools from algebraic geometry, category theory, and topology, he created an entirely new paradigm." Do not go gentle?
How random can you be? | Lineae ex punctis
Nice. Via HN
APL – A Glimpse of Heaven (2006) | Hacker News
"J (and APL) really seemed to be an extension of what computing could've been. As a computer scientist and programmer, any language and OS work for me. I want something, I make it. I can write an app in C or C++ or Java or Lisp or Erlang or... because I have the background for all of that. For most other users, they have to find a program that accomplishes their need, or maybe they do it in Excel or Google Sheets. But in the past we had an idea of interactive languages that were the main interface for the user. The user could then produce the things they needed to meet their needs. They didn't need me, the CS guy, they could produce at least a functional prototype that met the need for the day. Then over the years they'd tweak it, add more, grow it into something comprehensive, or it reached a natural limit (due to complexity or meeting requirements)." We lost something after the early days of mandatory end user programming. Of course, we gained a tremendous increase in accessibility for routine tasks - immense, impossible to overestimate that - but I'm increasingly wondering if it was necessarily at the cost of the loss...
24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed
"I was also interested in what motivated high-rate digital audio advocacy. Responses indicate that few people understand basic signal theory or the sampling theorem, which is hardly surprising. Misunderstandings of the mathematics, technology, and physiology arose in most of the conversations, often asserted by professionals who otherwise possessed significant audio expertise. Some even argued that the sampling theorem doesn't really explain how digital audio actually works." This one is going to run and run
Turning disused buildings into artist studios - BBC News
"Rising rents are seeing artists priced out of major cities, but now landlords are turning to them to help protect commercial properties from squatters." Sensible move - but then we could just build council housing...
The 19th century moral panic over paper technology.
"The real price of books plummeted by more than 60 percent between 1460 and 1500: A book composed of 500 folio pages could sell for as much as 30 florins in 1422 in Austria—a huge amount of money at the time—but by the 1470s, a 500-folio book would fetch something in the neighborhood of 10 florins. There were even books on the market that sold for as little as 2 or 3 florins. In 1498, a Bible composed of over 2,000 folio pages sold for 6 florins. Costs continued to decline, albeit at a much slower rate, over the next three centuries. As a result, books were no longer reserved only for the clergy or for kings: Owning a printed Bible or book of hours became a coveted status symbol for the emerging class of moderately wealthy merchants and magnates." 19th century price fell off a cliff because of rotary press and machine production of wood pulp paper
xkcd: Plotting XKCD graphs - xkcd-intro.pdf
It turns out from the inevitable HN disucssion that there is a whole sub genre of rough plotting using algorithms out there
XKCD-style plots in Matplotlib | Pythonic Perambulations
Truly, we live in wonderous times. I must have a look at iPython
Computing planetary positions - a tutorial with worked examples
Spreadsheets under construction
Workplace OS History: IBM’s $2 Billion Microkernel of Failure
The Taligent thing
Elijah Cummings Saved the Michael Cohen Hearing - The Atlantic
"Let me tell you the picture that really, really pained me. You were leaving the prison, you were leaving the courthouse, and, I guess it’s your daughter, had braces or something on. Man that thing, man that thing hurt me. As a father of two daughters, it hurt me. And I can imagine how it must feel for you. But I’m just saying to you—I want to first of all thank you. I know that this has been hard. I know that you’ve faced a lot. I know that you are worried about your family. But this is a part of your destiny. And hopefully this portion of your destiny will lead to a better, a better, a better Michael Cohen, a better Donald Trump, a better United States of America, and a better world. And I mean that from the depths of my heart." I think we need Representative Elijah Cummings over here for a bit perhaps in a month or so...
‘They Created an Underground’: Inside the Chaotic Early Days of Trump’s Foreign Policy - POLITICO Magazine
>> “These [executive orders] were, like, written in crayon, like The Heritage Foundation intern just came up with them. They just weren’t very good. … It wasn’t just bad policy. It was bad policy poorly executed. I could have done it better.” << Hope things have calmed down a bit
Geoff Greer's site: Oldest Viable Laptop
"This is a ThinkPad X61s. Despite being made in 2007, it’s been fine for work. Yes, everything about it is worse than my MacBook. It’s slower and heavier. It lacks a trackpad. The screen is a mere 1024x768, causing some websites to show their mobile layout.1 Still, the experience has been significantly better than I predicted. The only major hardware drawback is the lack of video camera. The main sources of frustration have been software." Pop Xubuntu 2018 or Slackware --current on there and you're golden. I sometimes still use a T42.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Birds of a Feather
"And so we get to the Stab in the Back Myth– if the project, whatever it is, fails it cannot ever be because it was wrong or badly implemented or irrelevant to people’s real needs or because its inherent contradictions could not be reconciled or because it promised the undeliverable or because the leader passively enabled the wickedness of others. No, it can only be because others undermined the party, the manifesto, the government, the leader. Someone else is always at fault."
Chernobyl Today | Travel + Leisure
>> "Don't worry," he said, "Soviet radiation is the best in the world. It makes hair thicker and men more potent." <<
The Famous Photo of Chernobyl's Most Dangerous Radioactive Material Was a Selfie - Atlas Obscura
"Of the five corium creations, only Cherobyl’s has escaped its containment. With no water to cool the mass, the radioactive sludge moved through the unit over the course a week following the meltdown, taking on molten concrete and sand to go along with the uranium (fuel) and zirconium (cladding) molecules. This poisonous lava flowed downhill, eventually burning through the floor of the building. When nuclear inspectors finally accessed the area several months after the initial explosion, they found that 11 tons of it had settled into a three meter wide grey mass at the corner of a steam distribution corridor below. This, they dubbed the Elephant’s Foot. Over the years, the Elephant’s Foot cooled and cracked. Even today, though, it’s still estimated to be slightly above the ambient temperature as the radioactive material decomposes."
Patent exhaustion and open source [LWN.net]
"At FOSDEM 2019, US lawyer Van Lindberg argued that several US court decisions related to exhaustion, most of them recent but some less so, could come together to have surprising beneficial effects for free software." Summary of the idea of patent exhaustion in the US and its beneficial implications for open source/libre software
Ian Austin quits Labour blaming Jeremy Corbyn's leadership - BBC News
>> "Mr Watson, who recently said he "no longer recognises" the party he was elected deputy leader of in 2015, said he was "deeply saddened" by his close friend's decision to leave. "I didn't want him to go, not just because he is a friend but because Labour needs people of his experience, calibre and passion if we are to win," he added." << Will we ever get rid of the Tories? Is there an electable alternative to austerity and cuts?
The Surprising Tale of One of Frank Stella’s Black Paintings - The New York Times
"If you think about things, basically it’s Picasso, Matisse and Miró — that’s one side of the coin; and the other side is Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich."
Seven MPs leave Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership - BBC News
>> Labour had to "broaden out" and become more tolerant, he said, adding: "I love this party. But sometimes I no longer recognise it, that is why I do not regard those who have resigned today as traitors." << Tom Watson on damage control. With the Torys in zombie mode walking towards a cliff, why is the Labour party so determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Can anyone explain?
DeathHacks – The Message – Medium
"Bradbury’s personal house was demolished intentionally in some sort of final irony. My dad’s retirement home was not quite so high tech but it was designed to provide a certain level of creature comforts with minimal inputs from him. Set it and forget it. An X-10 system turned most of the lights on and off on a schedule. Some of this was pretty straightforward “Turn on the porch lights after dark.” and some was a bit more esoteric “Turn off the office lights at 10 pm so that I’ll know it’s time for bed.” He knew the ruleset. I did not. I’d be working on an article or reading a book and suddenly be plunged into total darkness. I’d poke at some wall switches that would sometimes turn the lights back on." Tom West was the geezer in Kidder's Soul of the New Machine. Personally, I'm more for manual controls as I get older.
Brutalist Web Design
"By default, a website that uses HTML as intended and has no custom styling will be readable on all screens and devices. Only the act of design can make the content less readable, though it can certainly make it more. For example, this website does not use default styles, yet, it is readable on any size screen."
How white space killed an enterprise app (and why data density matters)
"Users absolutely hated the new system. Sure, the old system was ugly, but it had everything they needed, right at their fingertips! Their jobs were incredibly fast paced—they worked in a tech support call center and were rated on productivity metrics. They didn’t have time to click or scroll to find information while the clock was literally ticking." I hate scrolling. I like accelerator keys (Alt-F and so on) and tab to next field
Fifty Years of BASIC, the Language That Made Computers Personal | Time
I'm looking for the source code for a BASIC interpreter that supports Dartmouth BASIC including the MAT statements. Line numbers. No Graphics. Portable code. Chipmunk BASIC is the closest so far but no source apparently available.
Engagements - Hansard - JC asking TM his 6 questions about Seabourne Freight a ferry company with no ships
Classic of the genre
The Observation Deck » Reflecting on The Soul of a New Machine
>> "the engineer who, frustrated with a nanosecond-scale timing problem in the ALU that he designed, moved to a commune in Vermont, claiming a desire to deal with “no unit of time shorter than a season"" << I know just what he means... ... seriously the sagas of computing need retelling to a new generation. I hope to see open/libre hardware for retail at sane prices soon
“Catastrophic” hack on email provider destroys almost two decades of data | Ars Technica
>> The damage, Romero reported, extended to VFEmail’s “entire infrastructure,” including mail hosts, virtual machine hosts, and a SQL server cluster. The extent of the damage, he suggested, required the hacker to have multiple passwords. “That’s the scary part.” << Perhaps time to set up incremental backups with a rotating pattern
BBC - Travel - Macau’s rare fusion cuisine
"There is an educational restaurant in Macau where they train the next generation of chefs,” Palmer said. “We have shared many recipes with them as we want Macanese food to continue. We don’t feel the need to keep our recipes a secret. Whoever asks us for them, we share it." Food as the thing that defines a culture after the language goes.
Superstar freshman Dems replace Pelosi as GOP targets - POLITICO
>> "It speaks to a fear-based strategy that they utilize in order to kind of create political support, instead of actually painting a positive vision," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview. << There is a lot of fear-mongering around
CERN day 1
"The project is to rebuilding the very first web browser, aptly called WorldWideWeb (though shortly thereafter being renamed to Nexus, since…the whole world wide web thing being a bigger deal). This browser was written by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 and the project marks the 30th anniversary of the web." Internet Archaeology is apparently a thing
How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past | Quanta Magazine
"They came up with equations to describe how the brain might in theory encode time indirectly. In their scheme, as sensory neurons fire in response to an unfolding event, the brain maps the temporal component of that activity to some intermediate representation of the experience — a Laplace transform, in mathematical terms. That representation allows the brain to preserve information about the event as a function of some variable it can encode rather than as a function of time (which it can’t). The brain can then map the intermediate representation back into other activity for a temporal experience — an inverse Laplace transform — to reconstruct a compressed record of what happened when."
Backreaction: Maybe I’m crazy
"Those who, a decade ago, made confident predictions that the Large Hadron Collider should have seen new particles can now not be bothered to comment. They are busy making “predictions” for new particles that the next larger collider should see. We risk spending $20 billion dollars on more null-results that will not move us forward. Am I crazy for saying that’s a dumb idea? Maybe."
Freshly Squeezed: The Truth About Orange Juice in Boxes | Civil Eats
"In the 1980s Tropicana coined the phrase “not from concentrate” to distinguish its pasteurized orange juice from the cheaper reconstituted “from concentrate” juice that began appearing alongside it in the refrigerator section of supermarkets. The idea was to convince consumers that pasteurized orange juice is a fresher, overall better product and therefore worth the higher price. It worked. Over the next five years sales of Tropicana’s pasteurized juice doubled and profits almost tripled." TD;LR buy oranges and squeeze them. Seriously, in UK at present they are 8 for the £1 on the food market.
Dual Monitor - use as new workspace / Desktop / Xfce Forums
Try screen 0 on left monitor and screen 1 on right monitor in xrandr. Can we copy/paste between the screens however?
The 26,000-Year Astronomical Monument Hidden in Plain Sight — Blog of the Long Now
"While I may never totally understand the inner motivations of the monument’s designer, I did want to understand it on a technical level. How did Hansen create a celestial clock face frozen in time that we can interpret and understand as the date of the dam’s completion? The earth’s axial precession is a rather obscure piece of astronomy, and our understanding of it through history has been spotty at best. That this major engineering feat was celebrated through this monument to the axial precession still held great interest to me, and I wanted to understand it better." Procession of the equinoxes in stone. I love those 1920s and 1930s designs.
Stalin’s Scheherazade
"These pronouncements must have intrigued Stalin. He was pondering whether ideology alone could bring cohesion to the Soviet Union. He was starting to have doubts about the mobilizational potential of proletarian internationalism for inspiring the masses to defend the country. The emotionally resonant concept of “motherland,” which had gone out of fashion with the October revolution, now intrigued him." Re-reading Quiet Flows the Don
CNN - Breaking News, Latest News and Videos
Text links no animations or modal dialogs. Nice
The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser - Microsoft Tech Community - 331732
"Fast forward, as Internet Explorer standards mode supported more and more standards, we decided not to just update the mode we called standards mode because, when we did, we risked breaking applications written for an older interpretation of the standards. So, with Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), we added IE8 standards, but also kept Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) standards. That meant, for sites in the Internet zone, it would default to IE8 standards, but, for sites in the local intranet zone, it would default to IE7 standards." Classic
Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture | peterlu.org
Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture
Traffic Ghost Hunting - Issue 16: Nothingness - Nautilus
"To answer this question mathematicians, physicists, and traffic engineers have devised many types of traffic models. For instance, microscopic models resolve the paths of the individual vehicles, and are good at describing vehicle–vehicle interactions. In contrast, macroscopic models describe traffic as a fluid, in which cars are interpreted as fluid particles. They are effective at capturing large-scale phenomena that involve many vehicles. Finally, cellular models divide the road into segments and prescribe rules by which cars move from cell to cell, providing a framework for capturing the uncertainty that is inherent in real traffic." I want a spreadsheet simulation of a atomic, fluid and cellular model. Railways lend themselves to cellular because stations.
Impossible Cookware and Other Triumphs of the Penrose Tile - Issue 69: Patterns - Nautilus
"Penrose made several versions of his aperiodic tile sets. One of his most famous is known as the “kite” and the “dart.” The kite looks like the kids’ toy of the same name, and the dart looks like a simplified outline of a stealth bomber. Both divide cleanly along axes of symmetry and each has two simple, symmetrical arcs on their surface. Penrose established one placing rule: for a “legal” tile placement these arcs must match up, creating contiguous curves. Without this rule, kites and darts can be placed together in repeating patterns. With this rule, repetition never comes. The kite and the dart tile forever, dancing around their five axes, creating starbursts and decagons, winding curves, butterflies and flowers. Shapes recur but new variations keep creeping in."
HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points
"Whether front or backend, many of us without a computer science background are here because of the ease of starting to write HTML and CSS. The magic of seeing our code do stuff on a real live webpage! We have already lost many of the entry points that we had. We don’t have the forums of parents teaching each other HTML and CSS, in order to make a family album. Those people now use Facebook, or perhaps run a blog on wordpress.com or SquareSpace with a standard template. We don’t have people customising their MySpace profile, or learning HTML via Neopets. We don’t have the people, usually women, entering the industry because they needed to learn HTML during that period when an organisation’s website was deemed part of the duties of the administrator." Same with endpoint hardware. The days of Ubuntu on an old laptop are receding. Proprietary tablets with UN-replacable batteries is the first platform for many.
Australia's Heard Island: A mysterious land of fire and ice - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Looks nice in the photos but I imagine it is brutal in the winter and pretty parky in the summer.
The Sum-Product Problem Shows How Addition and Multiplication Constrain Each Other | Quanta Magazine
"Yet if you use numbers from an arithmetic progression to generate a grid, the number of distinct sums is always small. And that means that if you’re handed numbers whose sum grid has few distinct entries, it’s a good bet those numbers are closely related to an arithmetic progression."
Computer Graphics from Scratch the book - Table of contents - Gabriel Gambetta
Interesting overview
Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by its Own Navy
"A young officer scribbled algebraic equations in a notebook to figure out how to right the listing vessel. The crew bailed out the ship with buckets after pumps failed. As the Fitzgerald struggled to return to port, its navigational displays failed and backup batteries ran out. The ship’s navigator used a handheld commercial GPS unit and paper charts to guide the ship home." Free surface effect? Moments??
UK to Ease Customs Checks on EU Goods in Event of 'No Deal' Brexit – gCaptain
"LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Most goods arriving from the European Union will be allowed into Britain without full customs checks for at least three months if it leaves the bloc without an exit deal, the British government said on Monday." Seems like a sensible move
These Sketches Will Take You Into the Artistic Mind of Edward Hopper | Travel | Smithsonian
>> "Hopper didn’t like to talk about the meaning of his paintings, but he did provide one interesting clue soon after the Walker acquired Office at Night in 1948. In a letter to the museum’s director, he wrote, “The picture was probably first suggested by many rides on the ‘L’ train in New York after dark, and glimpses of office interiors that were so fleeting as to leave fresh and vivid impressions on my mind.”" << Elevated railways: Glasgow, London, early childhood memories of the dock side railway in Liverpool, York for a couple of stations. Limited stretches of the Reditch to Lichfield line in Brum. Put blinds up if you live near one!
Tom Brady Is Drowning In His Own Pseudoscience | FiveThirtyEight
“Just because you’re a bird doesn’t mean you’re an ornithologist.” Classic
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » The January 29th 2019 amendments and the extension rumours
And so it goes. Useful summary,
How do I create a CloudReady USB installer on Linux? – CloudReady
basically, unzip and use dd. How to make the simple complex does not bode well for this little experiment
The Soviet license plate game and Kolmogorov complexity
"His game was to apply high school math operators to the numbers on both side of the dash so that the dash could be replaced by an equal sign." Worksheet in production...
Lenovo Thinkpad L440 - Features & Exceptions - Google Slides
Thinkpad L440 supported by neverware build of Chromeos that supports crostini. So chance to try before I buy a pixelbook
Jonathan Schuppe, Journalist
>> Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose, a former homicide detective, has paged through the book countless times. What strikes him is how the victims’ ethnicity changed with the city, but many of the homicide hot spots - Prince Street, Springfield Avenue, Grafton Avenue, for example - keep showing up. “It’s amazing how the names have changed but the places stay the same,” Ambrose said. << Psycho-geography: shades of Sinclair (or just confirmation that violent crime happens mostly in poor neighbourhoods). On a path from a Cory Booker biog.
Tools & Craft - Episode 03: Ted Nelson
"So what we have now are documents which imitate paper — which to me, is stupid. You know, it's like putting an imitation horse on a car." Ted Nelson still doing his thing at 81. I just bought a copy of the new print of Computer Lib/Thinking Machines.
The D in SystemD stands for Danger, Will Robinson! Defanged exploit code for security holes now out in the wild • The Register Forums
"A modern OS is a matryoshka doll of abstractions. In hardware you have translation of instructions into micro-ops as well as execution-reording, At the top you have web applications written in interpreted languages (both client- and server-side) that use compiled languages to interact with a supervisor that lives inside a hypervisor. And you don't just have one stack, but many different interpreters and several compiled languages. And a few different hypervisors. And ARM support, and initial support for RiscV. So I'm not sure why Poettering thinks that POSIX compatibility is the biggest threat to the elegance and efficiency of a modern Linux server or desktop."
Revive a Cisco IDS into a capable OpenBSD computer! | The demiblog
"So, how do you get around installing an operating system on a computer which has no video output nor console redirection? For Windows and most Linux distros, you can’t, but OpenBSD, an *nix-like OS, does it beautifully, because it uses console out-of-the-box! So, let’s get started with the installation." I think you could get one of the BSDs to run on a modern toaster if you put your mind to it.
The 500-Year-Long Science Experiment - The Atlantic
"No strategy is likely to be completely foolproof 500 years later. So the team asks that researchers at each 25-year time point copy the instructions so that they remain linguistically and technologically up to date." Probably the best strategy, although the metal plate idea sounds very nice. I'd go for printing the instructions, together with a map showing the locations of the boxes, in a widely used textbook. History tells us that some copies of all the major printed books can make it through the centuries even if the attrition rate is large.
Transport Firms Reviewing UK-Registered Ships Ahead of Brexit – gCaptain
>> “In the light of the Brexit process we are considering whether the UK flag can become a possible issue for us when it no longer will be an EU flag post the 29th March 2019, but we have taken no decisions and are reviewing different scenarios,” said Ian Hampton, chief people & communications officer and Brexit spokesperson for Stena Line. << P&O shifting to Cyprus and now these two 'reviewing' the situation.
Reality has a surprising amount of detail
"That’s how I came to spend a substantial part of my teenage years replacing fences, digging trenches, and building flooring and sheds. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this building, it’s that reality has a surprising amount of detail."
The Tao of Programming
>>A programmer from a very large computer company went to a software conference and then returned to report to his manager, saying: "What sort of programmers work for other companies? They behaved badly and were unconcerned with appearances. There hair was long and unkept and their clothes were wrinkled and old. They crashed out hospitality suite and they made rude noises during my presentation." The manager said: "I should have never sent you to the conference. Those programmers live beyond the physical world. They consider life absurd, an accidental coincidence. They come and go without knowing limitations. Without a care, they live only for their programs. Why should they bother with social conventions? They are alive within the Tao." << An oldie but a goodie
Inlined code
"Using large comment blocks inside the major function to delimit the minor functions is a good idea for quick scanning, and often enclosing it in a bare braced section to scope the local variables and allow editor collapsing of the section is useful. I know there are some rules of thumb about not making functions larger than a page or two, but I specifically disagree with that now -- if a lot of operations are supposed to happen in a sequential fashion, their code should follow sequentially."
Cumulative Frequency Curves - YouTube
Might still be useful
Mean, mode and median from frequency tables - YouTube
Another old one
Probability Part 2: tree diagrams - YouTube
Old work for new syllabus. 12 years ago!
Don’t call it gentrification | Salon.com
"I helped form the San Francisco Community Land Trust and I believe that this model can simultaneously preserve affordability and build community. It’s basically a rebooted version of the old cooperative housing model where affordability and tenure is protected, much in the same way that forests are protected through trusts. Without forms of community ownership, even the most impressive housing organizing victories are temporary. It’s important not to romanticize the cooperative and deal head-on with the problems it presents. For example, the SFCLT has been incorporated since 2004 and we have secured about six dozen homes. Not enough to intervene in the housing crisis yet. Land trusts are part of the solution, not the entire thing. And yes, one of the main obstacles is the accepted notions of what people expect from their housing. It is hard to move beyond the poles of renter vs. homeowner. The CLT model makes asks of both society and the individual. It asks society to move toward housing as a human right. It asks individuals to take personal responsibility as part of a community. It is a heavy lift given the times we live in." Coops with no-sale guarantees.
'Ancient' Aberdeenshire stone circle found to be replica - BBC News
Looks fine. I have seen a real stone circle (well post holes and one or two stones still in position) in the middle of a council estate. This one at least looks the part
APNewsBreak: Undercover Agents Target Cybersecurity Watchdog - The New York Times
"Citizen Lab, based out of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has for years played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in places as far afield as Tibet , Ethiopia and Syria . Lately the group has drawn attention for its repeated exposés of an Israeli surveillance software vendor called the NSO Group, a firm whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico , opposition figures in Panama and human rights activists in the Middle East ." We have the international law of the sea. Perhaps time for international law of the network?
Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators)
Useful to know. I like the define: operator
Why I use old hardware | Drew DeVault’s Blog
"This laptop is a Thinkpad X200, which turns 11 years old in July and is my main workstation away from home (though I bring a second monitor and an external keyboard for long trips). This laptop is a great piece of hardware. 100% of the hardware is supported by the upstream Linux kernel, including the usual offenders like WiFi and Bluetooth. Niche operating systems like 9front and Minix work great, too. Even coreboot works!" I'm on X220 and L440 now mainly because of the screens...
Drove through Johnson City west out of Kansas and into Colorado.
"She told me that meeting and helping these families also helped her change the dynamic of the conversation when she returned to East Texas. Instead of arguing about what FOX or MSNBC said about what was happening on the border, she could share what she saw and heard in person. Appeal to their empathy and compassion, lessen their fear and anxiety." Actual interaction with the 'other' usually resolves some of the bullshit I find. People realise that their basic needs and aspirations are similar.
World3, the public beta | bit-player
"If you could strip the model down to its mathematical essentials, it would be a system of coupled differential equations, something like the Lotka-Volterra equations for predator-prey populations. But the model is actually formulated in the language of “system dynamics,” a simulation methodology invented in the 1950s by Jay W. Forrester of MIT, with heavy influence from control theory and servomechanisms." I'll go for the differential equations thanks...
The Weight of Change - SouthPark Magazine Feature
>> "One of the books that was a role model for me was a book by David Carr called The Night of the Gun. David Carr was a really bad drug addict. When he went to write his memoir, he went back to all these people and said, “Tell me what this was like because I only vaguely remember. Tell me so I can hear from your perspective.” That’s what I did for this." << Another link. Other people as mirrors
Weight Loss Is a Rock Fight - The Atlantic
"There were no Neanderthal foodies. They ate to survive. They went hungry for long stretches. Their bodies sent up alarms telling them they’d better find something to eat. Our DNA still harbors a fear that we’ll starve. But now most of us have access to food that is more abundant, cheaper, and more addictive than at any other time in human history. Our bodies haven’t caught up to the modern world. Our cells think we’re storing up fat for a hard winter when actually it’s just happy hour at Chili’s." This is the thing. I had to try to get over the anxiety about the next meal when I was losing weight. The trust that there always be food...
Claps and cheers: Apple stores' carefully managed drama | Technology | The Guardian
"The company’s extraordinary wealth is not simply a reward for innovation, or the legacy of “innovators” like Steve Jobs. Rather, it flows from the privatization of publicly funded research, mixed with the ability to command the low-wage labor of our Chinese peers, sold by empathetic retailers forbidden from saying “crash”. The profits have been stashed offshore, tax free, repatriated only to enrich those with enough spare cash to invest." Bit of myth busting
Entrepreneurial State | Mariana Mazzucato
In Penguin
Mainframe, Interrupted
"Yeah, but there are a lot of class divisions within that work, and those are really important for organizing. I’ve been trying to follow the changes and crunch the numbers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out to understand what’s increasing and what’s decreasing. What I’m looking for is the numbers of people in the field—and what is the field?" IT as a field for unionisation: is this about differentials again?
Beto O'Rourke – Medium
Can you imagine Jeremy or Teresa doing a road journal?
The antisocial laptop
"I find it fascinating that for years I’ve had all the information necessary to debug this, but my mental model of causality was limited to the design of the machine - software interfaces and physical connections - and was completely missing the possibility of non-intentional interactions via the physical world. I suspect someone with an EE background would have immediately realized what was going on." We sometimes forget that we are using walkie-talkies with processors...
The three-page paper that shook philosophy—a hacker’s perspective « the jsomers.net blog
"Having a term for these tricky cases allows you, I think, to be ever-so-slightly more alert to them." Having a word or term for something provides us with a 'handle' for the idea or pattern
Mathematicians Seal Back Door to Breaking RSA Encryption | Quanta Magazine
"But there is a back door, and it has to do with polynomial equations. Every number can be represented as a unique polynomial equation. While it’s hard to find the prime factors of a number, it’s easy to find the factors of a polynomial. And once you know the factors of a polynomial, you can use that information to find the prime factors of the number you started with." The paragraph that follows is pure gold and I can get a couple of lessons out of it...
Feedback: canaries, bad managers, pranks, and book 3?
"It's the gentle reminder that you really should not brazenly ship code for the biggest web site in the world without testing it first. You definitely shouldn't turn something on and then head out the door to go on vacation for two weeks." Or perhaps your colleagues can complete the testing while you go on holiday...
Johnny.Decimal home · J•D
Nice idea but it will never catch on
Old UNIX V6 ed _lightly_ ported to modern systems
1300ish lines of K & R C produce a minimal text editor.
Google’s AI Guru Wants Computers to Think More Like Brains | WIRED
"[...] When you train a neural net, it will learn a billion numbers that represent the knowledge it has extracted from the training data. If you put in an image, out comes the right decision, say, whether this was a pedestrian or not. But if you ask “Why did it think that?” well if there were any simple rules for deciding whether an image contains a pedestrian or not, it would have been a solved problem ages ago." Food for thought
Where Does a Shark’s Skin Get Its Pattern?
"Turing’s model, called a reaction-diffusion mechanism, is beautifully simple. It requires only two interacting agents, an activator and an inhibitor, that diffuse through tissue like ink dropped in water. The activator initiates some process, like the formation of a spot, and promotes the production of itself. The inhibitor halts both actions. Critically, the inhibitor spreads through tissue more quickly than the activator does. This faster diffusion of the inhibitor prevents pockets of activation from spilling over. Depending on exactly when and where the activator and inhibitor are released, the pockets of activation will arrange themselves as regularly spaced dots, stripes, or other patterns."
Brexit: Farmers call for new law to guarantee food standards - BBC News
"Mr Gove said concerns the UK would have to lower its food standards to access US markets were not new, because they had been raised a few years ago during discussions over the now aborted plan for a EU-US transatlantic trade and investment partnership." Strikes me that US based producers of good quality food might not want people thinking that all US sourced food is adulterated. Who actually makes money of bulk low cost ingredients?
Footnotes to Plato | A philosophical series from the TLS Online
One for lazy afternoons in the cafe
The Men Peddling the 'Secrets' to Getting Rich on Amazon - The Atlantic
"It may seem obvious to an outsider that most people aren’t going to become rich by selling things on Amazon. But that’s the thing about gold rushes: Some people do find gold, and it is sometimes hard to tell what distinguishes the people who make it from those who don’t." Random choice?
Unpacking the Millennial Work Ethic – Member Feature Stories – Medium
"Arendt’s notion is that labor—the realm of metabolism, maintenance, and consumption—has colonized and supplanted work—the realm of craft, fabrication, and use. Arendt describes the work of labor as both futile, in that it will never end, and necessary, because to be without its products is to die. The logic of the market that Neoliberalism extends to all spheres of human activity essentially makes everything into labor." Arguing against Graeber's Bullshit Jobs book
What is the Point of Equality? Elizabeth S. Anderson Ethics, Vol. 109, No. 2 (Jan., 1999), pp. 287-337
Looks like a compact treatment
The Philosopher Redefining Equality | The New Yorker
"...the bank changed its office plan. When Anderson had started, the bookkeepers worked in rows of desks. Coördination was easy—a check that fell under someone else’s purview could be handed down the line—and there was conversation throughout the day. Then cubicles were added. That transformation interrupted the workflow, the conversational flow, and most other things about the bookkeepers’ days. Their capacities as workers were affected, yet the change had come down from on high." Legitimate peripheral participation is something very valuable and easily lost...
