"science education" entries

Four short links: 28 October 2009

Four short links: 28 October 2009

Great Mail Feature, Speed Talks, Virtualisation History, Science Literacy

  1. GMail Labs: Got The Wrong Bob?When’s the last time you got an email from a stranger asking, “Are you sure you meant to send this to me?” and promptly realized that you didn’t? Looks at the clusters of CCs you send and, if you normally send to Bob X but are trying to send it to Bob Y, asks you “did you mean Bob X?”. This might be the best thing to happen to email since webmail and full-text search–it’s ridiculous how little innovation is happening in email given how widely and heavily it is used.
  2. Speedgeeks LA at Shopzilla — eight talks about making websites faster. Latency Improvements for PicasaWeb – Gavin Doughtie (Google) – Great tips from a web guru about what makes PicasaWeb fast. Watch for when the slides to more talks become available.
  3. 10 Years of Virtual Machine Performance Semi-Demystified — fascinating history of virtualisation from someone who worked for VMware. Since 2005, VMware and Xen have gradually reduced the performance overheads of virtualization, aided by the Moore’s law doubling in transistor count, which inexorably shrinks overheads over time. AMD’s Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI – 2007) and Intel’s Extended Page Tables (EPT – 2009) substantially improved performance for a class of recalcitrant workloads by offloading the mapping of machine-level pages to Guest OS “physical” memory pages, from software to silicon. In the case of operations that stress the MMU—like an Apache compile with lots of short lived processes and intensive memory access—performance doubled with RVI/EPT. (Xen showed similar challenges prior to RVI/EPT on compilation benchmarks.)
  4. Pew Research Science QuizTo test your knowledge of scientific concepts and recent scientific findings and events, we invite you to take this 12-question science knowledge quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with the 1,005 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions.
Four short links: 29 June 2009

Four short links: 29 June 2009

Syadmin Wiki, Physics, National Archives, and Reinventing the British Government

  1. Server Fault — Wikipedia-like sysadmin guide, built by the Stack Overflow team, who are branching out to reach a more general IT Professional audience. (via Brady in email)
  2. Sixty Symbols — 5m videos about the symbols of physics and astronomy. Great stuff! (via Glutnix on Twitter)
  3. US National Archives launches YouTube Channel — a mixture of archives-nerd stuff (directors of Presidential Libraries talking about their favourite items) and wider-interest collections (such as Touring 1930s America).
  4. Open House in Westminster — the ever-insightful Tom Steinberg from MySociety has an article in the Independent about British plans to reinvent government. Now the talk of Westminster is all about democratic reform. By my count there are over 50 different ideas for changing the way our democracy works being touted by different pundits at the moment. […] What all these ideas, though, have in common is that they propose structural reforms that could have been achieved any time in the last 200 years.[…] My view is that these proposals are all interesting, and some may be quite critical for a better democracy. But I am also concerned that they do not see Parliament and the process of making laws as a native to the internet would. They don’t ask: “What reforms are possible that just weren’t conceivable ten years ago?”
Four short links: 25 Feb 2009

Four short links: 25 Feb 2009

Amazon, Apple, Science, and Databases:

  1. Amazon’s Wheel of Growth — a fascinating diagram in the middle, the flywheel of customer experience driving sales driving sellers driving selection which drives experience again, and all the while lower costs allows Amazon to deliver lower prices and thus lower selection.
  2. iPhone Sketch — stencils to use when sketching your iPhone app’s screens.
  3. The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research — thoughts on the value of feeling stupid (“I actively seek out new opportunities to feel stupid”) and how PhD programs don’t prepare students for that feeling. “Science involves confronting our `absolute stupidity’. That kind of stupidity is an existential fact, inherent in our efforts to push our way into the unknown. Preliminary and thesis exams have the right idea when the faculty committee pushes until the student starts getting the answers wrong or gives up and says, `I don’t know’.” (via Titine’s delicious stream)
  4. First Key-Value Storage Meeting Held in Japan — yet more work being done with modernized DBM technology. As Joshua said in his delicious comment, plenty of systems I’ve never heard of before. (via Joshua’s delicious stream)

Flywheel of Growth

Incredible images of the Sun

The Boston Globe has assembled a beautiful gallery of images of the Sun. This LASCO C2 image, taken 8 January 2002, shows a widely spreading coronal mass ejection (CME) as it blasts more than a billion tons of matter out into space at millions of kilometers per hour. The C2 image was turned 90 degrees so that the blast…

Maker Faire mimesis and open speculation

Maker Faire
is a string-and-duct-tape combination of O’Reilly’s, Emerging
Technology, Open Source, and Money:Tech conferences. The ultimate
impact, like the free software movement, is to enhance everyone’s
mastery of their environments and both the tools and the confidence
for solve one’s own problems. This process–which reflects the way
most of the great scientists became their mature selves–can not only
increase the number of scientists and engineers, but alter the kinds
of scientists and engineers they are. To anyone who’s attended Maker
Faire, seen what it does for children, and felt its effects on
oneself, there’s really nothing more to say.