facebook

The Social Graph is Neither (Pinboard Blog)

The guy who single handedly runs Pinboard writing about Facebook and social stuff.
(tags: socialgraph social facebook graph pinboard relationships)

The Marvels And The Flaws Of Intuitive Thinking Edge Master Class 2011 | Conversation | Edge

The Edge also did a feature on Kahneman a while back. Here it is, with more examples of ways in which our thinking fails, but also things we can do which we’re finding difficult to program computers to do.
(tags: psychology intuition daniel-kahneman cognition cognitive-bias rationality)

Michael Lewis on the King of Human Error | Business | Vanity Fair

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky did ground breaking work on cognitive biases: the ways in which human thinking systematically fails. Fascinating article. Via andrewducker.
(tags: psychology rationality bias cognition cognitive-bias daniel-kahneman amos-tversky)

Requests: HTTP for Humans — Requests 0.8.0 documentation

An HTTP library for Python that’s less awful than urllib2. Hopefully someone will add it to the standard library at some point. Via Leonard Richardson.
(tags: python http library requests programming)

YouTube – ‪Game of Thrones Violin Cover‬‏

This is rather nice.
(tags: music violin game-of-thrones)

YouTube – ‪Lara plays the Game of Thrones theme on piano and violin‬‏

Another nice version of the theme, via andrewducker.
(tags: music game-of-thrones tv)

The Real Life Social Network v2

Via andrewducker,a great presentation from Paul Adams at Google which goes some way to explaining the design of Google Plus.
(tags: internet facebook privacy relationships google social social-networks plus)

How to Talk to a Fundamentalist (If You Must)

Former fundie talks about how her uncle convinced her by asking questions, preventing the whole cached thought/semantic stop sign thing, and showing how alternative ways of living can be fulfilling.
(tags: fundamentalism religion quiverfull debate)

Nick Davies on phone hacking, Murdoch and News of the World – video | Media | guardian.co.uk

The investigative journalist Nick Davies on how the phone-hacking scandal has escalated, leading to News of the World's announced closure.
(tags: video law press news-of-the-world nick-davies murdoch)

Metamagician and the Hellfire Club: Gnus can be nice

Blackford writes good stuff: "What we do say is that it's hopelessly misleading to go around saying "Science and religion are compatible." It would be more true to say that science tends to undermine all or most traditional forms of religion, making them less plausible, putting pressure on the religious to thin out their supernaturalist, providentialist views of the world, and so on. The result is that much in the way of actual religion really is threatened by the advance of science. Claiming otherwise is, we say, likely to be disingenuous (or, to be fair, simply mistaken)."
(tags: science religion atheism accomodationism russell-blackford)

Time to change the Dail Mail’s masthead

"Many people are fooled by the Daily Mail’s appearance into thinking that it is something it’s not. Every week seems to bring fresh stories of people or organisations that have co-operated with it, but are then upset to find themselves misrepresented or just deliberately lied about in its pages. If they had realised that it is not a newspaper but a comic, and does not seem to be bound by any of the laws that we popularly imagine newspapers to comply with, they probably would not ever have agreed to speak to its journalists. Readers, too, are often misled by the Mail’s appearance into thinking they are reading a newspaper, which can often lead to enormous confusion on their part."
(tags: journalism media daily-mail funny)

Why Facebook makes you sad

Makes you think everyone else is having more fun than you.
(tags: facebook internet psychology)

YouTube – Enemies not Allies Seminar on the far-Right and Pro-Islamist Left: Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie reckons you can and should be critical of Islam without joining the EDL. Via an ex-Muslim of my acquaintance, who I'm obviously not going to name.
(tags: islam islamism politics religion maryam-namazie)

David Cameron tells Muslim Britain: stop tolerating extremists | Politics | The Guardian

