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Links December 2013

Andres Lozano gave an interesting TED talk about the use of electrodes inside the brain (deep brain stimulation) to treat Alzheimers disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression [1].

Daniel Pocock wrote an interesting post commenting on some bad political decisions being made in Australia titled “Evacuating Australia” [2]. You can read that as a suggestion to leave Australia or to try and make Australia better.

Marco Tempest gave an interesting TED talk about Nikola Tesla [3]. The presentation method is one that I’ve never seen before so I recommend watching the talk even if you already know all about Tesla.

Charmian Gooch gave an interesting TED talk about global corruption [4]. I think we need people to send the information on shell company ownership to organisations like Wikileaks. The punishment for leaking such information would be a lot less than Chelsea Manning is getting and the chance of getting caught is also low.

Rich Mogul wrote an interesting and insightful article for Macworld about the Apple approach to security problems [5]. To avoid the problem of users disabling security features they work to make the secure way of doing things EASIER for the user. That won’t work with all security problems but it’s something we need to think about when working on computer security.

Ray Raphael gave an interesting TED talk about the parts of the US revolution that don’t appear in history books [6]. He warns the listener to beware of the narrative forms, but another way to interpret his talk is that you should present your version of history in the narrative form that is best accepted. That lesson is well known and it’s easy to see history being deliberately distorted in most media outlets.

Will Wright gave an interesting TED talk about how he designed the game Spore and his ideas about games in general [7]. Spore is a really good game.

Chris Lintott gave an interesting TED talk about crowd-sourced astronomy titled “How to Discover a Planet from Your Sofa” [8]. He referenced the Zooniverse.org site which lists many crowd-sourced science projects [9].

Jake Socha gave an interesting TED talk about flying snakes, you have to see this to believe it [10].

Nikita Bier gave an interesting TED talk about his webapp to analyse economic policies [11]. Apparently 60% of people were going to vote in their best economic interest before seeing his site and 66% would do so afterwards – that could change an election result.

Anya Kamenetz wrote an interesting article for Salon about The Iliad Project which aims to use Indigogo to help identify new anti-biotics [12]. The current ways of discovering anti-biotics aren’t working, lets hope this one does.

Peter Finocchiaro wrote an interesting Salon article about how right-wing politicians in the US were opposed to Nelson Mandela [13] – racism meets anti-communism. Katie McDonough wrote an interesting Salon article about Rick Santorum and Bill O’Reilly comparing “Obamacare” to apartheid while supposedly honoring Nelson Mandela [14], Katie also notes that Nelson enshrined universal healthcare in the South African constitution – something all countries should do.

Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote a Salon article about Susan Boyle’s announcement about being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome [15]. Not a surprise though, some people can be diagnosed with Autism by merely watching them on TV.

Amelia Hill wrote an article for The Guardian/The Observer about the educational results of Home Schooling [16]. Apparently Home-Schooled kids learn significantly more and “home-educated children of working-class parents achieved considerably higher marks in tests than the children of professional, middle-class parents and that gender differences in exam results disappear among home-taught children”. Wow, Home Schooling beats gender and class problems! I’m sure it’s even better for GLBT kids too.

Robert Reich wrote an interesting Salon article about the way rich people in the US give tax-deductable (taxpayer supported) donations to “charities” that benefit themselves [17].

Dan Savage wrote a very funny review of Sarah Palin’s latest Christmas book, one classic quote is “why should I have to read the whole thing? Lord knows Sarah Palin didn’t write the whole thing” [18]. He makes a good point that we should use the term “happy holidays” instead of “happy Christmas” just to show that we aren’t assholes.

2 comments to Links December 2013

  • Simon Mistry

    “I’m sure it’s even better for GLBT kids too.”

    Aren’t all kids jailbait by definition?

  • etbe

    Simon: I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. The article I cited and my paragraph about it had no direct or indirect reference to “jailbait”.

    My point is that anything which removes the disadvantages that girls and kids from lower class backgrounds face is likely to also remove the disadvantages that GLBT kids face. I really doubt that most schools which have GSAs are at the stage where GLBT kids will have the same average academic results as the general population. As for the schools without a GSA it seems obvious that home-schooling will remove the bullying and allow kids to concentrate on studying.

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