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Shared Circles including Emlyn O'Regan

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 17

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2017-02-22 23:35:47 (17 comments; 2 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Sorry, traditional industries... Elon Musk doesn't care about your "20-year" plans

Most reshares: 8

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2017-02-21 01:10:04 (0 comments; 8 reshares; 18 +1s; )Open 

Most plusones: 29

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2017-02-20 01:34:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

via: https://twitter.com/gmbritton/status/833468155683028992

Latest 50 posts

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2017-02-25 10:25:52 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

I'm not really sure what +Greg Egan​ is up to at this point. This might be a design for some kind of asylum.

Three cheers for Schur and Frobenius!

The 120-cell is a four-dimensional polytope with 600 vertices, 1200 edges, 720 pentagonal faces and 120 dodecahedral cells. Suppose we place 1800 spheres, all of equal radii, at every vertex and every edge-centre of a 120-cell, and try to find a way for those 1800 spheres to rotate so that their surfaces roll against each other at every one of the 2400 points of contact between them.

The image below shows the projection down to three dimensions of 830 spheres out of the total of 1800: those that lie entirely on one side of a hyperplane through the origin.

Although these spheres are located in four-dimensional space, we want each of them to remain in the three-dimensional subspace tangent to a hypersphere that shares its centre with the 120-cell — just as if we had an arrangement of spinning discs on the surface of a globe, we would want them to remain tangent to the globe, not to wobble back and forth and lose contact with each other. So, we can characterise the angular velocity of each sphere with the same number of degrees of freedom, 3, that it would have in three dimensions. That means we have a total of 1800 × 3 = 5400 degrees of freedom.

Similarly, at each of the 2400 points of contact between the spheres, the linear velocity of each sphere’s surface is constrained to lie in a plane that is both tangent to the two spheres, and tangent to a hypersphere with the same centre as the 120-cell. So there are 2 degrees of freedom at each contact point, and a total of 2400 × 2 = 4800 degrees of freedom.

This tells us that we can write the linear operator T that takes all possible angular velocities for the 1800 spheres, and spits out the difference in linear velocities of the spheres’ surfaces at the 2400 contact points, as a 4800 × 5400 matrix. And what we are seeking is the space of all solutions to the linear equation:

T ω = 0

where ω is a 5400-component vector describing the angular velocities of the 1800 spheres.

Now, with computers it’s not impossible to solve a system of 4800 linear equations in 5400 variables by sheer brute force ... but it’s more efficient, more enlightening, and more enjoyable to exploit the symmetry of this problem to reduce it to something much simpler. And it turns out that with the judicious use of group theory, we can transform our original 4800 × 5400 matrix into a collection of vastly smaller matrices, the largest of which is just 18 × 16.

The 120-cell is a highly symmetric object, with a group of symmetries, known as H₄, with 14,400 elements, each of which is either a rotation or a combination of a rotation and a reflection. If we rotate and/or reflect the 120-cell with an element g of H₄, we will get a new vector of angular velocities in the 5400-dimensional domain of our linear operator T, and a new vector of contact velocities in the 4800-dimensional co-domain of T. Because everything about T comes from the geometry of the 120-cell, for any element g of H₄ we have:

ρ₄₈₀₀(g) T = T ρ₅₄₀₀(g)

By ρ₄₈₀₀ and ρ₅₄₀₀ I mean the representations of H₄ on the 4800-dimensional space of contact velocities (which we will call V₄₈₀₀) and the 5400-dimensional space of angular velocities (which we will call V₅₄₀₀). In general, a representation of a group on a vector space V is just a homomorphism from the group to a subgroup of all the invertible linear operators on V, i.e. we have:

ρ(g) ρ(h) = ρ(g h)
ρ(1) = I

for any elements g and h of the group, where in each case ρ gives us some invertible linear operator on V, and specifically it takes the identity of the group to the identity operator I on V.

Given any representation ρ of a finite group G on a finite-dimensional vector space V, we can always “decompose” V into invariant subspaces. We say that a subspace W of V is invariant if for all group elements g and all vectors w in W, ρ(g) w also lies in W. In other words, the representation’s action never moves a vector from W out of W. This means that, if we like, we can actually ignore the rest of the larger vector space, V, and talk about ρ restricted to W as a representation in its own right: a subrepresentation of the original one. For example, consider the 6-dimensional vector space of functions on a circle that take the form A sin(n θ) + B cos(n θ) for n = 1,2,3, acted on by the group of rotatations and reflections of the circle. Each of the 2-dimensional subspaces we get by fixing the value of n is invariant: rotating or reflecting the circle can’t change the frequency of the function.