"David Cameron will today signal a sea-change in the government fight against home-grown terrorism, saying the state must confront, and not consort with, the non-violent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values such as equality between sexes, democracy and integration." I agree with Dave, to the extent that it’s unfair to call Christians on their shit without doing the same to Muslims.
(tags: islam multiculturalism uk europe guardian religion politics)

Pakistani lawyer petitions for death of Mark Zuckerberg • The Register

Proof that the "religion of peace" isn't *all* bad.
(tags: religion islam pakistan facebook mohammed)

19 reasons why God torched Jesus

19 reasons why that huge statue of Jesus in America burnt down: best one: "5) He is resin."
(tags: jesus religion funny fire statue christianity)

The bright side of wrong – The Boston Globe

Article which argues that cognitive biases may be the price we pay for being able to jump to probable conclusions.
(tags: psychology neuroscience cognition rationality cognitive-bias)

The 10 Most Important Things They Didn’t Teach You In School | Cracked.com

From the author of "John Dies at the End". Mostly obvious, but well done.
(tags: education funny cracked life sex)

YouTube – Doctor Who: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Daleks (The Peter Jones-y Edit)

Two great tastes etc. etc.
(tags: video doctorwho dalek hitchhikers science-fiction sci-fi parody funny youtube)

Exploring the software behind Facebook, the world’s largest site | Royal Pingdom

Facebook: evil but still cool.
(tags: development facebook performance php programming server software tools internet)

Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

For Cambridge folk: what's holding up the MisGuided Bus. Looks like the building contractor has the council in some sort of catch-22 about accepting defects in the construction. Should have built a monorail.
(tags: cambridge mgb guided-bus bus transport)

How Mark Zuckerberg Hacked The Harvard Crimson

Ah, the old "get people's failed logins, assume they typed the password for some other place" trick. Someone I knew at university did something similar with his Linux box, back when we all ran Linux boxes in our rooms: he rigged the login to fail the first time and log the password (this being easier than hacking up a special version of the login demon: you just write something to prompt, fail and then pass you on to the real login), and assumed what he got would do for other servers too. Happy days.
(tags: facebook history privacy ethics journalism security harvard internet)

Odds Are, It’s Wrong – Science News

What goes wrong with the 5% significance level in scientific papers.
(tags: science mathematics maths statistics biology medicine bayes bayesian)

Debunking Christianity: Loftus vs Wood Debate: My Opening Statement

"No one would value the opinion of any judge who had a double standard, one for the plaintiff, and a different one for the defendant. Any judge who did that would be placing his thumb on the scales of justice. He wouldn’t be weighing the evidence fairly. And we would object to his ruling. All of us. Tonight I’m going to argue that this is what Christian apologists do when it comes to the evidence for their God."
(tags: religion atheism christianity apologetics)

YouTube – Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)

Maths filk is funny: this one is oddly sweet, although I also groaned at various points.
(tags: music video youtube humour mathematics funny maths acapella)

Experimental Theology: How Facebook Killed the Church

Richard Beck reckons Facebook killed the radio star, erm, church: "Millennials will report that the "reason" they are leaving the church is due to its perceived hypocrisy or shallowness. My argument is that while this might be the proximate cause the more distal cause is social computing. Already connected Millennials have the luxury to kick the church to the curb. This is the position of strength that other generations did not have. We fussed about the church but, at the end of the day, you went to stay connected. For us, church was Facebook!"
(tags: facebook church society religion christianity social-networks generation-y internet)

A nice cup of rabies – What is LJ doing to my links? Part 4

LJ has been messing about with links to Amazon and other online shops: there's some Javascript which they're serving which re-writes the links (possibly to get LJ some money as an affiliate) and then makes the browser display the old link when you mouse over it. The script source is posted here: it's illuminating.
You do wonder how long LJ can keep cocking it up like this. I'm still here because I don't think Dreamwidth is financially credible and I've noticed that people who've moved tend to get fewer comments, but I'm annoyed that this script was also served on the journals of paying users and boggling at LJ's excuse that they didn't check what the thing did before they started serving it: putting unknown Javascript on your site is such a good idea.
(tags: livejournal internet dreamwidth javascript programming)