A Tiny Austrian Town Has the Coolest Bus Shelters We've Ever Seen - CityLab
I like the bus stop combined with the tennis court spectator stand one. And the one made out of scrap wood (Ensamble Studios)
Why We Sleep, and Why We Often Can’t | The New Yorker
>> "...the fact that some of the leading indicators for poor sleep and sleep loss are low household income, shift work, food insecurity, and being African-American or Hispanic suggests that the quest for rest is not so simple. Huffington does acknowledge, in passing, that “the vicious cycle of financial deprivation also feeds into the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation,” but she goes on to note, piously, that “the more challenging our circumstances, the more imperative it is to take whatever steps we can to tap into our resilience to help us withstand and overcome the challenges we face.”" << Same old same old. George Orwell's stuff in Road to Wigan Pier springs to mind.
Essential C (2003) [pdf] | Hacker News
"Most code that creates value to people is messy, written in a hurry with vague specifications & unclear understanding of what the end user wants or would pay for, and it gets iterated by disjoint teams of people with competing timelines, politics, credit mongering and resource constraints, and most of it is for reporting something to someone."
Potholes to avoid when migrating to IPv6
Scripts are used to automate things including connections to services on given IP addresses, sometimes with a specific port. IPv6 changes some of the conventions about how IP addresses are written to the extent that some scripts will break. Much hilarity will ensue.
🎈 Public Lab: Build a papercraft spectrometer for your phone -- version 2.0
Looks cool - slit made from black paper and the grating is a bit of DVD coating.
Index of /mirrors/slackware/pub/slackware/slackware-iso/slackware-current-iso
A full 32 bit iso of Slackware current. Installs fine. Just checking again in August 2019
Logic Noise: Sweet, Sweet Oscillator Sounds | Hackaday
Just hilarious...
Maritime Journal | Cory Riverside modernise Thames tug fleet - By Jack Gaston
"The Cory Riverside tug and barge operation provides a unique and well established service transporting refuse from a number of London boroughs through central London and down the Thames for disposal at sites in the lower reaches of the river. Refuse is compressed, containerised, and carried aboard purpose built barges, each capable of carrying 26 containers." 8 years later and Resolution and Revovery are still going strong - saw them pulling barges with 70 odd containers between them the other evening.
Australian food history timeline - Damper first mentioned
"Take 1 lb of flour, water and a pinch of salt. Mix it into a stiff dough and knead for at least one hour, not continuously, but the longer it is kneaded the better the damper. Press with the hands into a flat cake and cook it in at least a foot of hot ashes." Sounds cool. Just seeing how I translate 'a foot of hot ashes' into an oven temperature! The interweb suggests Gas 6 for 35 to 40 min (bicarb to rise it)
Jack Monroe's bannock recipe | Life and style | The Guardian
Linked from the medieval bread blog.
Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap
Jdk 11 has long term support (2023) and the new jshell command to quit is /exit
Univalent Foundations Redefines Mathematics | Quanta Magazine
"Type theory has its origins in an attempt to fix a critical flaw in early versions of set theory, which was identified by the philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell in 1901. Russell noted that some sets contain themselves as a member. For example, consider the set of all things that are not spaceships. This set — the set of non-spaceships — is itself not a spaceship, so it is a member of itself." An oldie but a goodie
Text mining for history and literature course page
Via usesthis for one of the 'instructors' on the course. Wealth of links to online resources about algorithmic and statistical methods for analysing texts and some statistics background.
Why Can’t We Find Planet Nine? | Quanta Magazine
"The first evidence for Planet Nine surfaced in 2014, when the discovery of a planetoid revealed that a handful of mini ice-worlds beyond the Kuiper belt followed suspiciously similar paths around the sun. “If things are in the same orbit, then something’s pushing them,” said Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science and the co-discoverer of the 2014 planetoid. Brown and his colleague Konstantin Batygin made a specific prediction two years later: The “perturber,” as they call it, should weigh between 5 and 20 Earth masses and follow an elliptical orbit hundreds or even 1,000 times more distant from the sun than Earth." Jupiter is 300+ Earth masses so 5 to 20 at these distances can evade observation pretty easily. Where is Clive Tombaugh and his big mirror when you need him?
With trust destroyed, Facebook is haunted by old data deals | TechCrunch
Fall out from NY times article linked previously, via HN
As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants - The New York Times
"For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews. The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond." Now you know why I'm sticking resolutely with Web 1.0. HTML and all. I miss HoTMetaL so much.
A Caravaggio for Christmas: is his stolen Nativity masterpiece about to reappear? | Art and design | The Guardian
"One of the most moving of all such scenes of reverence for a newborn child is about to mark its 50th year in limbo. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s Nativity With Saints Lawrence and Francis was painted in Palermo, capital of Sicily, in 1609 and stolen 360 years later. It hasn’t been seen since, at least not by any honest citizen. Yet as the anniversary of its disappearance approaches, it may be about to resurface." Caravaggio always brings to mind M by Peter Robb
Almost surely - Wikipedia
measure theory hits probability. The set of possible exceptions can be non-empty but the probability of picking an element in that set is zero. Example, probability proportional to area on some target. Probability of hitting a line across the target is zero because line has no area.
Why you should care about the Nate Silver vs. Nassim Taleb Twitter war
"Predictions have two types of uncertainty; aleatory and epistemic. Aleatory uncertainty is concerned with the fundamental system (probability of rolling a six on a standard die). Epistemic uncertainty is concerned with the uncertainty of the system (how many sides does a die have? And what is the probability of rolling a six?). With the later, you have to guess the game and the outcome; like an election!"
Donald Knuth: The Yoda of Silicon Valley | Hacker News
>> And they asked him, "How could you possibly do this?" And he answered, "When I learned to program, you were lucky if you got five minutes with the machine a day. If you wanted to get the program going, it just had to be written right. So people just learned to program like it was carving stone. You sort of have to sidle up to it. That's how I learned to program." <<
The Yoda of Silicon Valley - The New York Times
>> “Knuth made it clear that the system could actually be understood all the way down to the machine code level,” said Dr. Norvig. Nowadays, of course, with algorithms masterminding (and undermining) our very existence, the average programmer no longer has time to manipulate the binary muck, and works instead with hierarchies of abstraction, layers upon layers of code — and often with chains of code borrowed from code libraries. But an elite class of engineers occasionally still does the deep dive. << Abstractions built on abstractions again - this pattern keeps coming up
Introduction to Applied Linear Algebra – Vectors, Matrices, and Least Squares
Not light reading but comes with julia language code
Instead of Writing a Thousand Words, Part One: Ideas
Takes a bit of loading (and battery) but worth a look
Mary Poppendieck's "The Tyranny of 'The Plan'" - Chris Gagné
Transcript about how the empire state building got built
The Waterfall methodology was a historic accident and they knew it | Hacker News
"What’s not so obvious is that a surprisingly small portion of what people think of as a software project is actually about software development. Interacting with 3rd parties, writing contracts, hiring developers, planning how your project interacts with other projects and the wider organization, responding to regulations and external enquiries, managing the demand for certainty from stakeholders, obtaining funding, maintaining financial control..." HN discussion of waterfall blog post, user jl6 nails it
Waterfall
Early paper on the software implementation process reveals an understanding of need for iteration
FreeBSD Desktop – Part 2.1 – Install FreeBSD 12 | 𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚖𝚊𝚍𝚎𝚗
Whole drive encryption for the laptop
A FreeBSD 11 Desktop How-to » Cooltrainer.org
Process from FreeBSD install
The End of a Red Giant - https://purpleidea.com/
Another take on the redhat acquisition by IBM. I had not realised that there was a tension within redhat between the gpl and the permissive licence bods
Untethered | Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as he saw himself
"Instead, The Red Wheel depicts Russia as having been betrayed twice, by an indolent and corrupt homegrown elite, and by a hyperactive and destructive intelligentsia obsessed with implanting “foreign” ideas, which the author portrays as a liberal-socialist continuum. The Revolution becomes something alien. Concepts of foreign or alien, it must be said, present insurmountable difficulties for anyone who would write the history of Imperial Russia and the Revolution."
Show HN: Stock Trading from Google Spreadsheet | Hacker News
"I worked for one of the largest financials services companies in the world and they STILL use excel to drive their trading activities. They are so large and so complex that it's impossible to convert them because no one completely understands how it all works. They were developed by traders/market experts with no help from IT, for years IT didn't even knew they existed." What could *possibly* go wrong?
Tom Sachs: Working to Code
Personally, I'd rather have a written text
Tom Sachs (artist) - Wikipedia
>> BULLET VIII: ALWAYS BE KNOLLING (ABK) Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use. Put away everything not in use. If you aren't sure, leave it out. Group all 'like' objects. Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself. << Quoted from the Wikipedia page
Ask HN: What are your “brain hacks” that help you manage every day situations? | Hacker News
Nice list - some hilarious
Robert Mueller's Endgame May Be in Sight
"With his major court filings, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the “Mueller Report.” As Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes has said, if a 9/11 Commission–style body had gathered in the wake of the 2016 election to study Russian interference, its findings would read much like Mueller’s novelistic charges against the Internet Research Agency and the military intelligence agency commonly referred to as the GRU." Hiding the 'report' in plain sight.
13brane.net
"TL;DR: Tarr is no longer maintaining a node.js package that everyone and their dog uses. No legitimate users step up to maintain said package, even though they depend on it. Tarr hands over said package to a “helpful” stranger, who immediately decides to monetize it via cryptocurrency pilfering. Internet polarization ensues." Strikes me as a clueless outsider that this is an npm issue rather than an open source issue.
arXiv:math-ph/0005032v1 31 May 2000 - 0005032.pdf
Lie groups for beginners
Killing 3ve: How The FBI And Tech Industry Took Down A Massive Ad Fraud Scheme
"Once on the websites, the bots were programmed to mimic human behavior such as mouse movements and clicks, and to click play on videos to ensure lucrative ads were displayed." Turing test for modern times...
Wide-band WebSDR in Enschede, the Netherlands
This is both hilarious and amazing. Try 6098KHz on am.
Why Trump Can’t Stop Talking to the Press - POLITICO Magazine
"In a recent Politico article, Eliana Johnson and Daniel Lippman wrote of the days in which Trump allots to himself up to nine hours of “Executive Time,” in which he tweets, phones friends, watches TV and otherwise dawdles." So who is actually running the country?
It's good to talk: Why the phone call needs to make a comeback - BBC Three
"And while we used to think nothing of using our mobile phones to, you know, actually make calls, we are now doing that less. In fact, Ofcom reported that in 2017 mobile voice calls dropped for the first time ever in the UK, with the total volume of calls made decreasing by 1.7%." What could cause that drop other than behaviour change? Could it be firm action on cold calling?
Computer Science and Biology Explore Algorithmic Evolution | Quanta Magazine
Algorithmic evolution sounds interesting
Remembering W. H. Auden, by Hannah Arendt | The New Yorker
Pruned: Gardens as Crypto-Water-Computers
"In the front right corner, in a structure that resembles a large cupboard with a transparent front, stands a Rube Goldberg collection of tubes, tanks, valves, pumps and sluices. You could think of it as a hydraulic computer. Water flows through a series of clear pipes, mimicking the way that money flows through the economy. It lets you see (literally) what would happen if you lower tax rates or increase the money supply or whatever; just open a valve here or pull a lever there and the machine sloshes away, showing in real time how the water levels rise and fall in various tanks representing the growth in personal savings, tax revenue, and so on." I'm convinced that I can use pure data or spice to simulate an analogue computer simulating the dripping of a tap...
The “bicameral mind” 30 years on: a critical reappraisal of Julian Jaynes’ hypothesis
Julian Jaynes was an interesting character apart from his book which is densely written but thought provoking.
Ethan Akin, In Defense of "Mindless Rote"
"Following Whitehead, I propose to defend not thinking, to consider the relationship between thinking and not thinking and to describe how symbolism - particularly in mathematics - facilitates not thinking. Above all, I want to argue that all this avoidance of thought is a Good Thing."
Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die • The Register
Data from OFCOM about device use by age and socio-economic group in the UK. 10Mb PDF download, useful for stats lessons
In which Theresa May calls a referendum despite expecting to lose her job | Elections Etc
This gets worse every time I read about it
Bjørn Karmann › Objectifier
>> “Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs” was one of the headlines in the Wired issue “The end of Code” from 2016. The dog training analogies inspired me to investigate the assumptions myself, and went on a quest to visit real dog trainers. << So the geezer built a device that you can train to associate actions with controls in your house.
TipsAndTricks/MultimediaOnCentOS7 - CentOS Wiki
Nux repository and epel are essential for Springdale Linux 7 I find.
A Brand New Interview with David Foster Wallace | Hacker News
Lots of DFW resources from the hackers
The present phase of stagnation in the foundations of physics is not normal | Hacker News
Discussion about the viability of outrageous discovery in physics. As Peter Shor comments "So, people, go hide in your attics!"
The poetry and brief life of a Foxconn worker: Xu Lizhi (1990-2014)
Very strong poetry
Decentralising the web: Why is it so hard to achieve?
>> "When technology is built, the biases of its creators are often embedded into the technology itself in ways that are very hard for the creators to see, until it's used for a purpose you didn't intend," she said during an interview with Internet Archive. "So I think it's really important that we talk about this stuff." <<
The biomass distribution on Earth | PNAS
"Earlier efforts to estimate global biomass have mostly focused on plants (3⇓–5). In parallel, a dominant role for prokaryotic biomass has been advocated in a landmark paper by Whitman et al. (6) entitled “Prokaryotes: The unseen majority.” New sampling and detection techniques (7, 8) make it possible to revisit this claim. Likewise, for other taxa, such as fish, recent global sampling campaigns (9) have resulted in updated estimates, often differing by an order of magnitude or more from previous estimates. For groups such as arthropods, global estimates are still lacking (10, 11)." What there is respiring
What now for the government? - BBC News
"One diplomat, in sorrow more than anger, last week said to me he simply couldn't see how the EU would be able to offer anything that the prime minister could get through Parliament. Yes, anything that is viable at all." Hope the diplomat is wrong
Debian User Forums • View topic - [SOLVED] startx not working in Stretch (with sysvinit-core)
Took a bit of time to find this one but allows me to run without dbus on devuan ascii
The Trump Protests – The personal, the political, and the possible… – Slugger O'Toole
"Central to politics in the UK, over the last century (or so) has been how we, as a country, care for each other. What is personal, and what is the responsibility of the government? How we do we, as far as possible, try to ensure that no one gets left behind?"
globalinequality: Bob Allen's new "poverty machine" and its implications
"...$PPP 1.90 poverty line was supposed to really reflect the same consumption opportunities (bundles) across the world. Mostly because of the differences in housing and clothing costs, but also in relative food prices, Allen shows that this line is broadly correct for African countries but that in Asia and in middle-income countries to achieve the same level of calorific intake, clothing, shelter you need between $PPP 2.50 and $PPP 3.50, and that in rich countries, you need about $PPP 4.50." Housing costs extremely non-linear at low end. > £70 a week or a tent basically.
Are Things Getting Better or Worse? | The New Yorker
"The power of bad news is magnified, Pinker writes, by a mental habit that psychologists call the “availability heuristic”: because people tend to estimate the probability of an event by means of “the ease with which instances come to mind,” they get the impression that mass shootings are more common than medical breakthroughs." "One longs for a modern equivalent—a data-driven version of Fra Angelico’s “Last Judgment” or Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” equal to the contradictions of the human situation."
What I Learned Working for Steve Ballmer – Ben Fathi – Medium
>> “The reason that God was able to create the world in seven days is that he didn’t have to worry about the installed base.” — Enzo Torresi. 1945–2016. << Windows joke - like it
I Used A Phone Like Most People In The World And It Was Awful
"According to data from app analytics firm App Annie, Indians spend 36% of their screentime on communication (like WhatsApp), 20% on video players (like YouTube), and 16% on social networking (Facebook)." Pretty much teenagers in UK with the addition of flash type games. Via HN
Why Trump has few friends in Europe – POLITICO
>> “The politics of announcements is what unifies Trump, [Vladimir] Putin and [Italy’s Matteo] Salvini, who love to look very strong on social media and more in general to answer to people’s guts,” said Alli. << The politics of announcements - I like the phrase and will steal it.
JIBLM.org - Journal of Inquiry-Based Learning in Mathematics - Download Item - Notes for a Course on Proofs by Jensen-Vallin, Jacqueline A.
"These notes are used for an introduction to proofs course including the following topics: logic, number theory, set theory, induction, and relations. In particular, the purpose of these notes is to help students learn how to critically examine their proofs and those presented by their classmates so that all students leave the class with a working knowledge of how to complete direct proofs, proofs by contrapositive, proofs by contradiction, and proofs by induction." The proof book referred to below
Free Proofs textbook
"This teaching style requires that students work directly with the mathematics. It is the core experience of the class. That is, this style shows students how to be, and in fact requires that they be, active learners. Consequently, it is a good fit for this course." He calls it the Moore method - students do the proving basically.
Random Points on a Sphere (Part 1) | Azimuth
"While trying to get a better intuition for this, I realized that as you go to higher and higher dimensions, and you standing at the north pole of the unit sphere, the chance that a randomly chosen other point is quite near the equator gets higher and higher!" I've seen that before. Another reason to be very careful with statistical inference from smallish datasets with a lot of variables.
The Children of Anaxagoras | Lapham’s Quarterly
"In recent years, some evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists have gone as far as to argue that the refinement of the toolmaking abilities in the earliest hominids could have accompanied or even allowed for the development of language. Proponents of this theory, including Aldo Faisal, a neuroscientist at Imperial College London, speculate that as early humans began working together to manufacture tools of increasing sophistication, they started communicating verbally in ways that were accordingly complex."
Davis resigns. My part in his downfall. | Conservative Home
"So it was that the next evening we found ourselves chewing his choices over, almost literally, over Albondigas and Pisto Madrileno upstairs at Goya’s in Pimlico." Personally, I sort of miss the days when these things were done over pints in the Dog. Ironic that the (no doubt excellent) restaurant serves a med menu.
How to Make Anglo-Saxon Bread: Version 1 | The Early English Bread Project
"Oats and barley often grew together, and wheat and rye often grew together, so these mixtures make sense. It was advantageous to grow two kinds of grain together, so if one failed through disease or bad weather, the other kind might still produce, and you had a better chance of not starving."
In home ownership push, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam follows Singapore model of Lee Kuan Yew | South China Morning Post
"On June 29, she announced she would make subsidised ownership cheaper in Hong Kong. In every such project in future, 75 per cent of the flats would need to be affordable to those making the median income among all non-property-owning households. Being affordable means fixing mortgages at 40 per cent of income. This would bring flat prices down to about half the market rates, instead of the previous 30 per cent discount" Median of the non-property owners. Presumably based on real income including part time/zero hours. Radical.
FOOD & DRINK : HOW TO GO WITH THE GRAINS | The Independent
"This is Linda Collister's version of the delicious, crusty, chewy loaf made popular by the Poilane family in Paris." 3 days for the starter. 36 hours for the sponge, and two 8 hour rises for the dough. I'm going to have to try this one!
Two Killed After Mooring Line Snaps at Port of Longview, Washington – gCaptain
"Bryon Jacobs, a father of three, was a 6th generation Longshoreman and worked for the ILWU at the Port of Longview for 16 years, his family said in a statement." Despite all the modern logistics, a mooring cable can still break.
CyberSquirrel1.com
Via The Register. Priceless
Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags – Locus Online
"Remember that elections are generally knife-edge affairs, even for politicians who’ve held their seats for decades with slim margins: 60% of the vote is an excellent win. Remember, too, that the winner in most races is “none of the above,” with huge numbers of voters sitting out the election. If even a small number of these non-voters can be motivated to show up at the polls, safe seats can be made contestable. In a tight race, having a cheap way to reach all the latent Klansmen in a district and quietly inform them that Donald J. Trump is their man is a game-changer." Via HN
Trump Says ‘Abolish ICE’ Is Bad Politics For Democrats. Is He Right? | FiveThirtyEight
"The Trump administration has essentially made the policy of reducing immigration its security strategy. That was the argument for the travel ban and for separating families at the border. You also see that in the constant talk about MS-13. That’s part of why it was so interesting to people who focus on this stuff that the ICE investigators said that focus is hurting their ability to do homeland security work."
The History Press | Bread: A slice of First World War history
Suggests several reasons for not selling bread fresh - this could ave had an impact on small bakers historically.
National Loaf
The crucial question is: why were bakers not allowed to sell their loaves until the day after baking?
What Scotland Thinks
John Curtice's blog
The Brexit Short: How Hedge Funds Used Private Polls to Make Millions
"Hedge fund executives were among those on the line. If YouGov was conducting another poll before the vote, traders said, they’d be willing to pay vast sums for a heads-up just 30 minutes to an hour before publication, according to two knowledgeable sources. Since news of the poll alone likely would move markets, the survey’s accuracy was meaningless; traders simply needed to know the results before they became public." That algorithmic thing again - advance knowledge can be used to make money
The Death of a Once Great City | Harper's Magazine
"As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world’s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring." Could this actually be true of most large cities?
James Joyce - Wikiquote
"The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book — or worse they may take it in some more serious way, and on the honour of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it" Bloomsday (a few days late on account of my right knee)
The Quest to Break America’s Most Mysterious Code—And Find $60 Million in Buried Treasure | Mental Floss
“The computer is not the answer," Hammer said at a Beale Cipher Association Symposium in 1979. "Even if it does all the work, we still have to find the type of work for it to do.”
Why We Shouldn’t Be Surprised at the Theranos Fraud
"Holmes met with a firm called MedVenture Associates in the early days of Theranos that had a lot of experience in medical technology and had invested in Abaxis. They were familiar with microfluidics and they asked her questions about how her envisioned technology was going to differ from Abaxis’. She didn’t even know that Abaxis had a device and she certainly didn’t understand how it worked. She got defensive at the probing questions and eventually left in a huff."
FIU bridge that collapsed had key design mistake, experts say. | Miami Herald
"The faux cable-stayed bridge design created a highly irregular pattern for the diagonal struts. The irregular pattern, in turn, complicated the calculations for determining the stresses at different points and resulted in each of the 12 pieces being of different length and thickness, the three engineers who undertook a review of FIGG's calculations say."
The borrowers: why Finland's cities are havens for library lovers | Cities | The Guardian
"According to local authority figures from 2016, the UK spends just £14.40 per head on libraries. By contrast, Finland spends £50.50 per inhabitant. While more than 478 libraries have closed in cities and towns across England, Wales and Scotland since 2010, Helsinki is spending €98m creating an enormous new one." They take organised education pretty seriously as well
‘Americans are Being Held Hostage and Terrorized by the Fringes’ - POLITICO Magazine
"There are basically two kinds of people in life: people who want to win competition and people who want to shut it down. People who don’t understand competition actually are the ones who want to shut it down because they don’t understand that competition requires rules. It requires moral precepts. Pepsi doesn’t want to go blow up the Coca-Cola bottling factory. It wants to take their customers fair and square for the better product and better pricing. The same thing should be true in American politics and policy." Leaves out the effects of the algorithm: inevitable need for 'power structures' to implement a policy programme in a complex and interconnected set of institutions. "It’s not like 50 percent of Americans thinks one thing and 50 percent thinks another thing. No, 15 percent on each side are effectively controlling the conversation and 70 percent of us don’t hate each other." Parliamentary system?
Opinion | Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded - The New York Times
"And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress. How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. In the United States, Britain and across the European Continent, people are convulsed with political frustration and anxiety about the future. Refugees and migrants clamor for the chance to live in these safe, prosperous countries, but those who already live in those promised lands report great uneasiness about their own futures that seems to border on hopelessness."
Joseph Brodsky's trial
Brodsky felt his calling had a value beyond political expediency, while the judge was tasked with reminding him that the state needn’t subsidize his hobby if he wasn’t going to say anything useful. But the incommensurability of these points of view runs much deeper than this one case.
‘What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?’ - POLITICO Magazine
"Around then, Dershowitz—never one to overlook a celebrity being railroaded—started getting more TV airtime for his argument that a sitting president could not be guilty of obstruction of justice." As a limey, one immediately thinks 'Nixon'??
Subscription hell | TechCrunch
"Take my colleague Connie Loizos’ article from yesterday reporting on a new venture fund. The text itself is about 3.5 kilobytes uncompressed, but the total payload of the page if nothing is cached is more than 10 MB, or more than 3000x the data usage of the actual text itself. This pattern has become so common that it has been called the website obesity crisis"
Junior doctors' job offers withdrawn after blunder - BBC News
"Last week, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) discovered a significant number of candidates were credited with the wrong score, because of an error transferring data from one computer programme to another - and may therefore have received an incorrect job offer." Never retype data: don't you just love legacy systems
The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code - Bloomberg
"Bill Benter did the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time." Sometimes you can win against the bookies
'We're doomed': Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention | Environment | The Guardian
>> “With doom ahead, making a case for cycling as the primary mode of transport is almost irrelevant,” he says. “We’ve got to stop burning fossil fuels. So many aspects of life depend on fossil fuels, except for music and love and education and happiness. These things, which hardly use fossil fuels, are what we must focus on.” <<
Can’t sleep? Tell yourself it’s not a big deal | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian
>> "In a review of the research published last year, Lichstein concluded that “non-complaining poor sleepers” – who sleep badly but don’t define themselves as insomniacs – don’t suffer the high blood pressure commonly associated with severe sleeplessness. Meanwhile, “complaining good sleepers” – who get enough shut-eye, but are heavily invested in their alleged insomnia – were essentially as tired, anxious and depressed as those who genuinely didn’t sleep." << Basically stay positive
LEM - SCIENCE FICTION'S PASSIONATE REALIST - review - NYTimes.com
>> ''What would happen to us if we could truly sympathize with others, feel with them, suffer for them? The fact that human anguish, fear, and suffering melt away with the death of the individual, that nothing remains of the ascents, the declines, the orgasms, and the agonies, is a praiseworthy gift of evolution, which made us like the animals. If from every unfortunate, from every victim, there remained even a single atom of his feelings, if thus grew the inheritance of the generations, if even a spark could pass from man to man, the world would be full of raw, bowel-torn howling.'' << Last paragraph of *His Master's Voice*
Solved: A Decades-Old Ansel Adams Mystery - Atlas Obscura
"Donald Olson sees all that and something else: a mystery. He wants to know the moment it was taken. An astrophysicist and forensic astronomer, Olson uses quantitative methods to answer questions raised by artwork, literature, and historical accounts—not the heady ones, but the basic, surprisingly slippery who, what, when, and where." Reverse search on Sun's position
Alien Pastures » Fun and games in -current when ABIs break
"Among others, an ABI depends on the machine architecture, and on the toolchain (compiler, linker) used to generate the binary code from its sources. An ABI guarantees binary compatibility: the program will work on every machine with the same ABI, without a need for recompilation." And somehow something the upstream provider puts in the source code so poppler/icu4c both change the soname so often
The Artificial Intelligentsia | Aaron Timms
"The story of Silicon Valley is as much about donkeys as unicorns, entrepretendeurs as entrepreneurs. Like all good stories, this story has the capacity to surprise. Many of the tech industry’s most memorable flops were at one point seen as great successes." So when the great and the good give their recipes for success, think 'survivor bias' notes
The Plunging Morale of America’s Service Members - The Atlantic
>> Decaul now has a playwriting fellowship at Brown University, where he assures me that racial dialogue happens very differently than it did in the Corps. But thinking back, he told me, “No one, including me, was offended. Everyone thought it was hilarious.” The party continued, and the deployment followed without incident. The last Decaul heard of J. was recently, when he got a Facebook notification that J. wanted to “friend” him. “I turned him down,” Maurice told me. “I thought, I’ve had enough of you, J.” << Keep an eye out for this guy's plays
Yeast Came From China - The Atlantic
"The out-of-China hypothesis for yeast is not so different from the out-of-Africa hypothesis for humans. Among Homo sapiens, Africa has the most genetic diversity of anywhere on Earth. All humans elsewhere descend from populations that came out of Africa; all yeast elsewhere descend from strains that came out of East Asia. Once wild yeast strains made it out of Asia, humans likely domesticated them several times to make the yeasty foods that we know: beer, bread, wine."
Rick Scott vs. Bill Nelson: 2018’s Florida Senate race, explained - Vox
"He is worth about $150 million, according to the most recent estimates, after making his money as a hospital executive." Just trying to work out how you can make $1.5 x 10^8 dollars running a hospital...
Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person - The New York Times
>> For now, he said, “I’m thinking about resistance. What does it mean, resistance? What kind of resistance do we need today? Technology is now being used, much of it, for negative purposes. So to resist all what is happening negatively in humanity or technology is to develop the — O.K., this banal word, spiritual aspect.” << Perhaps we all *need* to be Jonas Mekas now.
Northern and Midlands trainee teachers 'told to change their accents' - BBC News
"The Department for Education told Newsbeat they would not comment on the issue." Says it all really
Turkish Flatbread - Pide Recipe
Making these. The ingredient list left out 2 tblsp of yoghurt.
News Diet (full essay) – Rolf Dobelli
"This article is the antidote of news. It is long, and you probably won’t be able to skim it. Thanks to heavy news consumption, many people have lost the ability to read more than four pages straight. This article will show you how to get out of this trap – if you are not already too deep in the trap."
News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier | Media | The Guardian
"News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether"
How kids in a low-income country use laptops: lessons from Madagascar
"But there was one marked difference: computer use in Madagascar tended to be a collective rather than an individual practice. Children and their families would gather around one laptop to play educational games, take photos or make videos. Computers were being used to strengthen existing social relations among siblings, parents and peers." Social learning spaces and 'egroups' as per my previous occupation. Vygotsky knew a thing or two about how people learn
BBC Food - Recipes - Pitta bread
Summer is coming
The Inside Story of Reddit's Redesign | WIRED
"In those early days, Reddit's makeshift design team worked out of an empty room on the fourth floor of the company's headquarters. They dragged up a TV, a couple of chairs, a little Wi-Fi station, a bunch of paper, and started to hash out how to bring Reddit into the future." Sounds like the best way to (re)design anything. Small group. Fresh look.
Rich User Experience, UX and Desktopization of War
"In 2013, Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons and MA graduate Karina Sangha published the paper Killing in High Definition. They rose the issue of combat stress among operators of armed drones (Remote Piloted Aircrafts) and suggested ways to reduce it. One of them is to Mask Traumatic Imagery." Link from Stallman's page.
