Links March 2012

Washington’s Blog has an informative summary of recent articles about corporate psychopaths [1]. Including the fact that some banks deliberately hire psychopaths.

Anu Partanen wrote an insightful article for The Atlantic about the difference between Finnish and American education systems [2]. It seems that Finland has achieved great educational success by aiming for equality with no private schools and giving the teachers and principals enough responsibility to do the job properly.

Ramona Pierson gave an interesting TED talk about how she recovered from being run over by a drunk driver with the help of the residents of a senior citizens home [3].

Quyen Nguyen gave a very interesting TED talk about the use of fluorescent dyes in cancer surgery [4]. They can make cancer glow one color and nerves glow with a different color which makes it a much easier task to remove ALL the cancer without cutting the smaller nerves.

James Fallows wrote an interesting article for The Atlantic about the experience of having his wife’s Gmail account cracked [5]. She stored EVERYTHING in her Gmail account so this was a lot worse for her than for the typical Geek who doesn’t use such accounts for storing much. James describes what the attacker did, how they did it, and what needed to be done to recover. When running a mail server it’s worth considering what you would do to help a user who was attacked in that way.

Charles Stross has written an interesting blog post trying to predict some future psychological and social changes [6].

Matthew Wright of Beyond Zero Emissions has written an informative article about how solar panels on home roofs save everyone money [7].

Mikko Hypponen gave an interesting TED talk about different types of online attack and how they can affect us [8]. Among other things he describes how online attacks can result in people dying.

Scott Rickard gave an interesting TED talk about using maths to create SONAR pings without repitition and also the worst music ever created [9]. I found it entertaining to watch Michael Lindel (the director of chamber music for the New York Symphony) play the music, he obviously didn’t enjoy that performance.

Sheena Iyengar gave an interesting TED talk about the way people make choices [10]. It’s useful for anyone who is going to prepare a set of options for someone else to choose from.

ASD Aid is a project that uses Lego to encourage kids on the Autism Spectrum to socialise [11]. They have training manuals for using Lego in therapy. Unfortunately they have not been supported by the Lego corporation.

Bilal Bomani gave an interesting and informative TED talk about NASA research into renewable aviation fuel [12]. The most interesting thing to me was the way that they were aiming for a sustainable lifecycle that didn’t use resources that coule be used for food and which required minimal input once it was started.

Alain de Botton gave an interesting TED talk about Atheism 2.0 [13]. He suggests that we adopt some ideas from religious organisations including lectures (sermons), celebrations, and rituals. It’s interesting to think of a technology conference as a pilgrimage.

Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche from Moto restaurant in Chicago gave an interesting talk about some of the unusual foods that they have produced [14]. If I visit the US again I will try and go to Chicago to eat there!

One thought on “Links March 2012”

  1. ASD Aid sounds good until you read their website which compares autism statistics with disease statistics. Personally, I steer clear of any organisation that compares autism with disease. I have also seen some of their events advertised and I object to their requirements, as some of the kids they’re claiming to help lack impulse control and do the very things they say are not permitted, even if the child does not intend on causing hurt. That’s hardly inclusive and effectively excludes a significant number of ASD kids. It seems like yet another setup which should advertise itself as “sure, we help ASD kids… as long as they’re the quiet compliant types.”

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