- Theory of Relativity in Words of Four Letters or Less — this does just what it says, and well too. I like it, as you may too. At the end, you may even know more than you do now.
- Effective Set Reconciliation Without Prior Context (PDF) — paper on using Bloom filters to do set union (deduplication) efficiently. Useful in distributed key-value stores and other big data tools.
- Mental Notes — each card has an insight from psychology research that’s useful with web design. Shuffle the deck, peel off a card, get ideas for improving your site. (via Tom Stafford)
- The Internet of Things To Come (Mike Kuniavsky) — Mike lays out the trends and technologies that will lead to an explosion in Internet of Things products. E.g., This abstraction of knowledge into silicon means that rather than starting from basic principles of electronics, designers can focus on what they’re trying to create, rather than which capacitor to use or how to tell the signal from the noise. He makes it clear that, right now, we have the rich petrie dish in which great networked objects can be cultured.
ENTRIES TAGGED "math"
Relativity in Short Words, Set Math, Design Inspiration, and Internet of Things
The names may change, but the friction between science and art goes back centuries.
Whether we're discussing ancients vs. moderns, scientists vs. poets, or the latest variant, computer science vs. humanities, the debate between science and art is persistent and quite old.
Gamification is Bullshit, Design for Impact, Public Domain, and Network Analysis
- Gamification is Bullshit (Ian Bogost) — [G]amification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway. Bullshitters are many things, but they are not stupid. The rhetorical power of the word “gamification” is enormous, and it does precisely what the bullshitters want: it takes games—a mysterious, magical, powerful medium that has captured the attention of millions of people—and it makes them accessible in the context of contemporary business.
- Design for (Real) Social Impact (Vimeo) — single best talk I’ve seen on making philanthropy effective. (via Rowan Simpson)
- The Public Domain Review — an online weekly journal dedicated to treasures that have entered the public domain and articles on them. The home page currently features: Boris Karloff in “Last of the Mohicans”, the Boston Revolution in psychotherapy, “Was Charles Darwin an Atheist?”, the Orson Welles audio show, “100 Years of The Secret Garden”, a feature on a 1300 year old illustrated work on the Book of Revelations, and more.
- SNAP — the Stanford Network Analysis Platform, a library for network and graph analysis. (via Joshua Schachter)
Graph ORM, Graphic Computation, Web Intents, and Async RPC
- Bulbflow — a Python framework for graph databases: it’s like an ORM for graphs. (via Joshua Schachter)
- Nomograms — the lost art of graphical computing. (via John D Cook)
- Web Intents — adding Android-style Intents to the web. Services register their intention to be able to handle an action on the user’s behalf. Applications request to start an Action of a certain verb (share, edit, view, pick etc) and the system will find the appropriate Services for the user to use based on the user’s preference.
- Finagle (GitHub) — Twitter’s asynchronous network stack for the JVM that you can use to build asynchronous Remote Procedure Call (RPC) clients and servers in Java, Scala, or any JVM-hosted language. Finagle provides a rich set of tools that are protocol independent.
Personal Video, Open Source Sensors, Bad Science No Biscuit, and Playing the Odds
- Skate Through NYC With A GoPro — this is the first I’ve seen of the GoPro cameras, which are two dimensions of clever. First, it’s video instrumentation for activities where we haven’t had this before. Second, it’s clever specialization of the Flip-style solid-state recording videocameras. (via Infovore)
- Pulse Sensor — open source heart rate sensor project on Kickstarter. DIY hardware has made the quantified self phenomenon possible; look for many more gadgets that build your personal data cloud. (via Brady Forrest)
- Science’s Bad Ideas (Peter Griffin) — a recap of a lecture by Lord Robert Winston where he the dark side of science and catalogues numerous instances where scientific progress has been accompanied by unforeseen consequences, ethical atrocities and detrimental impacts on society. [...] The overall message is that science can’t remain aloof from society, that scientists must engage and better understand the needs and concerns of society as they introduce new technologies that could bring about profound changes.
- A Game With a Windfall For a Knowing Few — gambling is a tax on bad math, but poorly designed games sometimes rewards those who are good at math. Because of a quirk in the rules, when the jackpot reaches roughly $2 million and no one wins, payoffs for smaller prizes swell dramatically, which statisticians say practically assures a profit to anyone who buys at least $100,000 worth of tickets. During these brief periods – “rolldown weeks’’ in gambling parlance – a tiny group of savvy bettors, among them highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern University, virtually take over the game. Just three groups, including the Selbees, claimed 1,105 of the 1,605 winning Cash WinFall tickets statewide after the rolldown week in May, according to lottery records. (via Hacker News)
Organising Conferences, Moving to the JVM, Language Crowdsourcing, and Bayesian Computing
- Conference Organisers Handbook — accurate guide to running a two-day 300-person conference. See also Yet Another Perl Conference guidelines.
