📖 Read Loc 1-261 of 6508 of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

📖 Read Loc 1-261 of 6508 of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

So you think that you control what you read, watch, and listen to? Better take a closer look…

Many will know and understand the outline of the argument here, but it’s important to read the details of the case studies so we can help break “The Cycle”, an aptly named problem.

In some sense, this is a microcosm of governments over the past 12,000+ years when looked at from a Big History perspective.

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👓 Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware | Motherboard

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware by Jason Koebler(Motherboard)
A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.

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How to Curate Better Podcast Feeds

How to Curate Better Podcast Feeds by Braden Thompson(Degreed)
Originally, I just browsed for new stuff by scrolling through the top picks list on the iTunes Podcasts app. But that was time consuming. After trying out the search functionality on the app, I wished I could search a little better. I decided to look for other resources that I could use to further dial in my selections. Turns out there are some pretty good websites/apps out there to help you do just that. Here are a few of the best ones I’ve found.

My thoughts on what the article leaves out:

For podcast discovery, I love using Huffduffer. It has a simple browser bookmarklet which allows you to bookmark audio to listen to later and creates iTunes or other feeds you can quickly and easily subscribe to on most of the major podcatchers.

Even better it allows you to search for topics and people. Almost everything on the site (including individuals and even the lists of people you’re following) has audio RSS feed as well as other subscription services that you can subscribe directly to. Love Elvis? Search, subscribe, and listen.

As an example, want to know what I’ve been listening to? Check out my feed where you can see a list, listen to it directly, or even subscribe.


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The Transparency Bills That Would Gut the EPA | The Atlantic

The Transparency Bills That Would Gut the EPA by Ed Yong(The Atlantic)
Two proposed laws would sever the agency from scientific experts, and scientific expertise—all under the guise of honesty and openness.

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📖 7.44% done with American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 685-963 of 12932 (7.44%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Slow progress, but there’s some great material here. At times I wish there was actually more underlying material that I know they could have included to increase the strength of their arguments. I’m already seeing some anecdotal evidence that could be bolstered. It’s still very interesting.

Our comment quiz module is now Open Source | NRKbeta

Our comment quiz module is now Open Source by Henrik Lied(NRKbeta)
Our quiz module is now open source on GitHub. After launching our comment quiz module, we’ve received a lot of questions about whether it’s available for download. Now it is.

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Ben Carson Just Got a Whole Lot Wrong About the Brain | Wired

Ben Carson Just Got a Whole Lot Wrong About the Brain by Emily Dreyfuss and Anna Vlasits(Wired)
TODAY, IN HIS first speech to his staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly minted Secretary Ben Carson delivered an extemporaneous disquisition on the unparalleled marvel that is the human brain and memory. “There is nothing in this universe that even begins to compare with the human brain and what it is capable of,” he began. “Billions and billions of neurons, hundreds of billions of interconnections.” It was a tangent in a speech about how in America, anything is possible.

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The problem with frozen beef | Flash in the Pan

The problem with frozen beef by Ari LeVaux(Flash in the Pan)
There is an unfortunate stigma attached to frozen meat, a widely held assumption that it’s inferior to fresh meat. This prejudice runs deep enough that fast-food chain Wendy’s tried to capitalize on it in 2008 with a promise that its burger meat was “Always fresh, never frozen.”

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🔖 What is good mathematics? | Terry Tao

What is good mathematics? by Terence Tao(arxiv.org)
Some personal thoughts and opinions on what ``good quality mathematics'' is, and whether one should try to define this term rigorously. As a case study, the story of Szemer\'edi's theorem is presented.

This looks like a cool little paper.

Update 3/17/17

Some thoughts after reading

And indeed it was. The opening has lovely long (though possibly incomplete) list of aspects of good mathematics toward which mathematicians should strive. The second section contains an interesting example which looks at the history of a theorem and it’s effect on several different areas. To me most of the value is in thinking about the first several pages. I highly recommend this to all young budding mathematicians.

In particular, as a society, we need to be careful of early students in elementary and high school as well as college as the pedagogy of mathematics at these lower levels tends to weed out potential mathematicians of many of these stripes. Students often get discouraged from pursuing mathematics because it’s “too hard” often because they don’t have the right resources or support. These students, may in fact be those who add to the well-roundedness of the subject which help to push it forward.

I believe that this diverse and multifaceted nature of “good mathematics” is very healthy for mathematics as a whole, as it it allows us to pursue many different approaches to the subject, and exploit many different types of mathematical talent, towards our common goal of greater mathematical progress and understanding. While each one of the above attributes is generally accepted to be a desirable trait to have in mathematics, it can become detrimental to a field to pursue only one or two of them at the expense of all the others.

As I look at his list of scenarios, it also reminds me of how areas within the humanities can become quickly stymied. The trouble in some of those areas of study is that they’re not as rigorously underpinned, as systematic, or as brutally clear as mathematics can be, so the fact that they’ve become stuck may not be noticed until a dreadfully much later date. These facts also make it much easier and clearer in some of these fields to notice the true stars.

As a reminder for later, I’ll include these scenarios about research fields:

  • A field which becomes increasingly ornate and baroque, in which individual
    results are generalised and refined for their own sake, but the subject as a
    whole drifts aimlessly without any definite direction or sense of progress;
  • A field which becomes filled with many astounding conjectures, but with no
    hope of rigorous progress on any of them;
  • A field which now consists primarily of using ad hoc methods to solve a collection
    of unrelated problems, which have no unifying theme, connections, or purpose;
  • A field which has become overly dry and theoretical, continually recasting and
    unifying previous results in increasingly technical formal frameworks, but not
    generating any exciting new breakthroughs as a consequence; or
  • A field which reveres classical results, and continually presents shorter, simpler,
    and more elegant proofs of these results, but which does not generate any truly
    original and new results beyond the classical literature.
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A new fossil could push back the start of life on Earth | The Economist

A new fossil could push back the start of life on Earth(The Atlantic)
The putative fossils formed just a few hundred million years after Earth itself

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The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to divide opinion | The Economist

The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to divide opinion by The Data Team(The Economist)
A proposal to let Philippine criminal courts try nine-year-olds has drawn sharp criticism. But in 35 American states, children of any age can be convicted and sentenced

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