An irreducible representation, or irrep for short, is a representation that contains no non-trivial subrepresentations. That is, if the representation acts on V, there are no invariant subspaces of V other than {0} and V itself.

The representations ρ₄₈₀₀ and ρ₅₄₀₀ are certainly not irreducible! But we can break V₅₄₀₀ and V₄₈₀₀ down into the smallest possible invariant subspaces. Within each such subspace, the “big” representation we started with will act just like an irrep of a much lower dimension.

If we completely reduce our two big vector spaces this way, and choose bases whose elements lie in the resulting subspaces, that will let us rewrite the matrix for T as a block matrix, made up of blocks that link the various irreducible subspaces of V₅₄₀₀ with those of V₄₈₀₀.

To see why this is helpful, our first three cheers go to Issai Schur, who was born in Russia in 1875, and spent most of his life in Germany. He is one of those mathematicians who discovered so many things that he gets a whole long list of them on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_things_named_after_Issai_Schur

The beautiful result called Schur’s Lemma which was published in 1905 says that any linear operator that commutes with the action of a group (as our operator T does) and maps one irreducible representation into another (as those individual blocks in the new form for the matrix of T do) will be non-zero only if the two irreducible representations are equivalent. Two representations are said to be equivalent if they are really “doing the same thing”, even if they act on different vector spaces. Formally, that means we can find some isomorphism between the two spaces that lets us identify their vectors in such a way that however the group acts on one space, under the identification it acts in exactly the same way on the other.

So if we can carry out this decomposition, most of the blocks in our new matrix for T will turn out to be zero, and we will be left with a few much smaller matrices to deal with.

One way to approach this is to construct a set of projection operators that map the original vector space V into isotypic subspaces. An isotypic subspace isn’t quite an irreducible subspace; rather, it can consist of one or more copies of the same irrep. So the results we get from such a projection will depend on how many irreducible subspaces in V transform under the same irrep. This is still helpful, because it still lets us break the domain and co-domain of T into subspaces in such a manner that we know whether or not they can be coupled to each other in the new, block-matrix form of T.

To construct these projection operators, we need to know the linear operators that the original representation assigns to every element of the symmetry group, and also the characters of all the irreps. The “character” of a representation is the trace of the matrix that the representation assigns to each element of the group. There is then a relatively simple formula for each projection P₀ associated with an irrep ρ₀:

P₀ = [dim ρ₀ / | G |] Σ over all g ∈ G of χ₀(g⁻¹) ρ(g)

where χ₀ is the character of the irrep ρ₀, and ρ is the original representation on the whole of V.

Our symmetry group H₄ has 34 different irreps. No symmetry of the 120-cell can map a vertex into an edge-centre, of course, so we can start out with spaces of dimension 3 × 600 = 1800 for the vertex angular velocities, 3 × 1200 = 3600 for the edge-centre angular velocities, and 2 × 2400 = 4800 for the contact velocities. Constructing the projections we need would then involve summing matrices of dimensions 1800 × 1800, 3600 × 3600 and 4800 × 4800 over the 14,400 elements of H₄, and doing this for all 34 irreps. We can then find bases for the isotypic subspaces by taking linearly independent subsets of columns from the matrices for the projections, or various linear combinations of the columns.

Again, computers make this possible ... but it still seems hugely inefficient.

Fortunately, we have one more trick up our sleeve, thanks to Ferdinand Georg Frobenius. Frobenius was Schur’s doctoral advisor, and he too has a long list of things named after him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_things_named_after_Ferdinand_Georg_Frobenius

The particular result of Frobenius we will use concerns a special kind of representation, known as an induced representation. If we pick any vertex of the 120-cell, there will be a subgroup of H₄ that leaves that vertex fixed. Similarly, if we pick any edge-centre, or any contact point between a sphere at a vertex and one at an edge-centre, there will again be a subgroup of H₄ that leaves that point fixed.

If we restrict H₄ to one of these subgroups — let’s call the subgroup H — then our original representation of H₄ will give us a representation of H on a much smaller vector space: the space of angular velocities or contact velocities for whatever feature of the 120-cell it is that H keeps fixed.

