"science" entries

Four short links: 11 October 2013

Four short links: 11 October 2013

DNA Coding, Quartz2D Shell, Hardware Sadness, and Manycore OS

  1. Programming Synthetic DNA (Science Daily) — eventually enabling the reification of bugs.
  2. Schwartza shell for Quartz 2D with Python.
  3. The Slow Winter — best writing about the failure of Moore’s Law and the misery of being in hardware. Ever.
  4. Akarosan open source, GPL-licensed operating system for manycore architectures. Our goal is to provide support for parallel and high-performance applications and to scale to a large number of cores.
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Four short links: 4 October 2013

Four short links: 4 October 2013

Neuromancer Game, Ray Ozzie, Sentiment Analysis, and Open Science Prizes

  1. Case and Molly, a Game Inspired by Neuromancer (Greg Borenstein) — On reading Neuromancer today, this dynamic feels all too familiar. We constantly navigate the tension between the physical and the digital in a state of continuous partial attention. We try to walk down the street while sending text messages or looking up GPS directions. We mix focused work with a stream of instant message and social media conversations. We dive into the sudden and remote intimacy of seeing a family member’s face appear on FaceTime or Google Hangout. “Case and Molly” uses the mechanics and aesthetics of Neuromancer’s account of cyberspace/meatspace coordination to explore this dynamic.
  2. Rethinking Ray Ozziean inescapable conclusion: Ray Ozzie was right. And Microsoft’s senior leadership did not listen, certainly not at the time, and perhaps not until it was too late. Hear, hear!
  3. Recursive Deep Models for Semantic Compositionality
    Over a Sentiment Treebank
    (PDF) — apparently it nails sentiment analysis, and will be “open sourced”. At least, according to this GigaOm piece, which also explains how it works.
  4. PLoS ASAP Award Finalists Announced — with pointers to interviews with the finalists, doing open access good work like disambiguating species names and doing open source drug discovery.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 23 September 2013

Four short links: 23 September 2013

Web Collaboration, Science Perversion, Decompiling Tamagotchi, and Science Fabrication

  1. Together.js — Mozilla-produced library for in-page collaboration.
  2. This Complex and Tragic Event Supports My Own View (Vaughan Bell) — pretty much every tactic he describes, you will see deployed daily.
  3. Natalie Silvanovich — a security engineer who has extracted and decompiled the code (running on a 6502!) in the heart of a Tamagotchi, and documenting it. Formidable!
  4. Science Fiction to Science Fabrication — MIT course: This class ties science fiction with speculative/critical design as a means to encourage the ethical and thoughtful design of new technologies. (via Beta Knowledge)
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Four short links: 9 September 2013

Four short links: 9 September 2013

Google Play Services, Self-Signed Kernels, Visualising Scientific Papers, and New Microcontroller

  1. How Google’s Defragging Android (Ars Technica) — Android’s becoming a pudgy microkernel for the Google Play Services layer that’s in userland, closed source, and a way to bypass carriers’ lag for upgrades.
  2. Booting a Self-Signed Linux Kernel (Greg Kroah-Hartman) — procedures for how to boot a self-signed Linux kernel on a platform so that you do not have to rely on any external signing authority.
  3. PaperscapeA map of scientific papers from the arXiv.
  4. Trinket — Adafruit’s latest microcontroller board. Small but perfectly formed.
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Four short links: 8 August 2013

Four short links: 8 August 2013

Distrusting CA Certs, Brain Talk, Ineffective Interventions, and Visual A/B Tools

  1. Reducing the Roots of Some Evil (Etsy) — Based on our first two months of data we have removed a number of unused CA certificates from some pilot systems to test the effects, and will run CAWatch for a full six months to build up a more comprehensive view of what CAs are in active use. Sign of how broken the CA system for SSL is. (via Alex Dong)
  2. Mind the Brain — PLOS podcast interviews Sci Foo alum and delicious neuroscience brain of awesome, Vaughan Bell. (via Fabiana Kubke)
  3. How Often are Ineffective Interventions Still Used in Practice? (PLOSone) — tl;dr: 8% of the time. Imagine the number if you asked how often ineffective software development practices are still used.
  4. Announcing Evan’s Awesome A/B ToolsI am calling these tools awesome because they are intuitive, visual, and easy-to-use. Unlike other online statistical calculators you’ve probably seen, they’ll help you understand what’s going on “under the hood” of common statistical tests, and by providing ample visual context, they make it easy for you to explain p-values and confidence intervals to your boss. (And they’re free!)
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Four short links: 25 July 2013

