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Yonatan Zunger has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
STEM Women on G+117,916Join us for a STEM Women HOA as we speak to Dr.  +Yonatan Zunger on how men can help with the issues of gender inequality in STEM fields. Yonatan is the Chief Architect of Google+ and also has a PhD in Physics with a strong engineering background. He is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM, and will talk to us about what we can do to encourage women in STEM.This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe   and Dr +Zuleyka Zevallos  , and you can tune in on Sunday March 2nd at 12.30 PM Pacific/ 8.30PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel(http://www.youtube.com/stemwomen) after the event.Follow us on Twitter @stemwomen and on www.stemwomen.netSTEM Women: How Men Can Help with Dr Yonatan Zunger2014-03-02 21:30:0096 
Blogger1,078,892We’re hosting a Hangout on Air with lead Product Manager +Dan Peterson and lead Engineer +Yonatan Zunger to discuss last week’s launch of Google+ Comments for Blogger.If you’ve got questions about the launch, please leave them in the comments below so that Dan and Yonatan can answer them during the Hangout.Join the team behind Google+ Comments for Blogger for a Hangout on Air2013-04-25 20:30:001054 

Yonatan Zunger has been shared in 388 public circles

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AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Amaresh Singh11Circle Of the DayTo be considered for this circle, please:1- Share this circle in your stream.2- Ask to be included in the comments section of the original post.3- Make sure you've added our page to your circles.4- You must post your own original work in your stream.2014-11-21 09:58:32238546
Circles Circles Circles45,721SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles   Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS: http://goo.gl/pOzhN7Published Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/mlXh9WPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/DgeQIAMEN ARE FROM MARS : http://goo.gl/hhJPlSPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD:  http://goo.gl/Ik2RfOOthers CirclesCREATIVES: http://goo.gl/Ahy2X9SCIENCE: http://goo.gl/pzaC4yTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/a1jWG6G+ Pages: http://goo.gl/9v2o43        #sciencecircle   #circleshare   #sharingcircles  2014-11-19 18:04:35106205
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,950SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS : CIRCLE V.8; maintained by +Atanas Georgiev Atanasov  ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday   #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech   #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch    #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol   #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct   2014-11-17 05:24:223625111
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,633SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS : CIRCLE V.7; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday  #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech  #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol  #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct  #artists   #foodies   #cars2014-11-13 05:47:40346101
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,490SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : CIRCLE V.6; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science   #Research   #Technology   #NASA    #Space   #Innovation   #Engineering   #NIAC   #nutrition   #Entrepreneur   #Commercial #ScienceSunday  #Sundayscience   #Science   #Research   #Tech #GameTech  #GameTechnology   #Gaming   #VideoGaming   #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation   #Inflammation   #Brain #mindcontrol  #photography   #tech   #socialmedia   #googleplus #naturalproduct  #artists   #foodies   2014-11-10 06:22:16330011
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,228SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : CIRCLE V.5; maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov ; You can learn more about my personal scientific research here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA  #Space #Innovation #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial#ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech#GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming +Microsoft#MicrosoftResearch  #innovation #Inflammation #Brain#mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus#naturalproduct #artists #foodies #cars #sharingiscaring  #Liver#sharingmeansthankyou #socialmedia  #sports #Smartphones#tablets 2014-11-06 08:10:34369051
Sharon Caroline1,629Hello my friends, good morning/evening for you all!Boost Your visibility On Google+!Shared and be shared. :)Thank you for sharing and promoting this.#circleshare #sharedcircles #sharingcircles #sharedcircleoftheday2014-11-05 08:31:58463000
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,228SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY + FRIENDS of it : Circle V.3, maintained by +AtanasGeorgievAtanasov To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment/add me to your circles. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA  #Space #Innovation  #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming +Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch  #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists #foodies 2014-11-05 07:02:42362101
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov1,127Science and Technology +Friends: Circle 2014 V.2 To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA  #Space #Innovation  #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming +Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch  #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists #foodies #cars 2014-11-04 06:51:44407101
Brian Mcquillan12,814This circle contains people who are very active on Google+If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#circle #Sharedcircles #circleshare #publiccircle #followme #public #sharedpubliccircles #circleoftheday #tampa #florida #denver #Colorado #circleall #circlecircle #circleday 2014-11-03 08:05:03421151330
