science

The Sad Futility of Trying to Stop Planes Crashing | VICE | United Kingdom
“There’s a rule of thumb when you’re designing a complicated system, which says that when you get to a point where you’re applying fixes to fixes it may be time to step back and reconsider the whole thing.”
(tags: flight 911 aviation terrorism crash cfit security)
Doing Mathematics Differently | Articles | Inference: International Review of Science
“Explanation is a form of compression. If a theory is smaller than the data, then in that case, as in so many others, less is more. A successful explanation is a matter of covering a large debt with a much smaller one.”
(tags: mathematics philosophy science computation)
Apple vs the FBI: Whoever wins, it’s a mess – Franklin Veaux’s Journal
A good look at the technical detail of what the FBI are asking Apple to do.
(tags: apple FBI security encryption)

Ex-Communications – Recovering From Religion – You Are Not Alone
A new blog written by de-converts from various religions. Looks quite interesting so far.
(tags: ex-christian religion deconversion christianity)
Physics – Arrow of Time Emerges in a Gravitational System
“Standard approaches to the arrow of time typically require a rare statistical fluctuation, or, often, the smuggling in of assumptions about initial conditions. Their work offers evidence that ordinary gravitational dynamics may itself be enough to produce the simple “initial” point that can give time a direction.”
(tags: entropy time physics gravity)
Science AMA Series: We are a Group of Researchers Exploring Auditory Hallucinations – People Who Hear Voices. Ask us Anything! : science
Interesting comments on benign hallucinations.
(tags: hallucinations psychology reddit science)
cartesiandaemon – December Days: Dream Job
CartesianDaemon on what makes a good job. I think I agree with all of these. Where can I get one of those?
(tags: jobs dream employment software software-engineering)

Modern Microprocessors – A 90 Minute Guide!
Nice article about how modern microprocessors work.
(tags: microprocessor cpu hardware memory cache)
The Aural Majority: Do You Want to Swing, Virginia?
What makes music swing? With sound samples.
(tags: swing music shuffle rhythm)
Our quantum reality problem – Adrian Kent – Aeon
An article about quantum theory and the philosophy of science.
(tags: physics quantum research philosophy science everrett)
Printable True Bugs Wait Posters | natashenka
Abstain from strcpy! Wait for the string handling functions which are right for you.
(tags: programming funny security bugs C stdlib)

The Open-Office Trap : The New Yorker
Open offices are horrible. Shame I work in one at the moment.
(tags: office productivity work space)
Goodnight. Sleep Clean. – NYTimes.com
Sleep is for your cerebral fluid to clear away the accumulated junk. Maybe.
(tags: sleep insomnia brain neuroscience)
What is frame?
“My best definition is that its a social convention for how we hold our bodies so our partner knows where we are in space.” I like 619shepard’s comment because it’s less about modelling people as springs and more about how there are conventions which are taught (some of which will involve behaving like a mass on a spring some of the time, to be sure).
(tags: frame dancing lindy lindyhop reddit swing)
Bill Nye tests the benefits of swing dancing – latimes.com
Bill Nye the Science Guy is a swing dancer. He extols the virtues of dancing in a short interview.
(tags: bill-nye science lindy lindyhop dancing swing fitness)
RDFRS: Secular VIP of the Week: God on Facebook
The man who plays God on Facebook. I’ve already Liked the page: it’s funny to see him responding to religious people who get offended, usually with much more grace than they show him.
(tags: god facebook funny comedy)

The science and magic of Lindy Hop | Andy Connelly | Science | theguardian.com
“Great partner dancers may not know it but they are masters of space, time and Newton’s laws of motion.” Of course we know it: for example, I’ve decided my “dance name” is “The Oncoming Storm”. (I also suspect I know who the Alistair credited at the end is, as he’s a Cambridge person).
(tags: lindy physics dancing lindyhop guardian newton mechanics)
liv | Against Dawkins
Is the gene centred view (of which Dawkins is a major proponent) the best one?
(tags: genetics genes richard-dawkins selfish-gene biology science genotype phenotype)

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality – Robert Wright – The Atlantic
“Squaring recent research suggesting we’re “naturally moral” with all the strife in the world.”
(tags: morality science evolution utilitarianism joshua-greene trolley-problem)
Djina Unchained
A social justice blogger. I think it’s a parody, but it’s hard to be sure.
(tags: sjw social-justice privilege tumblr patriarchy feminism)
The cult of Cthulhu: real prayer for a fake tentacle | The Verge
Someone published a Necronomicon. I never knew that.
(tags: necronomicon h.p.-lovecraft fiction magic horror aleister-crowley)
Waterstones’s social stories · Storify
Turns out Twitter is useful for something after all. Waterstones (the bookshop) in Oxford Street have been writing short stories with theirs. I liked “Quantum Leap”.
(tags: twitter waterstones oxford-street books bookshop funny fiction storify)
Burkhard Bilger: Inside Google’s Driverless Car : The New Yorker
The engineers behind Google’s driveless car.
(tags: google cars robots automotive driveless artificial-intelligence)

NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com
The Guardian’s summary of the story so far. Nicely presented.
(tags: politics snowden nsa surveillance encryption guardian privacy edward-snowden government gchq)
Attenborrowed
David Attenborough’s commentary on the mating habits of pop stars on MTV. “Spectacular wattles”. Via jwz.
(tags: mtv twerking nature miley-cyrus funny documentary robin-thicke david-attenborough)
The Right Match: A Short Documentary – YouTube
“Drs. Dorry Segev and Sommer Gentry are innovative researchers who connect the complexities of mathematics with the intricacies of organ transplantation.” They came up with using graph theory and integer programming to match up reciprocal kidney donors (that is, where someone wants to donate to their family member but they aren’t compatible, so they swap with another incompatible pair). These guys are also swing dancers, so this came via /r/SwingDancing.
(tags: transplant graph lindyhop swing medicine kidney mathematics science)

The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang’s short about memory, time and loss. It’s also an alien first contact story.
(tags: heptapod story science-fiction time ted-chiang sci-fi language first-contact memory)
Cambridge: Poles apart Why Warsaw beats Cambridge Blog Mike Levy
“A weekend in Warsaw made me think about Cambridge at night. In Cambridge after 6pm the city centre empties ready for the only true night time economy: binge drinking. The Market Square alive with stall holders and shoppers at 5pm magically transforms into a ghostly empty space one hour later. It is a Cinderella midnight moment that never fails to astonish. By dusk the Cambridge ball is over and the Prince has gone home to watch T.V. Only a lonely burger van takes up residence creating a sad and soulless image that realist painter Edward Hopper could capture.” Yeah, it’s crap.
(tags: night-life drinking alcohol night cambridge warsaw)
Why You Shouldn’t Support Operation Christmas Child | Mymumdom
…unless you want to contribute towards evangelical Christian evangelising, of course. But apparently some schools in the UK are collecting shoeboxes of gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse organisation without fully realising what they’re about.
(tags: religion samaritans-purse christianity christmas-child christmas evangelism)
www.me.uk RevK’s rants: Censoring the Internet
Chap who runs an ISP goes to dinner with some MPs and discusses filtering.
(tags: politics uk porn filtering censorship isp internet)
Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab | The Economist
“Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.” Talks about the problems with reproducing research.
(tags: economist journals research statistics science)
Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
(tags: significance experiment maths probability research mathematics statistics science)