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Links April 2012

Karen Tse gave an interesting TED talk about how to stop police torture as an investigative tool [1]. Mostly it’s about training and empowering public defenders.

Phil Plait gave an interesting TED talk about how to defend the Earth from asteroids [2].

Julian Baggini wrote an interesting article for the Financial Times about the persecution of Atheists in the US [3].

Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere gave an amusing TED talk about Improv events that he has run [4]. He is most famous for organising people to wear blue shirts and khaki pants in Best Buy, but he’s done lots of other funny things.

Paul Zak gave an interesting TED talk about trust, morality, and oxytocin [5]. One of the many interesting fact that he shared is that oxytocin levels can significantly increase when using social networking sites. So people who use Facebook etc are likely to be more trustworthy as well as more trusting.

The Occupy the Judge Rotenberg Center movement aims to stop the torture of Autistic children in the US [6], Anonymous is involved in that too.

Paul Lewis gave an insightful TED talk about the use of crowdsourced data in news reporting [7]. A lot of the analysis of “citizen journalism” is based on comparing bloggers with full-time paid journalists, but Paul describes how professional full-time journalistic work can be greatly assisted by random people filming and photographing things that seem noteworthy. Make sure your next phone has the best possible camera – phone cameras will never be great but the quality of the camera you have with you is what matters.

Sam Harris published an interesting interview with Tim Prowse who is a Baptist minister who faked belief for two years after becoming an atheist [8A]. He also references The Clergy Project – a support group for atheists who are current or former members of the clergy [8B].

Cracked has an insightful article about 6 things that rich people need to stop saying [9]. How do the 1% not understand these things?

Barack Obama and Nichelle Nichols (who played Lt Uhura in the original Star Treck) give the Vulcan Salute in the White-House [10].

Gabriel Arana wrote an insightful article about his experiences with the ex-gay movement [11]. The “therapist” who hurt him so much is still doing the same to other victims.

S#!T Ignorant People Say To Autistics is an interesting youtube video about ignorant and annoying people [12]. Strangely I’ve received little of that myself, I wonder whether women on the Autism Spectrum get a lot more of that than men.

At GManCaseFile an ex-FBI agent has written an informative post about how the TSA is failing [13].

The Nieder Family has an interesting article about how patents are being used to prevent the creation of assisted communication (AAC) devices for children [14]. Apparently the company that has the patents wants all AAC devices to be really expensive and profitable for them. This is yet another example of patents doing harm not good.

Renew Economy has an informative article by Giles Parkinson about the affect that solar power generation will have on power prices [15]. In short as solar systems produce power when it’s most needed (during the day and at the hottest time of the day for warm climates) it will dramatically reduce the auction price for wholesale power. That will hurt the business of the power companies and also allow lower prices on the retail market.

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