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Ecco The Dolphin was RIGHT!

A recent paper published in the scientific journal ‘Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology’ suggests that octopuses might be aliens.

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The Good War

The Good War. Very thought provoking. This does very well in explaining why I am a conscientious objector.

The Good War

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Progressive alliances are the future of British politics.

“Make Votes Matter estimates that, had this election been run under Proportional Representation, the Conservative lead over Labour would have been slashed to 16 seats. The Greens would have won 11 and our combined total, along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats, would have easily surpassed the Conservatives. A progressive government could have happened.”

Caroline Lucas, Co-leader of the Green Party

Read story

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I think I’m going to delete all my social media / email apps when I travel to USA this year.

Electronic Media Searches At Border Crossings Raise Worry

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/electronic-media-searches-at-border

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An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last

Churchill
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The meaning of ‘knowing’

The meaning of ‘knowing’ has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it.

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon
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Tim Cook on workplace rights

So long as the law remains silent on the workplace rights of gay and lesbian Americans, we as a nation are effectively consenting to discrimination against them.

Tim Cook
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The iPhone is not and never was a phone. It is a pocket-sized computer that obviates the phone. The iPhone is to cell phones what the Mac was to typewriters.

John Gruber, looking back on five years of the iPhone.
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Starting with the opening gag with Siri doing stand-up comedy and continuing through to Apple’s new maps and Siri’s new features, there was an unmistakeable “Fuck you, Google” undertone to the whole keynote. Apple is forcing Google out of iOS.

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If you’re a programmer or designer, then you’re not like most people. Just because you change your settings in apps you use doesn’t mean that your users will, unless they are also programmers and designers.

Do users change their settings? » UIE Brain Sparks

I change settings on everything I use, and one of my favourite things is getting a new program just so I can look through the settings. They’re right, I’m not like other people 🙂

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Apple conditioned us to forget about terminals and command-line interaces. Apple conditioned us to forget about floppy disks. Apple conditioned us to forget about parallel ports and adopt USB. And now Apple is conditioning us to rethink the way we scroll our content, but also, the need for disc drives and physical media.

Before you set scrolling back to the “old” way, think about this.

On User Conditioning and OS X Lion, on FarukAt.e?

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BBC Worldwide have published their Annual Review for 2011 which highlights Doctor Who as one of the ‘most valuable’ brands, largely responsible for the corporations commercial success.

Doctor Who was also the number-three TV series purchased globally on iTunes in 2010/11.

Wow! Very good news for Doctor Who fans: looks like it will carry on for the foreseeable future!

Doctor Who Online – Doctor Who Boosts BBC profits in the 2011 Annual Review

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My new order of importance for things to read when I’m on the web:

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Why Harry Potter Should Really Be All About Hermione Granger

Why Harry Potter Should Really Be All About Hermione Granger

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Focusing is about saying no. And when you say no, you piss people off. But the result is truly great products.

Steve Jobs, 1997
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Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt”
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Apple is now the largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue

Apple is now the largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue

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Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.

Laurens Van der Post
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Overcoming Bias : Opinion Warning Signs

Overcoming Bias : Opinion Warning Signs

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Every person in this room has more access to information and scientific knowledge and what is now basic common sense than the authors of the Bible and the Koran. In fact, there’s not a person in this room who has ever met a person whose worldview is so narrow, just by the sheer time in which they appeared in history, as the worldviews of Abraham or Moses or Jesus or Mohammed.

Sam Harris

Something worth remembering. Jesus didn’t even know the germ theory of disease, and thought it was demons that causes all disease. This is someone people look up to as the son of God?

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Words That Don’t Exist in the English Language

L’esprit de escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

I often feel “The spirit of the staircase”!

More words.

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Text and email are polite invitations to a conversation. They happen at the speed and leisure of both the sender and the receiver. In stark contrast, when you get a phone call, it’s almost always a convenient time for the caller and a bad time for the recipient, who I refer to as the “victim” because I insist on accuracy. My philosophy is that every phone conversation has a loser.

