Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Post-vacation link dump

I guess that if you go on vacation, the rest of the world doesn't stop. Here's a bit of what's been going on while I was sitting on the beach:

  • Derby 10.9 has been released! Knut Anders surveys the release on his blog
  • Cormac Herly of Microsoft Research digs deep into a question that's more interesting than you might think: Why do Nigerian Scammers say they are from Nigeria?
    Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess this quality to self-identify. An email with tales of fabulous amounts of money and West African corruption will strike all but the most gullible as bizarre. It will be recognized and ignored by anyone who has been using the Internet long enough to have seen it several times. It will be figured out by anyone savvy enough to use a search engine
  • A fairly interesting discussion about Computer Science research, and whether it is better done by academic institutions, by industrial research labs, or by some combination:
    • Startup University: "The academic research process is incredibly inefficient when it comes to producing real products that shape the world."
    • An open letter to Matt: "Forget efficiency. At least, forget it on the timescale you measure in your current job. Instead, aspire to do work that is as groundbreaking and important as the best work in the history of the field."
    • Defending Matt Welsh’s 'Startup University' Post: "most universities do have some number of applied fields, and measuring impact in applied fields is often initiated by looking at real-world deployments of the research ideas"
    • The PhD Grind, and Why Research Isn’t Like Sex: "The research process (and particularly its funding aspect) is unfortunately very conservative. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that a person should accept defeat. Rather, take it as a challenge. "
    • Google’s Hybrid Approach to Research: "The empirical components are clearly on the upswing, in part because the computer systems we construct have become so large that analytic techniques cannot properly describe their properties"
  • Bruce Sterling knocks the ball way out of the park with his superb and brilliant Turing Centenary speech
    If we’re willing to learn from Alan Turing’s life experience, we should be devoting some thought to a suicidal Artificial Intelligence. Nobody does this, because they somehow imagine that code can’t simulate abject despair.

    Vaclav Havel — because I’m a writer, I admire this writer guy a lot — he said, “Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren’t in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life.” We may be keen on thinking machines. Yet we don’t allow ourselves a feminine Artificial Intelligence, and we also overlook a suicidal Artificial Intelligence, even though the very founder of the concept was an effeminate, suicidal guy.

  • Yay for the LHC, finding the Higgs particle!
  • The latest from Quinn Norton on Anonymous
    In the beginning, Anonymous was just about self-amusement, the “lulz,” but somehow, over the course of the past few years, it grew up to become a sort of self-appointed immune system for the Internet, striking back at anyone the hive mind perceived as an enemy of freedom, online or offline. It started as a gang of nihilists but somehow evolved into a fervent group of believers.
  • As if I haven't nattered on about the Euro 2012 tournament enough: Graph theory applied to soccer
  • Michael Paquier ruminates about how you might extend ALTER TABLE to support re-sharding a distributed table:Postgres-XC: online data redistribution
  • A fun piece from the May issue of Wired about counterfeiting
  • The Grateful Dead archive is online!
  • A multi-part series covering the development of the new game Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Tagged: Sir, You Are Being Hunted. I particularly liked If I May Speak Procedurally, Sir: Building The British Countryside Generator
    we identified a number of features in the countryside that typify the aesthetic we wanted, and seem to be quintessential in British rural environments. Possibly the most important element is the ‘patchwork quilt’ arrangement of agricultural land, where polygonal fields are divided by drystone walls and hedgerows. These form recognisable patterns that gently rise and fall across the rolling open countryside, enclosing crops, meadows, livestock and woodlands. This patchwork of different environmental textures is something that is very stereotypically part of the British landscape. I looked for a mathematical equivalent we could use to simulate this effect and quite quickly decided upon using Voronoi diagrams.
  • The robot of the future is going to explore Mars: The Robot of the Future That's About to Explore the Deep Past of Mars
    With a rover like this, you can pick up a rock and analyze it, but you might burn a week or two figuring out if there's any scientific value in it. A human can look at a rock and be able to tell, instantly, whether it deserves further study. The instruments on Curiosity are really great, but the human brain is the best instrument of all. The human brain can solve problems intelligently and quickly, whereas robots rely on us here on Earth -- and that takes a lot of time.
  • Surprisingly, there don't seem to be anywhere near as many articles about this year's Google I/O as there were in previous years. Was the conference a bust? Am I just looking in the wrong places? Here's one of the few I found: Google IO 2012 Notes – Lots of Them
So, there you go.

No comments:

Post a Comment