Ted Anderson's del.icio.us Bookmarks
WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker
Fascinating look at the man behind Wikileaks and details of how the helicopter video from Iraq was prepared for release.
On Hand for Space History, as Superpowers Spar - NYTimes.com
Reminisce by John Noble Wilford of his reporting on the Apollo program. Good summary and historical context. Interesting observation: perhaps Apollo 8 more significant for leaving than Apollo 11 for arriving.
Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen - Lens Blog - NYTimes.com
Stories from four photographers in their own words of how they got a shot of an iconic moment of resistance to armed force.
More on Google, Craigslist, and who's killing newspapers - James Fallows
A pithy summary quoted by Fallows of what is ailing newspapers and what they aren't doing about it. "If this is what someone not in the writing biz can crank out at 4:40am ..., maybe [newspapers] have even more to worry about from web-based competition than we thought!"
Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War, by H. Keith Henson
Very interesting discussion of how our ancestral evolution environment (ie hunter gatherers) dealt with resource limitations may explain out specie's inclination to warfare and what the triggers for war might be. Interesting quotes from Patty Hearst, Jane Goodall and others.
Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction
Taking a logical and reasonable look at the economics of measures that reduce the risk of extinction of our species. Contains a big section on discounting strategies sometimes used to compare current costs and future benefits, which is murky when extinction events are considered. Gives examples of asteroid detection and deflection.
Extract from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: Is there such a thing as pure genius? | Books | The Guardian
Provocative debunking of the idea that genius is born. Instead massive amounts of practice and the opportunities to invest that time are what separate the elite from the good in any field.
The Why of Y
Richard P. Gabriel derives the Y combinator using currying (turning multi-argument functions with nested functions on one argument) and abstraction using factorial as the example.
Walk of the Hawk - traveling by foot across seven continents
An inspirational idea. I wonder how hard it would be. What would it be like if a lot of people did this?
Whimsley: Mr. Google's Guidebook
Google the helpful butler guiding us on the path to what we want.
Japanese Roots | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine | Jared Diamond
Daimond's resolution of old controversy on origins of Japanese language and culture. How closely are they related to the (hated) Koreans? How old is their culture?
OTEC History « Shamcher Beorse
Some good background on this important and innovative energy source. I got a great in-depth introduction to OTEC from "The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps" by Marshall T. Savage. Check it out.
OTEC News - What is OTEC?
Quick OTEC description and links to news and background papers.
The Associated Press: Main Reasons Conservatives Oppose McCain
Wow, great campaign material for McCain! I must not be a real conservative: most of these positions sound reasonable. Perhaps the key is the word "reasonable". If I could just get an analogous statement on Obama and Clinton, I'd be ready to vote.
The World is Flat 3.0 by Thomas Friedman
Talks about his book of the same name. Globalization levels the playing field allowing individuals to compete world-wide. Everything that can be done will be done. Now having a Green party, not a revolution. Change your leaders, not your lightbulbs.
The Airport Security Follies - New York Times Blog by Patrick Smith
Enormously sensible critique of the airport security silliness. Almost all of the shenanigans at required before you can fly anywhere are best described as "security theater". They are just for show and contribute virtually nothing to the public safety.
Is Space Exploration Worth the Cost? Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog
Comments in favor of space exploration by 6 advocates. No attempt at providing contrary opinions. Surely some rational and reasoned critics could be found. Also check out the good comments.
MIT World video : Copyright, Fair Use, and the Cultural Commons
Address the copyright problem from the standpoint of criticism and education. Documentary producers have written guidelines for fair use with surprising influence in legal and insurance areas. Discusses the major problem of chilling and self-censorship.
One Laptop Per Child by Ivan Krstic - 12-April-2007 Google Tech Talk video
Overview of OLPC. Mentions interesting aspects of educational philosophy, power management, viewable source ("everything is in python"), GUI, security, networking and more.
Edge: HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY By Freeman Dyson
I'm very happy that we have smart people like Dyson thinking and writing about the really tough problems we face. On CO2: 1/10th inch of new top-soil per year is all it takes. On prediction: don't miss anecdote about Francis Crick at the end.
Space Exploration: The Next 100 Years
Panel of Newman, Chaikin, Chakrabarti, Binzel on the future of space. Some consensus on low-cost access to space and improvements in educational access (inspiring the next generation).
MIT World : Collective Intelligence
Panel with Malone, Pentland, Lakhani on harnessing people and computers to act smarter together than they can individually. Many valuable points and questions. Wanted to ask how CI relates to Minsky's Society of Mind at a higher level of abstraction.
Best picture quality with 6 megapixels!