Equally, though, we can work backwards: given a representation ρ of H on any vector space V, we can get a representation of the full group, H₄. To do this, we first identify each relevant feature of the 120-cell with one of the left cosets of the subgroup H: since all of H keeps the chosen feature fixed, the various cosets g H for different choices of g will map the chosen feature to all the others of the same kind. For example, there is a 24-element subgroup of H₄ that fixes your favourite vertex of the 120-cell, and if we use it to partition H₄ into left cosets, we get 600 of them, each of which consists of those elements of H₄ that map your favourite vertex to each of the 600 vertices of the 120-cell.

If we give each of the relevant features a label, say, f, then we can pick an element of H₄, say x(f), such that all the elements of the coset x(f) H map the chosen feature to the one with the label f. Given any element g of H₄, g x(f) must belong to some coset that we will call x(f,g) H, and so our choice of an x for each f gives us a unique element of H for each f and g:

h(f,g) = x(f,g)⁻¹ g x(f)

We can then build an induced representation of H₄ on the vector space we get by associating a separate copy of V with each of the relevant features of the 120-cell:

ρ(Induced)(g)(v₁, v₂, ...) = (ρ(h(1,g))v₁, ρ(h(2,g))v₂, ...)

Our representations of H₄ have actually been of this form all along! That might sound odd, because up until now we haven’t explicitly discussed doing anything that corresponds to a choice of coset elements x(f), which is an essential ingredient of such a representation. But in fact, such a choice has been implicit from the start in the need to choose specific bases for the angular velocities and contact velocities at each point: we have said all along that we want to narrow these things down from the ambient 4-dimensional space to the 3- or 2-dimensional subspaces in which those velocities live, but these are different subspaces at each point, and to actually calculate anything we need to choose bases for all of them. The implicit choices of the x(f) are just the elements of H₄ that map the basis at one particular feature into the bases at all the other relevant ones.

Now, suppose we have any representation ρ₁ of a group G on some vector space W, along with an induced representation ρ(Induced) of G that we obtain by the construction described above, starting with a representation ρ₂ of the subgroup H of G on some vector space V. Then the Frobenius reciprocity theorem says that if we restrict the representation ρ₁ of G to obtain a representation of the subgroup H, then the space of all linear maps between W and the induced representation of G that commute with the actions of G (namely ρ₁ and ρ(Induced)) is isomorphic to the space of all linear maps between W and V that commute with the actions of H (namely ρ₁ restricted to H, and ρ₂).

To unpack this a bit, suppose S is a linear map from W to V that commutes with the actions of H, i.e.:

S ρ₁(h) = ρ₂(h) S

Then we can construct a linear map U from W to the induced representation (the direct sum of a whole lot of copies of V, one for each coset of H in G):

U(w) = (S ρ₁(x(1))⁻¹ w, S ρ₁(x(2))⁻¹ w, ... )

It’s not too hard to check that for any g in G:

U ρ₁(g) = ρ(Induced)(g) U

Why is this useful? If we choose ρ₁ to be an irrep of G, we can start with suitable linear maps like S from W to V, and then use them to build maps like U from W to the induced representation — giving us a way to find bases for each copy of the irrep ρ₁ within the induced representation.

How do we get maps like S, which need to commute with the actions of H? We can take any linear map M from W to V, and then “average” it over H:

S = [1 / | H |] Σ over all h ∈ H of ρ₂(h) M ρ₁(h)⁻¹

So, starting from a basis of all linear maps from W to V, we can generate a basis of all linear maps from W to however many copies of the irrep ρ₁ there are in the induced representation.

The basis we get from each map U will span a single, irreducible subspace in our original huge vector space, so there is no more work needed to split the isotypic subspaces. What’s more, since we obtain our bases for all these irreducible subspaces by applying maps to a single basis of W, the matrices that describe the restriction of our linear operator to each isotypic subspace will always be composed of irrep-sized blocks that are multiples of the identity. A matrix composed of multiples of the identity can be manipulated almost as easily as an equivalent matrix of scalars. And in the end, the largest matrix that arises from our 120-cell problem has dimensions of just 18 × 16, and is due to one irrep of H₄ that occurs 16 times in the space of angular velocities for the spheres, and 18 times in the space of linear velocity differences at the contact points.

