📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

Knowing that I’ve read a lot about Shannon and even Vannevar Bush over the years, I’m pleasantly surprised to read some interesting tidbits about them that I’ve not previously come across.  I was a bit worried that this text wouldn’t provide me with much or anything new on the subjects at hand.

I’m really appreciating some of the prose and writing structure, particularly given that it’s a collaborative work between two authors. At times there are some really nonstandard sentence structures, but they’re wonderful in their rule breaking.

They’re doing an excellent job so far of explaining the more difficult pieces of science relating to information theory. In fact, some of the intro was as good as I think I’ve ever seen simple explanations of what is going on within the topic. I’m also pleased that they’ve made some interesting forays into topics like eugenics and the background role it played in the story for Shannon.

They had a chance to do a broader view of the history of computing, but opted against it, or at least must have made a conscious choice to leave out Babbage/Lovelace within the greater pantheon. I can see narratively why they may have done this knowing what is to come later in the text, but a few sentences as a nod would have been welcome.

The book does, however, get on my nerves with one of my personal pet peeves in popular science and biographical works like this: while there are reasonable notes at the end, absolutely no proper footnotes appear at the bottoms of pages or even indicators within the text other than pieces of text with quotation marks. I’m glad the notes even exist in the back, but it just drives me crazy that publishers blatantly hide them this way. The text could at least have had markers indicating where to find the notes. What are we? Animals?

Nota bene: I’m currently reading an advanced reader copy of this; the book won’t be out until mid-July 2017.

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📗 Started reading A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

📖 Read pages i-16 of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

A great little introduction and start to what portends to be the science biography of the year. The book opens up with a story I’d heard Sol Golomb tell several times. It was actually a bittersweet memory as the last time I heard a recounting, it appeared on the occasion of Shannon’s 100th Birthday celebration in the New Yorker:

In 1985, at the International Symposium in Brighton, England, the Shannon Award went to the University of Southern California’s Solomon Golomb. As the story goes, Golomb began his lecture by recounting a terrifying nightmare from the night before: he’d dreamed that he was about deliver his presentation, and who should turn up in the front row but Claude Shannon. And then, there before Golomb in the flesh, and in the front row, was Shannon. His reappearance (including a bit of juggling at the banquet) was the talk of the symposium, but he never attended again.

I had emailed Sol about the story, and became concerned when I didn’t hear back. I discovered shortly after that he had passed away the following day.

nota bene: I’m currently reading an advanced reader copy of this; the book won’t be out until mid-July 2017.

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👓 The democratized social podcasting platform that never existed.

The democratized social podcasting platform that never existed. by Kim Hansen (Kim Hansen | Medium)
One social place to record podcast audio, with any number of hosts, from anywhere in the world, on any device, for live audiences…and one place for that audio to live, for it to be listened to, curated and shared. Socially. It seemed obvious that just solving for existing podcasters was a waste of time. A democratized social podcasting platform implies, well, democracy. Besides, when it comes to podcasters; there aren’t very many of them, and they don’t have any money. So, we spent most of a year building it...
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👓 Signl.fm on making a social media interface for Podcasts. | Matter

Signl.fm on making a social media interface for Podcasts by Kim Hansen (Matter)
An overview of the history of Signl.fm and some of the experiments they've been doing in podcasting, audio, and social.

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👓 Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say | Washington Post

Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say by Devlin Barrett, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz (Washington Post)
Mueller is interviewing senior intelligence officials as the Russia probe widens.
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👓 Fox News Is Dropping Its ‘Fair & Balanced’ Slogan | NYMag

Fox News Is Dropping Its ‘Fair & Balanced’ Slogan by Gabriel Sherman (Daily Intelligencer)
It was too closely associated with Roger Ailes and had become a target for mockery, say insiders.
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👓 James Mattis, a Warrior in Washington | New Yorker

James Mattis, a Warrior in Washington by Dexter Filkins (The New Yorker)
The former Marine Corps general spent four decades on the front lines. How will he lead the Department of Defense?

A long read to be sure, but some great in-depth background and some analysis to put the United States’ position in world affairs into perspective. Even better the writer has been following Mattis’ career for a while, so there’s better contextualization.