Describes how pixel size impacts picture quality. Image sensor pixel size should be >3um to avoud noise and diffraction problems. Acute with tiny sensor of compact camera with >6megapixels. Includes photos of sensors from various cameras.
Pushdo - Analysis of a Modern Malware Distribution System - Research - SecureWorks
Concise description of Pushdo based on some deconstruction. Not too long, not too low level; pretty easy to read and understand. A worrisome sign of what is to come, I suppose. It would be interesting to learn more of the methods of analysis.
Nanosolar - The Third Wave of Solar Power
Technology overview for Nanosolar's printable thin-film photovoltaic cells.
Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform And The Law/Norm Gap, by John Tehranian
Makes several good points. Once arcane copyright issue is now in the public consciousness. Spread between the law and social norms is wide and growing: e.g. his everyman racking up $12M/day infringement liability *without* P2P file sharing.
perl.com: Programming is Hard, Let's Go Scripting. by Larry Wall
The development of the architecture of Perl6. Not compatible with Perl5, which permits fixing the many warts that accreted over time. Good to see lots of ideas from other languages.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report, 2007, Synthesis Report, Summary For Policymakers
Executive summary in 23 pages. A little hard to read but important and sobering. The strategy here is to report on consensus by combining and normalizing a large number of reports by different groups.
Rescorla -- Is ﬁnding security holes a good idea? (via Crypto-Gram 8/07)
Addresses full disclosure question by suggesting that when fixing bugs doesn't improve reliability, it may be safer not to report them at all. Presents supporting evidence that isn't inconsistent with the hypothesis of infinite bugs in large systems.
A collection of predictions and bets with real money associated with them and long time frames. Many topics for interesting reading and discussion. A bit like Robin Hansen's idea futures.
Why is the violin so hard to play?
Article reveals several surprising things about bowed violin string vibration. It isn't harmonic at all but a traveling V shape, called Helmholtz motion. Also explains the source of the famous screeching sound caused by too much bow pressure.
US patent search search and display. Even displays patent drawings and images on Linux in Firefox.
Is There Anything Good About Men
Excellent and readable essay exploring the implications of the fact that today's population is descended from twice as many women as men. This evolutionary perspective on gender can provide plausible explanations for many traditional feminist issues.
A Farewell to Alms, by Gregory Clark - NYTimes review by Nicholas Wade
Clark describes theory of how wealth was able to grow faster than population starting about 1800 in England. Detailed historical research shows a link between wealth and off-spring, literacy and decreasing violence starting the industrial revolution.
Slap in the Facebook: It's Time for Social Networks to Open Up
It's annoying that I can't follow links to facebook entries without signing up. But does that mean we need an open standard to represent relationships? I'm tempted to just blow it off for a few more years.
Can you name all the U.S. Presidents? - sporcle
A test of presidential popularity. Got only 29, missing most of the 19th century except around the Civil War. Oh well.
The Lisp Before the End of My Lifetime
Nine useful ideas, many from lisp or lisp-based languages, that might be combined to provide the perfect programming language.
Tutorial on Haskell
I'm trying to get a rough feel for Haskell without really trying. From this I gather it is a bit like scheme or perhaps lambda calculus (functions only take one argument) with a syntax a bit like python (note that I don't actually know python). All defi
Accelerating Future » Top 10 Transhumanist Technologies
Summary of 10 technologies that will change our lives. Hits the key points made my futurists of all stripes. Not too long but long enough to sketch the ideas and includes useful links for more info.
The New Yorker: Unstrung - String theory, the best of times, the worst of times
Describes the sociology of string theorists and their domination of the theoretical physics community. Also a review of books by outsiders Lee Smolin and Peter Woit.
Why Poor Countries Are Poor - Tim Harford | March 2006 | Reason Magazine
A good description of why corruption is making more people poor than any other reason. The trends described here at also true to a (surprisingly) significant extent in the US Virgin Islands.
We are meant to be here - Review of Paul Davies' "The Cosmic Jackpot" by Steve Paulson
Q & A format discussion with Davies about his new book. Suggests that observations by humans may be responsible in some way for influencing the universe's laws of nature to make them compatible with life.
The new age of ignorance | Tim Adams | The Observer July 1, 2007
Thoughts on the divide between Science and Humanities. Update on CP Snow. Review of The Canon by Natalie Angier and John Brockman's The Edge website.
How I home-built an electricity producing Wind turbine
Do it yourself wind generator for any out of the way place that is windy and doesn't need too much power. Lots of interesting details on cobbling the pieces together.
This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It) - New York Times
How a person tells the stories of their own life says things about how they cope with it. For example using third-person perspective or first person.