More details at:

http://www.gregegan.net/SCIENCE/Bearings/Bearings.html
___I'm not really sure what +Greg Egan​ is up to at this point. This might be a design for some kind of asylum.

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2017-02-25 05:38:05 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Libertarians. You're kidding, right? Your movement has been taken over by Cato shills, Steve Forbes, the Kochs, and to what end? They know you hate the Republicans. But all they have to do is get you to shake your head and ditto chant their mantra: "Yes, but of course statist Democrats are worse!" ... Idiots.

Name an issue! Market enterprise, entrepreneurship, competition and all market metrics do better under dems. Always and in all ways. Is it red states legalizing pot? Democrats deregulated the ICC, CAB, ATT, GPS and the internet. Show me ONCE when goppers did any deregulation that did not benefit oligarchs, the enemy of enterprise denounced by Adam Smith.

Trump has filled his cabinet with Goldman-Sachs billionaires and resource extraction subsidy parasites, but YOU only wince, instead of recognizing the march of feudalism.

Now Net neutrality and... more »

Libertarians. You're kidding, right? Your movement has been taken over by Cato shills, Steve Forbes, the Kochs, and to what end? They know you hate the Republicans. But all they have to do is get you to shake your head and ditto chant their mantra: "Yes, but of course statist Democrats are worse!" ... Idiots.

Name an issue! Market enterprise, entrepreneurship, competition and all market metrics do better under dems. Always and in all ways. Is it red states legalizing pot? Democrats deregulated the ICC, CAB, ATT, GPS and the internet. Show me ONCE when goppers did any deregulation that did not benefit oligarchs, the enemy of enterprise denounced by Adam Smith.

Trump has filled his cabinet with Goldman-Sachs billionaires and resource extraction subsidy parasites, but YOU only wince, instead of recognizing the march of feudalism.

Now Net neutrality and privacy. You... are... morons. Seriously, I say it with love. I speak at libertarian events and want to see us evolve into freedom. I wrote The Transparent Society. And it is in love and camaraderie, libertarians, that I call you fools and puppets who have betrayed everything Adam Smith stood for, and the Founders.

The Stooges had more brains.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/24/fcc-head-halts-new-isp-privacy-rules/___

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2017-02-25 02:36:48 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-24 06:25:33 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 13 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-24 02:36:10 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 13 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-24 02:19:29 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-24 02:03:36 (11 comments; 1 reshares; 18 +1s; )Open 

Listening to one computer illiterate explaining to another about what laptop to buy and why... omfg...

Listening to one computer illiterate explaining to another about what laptop to buy and why... omfg...___

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2017-02-23 23:25:00 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Squueze hydrogen really hard, you get something new: atomic metallic hydrogen. Apparently once you've done that, the result is stable; it stays like that. And this might turn out to be a room temperature superconductor. In the video, they also mention that NASA is interested, because it would make spectacular rocket fuel.

Scientists have created an entire new substance - atomic metallic hydrogen. To achieve a metallic bond, scientists applied over 71 million pounds-per-square-inch of pressure to a small amount of hydrogen.___Squueze hydrogen really hard, you get something new: atomic metallic hydrogen. Apparently once you've done that, the result is stable; it stays like that. And this might turn out to be a room temperature superconductor. In the video, they also mention that NASA is interested, because it would make spectacular rocket fuel.

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2017-02-23 22:56:04 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-23 20:05:22 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Quasiperiodic tiling from recursion

The image below was made by taking three shapes — a regular decagon, and two kinds of hexagons (one of them resembling a bow-tie) — and using a set of substitution rules in which each shape is dissected into smaller copies of the same three shapes.

Quasiperiodic tilings were only discovered in Western mathematics with the work of Roger Penrose in the 1970s, but this recursive construction (albeit with only a single level of recursion) is believed to underly some of the patterns of tiles found in a number of medieval Islamic buildings.

“Girih”, the Persian word for “knot”, is used to describe the interwoven, braid-like patterns of strapwork that decorate these and other tilings when they are used in Islamic architecture.


Quasiperiodic tiling from recursion

The image below was made by taking three shapes — a regular decagon, and two kinds of hexagons (one of them resembling a bow-tie) — and using a set of substitution rules in which each shape is dissected into smaller copies of the same three shapes.

Quasiperiodic tilings were only discovered in Western mathematics with the work of Roger Penrose in the 1970s, but this recursive construction (albeit with only a single level of recursion) is believed to underly some of the patterns of tiles found in a number of medieval Islamic buildings.