- Twitter Shifting More Code to JVM — interesting how, at scale, there are some tools and techniques of the scorned Enterprise that the web cool kids must turn to. Some. Business Process Workflow XML Schemas will never find love.
- Louis von Ahn on Duolingo — from the team that gave us “OCR books as you verify you are a human” CAPTCHAs comes “learn a new language as you translate the web”. I would love to try this, it sounds great (and is an example of what crowdsourcing can be).
- Fully Bayesian Computing (PDF) — A fully Bayesian computing environment calls for the possibility of defining vector and array objects that may contain both random and deterministic quantities, and syntax rules that allow treating these objects much like any variables or numeric arrays. Working within the statistical package R, we introduce a new object-oriented framework based on a new random variable data type that is implicitly represented by simulations. Perl made text processing easy because strings were first-class objects with a rich set of functions to operate on them; Node.js has a sweet HTTP library; it’s interesting to see how much more intuitive an algorithm becomes when random variables are a data type. (via BigData)
Vector Graphics, Processing Maps, Augemented Senses, and Graph Analysis
- TileMill for Processing — gorgeous custom maps in Processing. (via FlowingData)
- Research Assistant Wanted — working with one of the authors of Mind Hacks on augmenting our existing senses with a form of “remote touch” generated by using artificial distance sensors, such as ultrasound, to stimulate tactile stimulators (vibrating pads) placed against the surface of the head.. (via Vaughn Bell)
- GoldenORB — a cloud-based open source project for massive-scale graph analysis, built upon best-of-breed software from the Apache Hadoop project modeled after Google’s Pregel architecture. (via BigData)
Buying a Micro, Education Entrepreneurship, Faceted Search, Vector-Graphics Scripting
- Electric Dreams – The 1980s ‘The Micro Home Computer Of 1982′ (YouTube) — from a reality show where a gadget-using family are forced to relive 30 years of technology invention, one year each day. This clip is where they’re forced to choose a microcomputer from the rush of early hobbyist machines in the 80s: Spectrum, Dragon-32, etc. (via Skud)
- K-12 Entrepreneurship: Slow Entry, Distant Exit (PDF) — paper (from the set I pointed to yesterday) laying out in start terms the difficulty of educational entrepreneurship. Keeping the lights on and a teacher in every classroom consumes most of the annual money spent on education so that little is left over to generate or try new tools, techniques or approaches. Out of every dollar spent on education in 2005, only 3.5 cents was spent on materials, tools and services. Subtract the big mandatory purchases of textbooks and annual testing, and one is left with almost no free funds to deploy creatively. With class size reduction and teacher incentive pay ramping up around the country, the pressure on these budget lines continues to increase, reducing the dollars available for investment in breakthrough tools and services.
- Here Be Dragons (Bryan O’Sullivan) — the thorny problem of printing floating point numbers. Prior to Steele and White’s “How to print floating-point numbers accurately”, implementations of printf and similar rendering functions did their best to render floating point numbers, but there was wide variation in how well they behaved. A number such as 1.3 might be rendered as 1.29999999, for instance, or if a number was put through a feedback loop of being written out and its written representation read back, each successive result could drift further and further away from the original.
Communities, Statistics, News, and Doubting Data
- The Wisdom of Communities — Luke Wroblewski’s notes from Derek Powazek‘s talk at Event Apart. Wisdom of Crowds theory shows that, in aggregate, crowds are smarter than any single individual in the crowd. See this online in most emailed features, bit torrent, etc. Wise crowds are built on a few key characteristics: diversity (of opinion), independence (of other ideas), decentralization, and aggregation.
- How to Fit an Elephant (John D. Cook) — for the stats geeks out there. Someone took von Neumann’s famous line “with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk”, and found the four complex parameters that do, indeed, fit an elephant.
- How to Run a News Site and Newspaper Using WordPress and Google Docs — clever workflow that’s digital first but integrated with print. (via Sacha Judd)
- All Watched Over: On Foo, Cybernetics, and Big Data — I’m glad someone preserved Matt Jones’s marvelous line, “the map-reduce is not the territory”. (via Tom Armitage)
Terminal Tool, Gamifying Education, Exponential Shortcut, and Kindle Spam
- tmux — GNU Screen-alike, with vertical splits and other goodies. (via Hacker News)
- Gamifying Education (Escapist) — a more thoughtful and reasoned approach than crude badgification, but I’d still feel happier meddling with kids’ minds if there was research to show efficacy and distribution of results. (via Ed Yong)
- Rule of 72 (Terry Jones) — common piece of financial mental math, but useful outside finance when you’re calculating any kind of exponential growth (e.g., bad algorithms). (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Spam Hits the Kindle Bookstore (Reuters) — create a system of incentives and it will be gamed, whether it’s tax law, search engines, or ebook stores. Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. (via Clive Thompson)