Reader's Corner for February 2012

February 29, 2012

When Peter Oborne first arrived in Pakistan, he expected a 'savage' back water scarred by terrorism. Years later, he describes the Pakistan that is barely documented - and that he came to fall in love with

Very well written piece.

February 28, 2012

LukeW Ideation + Design provides resources for mobile and Web product design and strategy including presentations, workshops, articles, books and more on usability, interaction design and visual design.

Interesting analysis.

February 27, 2012

A lot of people are going top find out one day that their local and state governments have been ripping them off--that is, you will find out if you are lucky.No one is left to cover city hall or county supes.BTW, most local papers were conservative---needed advertisers. The PInk State Empire (GOP-La...

This quote sums it up:

"That is a really dramatic graph. It's hard to imagine an industry coming back from something like that."

February 25, 2012

Living alone means freedom to come and go and space and solitude to recharge. It can also unleash eccentricities.

February 24, 2012

Recently, while on vacation in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and visiting family, we stayed at my sister’s house. She was kind enough to let us have her place while she found accommodations elsewhere. She moved in to this place herself not too long ago and was proud to point out to us the brand new, gi...

Rings true.

February 21, 2012

The National Security Agency (NSA) has recently declassified an amazing letter that John Nash sent to it in 1955. It seems that around the year 1950 Nash tried to interest some US security orga...

"Now my general conjecture is as follows: for almost all sufficiently complex types of enciphering, especially where the instructions given by different portions of the key interact complexly with each other in the determination of their ultimate effects on the enciphering, the mean key computation length increases exponentially with the length of the key, or in other words, the information content of the key."

"The significance of this general conjecture, assuming its truth, is easy to see. It means that it is quite feasible to design ciphers that are effectively unbreakable. As ciphers become more sophisticated the game of cipher breaking by skilled teams, etc., should become a thing of the past."

So, John Nash essentially predicted the principles of modern cryptography two decades before it took off. Interesting...

A big thanks to my friend Rebecca for coining the term "CuntHammer" when describing Queen Cersei. If you have issues with my usage of the C word, please take it up with her. Or just go read this comic.

Needs no explanation.

February 20, 2012

Computer vision seeks to develop algorithms that replicate one of the most amazing capabilities of the human brain - inferring properties of the external world purely by means of the light reflected from various objects to the eyes. We can determine how far away these objects are, how they are orien...

They keep adding classes, they should start already!

February 17, 2012

Your shopping habits reveal even the most personal information — like when you’re going to have a baby.

That awkward moment when Target tells you your daughter is pregnant...

The downside of machine learning!

February 15, 2012

"Ron was wrong, Whit is right"

Interesting analysis of some practical problems with RSA.

Mechanics Online is a Newtonian Mechanics course developed by Professor David Pritchard and the RELATE education group at MIT. This course places emphasis on solving challenging problems involving several concepts at once.

[Alice] you had been asking for physics courses?

February 13, 2012

After surprisingly successful financial reform, public vilification, and politics that have turned against them, the Masters of the Universe are masters no longer.

“If you’re a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you’d never go to Wall Street now,” says a hedge-fund executive. “You’d go to Silicon Valley. There’s at least a prospect for a huge gain. You’d have the potential to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. It looks like he has a lot more fun.”

MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses for free to a virtual community of learners around the world. It will also enhance the educational experience of its on-campus students, offering them online tools that supplement and enrich their classroom and laboratory experiences.


February 12, 2012

New error-correcting codes guarantee the fastest possible rate of data transmission, even over fluctuating wireless links.


Frequenters of India's online Microsoft Store were briefly greeted with the suspicious visage of a Guy Fawkes mask this morning, following a hack tha


Passwords in plaintext? Seriously?!

February 10, 2012

This might just be the sweetest Valentine's Day story I've ever heard. It's definitely the sweetest Valentine's Day story I've ever written. Kaitlyn Trigger is a marketing director at She also happens to be Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger's girlfriend of two and a half years (The 26 ...

Nothing says "I love you" like "I used your API."

February 8, 2012

This need for a corresponding language implementation leads to what I think of as the language designer's dilemma: how much implementation is needed to show that a language design is good?

Easily the most interesting article I've read in the last month or so.

February 4, 2012

News about Google"s Open Source projects and programs

For all those who're interested.