Meet the Amateur Scientist Who Discovered Climate Change
“As man is now changing the composition of the atmosphere at a rate which must be very exceptional on the geological time-scale, it is natural to seek for the probable effects of such a change.”
Listening to Kilgore - Columbia Journalism Review
How the anecdotal story started (plus newspapers have been under threat for about 90 years)
This is how Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked — according to the person who built it » Nieman Journalism Lab
"The whole point of a dimension reduction model is to mathematically represent the data in simpler form. It’s as if Cambridge Analytica took a very high-resolution photograph, resized it to be smaller, and then deleted the original. The photo still exists — and as long as Cambridge Analytica’s models exist, the data effectively does too." Via HN again. Forget the search warrants and legal stuff, go after the model
Uses This / Tim Maughan
"A few years ago I made a trip up the consumer electronics supply chain to look at the labour and environmental impact of manufacturing and our lust for new technologies. We spent a week on a container ship, visited electronics and Christmas factories in China, and ended up at a toxic lake in Inner Mongolia that is the result of rare earth mining. It's basically a 5 mile wide pool of semi-radioactive sludge that's the byproduct of polishing smartphone screens and making the magnets in your earphones." Reuse stuff
The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark | The New Yorker
"Whereas in science there’s a whole row going on about criticizing people in public. The number of times that I’ve seen people give talks and people are thinking, That’s bollocks, absolute shit data, and no one brings it up.”"
Bad font rendering in Firefox for Helvetica - Ask Void - Void Linux Forum
This one seems to have sorted the R font issue
Aaron Greenspan :: Writing :: In Search of the Cookie Dough Tree
"Today, it's quite clear that we are all glad things did work back then, even if things required arsenic and benzene and PCBs and lead, because the Valley helped the United States win the Cold War, beat the Japanese economy, and propel Gross Domestic Product to great heights, raising the standard of living for everyone. As with all things economic, though, the Valley contributed such great advances at a cost, and that cost usually involved those chemicals leaching into the ground and into the bodies of low-paid, immigrant workers for years, and years, and years, until somebody finally noticed." Externalities https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16681073
Look for the duct tape
"Look for the patches to the original system which were done by people who actually work in a given space. Track down the sharp edges which have been systematically covered up by users who were more interested in being productive and weren't willing to fight with the owners of the system to get things changed upstream." Works for processes as well as the software environment
Maths, Madness and the Manhattan Project: the Eccentric Lives of Steinhaus, Banach and Ulam | Article | Culture.pl
"They would lay the basis for new findings on the marble tabletops of the ambient Scottish café in pre-war Lviv. There professors, associate professors and people with doctorates from the Lviv Technical University and the Jan Kazimierz University would meet over coffee and cognac to discuss maths for hours on end. The results of these gatherings were twofold. They gave rise to many anecdotes and a thick, lined notebook with 193 equations (The Scottish Book), some of which have yet to be resolved. These meetings lay the foundation for the Lviv School of Mathematics – the most important Polish contribution to world science, entangled in the whirlwind of history that was World War II. Unfortunately, little is known of the school except for the great talent of its members. Culture.pl traces their footsteps." Via HN
The Cajun Democrat who could shake up the 2020 field - POLITICO
>> "Poverty is a form of violence, I believe. So is not having access to health care, or not having a real job,” Landrieu writes. “We all come to the table of democracy in the United States as equals. That's what makes America great.” <<
CIA Cybersecurity Guru Dan Geer Doesnt Use a Cell Phone | WIRED
"If there’s anything that I’ve come to be relatively adamant about is that, as humans, we have repeatedly demonstrated that we can quite clearly build things more complex than we can then manage, our friends in finance and flash crashes being a fine example of that."
Level 3 technician's misstep causes largest outage ever reported | FierceTelecom
>> "The technician left empty a field that would normally contain a target telephone number. The network management software interpreted the empty field as a 'wildcard,' meaning that the software understood the blank field as an instruction to block all calls, instead of as a null entry. This caused the switch to block calls from every number in Level 3’s non-native telephone number database.”" << Via HN, priceless
‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower | News | The Guardian
"Wylie oversaw what may have been the first critical breach. Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles." Good heavens
Maths Revision Tips
pretty good ones
Can we fix it? The repair cafes waging war on throwaway culture | World news | The Guardian
>> “It’s a matter of confidence. It’s not magic. Someone put it together, someone can take it apart, you only need a Phillips screwdriver and some knowledge,” says Katsimbas as he shows Daniel Turner how to open up his laptop so he can clean out the fluff and dust that is causing the machine to overheat. <<
This Is What Happens When Bitcoin Miners Take Over Your Town - POLITICO Magazine
"The commercial miners now pouring into the valley are building sites with tens of thousands of servers and electrical loads of as much as 30 megawatts, or enough to power a neighborhood of 13,000 homes. And in the arms race that cryptocurrency mining has become, even these operations will soon be considered small-scale." 600Mw for large scale aluminium smelter so wondering total consumption
[Press Release] Continuing frequency deviation in the Continental European Power System originating in Serbia/Kosovo: Political solution urgently needed in addition to technical
49.996Hz as opposed to 50.000Hz means 113Gwh of power 'missing' (i.e. wholesale bills charged at 50Hz rate but only 49.999/50.000 being supplied)
‘It’s almost nasty’: Dems seek crackdown on sleeping in the Capitol - POLITICO
>> “I get up very early in the morning. I work out. I work until about 11:30 at night. I go to bed. And I do the same thing the next day,” Ryan said in 2015 when asked whether he would continue sleeping in his office after becoming speaker. “It actually makes me more efficient. I can actually get more work done by sleeping on a cot in my office.” << Euwww. Many years ago I remember a cat and mouse game between campus security and a sessionally paid tutor who was sleeping in the first aid room and using the chemistry lab shower. We found him a cheap room before matters came to a head.
Einstein’s Boyhood Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem | The New Yorker
step 3 is the biggy
Meet the ‘data thugs’ out to expose shoddy and questionable research | Science | AAAS
"Brown, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, sent an email about the study to James Heathers, a postdoc in behavioral science at Northeastern University in Boston whom he had met a few years earlier. The description alone triggered a laughing spell in Heathers—not an uncommon reaction to science he finds risible." Sounds like a measured reaction to most of the stuff I get sent to read in emails...
President Donald Trump wants tariffs on steel and aluminium - World trade
"Americans employed in steel-consuming sectors far outnumber those employed directly in steel and aluminium industries (see chart). Higher prices of inputs for products such as cars, air-conditioning units, refrigerators and beer cans will be passed on to consumers. If they respond by buying less, jobs will be lost. Studies have found that George W. Bush’s tariffs on steel in 2002 destroyed more American jobs than they saved. If the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continues in something like its current form, manufacturers could even avoid the new tariffs by shifting production to Canada or Mexico, from where they can export their final goods to America tariff-free."
U.S. heads toward dangerous waters with steel and aluminum duties - iPolitics
"Others in the business community as well as the Pentagon have objected to broad brush duties being based on national security. Clearly, reducing imports of primary aluminum will hurt aluminum processors in the U.S. and raise concerns with the military as well as in the defence, aircraft and aerospace industries." Canadian steel group geezer
Demoralized West Wing stokes fears over Trump’s capacity to handle a crisis - POLITICO
>> “Most presidents know when to recalibrate, to redirect, to hit a reset button” on their policies or their own leadership style, said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served at senior levels of both the Clinton and Obama White Houses. “So in the face of incompetence and total chaos you have a president who has no self-awareness of how bad it is.” <<
Stock market volatility wiped out investors betting against the VIX. That should make you nervous. - Vox
“It worked well for a long time until it didn’t, which is generally what happens in markets,” Ouch. Capitalist tells truth.
Why It’s so Hard to Actually Work in Shared Offices · The Walrus
"You, precarious worker who will never have a pension, are not a simple cog in a machine. You are an artist, the CEO of your own company, and the face of a dynamic personal brand. Your work is not merely labour, for which you deserve decent pay and security, but an extension of your personality. You’re doing what you love and paying $500 per month for the desk from which to do it." There was a lot to be said for 'from the cradle to the grave' back in the 1960s I think
What to Do When Laptops and Silence Take Over Your Cafe? - The New York Times
>> “Everybody was at a laptop wearing headphones,” Mr. Glanville said. He strode inside, unplugged the device that provided free Wi-Fi and tossed it into a bin in his office. << Which is fine but we have a country where people will sit in silence and ignore each other with or without wifi and devices!
The Limits of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning | WIRED
"According to skeptics like Marcus, deep learning is greedy, brittle, opaque, and shallow. The systems are greedy because they demand huge sets of training data. Brittle because when a neural net is given a “transfer test”—confronted with scenarios that differ from the examples used in training—it cannot contextualize the situation and frequently breaks. They are opaque because, unlike traditional programs with their formal, debuggable code, the parameters of neural networks can only be interpreted in terms of their weights within a mathematical geography. Consequently, they are black boxes, whose outputs cannot be explained, raising doubts about their reliability and biases. Finally, they are shallow because they are programmed with little innate knowledge and possess no common sense about the world or human psychology."
Facebook’s Desperate Smoke Screen - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
"Facebook’s revenue, for example, is almost entirely a function of the number of minutes the average user spends per week engaging with the service. Reducing this by even 5 to 10% — by tamping down or eliminating some of Facebook’s most addictive features — would have a disastrous impact on the quarterly earnings of this $500 billion company." I'm surprised the revenue function is that fine-grained given the gibberish Ruth sees in her feed.
74: Conventions - This American Life
"John Perry Barlow Elegance of design. And it attracted the strangest kind of hybrid, which was sort of like UNIX weenies by Armani , combination."
Why Paper Jams Persist | The New Yorker
"Bruce Thompson, the computer modeller who sat at the head of the table, had spent days creating a simulation of the jam. “We’re dealing with a highly nonlinear entity moving at a very high speed,” he said." I get to share 'flower arrangements' on a regular basis
The British Election Study claims there was no “youthquake” last June. It’s wrong | Prospect Magazine
The dangers of a small sample size
The Secret Sci-Fi Life of Alice B. Sheldon : NPR
"At last I have what every child wants, a real secret life. Not an official secret, not a Q-clearance polygraph-enforced bite-the-capsule-when-they-get-you secret, nobody else's damn secret but MINE."
If you watch closely enough, everything is a speaker
"Using high speed cameras, it’s possible to record the vibrations of everyday objects caused by nearby sounds and reverse engineer the sounds…essentially turning anything that vibrates into a speaker."
'An agent of chaos, fuelled by fire': stars' memories of Mark E Smith | Music | The Guardian
“People don’t have their own smell any more. Everyone bathes too much.”
Tasty Colours: A Very Problematic Bean
Fasola Jas from local Polish shop soaking now to make soup tomorrow. Off over to baker to get rye bread in the morning.
George Soros: Facebook and Google are a menace to society | Hacker News
“Social media companies deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes. They deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide. This can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents. There is a similarity between internet platforms and gambling companies.”
If You Multitask During Meetings, Your Team Will, Too – Dave Paola
"But then, I see your eyes drawn to your email inbox. During the meeting. While someone else is saying something. Electronically, someone else has asked for your attention, and you’ve given it to them. I’m not the only one who saw this."
‘Never get high on your own supply’ – why social media bosses don’t use social media | Media | The Guardian
hoho
The Transistor, Part 1: Groping in the Dark – Creatures of Thought
Looks promising.
Linus Torvalds: “Somebody is pushing complete garbage for unclear reasons.” | Hacker News
"The most striking thing here is that Linus has apparently dismissed incompetence as a rational explanation. Yes, he is often brash, but usually he is accusing someone of sheer stupidity. He does not do that here. Linus alleges that we are being lied to - that we don’t know the full story, nor Intel’s motives." This gets worse
Linux-Kernel Archive: Re: [RFC 09/10] x86/enter: Create macros to restrict/unrestrict Indirect Branch Speculation
"So somebody isn't telling the truth here. Somebody is pushing complete garbage for unclear reasons. Sorry for having to point that out." This whole thing is a bit odd.
20 Years of LWN [LWN.net]
"not big and professional like the real press" ;-}
Here’s why you can’t buy a high-end graphics card at Best Buy | Ars Technica
"But the rise of cryptocurrency mining has created an unprecedented global shortage of graphics cards. If you go to your local retailer, you're likely to find bare shelves where the beefier cards used to be. Instead of trading at a discount, used cards routinely sell for well above MSRP on sites like eBay and Craigslist." These things use quite a lot of electricity as well. Proof of work is basically a waste of power.
FOSDEM 2018 - Interview with Michael Meeks<br/>Re-structuring a giant, ancient code-base for new platforms. Making LibreOffice work well everywhere.
"When you look at the cumulative effect of seven years of aggressively paying back a national-debt sized technical debt, we are in an amazingly better place - it makes me cringe mentally to consider working on or even reading the old code; yet still there is plenty more to do." Interesting stuff. BUT the 'old code' (i.e. openoffice) actually runs quite well and has less confusing UI changes...
Unmasking American Legend D.B. Cooper, Who Got Away With Hijacking a Plane -- New York Magazine
"Porteous looked at the envelope. He studied the return address. Morris, Minnesota. He looked at a map. The town was two hours from Fargo, North Dakota. Population: 5,200. He opened the letter, and after peering inside for powders, he read it. It barely made sense. It was a rambling confession of finding the answer to a “famous unsolved caper” that would make a great movie—and one only Ephron could direct, because she had “heart.” She could call this movie Bashful in Seattle—because the main character in the caper lived near Seattle. Skipp thought, Strange, yes; dangerous, no. So he hailed a cab, rode over to Ephron’s building on East 79th, and left the letter with her doorman. Ephron got the letter. She opened it and looked at it and put it down on the kitchen counter. It stayed there for some time. Then it disappeared. “I don’t know what happened to it,” she says."
Jaron Lanier interview: on VR, LSD, and where Silicon Valley went wrong - Vox
90Mb download, 96 minutes of my favourite Windows user speaking about stuff.
Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently
Jazz pianists respond to unexpected changes more quickly
Black Death 'spread by humans not rats' | Hacker News
Discussion about a fairly recondite research paper and the issues around popularizing science. One of the authors of the paper is taking part.
How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required) - POLITICO Magazine
"Under Hammond, Alaska also amended its constitution to create the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invests oil revenue for future generations. In 1982, the state began paying every resident the Permanent Fund Dividend, which is determined by a formula that relies on the fund’s income over the last five years. At its low point, in 1984, the dividend was $331.29 per person, and it peaked in 2015 at $2,072—meaning a family of four could expect a check from the state worth nearly $8,300." We got high house prices and tax breaks for rich people thanks to Maggie.
It’s not just the Brexit border question that divides Ireland. It’s imagination | Matthew O’Toole | Opinion | The Guardian
"As Bradley will discover, Brexit has unsettled one of the most intangible but important features of the fraying Northern Ireland settlement: the ability of its citizens to imagine themselves into different nationalities. This is why the border question is so difficult: it is about psychology as much as the practical mechanics of border controls. How does anyone know what nationality they are? Do they belong to the country to which they pay taxes, or whose football team they support?" Via Slugger
Improving Ourselves to Death | The New Yorker
"Carl Cederström and André Spicer, business-school professors in a field called “organization studies,” set out to do all that and more in their recent book, “Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement” (OR Books), a comically committed exploration of current life-hacking wisdom in areas ranging from athletic and intellectual prowess to spirituality, creativity, wealth, and pleasure." Personally, I think the Danes have this one sowed up.
Legends of the Ancient Web
Radio as social media? Via HN
Things I Wish I'd Known About Bash | Hacker News
Bash stuff
Vintage Verification | Nuclear Futures Laboratory
"We pursue a fundamentally different approach: Our prototype of an inspection system uses vintage hardware built around a 6502 processor. The processor uses 8-micron technology (about 600 times larger than current 14-nanometer technology) and has only about 3500 transistors. Vintage hardware may have a number of important advantages for applications where two parties need to simultaneously establish trust in the hardware used. CPUs designed in the distant past, at a time when their use for sensitive measurements was never envisioned, drastically reduce concerns that the other party implemented backdoors or hidden switches on the hardware level. " Interesting approach - didn't see that one coming
User Interfaces: How Not to Design a Microwave
"Every UI principle I’ve learnt can be derived from the following statement: Good user interface design minimizes the friction between a user and the task they aim to achieve. In other words, well designed software makes it easy to achieve a task." Looks interesting and well written. The trouble starts when you need to provide an interface that supports a wide range of tasks and which supports a range of user knowledge (e.g. beginner to guru).
'Re: Meltdown, aka "Dear Intel, you suck"' - MARC
"Some people should be ashamed of themselves, but they probably purchased options." Got it.
'Meltdown, aka "Dear Intel, you suck"' - MARC
"Personally, I do find it....amusing? that public announcements were moved up after the issue was deduced from development discussions and commits to a different open source OS project. Aren't we all glad that this was under embargo and strongly believe in the future value of embargoes?" A commendable degree of understatement
Clydach Vale walker Trevor Ward turns 104 on birthday weekend - BBC News
>> "I go for a walk every day up to the lake. I'll go to the top of the road and meet my butty [friend] and we'll talk about everything and everyone and then [go] back down," he said. << Here's betting the lake is a couple or six miles up the hill
Why Raspberry Pi isn't vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown - Raspberry Pi
Simple explanation of speculative processing and of instruction caches, and why the Raspberry PI isn't vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown
Holyhead will be one of the biggest losers from Brexit
"There is simply no space in or around the port for the kind of infrastructure that will be required to process the number of lorries and trailers that currently pass through it. A hard border in Holyhead can only yield chaos." Contrast with informal cross-channel arrangements from Normandy local government and Kent/Essex &c. Via Slugger
Documents Reveal the Complex Legacy of James Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance
"With his porkpie hat and trenchcoat, the portly Cram bore a passing resemblance to George Smiley, the fictional British spymaster as played by Alec Guinness in the BBC’s production of John le Carré’s classic “Smiley’s People.” There was some professional similarity as well. In le Carré’s novels, Smiley is introduced as a veteran counterintelligence officer called on by his superiors to assess a covert operation gone disastrously wrong. He is drawn into a hunt for a mole in the British intelligence service." I fancy a porkpie hat
python sweetness — The mysterious case of the Linux Page Table...
so here we go again
Vincent's blog
Lumina stuff for OpenBSD
Spotting Field Sabotage in Meetings – What's the PONT
>> "Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions. Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments. When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five. Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible. Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions. Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision. Advocate “caution.” Be“reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on. Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon." << I really need to make sure I do the *opposite* of these things. Via HN.
Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests? - POLITICO Magazine
"The vast majority of farmers, black and white, were tenants or sharecroppers, and repressive poll taxes disenfranchised not just black men and women, but also poor white people. Designed by wealthy plantation owners and industrialists, the poll tax was expressly a class measure, meant to preserve the region’s prevailing low-tax, low-wage, low-service economy. It was more ingenious and insidious than many people today realize. In Mississippi and Virginia, it was cumulative for two years; if a tenant farmer or textile worker couldn’t pay in any given year, not only did he miss an election cycle, he had to pay a full two years’ tax to restore his voting rights. In Georgia, the poll tax was cumulative from the time a voter turned 21 years old—meaning, if one missed 10 years, he or she would have to pay a decade’s worth of back taxes before regaining the right to vote. In Texas, the tax was due on February 1, in the winter off-season, when farmers were habitually strapped for cash. It was, as one Southern liberal observed at the time, “like buying a ticket to a show nine months ahead of time, and before you know who’s playing, or really what the thing is all about.”" The franchise
Colin Marshall › Notebook on Cities and Culture
Via OpenCulture.org
Sue Grafton - Wikipedia
"This exercise led to her best-known works, a chronological series of mystery novels. Known as "the alphabet novels," the stories are set in and around the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California. It is based on Santa Barbara, outside of which Grafton maintained a home in the suburb of Montecito. (Grafton chose to use the name Santa Teresa as a tribute to the author Ross Macdonald, who had used it as a fictional name for Santa Barbara in his own novels.)" Shades of Georges Perec - the need for a structure and constraints
American reams: why a ‘paperless world’ still hasn’t happened | News | The Guardian
“If man may now be considered as having reached a high state of civilisation, his gradual development is more directly due to the inventions of paper and printing than to all other factors.” Something to ponder as you shred all the old bills...
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Talk
Excelent - quantum computing - via hn
A theoretical physics FAQ
"Most topics are related to quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, renormalization, the measurement problem, randomness, and philosophical issues in physics. Since different sections were written at different times (some date back to the last century), there is some overlap in the treatment of topics, and a few are a bit outdated."
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Alastair Meeks and his predictions for 2018
"Jeremy Corbyn is of an age where he might consider that he could hand over to someone younger and spend more time with his manhole covers."
A City Is Not a Computer
"This seems an obvious truth, but we need to say it loud and clear. Urban intelligence is more than information processing." Via 538
Doug Jones’s Alabama win: the inside story of how it happened - Vox
"The key to us having a chance was to detribalize the politics of the state. If Alabama was reacting to the tribal politics of our times, there was no way for us to win. And in a weird way, the allegations created tribalism again. You either believe the charges or you don't believe the charges. Suddenly, we're back into Republicans who don't believe the charges; it's the media out to get Roy Moore. He's able to start tribalizing the race. Trump begins coming in with him. And every time that happened, Roy Moore would open a lead."
Meet Walter Pitts, the Homeless Genius Who Revolutionized Artificial Intelligence
Feeds into Neumann's design for the computer and based on Russell/Whitehead.
James Deagle: OpenBSD 6.2 + CDE
Because it is there! Via HN
The Screenless Office
Good heavens. I was doing this with a teletypewriter in the 70s. It wasn't *great*.
In Raising the World’s I.Q., the Secret’s in the Salt - The New York Times
"In fact, Kazakhstan has become an example of how even a vast and still-developing nation like this Central Asian country can achieve a remarkable public health success. In 1999, only 29 percent of its households were using iodized salt. Now, 94 percent are. Next year, the United Nations is expected to certify it officially free of iodine deficiency disorders." Iodine: cheap and simple chemical
Innovation is overvalued. Maintenance often matters more | Aeon Essays
"We can think of labour that goes into maintenance and repair as the work of the maintainers, those individuals whose work keeps ordinary existence going rather than introducing novel things. Brief reflection demonstrates that the vast majority of human labour, from laundry and trash removal to janitorial work and food preparation, is of this type: upkeep. This realisation has significant implications for gender relations in and around technology. Feminist theorists have long argued that obsessions with technological novelty obscures all of the labour, including housework, that women, disproportionately, do to keep life on track. Domestic labour has huge financial ramifications but largely falls outside economic accounting, like Gross Domestic Product."
Derivative Sport: The Journalistic Legacy of David Foster Wallace
One for the train
Is there data on the quality of management decisions?
"One specific lower-level reason “obviously” non-optimal decisions can persist for so long is that there’s a lot of noise in team results. You sometimes see a manager make some radical decisions (not necessarily statistics-driven), followed by some poor results, causing management to fire the manager. There’s so much volatility that you can’t really judge players or managers based on small samples, but this doesn’t stop people from doing so. The combination of volatility and skepticism of radical ideas heavily disincentivizes going against conventional wisdom." The inverse effect springs to mind as well: new teaching idea gets 'suggested' and credited with any increase in pass rate.
#Brexit: the DUP and the Risks of Not Passing Go | Slugger O'Toole
"The DUP torpedoed today’s sensible UK-EU compromise deal on the border because, according to an Arlene Foster tweet, the party could not accept any deal which separates Northern Ireland politically from the rest of the UK. This will come as a great surprise to campaigners for marriage equality, liberalisation of the abortion laws, and comprehensive education"
Algorithmic Bias? An Empirical Study into Apparent Gender-Based Discrimination in the Display of STEM Career Ads by Anja Lambrecht, Catherine Tucker :: SSRN
"We explore data from a field test of how an algorithm delivered ads promoting job opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. This ad was explicitly intended to be gender-neutral in its delivery. Empirically, however, fewer women saw the ad than men. This happened because younger women are a prized demographic and are more expensive to show ads to. An algorithm which simply optimizes cost-effective ad delivery will deliver ads that were intended to be gender-neutral in an apparently discriminatory way, due to crowding out. We show that this empirical regularity extends to other major digital platforms." Downsides... via The Register
After 37 years, Voyager has fired up its trajectory thrusters | Hacker News
"I’m currently travelling at about 180mph on board a high-speed train in Japan. I flew here on a jet which is something like 20% more efficient than the equivalent from a few years ago. Using the ubiquitous LTE network, I can make a real-time HD video call to my family back in the UK, using my palm-sized, battery-powered computer. I used the same device earlier to do some research about cities as we passed through them, and also to check the CCTV system at home. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve used a similar technology stack to locate my position to meter-level accuracy, to read and translate foreign language text from images in real time, and to record hours of 4K video." The upside
Why I leave hidden messages in High Street clothes - BBC News
>> "What it taught me about campaigning was that to 'win' a campaign you didn't have to protest publicly like a performance, you don't always need petitions signed," she says. "It made me see campaigning as much broader and creative than we often think." << Protest, civil disobedience and direct action. The latter can be quieter and often more constructive.
The legacies of 1917 – Eurozine
"You could have had, as some in the Bolshevik Party, in the Left-Menshevik wings, were thinking, a combination of local soviet-style structures with a national parliament."
Conservatives probably can’t be persuaded on climate change. So now what? - Vox
""The conventional wisdom gets the causal arrow backwards," says Mullin. People don’t develop political and policy opinions based on an assessment of climate science. They assess climate science based on preexisting political and policy opinions. That’s why trying to change minds with science-based arguments is so rarely effective.""
On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs - David Graeber
"...technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it."
On slight hinting, proper text rendering, stem darkening and LCD filters
More about font rendering
[solved] Xorg-fonts appearance - Ask Void - Void Linux Forum
More on using default freetype
How to get good font rendering in Void Linux | Bruno Miguel
Just using stock freetype > 2.8 and the supplied config files. May try it on Slackie current
What a Physicist Sees When She Looks at a Fancy Gown - Racked
"People rarely think about the engineering of gala gowns, or of fashion at all. This is part of a larger problem of treating traditionally feminine interests as non-science-related. Baking is practical chemistry, knitting is manual programming, makeup is about crafting optical illusions, and adjusting pattern sizes relies on algebra."
Interview with David Graeber - The White ReviewThe White Review
"[My father] lived in Barcelona at a time it was run on anarchist principles and he would always tell me these fun stories about it. He always said Barcelona was one of the greatest experiments in world history, because what we discovered there was that white-collar workers don’t actually do anything. In Barcelona their idea of having a revolution was to get rid of all the managers and just carry on without them. And nothing really changed."
GCSE: Pass rate dips as students face tougher exams - BBC News
"But the exams regulator Ofqual says a pass or grade 4 in maths would have been achieved in the upper tier paper with just 18% of the overall marks." Hummmm - won't that encourage schools to enter students for Higher and coach them on the easy bits? This was one of the things Gove did the reforms to avoid.
Tokyo, urban design and mental health - Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health - Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health
"Shinrin yoku, is a term developed by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982 to describe a therapeutic health practice that aims to boost immunity, reduce stress, and promote wellbeing. Shinrin yoku is often called ‘forest bathing’ but more literally means ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ – the opportunity for city dwellers to spend leisurely time in the forest without any distractions. Japanese research has found associations between this nature immersion and improvements in physiological and psychological indicators of stress, mood hostility, fatigue, confusion and vitality (Park et al, 2010)."
Constant Anxiety Won't Save the World - The Atlantic
>> "I would have thought that constant vigilance wouldn’t really be possible. But Scott Woodruff, the director of the anxiety and obsessive-compulsive treatment program at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, told me I’d be surprised. “The anxious mind and the worried mind can manage to bring back topics over and over again,” he says. “It is possible that people can really spend quite an amount of time every day worrying about world events.”" << Talking to people around you is the answer. We seem to 'anchor' to the people we interact with most. So make most interactions local.
Is Garry Kasparov Too Old To Dominate Chess Again? | FiveThirtyEight
"The result is shaped like a large floating apostrophe of mortality. After a steep increase in players’ early years (youth is wasted on the young), the estimated trend in ratings peaks just after age 38, before beginning a long, slow, irreversible and depressing decline (kinda like real life)." R^2 on that dust cloud can't be that high!
The Great American Bubble Machine - Rolling Stone
"The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." Matt Taibbi - almost but not quite the new HST
“It’s just an embarrassing spectacle at this point”: Matt Taibbi on Trump’s America - Vox
"I know this will sound weird, but I actually thought Trump’s victory was a kind of triumph of American democracy. I mean, I’m completely opposed to everything that Trump believes in. But the notion that somebody completely outside the American political system, who had virtually no institutional support from either of the two parties, could actually win the presidency is something that I wouldn't have believed eight years ago. So I took his election as a sign that our democracy was functioning correctly." Book ordered. I still wish HST was still around
Military to Trump: we won’t ban transgender service members just because you tweeted about it - Vox
“We don’t have guidance. We have a tweet. We don’t execute policy based on a tweet.” Capt. Jeff Davis, DoD [spokesman] Nice to see candid responses
For Obamacare enrollees, Obamacare repeal is already real - Vox
>> “I don’t have intensive needs — I’m 39, I’m not planning to get pregnant — but that is a thing that could happen,” she says. “Still, I feel like I need coverage. I’ve watched people go through terrible things when they didn’t have insurance. I’m just risk-averse and don’t want to go without coverage.” << For all the NHS's faults, I hope we keep the safety net. I can't imagine the effect of having to worry about healthcare when starting up a small business given the impact of small businesses on most economies
10,000 Hours With Claude Shannon: How A Genius Thinks, Works, and Lives
"His mind was a heat-seeking missile targeting problems. What got him up in the morning was dissecting how things worked, not digressions into creativity and productivity."
BBC - Future - How Tibetans survive life on the ‘roof of the world’
"Our differences are slight and are held at the surface. Under the skin, deep in our DNA, we are nearly identical. From this sea of similarity, important genetic changes between populations can be seen as small but steep islands breaking the surface of the genome. But after looking more closely at the EPAS1 gene from the Tibetan genomes, Nielsen not only found it was a steep change, but it was a unique one too. After searching through the aptly named 1,000 Genomes Project, he couldn’t find anything quite like it elsewhere. “The DNA sequence that we saw in Tibetans was simply too different,” Nielsen says." Remarkable. Via HN from Medium
Don’t Compare Trump to Nixon. It’s Unfair to Nixon. - POLITICO Magazine
"Are we right to analogize the tarnished ending of the two-term Nixon presidency—with its historic accomplishments, as well as sordid tapes and long list of criminal convictions—with a chaos-engulfed Trump presidency that has not even been able to staff up, has no significant legislative wins to its name and is already, at just six months in as of this week, the most unpopular in seven decades?" Harsh... but accurate (Nixon was re-elected in a landslide)
[CentOS] Thanks to every one
"It is crucial for long running calculations that you have a stable OS - you have never seen wrath like a computational scientist whose 200 day calculation has just failed because you needed to reboot the node it was running on." In my day we wrote a tape, but then again the program was on punched cards.