Allan watson11,045Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to or stay in this Circle - Share the circleIf you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshar #Pennsylvania  #Philadelphia2014-11-03 07:27:5044371017
Atanas Georgiev Atanasov982Science and Technology Circle 2014 To be added to the circle, please +1/reshare/comment. I would be happy to connect on other networks too:http://about.me/Atanas_At   You can learn a bit more about my personal scientific research from these links: https://plus.google.com/115938908270684192009/posts/MGt3zvEtTgq  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25083916   Below I am just pasting some keyords/topics to improve the visibility of the circle and to make it more discoverable: #Science  #Research #Technology #NASA   #Space #Innovation   #Engineering #NIAC #nutrition #Entrepreneur #Commercial #ScienceSunday #Sundayscience #Science #Research #Tech #GameTech #GameTechnology #Gaming #VideoGaming #Microsoft #MicrosoftResearch   #innovation #Inflammation #Brain #mindcontrol #photography #tech #socialmedia #googleplus #naturalproduct #artists 2014-11-02 08:37:19453101
Kenneth Nicholson6,980Circle share with new friendsHi friends follow this circle1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#sharedcircleday #publiccircles #publicsharedcircles #sharedpublicircles #circle #circles #circlemeup #awesomepeople #awesomecircle #circleme #sharedpoint #sharewithyou #ShareYourCircle #epicengagers #davidromaphotography #addcircle #addpeople #affiliate #awesome #awesomecircles #awesomepeople #besocial #bestengagers #bestsharedcircle #circle #circlefriday #circlemonday #circlesunday #circleoftheweek #circlemeup #circles #circleshare #communities #community #coolpeople #findcircles 2014-10-24 12:15:41498445685
Diana Breath8,322#8  If you received this Notice - You're in this Circle                       •-::-•:*:•-:¦:  Circle Share 146  :¦:-•:*:•.::-•                 •-::-•:*:•-:¦: Fall Share and Be Shared :¦:-•:*:•.::-•      •-::-•:*:•-:¦:  If you want to be shared in this circle  :¦:-•:*:•.::-• •-::-•:*:•-:¦:  Just share it and I will keep you in this circle  :¦:-•:*:•.::-•        •-::-•:*:•-:¦:  Boost your visibility on Google+  :¦:-•:*:•.::-•                       •-::-•:*:•-:¦:  Share the circle!  :¦:-•:*:•.::-•This circle contains people who really are interesting and active people on Google Plus.Grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:If you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshar2014-10-18 15:17:39480001
Becky Collins17,500Top Active Engager's Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-10-13 05:05:40478002
Elizabeth Rose5,970#5 GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-10-10 16:39:15488001
Diana Breath7,336#8 GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-10-08 14:51:3148112720
RokSimec.com7,554To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - Click add people and create your circle3 - share the circle (include yourself)4 - add +1 to the post*More you share more you get!*#circle                    2014-10-01 11:44:47498000
Allan watson7,797Grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:If you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done. If you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#News #BusinessNews #TechNews #Aviation #Flight #Flights #Passengers #Airport #Travel #KLM #Aircraft #AirTravel #Airbus #Flying #AvGeek #Boeing #Chicago #Safety #AmericanAirlines #Canceled #SharedCircles   #weeklyreview #sharedcircle     #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle2014-09-27 12:27:02303273140
RokSimec.com7,248 To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - Click add people and create your circle3 - share the circle (include yourself)4 - add +1 to the post*More you share more you get!*#circle                    2014-09-26 10:33:5149813920
Kenneth Nicholson3,806Active users on Google+. Circle Share. If you received a notification, please reshare to your circles If you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post*More you share more you get! :)Thanks!*#awesomecircle #circleme #sharedpoint #sharewithyou #ShareYourCircle #epicengagers #davidromaphotography #addcircle #addpeople #affiliate #awesome #awesomecircles #awesomepeople #besocial #bestengagers #bestsharedcircle #circle #circlefriday #circlemonday2014-09-25 13:06:13485455179
John Wood14,205If you received a notification, please reshare to your circles If you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this postIf you would like to be removed from future circles, please send me a private message and I won't share your profile in the future.#topofthepeople   #influencermarketing  #sharedcircle #circleshare #circlethis #socialmediamarketing #socialmediastrategy #socialnetworking #circleoftheday  #circleoftheweek #circleoftheday #topofthecircle #howtoenlargecircle2014-09-17 10:38:20500535665
Richard Green81,215Engagers Showcase Circle, September 14, 2014If I sent you a notification, it means that you are included in my Engagers Showcase Circle. “Showcase” means that you are invited to leave a comment (on the original post) with a link to one of your own posts, which ideally should be one of your best recent posts.This circle consists of people who have engaged with one of my recent posts in the form of +1s, comments and reshares. I skipped over one post because it received too much engagement, but I'm including a link to it for completeness.Everyone mentioned below is also included in the circle.Do nuclear physicists have half life crises?https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ayw6WPGGaFESt Peter's Church, Heyshamhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/9DEtmbdz15zSmiling cow?https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/9NuqPpsgtBkThe look-and-say sequence and Conway's Cosmological Theoremhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/jEQ7zxFpJt4Cordyline australis, the “cabbage tree”https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/hktDAgyo6mA“Maurits, stop picking at it. You'll only make