👓 Why Tweet? | Confessions of a Community College Dean

Read Why Tweet? by Matt Reed (Inside Higher Ed)
The positives of academic Twitter.

Some interesting and generally useful insight here. Sadly I didn’t see his Twitter handle attached to the post–at least on the mobile version. So much for the “promotion” accusation…

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📺 Ricky Gervais: Humanity | Netflix

Watched Ricky Gervais: Humanity (2018) by Ricky Gervais from Netflix
Live performance of British comedian Ricky Gervais filmed in London's Eventim Apollo.

I watched this in pieces over the last two evenings and finished of the tail end at lunch today.

I’ve often thought of Gervais simply as a crass entertainer, but there are so many interesting new dimensions which come out in “Humanity”, they give me newfound respect for who he is and what he’s doing now. This is far more complex than just simple comedy, he’s doing something much more significant with this particular performance.

I also haven’t laughed this hard in quite a while. Tears, literally tears. Perhaps most interesting is that he’s got a much wider range of emotions which he’s playing off of here than just the humorous.

Gervais has some really interesting philosophy hiding in here among the dark humor. He has an interesting take on comedy and what it does and doesn’t target. The bit at the end on social media was particularly interesting. His take on “The Commons” is quite solid and is something I don’t suspect many could expound upon so eloquently.

During the portion in which he talks about his favorite Twitter response ever, he looked down at his phone to quote the tweet. I was reminded of some of the comedy greats I’ve seen at clubs late at night reading out of their beat up notebooks to try out new material. For a moment I thought, “perhaps Gervais is trying out some new material live here.” If it’s the case, then he was genius, though I suspect now that it was just a useful prop to add to the narrative of the joke. Either way, just brilliant. I wonder when we’ll see comics at clubs reading off of phones instead of the old spiral bounds? I wonder if it’ll play an better than the index card or notebook?

His closer with the story about his mum’s death and the wonderful prank on the poor vicar put a wonderfully fine point on the entire piece. It is humanity indeed. If there were a god, I’m sure he’d bless Ricky Gervais.

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🎧 This Week in Tech 659 A Game of Hold My Beer | TWiT.TV

Listened to This Week in Tech 659 A Game of Hold My Beer by Leo Laporte, Harry McCracken, Denise Howell, Iain Thomson from TWiT.tv

More revelations in the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal. Congress sneaks the CLOUD Act into the omnibus spending bill. Craigslist takes down personal ads in first of many unintended consequences of SESTA/FOSTA Act. Uber may be at fault for self-driving death. Child porn in the Bitcoin blockchain.

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👓 Houses and Stairs | Mark Long

Read Houses and Stairs by Mark Long (The Essay: poetics and practice)
As you continue writing the essays in your sequence I want to encourage you (again) to make use of hyperlinks or hypertext. As we talked about earlier in the course, the writing conventions you have mastered in school are predominantly conventions for print media and, more specifically, for the traditional print-based culture of academic institutions.

I think I’ve actually read all of the articles that Mark quotes in this piece. I can’t say I could have ever tied them all together in the interesting and coherent way he does here, but it’s such a lovely little synthesis about the web.

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👓 Applied Category Theory – Online Course | John Carlos Baez

Read Applied Category Theory – Online Course by John Carlos BaezJohn Carlos Baez (Azimuth)
It just became a lot easier to learn about applied category theory, thanks to this free book:
• Brendan Fong and David Spivak, Seven Sketches in Compositionality: An Invitation to Applied Category Theory.

I’ve started an informal online course based on this book on the Azimuth Forum. I’m getting pretty sick of the superficial quality of my interactions on social media. This could be a way to do something more interesting.

The idea is that you can read chapters of this book, discuss them, try the exercises in the book, ask and answer questions, and maybe team up to create software that implements some of the ideas. I’ll try to keep things moving forward. For example, I’ll explain some stuff and try to help answer questions that people are stuck on. I may also give some talks or run discussions on Google Hangouts or similar software—but only when I have time: I’m more of a text-based guy. I may get really busy some times, and leave the rest of you alone for a while. But I like writing about math for at least 15 minutes a day, and more when I have time. Furthermore, I’m obsessed with applied category theory and plan to stay that way for at least a few more years.

If this sounds interesting, let me know here—and please visit the Azimuth Forum and register!

Some awesome news just as I’ve wrapped up a class on Algebraic Geometry and was actively looking to delve into some category theory over the summer. John Carlos Baez announced that he’s going to offer an online course in applied category theory. He’s also already posted some videos and details!