“Girih”, the Persian word for “knot”, is used to describe the interwoven, braid-like patterns of strapwork that decorate these and other tilings when they are used in Islamic architecture.
___

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2017-02-23 06:20:50 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

South Australian-based renewable energy company Zen Energy is working to build a $100-million solar power plant with 100 megawatts of battery storage in the region.

Chairman Professor Ross Garnaut said the battery would "solve most" of the state's energy problems and if increased by a further 50MW it would solve "all" energy issues.

"The blackouts of the past year would not have happened if this was in place," he said.

South Australian-based renewable energy company Zen Energy is working to build a $100-million solar power plant with 100 megawatts of battery storage in the region.

Chairman Professor Ross Garnaut said the battery would "solve most" of the state's energy problems and if increased by a further 50MW it would solve "all" energy issues.

"The blackouts of the past year would not have happened if this was in place," he said.___

2017-02-23 05:49:58 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

For domestic solar systems to be economical, a lot has traditionally relied on the feed-in tariffs, which are pretty crappy.

I was talking to +Jodie O'Regan about the potential for an energy company to aggregate households with domestic solar & batteries, sell their power back into the system when the spot price is through the roof ($14 a kilowatt hour is the ceiling in Australia iirc), and pass on some of the profit to their customers, handsomely beating the feed-in tariff.

Here's a company doing exactly that.

So next time some idiot grumbles to you about renewables and the need for baseload power (eg: coal or nuclear or some other disaster), point them at this.

http://www.repositpower.com/features/

For domestic solar systems to be economical, a lot has traditionally relied on the feed-in tariffs, which are pretty crappy.

I was talking to +Jodie O'Regan about the potential for an energy company to aggregate households with domestic solar & batteries, sell their power back into the system when the spot price is through the roof ($14 a kilowatt hour is the ceiling in Australia iirc), and pass on some of the profit to their customers, handsomely beating the feed-in tariff.

Here's a company doing exactly that.

So next time some idiot grumbles to you about renewables and the need for baseload power (eg: coal or nuclear or some other disaster), point them at this.

http://www.repositpower.com/features/___

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2017-02-23 03:19:44 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

___

2017-02-23 02:47:16 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Hey Trumpkins, Hillary lost. Get over it!

Hey Trumpkins, Hillary lost. Get over it!___

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2017-02-22 23:35:47 (17 comments; 2 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Sorry, traditional industries... Elon Musk doesn't care about your "20-year" plans

Sorry, traditional industries... Elon Musk doesn't care about your "20-year" plans___

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2017-02-22 08:17:52 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Don't worry, it's just polio.

___Don't worry, it's just polio.

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2017-02-21 12:26:06 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

___

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2017-02-21 06:49:36 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-21 02:34:53 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-21 01:10:04 (0 comments; 8 reshares; 18 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-21 01:09:25 (0 comments; 6 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-21 00:53:28 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Gold!

Where do fuckers come from? A theory.___Gold!

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2017-02-20 05:05:40 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Here's the replacement for deferred.defer that I've been working up to.

Here's the replacement for deferred.defer that I've been working up to.___

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2017-02-20 05:05:09 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

Here's the replacement for deferred.defer that I've been working up to.

Here's the replacement for deferred.defer that I've been working up to.___

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2017-02-20 01:34:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

via: https://twitter.com/gmbritton/status/833468155683028992

via: https://twitter.com/gmbritton/status/833468155683028992___

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2017-02-19 22:07:55 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-19 08:35:45 (15 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

I'm starting to think that a good way to make a social media platform that excludes the dumb dumbs would be to make it text only; no embedded images.

I'm starting to think that a good way to make a social media platform that excludes the dumb dumbs would be to make it text only; no embedded images.___

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2017-02-19 06:30:37 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-19 06:11:55 (9 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

This is an article about problems that I've found in the now ancient deferred library for Python on App Engine. 

This is an article about problems that I've found in the now ancient deferred library for Python on App Engine. ___

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2017-02-19 06:11:30 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

This is an article about problems that I've found in the now ancient deferred library for Python on App Engine. 

This is an article about problems that I've found in the now ancient deferred library for Python on App Engine. ___

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2017-02-18 11:40:27 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

Rescued from a private share. One of Australia's great ex-primeministers, talking about Australian foreign policy in the era of Trump. Americans, trigger warning.