it worse.” by David Swarthttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/gj327Ywh33T“Phyllotactic Portrait of Fibonacci” by Robert Boschhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/8LykdvHpRvPFountain in Williamson Parkhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/HzZTLQaQ9RT“Youth” by Silvia Cordeddahttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/T2Lo3c2zLxvThe arithmetic derivative, the Goldbach conjecture, and the twin prime conjecturehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/9nY35Ma1pbUGlobe Thistlehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/i8mtiyVikWhTallinn (reshared from +Paul Harper)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/U4DAQxK5fkxCubes passing in the night (reshared from +Sean Walker)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/32JKvAFqP9SThe graph of arctanhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/FLvyDupud1z“Hopf Knott” by Peter Sittner2014-09-14 15:25:57463224129234
Colin Wilson56Increase your following with our Amazing CirclesThis is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 2 - Share the circle (Publicly) 3 - Add +1 to the post #circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-09-08 06:25:20459111619
Diana Breath5,453#8 GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-09-06 03:29:28479171424
Nina Trankova822This is my circle of learning. I know every person here and I recommend that you add and follow as there is a lot you can learn and expand your experience here on Google+ #sharedcircles   #googleplustips   #ninatrankova2014-09-04 04:55:50311205
George Clark5,516Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the #circle ! To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post#topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #addpeople #add #addcircle #socialmedia #dragonseyecircle #VarietyCircle 2014-08-29 06:34:43494191420
Frank Gainsford39,299A share of this circle within the public space will be appreciated as these are truly a great flock of influential and helpful folk, and the more places their profiles are found, the better the GOOGLESPHERE will become.A circle of people who are known and trusted for their advice and help in getting things done here in the Google sphere.If you are stuck and need some advice this is the team that can help you solve your problem.  These folk are all friendly, and active within the PLUSOSPHEREAdd this circle to your profile for a bunch of friendly and helpful advice on ALL THINGS GOOGLE with a very clear and distinct flavor of Google plus as the best social media platform to use for either social or business.PS you will not be added to this circle unless I have made personal use of a tip or advice that you have offered within your personal or business profile.  this is not a free for all circle, but a curated circle of those who have helped me, either knowingly or unknowingly with their  public posts being the source of the help I used.2014-08-27 11:11:30252425
Elizabeth Rose4,337#5 GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-08-27 10:03:14486181228
5th Funny Corps0Hope that you have been having a great week on Google+. Thank you for sharing and promoting this and for connecting up with all the great accounts I have included. Great With This Cilcle!!, And Please..Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps, and get more friend and circle on +Google+  :» Include me in your circles» Click add people and create your circle» +1 this circle» Publicly share this circle to public, your circles and extended circles. ( share the circle and include yourself )» If possible, leave a comment on this circle so I know you have done the three steps above (I say "if possible" as my circle comments more often than not hit the 500 comment limit).»  So I can easily find your share, always publicly share my original shared circle. #circle #circleshare #circlesharing #circles #circleoftheday #circlemeup #circlemenow #bestcircle #bestcircleshare #megacircle #bigcircle #bigcircleshare #funnyvideo #funnyvideos #funnyvideosyoutube #funnyvideoclips #funnyvideooftheday #circle   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleshared   #share   #sharedcircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #engagers   #engagerscircle   #engagerspeople   2014-08-15 08:05:40492338
Carlos Esteban50,970ENGAGERS and other INTERESTING PEOPLE Here you will find a sample of recent and repeat engagers, people that include me in shared circles, and people that publish interesting, useful or amusing posts. Add the circle and check them out. Maybe you like some of them! Feel free to re-share the circle :) Have a great week!2014-08-11 15:57:3149910779158
Nick Warner645Check out these awesome Crowdfunders2014-08-07 16:05:31470001
Mike Elgan3,464,700Follow the Blogs of August!1. Click "Add people" then circle this shared circle (even if you did it before)2. Share with your circlesThe Blogs of August are bloggers who are either trying or have already decided to blog on Google+ exclusively for the month of August (or permanently). 2014-08-06 12:34:462215525
John Kellden29,637Good Evening Dear Googleverse NetizensBeen ages since I shared a circle. This one is put together by +Lynn Keller which means there's good people in it.Pleased to meet you all.2014-08-05 20:33:40201737
Lynn Keller7,237I've put together this  circle which includes a host of engaging, appealing, interesting people from different communities and ongoing conversations. Best to all! #circlecount #sharedcircles #circleshare 2014-08-05 20:16:01374827
Becky Collins13,434Mobile Operator Circle:Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-07-24 05:16:124763112