Marriage in America | The frayed knot | Economist.com
In depth article about the benefits of marriage. It looks at the question of whether successful people are more likely to get married or whether getting married really helps make people more successful. Long but informative.
Neatorama » Blog Archive » The Strangest Disaster of the 20th Century.
On 22-Aug-1986 a volcanic crater lake in Cameroon ejected a huge volume of CO2 gas and killing at least 1750 people. To prevent recurrence the lake must be de-gassed using a perpetual fountain powered by the volcano itself.
A critique of democracy in the television age, Al Gore
A sensible and reasonable description of some of the problems facing democracy when the economics of television and science of public opinion reduce the quality and quantity of citizen participation.
How to keep trolls and other problem people from taking over your online community
The answer seems to be to empower to social-adepts that are experts at moderating forums with all the geek-tools they can use.
Slo-Mo Home Depot at Improv Everywhere
A group of hackers shop in a Manhattan Home Depot for 5 minutes in slow motion and then 5 min frozen. The story, pictures, video and interviews. Sounds like it would have been a blast to be there.
The Story of the PING Program
Some deep background how the first ping program was written by the original author: Mike Muuss. As an added bonus it includes the great review on Amazon.com on "The Story About Ping" by Marjorie Flack, Kurt Wiese.
Names really do make a difference | UK News | The Observer
Choosing names with low femininity scores significantly improves the odds that a girl will follow traditionally male-dominated subjects like math and science. The effect of names is important in more general estimators of success
Dow 13K and the Second Great Depression
A sobering look at the economy as it appears to the younger generation that is going to or just graduating from college. Is college worth the staggering cost? By Michael Nystrom
Justin Timberlake - Culture - Hollywood - Idea Lab - New York Times
Culture generally and the "next big thing" specifically exhibit chaos and are instances of the butterfly effect. The authors describe an experiment that contained eight independent universes that illustrated that popularity is unpredictable and merit has
Ten lessons of an MIT Education
A biased look at why an education from MIT is much better than most college educations. There are some excellent general points about education and life and is worth reading.
Humans hot, sweaty, natural-born runners
Supports the idea that endurance running is a survival trait for us. I have heard stories about Navajo runners in the southwest and others that travel incredible distances with little rest. This provides some scientific and evolutionary support for thos
Python as a First Language
Avoid discouraging students with hours spent puzzling out the mechanics of the language and get straight into the program design and implementation.
Andart: Colorful Academic Genealogies
Several graphic displays by Anders Sandberg of the history of relationships between concepts in western thought based on data by Mike Love.
Who Can Name the Bigger Number?
A fun article on big numbers and mathematical paradigms. Good description of Ackermann numbers and the uncomputably huge busy beaver numbers.
free university lectures - computer science, mathematics, physics
Lots of courses from MIT, UCBerkeley and many others. Courses include SICP and many other interesting sounding courses.
Open source US Federal income tax form program. T
Okay, the whole FAQ, mostly on C++, is pretty interesting, but I really liked the one about shooting yourself in the foot.
Vienna Wireless Society - Balloon Flight VWS-2
This group launched a largish helium balloon carrying a pair of wireless digital cameras to 98,000 feet altitude. Looks like they had a really fun day!
13 Photographs That Changed the World
An interesting list. Many comments that follow usefully provide links to other photos that didn't make Riggs' list.
Should Google Go Nuclear? Clean, cheap, nuclear power (no, really) - Google Video
Dr Robert Bussard (of Ramjet fame) describes his breakthrough in inertial electrodynamic confinement for controlled fusion. To my well-practiced ear he knows his physics and is still very sharp. Discussion of US Govt funding realities also rings true.
Day 1 (Sam Harris): Why Are Atheists So Angry? | Jewcy.com
A debate in 4-parts (each) where Harris and Prager took shots at each other and mostly missed.
The Reality Club: BEYOND BELIEF
A discussion by participants in a Salk Institute conference on Science and Religion. As usual they are talking past each other, but Atran makes some useful and interesting points in responding to the calls by Dawkins and Harris for more rationality and l
Why Won't God Heal Amputees?
A rational argument for why religion is a delusion, focusing mostly on Christianity and the Bible. Long and detailed arguments arranged in many sections. I like the "What It Means" part, especially ch 32 on the big question.
DARPA Selects IBM for Supercomputing Grand Challenge
IBM wins the DARPA HPCS Phase III competition along with Cray, knocking out Sun. This is a 4 year project funded at about $250 million for each company.
Plots trips on Google maps giving distances. Good for checking walking distances.
Who Writes Wikipedia? (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
Swartz provides some evidence that contradicts the common claim that only a handful of active users do most of the writing. Instead he suggests that there are two classes of contributors: the regular editors and the occasional content contributors.