Reality Check: Is public sector pay higher than private sector? - BBC News
"The point about qualifications is important, because jobs in the public sector tend to require higher qualifications. Also, there has been a tendency for public sector bodies to outsource lower-paid functions such as cleaning and catering to contractors, which moves them from the public to the private sector. Doing so on a large scale would increase average earnings in the public sector."
The computer poetry of J. M. Coetzee’s early programming career | Cultural Compass
"How do you read code? What is the “text” of a program—the machine code, the high-level programming, or the output it generates? How do you preserve an electronic file and how should the scholar access it?"
Unhappy meals
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Eat the Seasons
Nice idea but is the production volume there?
Gambiarra: repair culture | efeefe
"Of course, a repair culture isn't about repairing things only. We could try to find a better way to define a culture of reuse, repair and re-purposing. But proposing repair - the physical act of mending things in order to extend their lifetime or else turning them into something else of use - as a core value sounds good enough for a current need: criticizing the path apparently taken by maker culture that is addicted to novelty, becoming consequently toxic, unsustainable, superficial and alienating." Or repairing stuff could just be useful :-)
How to See What the Internet Knows About You (And How to Stop It) - The New York Times
>> "The relentlessly unyielding (but highly profitable) personalization of the products and services we use is getting deeper and creepier than ever. This type of data is incredibly valuable, we’re producing a ton of it every day, and it’s all being used to turn us into products. As one Facebook developer famously said: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”" <<
The language of programming
"I won’t lie, this looks outrageous even to me. But not to my Dad, who is a civil engineer and doesn’t speak a word of English. He is dangerously fluent in Excel’s formulas, which he uses extensively in those hundred-sheet documents bristling with filters, conditionals, and pivot tables. Then the roads and bridges are getting built based on those calculations. He doesn’t know what IF means, but he uses ЕСЛИ all the time. What’s amazing is that if he emailed you one of his spreadsheets and you happened to open it in your “real deal” MS Excel, every formula would appear in English, but work just as he intended." Three cheers for the spreadsheet - one of the longest lasting end-user programming metaphors we have
10 charts that show the effect of tuition fees - BBC News
"But the biggest change, often overlooked, has been the collapse in part-time students. These were often adults with other responsibilities who were more sensitive to increased costs." 350k to 150k in status (remember there is a 6 year lead when taking a degree part time)
How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation | Quanta Magazine
>> "Like flocking or schooling, the policing behavior arises from individual interactions to produce a macroscopic effect on the entire ensemble. But it is subtler, perhaps harder to visualize and measure. Or, as Flack says of macaque society and many of the other systems she studies, “their metric space is a social coordinate space. It’s not Euclidean.”" <<
A big international meeting is exposing a Trump-sized rift between the US and its allies - Vox
"In a certain sense, Trump — who campaigned as a historically talented dealmaker — has ironically been the anti-deal president. It’s not just that he hasn’t struck a single major agreements with a foreign power; it’s that he has called into question many previous ones — leading American allies to wonder just how much they can trust America’s commitment to the entire international order."
Blake Watson | Why I left Facebook
One for the teenies
Monte Carlo theory, methods and examples
Lodsa Reading
Trump is preparing to meet Putin this week by reading tweet-length memos - Vox
"...Trump is preparing for his biggest foreign meeting with the leader of a country that actively tried to undermine America’s democratic process, a leader who sees the US as his personal enemy, by reading tweet-length talking points." What could possibly go wrong?
A near-disaster at a federal nuclear weapons laboratory takes a hidden toll on America’s arsenal | Science | AAAS
"In a hi-tech testing and manufacturing building pivotal to sustaining America’s nuclear arsenal, [technicians] gathered eight rods painstakingly crafted out of plutonium, and positioned them side-by-side on a table to photograph how nice they looked." ... "The technicians’ improvised photo-op, an internal Energy Department report concluded later, revealed the staff had become “de-sensitized” to the risk of a serious accident" Potential Darwin Award winners! De-sensitisation is a theme with people who get lucky most of the time until they don't.
www.trumptwitterarchive.com
json data feed for all of #realdonaldtrump's ruminations. For the ages.
The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world | Nature Ecology & Evolution
"While the cat’s worldwide conquest began during the Neolithic period in the Near East, its dispersal gained momentum during the Classical period, when the Egyptian cat successfully spread throughout the Old World. The expansion patterns and ranges suggest dispersal along human maritime and terrestrial routes of trade and connectivity." Your moggie is in a direct line from the Pharos' court. Quite an amazing thought.
The USS Fitzgerald Is At Fault. This Is Why. – gCaptain
"This is important because basic communication problems have been found to be a primary cause in nearly every multi-vessel incident gCaptain has reported on in the last ten years." Voice carries non-verbal information
Who Americans spend their time with
Hours per day on vertical axis, age on horizontal axis. Snapshot, not longitudinal, but makes you think
What conservatives know about climate change that liberals don’t - Vox
"I think the right understands this, and therefore chooses to deny reality. Whereas one of the things we see on the liberal side is, instead of denying the science, they deny the implications of the science." I always get worried when economists talk about the need for *growth*. We have to stop growing somehow and reach steady state.
The story behind that Connecticut deli math sign - Home | As It Happens | CBC Radio
>> AH: No, I can give you one example of a mathematical joke. People think the following joke is really funny, that someone is giving a lecture on group theory and they stand up at the board and say "let L be a group".<< excellent
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Alastair Meeks makes his first next general election bet: LAB to win most seats
"The government faces the most demanding peacetime challenge since the first post-war government and does so against a hard deadline with a divided party, a leader with no authority and with no majority in the House of Commons." What could possibly go wrong? Well, something has to happen, and it is not in the interests of the eurozone to have an economy the size of the UK going pear shaped, so we shall see...
Leading universities rated 'bronze' under new ranking system - BBC News
"The lowest score of bronze was awarded to 56 - including the London School of Economics (LSE), Southampton, Liverpool, Goldsmiths and the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas)." Who is kidding whom? Status is a positional good and a degree from a Russel group uni, the LSE or Goldsmith's is likely to be well-regarded.
Trump Doesn’t Want to Be President - POLITICO Magazine
"He’s always loved to lie (I mean, talk) to reporters because he lives for having an attentive audience, and now that he’s president reporters would line up to transcribe his words even if he started reciting a Maytag washer repair manual backward." Jack Shafer is a right of centre journalist but I love these Fourth Estate columns
Portrait: Masahiro Kikuno, Japanese Independent Watchmaker | Watches By SJX
"Kikuno has built only a handful of watches in the seven years since he started, averaging one watch a year. That’s a consequence of his uncompromising adherence to traditional techniques of production."
Jigdo: Downloading Huge ISO Files Made Easy | Unixmen
Try updating the RC4 DVDs tomorrow...
'Re: Current FreeBSD looking to switch to OpenBSD' - MARC
"Even though building it with mandoc(1) only takes a minute on my notebook, i'm not sure it's a great idea to put all that information into a single file." The OpenBSD base system manual comes in at 15 458 pages when compiled into a .pdf file.
5 things Trump did while you weren't looking: Week 2
>> “So much is happening in Washington and yet nothing is happening at all” read one recent piece of commentary. << Noise to signal ratio is quite low
Those who leave home, and those who stay - Vox
UK has the third highest percentage of people who moved last year. Plenty of people seem to be getting on their bike unless this is just housing ladder churn.
Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block - The New York Times
>> “In general, zoning regulations show what the city values,” said Luc Wilson, an architect at Kohn Pedersen Fox. “In Shanghai, they care about getting light to the buildings. In New York, they care about protecting light and air in the streets and parks.” England has a Law of Ancient Lights, a common-law doctrine that guarantees a homeowner the right to light if he or she has had access to it for 20 years. << Via HN
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » From loser to leader – and beyond
"Corbyn showed that you can pitch policies from the left and get a hearing; while, crucially, he also demonstrated that you do not have to live in fear of the right wing press. Previous Labour leaders have focus-grouped policies to death, stage-managed their every appearance and carefully measured each word in order to avoid unhelpful coverage in the Mail, the Sun and the Express, but Corbyn just carried on regardless."
How Theresa May lost it – POLITICO
>> “The main difference is her,” one senior campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a week before election day, comparing May’s campaign to Cameron’s two years before. << I think the *main* difference is policies. I think people are tired of austerity that results in no growth and low wage growth, and I think quite a few people are worried about the Brexit process. The other stuff didn't help but it is window dressing at the end of the day,
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Ideas, events and people. What the Conservatives need to do next
"The Conservatives are repeating their mistakes from the election campaign. They spent the entire campaign based on personality politics, presenting Theresa May as Prime Ministerial and attacking Jeremy Corbyn for his past unsavoury connections, with only terrorist attacks intruding to draw them up to the level of discussing events. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn spent the campaign discussing his ideas." And it appears a new generation quite like some of those ideas.
The GOP That Failed - POLITICO Magazine
"But one often overlooked reason—and one for parties to remember if they hope to avoid future Trumps—is that the rules of the GOP greatly benefitted Trump. The party allows winner-take-all primaries by congressional district or statewide— which in many states hugely magnified Trump’s delegate totals. Trump won 32 percent of the South Carolina vote, but all 50 delegates. He won 46 percent of the Florida vote but all 99 delegates. He won 39 percent of the Illinois vote, but 80 percent of the 69 delegates." Wow. So he never had a base at all even in the Republican party. FPTP applied to candidate selection and aggregation at each stage.
What Really Happened with Vista – Hacker Noon
"Unfortunately, when you are building a complex system and running without clear constraints and delivery deadlines, the right mental image for a team that is generating lots of code is not one that is building a railroad and is now 90% across the country. A better image is one where you have dug an incredibly deep hole that you now have to figure out how to climb out of and fill back in." Insight into Vista development.
Live departure board for Duddeston - Accessible UK Train Timetables
Vital Link
Boehner: Trump has been a 'complete disaster' - POLITICO
>> “I wake up every day, drink my morning coffee and say hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah,” Boehner said. “I don’t want to be president. I drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. I golf. I cut my own grass. I iron my own clothes. And I’m not willing to give all that up to be president.” << Sounds sensible to me (apart from the smoke cigarettes bit which is surprising). Hitchhikers Guide scenario - those who *want* to be President should be prevented from being President. Small hut on planet with rain (and cats to feed).
Theresa May’s toughest (televised) moment yet – POLITICO
"Corbyn, a vegetarian north London peace activist who accidentally became the leader of the opposition, doesn’t strike the public as an opportunist who will say and do anything to get into Number 10. Indeed, if that was the case, he might stand a better chance." Hilarious - echos of George Orwell and his Sandal wearing vegetarians. One wonders if this might be a good election to actually lose (but with a vote share higher than Blair's and Milliband's)
Internet Atlas maps the physical internet to enhance security
"Professor of Computer Sciences Paul Barford, Ph.D. candidate Ramakrishnan (Ram) Durairajan and colleagues have developed Internet Atlas, the first detailed map of the internet’s structure worldwide." The Cloud = Other people's computers, fibre optic cables, line amplifiers and generators.
How to make the perfect bagels | Life and style | The Guardian
"Bagels need boiling – Reinhart writes that a "number of bagel companies now skip the boiling (really, more like poaching) and use steam-injected ovens, but this produces a kind of a hybrid bagel/French-bread texture". Boiling sets the crust, so it will remain hard and chewy, but too long a boiling time (2-3 minutes on each side from Joseph, but 1-2 minutes from Roden) will make the crust too hard, and stop the inside from expanding as it should." Next challenge. Visit to Brick Lane Beigel Shop on soon as well.
We overanalyze Trump. He is what he appears to be. - Vox
"But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there’s no there there? What if our attempts to explain Trump have failed not because we haven’t hit on the right one, but because we are, theory-of-mind-wise, overinterpreting the text?" So impulsive 70 year old with no long term plan. What could possibly go wrong?
Rejection Letter - Charlie's Diary
"This is a really serious case of stable doors being bolted a week too late; the UK historically prioritized offensive internet operations far above defense and resilience, and we're paying the price." CESG now part of National Cyber Security Centre
Trump is dangerous. But he's not Nixon — yet - Vox
"I saw in Trump's tweeting and in his statements the peculiarity that I had heard on the Nixon tapes of a man who, though by all standards has succeeded in the game of life, comes to the most powerful position in the world thinking he's a victim." Timothy Natfali, ex-director of the Nixon presidential library
Lost Generation: The Relay Computers – Creatures of Thought
"He believed he could greatly improve the efficiency of Telegrafverket’s operations by building an automatic switching system entirely of relays: a matrix of relays sitting at each intersection in a lattice of metal bars which connected to the phone lines. It would be faster, more reliable, and easier to maintain than the sliding and rotating contacts then used."
Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia - POLITICO
"Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told him he was making a big mistake — and Trump seemed "taken aback," according to a person familiar with the call. "
Former presidents walk fine line in Trump’s America - POLITICO
>> “He doesn’t know much,” Clinton said in late December. “One thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him.” << Seems to be general these days. Chill everyone
Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe
"It's all in the crust. My dough is just water, salt, flour and yeast. I use no dough conditioners, sugars, oils, malts, corn meal, flavorings or anything else. These violate the "Vera Pizza Napoletana" rules and I doubt that Patsy's or any great brick oven place uses these things. I've only recently begun to measure the actual "baker's percents" of the ingredients. Use this awesome spreadsheet to help you. The sheet allows you to track your experiments. Here's a basic set of ratios. The truth is that a lot of these recipes look the same and that you can vary these ingredients by several percentage points and it's not going to make a huge difference. You really have to learn the technique, which I'm going to explain in as much detail as I can, and then go by feel. Really, I just measure the water and salt and the rest is pretty flexible. The amount of flour is really, "add until it feels right." The amount of Sourdough starter can range from 3% to 20% and not affect the end product all that much."
The Physicist Who Sees Crime Networks – Backchannel
"Mizuno was surprised to find that companies behave rather like people. Like the urban myth of there being six degrees of separation between Kevin Bacon and any other actor, Mizuno found that 80% of the world’s firms could be connected to any other business via six customers or suppliers. For example, Elpitiya Plantations, a producer of fine teas in Sri Lanka, is linked to financial behemoth Western Union by hopping from a hotel chain to a fertilizer company to food giant Nestlé to bargain US retailer Dollar General." networks and algorithms
Baking SOS: How to solve 10 common bread problems by Luis Troyano | BBC Good Food
"If you want a really great crust, try making your bread in a casserole pot with the lid on. That creates an airtight environment. Take your biggest casserole pot, get it hot in the oven, then put your shaped dough in there. It can be quite tricky to get in there, so I shape my dough on a loose bottomed tart tin lined with paper then lower it into the pot using string. Bake it in the pot for about 35-40 minutes and you’ll end up with as close to a bakery loaf as you can achieve at home." Try this one! Sourdough could have been over-proved
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked | Technology | The Guardian
Is using an analytics company a conspiracy? Need to think this one through. People have always used all resources when campaigning.
Lessons in Bread Baking: Oops! I forgot the salt - Bread Experience
"Salt serves a number of purposes in bread. It stabilizes the gluten structure which creates a better dough and adds flavor. It also slows down the fermentation process by dehydrating the yeast and bacteria. Technically, salt is an optional ingredient; however, if you’re going to omit it, you should use cold temperatures to slow down the fermentation process or reduce the rising times." Forgot the salt on my sourdough so cut it in and kneeded a bit more. See what happens when it bakes
Review: Brexit, by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley | THE Books
"According to the BBC, the ratio of Leave to Remain campaign spending was £16.4 million pounds to £15.1 million. That is a ratio of 52:48, almost identical to the ratio of the votes cast, but if the authors of this book are aware of this, they do not say."
Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms - The New York Times
"...He may have been thinking about the case of a Wisconsin man, Eric L. Loomis, who was sentenced to six years in prison based in part on a private company’s proprietary software. Mr. Loomis says his right to due process was violated by a judge’s consideration of a report generated by the software’s secret algorithm, one Mr. Loomis was unable to inspect or challenge." Algorithms that make decisions should be available for inspection. Via Techmeme.
Microsoft's Tuesday event: what to expect from its Chromebook response - The Verge
"Recently, Microsoft started hiding its touch-friendly mobile versions of Office in the Windows Store. While mobile devices can still search for them, if you’re a tablet or regular PC user then they’ve simply vanished from the Windows Store search. These apps are Universal Windows apps, and were supposed to be the future of Office and a demonstration of how powerful Microsoft’s Windows 10 apps could be." Taken a little out of context, via techmeme. Article about modified Windows 10 and cheap clients as competitor to Chromebooks in US.
Major apps abandoning Apple Watch, including Google Maps, Amazon & eBay [u]
"In the last few weeks, the latest update for Google Maps on iOS ditched support for the Apple Watch. Its removal was not mentioned in the release notes, and Google has not indicated whether support for watchOS will be reinstated."
Interview with Byron Westbrook | RHYTHMPLEX
"I am largely dealing with positioning and size of sounds as dynamic elements. If only one speaker is sounding from the center of the room, that can appear to be lower in dynamic scale, whereas if it shifts from that point to two extremes of the room, appearing to expand, that in turn expands that sound to a dominant position of scale and intensity. I do a lot of this shifting of sounds, but it happens very slowly, and (hopefully) imperceptibly enough that it should communicate more of a feel than the thought “the sound just went from mono to stereo” or whatnot. Another technique is to use two speakers playing the same sound slightly out of pitch or out of phase to position it in a place other than where the speakers are positioned. Height is another factor a well. I have these small speakers that I built which can be easily positioned on small ledges, and at every performance, they end up being configured differently. It’s also worth noting that I don’t use matched speakers/enclosures and different ones emphasize different frequencies. In general though, thinking about dynamic of sound in a room in terms of an x/y/z axis really opens up compositional/improvisational possibilities." Infinte Sustain geezer on methodology
My coffeehouse nightmare.
"There is a golden rule, long cherished by restaurateurs, for determining whether a business is viable. Rent should take up no more than 25 percent of your revenue, another 25 percent should go toward payroll, and 35 percent should go toward the product. The remaining 15 percent is what you take home. There's an even more elegant version of that rule: Make your rent in four days to be profitable, a week to break even. If you haven't hit the latter mark in a month, close." Hipster arithmetic
VS Ramachandran: The Sherlock Holmes of Neuroscience  
"Poverty forces you to be "ingenious" and resourceful early on in your career plus the history of science tells us the importance of simplicity. The minute you start using fancy technology, there are so many steps from the raw data to the conclusion that there is plenty of scope for unintended massaging of the data. Methodology is important but your research should be concept driven – not methodology driven. Lastly, using sophisticated techniques (especially if computers are involved) lulls you into a false sense of thinking you have done something “scientific". The use of hi-tech is – to quote Peter Medawar – seen, unfortunately, as a sign of intellectual manhood."
If Chinese Were Phonetic - The New Yorker
"With a phonetic writing system like an alphabet or a syllabary, you need only learn a few dozen symbols and you can read most everything printed in a newspaper. With Chinese characters, you have to learn three thousand. And writing is even more difficult than reading; when you can’t use pronunciation as an aid to spelling, you have to rely on pure memorization. The cognitive demands are so great that even highly educated Chinese speakers regularly forget how to write characters they haven’t used recently." But then on the upside, reading is (I gather) independent of the spoken language. Handy in a huge polyglot country. Via HN
Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, rather than Phone and convergence | Ubuntu Insights
"I’m writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS." Good heavens. I've just checked the date on the post really carefully, and checked that the sky is not actually falling.
The Real Story of Reagan’s 11th Commandment - POLITICO Magazine
"Fast forward to 2017. The Republicans have become the party of dysfunction. They inherited the Southern conservatives who abandoned the Democrats, and are now as deeply split as the Democrats ever were—even as they hold the presidency, the Congress, and a majority of the nation’s state governments."
Why Japan's Rail Workers Can't Stop Pointing at Things - Atlas Obscura
"Train conductors, drivers and station staff play an important role in the safe and efficient operation of the lines; a key aspect of which is the variety of physical gestures and vocal calls that they perform while undertaking their duties. While these might strike visitors as silly, the movements and shouts are a Japanese-innovated industrial safety method known as pointing-and-calling; a system that reduces workplace errors by up to 85 percent." Pointing and calling for maths?
The art of the denial - Vox
"About 100 people were slotted to come to the conference from Africa — from filmmakers to government officials, from Guinea to Ethiopia to South Africa. But all of their visas to come to the US for business travel were rejected. Every. Single. One." So the centre of gravity of the 'development' industry moves out of the US. The UK needs international contacts at present, and the UK civil service has a lot of experience with scrutiny of visa applications...
Democrats aim to take out Cruz in 2018 - POLITICO
"The affable O’Rourke cuts a unique profile in the House. He recently spent two days in a car with Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) driving from Texas to D.C. after a snowstorm. The two livestreamed the entire ride and took questions from constituents along the way." Sounds like a way to reach younger voters. Transcript of some of the questions could be fun
The failure of the Republican health care bill reveals a party unready to govern - Vox
"This is a party that has forgotten how to do the slow, arduous work of governing. Perhaps it’s worse than that. This is a party, in many ways, that has built its majority upon a contempt for the compromises, quarter-loaves, and tough trade-offs that governing entails."
IBM is ending its decades-old remote work policy — Quartz
"At IBM, which has embraced remote work for decades, a relatively large proportion of employees work outside of central hubs. As early as the 1980s, the company had installed “remote terminals” in several employees’ homes. And by 2009, when remote work was still, for most, a novelty, 40% of IBM’s 386,000 global employees already worked at home (the company noted that it had reduced its office space by 78 million square feet and saved about $100 million in the US annually as a result)." How the mighty have fallen. A company that sells remote working services...
Berlin strikes back against Trump claim that Germany owes ‘vast sums’ to NATO, US – POLITICO
“A sensible security policy is not just buying tanks, driving defense spending to insane heights and escalating the arms race,” he said. “A reasonable policy means crisis-prevention, stabilization of weak states, economic development and the fight against hunger, climate change and water scarcity.” Sigmar Gabriel has the right idea I think. Talking is cheaper.
How to fix Obamacare with this one weird trick - POLITICO
"The under 26 provision has contributed to one of Obamacare’s biggest flaws: Not enough young, healthy people have signed up for coverage in the law's insurance marketplaces, or exchanges." Any insurance based system for paying for health care has to fiddle the premiums some how as we all need high levels of health care eventually (What I call the Kurt Cobain principle). Only way to fund health care is to do it through tax somehow so we all contribute consistently and not at a level that depends on individual risk.
Brian Moriarty | Lectures & Presentations | Who Buried Paul?
"Who Buried Paul? was first presented at the San Jose Convention Center on St. Patrick’s Day 1999, as a featured lecture of the Game Developers Conference." Could this be the first alt-truth exhibit? Via HN
>I'm shocked at how antisocial it is. Did I really believe this stuff? I did. A... | Hacker News
"What I saw that most changed my mind? I was expecting a world of nefarious villains, but what I found was nothing but a bunch of weak anit-patterns and emergent behaviours. The world didn't suck because illuminati super-villains were oppressing the sheeple, it sucked for the same reason parks get trashed. Garbage accumulates and nobody bothers to pick it up." Nice analogy. It isn't a conspiracy, just neglect. HN discussion on cyberpunk manifesto.
Review: In ‘Spider Network,’ an Intriguing Tale of Complicity - The New York Times
"At bottom, the Libor scandal was not very complicated at all. Libor was calculated daily based on submissions made by relatively low-level bank employees with modest oversight by the banks, the private association collecting the data and the regulators. The value of banks’ trading positions in derivatives and other Libor-influenced securities could be tremendously affected by even relatively small changes in the financial benchmark. The result was a mad scramble by market participants to influence the submissions in the hope of moving Libor in a direction favorable to their holdings." Just ordered the book. Good example of small decisions taken at low level blowing up through network effects.
Moving Deliveroo from a Monolith to a Distributed System
"Beech is lead engineer at Deliveroo which was founded in 2013. They started with a typical Ruby on Rails monolith using PostgreSQL and Redis for data storage and handled the growth in business by using larger and larger databases. One year ago, they were running about 20 servers on Heroku. Currently, they are running a few hundred servers which is the largest application ever deployed on Heroku, at peek using 1800 cores and 3 TB of memory. They have grown from 10 engineers in 2015, to about 100 in 2017, working on a main codebase of 600,000 significant lines of code." So until recently, all your junk food orders could be searched for and patterns of location found.
Humans weren’t designed to be rational, and we benefit hugely from our mental biases — Quartz
>> " "But even if we were able to live life according to such detailed calculations, doing so would put us at a massive disadvantage. This is because we live in a world of deep uncertainty, under which neat logic simply isn’t a good guide." " << Black Swan 2.0
The New Party of No - The New York Times
>> "In a 2014 Pew survey, 82 percent of people who identified as “consistently liberal” said they liked politicians who were willing to make compromises; just 32 percent of “consistently conservative” respondents agreed." <<
Wherever Trump goes, his gang of aides stays close by - POLITICO
"The large number of senior officials present, at all times, is a major contrast with past administrations — and it speaks to the defensive crouch that has become necessary for top aides in a White House defined by rival factions and power centers." Delegation?
Structure - The New Yorker
"All I had to do was put them in order. What order? An essential part of my office furniture in those years was a standard sheet of plywood—thirty-two square feet—on two sawhorses. I strewed the cards face up on the plywood. The anchored segments would be easy to arrange, but the free-floating ones would make the piece. I didn’t stare at those cards for two weeks, but I kept an eye on them all afternoon." Hipster table!
Laugh all you like, says Oliver Burkeman, index cards are pretty cool | Life and style | The Guardian
"As each thought occurs, he records it. Then, for hours, he rearranges the cards, grouping similar ideas together until a structure begins to emerge, seemingly independent of his will."
Mr. Trash Wheel | Baltimore Waterfront
"Trash comes from people who throw garbage on the ground instead of putting it in a trash can or recycling bin. When it rains, water carries this garbage off streets and into storm drains, which flow unfiltered into neighborhood streams. These streams carry the trash into the Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay." Sort of a surface skimmer
kde4 - How do I remove launchers from the KDE panel? - Unix & Linux Stack Exchange
At least on my KDE4 desktop I can remove a launcher like this: right-click on the right-most side of the panel and select Unlock Widgets in the popup menu right-click again on the right-most side of the panel and select Panel Settings now displayed in the popup-menu move mouse on the desired launcher icon and click on the X in its popup to remove the launcher you can also click and drag it elsewhere if you want to right-click on the right-most side of the panel and select Lock Widgets in the popup menu to prevent accidental panel changes
The Accidental Arrival of the Cubicle – Robin Powered – Medium
"In the 1960’s, the U.S. tax code made one small, but important, change. Businesses could now depreciate their office furniture over seven years — much faster than the 39.5 year rate for physical office walls. Under this system, companies could recover costs much more quickly on furniture. Furniture became considerably cheaper than construction when it came to creating an office." The genesis of the open plan office
Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble - The Lancet
"Notable among poor-performing countries is the USA, whose life expectancy at birth is already lower than most other high-income countries, and is projected to fall further behind such that its 2030 life expectancy at birth might be similar to the Czech Republic for men, and Croatia and Mexico for women. The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity.20, 21, 28, 29, 30 The USA is also the only country in the OECD without universal health coverage, and has the largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs.25 Not only does the USA have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups.1, 2 Therefore, the poor recent and projected US performance is at least partly due to high and inequitable mortality from chronic diseases and violence, and insufficient and inequitable health care." Watch out for anyone suggesting ideas from the US about healthcare here!
The fallacy of Trump’s “send in the Feds” fix for Chicago - Vox
"Chicago is also far from the most violent city in America. An analysis by the Trace put Chicago’s murder rate at 27.9 per 100,000 residents. Many other cities, particularly in the Midwest and Rust Belt, fared worse, including St. Louis (59.3), Baltimore (51.2), and Detroit (45.2)." Birmingham UK is 5.7 per 100k and is considered bad. Uk average around 2.4 per 100K
Trump’s nominees gripe the White House isn’t protecting them - POLITICO
“We're reaching a point where nominees like Perdue are concerned. Potential ambassadors and judges are wondering how are you going to handle my confirmation? Very few people at that level don’t have skeletons in their closet so you [need to] get confirmations done lickety-split.” Where do these skeletons come from? Is it not possible to have a modest and effective career and a stable home life in the US any more?
Talk of tech innovation is bullsh*t. Shut up and get the work done – says Linus Torvalds • The Register
>> "The innovation the industry talks about so much is bullshit," he said. "Anybody can innovate. Don't do this big 'think different'... screw that. It's meaningless. Ninety-nine per cent of it is get the work done." << >> "All that hype is not where the real work is," said Torvalds. "The real work is in the details." << Torvalds nails it again. Just do stuff. Details matter.
WATERGATE FIGURE ANTHONY ULASEWICZ DIES - The Washington Post
"Mr. Ulasewicz later lived in Upstate New York, working on his memoirs and at one point tending chickens named Dean, Haldeman and Ehrlichman." Excellent. His book has been ordered.
I trained myself to be less busy — and it dramatically improved my life - Vox
"I started with a simple value: being outside. I am a regular exerciser, but I was losing touch with being outside and moving my body through space. I began walking more, that’s all. It was not a hard change to make — I just park a little farther from work and hoof it a bit more, or I go for a nice stroll during lunch. It would not be an overstatement to say that an additional 40 minutes a day of walking just two or three times a week has changed me in a profound way. Walking provides time to think, to be energized by nature, and to feel less frenzied. Quite dramatically, I am much less of a robot and much more of a human being." This works for me; a day when I am not out of the house for a few hours feels somehow wrong.
Prospects for the American press under Trump, part two - PressThink
"This is a crisis with many overlapping and deep-seated causes, not just a problem but what scholars call a wicked problem— a mess. You don’t “solve” messes, you approach them with humility and respect for their beastliness. Trying things you know won’t “fix” it can teach you more about the problem’s wickedness. That’s progress. Realizing that no one is an expert in the problem helps, because it means that good ideas can come from anywhere." Wicked problems. Is that a way of looking at the political process by which different forces resolve to define an approach or strategy?
Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again - POLITICO Magazine
"If Trump’s idea of a news conference is to spank the press, if his lieutenants believe the press needs shutting down, if his chief of staff wants to speculate about moving the White House press scrum off the premises, perhaps reporters ought to take the hint and prepare to cover his administration on their own terms. Instead of relying exclusively on the traditional skills of political reporting, the carriers of press cards ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death." I like Jack Shaffer. Still miss HST and what he would make of this.
One Thing – Rands in Repose
"The perceived velocity achieved by being busy is a lie. Velocity is a vector. It is a combination of speed and a given direction provided by strategy. The rapid completion of small tasks might give you speed, but it is a well-defined direction that will give you efficiency, value, and impact. Who cares how quickly you are getting work done if it’s not the right work?" More marking and feedback. Less rootling around for The Perfect Handout.
Paris Review - Robert Caro, The Art of Biography No. 5
"And I had had a similar flash about Lyndon Johnson. It was the Senate, it wasn’t the presidency. He made the Senate work. For a century before him, the Senate was the same dysfunctional mess it is today. He’s majority leader for six years, the Senate works, it creates its own bills. He leaves, and the day he leaves it goes back to the way it was. And it’s stayed that way until this day. Only he, in the modern era, could make the Senate work. So he, like Moses, had found some new form of political power, and it was ­national, not urban power." I still hope the fifth volume gets finished this year...
The End Of Coder Influence | Zed A. Shaw
"But, I remembered that after countless blog posts about how terrible of a person I am and how terrible my books are, I still end up helping millions of people a year and still have the same sales." The 'hard way' books are good. Might do a maths the hard way using the templates.
Addicted to Your iPhone? You’re Not Alone - The Atlantic
"Harris is the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience. As the co‑founder of Time Well Spent, an advocacy group, he is trying to bring moral integrity to software design: essentially, to persuade the tech world to help us disengage more easily from its devices."
How I Got My Attention Back
“Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.” Simone Weil. That police photo. This quote.
Sir Ivan's resignation sign of greater Whitehall strain - BBC News
"Concern is growing among some high-ranking officials that ministers don't understand or won't admit the scale of the task they're facing." What can *possibly* go wrong?
The whole philosophy community is mourning Derek Parfit. Here's why he mattered. - Vox
"When I believed [that personal identity is what matters], I seemed imprisoned in myself. My life seemed like a glass tunnel, through which I was moving faster every year, and at the end of which there was darkness. When I changed my view, the walls of my glass tunnel disappeared. I now live in the open air. There is still a difference between my life and the lives of other people. But the difference is less. Other people are closer. I am less concerned about the rest of my own life, and more concerned about the lives of others." Derek Parfitt
Why this conservative radio host quit after Trump's victory - Vox
"Now, no matter how insane or crazy a belief is, you can find a media outlet that will affirm it for you. So the pressure to feed the crazies is immense in this media environment. What this means is that talk radio hosts are now gravitating toward their audiences rather than audiences gravitating to hosts. If a host refuses to do this, the audience disappears." Critical Thinking everyone
Class Breaks - Schneier on Security
"In a sense, class breaks are not a new concept in risk management. It's the difference between home burglaries and fires, which happen occasionally to different houses in a neighborhood over the course of the year, and floods and earthquakes, which either happen to everyone in the neighborhood or no one. Insurance companies can handle both types of risk, but they are inherently different. The increasing computerization of everything is moving us from a burglary/fire risk model to a flood/earthquake model, which a given threat either affects everyone in town or doesn't happen at all."
Why bad ideas refuse to die | Steven Poole | Science | The Guardian
"Actually, it’s a lot more than five centuries regressed. Contrary to what we often hear, people didn’t think the Earth was flat right up until Columbus sailed to the Americas. In ancient Greece, the philosophers Pythagoras and Parmenides had already recognised that the Earth was spherical. Aristotle pointed out that you could see some stars in Egypt and Cyprus that were not visible at more northerly latitudes, and also that the Earth casts a curved shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse. The Earth, he concluded with impeccable logic, must be round." And anyone who watched a ship sail from harbour would witness the sail disappearing over the horizon...
The Rhythm of Food — by Google News Lab and Truth & Beauty
One for the Quinoa Gang
2017 is not just another prime number ~ 松鼠博士的魔法眼鏡
Very nice
Remembering Roger Faulkner: UNIX Champion - The New Stack
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
What the ‘Godfather of Populism’ Thinks of Donald Trump - POLITICO Magazine
"Forty years before 2016’s “populist” president-elect stumped the country in his personal Boeing 757, Harris made his own quixotic bid for the presidency, crisscrossing the country in a borrowed Winnebago ahead of the 1976 Democratic primaries. At times wearing a cowboy hat atop his unruly head of dark hair, evoking a lumpen Johnny Cash, Harris financed his campaign with yard sales, house parties and picnics, and stayed overnight in ordinary voters’ homes in exchange for IOUs for a night in the White House, should he be elected." Sounds like how to do it
What’s really bugging Trump about Obama - POLITICO
“even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.” Obama - can't we have him back? UN General Secretary or something?
Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny - The New Yorker
"The problem of managing powerful systems that lack human values is exemplified by “the paperclip maximizer,” a scenario that the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom raised in 2003. If you told an omnicompetent A.I. to manufacture as many paper clips as possible, and gave it no other directives, it could mine all of Earth’s resources to make paper clips, including the atoms in our bodies—assuming it didn’t just kill us outright, to make sure that we didn’t stop it from making more paper clips." Note: Find out about Bostrom
Inside Evan Spiegel's very private Snapchat Story - Recode
>> "I often talk with people about the conflicts between technology companies and content companies," Spiegel said during a conference keynote two years ago. "One of the biggest issues is that technology companies view movies, music and television as information. Directors, producers, musicians and actors view them as feelings, as expression. "Not to be searched, sorted and viewed — but experienced." << Seems to have that sorted out.
Forgive me, techies, but here are the seven reasons why Silicon Valley likes Trump - Recode
>> "Yeah, he’s good at giving the people what they want, for sure. “We’ll get right on that!” “We’ll fix that!” “My guy will call your guy!” It is probably a relief from the smarty-pants Obama people who actually raised reasonable objections and wanted to debate the issues." <<
TLSTraveller's tales: on Patrick Leigh Fermor's letters – James Campbell
"In 1956, Ann Fleming wrote to Evelyn Waugh that “Paddy was invited for lunch and arrived with five cabin trunks, parcels of books and the manuscript of his unfinished work on Greece [Mani] strapped in a bursting attaché case”." That's the way to do it. The writer sings for his supper.
Christmas special: Survey research, network sampling, and Charles Dickens' coincidences - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
"In traditional survey research we have been spoiled. If you work with atomistic data structures, a small sample looks like a little bit of the population. But a small sample of a network doesn’t look like the whole. For example, if you take a network and randomly sample some nodes, and then look at the network of all the edges connecting these nodes, you’ll get something much more sparse than the original. For example, suppose Alice knows Bob who knows Cassie who knows Damien, but Alice does not happen to know Damien directly. If only Alice and Damien are selected, they will appear to be disconnected because the missing links are not in the sample."
The Binoculars of Jah | Colin Grant | Granta Magazine
"I’d been going to the island (mostly on my own) since I was nineteen; but when I mentioned my intention to go and find Bunny, my siblings and mother were filled with dread. They were rattled by tales of the Windrush Generation of emigrants, who had been retiring to the island only to be met with violence, muggings and sometimes worse. Increasingly, my family believed you went home to die – and not of natural causes." If true, this is really sad.
Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People
>> "As I mentioned earlier, the most effective way we've found to get interesting behavior out of the AIs we actually build is by pouring data into them. This creates a dynamic that is socially harmful. We're on the point of introducing Orwellian microphones into everybody's house. All that data is going to be centralized and used to train neural networks that will then become better at listening to what we want to do. But if you think that the road to AI goes down this pathway, you want to maximize the amount of data being collected, and in as raw a form as possible. It reinforces the idea that we have to retain as much data, and conduct as much surveillance as possible." <<
Why the white working class feels like they’ve lost it all, according to a political scientist - Vox
"One is that the media has a voracious appetite for controversy. It's the most extreme voices that dominate headlines because they are the most extreme and unusual and so they get more air time. Then there's also the campaign finance problem in the US. We only support politicians when they raise enough issues that are polarizing to make people fear that they not get their way. If there's agreement, people aren't scared and so not enough money is raised." That need for differentiation/distinction and inability to have consensus that adjusts.
The Hazards of Going on Autopilot - The New Yorker
>> "The more the pilots’ thoughts had drifted—which the researchers affirmed increased the more automated the flight was—the more errors they made. In most cases, they could detect that something had gone wrong, but they didn’t respond as they should have, by cross-checking other instruments, diagnosing the problem, and planning for the consequences. “We’re asking human beings to do something for which human beings are just not well suited,” Casner said. “Sit and stare.”" << Self driving cars anyone?
Term-time holiday case heading to Supreme Court - BBC News
"The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances - vindicating our strong stance on attendance." Peer reviewed? Seriously what evidence? Otherwise every child with a serious illness would need a funded catch up package including one to one coaching which would be very expensive
Labour MP Jamie Reed quitting Parliament - BBC News
>> "Mr Reed voted for renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system earlier this year, calling Mr Corbyn's opposition to nuclear weapons "juvenile" and "narcissistic"." << Perhaps Mr Reed can explain the precise strategic advantage to the UK of hosting a nuclear weapon system that the UK government can't actually use without the cooperation of the USA? Exactly what do we gain in exchange for the billions it costs us to *lease* these things? Perhaps some aircraft that are actually flown by the RAF on our aircraft carriers might be more of a deterrent?
Keith Ellison’s one-man march - POLITICO
"When I told him that his rhetoric on Farrakhan and Trump sounds similar, he smiled and sat up in his chair. “I’ll tell you this: They’re charismatic speakers speaking to people’s pain. Blaming other people is an old trick” — equating the leading black nationalist’s call to arms with a Trump rage-fest that fired up white nationalists." Eric wins again
My Priorities for the Next Four Years - Schneier on Security
"The election was so close that I've come to see the result as a bad roll of the dice. A few minor tweaks here and there -- a more enthusiastic Sanders endorsement, one fewer of Comey's announcements, slightly less Russian involvement -- and the country would be preparing for a Clinton presidency and discussing a very different social narrative. That alternative narrative would stress business as usual, and continue to obscure the deep social problems in our society. Those problems won't go away on their own, and in this alternative future they would continue to fester under the surface, getting steadily worse. This election exposed those problems for everyone to see."
How A Rust Belt Native and Silicon Valley Technologist Is Re-Thinking American Manufacturing – Initialized Capital – Medium
"So I moved here. I sold CloubFab to a manufacturer in Minnesota and had some time to do my own thing. I went to China and researched all of their industry in Shenzhen. I looked at injection molding. 3D printing. Basically all of these new technologies, and talked to the people who were working in the factories." What is manufacturing in 21st century? Can't we just sketch something and click the button?
Divisions deepen inside Trump Tower - POLITICO
"Trump, a businessman-turned-politician, has long encouraged competition among factions within his organizations, creating a pressure-cooker environment where almost every decision resulted in a winner and a loser. In the end, one side would be vanquished and another would take its place, and the cycle would repeat." This is NOT how governments work
AFL Font Pespaye Nonmetric | dafont.com
Looks appropriately distressed
A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?
"The other day I was reading a review of a new life of Liszt by Oliver Hilmes that reveals ‘hair-raising episodes of drunkenness’ in his later years. For some reason these were left out of the three-volume biography by Alan Walker, who admitted that the composer drank a bottle of cognac a day (and sometimes two bottles of wine) but didn’t think he was an alcoholic." I wonder what Mr Walker's idea of the consumption profile of an actual alcoholic is.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Betting on will Boris Johnson still be Foreign Secretary of the 1st of January 2018
"I think despite the events of the summer when Michael Gove’s transformation into the lovechild of Frank Underwood and Niccolò Machiavelli fatally damaged Boris Johnson’s chances of suceeding David Cameron, Boris still wants to be Prime Minister." I may need a new keyboard as a result of the images invoked by this post.
Word of the Year 2016 is... | Oxford Dictionaries
"After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’." God help us. Not only the content but the form (an hyphenated compound actually gets to be a *word* these days).
Paris Review - Martin Amis, The Art of Fiction No. 151
"A throb or a glimmer, an act of recognition on the writer’s part. At this stage the writer thinks, Here is something I can write a novel about. In the absence of that recognition I don’t know what one would do. It may be that nothing about this idea—or glimmer, or throb—appeals to you other than the fact that it’s your destiny, that it’s your next book. You may even be secretly appalled or awed or turned off by the idea, but it goes beyond that. You’re just reassured that there is another novel for you to write. The idea can be incredibly thin—a situation, a character in a certain place at a certain time."
‘It’s Like a Powder Keg That’s Going to Explode’ - POLITICO Magazine
>> “Before everything went crazy I was producing 1,000 words a day and I was usually done with my 1,000 words by around 11 or 11:30,” Eisen said. “That’s still the case, but now it’s 11:30 at night.” << 1000 words a day before *noon* is some going.
Why cities need to fight Uber and give people a real transport choice | Evgeny Morozov | Opinion | The Guardian
"Cities that cosy up to Uber, however, risk becoming too dependent on its data streams. Why accept Uber’s role as a data intermediary? Instead of letting the company hoover up extensive details about who is going where and when, cities should find a way to get this data on their own. Only then should the likes of Uber be allowed to step in and build a service on top of them." Or cities could just follow the example of Prague and say 'here are the roads we can afford to build and maintain without damaging our historical core, if you want to spend an hour or so each day in a traffic jam, bring your car, otherwise use the trains and trams'
'The most beautiful and elegant city in the world' - BBC News
How do you document a city quickly?
What It Was Like to Work With Einstein, Feynman, Oppenheimer, Pauli, and Bohr?
"One was [J.B.S.] Haldane, the biologist who wrote excellent popular books. He was also a man of very wide interests. The people in Cambridge whom I got to know personally—Hardy and Littlewood and Besicovitch—were all great mathematicians. The joke was they spent most of their time playing billiards. Besicovitch had a wonderful billiard table. I was very lucky because my father had bought a billiard table when I was a child. So I immediately fit into this coterie in Cambridge. If I wanted to talk to the big mathematicians, I would just start playing billiards and then the conversation would turn to mathematics."
The Setup / Charles Berret
"And as a purely practical matter, I try to use free/open-source software and formats just because I can be reasonably certain that these will still be supported in ten or twenty years. I'm done migrating my work out of proprietary platforms. There's also an argument to be made for the environmental responsibility of using low-spec computers, low-overhead software, and basic file formats." Seems sound as well
Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text using Pandoc and Markdown | Programming Historian
"Instead of following this tutorial in a mechanical way, we recommend you strive to understand the solutions offered here as a methodology, which may need to be tailored further to fit your environment and workflow." Seems sound
How I Wrote Arrival (and What I Learned Doing It) - The Talkhouse
"For those who haven’t seen a trailer or read the short story: When 12 alien vessels land in different locations around the world, the U.S. military brings in a pair of civilian scientists to help establish first contact. Louise Banks, a linguist, and Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist, are tasked with a unique challenge: The alien life forms (named heptapods, after their number of limbs) do not speak any form of recognizable language. We can’t understand them and, perhaps, they can’t understand us. So at first all the international teams at their respective landing sites collaborate to figure out why these beings parked on our planet, but our global relationships crumble as each country discovers how easy it is to misinterpret—or misteach—language with a true foreigner." Just bought the book
Buttery Smooth Emacs
"GNU Emacs is an old-school C program emulating a 1980s Symbolics Lisp Machine emulating an old-fashioned Motif-style Xt toolkit emulating a 1970s text terminal emulating a 1960s teletype." One of the core developers
How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’ - The New York Times
>> "Mr. Mounk’s interest in the topic began rather unusually. In 2014, he published a book, “Stranger in My Own Country.” It started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities." << Ordering a copy...
Senate Republicans can save the country — and their party — from Trump - Vox
"This, then, is where Trump’s presidency begins: with a closely divided Senate, a supermajority of senators who refused to back his candidacy, and a super-super-majority who harbor grave doubts about his fitness to serve. Assuming Democratic unity, it will only take three Republican defections on any given issue or nomination to create an anti-Trump majority in the chamber. Republicans would be wise to use the narrowness of their majority to curb the incoming president’s worst instincts." So will the President play to the gallery in the knowledge that the houses won't allow anything outrageous to pass?
Bach and the musical Möbius strip | plus.maths.org
Glide symmetry with a twist (the old ones are the best)
Trump win churns U.S.-Mexico water talks - POLITICO
"Moreover, hydrologists now realize that the period in the early 20th century when the Colorado River's water supply was divvied up was unusually wet. And as temperatures rise and climate change shrinks the winter snow pack that feeds the Colorado, the river is likely to carry even less water in the future." -- Politico "Events, dear boy, events." -- Harold McMillan
stunlaw: The Author Signal: Nietzsche’s Typewriter and Medium Theory
>> "One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”... “You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts” (Carr 2008)." <<
“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” | McLuhan Galaxy
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” John Culkin SJ often attributed to Marshall McLuhan
The firm that starts work at 9.06am - BBC News
"And at the end of the day everyone has to leave the office at 6pm sharp because staff aren't allowed to work into the evening." He gets it
Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency - The New Yorker
"Obama’s insistence on hope felt more willed than audacious. It spoke to the civic duty he felt to prevent despair not only among the young people in the West Wing but also among countless Americans across the country." Perhaps he has read Eric Hoffer - fear and despair is the soil in which extremism grows.
An ancient Buddhist strategy for overcoming paralyzing fear - Vox
>> "On a more practical level, Brother Phap Dung recommends that people stop reading the news if it feeds fear. “Go take refuge in nature, and find a cause where your heart doesn’t feel inactive and in despair,” he says. “This is the medicine.” We can and should focus on more tangible needs of the people around us than probable Trump doom. “Your friend may be somebody who is being discriminated against,” says Dung. “You can only be there to offer them kindness if you are stable. You cannot help them if you are filled with hate and fear. What people need is your non-fear.”" <<
R.W. Johnson · Trump: Some Numbers · LRB 14 November 2016
"Another telling figure. On average in 1965 an American CEO earned 20 times what a worker did. By 2013, on average, the number was 296 times. Marx foresaw ever greater concentrations of capital accompanied by the pauperisation of the working class." Interesting but I'm having issues with Trump and Marx in the same article.
There Is No Prospect Of Irish Unity : The Pensive Quill
"Well I can’t. I do remember that when I was at the Donegal border in 1971 we shot a Volunteer in the legs for stealing a tenner after an armed robbery so that was something that was completely unacceptable – any sort of personal gain and it is shocking. It shocks me that a lot of people in Belfast in particular seem to have benefited materially and have become very, very rich on the back of the struggle however they did it and I think that’s an absolute disgrace." Fucking hell. Raw. Via the ever amazing Slugger O'Toole
Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker - The New Yorker
"He was a bohemian with a cushion whose first purchases in London were an Olivetti typewriter and a blue raincoat at Burberry." Taste
Advice from Leonard Cohen — Artist Reformation
"Ring the bells that still can ring forget your perfect offering there is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen Dead at 82 - Rolling Stone
"And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted." RIP Leonard
Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded - The New York Times
"In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Violence plagues some corners of the world, and too many still live under the grip of tyrannical regimes. And although all the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance, unthinkable violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion. And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress."
On Wall Street, a high-ranking few still avoid email | Reuters
>> "After hearing a passing reference to regrettable emails during an interview at a conference two years ago, Dimon volunteered: "Don't send emails after you've had a drink."" << Sounds sensible
Ten Ways Your Data Project is Going to Fail
"This talk is based on conversations I've had with many senior data scientists over the last few years. Many companies seems to go through a pattern of hiring a data science team only for the entire team to quit or be fired around 12 months later. Why is the failure rate so high?"
‘We Are in for a Pretty Long Civil War’ - POLITICO Magazine
“I believed that the 2016 Republican primary was going to be a variation of Mom and Dad having the fight in front of the kids. Instead, the crazy uncle showed up and started a 17-person food fight,” Douglas Heye
Election Update: The Polls Disagree, And That’s OK | FiveThirtyEight
"As measured by the standard deviation, the spread in polls conducted since the third presidential debate is about twice as wide as what we saw at the end of campaigns from 2000 through 2012, on average. Again, that isn’t a perfect comparison because the range of polls may narrow over the final week of this campaign. But it’s not just your imagination if you feel like there’s more variation in the polls than you’re used to." Unstable polls
Jane Jacobs’s Theories on Urban Planning—and Democracy in America - The Atlantic
"Bacon took Jacobs on a before-and-after tour of his city. “Before” was represented by a street in a condemned black neighborhood; “after” was a towering new housing project. Before Street, Kanigel writes, “was crowded with people, people spilling out onto the sidewalk, sitting on stoops, running errands, leaning out of windows.” After Street was flat and deserted, with the exception of a lone boy kicking a tire."
The problem with perfection... | Classical-Music.com
"The most difficult thing is to break unhealthy patterns; the first time you try new ways of practising (or teaching) is the most difficult. Whatever has brought you where you are today can be the same thing which prevents you from further improvements. To improve is to change." Via HN
Confessions of a former neo-Confederate - Vox
"Here’s what O’Reilly doesn’t get about Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. When she said, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” her main purpose wasn’t to indict white people for owning slaves. Her purpose was to include black people in the grand narrative of American history, from the nation’s founding to the present day. If you want to include all Americans in the story of America, then there’s no getting around slavery, or the oppression of women, or the theft of Native American land, or the exploitation of immigrant labor. If you want to spare white people’s feelings, on the other hand, you have to get around all that."
Why kernel development still uses email [LWN.net]
"In short, Greg said, kernel developers still use email because it is faster than any of the alternatives. Over the course of the last year, the project accepted about eight changes per hour — every hour — from over 4,000 developers sponsored by over 400 companies. It must be doing something right. The list of maintainers who accepted at least one patch per day contains 75 entries; at the top of the list, Greg himself accepted 9,781 patches over the year. Given that he accepts maybe one third of the patches sent his way, it is clear that the patch posting rate is much higher than that." Greg Kroah-Hartman is accepting 3 to 4 changes per hour based on an 8 hour working day. The proposal rate is three times higher so he is assessing 12 changes per hour roughly. So that is 5 minutes per change to think through the implications.
How Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey Lost Its Way - The Daily Beast
"On the afternoon of Nov. 19, 1905, a young bottling-line worker noticed flames coming out of an upper story of Warehouse D at the Broad Ford distillery. Within minutes, the whole warehouse, which held 16,000 barrels of rye, was on fire, sending whiskey-fueled flames shooting high into the sky. By dint of and heroic effort from the distillery workers and the local fire departments and quick thinking from the plant engineer, who knocked the valves off the heating pipes in the other warehouses to fill them with fire-suppressing steam, the fire was contained to that one warehouse and the 810,000 gallons of whiskey it contained—some three months worth of production." Tragedy. Via Daringfireball
William Carlos Williams - Poetry Foundation
"Beginning with his internship in the decrepit "Hell's Kitchen" area of New York City and throughout his forty years of private practice in Rutherford, Williams heard the "inarticulate poems" of his patients. As a doctor, his "medical badge," as he called it, permitted him "to follow the poor defeated body into those gulfs and grottos..., to be present at deaths and births, at the tormented battles between daughter and diabolic mother." From these moments, poetry developed: "it has fluttered before me for a moment, a phrase which I quickly write down on anything at hand, any piece of paper I can grab." Some of his poems were born on prescription blanks, others typed in a few spare minutes between patient visits."
An “Infinitely Rich” Mathematician Turns 100 - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
>> “Give me a problem,” he said, “and I’ll unsolve it.” <<
How to Crash Systemd in One Tweet
"Systemd is dangerous not only because it is introducing hundreds of thousands of lines of complex C code without any regard to longstanding security practices like privilege separation or fail-safe design, but because it is setting itself up to be irreplaceable. Systemd is far more than an init system: it is becoming a secondary operating system kernel, providing a log server, a device manager, a container manager, a login manager, a DHCP client, a DNS resolver, and an NTP client. These services are largely interdependent and provide non-standard interfaces for other applications to use." What could *possibly* go wrong?
Restoring the first recording of computer music - Sound and vision blog
"Turing was not very interested in programming the computer to play conventional pieces of music: he used the different notes to indicate what was going on in the computer—one note for 'job finished', others for 'digits overflowing in memory', 'error when transferring data from the magnetic drum', and so on. Running one of Turing's programs must have been a noisy business, with different musical notes and rhythms of clicks enabling the user to 'listen in' (as he put it) to what the computer was doing. He left it to someone else, though, to program the first complete piece of music." I have sound samples for phone calls, text messages and emails on my old Blackberry. Same idea I think.
The Democratization of Censorship — Krebs on Security
"Today, I am happy to report that the site is back up — this time under Project Shield, a free program run by Google to help protect journalists from online censorship. And make no mistake, DDoS attacks — particularly those the size of the assault that hit my site this week — are uniquely effective weapons for stomping on free speech, for reasons I’ll explore in this post." Another example of the way algorithms make things that have always been possible easy to implement.
Philosophy, the Sartre blend: uncovering the birth of existentialism
"Bakewell ends her first chapter with a decent stab at answering the question: “What is existentialism anyway?” Acknowledging that it takes many forms, some mutually incompatible, she nevertheless commits herself to saying that it concerns itself with individual human existence, that it considers the defining characteristic of being human to be freedom, and that this entails assuming responsibility for everything we do, which brings with it an anxiety that is an inescapable fact of our existence, and, finally, that the purpose of existentialism is to enable us to understand ourselves better and thus to lead more authentic lives."
This could be the end of the Labour party
"Conspiracy theory saturates the far left as thoroughly as it saturates the far right. It is its default mode of thought. Its answer to everything." Nick Cohen: how to get people thinking through the logic rather than the conspiracy theories. Cohen mentions Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty and Danny Blanchflower.
If Brexit means Brexit, the UK Can’t Block an EU Army | Slugger O'Toole
"She has put leading Leave campaigners in the ideal position to make a success of Brexit if they can, and she is perfectly positioned to dump on them if it goes wrong. In particular, by repeatedly identifying the level of immigration as the main reason for public opposition to EU membership, she has the option of using any ‘five minutes to midnight’ deal securing the emergency brake that David Cameron failed to obtain as a material change in circumstances permitting a u-turn." Gerry Lynch with some interesting Brexitology (like Kremlinology only now). I think generally that Mr Lynch is perhaps hanging too much on a one sentence quote from Mr Fallon, but he is the political journalist and I am the maths teacher. The point above nails it: deniability provided by Leave supporters being forced (for a change) to actually do the work and make it work.
What San Francisco Says About America - The New York Times
"San Francisco has less than one-tenth Bangkok’s population but six times as many homeless people. I’m sure you could fill a book with the reasons for this. Ms. Nopphan believes that homelessness is more intractable in rich societies. “In wealthy countries there are systems for everything,” she said. “You’re either in the system or out of the system.” There is no in-between in America. In Bangkok, by contrast, rich and poor coexist. There are vast tracts of cheap, makeshift homes and a countryside where people in the cities can return to if they lose their jobs or hit hard times." Not makeshift housing or favelos, but certainly a range of low rent housing would help in UK as well. I mean seriously low rent.
Arts Council to impose quantitative measures of arts quality | News | ArtsProfessional
"The controversial Quality Metrics pilot, led by the agency Counting What Counts Ltd, has attempted to develop a “meaningful measure” of artistic quality that yields consistent and comparable findings across different artforms and types of organisation." MIS hits the galleries. What a huge job creation scheme for Excel pilots.
Eastwood ‘Northern nationalists are once more a restless people’ | Slugger O'Toole
"They summed it up in a clever and cutting soundbite – Take back control. To all those Brexiteers now at the heart of the British Government, Irish nationalism says this– we know how you feel. No one should therefore be surprised if in the wake of Brexit ‘Taking Back Control’ is precisely what we in the North now intend to do." -Colum Eastwood quoted on Slugger O'Toole
JavaScript Systems Music
"Learning Web Audio by Recreating The Works of Steve Reich and Brian Eno"
How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math - Issue 40: Learning - Nautilus
"When learning math and engineering as an adult, I began by using the same strategy I’d used to learn language. I’d look at an equation, to take a very simple example, Newton’s second law of f = ma. I practiced feeling what each of the letters meant—f for force was a push, m for mass was a kind of weighty resistance to my push, and a was the exhilarating feeling of acceleration. (The equivalent in Russian was learning to physically sound out the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet.) I memorized the equation so I could carry it around with me in my head and play with it. If m and a were big numbers, what did that do to f when I pushed it through the equation? If f was big and a was small, what did that do to m? How did the units match on each side? Playing with the equation was like conjugating a verb. I was beginning to intuit that the sparse outlines of the equation were like a metaphorical poem, with all sorts of beautiful symbolic representations embedded within it. Although I wouldn’t have put it that way at the time, the truth was that to learn math and science well, I had to slowly, day by day, build solid neural “chunked” subroutines—such as surrounding the simple equation f = ma—that I could easily call to mind from long term memory, much as I’d done with Russian."
The gap between Trump’s America and Clinton’s is getting worse
"If Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sometimes seem like they’re talking about two different Americas, there’s a reason: Their voting bases pretty much live in two different Americas. Clinton voters are concentrated in cities, in the nation’s denser and more diverse areas; Trump voters dominate rural areas and America’s wide-open landscapes." Brexit 2.0
ongoing by Tim Bray · Old Geek
"The Grey­glers are led by Vint Cer­f, who holds wine-and-cheese events (good wine, good cheese) when he vis­its Moun­tain View from his reg­u­lar DC digs." Sounds like a good gig
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Corbyn has overwhelming victory over TMay at PMQs
"Quite simply she and her team haven’t thought through the highly complex issues that her policy announcement last week would lead to. With so many in her own party not backing her she’s found herself in a hole so shortly after becoming PM." £50 million does not buy that many school places, and very few if building costs for expansion of existing schools added in. Many supporters of the policy will be disappointed when the result is 10 extra places here, 20 there. Massive numbers will hate *their* children failing. This looks no-win to me.