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Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire. And because this is so, the world is far more interesting, both for the scientists and for the millions of people in every nation who, while not prefessional scientists, are deeply interested in the methods and findings of science.

Carl Sagan, from the introduction to the mass market edition of Cosmos
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You know why Harry Potter is a phenomenal book series?

rabblevolunteer:

Because it addresses SO MANY THINGS and attempts to explore them:

  • Gender roles (in which this book series destroys them)- In this series you have a HUGE burly man (Hagrid) who treats animals like they are his children, cries publicly, shows his emotions, KNITS IN PUBLIC, and gardens. You have Mrs. Weasley who is the major mother-figure for Harry but who fights just as hard in the final book as the men even though she’s “just” a housewife. She kills Bellatrix for crying out loud!
  • Racism and privilege– The full-blood, half-blood, muggle-born aspect runs throughout the whole series and is meant to be seen as a type of racism. Hermione is a muggle-born but her abilities far surpass her peers’ and Neville, who is a full-blooded wizard is expected to be a better wizard simply from his ancestors, is one of the worst in his classes.
  • Classism- The Malfoys vs. the Weasleys.
  • Ageism– Harry isn’t taken seriously because of his age (in fact it actually helps him obtain the fake locket with Dumbledore because he isn’t seen as a “real” wizard due to his age) and neither is Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s age becomes an issue for the news and people start to question whether or not he’s gone senile when he and Harry claim that Voldemort has returned.
  • Speciesism– The treatment of House-elves, centaurs, giants, and other magical populations are seen as beneath wizards and Hermione tries to take steps to fix that with S.P.E.W.
  • Education– Hagrid was expelled and so he’s seen as uneducated and Malfoy calls him a servant, a savage, etc. But he’s able to earn a position as a teacher at Hogwarts and overcome his lack of an education. Fred and George are the same way, they drop out of Hogwarts and become successful joke shop owners, the implication being that they were not ever really suited for a traditional education (they were not traditional learners and that’s okay). Or when Harry becomes the DADA teacher during Order of the Phoenix, he chooses to teach it hands-on while Umbridge has them write lines all class period. This book explores different learning styles and shows that there are many different ways to learn a subject.
  • Ableism– Neville’s parents live in a hospital because they experienced severe brain damage after being tortured by Voldemort for information. We see them in Order of the Phoenix and it’s through those chapters that we not only understand Neville better but we find out that he isn’t ashamed of them nor does he feel he should be.
  • Sexuality- This book portrays a gay relationship, (even though it is not brought up within the canon ever): Grindelwald and Dumbledore. JK Rowling stated this shortly after the final book came out, that’s how we know this.
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Christians are not bothered in the least that they are risking Allah’s hell by not being Muslims. We all risk the hell of other religions. All I do is risk one more hell than what others do. Once I risk one hell they all look like nothing but empty threats.

John Loftus, Debunking Christianity 
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To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.

Thomas Paine, The Crisis
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A smartphone retrospective

A smartphone retrospective

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If you care whether the things you believe are true – including religious beliefs – you ought to be willing to subject your beliefs to rigorous testing, and to let go of them if a solid body of evidence contradicts them. And if you don’t care whether the things you believe are true, then don’t try to defend and/or spread those beliefs to others.

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Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!

If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.

Dan Barker
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State of the Climate: Warming, with No sign of Waning

State of the Climate: Warming, with No sign of Waning

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Whenever it does anything new these days, you have to ask how does it help them collect more data and learn more about its users.

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The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each other on account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not divided about botany and astronomy does not even tend to make a man hate his father and mother. It is what people do not know that they persecute each other about. Science will bring, not a sword, but peace.

Robert G. Ingersoll
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It is a profound irony to see religious people praising themselves for their humility while essentially making claims about cosmology, and physics, and astronomy, and geology, and biology, and paleontology, and just dozens of specific sciences that no scientist could make. Every religious person who takes the Genesis account of creation seriously… is essentially saying to somebody like Stephen Hawking, ‘Stephen, you’re a smart guy, and I see you’ve got a lot of equations over there, but you don’t know enough about cosmology, because God did this in six days and He rested on the seventh.’

