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Links December 2012

Steven Johnson gave an interesting TED talk about where good ideas come from [1]. He starts by attributing coffee replacing alcohol as a standard drink for some good ideas and then moves on to how ideas develop.

Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel gave an interesting and amusing TED talk about the ngram analysis of books that Google scanned [2]. Here is the link for the Google Books ngram search [3].

Clay Shirky gave an insightful TED talk about how the Internet is changing the world [4]. He cites Open Source programmers as the modern day equivalent to the Invisible College based on our supposed great ability to get along with other people on the Internet. If we really are so much better than the rest of the Internet then things must be bad out there. He ends with ways of using Git to draft legislation.

Hans Rosling gave an interesting TED talk about religion and the number of babies that women have [5]. His conclusion is that it’s more about income and social stability and that the world’s population can stabilise at 10 billion if we provide family planning to everyone.

Alexis C. Madrigal wrote an interesting interview with Genevieve Bell about her work at Intel and the way people use technology [6].

Indigogo is raising funds for the “Cuddle Mattress”, it’s a mattress with foam slats and a special fitted sheet to allow your arm to slide between the slats [7]. So you could have your arm underneath your SO for an extended period of time without risking nerve damage. They also show that when sleeping on your side your shoulder can go between the slats to avoid back problems.

Nate Silver (who is famous for predicting US elections gave an interesting TED talk about racism and politics [8]. One of his main points is to show the correlation between racism and lack of contact of members of other races.

Sociological Images has an interesting article by Lisa Wade about whether marriage is a universal human value [9]. In regard to historical marriage she says “women were human property, equivalent to children, slaves, servants, and employees”. The general trend in the comments seems to be that there are so many types of marriage that it’s difficult to make any specific claims to traditional marriage unless you count a tradition of a short period in a single geographic region.

Plurality is an excellent sci-fi short movie on youtube [10].

TED has an interesting interview with Hakeem Oluseyi about his research about astrophysics and how he achieved a successful career after being a gangster as a teenager [11]. He has some good ideas about helping other children from disadvantaged environments become successful.

Paul Dwerryhouse wrote an interesting blog post about his work in designing and implementing a filesystem based on a Cassandra data store with FUSE [12]. Paul also wrote a post about using Apache Zookeeper to lock metadata to permit atomic operations [13].

The documentary “Monumental Myths” provides an interesting and insightful analysis of the processes of creating, maintaining, and explaining monuments [14]. It focusses on some significant monuments in the US and explains both sides to each story. Howard Zinn makes the insightful point that “when people present a certain point of view of history it’s not controversial, as soon as you present the other side they call it controversial“. That happens even in debates about current issues. Howard also says “to criticise whatever the government does is not anti-America, it’s anti-government, it’s pro-America, it’s pro the people, it’s pro the country“. The song that plays during the closing credits is interesting too.

The music video “Same Love” is one of the best presentations of the argument for marriage equality [15].

Chris Samuel wrote an interesting post about systems locked down for Windows 8 and options for purchasing PCs for running Linux [16]. His solution is to buy from ZaReason. I saw his laptop in action at the last LUV meeting and it looks really nice. Unfortunately a byproduct of the extremely thin form factor is the fact that it lacks a VGA port, this meant that Chris had to use my Thinkpad T61 (which is rather clunky by comparison) for his presentation.

1 comment to Links December 2012

  • Hi Russell, thanks for the kind words – my laptop does have an HDMI output but no, not VGA. But then my 3 year old Dell work laptop hasn’t got VGA out either, it’s got displayport instead. So I spent about $40 on an HDMI->VGA converter and it works well now. :-)