👓 What I believe II (ft. Sarah Constantin and Stacey Jeffery) | Shtetl-Optimized

Read What I believe II (ft. Sarah Constantin and Stacey Jeffery) (Shtetl-Optimized)
In my post “The Kolmogorov Option,” I tried to step back from current controversies, and use history to reflect on the broader question of how nerds should behave when their penchant for speaking unpopular truths collides head-on with their desire to be kind and decent and charitable, and to be judged as such by their culture. I was gratified to get positive feedback about this approach from men and women all over the ideological spectrum. However, a few people who I like and respect accused me of “dogwhistling.” They warned, in particular, that if I wouldn’t just come out and say what I thought about the James Damore Google memo thing, then people would assume the very worst—even though, of course, my friends themselves knew better. So in this post, I’ll come out and say what I think. But first, I’ll do something even better: I’ll hand the podium over to two friends, Sarah Constantin and Stacey Jeffery, both of whom were kind enough to email me detailed thoughts in response to my Kolmogorov post.
Syndicated copies to:

👓 U.S. vs. North Korea: The Winner? China | The American Prospect

Read U.S. vs. North Korea: The Winner? China by Robert Kuttner (The American Prospect)
China has no reason to restrain Kim too soon, or for too modest a price. I keep thinking of the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. This terrifying episode was a very complicated game of diplomatic maneuvering and military posturing, with a thermonuclear exchange between the U.S. and the USSR as the consequence of a misstep. But that apocalyptic situation had one big advantage over the present one: John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro were all sane, rational beings. The same cannot be said about the two protagonists to the Korea crisis, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. In Kim, Trump has met his match.

This is apparently the article that began Bannon’s ouster from the administration.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Why We Terminated Daily Stormer | Cloudflare

Read Why We Terminated Daily Stormer by Matthew Prince (Cloudflare)
Earlier today, Cloudflare terminated the account of the Daily Stormer. We've stopped proxying their traffic and stopped answering DNS requests for their sites. We've taken measures to ensure that they cannot sign up for Cloudflare's services ever again. Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology. Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare. Now, having made that decision, let me explain why it's so dangerous.

Some interesting implications for how the internet works as a result of this piece.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Steve Bannon thought he wasn’t giving an interview | Axios

Read Steve Bannon thought he wasn't giving an interview by Jonathan Swan (Axios)
Steve Bannon's White House colleagues can't believe what they're reading tonight — and here's the twist: neither can Bannon. The White House chief strategist has told associates he never intended to do an "interview" with an editor at the American Prospect, a left-wing publication. Bannon has told associates that he admired the author's stance on China, and so called the journalist, Robert Kuttner, on Tuesday, to discuss his piece. Apparently Bannon never thought that the journalist might take his (very newsworthy) comments and turn them into a story. It's Anthony Scaramucci all over again (minus the curse words.) The result is not good for Bannon, who is already under pressure, with colleagues lined up against him and a president who agrees with him ideologically but tells associates he thinks Bannon is a leaker.
Syndicated copies to:

👓 White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests — but many don’t like their results | Stat News

Read White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests. Some don’t like what they find by Eric Boodman (Stat News)
It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up for daytime TV in a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only “86 percent European, and … 14 percent Sub-Saharan African.” The studio audience whooped and laughed and cheered. And Cobb — who was, in 2013, charged with terrorizing people while trying to create an all-white enclave in North Dakota — reacted like a sore loser in the schoolyard. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on, just wait a minute,” he said, trying to put on an all-knowing smile. “This is called statistical noise.”
Syndicated copies to:

👓 Weniger Social Media, mehr Mensch by René Meister

Bookmarked Weniger Social Media, mehr Mensch by René Meister (renem.net)
Seit ein paar Wochen schon mache ich mir Gedanken wie ich der Flut an Informationen in sozialen Netzen entfliehen kann. Wobei Informationen hier vielleicht nicht das korrekte Wort ist, denn der größte Teil was auf Twitter & Co. geteilt und veröffentlicht wird, ist Content nach dem ich überhaupt ...

The title of this piece translates as “Less social media, more people”.

My favorite quote from it, roughly translated from German is:

I would like to see contributions for which I am really interested, which stimulate me to think, in which I can learn something.

This is about as good a reason to join the IndieWeb as one could want​​.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 The Friendliest Lawsuit Ever Filed Against the Justice Department | Law Fare Blog

Read The Friendliest Lawsuit Ever Filed Against the Justice Department by Benjamin Wittes (LawFare)
In February, speaking before a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared that: “according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” There's a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the career men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.
Syndicated copies to:

👓 How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the future | The Verge

Read How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the future by David Pierce (The Verge)
"We wanted you to be able to take the bike and go with how the city moves." Teague was enlisted to design a new kind of bike by Oregon Manifest, a non-profit dedicated to making the world think differently about bikes. Its Bike Design Project gave firms in five cities the opportunity to build a bike made with their city in mind; the public then voted on the winner, which will enter a limited production run from Fuji Bikes. The New York City bike had a USB phone charger built in; The Evo, from San Francisco, was all about modular storage. Chicago's Blackline bike was a rugged pothole-conquerer of a bike, and Portland's PDX came with an app to personalize the ride just for you. For every different city, a different bike. But the voters picked Seattle. They picked Denny, the bike Jackson and the team at Teague designed with Sizemore Bicycles, a custom-bike maker in the city.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Culling Apps Because of the iPad by Jack Baty

Read Culling Apps Because of the iPad by Jack Baty (www.baty.blog)
This means that in order to work easily in both desktop and mobile environments, I must rely on apps that work well in both. Taking that further, it means that I want to use the same app everywhere. My love for plain text files remains. It’s great being able to edit my files using any number of Dropbox-compatible apps, but using one app to edit Markdown on the Mac and a different one on iOS is beginning to feel like overhead I don’t need. The drawback here, and it’s a big one, is that I may need to abandon some of my favorite things. At least the ones I live in, now that I live in different places.