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👓 Layoffs & Tumblr the Centipede | BlueChooChoo

Layoffs & Tumblr the Centipede by Andréa López‏ (Casual Information)
A hazy day for Tumblr. A shoe dropped. After a year of dancing around, the Yahoo (Tumblr owner)/Verizon deal closed. There were immediate layoffs across their new Frankenstein org, “Oath.” Some of these layoffs hit inside Tumblr, and that’s bad. In addition to the real life talented human beings impacted by these layoffs, the move is a warning and reminder- Tumblr is no longer in the protective purgatory of pre-Verizon Yahoo.

I know that bluechoochoo has hit the nail on the head when she previously saw people leaving Tumblr for Medium right before they pivoted this past January. Her prognostications on Tumblr are always worth reading.

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👓 WordPress.com Announces New Importer for Medium Posts | WP Tavern

WordPress.com Announces New Importer for Medium Posts by Sarah Gooding (WP Tavern)
Medium started 2017 on uncertain footing, laying off a third of its staff in January after admitting that its ad-based business model was not working.
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👓 The IndieWeb Movement Will Help People Control Their Own Web Presence? | Future Hosting

The IndieWeb Movement Will Help People Control Their Own Web Presence? by Matthew Davis (Future Hosting)
The early vision of the web was one of a decentralized and somewhat anarchic community where we each had control over our own content and our own online presence — that’s a vision that Tim Berners-Lee still endorses, but it’s one that’s put in jeopardy by the relentless centralizing tendency of big companies. And that’s why I find the Indie Web movement so interesting — not as a rejection of the corporate influence, but as a much needed counterbalance that provides the technology for people, should they so choose, to build an online presence of their own devising without giving up the communities and the connections that they have built on existing networks.

A short and succinct definition of the movement and just a few of the positive pieces. I think the movement is further along than the author gives it credit for though.

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👓 WordPress’s owner is closing its San Francisco office because its employees never show up | QZ

Wordpress's owner is closing its San Francisco office because its employees never show up by Oliver Staley (Quartz)
Automattic, the technology company that owns WordPress.com, has a beautiful office in a converted San Francisco warehouse, with soaring ceilings, a library, and a custom-made barn door. If you like the space, you're free to move in. The office at 140 Hawthorne went on the market after CEO Matt Mullenweg came to the realization not...
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👓 Delta, Bank of America End Sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater Over Trump-Like ‘Julius Caesar'” | Hollywood Reporter

Delta, Bank of America End Sponsorship of New York's Public Theater Over Trump-Like 'Julius Caesar' by Lauren Huff (The Hollywood Reporter)
“No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of 'Julius Caesar' at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values," the airline said in a statement.

Even satire can’t be treated respectfully anymore.

Where’s the possible angle on the story that these companies are doing this for potential Trump retribution? What about other sponsors? Are they experiencing customer fall-out over their support of the piece? This story stopped far too short.

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👓 The hunt for Twitter alternatives: Mastodon | AltPlatform

The hunt for Twitter alternatives: Mastodon by Richard MacManus (AltPlatform.com)
Let’s get this out of the way right at the start: Mastodon is not a Twitter killer. It’s more like Twitter crossed with Reddit, plus it’s open source. But while Mastodon is not going to take over the world, it does have promise as a community platform. Here’s why…

An interesting take on Mastodon a month or so after its rise in popularity.

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👓 Indie, Open, Free: The Fraught Ideologies of Ed-Tech – Hybrid Pedagogy | Digital Pedagogy Lab

Indie, Open, Free: The Fraught Ideologies of Ed-Tech by Kris Shaffer (Hybrid Pedagogy)
The ideas of being independent and signed are inherently contradictory, and this contradiction is what makes indie hard to define. Its ephemerality gives it both a mystique and a resistance to criticism ― after all, you can’t critique what you can’t define. And thus, using the term indie is often a great marketing move. But it’s a problematic critical move.

Continue reading “👓 Indie, Open, Free: The Fraught Ideologies of Ed-Tech – Hybrid Pedagogy | Digital Pedagogy Lab”

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