A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever – Funny Videos | Cracked.com

"LEAD FEMALE'S NAAAAAME!"
(tags: funny video movies trailer humour comedy parody cracked movie)

Persecute me – I’m after the Brownie points | Frank Skinner – Times Online

Frank Skinner (who's a Catholic) on whether Christians are persecuted in the UK. "We’re a bit like Goths — no one can remember us being fashionable and we talk about death a lot. I love the glorious un-coolness of that"
(tags: catholic christian christianity church culture religion politics uk society funny)

A Few Billion Lines of Code Later: Using Static Analysis to Find Bugs in the Real World | February 2010 | Communications of the ACM

Bunch of academics write a static checker and take it commercial. They are surprised to find that: Compilers for embedded targets accept stuff which isn't quite C, embedded programmers use the stuff, because we're evil. A worryingly large proportion of programmers are clueless ("No, ANSI lets you write 1 past the end of the array"), concluding that "You cannot often argue with people who are sufficiently confused about technical matters; they think you are the one who doesn't get it. They also tend to get emotional. Arguing reliably kills sales." Also, managers like graphs of bad stuff to go down over time, so don't like the tool to improve. Fun article. Via Metafilter.
(tags: programming analysis security software coverity development tools C)

A review of ‘The language of God’ (Francis Collins)

Gert Korthof likes Collins's stuff on evolution, but thinks the Moral Law argument (which Collins acknowledges he got from C.S. Lewis) is terrible: "Collins fails to demonstrate

a. the failure of Darwinism to explain the Moral Law (true altruism)
b. the divine origin of the Moral Law
c. b follows from a "
(tags: creation evolution morality religion science francis-collins c.s.-lewis altruism)

“I WANT TO TAKE GOOGLES OFF OF MY HOME PAGE” | MetaFilter

What happens when your blog becomes one of the top Google results for "login to Facebook". Take it either as a serious lesson about user interface design, or an opportunity to mock the stupid.
(tags: facebook login funny internet computers ui user-interface browser google)

Meat stylus for the iPhone

I got yer meat stylus right here, baby.
(tags: iphone culture funny meat)

Simon Blackburn (2) – Religion and Respect – Investigating Atheism

Blackburn's interesting and slightly cheeky ("Even Christians are human") article on what it might mean to respect someone's religion. He thinks there might be something in respecting emotions but not attitudes, and bemoans religious appropriation of the sacred. Contains quote from Hume which is another example of the way Hume seems to have had everyone's ideas before they did (this time on belief in belief).
(tags: religion respect simon-blackburn philosophy hume)

Why reject miracles? (Irrational Rationalist)

An attempt at formulating the argument in a way which doesn't beg the question, and some talk about what Hume actually meant.
(tags: hume miracles philosophy religion rationality)

Is there anything wrong with “God of the gaps” reasoning? by Robert Larmer

Larmer argues that both theists and atheists shouldn't be so hard on "God of the Gaps" explanations (the phrase originated as a criticism of Christians by Christians). While it's certainly true that it's not a formal fallacy, I think what makes me uneasy about such explanations is the ease with which "the thing which explains X" is identified with "the Christian God" (say). But I'll have to think about it some more.
(tags: theology philosophy naturalism science religion god gaps larmer robert-larmer)

‘Witch’ set to stand in general election

Everyone's favourite Cambridge witch, Magus Lynius Shadee, is going to stand for MP for Cambridge. Policies include getting rid of faith schools (sort of want), banning RE lessons (do not want), more tax on booze (do want, I think). Previously, Shadee was in the news for summoning demons in the local Catholic church, and for threatening to open an occult shop in Cambridge. He's Satan's gift to local journalism.
(tags: witchcraft woo-woo paganism politics)

Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian

The Onion scores again. HT to Friendly Atheist.
(tags: politics religion humour funnny onion homosexuality)

