Algorithms by Jeff Erickson
This web page contains a free electronic version of my (soon to be) self-published textbook Algorithms, along with other lecture notes I have written for various theoretical computer science classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 1998.
books  programming  math  algorithms  cs  book  textbook  algorithm 
7 days ago
zadam/trilium: Build your personal knowledge base with Trilium Notes
Build your personal knowledge base with Trilium Notes - zadam/trilium
markdown  notes  tools  knowledgebase 
7 days ago
Tyrannosaurus Redesign 2018 — Saurian
In August 2017 we began an effort to redesign our T. rex. Little did we know that it would become a year-long affair. We are proud to present our results: what we believe to be the most accurate Tyrannosaurus rex reconstruction ever. Here’s a look into the design process and research that went into this massive project.
history  dinosaur  tyrannosaurus 
7 days ago
Chess Steganography
This is a tool to encode/decode data in chess games. It first encodes the input data as a bignum, and then encodes the bignum in the move choices in the chess game. The "without blunders" mode uses p4wn to try to avoid playing bad moves. This mode is less likely to arouse suspicion among actual chess players, but results in longer games.
chess  crypto  cryptography  steganography 
7 days ago
British Museum realises 'vase' is in fact an ancient mace-head displayed upside down | The Art Newspaper
Curators discovered old mistake during research for No Man's Land exhibition

As part of an exhibition showing the first recorded border conflict in the 3rd millennium BC.
history  museum  articles  exhibitions  mistake  mace  weapon  border  conflict 
7 days ago
Book Review: The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions | Slate Star Codex
When I hear scientists talk about Thomas Kuhn, he sounds very reasonable. Scientists have theories that guide their work. Sometimes they run into things their theories can’t explain. Then some genius develops a new theory, and scientists are guided by that one. So the cycle repeats, knowledge gained with every step.

When I hear philosophers talk about Thomas Kuhn, he sounds like a madman. There is no such thing as ground-level truth! Only theory! No objective sense-data! Only theory...
philosophy  science  kuhn 
7 days ago
More Start-Ups Have an Unfamiliar Message for Venture Capitalists: Get Lost - The New York Times
start-up founders who have begun to question the investment framework that has supercharged their field. By encouraging companies to expand too quickly, Mr. Denbow said, venture capital can make them “accelerate straight into the ground.”
startup  funding  vc  venture  capital 
7 days ago
The Embroidered Computer | Irene PoschIrene Posch
The Embroidered Computer is an exploration into using historic gold embroidery materials and knowledge to craft a programmable 8 bit computer.
art  electronics  computing  computers  embroidery  computer  analog  glass  gold  thread  artue 
7 days ago
What Did Ada Lovelace's Program Actually Do?
Lovelace’s program is not easy to explain to the layperson without some hand-waving. It’s the intricacies of her program, though, that make it so remarkable. Whether or not she ought to be known as “the first programmer,” her program was specified with a degree of rigor that far surpassed anything that came before. She thought carefully about how operations could be organized into groups that could be repeated, thereby inventing the loop. She realized how important it was to track th...
history  programming  computing  lovelace  math  ada  byron 
august 2018
1/0 = 0 • Hillel Wayne
Consistent ways to divide by 0, including a discussion of fields. Inspired by Pony.
math  computerscience  alternatives  dividebyzero  pony  zero  inverse  field 
august 2018
Creative Writng of Andy Weir
Author of the Martian lists his work. Lots of it can be read online. The Egg has a great concept.
fiction  scifi  writing  books  andy  martian  egg 
july 2018
Maxims for Revolutionists. Shaw, Bernard. 1903. Man and Superman
> The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
shaw  maxims  sayings  reason  politics 
june 2018
The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar
Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years.
story  storytelling  narrative  writing  creative  creativity  pixar 
june 2018
Fair Division of Rent, Goods, Credit, Fare, and Tasks - Spliddit
Spliddit offers quick, free solutions to everyday fair division problems, using methods that provide indisputable fairness guarantees and build on decades of research in economics, mathematics, and computer science.
economics  finance  sharing  equality  decision  fair  fairdivision  division 
june 2018
André Rieu - And The Waltz Goes On - YouTube
Anthony Hopkins wrote a waltz at the age of 16. Andre Rieu and his orchestra perform it.
music  classical  hopkins  waltz 
june 2018
Jackie Chan - How to Do Action Comedy - YouTube
Some filmmakers can do action. Others can do comedy. But for 40 years, the master of combining them has been Jackie Chan. Let’s see how he does it.
video  Chan  cinema  film  action  comedy  humor  martialarts 
may 2018
Materials for the game "Collection Deck" • MuckRock
The CIA use the game 'Collection Deck' to teach the collection of intelligence. It was declassified and requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