Boundary review: Corbyn and Osborne's seats face axe - BBC News
"The Electoral Reform Society criticised the decision to base the new boundaries on registered voters, rather than the actual population, saying this "risks skewing our democracy"." Depends on what the variances are. Do some demographics under-register and are those demographics concentrated in supporting one of the main parties?
politicalbetting.com
"It is worth remembering that this is Donald Trump we are talking about. The likelihood that he can go the final 8 weeks or so of this campaign without making any more mistakes seems slim. However, the fact Clinton seems to need him to shoot himself in the foot to win is worrying. Right now, this campaign feels like the EU referendum where a struggling Leave side refocused on immigration and Remain didn’t have an answer." Large group of voters in US describing themselves as 'undecided' as well. Where IS Hunter S when you need him?
MPs set to hear grammar school plans - BBC News
"All state schools in England will be allowed to select pupils by academic ability "in the right circumstances" and where there is demand" How could this possibly work? Who decides what the 'right circumstances' are and how do you determine if there is enough demand?
How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly ~ Stephen Downes
"From time to time people express amazement at how I can get so much done. I, of course, aware of the many hours I have idled away doing nothing, demur. It feels like nothing special; I don't work harder, really, than most people. Nonetheless, these people do have a point. I am, in fact, a fairly prolific writer."
Mexican Black Beans
"Another simple recipe for Mexican Black Beans – or refried black beans to be exact, in this case – goes like this. First, cook your black beans. You’ll need to soak them overnight with some baking soda, then boil them until tender. Conserve the cooking water. Mash the black beans with a fork or potato masher. Now, in a saucepan, fry some finely chopped garlic in olive oil. After a couple of minutes, add the beans. Stir in just enough of the cooking liquid to make the beans into a smooth paste. Cook until thick. You can serve this with bread, tortillas, tacos, or tortilla chips. Yum!"
The Lazy Cook's Way to Great Black Beans | Serious Eats
"But if you want a simple pot of whole beans in a rich, starchy gravy, the slow release of starch from dried beans is the best way to get there. Don't worry—as long as you soak your beans ahead of time and cook them thoroughly, they won't turn out tough."
Chinese Billionaire Linked to Giant Aluminum Stockpile in Mexican Desert | Hacker News
Duty Arbitrage. Better draft those trade agreements *really* carefully chaps.
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » The Grammar School policy is un-Conservative and will appeal to the wrong people
"Therein lies the first and most obvious problem with grammar schools in principle and with this proposal in particular: what do you do with those not selected? The idea that all secondaries can select on merit is either grossly ill-thought through or a chimera: it is simply impossible to have all schools operating selective criteria without an override mechanism – and if there is such a mechanism then it’s not truly selective." -- David Herdson I'm thinking that the Government is betting that a small number of new selective schools and a modest increase in existing grammar school places won't alter the ability distribution significantly in most areas. High political gains, low actual impact. Might be funny if they got that one wrong, but £50 million new funding won't go that far.
Springdale Linux 6.4 available : linux
>> "The only real "advantage" we have is not really having a gigantic user base to make happy - thus we can move faster and usually release sooner than the rest. To be honest, that's kind of the way we like it, but that shouldn't stop anyone else from using what we've created, ya know? It's kind of put out there as a "this works well for us, could work for you too" sort of thing." <<
Grammars debate trumps expert consensus - BBC News
"But this is post-referendum politics - where the symbolic status of grammars as a chance to better yourself has trumped the expert consensus. It is an unashamed pitch to the values of non-metropolitan England." Who needs experts volume 2.
How history forgot the black women behind Nasa’s space race | Life and style | The Guardian
Upcoming film with maths angle
Install Fedora Linux on an encrypted SSD
Automatic partitioning
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Two nations: the Brexit chasm
"The government will need to show both that it respects the formal result of the referendum and the substantive messages behind that, while simultaneously not riding completely roughshod over the nearly 50% of the population that felt differently – and then to persuade our erstwhile European partners to agree to that plan. Good luck to it with that task. It is clear what the referendum vote was against but it is far less clear what it is for." Pithy summary of the challenge
Teens Who Say No to Social Media - WSJ
"According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 92% of American teenagers (ages 13-17) go online daily, including 24% who say they are on their devices “almost constantly.” Seventy-one percent use Facebook, half are on Instagram, and 41% are Snapchat users. And nearly three-quarters of teens use more than one social-networking site. A typical teen, according to Pew, has 145 Facebook friends and 150 Instagram followers." Questionnaire going out soon
Making Modern Toughness - The New York Times
"Such people are, as they say in the martial arts world, strong like water. A blow might sink into them, and when it does they are profoundly affected by it. But they can absorb the blow because it’s short term while their natural shape is long term." Via Slugger O'Toole
Even the Rich Are Being Priced Out of Central London - CityLab
"That’s because these new owners are so rich in both money and global property that their London addresses frequently sit empty, functioning more as dust-sheeted deposit boxes rather than actual homes." Old trees die from the inside out. Look where the artists and musicians are going.
How to Keep a Zibaldone, the 14th Century's Answer to Tumblr | Atlas Obscura
"Welcome to the world of the zibaldone. A strange melange of diary, ledger, doodle pad, and scrapbook, these volumes—along with similar "hodgepodges" and "commonplace books"—served as a pattern for interior life from the 14th century onward, bringing comfort and inspiration to everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Lewis Carroll." So now I have a name for what I do with notebooks.
Computers and Reporters: Newsroom Practices at Two Canadian Daily Newspapers | McKercher | Canadian Journal of Communication
"The reporter of the 1990s has at her fingertips an array of technologies never available before. But how is she using them? How do these technologies affect her work? This paper begins an exploration into how reporters use computers. Its aims are very modest: it starts with a review of the literature on journalists and computers. It then presents a snapshot, taken in the spring of 1994, of computer use in two Canadian newsrooms. It concludes that Canadian reporters are not, in Patten's term, "technojournalists." Instead, they use new technologies to perform old functions."
Reusse: A sportswriter weeps for old friend Radio Shack - StarTribune.com
"Everyone called it the “Trash 80.’’ They were so reasonably priced that we could buy them ourselves if the newspaper balked. They weighed 3.1 pounds and could run for hours with four AA batteries."
Filing by Computer: A Pillow Helped - The New York Times
>> "It was 1974, 40 years ago this week. I was trying, and failing, to file a story by computer — the first, I was told, in the history of The New York Times. At my end, a bulky, 15-pound behemoth that I called “the blue monster.” (I believe its real name was the TeleRam Portabubble.) At the other, A. M. Rosenthal, The Times’s voluble editor, cackling over my frustration." << GERALD ESKENAZI
WHY CITIES KEEP GROWING, CORPORATIONS AND PEOPLE ALWAYS DIE, AND LIFE GETS FASTER | Edge.org
"[...]And so if you tell me the size of a city in the United States, I can tell you with some 85 percent accuracy how many police it would have, how many AIDS cases, how long the length of the roads are, how many patents it's producing and so on, on the average."
BBC Music - Bucket (and spade) list: a holiday crash course in classical music
Good old iPlayer still depends on flash (so last century) but the BBC have all the music
Rab Wilson: Sauf oor Stephen Daisley! | Comment | The National
"Nane o us wid lowp tae the defence o ony organisation wha daur’t tae try an gag journalists. E’en gin that journalist hus a proven track record o makkin a bourach o himsel oan cultural an language maitters, he hus the richt tae spout his haivers athoot bein bullied bi political pairties; gin thon’s the case." The shade of Swift still walks
Innovative, Interesting New Poll Has Some Problems
"People have a serious problem remembering if and for whom they voted for in past elections. Generally, people overstate their vote for the winning candidate. What that means is the “Romney voters” in their panel are probably a more hardcore sub-section of Romney voters than actual Romney voters." Romney was the loser in 2012
A Favorable Poll for Donald Trump Seems to Have a Problem - The New York Times
"The pollsters ask respondents whether they voted for President Obama or Mitt Romney. They then weight the sample so that Obama voters represent 27 percent of the panel and Romney voters represent 25 percent, reflecting the split of 51 percent to 47 percent between the two among actual voters in 2012. (The rest include newly eligible voters and those who stayed home.)" Stratified sampling for prior voting patterns, has been criticised on reliability grounds. Would be interesting to see how the previous non-voters vote this time.
What if house prices were linked to wages so local people could afford them? | The Co-operative Party
"For the first two weeks of each month, tens of thousands of Londoners work to pay their landlord’s mortgage." And most of the lower paid ones have to claim housing benefit to do that!
User Illusion: Everyday 'Placebo Buttons' Create Semblance of Control - 99% Invisible
"In the early 2000s, New York City transportation officials finally admitted what many had suspected: the majority of crosswalk buttons in the city are completely disconnected from the traffic light system. Thousands of these initially worked to request a signal change but most no longer do anything, even if their signage suggests otherwise."
Robert Caro: 'Power reveals - and not always for the better' | London Life | Lifestyle | London Evening Standard
“What happened to contemplation? What happened to thinking things through? Everyone laughs at me because I don’t use a computer, I don’t write on a computer and over and over again people say ‘you could do it faster’. I hear this but I’m thinking the reason I write the first few drafts in longhand and then go to a typewriter is to slow myself down.”
Met terror warning as report reveals 'commuter cops' live as far away as Cornwall and the South of France
>> "Less than half of the Met’s 18,000 borough officers now live in London, with soaring house prices giving rise to a phenomenon known as commuter cops”." << If true, then a strong case for 'essential incoming worker' access to fair rent housing?
An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’
"Being is replaced by having, and having is replaced by appearing. We no longer live. We aspire. We work to get richer. Paradoxically, we find ourselves working in order to have a “vacation.” We can’t seem to actually live without working. Capitalism has thus completely occupied social life."
The problem with rallies — Medium
"While rallies might be great for Jeremy’s ego and inspire a lot of people who already support us they do absolutely nothing in terms of what Labour needs to do to win in 2020 – in fact, they perpetuate a false narrative, a narrative that says we are winning. We are not winning. When you speak to people who don’t go to rallies, who aren’t members of the party, you get the feeling that we’re losing, and badly. The polls suggest this too – and for those of you who don’t trust polls, remember that they actually overestimated Labour support in 2015. If voting intentions were judged by rally attendance the next YouGov poll would say “Labour: 100%”. Rallies are great, fun, and inspiring, but at the end of the day thousands of people at rallies doesn’t mean that Labour can win an election and doesn’t necessarily help us to." Echo chambers again - but more fun than Twitter I think
Page dewarping
"Flattening images of curled pages, as an optimization problem." Elegant model-based algorithm for straightening out a photo of a book page. Python script.
How I wrote my first novel during my daily commute — Medium
"I loosely followed the Snowflake method, devised by a novelist who also has a PhD in Theoretical Physics. In a nutshell, you describe the plot of your novel in a single sentence; then in a single paragraph; then in four paragraphs; then in four pages; then you make a list of every scene in the story; then you write. This fractal structure gives the Snowflake method its name." Could be a lesson planning process as well perhaps?
The Write Stuff: How the Humble Pencil Conquered the World
"Sometime in the 16th century, a tree fell over in Borrowdale, England. Under that tree was an igneous rock layer with protruding veins of a dark gray metallic-looking substance. The locals noticed that it looked just like lead. But this was no metal. It was pure carbon. It was graphite."
15 Page Tutorial for R | StudyTrails
"For Beginners in R, here is a 15 page example based tutorial that covers the basics of R." How to download, the assignment operator &c.
You may think the world is falling apart. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it isn't. - Vox
"News is a misleading way to understand the world. It’s always about events that happened and not about things that didn’t happen. So when there’s a police officer that has not been shot up or city that has not had a violent demonstration, they don’t make the news. As long as violent events don’t fall to zero, there will be always be headlines to click on."
Extracting data from Wikipedia using curl, grep, cut and other bash commands | Loige
"In this article I am going to show you how I was able to extract and process some information from Wikipedia only using a combination of common bash utilities like curl and grep."
Election Update: 10 Big Questions About The Election, Revisited | FiveThirtyEight
"But still, the number of undecided and third-party voters in the polls remains high, which has historically been an indicator of higher volatility. And the conventions concluded relatively early this year, so the comparison to post-convention polling from past years is somewhat imprecise." Improbability drive not quite back to 1:1 yet. Watch the next month.
The Shame of Palo Alto: An Interview with Kate Downing on Affordable Housing | Hacker News
"It seems that we made a pact with the devil by positioning housing as an investment asset. By doing so, we've encouraged people to commit a very large fraction of their net worth into a rather illiquid asset, tying their financial fates to the future assessment of that asset. As a result, protecting the price and appreciation of this asset has come to overshadow the other crucial roles that housing plays in our society." Bingo
The Shame of Palo Alto: an Interview with Kate Downing on Affordable Housing — Stanford Political Journal
"I know a lot of people are paying attention to national politics and the presidential election, but in reality the most things that most affect people’s lives, that affect their housing, that affect what’s around them, where they can go and where they can hang out, all those decisions are made at the local level, and so I urge them to pay attention to their local politics and I urge them very strongly to vote." Local govt a bit less influential in UK of course
The Jefferson Bottles - The New Yorker
"He especially loved wines that predated the phylloxera epidemic of the late nineteenth century, when a grape-vine pest decimated Europe’s vineyards, forcing growers to replant with phylloxera-resistant rootstocks from North America." We are *all* drinking New World wines! Excellent
Jeremy Corbyn accuses Tom Watson of making 'nonsense' Trotsky claims - BBC News
>> In an interview with the Observer, Mr Corbyn said: "I just ask Tom to do the maths - 300,000 people have joined the Labour party. "At no stage in anyone's most vivid imagination are there 300,000 sectarian extremists at large in the country who have suddenly descended on the Labour party. Sorry Tom, it is nonsense - I think he knows it's nonsense." << Famously small ultra-left parties in UK.
Secret History of Silicon Valley - YouTube
Steve Blank: Silicon Valley history (guess what, government funded research going back 30 years before t'internet)
How I Founded a $2 Billion Company with a 95 Cent Book from RadioShack — Backchannel
"RadioShack-type people loved making things work, taking things apart and (sometimes) putting them together again. Brian and I were RadioShack people. Some RadioShack people go on to pursue other interests, some became professors, and some (Woz from Apple springs to mind, as does Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith and James Dyson of vacuum fame) transformed creative genius into commercial success." In UK that would have been the local small radio shop. The chains were always a bit crap.
roots: John Baez
"Around 2006, my friend Dan Christensen created a fascinating picture of all the roots of all polynomials of degree ≤ 5 with integer coefficients ranging from -4 to 4: "
The rise and fall of the Gopher protocol | MinnPost
>> "For McCahill, the realization happened on the street. “I saw a URL on the side of a bus,” he says. “That’s when I knew the Web was all about advertising. Gopher was not good for advertising. I knew it would start winding down.”" <<
Finance Minister says NI left out of Brexit negotiations: UK Gov won’t underwrite current EU funding for NI | Slugger O'Toole
>> "Máirtín Ó Muilleoir: Brussels my arse, as they say. It’ll be made in London. There has been no effort at all – not a phone call, not a letter, not an email – to say to us what do you think we should do with the PEACE money and the INTERREG money? Not a word. And we do expect that letter today. So the promise of Theresa May made and the homily she gave outside Number 10 and the commitment she said that we want to all work together … that has not been fulfilled." << Here we go...
Schneier on Security
"Instead, he argues, young people adrift in a globalized world find their own way to ISIS, looking to don a social identity that gives their lives significance. Groups of dissatisfied young adult friends around the world ­ often with little knowledge of Islam but yearning for lives of profound meaning and glory ­ typically choose to become volunteers in the Islamic State army in Syria and Iraq, Atran contends. Many of these individuals connect via the internet and social media to form a global community of alienated youth seeking heroic sacrifice, he proposes." The social pull factor ties in with UK Protect training.
Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button • The Register
>> "The hack can be used by thieves to wirelessly unlock as many as 100 million VW cars, each at the press of a button. Almost every vehicle the Volkswagen group has sold for the past 20 years – including cars badged under the Audi and Skoda brands – is potentially vulnerable, say the researchers. The problem stems from VW’s reliance on a “few, global master keys.”" << Central storage of master keys not so good.
Is Donald Trump going to drop out? Probably not. - Vox
"The speculation about whether Trump will drop out gets one important thing right: It is not at all clear that Donald Trump actually wants to do the work that being president of the United States would entail." The shade of HST must be laughing his head off at all this.
GMB union backs Owen Smith for Labour leader - BBC News
"GMB members cannot afford for Labour to be talking to itself in a bubble for the next five years while the Tories run riot through our rights at work, our public services and our communities."
Text analysis of Trump's tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half – Variance Explained
Trump tweets in the morning and uses more negative words. His team tweet later in the day and are more positive. Use of vocabulary analysis and sorting tweets between different devices.
Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea • The Register
"And perhaps most importantly: it is a reminder that demands by politicians and crimefighters for special keys, which can be used by investigators to unlock devices in criminal cases, will inevitably jeopardize the security of everyone."
Retail Location Data & Analytics from Local Data Company (LDC)
They pay people to check shops and then analyse changes over time. Sell live data and some summary reports free
Fighting the clones: Bristol developer calls time on chain cafes - BBC News
"Often they end up importing new, wealthy residents, and then bringing in expensive shops owned by multinational companies for them to spend their money in. "There is new economic activity, but very little of it is benefiting the local economy." Rachel Lawrence, economist, New Economics Foundation
Summer of Parading Peace points way for Bonfire Regulation | Slugger O'Toole
"In such an environment, the role of political leaders and others in authority is of paramount importance. We should not be under any illusion: the bonfire is a culture almost exclusively preserved in working class communities for the simple reason that middle class communities would not tolerate such an imposition upon their locality- and residents in more affluent districts would expect the active support of the PSNI and other statutory agencies to prevent their communities from being treated in such a manner."
Britons under-report calorie intake, study suggests - BBC News
"Physical activity is good for your health and heart but reducing calories is a more effective strategy to combat obesity."
European Cities Test Measures To Control Tourist Flows - SPIEGEL ONLINE
"The conditions German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger warned against in his treatise "A Theory of Tourism" almost 60 years ago are becoming reality. Enzensberger argued that travelers, through their mere presence, threaten or destroy what they are actually seeking: originality and local color."
Cornelius Cardew
"The indication here is already of his moving away from music as object towards music as process, and of a concern for the problems of the performers. Cardew was one of the first Europeans to grasp not just the musical but also the social implications of the new American aesthetic. And this was because his response to the music was not merely a cerebral rejection of the predominant western European compositional method - total serialism - but a deep-seated reaction to content and meaning, to the new ways of thinking and feeling, to the idealism, both moral and philosophical, that seemed to inform the new American music. 'There is no room for the policeman in art', Cage said in one of his polemics against the Europeans." Process
Find a new city
"I mean, all of my band left New York because they couldn’t afford to live there. We lost our practice place. I lost my art studio because all of our spaces were taken by entrepreneurs with a lot of money." And so it goes
Richard Gott reviews ‘Cornelius Cardew’ by John Tilbury · LRB 12 March 2009
‘one of the most difficult boys I ever knew – shy, reticent, introverted, self-centred, obnoxious to most people; lacking graciousness and humility … everyone was glad when he left.’
A former CIA chief is calling Trump a foreign agent. This is how absurd the election is. - Vox
"Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, made the accusation in a New York Times op-ed published on Friday. In it, Morrell accuses Donald Trump of being an “unwitting agent” of Russia. An “unwitting agent,” in spy terms, means someone who has been tricked or manipulated into serving as a foreign operative without knowing it." Turtles all the way down. HST where are you when we needed you?
Center for Neighborhood Technology Shows That Reducing Household Costs of Living Can Help Cut Poverty Levels - CityLab
>> "It might not need to be. Urban poverty could be cut—rather drastically— through a basic principle of finance, according to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based urban policy think-tank. On Thursday, the CNT released the “Urban Opportunity Agenda,” with a central premise so simple that it’s sort of stunning it’s not talked about more: Reducing the cost of living for low-income citizens." << Transport costs reduced by providing alternatives to lone driving resulting in more access to jobs - the model is poor outside and rich inside so bus the poor in to work. Housing ecology a better lever?
The Political Process Isn’t Rigged — It Has Much Bigger Problems | FiveThirtyEight
"Here’s the truth: Washington is rigged, but not in a literal sense and not in any of the nefarious ways those loud voices are contending. Instead, the blame may lie more with voters than politicians: Our legislative process is not designed to withstand the current levels of partisan polarization in the electorate."
David Cameron and the problem of setting real political choices | Slugger O'Toole
>> "Now, consider a hypothetical example. To determine the average age by a majority vote, the question would probably be, “Are you young or old?” " << Suggesting multiple positive choices for future referenda
Welcome to AirSpace | The Verge
>> "But over the past few years, something strange has happened. "Every coffee place looks the same," Schwarzmann says. The new cafe resembles all the other coffee shops Foursquare suggests, whether in Odessa, Beijing, Los Angeles, or Seoul: the same raw wood tables, exposed brick, and hanging Edison bulbs." <<
Sinn Fein could be set to say farewell to their wages policy | Slugger O'Toole
"It is Sinn Féin’s current policy to pay all its members, including ministers and special advisers, what it terms an ‘average industrial wage’, which in the north is in the region of £26,000 and in the Republic €37,000." Seems a good idea to me. All constituency expenses paid for out of general income
NickPalmer — politicalbetting
Relatively reasonable member with mathematical education.
Book1 - Probability and Risk in the Real World.pdf
Taleb's own Probability and the Real World: a mathematical commentary on his books
Statistics Project Report
Taleb 'Fooled by randomness' an attempt to calculate Table 3.1 using binomial distribution and a forward calculation from the 1 second level. Hard to follow.
probability - Help with understanding an example from the book 'Fooled by Randomness' - Mathematics Stack Exchange
How to calculate table 3.1 in Taleb's Fooled by probability. I was rather hoping to find a monte-carlo similation rather than a simple scaling of the normal distribution parameters.
IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece
"The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory."
Understanding Hillary: The Clinton America sees isn’t the Clinton colleagues know. Why are they so different?
"It turned out that Clinton, in her travels, stuffed notes from her conversations and her reading into suitcases, and every few months she dumped the stray paper on the floor of her Senate office and picked through it with her staff. The card tables were for categorization: scraps of paper related to the environment went here, crumpled clippings related to military families there. These notes, Rubiner recalls, really did lead to legislation. Clinton took seriously the things she was told, the things she read, the things she saw. She made her team follow up."
Theresa May 'wants and expects' to protect rights of Poles in UK - BBC News
>> "She also reiterated that she wanted to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, providing the rights of UK citizens in EU countries are also protected. She said she had discussed the matter with Mr Fico and "that concept of reciprocity is recognised." "<< Sounds like bilateral agreements even if freedom of movement off table?? Am I taking 'reciprocity' too literally (one to one mapping)?
Iraq violence: Did IS use new type of bomb for deadliest attack? - BBC News
>> "If terrorists are trying to turn every element of life into a battlefield, I will turn it into a field of beauty and civilisation," declares Karim Wasifi, composer and conductor with Iraq's National Symphony Orchestra. << Alas, he is having to play again
How a Currency Intended to Unite Europe Wound Up Dividing It - The New York Times
>> "Q. You conclude that the best-case scenario from here is to reform and save the euro. But absent that, you contend that it is better to just scrap it as a failed experiment. What needs to happen to make the euro viable?" "A. A banking union with deposit insurance. Something like a euro bond. An E.C.B. that doesn’t just focus on inflation — you want it to focus on employment. A tax policy that deals with the inequalities. And you have to get rid of limits on government deficits." << Sounds similar pitch to Varoufakis' book.
What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23 • The Register
"Several of those interviewed by The Register have changed plans as a result of the Brexit vote. Memset, which was planning UK expansion, is now considering the US and continental Europe. Comtek – whom we spoke to here before the vote - canned the move of a research team of 25 people from Northern Ireland to north-east Wales and may instead shift them to the Republic of Ireland. Fantastic Services has moved investment from the UK to Australia and increased its focus on online booking – the latter through its tech team in EU member Bulgaria."
Newton Emerson: Will a return to the pound be the price of Irish unity?
>> "Much of the credibility of this arrangement comes from the unusually large and enduring example of Hong Kong, which has maintained a dollar peg since 1983. That system was designed by a Scottish economist, John Greenwood, who has given his blessing to a Caledonian version. Should any of this come to pass, the island of Britain would become a “poundzone”, or poundland, as it would inevitably be called." Newton Emerson, Irish Times, via Slugger O'Toole
Explainer: The Transit Ridership Recipe — Human Transit
"The local street network makes all the difference. In the neighborhood on the left, the gridded street pattern puts about 2/3 of the circle within walking distance, while the disconnected suburban street pattern on the right puts only 1/3 of the circle within walking distance."
3 winners and 3 losers from the 4th night of the Republican National Convention - Vox
"Trump isn’t the only billionaire to make a foray into politics, but it’s hard to imagine, say, Michael Bloomberg surrounding himself with fellow billionaires at an event like this. That’s not because Bloomberg is some kind of class traitor or whatever. It’s because Bloomberg views his money as a tool that lets him be involved in politics, rather than evidence of his inherently superior character. That makes the idea of inviting yet more rich people seem foolhardy, likely to backfire and make Bloomberg seem out of touch and detached from ordinary Americans." "Trump, by contrast, really does see his wealth as evidence of superior character. That’s the entire basis of his public personality. It’s evidence he has killer instincts, won’t give up, works harder than the rest, and so on. And Trump has been able to sell that idea, and that self-image, to the broader public, first on The Apprentice and now during the campaign." Dylan Matthews, Vox
What if There Just Aren’t Enough Jobs to Go Around? - Real Time Economics - WSJ
"The Roosevelt authors say a key factor is the concentration of resources in the hands of managers and owners of large corporations—think of CEOs who are compensated largely in shares of the firms they oversee. This ownership encourages them to skimp on labor costs to further enrich themselves, in their analysis. That shrinking demand for labor then helps depress job-market dynamism. It also contributes to broader secular stagnation, since wealthier people tend to save more of their incomes."
Corbyn: “I’m calling your Da…” (Honestly) | Slugger O'Toole
"Being Irish it would have been more effective he had said he was going to tell his mammy. Corbyn hasn't a clue." Dominic Hendron on comments. NI mammy same as Liverpool mammy by sound of it.
Fences: A Brexit Diary by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books
"It’s a very pretty redbrick Victorian building, and was for a long time in “special measures,” a judgment of the school inspection authority called Ofsted, and the lowest grade a state school can receive. Many parents, upon reading such a judgment, will naturally panic and place their children elsewhere; others, seeing with their own eyes what Ofsted—because it runs primarily on data—cannot humanly see, will doubt the wisdom of Ofsted and stay put. Still others may not read well in English, or are not online in their homes, or have never heard of Ofsted, much less ever considered obsessively checking its website. In my case I had the advantage of local history: for years my brother taught here, in an after-school club for migrant children, and I knew perfectly well how good the school is, has always been, and how welcoming to its diverse population, many of whom are recently arrived in the country."
Donald Trump’s ego is the best clue about how he’ll govern - Vox
"Politicians aren’t just human beings. They’re avatars for the coalition of interest groups, voting blocs, and ideologies that got them there. They’re trying to make the best decisions for their constituencies." "Politicians’ choices are almost always the result of analyzing the costs and benefits a given option would have for those constituencies. And you can know a lot of that cost-benefit analysis just by looking around. If an interest group normally allied with a politician is lobbying heavily against a bill, that’s a pretty big cost the politician would have to shoulder if she chose to vote for it." --Dara Lind
What could Brexit mean for the UK's farmers? - BBC News
>> "Now if there were controls on labour that made it difficult, or anything that made it too difficult, one option would be to take these machines, the celery rigs all around us, to Poland and grow the product there." <<
Inside the Obama Tech Surge as it Hacks the Pentagon and VA — Backchannel
>> "VACOLS itself is a symbol of the way the federal government sputters along when massive contracts for IT projects produce nothing but failures. It was the creation of a single civil servant who has worked on it for decades — even though it was not part of his day job. “He is a single point of failure, the only person who understands how to maintain it,” says Harshawat, who is in awe of the guy. “Some lines of source code are older than I am.” Recently, a Presidential Innovation Fellow assigned to the VA had been trying to revamp the system, but it really needed a total update. So a Digital Service at VA team is setting out to update it, creating a brand new system called Caseflow." <<
CentrePiece - The Magazine of the Centre for Economic Performance
Usefully referencable
CEP | BREXIT
Those experts
Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2016 - Institute For Fiscal Studies - IFS
"The “new poor” tend to live in households where there is someone in work. Only a third of children below the government’s absolute poverty line now live in a workless household – two thirds of those classified as poor are poor despite the fact that at least one of their parents is in work. So if the new Prime Minister takes forward the ‘life chances’ strategy started by her predecessor, that strategy needs to focus on lifting the incomes of working households." Get rid of low pay jobs. Legislate against zero hour contracts and put the minimum wage on a wedge upwards.
Brexit will strengthen the Union | Slugger O'Toole
"We now have a Welshman (David Davis) in charge of Brexit & a Scotsman (Dr Liam Fox) as the first UK trade Minister in 40 years which is a prime example that cultural, economic & political ties throughout the UK are much stronger than anything in the undemocratic EU." A different view
Micheál Martin invokes Hume to argue that the centre has, can and must continue to hold… | Slugger O'Toole
"They fully understand the nature of economic insecurity, cultural suspicions and political inertia – and they have set about seeking to ruthlessly exploit them. They are not in the business of tough choices and credible alternatives." "They are offering easy solutions – providing targets to blame and pretending that all problems can be overcome if only an identified enemy would get out of the way." Micheál Martin quotes from a speech at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties. I find the experience of people in NI and the strategies they have used to maintain dialogue and sort practical day to day arrangements reassuring as we venture into the rough seas of the brexit process.
What you learn from reading 12 of Donald Trump's books
"But Trump did not come up in the computer industry, or in any other industry that rewards entrepreneurs for growing markets and innovating for consumer benefit. He came up in Manhattan real estate. In Manhattan real estate, wealth is not created by offering new products that make consumers’ lives better. There is only so much land, and strict building regulations and permitting mean there’s only so tall you can build on that land. You make money through working around those regulations and being the one to get the rights to build on a valuable parcel, while other people don’t." Vox
The History of the URL: Path, Fragment, Query, and Auth - Eager Blog
scheme:[//[user:password@]host[:port]][/]path[?query][#fragment] via HN
Labour has the stench of death – meet the killers | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian
>> “Danny” Blanchflower told me that all he ever heard was “Jeremy is against austerity”. Good, Blanchflower replied, but what policies should we pursue? Answer came there none. Blanchflower resigned. Thomas Piketty never attended a meeting and the whereabouts of Joseph Stiglitz remain a mystery. << So where are the non-neoliberal economists?
