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...
notes 
8 hours ago
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
notes 
yesterday
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...
notes  maths 
5 days ago
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...
notes 
6 days ago
Johnny.Decimal home · J•D
Nice idea but it will never catch on
notes 
10 days ago
Old UNIX V6 ed _lightly_ ported to modern systems
1300ish lines of K & R C produce a minimal text editor.
notes 
12 days ago
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
notes  algorithm 
13 days ago
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."
notes 
13 days ago
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?
notes 
13 days ago
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?
notes 
14 days ago
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
notes 
15 days ago
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...
notes 
15 days ago
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)
notes 
15 days ago
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.
notes 
15 days ago
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."
notes 
16 days ago
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.
notes 
16 days ago
🎈 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.
notes 
17 days ago
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.
notes 
18 days ago
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)
notes 
25 days ago
Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap
Jdk 11 has long term support (2023) and the new jshell command to quit is /exit
notes 
25 days ago
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
notes 
26 days ago
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.
notes  statistics 
27 days ago
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?
notes 
28 days ago
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.
notes 
28 days ago
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
notes 
29 days ago
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.
notes 
29 days ago
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!"
notes 
29 days ago
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." <<
notes 
4 weeks ago
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
notes 
4 weeks ago
Instead of Writing a Thousand Words, Part One: Ideas
Takes a bit of loading (and battery) but worth a look
notes 
4 weeks ago
Mary Poppendieck's "The Tyranny of 'The Plan'" - Chris Gagné
Transcript about how the empire state building got built
notes 
4 weeks ago
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
notes  software 
4 weeks ago
Waterfall
Early paper on the software implementation process reveals an understanding of need for iteration
notes  software 
4 weeks ago
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
linux 
5 weeks ago
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."
notes 
5 weeks ago
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?
notes  linux  algorithm 
6 weeks ago
Tom Sachs: Working to Code
Personally, I'd rather have a written text
notes 
6 weeks ago
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
notes 
6 weeks ago
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.
notes 
6 weeks ago
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.
notes 
6 weeks ago
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...
notes 
6 weeks ago
Wide-band WebSDR in Enschede, the Netherlands
This is both hilarious and amazing. Try 6098KHz on am.
notes 
6 weeks ago
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?
notes 
6 weeks ago
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?
notes  statistics 
6 weeks ago
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...
notes 
7 weeks ago
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.
notes 
7 weeks ago
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."
notes  learning 
7 weeks ago
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
notes  statistics 
7 weeks ago
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.
learing 
8 weeks ago
TipsAndTricks/MultimediaOnCentOS7 - CentOS Wiki
Nux repository and epel are essential for Springdale Linux 7 I find.
linux 
8 weeks ago
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!"
physics  world 
8 weeks ago
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." <<
notes 
august 2018
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
notes 
july 2018
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
notes 
july 2018
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
linux 
july 2018
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?"
notes 
july 2018
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.
notes 
july 2018
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."
notes 
july 2018
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
notes 
july 2018
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
notes 
july 2018
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.
notes 
july 2018
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
notes 
july 2018
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.
notes 
july 2018
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.
notes 
july 2018
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."
notes 
july 2018
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.
notes 
july 2018
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