My 10th Anniversary on Facebook

Apparently, according to Facebook, today is my 10th Anniversary using their service. Mostly I remember that it was pretty lonely for that first year as very few people I knew even had an idea what it was. Fortunately more than 1,300 people I know have joined since and made it a much more enriching experience.

Yesterday I got a thank you from Foursquare for 7 years, and it’s easily been over 8 years on Twitter. Sadly, I miss a lot of the services that started around that time that are no longer with us. Toward that end, I’ll post some thoughts tomorrow about a more pivotal anniversary about which I’m much more excited, and which portends better things for the internet…

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

Replied to Support » Theme: Academica » Surprised by all the bad reviews..! by Adam_Murphy (@adam_murphy)Adam_Murphy (@adam_murphy) (WordPress.org)
Wow, I came on here to download this theme for a second time – only to see that all the reviews given were 1 stars. I have used it with great success on my website vondt.net (sorry, its in norwegian – but you should be able to see that the design works flawlessly). I haven’t used the slideshow function though, as I see most negatives are aimed at that function. Yes, it did have some hickups in the original source code, but these were quite easy to fix.. feel free to contact me via the website or otherwise and maybe I can help you out.
I agree wholeheartedly with Adam, though I don’t think I’d really seen any small issues except perhaps for an odd CSS issue in formatting an <h2> tag somewhere. (Note: This comment applies to v1.2.3 of Academica as on 4/2/15, the theme publisher made a DRASTIC change to the theme, so take caution in upgrading!!)

I have created a child-theme with one or two small customizations (slightly larger headings in side widgets and some color/text size changes), but otherwise have v1.2.3 working as perfectly as it was intended to. This includes the slideshow functionality on the homepage. See BoffoSocko as an example.

For those, perhaps including Adam, wanting to get the slider to work properly:

  • Go to your WP Dashboard hover on the menu tab “appearance” and click on “customize”
  • On the “Featured Content” tab, enter a tag you want to use to feature content on the homepage of your site. (In my case, I chose “featured” and also clicked “Hide tag from displaying in post meta and tag clouds”.)
  • Go to one or more posts (I think it works on up to 10 featurable posts) and tag them with the word you just used in the featured content setting (in my case “featured”
  • Next be sure to actually set a “Featured photo” for the post–930×300 pixels is the optimal photo size if I recall.
  • Now when you visit your home page, the slider should work properly and include arrows to scroll through them (these aren’t as obvious on featured photos with white backgrounds).
  • Note that on individual pages, you’ll still have static header image(s) which are also customizable in the “customize” section of the WP dashboard, which was mentioned in step 1.

I hope this helps.

Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read

Read Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read (The New York Times)
A reader analytics company in London wants to use data on our reading habits to transform how publishers acquire, edit and market books.
likes Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read – The New York Times

readingdata-1050

@DuttonBooks What?! No appearances in his own back yard in Los Angeles? Let’s fix this…

Replied to a tweet by Dutton Books Dutton Books (Twitter)
Want to discover #TheBigPicture? Secure your spot now for one of @seanmcarroll's book tour events this May! pic.twitter.com/JvEMoW6j45
@DuttonBooks What?! No appearances in his own back yard in Los Angeles? Let’s fix this…

Quantum Biological Information Theory by Ivan B. Djordjevic | Springer

Bookmarked Quantum Biological Information Theory (Springer, 2015)
Springer recently announced the publication of the book Quantum Biological Information Theory by Ivan B. Djordjevic, in which I’m sure many readers here will have interest. I hope to have a review of it shortly after I’ve gotten a copy. Until then…

From the publisher’s website:

This book is a self-contained, tutorial-based introduction to quantum information theory and quantum biology. It serves as a single-source reference to the topic for researchers in bioengineering, communications engineering, electrical engineering, applied mathematics, biology, computer science, and physics. The book provides all the essential principles of the quantum biological information theory required to describe the quantum information transfer from DNA to proteins, the sources of genetic noise and genetic errors as well as their effects.

  • Integrates quantum information and quantum biology concepts;
  • Assumes only knowledge of basic concepts of vector algebra at undergraduate level;
  • Provides a thorough introduction to basic concepts of quantum information processing, quantum information theory, and quantum biology;
  • Includes in-depth discussion of the quantum biological channel modelling, quantum biological channel capacity calculation, quantum models of aging, quantum models of evolution, quantum models on tumor and cancer development, quantum modeling of bird navigation compass, quantum aspects of photosynthesis, quantum biological error correction.

Source: Quantum Biological Information Theory | Ivan B. Djordjevic | Springer

9783319228150I’ll note that it looks like it also assumes some reasonable facility with quantum mechanics in addition to the material listed above.

Springer also has a downloadable copy of the preface and a relatively extensive table of contents for those looking for a preview. Dr. Djordjevic has been added to the ever growing list of researchers doing work at the intersection of information theory and biology.

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.”

Replied to What are some effective strategies for taking notes from mathematics or physics textbooks? (Quora.com)
I’ll turn this question around 180 degrees to suggest that instead of taking notes from your math/physics textbooks, that you’re FAR better off PUTTING notes INTO them! Those margins are meant for writing down the parts of problems and examples that the author implicitly leaves out.

One typically wouldn’t take notes from a Spanish, French, or Latin textbook would they? Like most languages, mathematics should be read and written to practice it (and maybe even spoken).

Knowing math or physics is best demonstrated by actually doing problems – and the majority of the time, this is what is going to be on the test too, so just pick up a pencil or pen and start working out the answers.

These subjects aren’t like history, philosophy, or psychology with multiple choice or essay type questions that might benefit from note-taking, so just jump right in. Give the book a short read and start plugging away at problems.

If you have problems getting started, take a look at some of the examples provided by the author (or in other books), cover up the answer, and try to recreate the solution.

Drafting off of the Quora question “Why aren’t math textbooks more straightforward?” I’d suggest reading some of my extended answer here: Why Aren’t Math Textbooks more Straightforward?

University hiring: If you didn’t get your Ph.D. at an elite university, good luck finding an academic job

Read University hiring: If you didn't get your Ph.D. at an elite university, good luck finding an academic job. (Slate.com)