When Yahoo Ruled the Valley: Stories of the Original ‘Surfers’ - The New York Times
>> “Tech is sexy. It’s employable. Parents love it,” she said. “All of that isn’t worth a hill of beans unless we know why, to what end. We call it the humanities for a reason.” << Srinija Srinivasan, head of the Yahoo directory until 2008
Everything you need to know about Theresa May’s Brexit nightmare in five minutes
"So what happens when we fall out the EU at the end of the Article 50 process? It's Year Zero. We will have no trade deals, no financial arrangements with the EU or anyone else. We're like a man being thrown out of a plane into the sea with no lifejacket. Seriously. I'm not making this up. It's scary."
Texting parents boosts maths grades, study suggests - BBC News
>> They found that the intervention appeared to have "an extremely small, positive, yet statistically significant impact" on attainment, particularly on maths and absenteeism. << When N is large, tiny effects can be statistically significant.
Bernie Sanders has an important and largely neglected point about Donald Trump - Vox
"This is a kind of boring story, journalistically speaking. "Republican nominee agrees with other Republicans about major public policy issues" is a pretty boring headline. But it’s still a legitimate — and legitimately important — story. This suite of issues on which Trump is an orthodox Republican is probably a bigger deal for the most voters than are Trump’s heterodoxies on trade and other issues." ...and we have a Tory government that believes in a small state.
Reflections on Johnson and Davis | Slugger O'Toole
"And what for the Prime Minister? She has effectively invited Johnson and Davis in particular to put their money where their mouths are. Failure carries the risk of being dragged down with them in 2020 (we can probably rule out a snap election this autumn), but she may be banking on it being more likely that their success or political neutralisation will secure her place as Prime Minister."
Goodbye George, hello Boris: Theresa May's first Cabinet appointments
"David Davis is Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. This has pleased a lot of people, but most of those people are, like Mr Davis, Right-wing, Leave-voting Conservatives. This is, of course, the point. This, even more than Mr Johnson’s was an appointment to appease and calm the party, to avoid a split with the Leavers that could kill the May government at birth. Mrs May is following Norman Tebbit’s old adage: shoot the crocodile nearest the boat. She knows that unless the Leavers support her, she’s doomed to be the new John Major."
Donald Trump has ushered in a whole new era of fact-checking in journalism - Vox
"Even a decade ago you could meaningfully speak of journalists being able to police to some extent the focus and nature of public discourse, and that is simply not true anymore. Since the 1990s, it has become easier for politicians to speak more directly to the voters, and it is easier for people to tailor their own media diet to their own preferences." Echo chambers again.
Headphones Everywhere - The New Yorker
>> “Headphones—especially shitty ones, which are mostly what you see on the street—computer speakers, and small Bluetooth speakers have changed a great deal of what we do in the mixing and mastering stages of record production,” he wrote in an e-mail recently. “While good mixers have always switched on a single summed mono speaker to check important individual levels in a mix, we didn’t listen small to judge impact and visceral reaction. In a way, now we do.” <<
Theresa May: a one-nation Tory in a one-party state | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
"She was feared as the proxy candidate for the minority faction on the party’s perpetually rebellious right flank, which likes to wield influence over Conservative leaders without taking responsibility for any mishaps that flow from their dogmatic demands." These big political parties perhaps need to break up and realign.
The prospect of Brexit Britain turning into a post-global disaster zone is real | Opinion | The Guardian
"Although some forex traders believe the pound will bottom out at $1.20, the pessimists are predicting parity: one pound buys you one dollar. And I think the pessimists are right. Because there is no situation in economics incapable of being made worse by the uncontrolled antics of politicians. And antics are what we’re getting."
How it all went wrong for Andrea Leadsom's leadership bid | Politics | The Guardian
"After the referendum on 23 June, focus on her policy positions grew. In 2012, two years after entering parliament as MP for South Northamptonshire, she called for “no minimum wage, no maternity or paternity rights, no unfair dismissal rights, no pension rights” for workers in companies with three or fewer staff." So you tax expansion. Surprising recipe for growth and innovation.
SETI mulls reboot: Believing the strangest things, loving the alien • The Register
>> “Ultimately, to find aliens, we must become the aliens”, Cabrol notes. <<
Writing an editor in less than 1000 lines of code, just for fun - <antirez>
"Well, now it’s time to release it, end of this crazy project. Maybe somebody will use it as a starting point to write a real editor, or maybe it could be used to write some new interesting CLI that goes over the usual REPL style model." One large C file. VT100 escape sequences to draw the screen. Syntax highlighting.
How Tony Blair came to be so unpopular - BBC News
"The prime minister who showed patience and ingenuity in Northern Ireland, subtlety in Europe, and who was notably suspicious of an ideological approach to domestic affairs, become a true believer. There was an element of naivete in his approach to the hard-liners around Bush - confessing, for example, that he didn't really know what a neo-conservative was." GFA was important, but, heavens...
Pinboard Turns Seven (Pinboard Blog)
Ever feel like just wiping your servers and running off to Mexico?
Newton Emerson: The hysteria of Irish nationalists over Brexit is irrational
"Turkey trades freely in goods without free movement of people via the EU customs union. The six Nordic countries keep their common travel area, despite three being outside the EU. Switzerland is a global financial centre. EU scientific and academic bodies offer associate membership to non-EU countries. Greenlanders left the EU but retain EU citizenship." So the main risk now is that Trojan horse coming out of Pandora's box (to quote Bevan) - a right wing Tory administration without a GE mandate.
How Trees Calm Us Down - The New Yorker
"In 1984, a researcher named Roger Ulrich noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from gallbladder surgery at a suburban hospital in Pennsylvania. Those who had been given rooms overlooking a small stand of deciduous trees were being discharged almost a day sooner, on average, than those in otherwise identical rooms whose windows faced a wall. The results seemed at once obvious—of course a leafy tableau is more therapeutic than a drab brick wall—and puzzling. Whatever curative property the trees possessed, how were they casting it through a pane of glass?"
Politics is too complex to be understood in terms of Left and Right | British Politics and Policy at LSE
"In ideological terms, the common assumption is that if you are anti-immigration, support an independent nuclear deterrent and adhere to pro-free market economic policies you are “right-wing”. If you welcome migrants, want to scrap Trident and believe in more state regulation you are “left-wing”. But as the recent spat between the Institute of Directors and Home Secretary Theresa May demonstrates, pro-business free-marketeers can also be pro-immigration. Conversely, many of those who feel the state should do more to protect their jobs may feel antagonistic towards immigration." Jonathan Wheatley has a 2d plot, similar to the one below but based on more recent data.
Distributors ponder a systemd change [LWN.net]
"> I don't see how you say that there's a GNOME design bug? I saw this being repeated various times, but it has to do with systemd user sessions. I have trouble distinguishing between GNOME and systemd. To the extend they are separate projects, you may be right. Roughly what happened was: 1. In the beginning there was there login. Every process started after login was a child of it, the kernel used a very simple process to track those children and so it was easy to clean up on logout. 2. Then X and xdm replaced login, but every process was a child of xdm, and cleaning up on logout remained simple. 3. Then there was GNOME, and gdm, and later gdm spawned corba. Things were rapidly getting more complex, but nonetheless everything was a process child of gdm and so cleaning up on logout was till simple. 4. GNOME moves to dbus. 5. systemd takes over dbus. 6. systemd takes over session management - primarily via logind. 7. GNOME immediately adopts logind, causing much angst on Debian because it meant the default desktop required you to use systemd. 8. GNOME starts uses dbus to lazily start services. 9. systemd starts dbus under a separate process tree (the one under systemd --user, as opposed to the one started by gdm). 10. GNOME notices if the user logs in twice, they start services such as the evolution-address-book twice. Seems inefficient. They share services between two login sessions. For some services. 11. Consequently keeping track of what session owns what process becomes hard. Some things aren't killed properly when the sessions logout. Since logind is tracking the sessions, seems like a good idea to make it the systemd mob's problem. KillUserProcesses is implemented, and GNOME's problem is solved. 12. But no one is turning KillUserProcess on so GNOME sessions are still leaving services running. So systemd-230 changes it to default to be on. And so here we are. If you tell me it's really systemd's at fault then so be it - for me it like picking between two peas in a pod."
Term absence fines soar past 150,000 - BBC News
"The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances - vindicating our strong stance on attendance." 'can'? Either the evidence suggests that one day's absence (i.e. approximately 0.04% of a school career) *does* have a measurable and significant impact on the outcomes for a specific child or it does not.
Why Feynman Diagrams Are So Important | Quanta Magazine
>>"Looking to break the awkward silence that followed, I asked Feynman the most disturbing question in physics, then as now: “There’s something else I’ve been thinking a lot about: Why doesn’t empty space weigh anything?”"<<
The 2.8 Million Non-Voters Who Delivered Brexit - Bloomberg View
"The slope of the fit line implies that a one-vote increase in turnout almost equals a one-vote increase in the "leave" vote. In other words, the net impact of the 2.8 million extra votes was entirely to the benefit of the Brexiters." Came out for the first time in a decade or two (good) caused economic mayhem (not so good). Compulsory voting a la Australia?
Universities take a knock post-Brexit - BBC News
"While post-Brexit Britain might remain inside the European research funding system, academics in other countries are nervous about collaborating with UK institutions." Here we go
Fintan O’Toole: Brexit fantasy is about to come crashing down
"The English seem to have been utterly unprepared for how deeply divided they are, how bitter and angry the Brexit debate would be, how political assassination would return to the streets of England."
Joe O’Toole resigns after Fianna Fáil demands he depart
“I am comfortable with the fact that I put my views honestly and transparently on the record. It is regrettable that my straight-talking has caused difficulties for others but in that regard I am unlikely to change anytime soon.” Excellent
BREXIT – A contested Brexit would be disruptive for Ireland, both North and South
"Ireland is more interdependent with the United Kingdom than any other European Union member-state – constitutionally, politically, economically, socially and culturally. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but the 1998 Belfast Agreement, a binding international treaty between the two states and registered at the UN, provides for “concurrent consent” there and in the Republic for Irish unification by two referendums. There is provision for dual British and Irish citizenship in the North, and a number of these rights are guaranteed by reference to European law and courts. And the 1949 Westminster Ireland Act declares that the Republic “is not a foreign country for the purpose of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom”. That is reflected in the Common Travel Area between them." And... "The scale of what is at stake is clear from the fact that the Republic is the UK’s fifth or sixth trading partner in the world, with which it imports and exports more than with the whole Commonwealth or with China, India, Russia and Brazil combined."
How remain failed: the inside story of a doomed campaign | Rafael Behr | Politics | The Guardian
"Just moments before, they had received an email from Andrew Cooper, a former Downing Street strategist and pollster for the official remain campaign, containing the daily “tracker” – the barometer of support among target segments of the electorate. It had dropped into the defeat zone. The cause was not mysterious. “Immigration was snuffing out our opportunity to talk about the economy,” Will Straw, the executive director of Britain Stronger In Europe, recalled."
#Soapbox: The sorry tale of ‘Outcome-Based Performance Management’ | Slugger O'Toole
"It’s no coincidence that Outcome-Based Accountability talks about ”turning the curve” – OBPM is supposed to make the numbers look better, to make changes in the shape of the graph. But the problem is, even when it achieves this, the numbers cannot be trusted because the numbers are not real. They’ve been produced by people whose job it is to produce good-looking data."
Junior doctors reject new contract - BBC News
"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt highlighted the turnout, pointing out that it meant only 40% of those eligible actually voted against the deal." That is a bit cheeky. 37.5% voted to leave the EU recently but we appear to be making that happen (at considerable cost)
From Trump to Brexit: Trust in Government Is Collapsing Around the World - The Atlantic
>> "This is part of a larger divide that has been opening up between “mass populations” and “informed publics” (Edelman defined the latter group as those who have a college degree, regularly consume news media, and are in the top 25 percent of household income for their age group in a given country). The 2008 financial crisis, he argued, produced widespread suspicion that elites only act in their own interests, not those of the people, and that elites don’t necessarily have access to better information than the rest of the population does. The sluggish, unequal recovery from that crisis—the wealthy bouncing back while many others struggle with stagnant incomes—has only increased the skepticism." << hypothesis only. That trickle down had better get a bit stronger.
Garrison Keillor Turns Out the Lights on Lake Wobegon - The New York Times
>> If that sounds dismissive, it’s not meant to be. Mr. Keillor has always worn his storytelling gifts casually. Here, he seemed to take a page from “Pontoon” (2007), one of his Lake Wobegon novels, in which he wrote, “You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.”<<
Downloading 14.2 from mirror with wget?
wget command without downloading sibling directories
Edge.org
"My untroubled attitude results from my almost absolute faith in the reliability of the vast supercomputer I'm permanently plugged into. It was built with the intelligence of thousands of generations of human minds, and they're still working at it now. All that human intelligence remains alive in the form of the supercomputer of tools, theories, technologies, crafts, sciences, disciplines, customs, rituals, rules-of-thumb, arts, systems of belief, superstitions, work-arounds, and observations that we call Global Civilisation." Brian Eno 2015 via HN
Andrea Leadsom: The lessons about banking regulation which stay with me from the collapse of Barings | Conservative Home
"There were around 20 financial institutions all working round the clock responding to the Governor’s attempt to save Barings. In the end, it proved impossible simply because over those 48 hours the potential losses could not be quantified and no financial institution would take the risk, either by buying Barings, or underwriting the losses." Hence hub/spoke model with clearing houses for derivatives.
Why Donald Trump? | FiveThirtyEight
"A 2000 study by political scientists found that Americans who have incorrect information about public discourse can be divided into two different groups — the misinformed and the uninformed. The uninformed simply don’t know about a given topic; the misinformed are interested in what’s going on, but their sources of information are flawed. Another study, in 2010, found that when the misinformed were told about their inaccuracies, they held onto their beliefs with all the more conviction."
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Ex-LAB MP, Nick Palmer, looks at what the party might do
"2) The serious left – of which Corbyn is a prime exponent – is about systemic change towards a society less dominated by big business and prioritising solidarity with people in difficulty. They are not interested in singling out personalities, or tactical advantage, or a comfortable life for themselves. It completely misreads Corbyn to think that making his life difficult or unpleasant will make him resign." View from inside
Modern China is So Crazy It Needs a New Literary Genre | Literary Hub
"Everything is happening in China at great speed, and this speed brings with it all sorts of problems. This is a phenomenon captured in a very old Chinese saying in the Daodejing: “Good fortune is that wherein disaster lurks. Disaster is that whereon good fortune depends.”"
Queen urges calm in 'challenging world' - BBC News
"Poems by Edwin Morgan and the Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, were read out, with musicians from the National Youth Choir of Scotland also performing and singer Midge Ure giving a rendition of Robert Burns' A Man's A Man For A' That." Burns' poem may have focused a few minds
Brian Walker: One union lost to Britain. Can the other be saved?
>> "This was a referendum only the English right wing wanted and almost nobody thought would be lost. “England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically,” declared the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, at Tuesday’s meeting of European leaders. And he’s an Anglophile. David Cameron will go down in history as the most luckless prime minister since Lord North lost the American colonies. How has the Brexit referendum brought one of the most stable political systems in the world to the brink of collapse?" <<
Tory leadership choice will define UK-EU relationship - BBC News
"Things that are said in the rough and tumble of a leadership race will be crawled over by EU leaders and diplomats and used in the negotiations to come. So there is a real choice before the 100,000 plus Tory members who will decide this contest. And their decision will affect us all, not just by determining our next prime minister but also our future relationship with the EU." So much for 'taking back control'. 10 000 people who happen to be members of a political party will constrain future policy choices.
What Does Kevin Bacon Have to Do with Global Financial Stability?
"On the other hand, this little four-bank model also illustrates an alarming feature of highly connected networks. As Allen and Gale pointed out in their paper, a loss big enough to drain all four banks’ capital will bring down the fully-connected network just as surely as it will bring down the ring-shaped one. The difference is that, while the ring network fails one bank at a time, the fully connected one fails suddenly and all at once. This is what the Bank of England’s chief economist and executive director, Andrew Haldane, calls the “robust yet fragile” property of highly connected networks."
Brexit talks will be stunningly complex. Who will provide the statesmanship we need?
"Certain things surely are agreed by both sides. This was the most important decision taken by the UK in many decades. The result was clear but close. The country is now deeply divided, regionally, generationally and attitudinally." --Tony Blair
Rain and the referendum — Medium
"On the day of the referendum, severe thunderstorms affected London and parts of south and East England. Given that the result of the referendum was expected to be close, given that lower turnout was presumed to favour one side in the campaign, and given anecdotal and academic evidence in favour of the idea that heavy rain depresses turnout, there was some speculation that this heavy rain might affect the result." TD;LR no effect. Chris Hanretty is one of those statisticians
‘I’ll Retire When I’m Dead’: Why Continuing to Work Is Good for a Man’s Health — MEL Magazine
"And that’s on top of working on a new book, a nonfiction work about the moment certain Americans became aware of their whiteness or blackness and what that meant within the context of American culture. He’s flying to New York City next week to conduct some interviews for it." Leon Dash - look out for that book
EU Trade Commissioner: No trade talks until full Brexit - BBC News
"After Brexit, the UK would become a "third country" in EU terms, she said - meaning trade would be carried out based on World Trade Organisation rules until a new deal was complete. A recent trade deal with Canada took seven years to negotiate. The Canadian agreement will also require ratification by all EU countries, adding another one to two years before it takes effect." 7 + 2 on WTO rules (no passporting) = challenging times...
So, let me get this straight... the... - Benjamin Timothy Blaine | Facebook
"So, let me get this straight... the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they'd all done nothing to help them. Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn't lose, did - but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who'd always thought he'd lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash - and he was, but it did, but he's not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can't become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave is likely to become leader instead. Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party's view of this view is the opposite of the opposition's. And the opposition aren't yet opposing anything because the leader isn't listening to his party, who aren't listening to the country, who aren't listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there's not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful. Clear?" Crystal
Brexit threatens UK project funding - BBC News
"The bank provides finance to a wide range of projects around Europe, with a particular focus on areas like infrastructure, social housing, renewable energy and education. It invested £5.6bn (6.7bn euros) in the UK last year and has ploughed £42bn (50bn euros) into the country over the last decade."
Waiting for Goffman | Lapham’s Quarterly
>> Over the thirty-five years of his active scholarly career, Goffman developed four metaphorical scaffoldings for his thought, each with its own usefulness and pizzazz—the theater, the ritual, the game, and the frame. All of these are useful for understanding the shocks and stresses of city life, but here I’m going to concentrate on introducing his “dram­aturgical” texts, which are his best known. As Goffman once said, “All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn’t are not easy to specify.” <<
After Brexit: the options | Slugger O'Toole
"The Customs Union is one of the oldest parts of the EU, dating back to the EEC’s founding in the 1950s. It is likely that the UK will retain CU access in any negotiations, as its terms are relatively uncontroversial. It allows for tariff-free trade between its members, a common external tariff rate and a common negotiating position in trade talks with third countries (e.g. TTIP). There is no requirement for freedom of movement in the CU, so this would allow for the immigration changes that were the central issue in the Leave campaign." No agriculture protection, and I imagine, no 'passporting' (i.e. no banking free trade). Otherwise feasible.
What I learned from trying — and failing — to stop Brexit - Vox
"Although we had all the usual campaigning materials, it felt as though for every myth I debunked, there were another five that a skeptical voter could name as fact. I fear we only ever made a tiny impact in the many misconceptions around the EU, let alone convince people that it could be a positive thing." More myths than the Mabinogion. Does my head in. Does *anyone* actually *think* on this strange little island of mine or are they just on the effing mushrooms?
Corbyn putting Labour 'in peril' by refusing to quit - Watson - BBC News
>> He added: "My party is in peril. We are facing am existential crisis and I just don't want us to be in this position because I think there are millions of people in the country who need a left leaning government, who can give people opportunity and right now we're not doing that." << >>Arguing that his cause was "not about one individual", he said he wanted to move Labour away from a pro-austerity "economic orthodoxy" it embraced at the last election and change the way politics was done in the country. << How do we move to anti-austerity in a practical way? What are the options? And there are *rights* to protect quite soon once the Trojan horse prime minister is appointed and we start replacing EU legislation...
Daphne Oram documentary - Wee Have Also Sound-Houses - YouTube
We also have sound-houses Daphne Oram
Parliament must decide what Brexit means in the interests of the whole Kingdom
"TheCityUK has mapped out a post-Brexit order in which it could still thrive - rather than being reduced to the level of "Bolivia" as it said in the campaign - by switching efforts to global bodies that increasingly set rules above the EU level, such as the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee, or the World Trade Organisation."
The Laura Perrins interview: Brexit is a chance for a new socially conservative party, says Hitchens - The Conservative Woman
>> PH: No. The Leave campaign was from the start a very odd coalition, and the most conservative people in it are the Old Labour working class voters who rightly feel betrayed, morally and economically, in global multicultural liberated Britain. Many of the campaign’s supporters are Thatcherites, economic liberals, globalists and committed free traders who have no principled objection to open borders. I think the actual outcome of these events may fall well short of what many Leave voters hoped for. This was predetermined when such people as Alexander ‘Boris’ Johnson, Michael Howard, and Michael Gove placed themselves at its head. <<
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » The EU referendum: An attempt to analyse the in-play betting
"I was astonished by the in-play volumes. As PB reported, by 6am on polling day the EU referendum had become the first market on Betfair to surpass £50m in cumulative bets. But by the time the broadcasters called the result for Leave, the total matched on Betfair had more than doubled £113m." I'm glad *someone* made a bit of money out of this...
SDLP to feed a key NI perspective into the EU’s negotiations with the UK? | Slugger O'Toole
"To get the big one out of the road first, no one is going back to war. In fact of all the parts of the UK Northern Ireland is probably the calmest and the least hysterical, and as Newton Emerson put it last night, least embarrassing." When the going gets weird, the weird get going (HST) so NI can show the rest of us how to deal with large uncertainties.
Brexit: Cameron to face EU leaders after vote to leave - BBC News
"After two days of sharp falls in the stock market and sterling and political turmoil engulfing both the Conservative and Labour parties, there is increasing uncertainty about what Brexit will entail and the precise nature of the mandate that Mr Cameron's successor will be given."
Two Spreadsheets, Microsoft Access, and a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service
"When asked what data skills journalists need, I don’t hesitate to tout spreadsheets as the single, must-have day-to-day skill for every journalist at every organization in every mission. For those with a bit more time or motivation to experiment, I might recommend an acquaintanceship with database JOIN statements – it doesn’t matter if it’s in Access or SQLite or Postgres. This may not sound fancy, but even as a computer engineer, I rarely need anything fancier." Just getting the data can be a struggle of course
Defined by the Filter Bubble | Civicist
>> “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” said Abraham Lincoln. The people who run social media companies today have more power over the divisions in our national and international houses than almost anyone else alive. I hope they see that our fate, as well as their legacies, depend on taking action, now. <<
UK suffers leadership gap in risky times - BBC News
"When he first proposed a referendum three years ago I asked the prime minister what his Plan B was if his renegotiation failed or he lost the referendum. He refused to contemplate any such possibility. I asked him again during the general election campaign - he was no more willing to consider failure. The civil service were banned from making plans for Brexit." Wow.
Brexit: The Vote to Leave the EU and the Death of an Idea - The Atlantic
>> "One of the problems with immigration is though there’s an aggregate benefit [from immigration] to the economy and a huge amount of evidence of that—people who come pay much more in taxes than they receive in benefits—[the benefit is] not shared equally. There are losers as well as winners. If you have very large numbers of people coming into neighborhoods without tracking who’s going where, and without moving resources to local authorities to make sure they have enough money to create schools and hospitals, that does put pressure on public services. It puts pressure on house prices, and it can put pressure on wages in certain sectors. That’s what’s happened. It’s the left-behind voters who have risen up against the elites. They don’t trust anyone who they blame for having created these circumstances. In a way, there are very strong parallels with the rise of Trump in the U.S." <<
Caltech glassblower's retirement has scientists sighing - LA Times
"Full-time university glassblowers are considered tops in their field, but few institutions still offer such positions or give young glassblowers the chance to hone their craft." 'Driving out cost' has its limits
Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn Labour crisis and George Osborne speech - BBC News
>> And he insists: "There isn't going to be a Brexit government. There's going to be a Conservative government that will represent both sides of the debates." << New boss. Same as the old boss. >> He delivered an eloquent - yet entirely unscripted - address, setting out a radical vision for prisons, expressing his belief in redemption for offenders, and announcing his ambition to reduce the jail population. << 11:50 July 14th Danny Shaw. Gove was doing something useful.
There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian
"Never has a revolution in Britain’s position in the world been advocated with such carelessness. The Leave campaign has no plan. And that is not just because there was a shamefully under-explored division between the bulk of Brexit voters who wanted the strong welfare state and solid communities of their youth and the leaders of the campaign who wanted Britain to become an offshore tax haven."
Britain’s Brexit vote has redrawn the rules of British politics « Labour Uncut
"As Johnson’s administration becomes mired in the administrative equivalent of a withdrawal from Vietnam, harried from the right by Nigel Farage who will be demanding swifter, more sweeping action while accusing them of betraying the people, Labour will be sitting on the opposition benches, shattered."
The Norway model is Britain’s only hope « Labour Uncut
"We have lost our triple A rating. Moody’s have downgraded us from stable to negative – for those that don’t know what that means it means all that debt we’re always talking about has become a lot more expensive overnight – that and the predicted loss of GDP will wipe out the much bemoaned £350 million weekly payments the leave campaign falsely claimed we would get back. We will only lose money, not save anything to spend at home." Would that be debt guarantee insurance?
Path to Irish unity now much clearer but major obstacles still lie ahead - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
"There is potential for the Fresh Start deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein to be derailed as European funding disappears without the promise of full compensatory funding from a British Government to replace the programmes that made Northern Ireland a net beneficiary from EU membership." Every mayor in England wants 'compensatory funding'. This one is going to run and run...
Democracy: Referendums, Petitions, and a Reality Check for Leavers and Remainers Alike | Slugger O'Toole
"Where are we, as Day 3 of the new era begins? In a mess – all of us. It’s startlingly obvious that the top people in the Leave campaign had no idea they were going to win, and no game plan for Brexit. I think an awful lot of them, and some of the people voting Leave, were playing for 49%, a high risk strategy that blew up in everyone’s faces."
The British government must seek a mandate to negotiate brexit | Slugger O'Toole
"The first thing that I’ve immediately noticed is how, after enthusiastically urging everyone to seize the moment to vote Leave, those who made that case have gone very quiet now that they have won." They are holding the bag for this and they seem to have absolutely no idea what to do.
Calm down, everyone. We may have voted for Brexit, but there's no need for any drama
"Now please, WOULD EVERYONE PLEASE CALM DOWN and yes CARRY ON!" Pigs flying in formation, and I'm agreeing with Norman.
Brexit's two tribes will go to war
"The only problem is that they are about to discover something that is galling in the extreme: the sneery Remain elite that they have so sensationally defenestrated will be quickly and seamlessly replaced by something startingly similar from their own side." Harry De Quetteville
Are we still capable of governing ourselves?
"The last people to advise on how we should now proceed are those leaders of the Vote Leave campaign, who I feared would lose us the battle by their refusal to offer a properly worked-out “exit plan”: one capable of neutralising Project Fear by allowing us to continue trading, like independent Norway, just as freely with the single market as we do now; but without the political baggage and without having to obey three quarters of the EU’s laws." Christopher Brooker has a point I think. The Bank of England seemed to have a contingency plan which they executed. No signs of anything else.
A disunited Kingdom... why Brexit Britain is as divided as Europe in 1914
"The Brexit reveals how deeply divided our supposed ‘One Nation’ has become, with Scotland voting 62 per cent to Remain, Northern Ireland 56 per cent. England – which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit – itself is deeply torn, with the North, the countryside, older people, and those who did not attend university, determined to leave, with only the cities, parts of the South East, the young and graduates favouring remaining in the EU." Anthony Seldon. Loving the use of the word 'overwhelmingly' there instead of the percentages.
Social Media's Filter Bubble Driving Political Anger - Guido Fawkes Techno Guido
The echo chamber is a worrying thing. We search and see things that fit our opinions. One of the reasons I buy the FT now and again and check out Guido's blog once a month or so.
The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life | Science | Smithsonian
"Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey." Bee puke. Cool.
A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge — Backchannel
"And the spreadsheet has begun to be a forceful agent of decentralization, breaking down hierarchies in large companies and diminishing the power of data processing." An old one from back in the day
Jan. 26, 1983: Spreadsheet as Easy as 1-2-3 | WIRED
"Technology pundit John C. Dvorak has lamented the effects of the “what-if society,” saying that corporate executives have become slavish devotees of spreadsheet scenarios, failing to make decisions based on what customers actually want. But there’s no doubt that the spreadsheet has given companies, both large and small, a far better picture of their bottom lines. For better or worse, that power has transformed American business and the economy."
Why a simple spreadsheet spread like wildfire | Opinion | The Guardian
"Years ago, I began to wonder if the popularity of spreadsheets might be due to the fact that humans are genetically programmed to understand them. At the time, I was teaching mathematics to complete beginners, and finding that while they were fine with arithmetic, algebra completely eluded them. The moment one said “let x be the number of apples”, their eyes would glaze and one knew they were lost. But the same people had no problem entering a number into a spreadsheet cell labelled “Number of apples”, happily changing it at will and observing the ensuing results. In other words, they intuitively understood the concept of a variable."
Spreadsheet Addiction - Burns Statistics
"I know there are many spreadsheets in financial companies that take all night to compute. These are complicated and commonly fail. When such spreadsheets are replaced by code more suited to the task, it is not unusual for the computation time to be cut to a few minutes and the process much easier to understand."
Guest Post: Reinhart/Rogoff and Growth in a Time Before Debt - Roosevelt Institute
"As is evident, current period debt-to-GDP is a pretty poor predictor of future GDP growth at debt-to-GDP ratios of 30 or greater—the range where one might expect to find a tipping point dynamic. But it does a great job predicting past growth. This pattern is a telltale sign of reverse causality." Longish historical data set can allow statements about the 'direction' of causality.
Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems. - Roosevelt Institute
"The U.K. has 19 years (1946-1964) above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with an average 2.4 percent growth rate. New Zealand has one year in their sample above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with a growth rate of -7.6. These two numbers, 2.4 and -7.6 percent, are given equal weight in the final calculation, as they average the countries equally. Even though there are 19 times as many data points for the U.K." Averaging averages from different data selections! Excellent.
