Obama ending special immigration status for migrants fleeing Cuba | The Washington Post

Obama ending special immigration status for migrants fleeing Cuba (Washington Post)
The new policy eliminates a special parole period that allows them entry to wait for U.S. residence and ends the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy.

The Obama administration, in one of its final foreign policy initiatives, on Thursday ended the special status accorded migrants fleeing Cuba who, upon reaching this country, were automatically allowed to stay.

Cubans are still covered by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants them permanent residency — a green card — after they have been here for one year. Until now, they were given temporary “parole” status while waiting for that year to pass. That will no longer be granted, making the act moot for most by denying them entry on arrival.
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🔖 Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Green’s Dictionary of Slang (greensdictofslang.com)

h/t The Largest Historical Dictionary of English Slang Now Free Online: Covers 500 Years of the “Vulgar Tongue” | Open Culture.

greens-dictionary-of-slang

“The three volumes of Green’s Dictionary of Slang demonstrate the sheer scope of a lifetime of research by Jonathon Green, the leading slang lexicographer of our time. A remarkable collection of this often reviled but endlessly fascinating area of the English language, it covers slang from the past five centuries right up to the present day, from all the different English-speaking countries and regions. Totaling 10.3 million words and over 53,000 entries, the collection provides the definitions of 100,000 words and over 413,000 citations. Every word and phrase is authenticated by genuine and fully-referenced citations of its use, giving the work a level of authority and scholarship unmatched by any other publication in this field.”

If you head over to Amazon.com, that’s how you will find Green’s Dictionary of Slang pitched to consumers. The dictionary is an attractive three-volume, hard-bound set. But it comes at a price. $264 for a used edition. $600 for a new one.

Now comes the good news. In October, Green’s Dictionary of Slang became available as a free website, giving you access to an even more updated version of the dictionary. Collectively, the website lets you trace the development of slang over the past 500 years. And, as Mental Floss notes, the site “allows lookups of word definitions and etymologies for free, and, for a well-worth-it subscription fee, it offers citations and more extensive search options.” If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of words like kidlywink, gollier, and linthead, you now know where to begin.

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🔖 Dynamics on expanding spaces: modeling the emergence of novelties

[1701.00994] Dynamics on expanding spaces: modeling the emergence of novelties (arxiv.org)
Novelties are part of our daily lives. We constantly adopt new technologies, conceive new ideas, meet new people, experiment with new situations. Occasionally, we as individuals, in a complicated cognitive and sometimes fortuitous process, come up with something that is not only new to us, but to our entire society so that what is a personal novelty can turn into an innovation at a global level. Innovations occur throughout social, biological and technological systems and, though we perceive them as a very natural ingredient of our human experience, little is known about the processes determining their emergence. Still the statistical occurrence of innovations shows striking regularities that represent a starting point to get a deeper insight in the whole phenomenology. This paper represents a small step in that direction, focusing on reviewing the scientific attempts to effectively model the emergence of the new and its regularities, with an emphasis on more recent contributions: from the plain Simon's model tracing back to the 1950s, to the newest model of Polya's urn with triggering of one novelty by another. What seems to be key in the successful modelling schemes proposed so far is the idea of looking at evolution as a path in a complex space, physical, conceptual, biological, technological, whose structure and topology get continuously reshaped and expanded by the occurrence of the new. Mathematically it is very interesting to look at the consequences of the interplay between the "actual" and the "possible" and this is the aim of this short review.

Bookmarked after reading Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise.

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When Couples Fight Over Books | WSJ

When Couples Fight Over Books (WSJ)
People feel possessive of books because they help form our beliefs. How couples keep, display and discard books can be the stuff of heated debate.

After bickering with her husband nonstop for a week recently, Amber Fallon made a huge sacrifice for love. Four books.

This represented an appeasement in the ongoing book battles between Ms. Fallon and her husband, John. Both are big readers. Both own many books. His are alphabetized in a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in their bedroom. Hers take up three of his shelves, fill their home office and stack precariously in a “To Be Read” pile in a corner.