Four short links: 25 July 2013

Git Secrets, Ab Initio Keyboard, Continuous Deployment, and 3D Atomic Models

  1. More Git and GitHub Secrets (Zach Holman) — wizards tricks. (via Rowan Crawford)
  2. Building a Keyboard from Scratch (Jesse Vincent) — for the connoisseur.
  3. Practicing Deployment (Laura Thomson) — you should build the capability for continuous deployment, even if you never intend to continuously deploy.
  4. 3D Printed Atoms (Thingiverse) — customize and 3d-print a Bohr model of any atom.
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Four short links: 10 July 2013

Four short links: 10 July 2013

Technical Bitcoin, Tracking News Flow, Science Advice, and Gov Web Sites

  1. 6 Technical Things I Learned About Bitcoin (Rusty Russell) — Anonymity is hard, but I was surprised to see blockchain.info’s page about my donation to Unfilter correctly geolocated to my home town! Perhaps it’s a fluke, but I was taken aback by how clear it was. Interesting collection of technical observations about the workings of Bitcoin.
  2. NIFTY: News Information Flow Tracking, Yay! — watch how news stories mutate and change over time. (via Stijn Debrouwere
  3. EO Wilson’s Advice for Future Scientists (NPR) — the ideal scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper. (via Courtney Johnston)
  4. Healthcare.gov New Web Model for Government (The Atlantic) — The new site has been built in public for months, iteratively created on Github using cutting edge open-source technologies. Healthcare.gov is the rarest of birds: a next-generation website that also happens to be a .gov.
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Podcast: what makes a scientist?

How scientists become scientists, whether science is still advancing at Newton's pace, and the future of neuroscience and bioengineering.

At Sci Foo Camp last weekend, we enjoyed sitting down with several thoughtful scientists and thinkers-about-science to record a few podcast episodes. Here we speak with Tom Daniel, a professor of biology, computer science, and neurobiology at the University of Washington, and Ben Lillie, co-founder of The Story Collider and a Stanford-trained physicist. First topic: what brings people to science, and how we compare to our icons. Along the way, we mention Hans Bethe, Isaac Newton’s epitaph, and John McPhee’s trip across Interstate 80.

We’ll post the rest of the series over the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find more episodes of our podcast and subscribe on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Comments: 2
Four short links: 25 June 2013

Four short links: 25 June 2013

History as Science, Indoor Location, Nightscape Photography, and Finding the Impossible

  1. Cliodynamics: History as Sciencea systematic application of the scientific method to history: verbal theories should be translated into mathematical models, precise predictions derived, and then rigorously tested on empirical material. In short, history needs to become an analytical, predictive science.
  2. Cricket — indoor location system from MIT. In a nutshell, Cricket uses a combination of RF and ultrasound technologies to provide location information to attached host devices. Wall- and ceiling-mounted beacons placed through a building publish information on an RF channel. [...] The listener runs algorithms that correlate RF and ultrasound samples (the latter are simple pulses with no data encoded on them) and to pick the best correlation. Even in the presence of several competing beacon transmissions, Cricket achieves good precision and accuracy quickly.
  3. The World at Nightan international effort to present stunning nightscape photos and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against celestial attractions.
  4. Paul Steinhardt on Impossible Crystals (YouTube) — quasi-crystals with five-fold symmetry previously believed impossible. And then he found one, and led an expedition in 2011 to Chukotka in Far Eastern Russia to find new information about its origin and search for more samples. As you do when you’re the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton, a job title that comes with no pressure at all to bring home the impossible.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 24 June 2013

Four short links: 24 June 2013

Location Data, Online Science, Mythbusting for Education, and Cheap Music For All

  1. Reading Runes in Animal Movement (YouTube) — accessible TEDxRiverTawe 2013 talk by Professor Rory Wilson, on his work tracking movements of animals in time and space. The value comes from high-resolution time series data: many samples/second, very granular.
  2. Best Science Writing Online 2012 (Amazon) — edited collection of the best blog posts on science from 2012. Some very good science writing happening online.
  3. Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education (PDF) — Derek Muller’s PhD thesis, summarised as “mythbusting beats lectures, hands down”. See also his TED@Sydney talk.
  4. Melomics — royalty-free computer-generated music, all genres, for sale (genius business model). Academic spinoff from Dr. Francisco J. Vico’s work at UMA in Spain.
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