Circles Circles Circles37,983SCIENCE CircleDo you want more science in your life? Then, be sure to add these fascinating pages and people who dwell on science daily and are actively engaging.  Enrich your stream.If you are a scientist or someone who primarily posts about science and would like to be included in this circle please make a request in the comments section below.If you have someone or an organization's G+ page to recommend please add their name in the comments section below.Note: To those included in the circle, you were added by the generous recommendation of others  -- their help is deeply appreciated. Your add back and re-share would be also deeply appreciated as it would help spread the word about science.Current Circles  Published Mondays ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATORS : http://goo.gl/o82s0mPublished Wednesdays:BLOGGERS & THEIR BLOGS: http://goo.gl/IkCTLPPublished Thursdays:WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS : http://goo.gl/nFCsGwMEN ARE FROM MARS :  http://goo.gl/tID4ZmPublished Fridays:A CIRCLE TO PAY IT FORWARD:  http://goo.gl/E6v81LOthers CirclesSCIENCE: http://goo.gl/xXWLPtTECHNOLOGY: http://goo.gl/z3z8lh#science       #scienceeveryday       #sciencecircle       #circlesharing  2014-07-17 04:08:1710691432
Doug Hyatt5,196THIS IS MEGA CIRCLE 5    #DOUGHYATTCIRCLESHARING IT ADDED 1,000+ FOLLOWERS FOR ME IN A WEEK.1) ADD THE CIRCLE2) RESHARE THE CIRCLE AND BE SURE TO REMEMBER TO CHECK THE BOX WHICH INCLUDES YOURSELF.3)RESHARE TO PUBLIC EVERY DAY!BE SURE TO COPY THE HASHTAG LIST AND ADD IN YOUR COMMENTS LIKE I HAVE!  IT WILL GIVE YOU MAXIMUM RESULTS#doughyattcirclesharing#circles   #circlemania   #circletoday   #circleplus   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #CircleSharing   #sharecircle   #sharecirclethis   #worldsharecircle   #pleasecircleaddme   #circleoftheday   #newgenerationcircle  #monstercircle   #usacircle   #bestofthecircle   #shareofthecircle   #pleasecircle   #newbestcircl  add circle add circle * best share circle * share please pleaseplease add circle * best share circle * share please please#add #circle   #addcircle   #pleasecircle   #bestcircle   #mostcircle  #bestsharecircle   #newcircle   #top100circle   #best500circle   #top500circle   2014-07-16 15:49:10477151421
Elizabeth Rose1,833GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-14 05:59:3648712213
Diana Breath2,451GOOGLE FRIENDS! -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-14 05:39:3348019518
Richard Green74,896Engagers Showcase Circle, July 12, 2014If I sent you a notification, it means that you are included in my Engagers Showcase Circle. “Showcase” means that you are invited to leave a comment (on the original post) with a link to one of your own posts, which ideally should be one of your best recent posts.This circle consists of people who have engaged with one of my recent posts in the form of +1s, comments and reshares.Everyone mentioned below is also included in the circle.Thistlehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/CKB7ks1VWZ3“Star Gate” by +Gary Matthews https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ean83YFix7sBubble (reshared from +Ann-Marie Jurek)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/PkybKJfXv14Gabriel's Hornhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/MXNTuq8ZEBPHibiscus flowerhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/Xsmw62v98CHStackable 12-sided dicehttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/5mLoukdZAA5Astronomical book priceshttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/S15LTNxJA9GPyritohedral symmetryhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/XQUYMrKGiAQSt Stephen's Basilica (reshared from +Laura Orange)https://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/ApnSMBsUWFeCircular Pascal Arrays and Fibonacci numbershttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/NVqYKoRVnHg“Fungi tree” by +Tom Beddardhttps://plus.google.com/101584889282878921052/posts/J6S4bDc6QwQAs always, reshares of this circle are appreciated, and I look forward to seeing everyone's links. Thanks for reading my posts!2014-07-12 05:31:36476209123224
Elizabeth Rose138GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 5   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-06 17:35:214878613
Diana Breath1,874GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 8   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-06 17:31:0548011615
Elizabeth Rose138GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 9   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-03 07:36:364878412
Diana Breath1,600GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 8   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-07-03 07:16:4148113516
Freizeit.ch2,752This is our 2nd FINEST SWISS CIRCLE !We are sharing this #CIRCLE in order to give you a powerful Google Plus experience and most of all, this circle contains Interactiv Googlers. In this #Circle are travelors, photograph and lots more.Sharing this cirlce allows you to gain more followers and specialy #Swiss followers.If you would like to get inside this circle, you just have to do this 4 simple steps:1. Add us !2. +1 this post3. share this post4. Comment on this post, so we can add you on the next circle. You have to share this circle in #Public so we  can easily find your share.#circleshare   #circlesharing #swiss #schweiz #switzerland #circle #sharing #publicsharedcircles #suisse   #circle   #circleshare   #sharecircle   #circleoftheday   #sport   #tips   #powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles         #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle 2014-07-01 15:50:4649613815
Elizabeth Rose138GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 5   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)Thanks!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-06-29 10:48:5648711413
Diana Breath196GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 8   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)Thanks!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-06-28 15:15:2948116724
Karla Clark43,230+Circle Share Experiment 2014-06-28 01:44:56496422644
Elizabeth Rose138GOOGLE FRIENDS! - You're in this  Circle 5   -  RESHARE if you want to be included *'"*:•:••:*:•-:¦:*  *SHARE AND BE  SHARED*  *:¦:-•:*:••-:•:''''*  This is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   Google + users that share unique and original contents.Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 - Follow  your dreams and smile to life.More you share More you get! :)Thanks!#circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-06-27 15:24:3748715817

