Wednesday, 17 August 2016

perfect

appropriate


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Friday, 12 August 2016

autodidact physicists

Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder on engaging with autodidacts (and why she doesn’t think of them as “crackpots” any more).
What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists


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Thursday, 11 August 2016

jokes mean things

Scalzi knocks it out of the park.
A person saying “it’s just a joke” isn’t always an asshole. But assholes are almost always happy to say “it’s just a joke” to make it look like the problem here is you. So when someone says “it’s just a joke” to you, that’s your cue for skepticism. Jokes mean things. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the uses of humor, or is hoping that you don’t.


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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

tattered and worn

I am definitely of the “books should be read/used” camp, but I don’t smash them up quite this much (and I cannot bring myself to write in them: PostIt notes solve that problem :-)

Bloggess : Sometimes tattered and worn = loved



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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

red and green

Red-and-green era vintage Meccano, used to make a differential analyser. Cool! Unlike in many cases on the web, do read the comments, too!


My own Meccano set was of a later blue-and-yellow era, and a few of the pieces were even (shudder) plastic. And I too very much regret getting rid of mine – I had a number 9 set.



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Monday, 8 August 2016

my brain hurts

I think the best sentence to test an AI system’s ability to understand is the (possibly apocryphal) newspaper headline:
Shell Found on Beach

I think the best sentence to break an AI is now:
Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.



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Sunday, 7 August 2016

anthem to the multi-verse

Seen in New Scientist’s Feedback section:
“Multiverse theory is a lot like the national anthem,” writes Carl Zetie. “In theory there are many ‘verses, but in practice we only ever experience one.”



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