Rescued from a private share. One of Australia's great ex-primeministers, talking about Australian foreign policy in the era of Trump. Americans, trigger warning.___

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2017-02-18 09:43:27 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

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2017-02-18 08:59:58 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

The beach is a bit spectacular this evening.

The beach is a bit spectacular this evening.___

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2017-02-18 02:18:56 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Ok, here's the best thing you'll see all day. I can't believe I haven't seen it before.

Ok, here's the best thing you'll see all day. I can't believe I haven't seen it before.___

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2017-02-18 01:46:12 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Ok, I've been Googed by Terry Crews and Mike Judge. There are a whole set of President Camacho videos from 2012. They're awesome.


Ok, I've been Googed by Terry Crews and Mike Judge. There are a whole set of President Camacho videos from 2012. They're awesome.
___

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2017-02-18 01:35:20 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Backstory for "Camacho"

Backstory for "Camacho"___

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2017-02-18 01:26:55 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

I would love to see an Idiocracy spinoff, "Camacho". Basically Idiocracy meets The West Wing. Camacho is a hero for our times; an idiot president, surrounded by idiots, but trying to do a decent job in good faith. 

I would love to see an Idiocracy spinoff, "Camacho". Basically Idiocracy meets The West Wing. Camacho is a hero for our times; an idiot president, surrounded by idiots, but trying to do a decent job in good faith. ___

2017-02-18 01:18:24 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

You think your day is going badly? Imagine if your job was to write the next season of House of Cards.

You think your day is going badly? Imagine if your job was to write the next season of House of Cards.___

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2017-02-17 23:49:00 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Weird machines

At a workshop on cybersecurity at the Santa Fe Institute, I heard about the concept of weird machines. The description was poetic:

They hide in dark spaces — semantic gaps between levels of abstraction.

In short, they're not monsters like the Terminator here, but computer programs that do things you didn't think possible... because your way of thinking about a computer had gaps:

In computer security, the weird machine is a computational artifact where additional code execution can happen outside the original specification of the program. It is closely related to the concept of weird instructions, which are the building blocks of an exploit based on crafted input data. The functionality of the weird machine is invoked through unexpected inputs.

While expected, valid input activates the normal,i... more »

Weird machines

At a workshop on cybersecurity at the Santa Fe Institute, I heard about the concept of weird machines. The description was poetic:

They hide in dark spaces — semantic gaps between levels of abstraction.

In short, they're not monsters like the Terminator here, but computer programs that do things you didn't think possible... because your way of thinking about a computer had gaps:

In computer security, the weird machine is a computational artifact where additional code execution can happen outside the original specification of the program. It is closely related to the concept of weird instructions, which are the building blocks of an exploit based on crafted input data. The functionality of the weird machine is invoked through unexpected inputs.

While expected, valid input activates the normal, intended functionality in a computer program, input that was unexpected by the program developer may activate unintended functionality. The weird machine consists of this unintended functionality that can be programmed with selected inputs in an exploit.

In a classical attack taking advantage of a stack buffer overflow, the input given to a vulnerable program is crafted and delivered so that it itself becomes executed as program code. However, if the data areas of the program memory have been protected so that they cannot be executed directly like this, the input may instead take the form of pointers into pieces of existing program code that then become executed in an unexpected order to generate the functionality of the exploit. These snippets of code that are used by the exploit are referred to as gadgets in the context of return-oriented programming.

Through interpretation of data as code, weird machine functionality that is by definition outside the original program specification can be reached also by Proof-Carrying Code, which has been formally proven to function in a certain specific way. This disparity is essentially caused by a disconnect between formal abstract modelling of a computer program and its real-world instance, which can be influenced by events that are not captured in the original abstraction, such as memory errors or power outages.

If you think about it, such things as viruses, prions and cancer also exploit gaps between a simplified abstract model of how organisms work, and the real world of chemistry with all its myriad possibilities.

For more, try this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_machine___

2017-02-17 05:36:36 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s; )Open 

.@johnrobertsFox: @POTUS was in fact fully briefed on the content of those conversations that Gen. Flynn had with the Russian ambassador.

Video at the link:
https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/832396832974131200

.@johnrobertsFox: @POTUS was in fact fully briefed on the content of those conversations that Gen. Flynn had with the Russian ambassador.

