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Links September 2013

Matt Palmer wrote an insightful post about the use of the word “professional” [1]. It’s one factor that makes me less inclined to be a member of “professional” societies.

The TED blog has an interesting article about Wikihouse which is a project to create a set of free designs for houses to be cut out of plywood with a CNC milling machine [2]. The article also links to a TED talk by Alastair Parvin of the Wikihouse project which covers many interesting things other than designing houses.

An XKCD comic has one of the best explanations of bullying I’ve ever seen [3]. If you aren’t familiar with XKCD then make sure you hover your mouse over it to read the hidden text.

The Fair Phone is a project to develop a smart phone starting with conflict-free resources and with fully free software (not like a typical Android build) [4]. It’s an interesting project and the price and specs seem within the normal range – so you’re not paying a huge premium for a conflict-free phone. Unfortunately they only have one model with a 4.3″ display, if they had a competitor for the Galaxy Note then I’d be interested.

Patrick Stokes wrote an insightful article about why “I’m entitled to my opinion” is a bogus argument [5].

Jim Daly wrote an interesting TED blog post interviewing Rishi Manchanda about “Upstream Doctors” who look for the root causes of medical problems rather than just treating the symptoms [6].

Brian Krebs wrote an insightful article about the value of a hacked email account [7]. If you are trying to convince your users to use better passwords then this should help.

Ron Garrett wrote an insightful series or articles on morality hooked on the premise of whether it’s wrong to torture kittens [8]. Part of his conclusion is that people who believe it’s wrong to do such things tend to be more capable of working in large groups and forming a productive and efficient society.

The TED blog has an interesting post by Karen Eng summarising Andreas Raptopoulos’ talk about using autonomous drones to deliver parcels in parts of the world that don’t have usable roads [9]. Delivering parcels (which would start with medical supplies but would presumably move on to commercial transport) by drone is apparently really cheap. Being cheaper than building roads isn’t going to be difficult but it seems that they are going to make it cheaper than paying people to deliver parcels even if the roads were built. The main web site about this project is www.matternet.us, they are hiring electrical engineers. Here is the link for Andreas TED talk [10].

The TOR blog has an interesting article by Emily Asher-Perrin comparing the different houses of Hogwarts [11]. It’s an insightful article about personality attributes and gives more information than is available in the movies (I’d read the books if I had time).

1 comment to Links September 2013

  • Anonymous

    In much the same spirit as the warning to only watch the first three Star Wars movies and not the prequels: if you do take time to read the Harry Potter books, stop after book 4. You’ll get all the flavor, and as long as you can live with the one main antagonist not resolved, you won’t have to read the trainwreck of the last three books.

    Failing that, stop after 6.

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