Sam Harris
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The £105m website

The £105m website

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Drinking coffee doesn’t make you more alert, caffeine study reveals

Drinking coffee doesn’t make you more alert, caffeine study reveals

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Thanks largely to smartphones, those networks are under greater pressure every day – one streamed YouTube video has the same effect on the network as half a million text messages sent simultaneously, the equivalent of everybody in Newcastle sending a text at once.

o2 Chief Executive

So then why do text messages still cost 10p each (once you run out, as even business tarrifs do not have unlimited) when they are obviously not very demanding on the network?

When I get my new iPhone 4, and switch to a business tarrif, I think I shall switch to an IM app instead of texting.

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Never mind flowers, I’m not even capable of successfully giving a compliment. Well, that’s not quite true. I have no trouble with many compliments, such as, ‘Nice couch,’ or ‘What a well-dug hole,’ or ‘I thought you delivered that calf expertly.’ I don’t have much call to give them, admittedly, but if I ever need to, I’m confident they will trip effortlessly off my tongue. What I can’t do is successfully compliment anyone on their appearance. ‘You look nice today.’ Such a simple pleasantry, but I find it almost impossible. I mean, how personal. Look at the assumptions it makes: I have been scrutinizing your appearance, I think you look better now than you usually do, I consider myself a fit judge to make such a call. Any one of those, I would find deeply embarrassing. Together, they’re an embarrassment neutron bomb.

David Mitchell
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Right now I can click, right-click, middle-click, scroll, three, four, or five-finger swipe in four different directions, pinch, expand, rotate, four-finger tap… and those are just the options I’ve enabled. With multitouch, my trackpad can recognize up to eleven different points of contact, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless. All of that on a trackpad with only one button.

7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die – the old “your mouse only has one button” cliche.
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What’s sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac. Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, the Mac is five times more stable than Windows.

Gabe Newell, Valve.

Mac lags Windows in gaming performance, excels at stability

Another interesting statistic: After being out for just 1 week, 11% of Steam purchases are for Mac.

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There is a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen
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RT @codinghorror: Apple’s walled garden bothers me a lot less than Facebook’s. That’s because Apple doesn’t hate their customers.

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Prime Ministers should be voted into 10 Downing Street by the people of Britain, not because their party has “stitched up some deal”

David Cameron, 25th April 2010
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BBC News – Caroline Lucas celebrates first Green seat

BBC News – Caroline Lucas celebrates first Green seat

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I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

John Cage
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The Dragon In My Garage by Carl Sagan

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage”

Suppose (I’m following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle—but no dragon.

“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

“Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You’d wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then, why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I’ve seriously underestimated human fallibility.

Imagine that, despite none of the tests being successful, you wish to be scrupulously open-minded. So you don’t outright reject the notion that there’s a fire-breathing dragon in my garage. You merely put it on hold. Present evidence is strongly against it, but if a new body of data emerge you’re prepared to examine it and see if it convinces you. Surely it’s unfair of me to be offended at not being believed; or to criticize you for being stodgy and unimaginative— merely because you rendered the Scottish verdict of “not proved.”

Imagine that things had gone otherwise. The dragon is invisible, all right, but footprints are being made in the flour as you watch. Your infrared detector reads off-scale. The spray paint reveals a jagged crest bobbing in the air before you. No matter how skeptical you might have been about the existence of dragons—to say nothing about invisible ones—you must now acknowledge that there’s something here, and that in a preliminary way it’s consistent with an invisible, fire-breathing dragon.

Now another scenario: Suppose it’s not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages—but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we’re disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I’d rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren’t myths at all.

Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself. On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence”—no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it—is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

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It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or as I like to call it: ‘marriage.’ You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it.

Liz Feldman
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According to the survey, Macs were cheaper to troubleshoot and required fewer help desk calls; system configuration, user training, and servers/networks/printing were all cheaper for a Mac environment than a PC environment. Software licensing fees turned out to be nearly identical for both platforms.