Failed attempt to OwnYourCheckin

The goal of this post was to own my own checkins via foursquare. Alas there’s an issue(s) with the code somewhere, so for those who are seeing this, I’m updating it so you’ll know what happened to the intended post.

If you’re game to try it, give it a shot at https://ownyourcheckin.wirres.net

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A world of languages – and how many speak them (Infographic)

An infographic from the South China Morning Post has some interesting statistics about which many modern people don’t know (or remember). It’s very interesting to see the distribution of languages and where they’re spoken. Of particular note that most will miss, even from this infographic, is that 839 languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea (11.8% of all known languages on Earth). Given the effects of history and modernity, imagine how many languages there might have been without them.

 

A World of Languages

Source: INFOGRAPHIC: A world of languages – and how many speak them

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Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies

I just ordered a copy of Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo. Although it seems more focused on economics, the base theory seems to fit right into some similar thoughts I’ve long held about biology.

Why Information Grows: The Evolutiion of Order from Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo
Why Information Grows: The Evolutiion of Order from Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo

 

From the book description:

“What is economic growth? And why, historically, has it occurred in only a few places? Previous efforts to answer these questions have focused on institutions, geography, finances, and psychology. But according to MIT’s antidisciplinarian César Hidalgo, understanding the nature of economic growth demands transcending the social sciences and including the natural sciences of information, networks, and complexity. To understand the growth of economies, Hidalgo argues, we first need to understand the growth of order.

At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order–or information–will disappear. Whispers vanish in the wind just like the beauty of swirling cigarette smoke collapses into disorderly clouds. But thermodynamics also has loopholes that promote the growth of information in pockets. Our cities are pockets where information grows, but they are not all the same. For every Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Paris, there are dozens of places with economies that accomplish little more than pulling rocks off the ground. So, why does the US economy outstrip Brazil’s, and Brazil’s that of Chad? Why did the technology corridor along Boston’s Route 128 languish while Silicon Valley blossomed? In each case, the key is how people, firms, and the networks they form make use of information.

Seen from Hidalgo’s vantage, economies become distributed computers, made of networks of people, and the problem of economic development becomes the problem of making these computers more powerful. By uncovering the mechanisms that enable the growth of information in nature and society, Why Information Grows lays bear the origins of physical order and economic growth. Situated at the nexus of information theory, physics, sociology, and economics, this book propounds a new theory of how economies can do, not just more, but more interesting things.”

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The Single Biggest Problem in Communication

apocryphally attributed to George Bernard Shaw,
but more likely William H. Whyte in Fortune, “Is Anybody Listening?” Start Page 77, Quote Page 174, Published by Time, Inc., New York (September 1950)

 

George Bernard Shaw shading his eyes with his hands
 

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Administrative Note: New Blog URL

For several years, I’ve hosted my personal blog at http://chrisaldrich.wordpress.com. This week I’ve moved everything over to a new address at http://boffosocko.com.

Those who have previously been subscribed by email will continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before.  WordPress.com followers will only see new posts in the Reader. You will not receive email updates unless you subscribe to receive those on the new site.  Some older subscribers may have missed one or two recent posts in the transition this week, so feel free to take a moment to catch up.

Others subscribed via RSS may potentially need to update their RSS feeds to reflect the change.

I’ve set up 301 page redirects so that those visiting old URL pages should automatically be redirected to the appropriate pages, but some may need to use the search box functionality to find the article or notes they were looking for.

If you have any issues/problems in this transition that you can’t seem to remedy directly, please email me directly; I’m happy to help.

Thanks for reading!

 

“We didn’t cover much, but we sure did learn.”

Steve Mitchell, algebraic topologist
on learning mathematics in Steve Mitchell short biography

 

Stephen Mitchell

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To Understand God’s Thought…

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC (1820-1910), English social reformer and statistician, founder of modern nursing, renaissance woman
in Florence Nightingale’s Wisdom, New York Times, 3/4/14

 

Florence Nightingale developed the polar pie chart to depict mortality causes in the Crimean War.
Florence Nightingale developed the polar pie chart to depict mortality causes in the Crimean War.

 

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Information Theory is Something Like the Logarithm of Probability Theory

Dr. Daniel Polani, reader in Artificial Life, University of Hertfordshire
in “Research Questions”

 

Not only a great quote, but an interesting way to view the subjects.

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Why a Ph.D. in Physics is Worse Than Drugs

Jonathan I. Katz, Professor of Physics, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
in “Don’t Become a Scientist!”

 

In the essay, Dr. Katz provides a bevy of solid reasons why one shouldn’t become a researcher.  I highly recommend everyone read it and then carefully consider how we can turn these problems around.

Editor’s Note: The original article has since been moved to another server.

How might we end the war against science in America?

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God Could Have Caused Birds to Fly With Their Bones Made of Solid Gold

Salviati’s (Galileo’s voice) response to Simplicio (Pope Urban VIII)
Galileo Galilei in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

 

Galileo's Dialogo Title Page
Title Page from Galileo’s Dialogo
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Regard the World as Made of Information

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008), American theoretical physicist
[attributed by Jacob Bekenstein in “Information in the Holographic Universe” (Scientific American, 2007)]

 

John Archibald Wheeler

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