Video at the link:
https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/832396832974131200___

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2017-02-17 04:43:25 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

Looking back as you approach a black hole, stars are blue-shifted and the view narrows. But why not jump right in?

“The Planck Dive” is a free SF story online.

http://www.gregegan.net/PLANCK/Complete/Planck.html

For details of how to calculate the view from near, or inside, a black hole:

http://www.gregegan.net/PLANCK/Tour/TourNotes.html


Looking back as you approach a black hole, stars are blue-shifted and the view narrows. But why not jump right in?

“The Planck Dive” is a free SF story online.

http://www.gregegan.net/PLANCK/Complete/Planck.html

For details of how to calculate the view from near, or inside, a black hole:

http://www.gregegan.net/PLANCK/Tour/TourNotes.html
___

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2017-02-17 03:54:02 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Toxic administration is toxic.

Toxic administration is toxic.___

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2017-02-17 02:24:20 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

Episode 2 of After The Trump

Episode 2 of After The Trump___

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2017-02-17 02:08:54 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s; )Open 

Episode 1 of After The Trump

Episode 1 of After The Trump___

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2017-02-17 01:09:11 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Man, I've been binge watching this reality show, on YouTube, Twitter, here on G+, it's a multiplatform powerhouse. New stuff drops everyday, no filler, just full blown craziness at hyperspeed. Sometimes I don't want to sleep, worried I'll miss something. It's amazing, it's fresh, it's over the top. Bigly.

When I was watching all the pre-season hype last year, I wasn't convinced. Seemed a bit too ridiculous honestly.

But man, season one of "Impeached" is really overdelivering. Looking forward to the finale!

___Man, I've been binge watching this reality show, on YouTube, Twitter, here on G+, it's a multiplatform powerhouse. New stuff drops everyday, no filler, just full blown craziness at hyperspeed. Sometimes I don't want to sleep, worried I'll miss something. It's amazing, it's fresh, it's over the top. Bigly.

When I was watching all the pre-season hype last year, I wasn't convinced. Seemed a bit too ridiculous honestly.

But man, season one of "Impeached" is really overdelivering. Looking forward to the finale!

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2017-02-17 01:00:00 (11 comments; 0 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

84Mbps day in our house!

84Mbps day in our house!___

2017-02-16 23:57:39 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

My new internet is so good, I just can't leave the house today. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

My new internet is so good, I just can't leave the house today. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.___

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2017-02-16 23:56:56 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s; )Open 

Can we machine-learn Google's machine-learning algorithm? "In late 2015, Google released machine learning within its search engine, which continued to decouple ranking changes from its standard ways of doing things in the past." "The core algorithms within Google now operate independently based on what is being searched for. This means that what works for one keyword might not work for another. This splitting of Google's search rankings has since caused a tremendous amount of grief within the industry as conventional tools, which prescribe optimizations indiscriminately across millions of keywords, could no longer operate on this macro level. Now, searcher intent literally determines which algorithms and ranking factors are more important than others in that specific environment."

"Our generic search engine model can train itself to output very similar results to... more »

Can we machine-learn Google's machine-learning algorithm? "In late 2015, Google released machine learning within its search engine, which continued to decouple ranking changes from its standard ways of doing things in the past." "The core algorithms within Google now operate independently based on what is being searched for. This means that what works for one keyword might not work for another. This splitting of Google's search rankings has since caused a tremendous amount of grief within the industry as conventional tools, which prescribe optimizations indiscriminately across millions of keywords, could no longer operate on this macro level. Now, searcher intent literally determines which algorithms and ranking factors are more important than others in that specific environment."

"Our generic search engine model can train itself to output very similar results to the real thing. We then use these predictive models as a sort of 'Google Sandbox' to quickly A/B test various changes to a website, instantly projecting new rankings for the brand's target search engine."___

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2017-02-16 23:05:39 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Woolly mammoth on verge of resurrection, scientists reveal

Woolly mammoth on verge of resurrection, scientists reveal___

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2017-02-16 23:02:42 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Poor bastard. So completely out of his depth.

Donald J. Trump held a hastily called press conference today, ostensibly to roll out his new labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta. But the event had little to do with Acosta, and quickly devolved into one of the most remarkably incoherent spectacles in recent memory. Here are some of the most WTF moments.___Poor bastard. So completely out of his depth.

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