When books start to spill onto tables and countertops, Mr. Fallon—who gives away many of his books once he’s read them—demands answers. Why does his wife need two copies of the same title? Why keep ones she’s already read? “She believes in some form of immortality by having books around,” says Mr. Fallon, 39, a systems technician.
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Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise | MIT Technology Review

Mathematicians have discovered how the universal patterns behind innovation arise (MIT Technology Review)
A mathematical model could lead to a new approach to the study of what is possible, and how it follows from what already exists.

Continue reading “Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise | MIT Technology Review”

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🔖 Information theory, predictability, and the emergence of complex life

Information theory, predictability, and the emergence of complex life (arxiv.org)
Abstract: Despite the obvious advantage of simple life forms capable of fast replication, different levels of cognitive complexity have been achieved by living systems in terms of their potential to cope with environmental uncertainty. Against the inevitable cost associated to detecting environmental cues and responding to them in adaptive ways, we conjecture that the potential for predicting the environment can overcome the expenses associated to maintaining costly, complex structures. We present a minimal formal model grounded in information theory and selection, in which successive generations of agents are mapped into transmitters and receivers of a coded message. Our agents are guessing machines and their capacity to deal with environments of different complexity defines the conditions to sustain more complex agents.
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The Language Of Falconry

The Language of Falconry | The Use of Falconry Terms (wingspan.co.nz)

You probably don’t realise – we all talk the language of falconry!


Having such a long and rich history around the world, the practice of falconry has developed an extensive vocabulary to describe it. Over time many of these words and phrases have become part of everyday life without many of us realising the original meaning behind the term.

For example:

“I’m just so fed up with all this work.”
The term to be ‘fed up’ comes from the falconry term for when a trained hawk has eaten its fill. When a bird is ‘fed up’ it is unwilling to fly and hunt for the falconer. Hence today, to be ‘fed up’ means you are no longer interested in doing something.

“That guy is so under her thumb!”
To be under the thumb, comes from the action of a falconer holding the leash of the hawk under their thumb to maintain a tight control of the bird. Today the term under the thumb is generally used in a derogatory manner to describe a partners overbearing control over the other partners actions.

“Ha ha – he’s been hoodwinked!”
Falconers use a leather ‘hood’ to cover a hawks eyes and keep them calm. Hence the term hoodwinked came about to describe somebody being fooled or tricked into doing something.

“Noel has been working too hard – he’s looking a bit haggard!”
A haggard falcon was traditionally a bird that was caught from the wild while on migration. Typically a bird caught at this time would be thin and tired from its journey. Hence the term for somebody looking ‘haggard’ means that they look a bit rough around the edges, a bit worn out.

“She’s been waiting with bated breath all day”
Falcons, when they want to fly, bate from the block, meaning they try to fly but are held short of leaving the area around their perch by their leash. When doing this they can become short of breath – and hence are waiting for the falconer to come to release them from their tether with ‘bated breath’. The term “at the end of my tether” similarly comes from the action of a falcon, particularly an un-trained young falcon, bating from the perch and being held up by their tether – hence they are at the end of their tether i.e. extremely frustrated.

“Ok, I will cadge a lift off Tom.”
A cadge was what falconers called a portable perch. Falcons were carried to the hunting grounds on a cadge. Thus the term to ‘cadge a lift’ came about, meaning to get a free lift. Phrases based on the words cadge don’t end there. ‘Codger’ is a derivative of the word ‘cadger’. Cadgers were usually old falconers (who carried the falcons on the cadge) hence today the term has come to be used to refer to an elderly person, as in the affectionate term – ‘the old codger’. Interestingly, a caddy today is somebody who carries golf clubs for somebody – and normally the person carrying the clubs is considerably younger than the person playing the game!

“I’m off down the boozer.”
When raptors drink, it is called bowsing. A bird that drinks heavily is called a boozer. The same term is used to describe the same tendency in humans – hence a ‘boozer’ is someone who drinks a lot and the ‘boozer’ is where people that drink beer like to go for a drink (or two).