There is now a kickstarter game (CIA) based on it.
game  training  CIA  card  intelligence  humint 
may 2018
H G Wells: “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr Stalin”
It would be a good thing to invent a Five-Year Plan for the reconstruction of the human brain, which obviously lacks many things needed for a perfect social order. [Laughter]
politics  wells  socialism  communism  stalin  russia  ussr  fascism  interview 
may 2018
Build Your Own Text Editor
The text editor is antirez’s kilo, with some changes. It’s about 1000 lines of C in a single file with no dependencies, and it implements all the basic features you expect in a minimal editor, as well as syntax highlighting and a search feature.

This booklet walks you through building the editor in 184 steps. Each step, you’ll add, change, or remove a few lines of code. Most steps, you’ll be able to observe the changes you made by compiling and running the program immediately afterwards.
editor  programming  c  tutorial  text  texteditor 
may 2018
AstroNavigation | Vanderbilt University
This course serves to address the lack of widely-available instruction in astronavigation. Specifically targeted here are the steps of performing a sight reduction to obtain a terrestrial position using this technique. These steps are explicitly illustrated after a brief overview provides a solid context for their relevance.
free  online  course  navigation  astronavigation  sextant  latitude  longitude  position 
may 2018
Household Chemistry | James Kennedy
Mixing various household items for their chemicals.
chemistry  house  household  danger  toxic  chemical 
may 2018
Household CEhmistry
The results of combining various household items.
chemistry  household  toothpaste  elephant  toxic  home 
may 2018
The Great Theorem Prover Showdown • Hillel Wayne
I think that the appropriate paradigm is heavily dependent on context, but a lot of people speak in universals. I keep hearing that it’s easier to analyze pure functional code than mutable imperative code. But nobody gives rigorous arguments for this and nobody provides concrete examples. Nobody actually digs into why assignments and transitions are so much harder to reason about than pure functions and IO monads.
programming  types  proofs  formal-methods  dependent-types  fp  dafny  verification  theorem  proof  prover  imperative  functional 
april 2018
Hunger is a gatekeeper of pain in the brain
A neuronal population has now been found that regulates two competing needs — hunger and pain. Urgent pain overrides hunger, but appetite-inducing neuronal activity dampens long-term pain responses to enable feeding.
brain  research  pain  hunger  psychology 
april 2018
Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - The Atlantic
It’s not often that you write a paper proposing a hypothesis that you don’t support. Gavin and I don’t believe the Earth once hosted a 50-million-year-old Paleocene civilization. But by asking if we could “see” truly ancient industrial civilizations, we were forced to ask about the generic kinds of impacts any civilization might have on a planet.
science  civilization  archaeology  history  Astrobiology  geology  anthropocene 
april 2018
Datomic: Look at all the things I'm not doing! (August Lilleaas' blog)
Why do Clojure devs despise the magic in Ruby on Rails, but love the magic of auto-promoting persistent data structures?

Let's explore all the things you're not doing when you're using Datomic.
clojure  database  datomic  persistent 
april 2018
Paper As a Substrate for Circuits « bunnie's blog
For prototyping and learning the principles of electronics, paper has several distinct advantages over breadboards.
paper  electronics  circuit  prototyping  circuits  copper  papercraft  pcb 
april 2018
Braille Neue Allows Sighted and Blind Universal Access to Information
Derived from the popular Helvetica Neue font, Braille Neue comes in two styles—Braille Neue standard (English) and Braille Neue outline (English and Japanese). As most sighted people can't read braille, each font would allow an easier cross flow of information between the sighted and the blind.
braille  font  text  blind  print  typeface 
april 2018
Let’s take an engineering perspective and play evolution: How would we build the brain under evolutionary constraints such as energy consumption, available materials and similarity to predecessors?
brain  biology  neuroscience 
march 2018
Compressing and enhancing hand-written notes
I wrote a program to clean up scans of handwritten notes while simultaneously reducing file size.
image  notes  scanning  image-processing 
march 2018
jhuangtw-dev/xg2xg: by ex-googlers, for ex-googlers - a lookup table of similar tech & services
A handy lookup table of similar technology and services to help ex-googlers survive the real world :)
google  opensource  stack  tech  technology 
march 2018
The Poor Man's Netcode · Evan Todd
my topic of choice is game development. Everyone in that field agrees: don't add networked multiplayer to an existing game, you drunken clown.