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👓 MSU spent $500K in January to monitor social media accounts of Nassar victims, others | Lansing State Journal

Read MSU spent $500K in January to monitor social media accounts of Nassar victims, others by Matt Mencarini (Lansing State Journal)
Michigan State paid a PR firm $500,000 for monitoring social media accounts of Larry Nassar victims, journalists and others in January.

I can’t imagine that they even came close to getting $500K worth of value out of whatever this company produced for them.

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🎧 This Week in Google 449 Grackles, Nuthatches, and Swifts, Oh My! | TWiT.TV

Listened to This Week in Google 449 Grackles, Nuthatches, and Swifts, Oh My! | TWiT.TV by Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham from TWiT.tv

Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Google News Initiative will fight fake journalism. Uber self-driving car not at fault for killing pedestrian. Congress passes SESTSA/FOSTA. The city that banned bitcoin mining.

  • Jeff's Number: Amazon is #2
  • Stacey's Thing: Alexa Kids Court
  • Leo's Tool: Samsung My BP Lab

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🎧 This Week in Tech 658 The Matador Defense | TWiT.TV

Listened to This Week in Tech 658 The Matador Defense by Leo Laporte, Georgia Dow, Greg Ferro, Jason Hiner from TWiT.tv

Controversial RyzenFall AMD flaws revealed. Leo gives up Facebook for good over Cambridge Analytica scandal. Broadcom gives up its Qualcomm takeover. Apple announces an education-themed event on March 27th. Farewell Adrian Lamo. Theranos officially charged with fraud. Bitcoin mining will drain the world's energy.

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👓 ‘The Daily’: Trump and the F.B.I. | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Trump and the F.B.I. by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
President Trump called the firing of Andrew G. McCabe, the deputy F.B.I. director, a “great day for democracy.” Mr. McCabe said his dismissal was for political reasons.

I’d only heard partisan sniping and about Tweets prior to this. Nice to have some history and better detail to hang on to here.

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👓 ‘The Daily’: Women We Overlooked | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Women We Overlooked by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
Obituaries in The New York Times have been long dominated by white men. We’re adding the stories of remarkable women like Ida B. Wells, who took on racism in the South.

Some nice pieces of history here that I’m sad to say I hadn’t heard about and didn’t know they were as egregious as I had thought. I knew about lynchings in general, but didn’t know that they rose to a level as high as the one described here.

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👓 ‘The Daily’: ‘The Gunshine State’ | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: ‘The Gunshine State’ by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
Florida is a friendly place for gun owners, and the N.R.A. and lawmakers have often blocked proposed restrictions. What changed after the Parkland shooting?

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👓 ‘The Daily’: Rex Tillerson’s Firing and North Korea | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Rex Tillerson’s Firing and North Korea by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
Mr. Tillerson’s push for nuclear talks put him at odds with his boss. He has been replaced as secretary of state just as President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un.

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👓 ‘The Daily’: Refusing to Stay Silent | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Refusing to Stay Silent by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
Venezuela placed the opposition leader Leopoldo López under house arrest, hoping to keep him quiet. But he continues to speak out. Here’s Part 2 of his story.

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🎧 This Week in Google 448 Raspberry Pi Day | TWiT.TV

Listened to This Week in Google 448 Raspberry Pi Day by Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham from TWiT.tv

Google Plus Codes, Amazon space iguanas, "The Meat Sweats," Elon at SXSW, flying taxis and drone deliveries, Netflix "Patches," and more!

  • Leo's Pick: Samsung Galsxy S9
  • Stacey's Thing: Laurastar Smart Iron
  • Jeff's Number: Google removed 3.2b bad ads in '17

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👓 Memento Mori: Learning about life, by knowing you will die | W. Ian O’Byrne

Read Memento Mori: Learning about life, by knowing you will die by wiobyrne (W. Ian O'Byrne)
Memento mori is Latin for “Remember that you must die.” The phrase is believed to originate from an ancient Roman tradition in which a servant would be tasked with standing behind a victorious general as he paraded though town. As the general basked in the glory of the cheering crowds, the servant would whisper in the general’s ear: “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!” This loosely translates to “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”

This is a genre that draws upon the melancholic character of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. Eat, drink, and be merry if you must, the objects suggest, because death is right around the corner. Memento mori paintings, drawings, and sculptures can range from blunt depictions of skulls, decaying food, and broken objects to subtler examples whose symbolism is easy to miss. A basic memento mori painting would be a portrait with a skull but other symbols commonly found are hour glasses or clocks, extinguished or guttering candles, fruit, and flowers.

A nice little essay which includes the general practice among several schools of thought and cultures. Reminds me about some of the practices I’ve read about masons practicing.

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