Source: Falconry | The Language of Falconry | The Use of Falconry Terms

When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs | Open Culture

When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs (openculture.com)

The tough part that most don’t realize or take into account is the randomness of life. In some cases one is born to wealth and privilege while others not. And even in cases of wealth and privilege one may be randomly “singled out” for disease, accidents, or other problems that may level a lifetime of working. Statistical thermodynamics and big history can tell us is that none of us are immune, all of us will die eventually, but also that we’re here because of the billions who came before us. If we’re going to beat evolution, we’ll need all the help we can get, from every single member of our society.


A robust social safety net can benefit both the individuals in a society and the society itself. Free of the fear of total impoverishment and able to meet their basic needs, people have a better opportunity to pursue long-term goals, to invent, create, and innovate. Of course, there are many who believe otherwise. And there are some, including the acolytes of Ayn Rand, who believe as Rand did: that those who rely on social systems are—to use her ugly term—“parasites,” and those who amass large amounts of private wealth are heroic supermen.
Continue reading “When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs | Open Culture”
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🔖 Foldscope – The Origami Paper Microscope | Kickstarter

Foldscope - The Origami Paper Microscope (Kickstarter)
See the invisible with a powerful yet affordable microscope that fits in your pocket. Curiosity, discovery, and science for everyone!

A microscope in every pocket is surely a great idea.

They also have a journal article on PLoS ONE[1]

References

[1]
J. Cybulski S., J. Clements, and M. Prakash, “Foldscope: Origami-Based Paper Microscope,” PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 6, Jun. 2014 [Online]. Available: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098781 [Source]
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Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage | PressThink

Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage (PressThink)
These mettle tests are going to come more quickly than we thought, I guess. HarperCollins: you're up!

Continue reading “Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage | PressThink”

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🔖 AMS Open Math Notes

Open Math Notes (ams.org)
AMS Open Math Notes is a repository of freely downloadable mathematical works in progress hosted by the American Mathematical Society as a service to researchers, teachers and students. These draft works include course notes, textbooks, and research expositions in progress. They have not been published elsewhere, and, as works in progress, are subject to significant revision. Visitors are encouraged to download and use these materials as teaching and research aids, and to send constructive comments and suggestions to the authors.

h/t to Terry Tao for the notice.

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RSSCloud For WordPress | Joseph Scott

RSSCloud For WordPress by Joseph Scott (blog.josephscott.org)
RSSCloud support has been enabled on all WordPress.com blogs. If you are running a WordPress.org powered blog you can do the same thing with the RSSCloud plugin.

Continue reading “RSSCloud For WordPress | Joseph Scott”

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rssCloud WordPress Plugin Update – 0.4.1 | Joseph Scott

rssCloud WordPress Plugin Update – 0.4.1 – by Joseph Scott (blog.josephscott.org)

rssCloud WordPress Plugin Update – 0.4.1

Update – 5 Nov 2009:
These features are now available on WordPress.com as well – http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/rsscloud-update/

Version 0.4.1 of the rssCloud WordPress plugin is now available. The biggest change is adding support for the domain parameter in notification requests. This means that rssCloud updates processed by the plugin are no longer limited to being sent to the IP address that the request came from. Support for the domain parameter is live on WordPress.com as well.

When a domain parameter is included with a notification request the verification process does the following:

  • Sends an HTTP GET request to the {domain}:{port}{path} URL
  • That HTTP GET includes to pieces of data: url and challenge. The url field contains the URL of the feed that we’ll been sending pings about. The challenge field contains a random string of characters
  • The response back must have a status code of 2xx and the body must contain EXACTLY the contents of the challenge field. If both of those conditions are not met then the verification process will consider this a failure

For notification requests that have no domain parameter the verification process is unchanged from before.

Another item that some may find helpful is a new constant – RSSCLOUD_FEED_URL – if that is defined they it will be used as the feed URL of the blog instead of determining it via get_bloginfo( 'rss2_url' );. For plugin authors that provide options for an alternative feed URL note that can override the default in WordPress via the feed_link filter. That filter can be used instead of the RSSCLOUD_FEED_URL constant and will bubble up through the get_bloginfo( 'rss2_url' ); call.

Source: rssCloud WordPress Plugin Update – 0.4.1 | Joseph Scott