Well, I did it anyway because I hate myself. Somehow it turned out great. None of us know anything.
gamedev  networking  dev  game  programming  net  network  netcode 
march 2018
7 Practical Tips for Cheating at Design – Refactoring UI – Medium
It’s easy to throw your hands up and say, “I’ll never be able to make this look good, I’m not an artist!” but it turns out there are a ton of tricks you can use to level up your work that don’t require a background in graphic design.
design  tips  webdesign  ui  webdev  css  web 
march 2018
I Built a Stable Planetary System with 416 Planets in the Habitable Zone
This system is completely stable—I double-checked with computer simulations. But nature would have a tough time forming this system. If it exists, it could only have been built by a super-advanced civilization. That’s why I call it the Ultimate Engineered Solar System.

Imagine the stories you could tell in these Ultimate Solar Systems! Each binary planet has a close neighbor hovering larger than the moon in the sky. The night sky has an amazing wealth of wandering stars, the other planets traci...
astronomy  scifi  fiction  engineering  planet  solar  star  celestial  habitable 
march 2018
Peace for Triple Piano | Vi Hart
It’s a spherical video in a mathematically triplified space with symmetry in space-time, in collaboration with mathematician Henry Segerman. The whole performance has the structure of a time crystal.
music  art  math  time  crystal  symmetry  maths  video  triplified  space  sphere 
march 2018
One Hour One Life
a multiplayer survival game of parenting
and civilization building by Jason Rohrer
game  design  survival  generations  civilization 
february 2018
Subversive Pixel-Stained Technopeasant: An Interview with Jo Walton
I call that the Tiffany Problem.

Tiffany is a real attested medieval name, it's a variant of Theophania, it appears in twelfth century documents from Britain and France, and you cannot give it as a name to a character in a historical or fantasy setting because it looks too horribly modern.
tiffany  history  perception 
february 2018
Mindfulness No Better Than Watching TV | NeuroLogica Blog
studies were only moderately positive when one of the study authors were teaching the subjects meditation. This suggests that researcher bias is at work.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that there was only a measured effect when there was a waiting list control, meaning there is an unblinded comparison where the subjects had no intervention. When the control was “active”, meaning the control group had some intervention, then there was no effect. This intervention could simply be ...
prosocial  meditation  mindfulness  documentary 
february 2018
Can you predict a recession by looking at pregnancy rates? - BBC News
It was already accepted that birth rates fall in a downturn, but Daniel Hungerman, Kasey Buckles and Steven Lugauer found that conception rates drop several months before other signs of a recession become visible.

Looking at the graph closely, it seems that while low pregnancy rate predicts recession before it occurs, recession is defined as a period of time with gdp in decline, and the drop in pregnancy rates don't seem to precede the fall in gdp much if at all.
data  economics  prediction  pregnancy 
february 2018
Stevey's Google Platforms Rant
I was at Amazon for about six and a half years...
amazon  api  google  programming  rant  soa  platform  yegge  services 
february 2018
Wizards and warriors, part one | Fabulous adventures in coding
A wizard is a kind of player.
A warrior is a kind of player.
A staff is a kind of weapon.
A sword is a kind of weapon.
A player has a weapon.