Having relatively uniform tools across computing modalities certainly has something to say for itself.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Link: The futility of science communication conferences by John Hawks

Read Link: The futility of science communication conferences by John Hawks (johnhawks.net)
Rich Borschelt is the communication director for science at the Department of Energy, and recently attended a science communication workshop. He describes at some length his frustration at the failed model of science communication, in which every meeting hashes over the same futile set of assumptions: “Communication, Literacy, Policy: Thoughts on SciComm in a Democracy. After several other issues, he turns to the conferences’ attitude about scientists...

John’s note reminds me that I’ve been watching a growing and nasty trend against science, much less science communication, in the past several years. We’re going to be needing a lot more help than we’re getting lately to turn the tide for the better. Perhaps more scientists having their own websites and expanding on the practice of samizdat would help things out a bit?

I recently came across Science Sites, a non-profit web company, courtesy of mathematician Steven Strogatz who has a site built by them. In some sense, I see some of what they’re doing to be enabling scientists to become part of the IndieWeb. It would be great to see them support standards like Webmention or functionality like Micropub as well. (It looks like they’re doing a lot of building on SquareSpace, so by proxy it would be great if they were supporting these open standards.) I love that it seems to have been created by a group of science journalists to help out the cause.

As I watch some of the Domain of One’s Own community in higher education, it feels to me that it’s primarily full of humanities related professors and researchers and doesn’t seem to be doing enough outreach to their science, engineering, math, or other colleagues who desperately need these tools as well as help with basic communication.

Syndicated copies to:

👓 One possible benefit from disabling comments by Colin Devroe

Read One possible benefit from disabling comments by Colin Devroe (cdevroe.com)
There has been an ongoing discussion as to whether or not blogs should always have comments enabled to allow its readers to be part of the conversation. I myself firmly believe that each blog post should be thought of as a starting point of, or a response to, a conversation. Some deal with this issue from an ideological perspective in that they disable comments because they feel that people will behave differently when commenting than they would if they wrote from their own Web sites.

Written nearly a decade ago to the day, much of what this post has to say about blog comments is still roughly true. There are some interesting thoughts which inform a lot of what is going on in the IndieWeb community today.

In anecdotal conversations with some and certainly in my own personal experience, I’ve heard/seen that posting your own thoughts and replies on your own website encourages (perhaps forces?) you to do a bit more thinking and examination before replying. The fact that you’re not limited to a certain number of characters also helps to expound on your ideas/thoughts as well.

I’m curious, however, given the state of politics today, if it will scale? Perhaps if there’s still a technological or financial hurdle in which people have more invested in their web presences it will. Given the dumpster fire that some sectors of social media have become–in some part because of the lack of resistance as well as anonymity–it may not.

I still hope for the best, and am glad for the friends and colleagues I’ve met through doing all of this thus far.

Syndicated copies to:

🔖 Elementary Algebraic Geometry by Klaus Hulek

Bookmarked Elementary Algebraic Geometry (Student Mathematical Library, Vol. 20) (American Mathematical Society)
This is a genuine introduction to algebraic geometry. The author makes no assumption that readers know more than can be expected of a good undergraduate. He introduces fundamental concepts in a way that enables students to move on to a more advanced book or course that relies more heavily on commutative algebra. The language is purposefully kept on an elementary level, avoiding sheaf theory and cohomology theory. The introduction of new algebraic concepts is always motivated by a discussion of the corresponding geometric ideas. The main point of the book is to illustrate the interplay between abstract theory and specific examples. The book contains numerous problems that illustrate the general theory. The text is suitable for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It contains sufficient material for a one-semester course. The reader should be familiar with the basic concepts of modern algebra. A course in one complex variable would be helpful, but is not necessary. It is also an excellent text for those working in neighboring fields (algebraic topology, algebra, Lie groups, etc.) who need to know the basics of algebraic geometry.

Dr. Miller emailed me yesterday to confirm that the textbook for his Fall UCLA Extension ‏course Introduction to Algebraic Geometry will be Elementary Algebraic Geometry by Klaus Hulek (AMS, 2003) ISBN: 0-8218-2952-1.

Sadly, I totally blew the prediction of which text he’d use. I was so far off that this book wasn’t even on my list to review! I must be slipping…

Elementary Algebraic Geometry by Kaus Hulek (AMS, 2003)

Syndicated copies to:

👓 Lyme Disease’s Worst Enemy? It Might Be Foxes | New York Times

Read Lyme Disease’s Worst Enemy? It Might Be Foxes by Amy Harmon (New York Times)
New data suggests the rise of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases may be tied to a scarcity of traditional mouse predators.

This is really news? Researchers and abatement people seriously haven’t tried or studied this prior to now?