I’ve not been posting much, November last year was the last time I got anything out, but I have been reading a lot. So I figured I’d put up a bunch of links, all of which I think are worth reading. In no particular order…..
Instead I asked myself: “what other ‘vicious circles’ in science and philosophy could one unravel using the same linear-algebra trick that CLEVER and PageRank exploit?” After all, CLEVER and PageRank were both founded on what looked like a hopelessly circular intuition: “a web page is important if other important web pages link to it.” Yet they both managed to use math to defeat the circularity.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of my confidence is the way I sustain eye contact. Some people have called it the “predator stare.” Sociopaths are unfazed by uninterrupted eye contact. Our failure to look away politely is also perceived as being aggressive or seductive. It can throw people off balance, but often in an exciting way that imitates the unsettling feeling of infatuation. Do you ever find yourself using charm and confidence to get people to do things for you that they otherwise wouldn’t? Some might call it manipulation, but I like to think I’m using what God gave me.
Another thing to keep an eye out for? Markings that have been blasted away. The FAA keeps strict rules about how paint or marks are removed—they’re absolutely never to be painted over, since the decay of the new mark might wear away to reveal conflicting information. Instead, airports have to sandblast or power wash the old paint away and re-do it.
And yet, the panel seemed perfectly comfortable speculating for over an hour on what features in the Apple Watch would be delivering a great user experience and how users would find the Watch valuable. This really surprised me because the panel of experts was speculating about features that are available to test run today…on Android Wear.
Silva related how the top bankers in the nation were asked to contribute money to save Lehman. He described his disappointment when Goldman executives initially balked. Silva acknowledged that it might have been a hard sell to shareholders, but added that “if Goldman had stepped up with a big number, that would have encouraged the others.”
“It was extraordinarily disappointing to me that they weren’t thinking as Americans,” Silva says in the recording. “Those two things are very powerful experiences that, I will admit, influence my thinking.”
Essentially their model — a lot of seem to be reliant on “eventually we hope AOL or Yahoo will buy us, and then it’s their problem if we don’t make any money.” So they’re doing some really good journalism, but I think there’s a problem there.
When I talk about this false precision, this great hope for reliable, precise formulas, I am reminded of Arthur Laffer, who’s in my political party, and who is one of the all-time horses’ asses when it comes to doing economics. His trouble is his craving for false precision, which is not an adult way of dealing with his subject matter.
By comparison, news-related applications do not requires a lot of phone resources. They collect XML feeds, some low resolution images and render those in pre-defined, non-dynamic templates. They use a tiny fraction of a modern smartphone’s processing power.
Yet the attack involved not merely the towers, but two other actions, in particular a successful attack on the Pentagon. Why is it that only a few people take proper notice of that? If the 9/11 operation had been a conventional military campaign, the Pentagon attack would have received most of the attention. In this attack, al‑Qaida managed to destroy part of the enemy’s central headquarters, killing and wounding senior commanders and analysts. Why is it that public memory gives far more importance to the destruction of two civilian buildings, and the killing of brokers and accountants?
What triggers a mutation? Schumpeter insists that this evolution is disciplined above all by new consumers’ needs combined with the new institutional forms that must be invented to reliably meet those needs.
Venture capitalists may remind founders not to get carried away because they may need to raise money again soon, perhaps in a less-favorable market. Fundraising at a lower valuation is known as a “down round.” It’s a major Silicon Valley no-no in terms of perception, and it can have negative effects, depending on the other stipulations of the agreement.
In Yemen you don’t really talk while eating. This makes the heavily-armed diners staring up at me from their carpets seem even more menacing. The wait staff, on the other hand (at least I assume that’s what they are) run round shouting at the top of their voices. Almost everyone has already purchased a bag of qat, which they’ll start chewing after lunch. The qat is leafy and kind of bulky, and comes in a colored plastic bag. Some men tuck it under their shirt, so it hangs over their belt like a paunch. Others carry it in their hand. The effect is to make everyone look excessively health conscious and obsessed with salad.
The fifth principle asks that managers trust developers and create a pleasant work environment that motivates good work. The eleventh principle advocates for self-organizing teams—giving developers autonomy and freedom to choose the projects and features that most interest them and avoiding a dictatorial style of management.
It can be indexed and searched efficiently, even by hand. It can be translated. It can be produced and consumed at variable speeds. It is asynchronous. It can be compared, diffed, clustered, corrected, summarized and filtered algorithmically. It permits multiparty editing. It permits branching conversations, lurking, annotation, quoting, reviewing, summarizing, structured responses, exegesis, even fan fic. The breadth, scale and depth of ways people use text is unmatched by anything.