OO Design and the difficulties of representing restrictions and multiple dispatch in C#.
development  architecture  oop  ericlippert  programming  software  types  hierarchy  dispatch 
february 2018 | fast native desktop client for all major messaging services
fast, small native desktop client for all major messaging services
chat  client  messenger  slack  skype  small 
february 2018
ClippyJS - Add Clippy or his friends to any website for instant nostalgia
Clippy.js is a full Javascript implementation of Microsoft Agent (AKA Clippy and friends), ready to be embedded in any website. Pick an assistant below and mash some animation buttons! Our favorite is Links the cat.
javascript  history  humor  microsoft  clippy  library  web 
february 2018
Origami Simulator
This app allows you to simulate how any origami crease pattern will fold. It may look a little different from what you typically think of as "origami" - rather than folding paper in a set of sequential steps, this simulation attempts to fold every crease simultaneously. It does this by iteratively solving for small displacements in the geometry of an initially flat sheet due to forces exerted by creases.
3d  graphics  origami  webgl  simulator  design  paper  fold  crease  popup 
february 2018
A Rare and Beautiful Example of an "Oscillating" Chemical Reaction - YouTube
The Briggs-Rauscher oscillating reaction is one of the very few oscillating reactions that we know of.
reaction  video  chemical  clock  oscillating 
february 2018
Desmos | Beautiful, Free Math
Graph functions, plot data, evaluate equations, explore transformations, and much more – for free!
calculator  math  education  graphing  graph  mathematics 
february 2018
Interactive javascript notebooks for data analysis, visualization, and exploration.
data  dataviz  interactive  programming  visualization  notebook  javascript  d3 
february 2018
Learn to Stack Dice || Learn Quick - YouTube
Video of Mike Boyd learning to stack 10 dice from a cup.
learn  video  dice  skill 
february 2018
Survival Capsule
The Survival Capsule is patented as a personal safety system (PSS), designed as a sphere to protect against tsunami events, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and storm surges.
survival  tsunami  flood  pod  disaster  preparedness 
february 2018
Carbon Doomsday - Climate change chart & carbon dioxide levels
Every day since 1958 NOAA scientists have carefully measured the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
chart  climate  carbon  climatechange  co2  data  data-viz  DataVisualization 
february 2018
Richard Sapper's dark, alternate universe of tech design - Curbed
In 2013, critic Justin McGuirk wrote, "In the 1970s and ’80s, the soul of product design was in the hands of two Germans. One was a minimalist who reduced products to seductive shells with their features rubbed smooth, and occasionally gave them nicknames like Snow White’s Coffin." That would be Dieter Rams. "The other, far from hiding the technical nature of these products, reveled in it." McGuirk saw Sapper as the Darth Vader to Rams’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
design  industrialdesign  productdesign  thinkpad  apple  ibm  future  futurism 
february 2018
Why I barely read SF these days - Charlie's Diary
The implicit construction of an artificial but plausible world is what distinguishes a work of science fiction from any other form of literature. It's an alternative type of underpinning to actually-existing reality, which is generally more substantial (and less plausible—reality is under no compulsion to make sense).
fiction  scifi  worldbuilding  writing 
february 2018
Mutant crayfish clones itself
Before about 25 years ago, the species simply did not exist. A single drastic mutation in a single crayfish produced the marbled crayfish in an instant.

The mutation made it possible for the creature to clone itself, and now it has spread across much of Europe and gained a toehold on other continents. In Madagascar, where it arrived about 2007, it now numbers in the millions and threatens native crayfish.

I, for one, welcome our new crayfish overlords.
mutation  genetics  asexuality  species  speciation  clone  female 
february 2018
Arch Mission
Our mission is to preserve and disseminate humanity's most important information across time and space, for the benefit of future generations.
preservation  space  time 
february 2018
Deciphering Glyph :: Unyielding
As we know, threads are a bad idea, (for most purposes). Threads make local reasoning difficult, and local reasoning is perhaps the most important thing in software development....

Despite the fact that implicit coroutines masquerade under many different names, many of which don’t include the word “thread” – for example, “greenlets”, “coroutines”, “fibers”, “tasks” – green or lightweight threads are indeed threads, in that they present these same problems. In the long run, when you build a syst...
programming  python  concurrency  async  threading  multithreading  threads  coroutine 
february 2018
Luna is a data processing and visualization environment built on a principle that people need an immediate connection to what they are building. It provides an ever-growing library of highly tailored, domain specific components and an extensible framework for building new ones.