Memo to Reinhart and Rogoff: I think it's best to admit your errors and go on from there - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
"Maybe Konczal is overstating it when he writes, “one of the core empirical points providing the intellectual foundation for the global move to austerity in the early 2010s was based on someone accidentally not updating a row formula in Excel.” I have no informed opinion on that at all. Really. I’m not being polite and circumspect, I know nothing about this stuff." Politics + Small, historical data set = arguments. Good collection of articles around an infamous data set
Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive - The New York Times
"For longtime students, seeing the archive may conjure a familiar feeling of astonishment at just how deep the well of Dylanology goes. There is always far more beneath the surface than anyone could guess. One example of this phenomenon — and of how radically the material could change existing Dylan scholarship — is the “Blood on the Tracks” material." So he wasn't rocking up to the studio and blasting off an album. Actually, a lot of hard work redrafting and iterating.
Andrew O’Hagan · The Satoshi Affair · LRB 30 June 2016
"Some of the neighbours say the Wrights were a little distant. She was friendly but he was weird – to one neighbour he was ‘Cold-Shoulder Craig’ – and their landlord wondered why they needed so much extra power: Wright had what appeared to be a whole room full of generators at the back of the property. This fed a rack of computers that he called his ‘toys’, but the real computer, on which he’d spent a lot of money, was nearly nine thousand miles away in Panama." The latest Santoshi Nakamoto sighting
Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug? Try Exercise - The New York Times
"Moderate intensity is probably much less than you think. Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 miles per hour or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough. Even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or actively walking your dog might qualify." Couch to 5K has to be done.
Alicia Keys is done playing nice. Your phone is getting locked up at her shows now. - The Washington Post
>> “If you haven’t been to a phone-free show, you just don’t know what you’re missing,” he says. “There’s something about living in real life that can’t be replicated.” << Might get me a set of those little baggies...
ISCOC04 Talk | Adam Bosworth's Weblog
"Consider the spreadsheet. It is a protean, sloppy, plastic, flexible medium that is, ironically, the despair of all accountants and auditors because it is virtually impossible to reliably understand a truly complex and rich spreadsheet. Lotus corporation (now IBM), filled with Harvard MBAs and PhDs in CS from MIT, built Improv. Improv set out “to fix all this”. It was an auditors dream. It provided rarified heights of abstraction, formalisms for rows and columns, and in short was truly comprehensible. It failed utterly, not because it failed in its ambitions but because it succeeded." The blog is suffering from character set uncertainty for those who enjoy a little irony. Adam Bosworth on Improv's attempt to get spreadsheets to behave themselves.
Lotus Improv - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"After a few months of studying existing real-world examples, it became clear that the data, views of that data, and the formulas that acted on that data were very separate concepts. Yet in every case, the existing spreadsheet programs required the user to type all of these items into the same (typically single) sheet's cells." Pito Salas' work lead to Lotus Improv and market failure, although the idea of separate views into data lives on in the pivot table. Perhaps people *like* the lack of structure on a spreadsheet? Perhaps they can get things done by clicking around and improvising rather than having to plan stuff out in advance?
Here are three scary reasons why LinkedIn sold to Microsoft for $26 billion - Recode
"...the deal should be able to help grow LinkedIn’s audience through a combination of integrations with Microsoft Office and a possible subscription tie-up." Clippy with job ads? "Looks like you are programming an Excel macro there... need a job?" Agghhhhhh
EU referendum polls and odds: Businesses fear Brexit hit | The Week UK
"All of this has some in the business community spooked. A survey by Charterhouse Research of 3,394 bosses, reported in The Guardian, shows more than a third (35 per cent) are worried about the economic hit that would result from an Out vote next Thursday." Switch the points, the train shudders imperceptibly, then slowly curves off to the right and comes to rest in a siding. Does anyone actually read anything and *think* any more?
Friends with benefits: A taxing problem for Ireland in a post-Brexit world • The Register
"Many in the UK will likely vote for Brexit because they want Britain to control immigration and whereas Brexiteers think of Romanians as the competition, Irish citizens like my parents are far more numerous and fewer will come to work in the UK, a fact that stands to boost the Irish tech sector at the expense of all those UK-based firms." Ireland Act 1948? Check terms.
Voter registration site collapse proves genius of GDS, says minister • The Register
>> Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) were highly critical of the switch to individual voter registration last year, which saw millions go missing from the electoral register. The missing included “Areas with either higher proportions of students (aged 16-74) [sic], higher proportions of people living in private rented accommodation and/or higher proportions of people living in communal establishments had relatively lower match rates.” << Wholly unrelated to the age differences in voting intentions in the referendum of course...
The Importance of Excel | The Baseline Scenario
"But while Excel the program is reasonably robust, the spreadsheets that people create with Excel are incredibly fragile. There is no way to trace where your data come from, there’s no audit trail (so you can overtype numbers and not know it), and there’s no easy way to test spreadsheets, for starters. The biggest problem is that anyone can create Excel spreadsheets—badly. "
Microsoft's Excel Might Be The Most Dangerous Software On The Planet - Forbes
"To translate that into the vernacular, the bank, JP Morgan, was running huge bets (tens of billions of dollars, what we might think of a golly gee gosh that’s a lot of money) in London. The way they were checking what they were doing was playing around in Excel. And not even in the Masters of the Universe style that we might hope, all integrated, automated and self-checking, but by cutting and pasting from one spreadsheet to another. And yes, they got one of the equations wrong as a result of which the bank lost several billion dollars (perhaps we might drop the gee here but it’s still golly gosh that’s a lot of money)."
How Ursula Franklin made me a technology journalist | Clive Thompson
"One lovely example is her discussion of credit-card-style keycards to unlock doors. Back around 1990 they were a hot new tech, but as Franklin pointed out, they weren’t just a “better” key. They were a different key, with new abilities. A regular metal key can let you in a room. But a credit-card key can gather information on how often you access that room, reporting back to the building-owner on your comings and goings. Or the owner can, on the fly, reprogram the lock from afar to suddenly lock you out. High-tech keys conferred new powers on those who owned the locks." Noone sits down and decides that they will install swipe card locks so that they can gather information and control access - those things emerge as social effects of the more capable (and more centralised) technological 'solution'.
Steps to Turn Off the Nagging Self-Doubt in Your Head - WSJ
>> A well-developed thought “is like a ski track in the snow. The more you ski down a path, the easier it is to go down that path and not another,” says Alex Korb << Can we use that image to explain learning to students?
Anders Ericsson: How to become an expert at anything - Business Insider
"In general, according to Ericsson, deliberate practice involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities. While repeating a skill you've already mastered might be satisfying, it's not enough to help you get better. Moreover, simply wanting to improve isn't enough - people also need well-defined goals and the help of a teacher who makes a plan for achieving them."
Wittgenstein’s camera | University of Cambridge
"The composite photograph could be said to mark the start of the development of Wittgenstein’s idea of ‘language game’ and ‘family resemblance’, that things assumed to be connected by singular common features, as Galton believed with facial characteristics, are in fact connected by myriad overlapping similarities that weave complex networks, the possibilities represented in the fuzziness. Wittgenstein later uses human families to relate this idea, where “build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and criss-cross in the same way"."
The Wittgenstein Controversy - The Atlantic
"What happened next may have been caused partly by resentment among the philosophers: Nedo had no professional qualifications in philosophy, yet he had been placed in charge. Or it may have been the result of Nedo's combination of obsessiveness, absentmindedness, and lack of regard for such things as schedules and budgets." There is a lot to be said for getting people with experience of organising a similar project involved on these occasions.
The Zombie Doctrine | George Monbiot
"Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that, Ludwig von Mises proposed, would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one."
The Science of Getting Through a Checkout Line Faster - Scientific American
"Previous researchers suspected that a single line leading up to multiple cashiers—the system many ticket sellers and big box stores use—could be maximally efficient. But a forthcoming study in Management Science challenges that assumption. A better system is not a single queue at all—it is many of them. When workers have their own dedicated set of customers, called parallel queues, they work faster." But why would I want someone to feel that they had to hurry all day? If I was *really* that short of time should I not use the self-service checkout?
BBC - Future - The Japanese art of (not) sleeping
"In my experience, it is the everyday and seemingly natural events upon which people generally do not reflect that reveal essential structures and values of a society." What I'm interested in is how things we do get to seem 'natural' - in effect disappear into the background - so quickly.
Daniel Kahneman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"With David Schkade, Kahneman developed the notion of the focusing illusion (Kahneman & Schkade, 1998; Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz & Stone, 2006) to explain in part the mistakes people make when estimating the effects of different scenarios on their future happiness (also known as affective forecasting, which has been studied extensively by Daniel Gilbert). The "illusion" occurs when people consider the impact of one specific factor on their overall happiness, they tend to greatly exaggerate the importance of that factor, while overlooking the numerous other factors that would in most cases have a greater impact. A good example is provided by Kahneman and Schkade's 1998 paper "Does living in California make people happy? A focusing illusion in judgments of life satisfaction". In that paper, students in the Midwest and in California reported similar levels of life satisfaction, but the Midwesterners thought their Californian peers would be happier. The only distinguishing information the Midwestern students had when making these judgments was the fact that their hypothetical peers lived in California. Thus, they "focused" on this distinction, thereby overestimating the effect of the weather in California on its residents' satisfaction with life." Our famous referendum could be a huge focusing illusion, perhaps.
Making an 18th-Century Potato Pudding – JCB Books Speak
"The ingredients for both are very similar: mashed potato, sugar, brandy, nutmeg, currants and a shocking quantity of butter and eggs." Hard to go wrong with those ingredients really isn't it?
The Setup / Johan Nordberg
"I would also like to mention d3.js - it's mostly used for data visualizations but has almost everything you could ever want for working with 2D graphics and the DOM; I've built entire web apps using nothing but d3.js." Interesting
What's Our Next Fight? | Linux Journal
"Damn near everything runs on Linux, or on something so similar that you can open a shell on it and get stuff done." "Jonathan Zittrain calls general-purpose computers and networks generative, meaning by nature they generate and support countless other inventions and services, and the markets that grow around them." GP boxes and open distributed networks please.
Has Apple lost its simplicity? « Observatory
"Last week, I wrote an article for The Guardian with the above title. It was a question, not a conclusion, and I tried to offer a thoughtful opinion. Sadly, The Guardian chose to give it a click-bait headline that contradicted my point of view. So, for the record, here is the complete article as originally intended."
Ootside - Weather from a brutally honest Scottish perspective
Refresh the screen for variations on a theme
How Did Consciousness Evolve? - The Atlantic
"The Attention Schema Theory (AST), developed over the past five years, may be able to answer those questions. The theory suggests that consciousness arises as a solution to one of the most fundamental problems facing any nervous system: Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed. The brain evolved increasingly sophisticated mechanisms for deeply processing a few select signals at the expense of others, and in the AST, consciousness is the ultimate result of that evolutionary sequence."
Takahashi method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Unlike a typical presentation, no pictures and no charts are used. Only a few words are printed on each slide—often only one or two short words, using very large characters. To make up for this, a presenter will use many more slides than in a traditional presentation, each slide being shown for a much shorter duration." No use for maths directly, but could work for meta-skills
Education World: Wire Side Chats: How Can Teachers Develop Students' Motivation -- and Success?
"Teachers should focus on students' efforts and not on their abilities. When students succeed, teachers should praise their efforts or their strategies, not their intelligence. (Contrary to popular opinion, praising intelligence backfires by making students overly concerned with how smart they are and overly vulnerable to failure.)" "When students fail, teachers should also give feedback about effort or strategies -- what the student did wrong and what he or she could do now. We have shown that this is a key ingredient in creating mastery-oriented students." Sounds like a resilience strategy
ongoing by Tim Bray · On the Left
"In par­tic­u­lar, I think self-driving ve­hi­cles are go­ing to blow a hole in em­ploy­ment for the relatively-unskilled that may nev­er heal." Someone else is getting it as well. Just look at all the white vans and Deliveroo bikes...
How Sea Otters and Starfish Balance Their Ecosystems
"At the tip of nearby Alligator Point, he noticed that for a few days each month, the low tide exposed an enormous gathering of large predatory snails, such as the horse conch, some more than a foot long. The mud and sawgrass of Alligator Point was not at all boring, quite the contrary—it was a battlefield."
Why can’t the Estonian president buy a song off iTunes for his Latvian wife? | Ars Technica
"Estonia, like nearly every other EU member state, has universal health care. Since 2002, Estonia has issued digital ID cards to all citizens and legal residents. These cards allow access to a "citizen’s portal," enabling all kinds of government services to exist entirely online: essentially any interaction with the government can be done online, ranging from paying taxes, to voting, to even picking up a prescription."
Who Really Found the Higgs Boson - Issue 18: Genius - Nautilus
"This collective discipline is one way that ATLAS tames the complexity of the data it produces, which in raw form is voluminous enough to fill a stack of DVDs that reaches from the earth to the moon and back again, 10 times every year. The data must be reconstructed into something that approximates an image of individual collisions in time and space, much like the processing required for raw output from a digital camera."
[RFE] add a way to run in a new systemd scope automatically #428
"My concern is that we have a little function, daemon(), that does a simple little procedure to make a daemon that has worked basically unchanged across multiple platforms for maybe, what, 30 years? Now to do the same thing we need to add 150 lines of new, Linux-only code AND a library dependency." Slackware 14.2 comes out soon.
How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables | Ars Technica
"And perhaps even more importantly, as our reliance on omnipresent connectivity continues to blossom, our connected device numbers swell, and our thirst for bandwidth knows no bounds, how do we keep the Internet running? How do Verizon or Virgin reliably get 100 million bytes of data to your house every second, all day every day?"
Bodleian Libraries | Exploring Ultramarine
"Before the use of explosives the mining of lapis lazuli involved lighting large fires against the rock and, when the rock was hot, throwing cold water onto it. The sudden cooling caused the rock to crack and split enabling the extraction of the lapis lazuli from the marble matrix with pick, hammer and chisel." The search for bright things and strong colours.
solnic.eu - My time with Rails is up
"It took me few days to add this stupid link. Why? The app was a big ball of complex domain logic scattered across multiple layers with view templates so complicated, it wasn’t even simple to find the right template where the link was supposed to be added. Since I needed some data in order to create that link, it wasn’t obvious how I should get it." Round and round the mulberry bush...
For World’s Newest Scrabble Stars, SHORT Tops SHORTER - WSJ
"For decades, a computer revolution has been building in Scrabble, each improvement advancing the science of rack management, said Stefan Fatsis, author of “Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players.” These days, competitors use applications to analyze, in real time, the wisdom of every letter laid, comparing their moves to those artificial intelligence would play." Montecarlo simulation gets everywhere
Programming the ENIAC: an example of why computer history is hard | Computer History Museum
"ENIAC – the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer – was a room-sized machine with over 17,000 vacuum tubes. It started running at the end of 1945, and for five years it was the only fully electronic computer running in the US. Estimates are that by the time it was retired in 1955, it had done more calculations than all human beings in all of history."
If We Could Put King Solomon in an MRI Machine, Could We See the Wisdom in his Brain?
"Grossmann’s cross-cultural studies have revealed that in cultures where the self is seen as more interdependent, more reliant on relationships with other people—such as in Japan—people are less threatened by perceived dangers to one’s self, and are more able to engage in wise reasoning."
Gulf of Maine Research Institute: Space Available: Make Your Own Globe
"Printing the location of continents and oceans directly onto a round surface would be difficult. Instead, this map of the Earth is printed in flat, roughly triangular sections and then attached to a ball. These sections are called gores." Construction activity
The Small London Company That Makes the World's Most Beautiful Globes | Atlas Obscura
"Bellerby says it takes around six months to complete just one of the globes, which range from £999 ($1440) for the smallest to £59,000 ($85,000) for the Churchill." These are lovely. This is the way of production I suspect, the William Morris thing of selling luxury goods and paying decent wages as the mass manufactured goods become commodities with low margins.
Rogue Columnist: Jane Jacobs is dead. Long live Jane Jacobs.
"To her, ideology was poison, offering "pre-fabricated answers" that adherents always fall back on. Instead, she was an observer of cities, a chronicler of what worked and what didn't." Multiple uses and multiple time tables. Still works today
How Failing Better Could Advance Science
"It is this unordinary meaning of failure that I suggest scientists should embrace. One must try to fail because it is the only strategy to avoid repeating the obvious. Failing better means looking beyond the obvious, beyond what you know and beyond what you know how to do. Failing better happens when we ask questions, when we doubt results, when we allow ourselves to be immersed in uncertainty."
Programming by poking: why MIT stopped teaching SICP | posterior science
>> "He said that programming today is “More like science. You grab this piece of library and you poke at it. You write programs that poke it and see what it does. And you say, ‘Can I tweak it to do the thing I want?'”. The “analysis-by-synthesis” view of SICP — where you build a larger system out of smaller, simple parts — became irrelevant. Nowadays, we do programming by poking." << Which explains a lot, for instance, web forms that won't accept an email address with a + extension e.g. foo+nospam@bar.notreal
Who Was Ramanujan? — Backchannel
"Over the years, I’ve found all sorts of results that seem interesting. Strange structures that arise when one successively adds numbers to their digit reversals. Bizarre nested recurrence relations that generate primes. Peculiar representations of integers using trees of bitwise xors. But they’re empirical facts — demonstrably true, yet not part of the tradition and narrative of existing mathematics." Wolfram on doing experiments with high precision numerical maths. His early work was on cellular automata I recollct
Software Error Doomed Japanese Hitomi Spacecraft - Scientific American
"The satellite managed to make one crucial astronomical observation before the accident, capturing gas motions in a galaxy cluster in the constellation Perseus. The instrument that made the observation, a high-resolution spectrometer, had been in the works for three decades. Two earlier versions of it were lost in previous spacecraft failures." Well, the design has been validated at least. Time for Sitzfleisch from the Japanese I think. Just iterate and try again.
Snowden’s Rubik’s Cube — Matt Davis [da5is.com]
"I don’t think anyone would have noticed it unless they were specifically looking for it." Well, I suspect that 'they' will be looking now... ...the question being how could a casual contracted employee get access to the whole Corpus...
Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World's Most Powerful Particle Collider : The Two-Way : NPR
"A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument." Great first sentence
Frank Auerbach: An interview with one of our greatest living painters - Telegraph
"The room measures about 25ft square. It has been Auerbach’s home and studio since 1954. There are a few pieces of furniture – a small wooden desk and two wooden chairs; the larger, slightly more comfortable one is for sitters. Circles painted in different colours on the lino ensure that the chair’s legs are returned to their correct place. A work in progress is on an easel. Other canvases are turned to face the wall. The floor is covered with globs of paint, the detritus of Auerbach’s method of painting. On every surface there are brushes, rags, pots of paint, spatulas, old newspapers, well-thumbed monographs and a paint-encrusted trolley. Sketchbooks are arranged neatly in one corner, obscured by a collection of plastic bags. The north-facing window is mired with London dust; a weakening autumn sun casts a faint golden wash over the room. On the back wall there is a functional kitchenette, and on a raised platform a single bed. Tacked to the walls are reproductions of two Rembrandts, a Hogarth, a Picasso, random postcards sent by friends, and three large black-and-white reproductions of Auerbach’s own work." So, just how much space do you actually need?
This study 40 years ago could have reshaped the American diet. But it was never fully published. - The Washington Post
"Steven Broste, now a retired biostatistician, was then a student at the University of Minnesota and used the full set of data for his master's thesis in 1981. He interacted with the researchers. Part of the problem, Broste suggested in an interview, may have been limits on statistical methods at the time. Computer software for statistics wasn't as readily available as it is today. So, at the time of the study, it wasn't as easy to know how significant the data was. Broste completed his thesis several years after the last patients had left the trial, but it was not published in a journal."
Alexa, Cortana, and Siri aren’t novelties anymore. They’re our terrifyingly convenient future.
"But the Echo’s inadvertent intrusion into an intimate conversation is also a harbinger of a more fundamental shift in the relationship between human and machine. Alexa—and Siri and Cortana and all of the other virtual assistants that now populate our computers, phones, and living rooms—are just beginning to insinuate themselves, sometimes stealthily, sometimes overtly, and sometimes a tad creepily, into the rhythms of our daily lives." Not my future, thank you very much. Just resuscitated my Nokia dumb phone and we have no desire for IOT at all.
A Nerd's Review of the Tesla Model S - David Smith
"I firmly believe that fully autonomous driving will become typical during my lifetime. It is a strange thought that I may never need to teach my 4 year old daughter how to operate a steering wheel. The experience of control and interaction that driving affords is a big part of what makes it pleasurable rather than just functional. Giving it up will be quite a significant change." Gearhead's view of timescale
Music To Your Ears - The New Yorker
"It isn’t a question of classical tastes against pop; it’s a question of small forms heard in motion against large forms heard with solemn intent. “Sgt. Pepper” baffles them as much as Beethoven’s Ninth." Adam Gopnik
Linux at 25: Q&A With Linus Torvalds - IEEE Spectrum
"If I had known what I know today when I started, I would never have had the chutzpah to start writing my own operating system: You need a certain amount of naïveté to think that you can do it. I really think that was needed for the project to get started and to succeed. The lack of understanding about the eventual scope of the project helped, but so did getting into it without a lot of preconceived notions of where it should go." Everyday mind, Linus style
The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof : Nature News & Comment
>>In his latest verification report, Mochizuki wrote that the status of his theory with respect to arithmetic geometry “constitutes a sort of faithful miniature model of the status of pure mathematics in human society”. The trouble that he faces in communicating his abstract work to his own discipline mirrors the challenge that mathematicians as a whole often face in communicating their craft to the wider world.<< Shinichi Mochizuki seems like a really together chap. Not another Perelman by any means.
Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy | Quanta Magazine
"If Alice tosses a coin until she sees a head followed by a tail, and Bob tosses a coin until he sees two heads in a row, then on average, Alice will require four tosses while Bob will require six tosses (try this at home!), even though head-tail and head-head have an equal chance of appearing after two coin tosses." There goes Easter
In the Age of Google DeepMind, Do the Young Go Prodigies of Asia Have a Future? | Hacker News
"I cannot speak for Chess's mindset but as a Devoted Go Player, we are collectively trying to solve it, and so we have for centuries. We play Go to explore its universe and reach utmost understanding of the game(and a glimpse of ourselves). If we ever find(which eventually we shuold) the exact single pattern that is best for both players, and we solve the game, it becomes something different. Maybe it becomes something senseless, or something artful(I can explain the 'art' part if someone asks) but trying to be competitive is silly." Reaction to algorithmic go playing.
Harold Budd: the composer with no urge to make music | Music | The Guardian
'Art without risk is not art.' I agree with that profoundly. Take a flyer – and if it fails don't let it crush you. It's just a failure. Who cares?" --Harold Budd
This House Costs Just $20,000—But It’s Nicer Than Yours
I want one but land costs in UK would put it in the millionaire bracket.
Cornpone Versus Cornbread - VirginiaLiving.com
“You have to remember, the purpose of cornpone was making do with what you have.” --Bill Savage, Pungo Creek Mills
The Real Reason Sugar Has No Place in Cornbread | Serious Eats
"Cornbread is just one of many traditional Southern foods that are difficult to experience today in their original form for the simple reason that today's ingredients just aren't the same. Buttermilk, rice, benne seeds, watermelons, and even the whole hogs put on barbecue pits: each has changed in fundamental ways over the course of the 20th century." So corn pone and a pot of beans with a mucket of coffee becomes an exercise in Historically Informed Performance, like a Beethoven symphony performed by an orchestra whose string players use arch bows and whose brass section use straight horns.
An interview with Joey Hess [LWN.net]
"Also, learn a few quite different things very deeply; there's too much quick, shallow learning of redundant stuff."
A Conversation With Erik Spiekermann
"There are physical limitations as to certain size. It’s nice to read 10 words a line, 50 to 60 characters. This is science. This is not me. This is something that we like, the way our eyes move in little segments. There are physical limitations to our eyes: the curvature of our eyeballs, the space we have in front of us, the distance from the eyes. That’s human, and no machine can ever change that." This guy gets it
GCHQ mass spying will 'cost lives in Britain,' warns ex-NSA tech chief • The Register
"In the wake of the September 11 attacks, Binney became concerned that the NSA's approach of collecting all available data on everyone was misguided and illegal. He, and others within the NSA, favored a selective surveillance regimen against selected targets, but this idea was shot down by government controllers." Might be a Bayesian angle on this.
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 197, Umberto Eco
The apartment is a labyrinth of corridors lined with bookcases that reach all the way up to extraordinarily high ceilings—thirty thousand volumes, said Eco, with another twenty thousand at his manor. I saw scientific treatises by Ptolemy and novels by Calvino, critical studies of Saussure and Joyce, entire sections devoted to medieval history and arcane manuscripts.
Neal Stephenson - Social Media - he does not do it
Nice piece, pity about the thin font on a black background
Why working fewer hours would make us more productive | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
"More than 6 million of us in Britain work more than 45 hours a week, while 1.85 million of us are unemployed. While it would need to happen gradually, alongside some reskilling and training, a shorter working week for all would mean fairer distribution of available work. It would reduce the number of people working far too many hours, and also the number with no work at all."
Anna Vital -  How To Think Visually Using Visual Analogies Most...
One for the design students to pick apart. Not sure about the row labels being written vertically with upright letters - I found them hard to read
Design like an astronaut - Deep Design
"Worry is the accumulated negative feelings and thoughts associated with an undesirable potential outcome. It can have positive effects (such as prompting you to put on a seat belt before driving), but far too often also has negative side effects, such as preoccupying our thoughts, paralyzing our actions, making us irrational, or fueling our anger. While it may once have been a fundamental part of our survival instinct, it now often kicks in at the wrong times and makes us do the wrong things." Useful reminder. Try on me and the students!
How Facebook (and Lee Berger) Found Homo naledi in a Tiny Cave
"I would like these discoveries to make humans more introspective and much more aware we are a part of natural world with a past. And a deep one. That’s complex. And if humans don’t become more aware that they’re part of the natural world, this isn’t going to be a pretty world for any of us, plant or animal, if we continue to use this as our right, and our domain, and treat ourselves as if we’re different. We don’t have some special privilege." Lee Berger paleoanthropologist
BBC - Earth - We know the city where HIV first emerged
Science and society thing as its in the news
A New Biography of John le Carré Offers Insight into the Cold War Author’s Life - The Atlantic
"A trap is being set for Mundt. Leamas is instructed to drift, detach, descend, burn out, become useless, until Moscow—convinced at last of his disaffection—makes its inevitable approach to turn him."
Installing OpenBSD 5.8 on your laptop is really hard (not)
Current setup. ZZZ does not complete.
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 76, Raymond Carver
"Generous, yes, that's a good word for them. Yes, and I'll tell you why. Up at school there's a typist who has one of those space-age typewriters, a word processor, and I can give her a story to type and once she has it typed and I get back the fair copy, I can mark it up to my heart's content and give it back to her; and the next day I can have my story back, all fair copy once more. Then I can mark it up again as much as I want, and the next day I'll have back a fair copy once more. I love it. It may seem like a small thing, really, but it's changed my life, that woman and her word processor."
wireless from the command-line in linux
sudo iw dev wlan0 disconnect How you *disconnect* from a previous connection from command line
New install "standard system utilties"
root@jessie:~# tasksel -t --new-install Try this command on the ill box and see what is not already there
tasksel (800×592)
What happens if you don't install standard system utilities?
tasksel - Debian Wiki
aptitude search ~pstandard ~prequired ~pimportant -F%p Try above command and install anything that isn't already installed on the box with problems
systemd - How to set up a runlevel 3 in Debian 8? - Unix & Linux Stack Exchange
ls -l /lib/systemd/system/default.target shows graphical.target on Debian Standard Live session
The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ - Basics of the Debian package management system
Package priorities: Standard and higher packages are found on the Debian 'standard' live image. Booting into a cli session in the 'standard' image allows me to install xorg and icewm and run from startx without any issues including returning to the cli. Not so from a system installed from DVD1 installer with no package sets selected at the tasksel stage. Check run levels &c just in case the packages are the same but the configs different
Steve Bodow
More Things Change by Steve Bodow An early look at Mumbai IT industry, 2001.
How to Prevent Hand Pain from Excessive Writing (with Pictures)
Try this one with students
How the Ballpoint Pen Changed Handwriting - The Atlantic
"Ink is where László Bíró, working with his chemist brother György, made the crucial changes: They experimented with thicker, quick-drying inks, starting with the ink used in newsprint presses. Eventually, they refined both the ink and the ball-tip design to create a pen that didn’t leak badly."
Galaxy Note 5 design flaw: A backwards S-Pen can permanently damage the device [Updated] | Ars Technica
"It's important to note that the S-Pen can go in backwards with zero force. The pen is the same shape for its entire length, making backward insertion just as easy as forward insertion. It's something that a person could conceivably do if they weren't paying attention, and it's definitely something a small child would do."
Why We Can’t Rule Out Bigfoot - Issue 16: Nothingness - Nautilus
There isn't one but low sample size still causes large confidence interval
Want to spin your data? Five Ways to Lie with Charts
Nice one for statistics teaching
John Francis: Walk the earth ... my 17-year vow of silence | TED Talk | TED.com
Well, I catch the buses
Methodology of Singapore Math Part 1 - YouTube
School Maths Singapore style. Concrete -> Visual -> Abstract
Thinking Blocks Modeling Tool
Nice web ap for modelling numerical work visually using the Singaporean maths teaching methodology
The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle - The New Yorker
c.f. Nate Silver and earthquake prediction being harder than weather forecasting.
No Time to Be Nice at Work - The New York Times
"Charles Horton Cooley’s 1902 notion of the “looking glass self” explains that we use others’ expressions (smiles), behaviors (acknowledging us) and reactions (listening to us or insulting us) to define ourselves. How we believe others see us shapes who we are. We ride a wave of pride or get swallowed in a sea of embarrassment based on brief interactions that signal respect or disrespect. Individuals feel valued and powerful when respected. Civility lifts people. Incivility holds people down. It makes people feel small."
Customize Xterm, the original and best terminal... - Scarygliders
Currently using this in .Xresources Love the xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources command to restart the terminal with changed settings, like source-ing a config file
» Manifesto:: Néojaponisme
Heavy stuff
How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better- page 2 | Travel | Smithsonian
"International jazz musicians, local workers and jazz fans from all over the city are here because they appreciate the act of listening to a record together. It’s a pleasure that anyone who grew up before the era of the Walkman and iTunes can appreciate. What’s uncertain is whether the next generation will cherish the same experience." Tokyo Jazz coffee bars ""“When I learned to sew and tried to make these garments myself, I began to realize just how intricate the work was, what kind of tremendous skill level was required to turn out such huge quantities of high-quality garments,” Tateno says. “These were produced at a time