Reader's Corner for October 2013

October 31, 2013

I approve of this.

October 26, 2013

From the darkness of a box in the Nevada desert, he watched as three men trudged down a dirt road in Afghanistan. The box was kept cold—precisely sixty-eight degrees—and the only light inside came from the glow of monitors. The air smelled spectrally of stale sweat and cigarette smoke. On his consol...

October 24, 2013

There goes my productivity for the day.

October 23, 2013

Candy Box 2, a sequel to the click-based, browser role-playing game, launches tomorrow, according to a splash page for the title. In the original Candy Box, players accumulate candies with each...

Uh oh.

If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts

This is really inspiring stuff.

"We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision."

The CDC doctor says we need to create a new model to fight drug resistance.

F"or the past half century, we should have been treating our antibiotics like weapons of mass destruction - tools of last resort only to be used in emergencies, with great hesitation, and only when absolutely necessary. The industry and the doctors responded: antibiotics were too profitable and the risk seemed too distant. Now we have no weapons; we're helpless and the world is again going to be a scary place where a cut or a scrape can land you in a hospital or in a mortuary.

For the first time in the memory of anyone alive today, we're going to see medical science step backwards. We're going to be more vulnerable tomorrow than we are today, and we did it to ourselves." - a commentor

October 19, 2013

“I SEE a train wreck looming,” warned Daniel Kahneman, an eminent psychologist, in an open letter last year. The premonition concerned research on a phenomenon...

This is scary, but worth reading.

October 16, 2013

A collection of art and math projects by a Physics student, with help from a friend who likes blog...

"Explaining an astonishing slinky"

October 15, 2013

A journey through a heartland on the slow road to ruin.

This is well written and well photographed.

October 14, 2013

Forget passion. Goals are for losers. Dilbert creator Scott Adams reveals his secret to climbing to the top: Fail. A lot.

"My system of creating something the public wants and reproducing it in large quantities nearly guaranteed a string of failures. By design, all of my efforts were long shots. Had I been goal-oriented instead of system-oriented, I imagine I would have given up after the first several failures. It would have felt like banging my head against a brick wall."

October 13, 2013

We analyzed 700 million words, phrases, and topic instances collected from the Facebook messages of 75,000 volunteers, who also took standard personality tests, and found striking variations in language with personality, gender, and age. In our open-vocabulary technique, the data itself drives a comprehensive exploration of language that distinguishes people, finding connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses. Our analyses shed new light on psychosocial processes yielding results that are face valid (e.g., subjects living in high elevations talk about the mountains), tie in with other research (e.g., neurotic people disproportionately use the phrase ‘sick of’ and the word ‘depressed’), suggest new hypotheses (e.g., an active life implies emotional stability), and give detailed insights (males use the possessive ‘my’ when mentioning their ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’ more often than females use ‘my’ with ‘husband’ or 'boyfriend’). To date, this represents the largest study, by an order of magnitude, of language and personality.

Terrorists act very irrationally from bang-per-buck POV

"My host, who was one of Abu Iyad’s most trusted deputies, was charged with devising a solution. For months both men thought of various ways to solve the Black September problem, discussing and debating what they could possibly do, short of killing all these young men, to stop them from committing further acts of terror.

Finally they hit upon an idea. Why not simply marry them off? In other words, why not find a way to give these men – the most dedicated, competent, and implacable fighters in the entire PLO - a reason to live rather than to die? Having failed to come up with any viable alternatives, the two men put their plan in motion.

Both Abu Iyad and the future general worried that their scheme would never work. But, as the general recounted, without exception the Black Septemberists fell in love, got married, settled down, and in most cases started a family…the general explained, not one of them would agree to travel abroad, for fear of being arrested and losing all that they had – that is, being deprived of their wives and children. And so, my host told me, that is how we shut down Black September and eliminated terrorism. It is the only successful case that I know of."

Meem, 9, works 12-hour shifts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She dreams of becoming a sewing operator, buying more hair clips and helping her family.

All right. It's Saturday night, I have no date, a two-liter bottle of Shasta and my all-Rush mix-tape...let's hack. On a whim I downloaded firmware v1.13 for

If you read the specific User Agent string in reverse, it says "Edit by 04882 Joel Backdoor".


New findings unearth stunning disclosures that are bound to challenge the mainstream narrative of the Malala story: NFP

Pulling out a piece of paper, the officer said: “This is the evidence. It was decoded by the Taliban’s division of quantum physics.”

October 9, 2013

Few expected the presidential election to be free, but this was a bit much.

oops indeed.

October 8, 2013

Throughout my years playing around with fractals, the Sierpinski triangle has been a consistent staple. The triangle is named after Wacław Sierpiński and as fractals are wont the pattern appears in many places, so there are many different ways of constructing the triangle on a computer.

I shamelessly admit I totally got nerd-sniped by this page and spent the last 30 minutes on this page.

Excerpted from All things Considered by G. K. Chesterton, from an edition by John Lane Company, New York, 1909. There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles, which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the... | Mustapha Abiola | Abstract artist. Concrete Analyst.

Or suppose that in the course of his intellectual rambles the philosopher of Success dropped upon our other case, that of playing cards, his bracing advice would run–”In playing cards it is very necessary to avoid the mistake (commonly made by maudlin humanitarians and Free Traders) of permitting your opponent to win the game. You must have grit and snap and go in to win. The days of idealism and superstition are over. We live in a time of science and hard common sense, and it has now been definitely proved that in any game where two are playing IF ONE DOES NOT WIN THE OTHER WILL.”

October 6, 2013

Delicatessen with loveEat, Eat, Eat!!!From Grandma with loveI will never forget grandma Sara’s artichokes. They have become a cult since when a famous Spanish cooking blog published their recipe, which I transcribed from memory, following the thread of the taste left in my mouth (just like Proust’s…

Web sites are publishing arrest photos of millions of Americans and often charging fees to remove the pictures.

You and your coworkers just finished your IPO! Rolling in cash, you decide to attend Burning Man. However, unscrupulous bandits at the burn steal your car and drive away, with all your Bitcoins in the back seat! With only the backup Bitcoins you kept in your sock, you're going to have to hike all th...

I've been playing this for far too long.

BERNE (Reuters) - Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.A grassroots

I approve of this.

October 5, 2013

The movie theater's most popular concession wasn't always associated with the movies--in fact, it used to be explicitly banned

October 4, 2013

A bankrupt electronics retailer appears to have gotten caught up in the investor fervor for Twitter. Shares of Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. rose as high as 15 cents Friday. That's up 1,400 percent ...

No comment.

I read something on the internet one recent evening that made a brief and tangential reference to a serial killer preying on Marines in Southern

Really interesting, really scary.

October 2, 2013

Play the remake of the classic capture-the-flag game originally created for Windows 95 and updated to celebrate WebGL in Internet Explorer 11.

Ah, nostalgia.

They even replicated the bug where the bot gets stuck in a wall.