I’m sure it happens every day – that a kid in one of these far-flung places can find a new favourite band, send that band a message, and that singer of that band will read it and personally reply to it from his cell phone half a world away. How much better is that? I’ll tell you, it’s infinitely better than having a relationship to a band limited to reading it on the back of the record jacket. If such a thing were possible when I was a teenager I’m certain I would have become a right nuisance to the Ramones.
In order to gain the position of a global financial super-hub, and potentially that of world financial capital, the City of London has been making an effort to attract Chinese and Islamic finance, both in rapid expansion.
We no longer know what neighborhood we’ve wandered into, we don’t know the shape of the building, or the condition of the room. We don’t know what other people are wearing — our first and most profound way of signaling cultural affiliation and social-economic status.
“But as time went on, every time there was a problem in the camp, he was at the centre of it,” Abu Ahmed recalled. “He wanted to be the head of the prison – and when I look back now, he was using a policy of conquer and divide to get what he wanted, which was status. And it worked.” By December 2004, Baghdadi was deemed by his jailers to pose no further risk and his release was authorised.
That’s why, internally, our top-line metric is “TTR,” which stands for total time reading. It’s an imperfect measure of time people spend on story pages. We think this is a better estimate of whether people are actually getting value out of Medium
I, personally, want to put a gold chain on my phone, pop it into a waistcoat pocket, and refer to it as my “digital fob watch” whenever I check the time on it. Just to make the point in as snotty and high-handed a way as possible: This is the decadent end of the current innovation cycle, the part where people stop having new ideas and start adding filigree and extra orifices to the stuff we’ve got and call it the future.
I don’t want to throw away any sacred things. What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And all music is. – Kurt Vonnegut
That’s from Vonnegut’s book “Breakfast of Champions” which was published in 1973. I’ve always liked the quote and although I never felt the need to question it, as it just felt true to me, I was delighted when I watched this video with Bobby McFerrin and I was reminded of Vonnegut’s opinion.
Music is essentially about connection, anyone who has stood in a room listening to a band or a soloist who manages to get ‘there’ (whatever and wherever there is), knows this. Whether you are with 50 or 50,000 other people it is unfathomable that the experience could have been superior if you were on your own.
This video, at a conference on neurology goes someway to demonstrating the visceral human connectivity that is music. This is a delight, the sort of thing to watch if you need a quick lift.
Second up is a video from Primus who I am mostly aware of as the guys who wrote and sing the theme song from Southpark. The song called “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” is good, but I really love the video. For some reason, and its rare for me, the video makes this what it is.
Finally an example of the craft that is Stevie Ray Vaughan, and in this clip, more particularly the craft of a great roadie. He loses a string, but if you couldn’t see what happened you wouldn’t know.
The less said about this the better, i don’t want to preempt whats going on with a description. Click the link and then work out what its all about. Keep going, its not obvious at first at all.
This one is more obvious. A nice interactive image generator.
The radioactive orchestra is a dose of geeky nerd musical awesomeness. In the vein of simple online mixers this one is based on the real properties of thousands of radioactive isotopes. Not massively flexible if truth be known but fun.
I must have had at least 5 or 6 kaleidoscopes for Christmas when I was younger, over the years. Is this what children of the future will get instead, a url and 10 minutes in front of a screen (which was about how long my attention was kept by the non digital versions)
Finally my favourite strobe illusion, nicely showing how much of our perceptive data input can be gamed by fairly simple mechanisms. The effect of this is really emphatic.
An 80’s homage for their soon to be married brother. So well done, music and video.
An ancient Icelandic hymn sung in a German railway station. Great acoustics, hauntingly beautiful.
I’ve recently discovered Grace Potter, courtesy of Gov’t Mule. Here she is with Warren Haynes singing Wild Horses.
My latest guilty treasure. Their background is actually performance art, Die Antwoord the latest incarnation.
Finally…the ridiculous Winny Puhh, an entrant in the Estonian competition to find their Eurovision entry. As silly as this is I can’t help but think its a better way of approaching the annual euro song competition than our futile efforts.
They are all worth a look, especially the geology one.
1. Music. If you thought Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’ was good then hearing his vocal performance isolated from the rest of the track is a must. You know he’s good, but this is just such a great way to show how good…
2. Sport. Skiing. This fella is genuinely unaware that he has triggered an avalanche and, as a result, executes a back flip just as the snow starts to catch him. He remains safe and makes it to the bottom of the run. Belongs in a Bond movie.
3. Comedy. We are the cyclists. I don’t drive but I still don’t like cyclists on the pavement.
4. Geology. Geological time is also now. Stunning footage of a cliff face collapsing in France.