Luna targets domains where data processing is the primary focus, such as data science, IoT, bioinformatics, graphic design and architecture.
code  functional  language  programming  visual  visualization  dataflow 
february 2018
ETH Decentralized apps list
Tracks smart contracts on the ethereum blockchain by usage.
ethereum  smartcontract  dapp  cryptocurrencies  blockchain 
february 2018
XXY Oscilloscope
An oscilloscope as a webapp. Fun to play with.
audio  visualization  oscilloscope  toy 
february 2018
Martin O'Leary on Twitter: "Languages are bananas… "
Martin O'Leary graphs the family tree of words back to their supposed roots. Lot of interesting relationships and unexpected cousins.
word  etymology  linguistics  protoindoeuropean  familytree  hierarchy  tree  origin 
february 2018
Ethereum Yellow Paper: a formal specification of Ethereum, a programmable blockchain - paper.pdf
The blockchain paradigm when coupled with cryptographically-secured transactions has demonstrated its utility through a number of projects, with Bitcoin being one of the most notable ones. Each such project can be seen as a simple application on a decentralised, but singleton, compute resource. We can call this paradigm a transactional singleton machine with shared-state.
Ethereum implements this paradigm in a generalised manner. Furthermore it provides a plurality of such resources,
each wit...
ethereum  design  paper  cryptocurrency 
february 2018
Making a knife from Lignum Vitae wood - GIF on Imgur
Lignum Vitae, Latin for "Tree of Life," is the national tree of the Bahamas. It's also the world's densest wood, and has such unusual properties that the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, has its aft main shaft strut bearings made out of the stuff. In addition to being strong, hard, heavy, dense, water- and salt-water-resistant, Lignum Vitae contains natural oils that make the bearings self-lubricating.
knife  wood  sharp  hard  lignum  vitae 
february 2018
Silver Spear - Harps
Silver Spear lap harps are made entirely from solid timber, usually with a body and frame of sycamore, and a vertical-grain soundboard of spruce or cedar. This type of soundboard, which is similar to those formed by the hollowed-out body of early harps, is made possible by the low string tension, and gives a surprising volume and sweetness of sound, considering the compact size of the instruments - the Clare and Kilmartin 17‘s in particular would fit comfortably inside a normal suitcase.
harp  music  instrument 
february 2018
The Invention Of Moral Narrative | Slate Star Codex
Maybe this good-vs-evil thing is just really attractive, and naturally replaces whatever was there before – but it’s just really hard to get exactly right. There was a 1500 year lag time between when people got the magic formula for religion (Zoroastrianism wasn’t good enough!) and when they got the magic formula for stories. Wasn’t the high-grade Colombian ultra-purified version of the good-vs-evil fantasy plot invented by Tolkien and CS Lewis sitting around in Oxford specifically trying to fig...
history  stories  christianity  good  evil  narrative 
january 2018
On Storytelling by Evan Czaplicki – Deconstruct
So day to day, I work on Elm all the time. And there's lots to say about the technical aspect of that. But I want to emphasize how storytelling influences these technical decisions and how design comes from trying to communicate with people.
elm  programming  language  design  storytelling  media  conflict 
january 2018
On Safety, and How Rust Can Help
I’ll first talk about my opinions about safety as an abstract concept and my experiences with practicing safety in various environments; I’ll then talk about my experiences programming at work in C and Ruby; then I’ll draw upon these to talk about what Rust can currently offer my work and what I believe it still needs in order for it to strengthen its utility and efficacy in our contexts.
safety  c  c++  rust  ruby  nasa  programming 
january 2018
Seikilos epitaph
While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists for only a short while
and time demands an end

The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The epitaph has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100, but the first century AD is the most probable guess.
music  ancient  greek  notation  composition 
january 2018
Longevity FAQ — Laura Deming
I'm Laura Deming, and I run Longevity Fund. I spend a lot of time thinking about what could increase healthy human lifespan. This is my overview of the field for beginners. Feel free to send me any questions about the below (just include name and affiliation).
medicine  age  longevity  health  aging  biochemistry  drugs 
january 2018
PIN number analysis
I was able to find almost 3.4 million four digit passwords. Every single one of the of the 10,000 combinations of digits from 0000 through to 9999 were represented in the dataset.....

A table of the top 20 found passwords is shown on the right. A staggering 26.83% of all passwords could be guessed by attempting these 20 combinations!
data  security  statistics  password  pin  analysis  passwords  numbers  visualization 
december 2017
Introducing: The World's First Fully Functional 3D Printed Watch: The Christoph Laimer Tourbillon
This is an actual watch, with a tourbillon, that is almost entirely 3D printed. Think about it: the tourbillon – a 200+ year old invention designed by one of the greatest watchmakers to ever live, which for most of its history has been practically synonymous with hand-craftsmanship and high end watchmaking, has been produced in a working watch with a 3D printer.
3d  print  clock  3dprinting  watch  printing  watches  3d-printing  clocks  clockwork  movement  cogs  time  tourbillon 
december 2017
Cubli – Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control | ETH Zurich
The Cubli is a 15 × 15 × 15 cm cube that can jump up and balance on its corner. Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and then brake suddenly, causing the Cubli to jump up. Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arb...
cube  reaction  motor  pendulum  gyro  corner  jump 
december 2017
fx​Solver - Equation Library.Graphing Calculator.Math Solver
fx​Solver is a solver for engineering and scientific equations.
solve  maths  physics  engineering  equation  formula 
december 2017
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