Oh no! “Licentiousness breeds extremism”

"Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has a worrying column in The Independent. It is not worrying because of the concerns she raises about "licentiousness", "social nihilism", "debauchery", etc., but because it is another example of blaming the victims. Somehow the blame for Islamist terrorism is to be sheeted home to the relative sexual permissiveness of Western (in this case, British) society. It is also worrying because Alibhai-Brown is supposed to be an example of a moderate Muslim"
(tags: islam muslim uk politics sex religion terrorism)

Conversations About The Internet #5: Anonymous Facebook Employee – The Rumpus.net

Interesting stuff about privacy and re-writing PHP. HT to Andrew Ducker.
(tags: culture internet facebook security privacy media social programming php)

Beyond belief

Short but interesting article on the growth of atheism in Australia.
(tags: atheism religion australia)

Heresy Corner: Sir Ian Blair defends the indefensible

I do try not to link to every single thing Heresiarch posts, but this is a particularly good one. " Evidence that the powers have been used inappropriately is not hard to find. Much more striking is the lack of evidence that the powers have ever been used appropriately. No terrorism-related charges have been brought against anyone as a result of a search carried out under the 2000 Terrorism Act".
(tags: terrorism politics ian-blair crime police)

The recent abolition of free accounts with no ads on LiveJournal provoked some interesting comments on LJ itself, and on the wider question of how social networking sites can make any money.

In a nice turn of phrase, antennapedia speculates that LJ may have “begun the descent through the levels of credible ownership” (which is presumably antennapedia‘s reason for producing a migration tool to assist in moving your journal to another server which uses LJ code). chipotle has some interesting numbers (although some are probably faulty) and some speculation on where the Russian overlords are heading.

There are the expected “let’s all go somewhere else” projects which will set up a page on Sourceforge/Google Code, argue about what to implement and then die (elsejournal, for example). synecdochic knows a thing or two, having worked for LJ in the past, and may have a credible proposal, although I’m curious about some of the technicalities.

After each fresh stupidity from LJ, a bunch of people bugger off to existing LJ clones which are running the Open Source parts of LJ’s code. GreatestJournal staggered under the weight. InsaneJournal is holding up, except when their hosting provider accidentally turns them off. synecdochic rightly worries about InsaneJournal in the long term, because scaling up your website when it gets popular is a hard problem, requiring equipment and people who don’t come cheap. synecdochic also has some insights into how that worked for LJ itself, if you’re interested.

Wired has a brief piece pointing out that nobody’s quite worked out how you make money of social sites yet. Perhaps you don’t: unoriginal1729 reckons search engines will always have the edge, because they can serve appropriate ads at the point where you’re actually looking to buy something rather than speculatively advertising based inferring things from your interests. Maybe the thing which precipitates a working verison of the geeks’ dream of Usenet-plus-crypto-magic will be all the centralised sites running out of money.

The site of the book of the sites, The Internet, now in handy book form, is good fun. Crackbook and Poormatch are particularly well observed. It reminded me of TV Go Home, but a little less bitter and scatological (only a little, mind you).

Quotable quotes of the week:

“… any time anyone’s said anything comprehensible about the Trinity the Church has declared it a heresy.” – gjm11 on a Rilstone post created specifically for him.

“The universe tends toward maximum irony. Don’t push it.” – jwz on taking reliable backups (which is much harder on a Mac than it ought to be).

“All those fine words about the rule of law safeguarding our liberties, the arbitrary exercise of power and Bunker Hill, Lexington and Normandy went right out the window on 9/11. That was when Henry and the rest of his stalwart defenders of the rule of law promptly wet their pants and then let their president use the constitution to clean up the puddle.” – Digby, via a friend of a friend.


There’s an option that I might have considered instead of apostasy. Unfortunately, in those conservative days, you couldn’t really do that sort of thing. These days, if LiveJournal is anything to go by, it’s all the rage. A woman tells us how she’s in an open relationship with Jesus.