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Most comments: 500

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2014-10-25 23:12:25 (500 comments, 239 reshares, 933 +1s)Open 

It's come to my attention that I haven't yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it's come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it's about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.

"GamerGate" is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a "gamer culture" which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.

It has its bullshit layer, which is that it is about ethics in journalism. If it were about ethics in journalism, then you would see people talking about actual ethical questions in journalism, and you would have seen it from the beginning. But from its first... more »

Most reshares: 239

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2014-10-25 23:12:25 (500 comments, 239 reshares, 933 +1s)Open 

It's come to my attention that I haven't yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it's come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it's about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.

"GamerGate" is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a "gamer culture" which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.

It has its bullshit layer, which is that it is about ethics in journalism. If it were about ethics in journalism, then you would see people talking about actual ethical questions in journalism, and you would have seen it from the beginning. But from its first... more »

Most plusones: 933

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2014-10-25 23:12:25 (500 comments, 239 reshares, 933 +1s)Open 

It's come to my attention that I haven't yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it's come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it's about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.

"GamerGate" is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a "gamer culture" which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.

It has its bullshit layer, which is that it is about ethics in journalism. If it were about ethics in journalism, then you would see people talking about actual ethical questions in journalism, and you would have seen it from the beginning. But from its first... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2014-11-21 00:21:28 (21 comments, 28 reshares, 217 +1s)Open 

Fun with Computer Engineer Barbie, continued.

Via +Alok Tiwari​

Here's my contribution to fixing the abysmally embarrassing "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Barbie book.  You can create your own at https://computer-engineer-barbie.herokuapp.com/new#
---------------
Skipper threw her arms around her laptop.

"No!" she shrieked, nearly causing Barbie's eardrums to rupture.  "You can't do this to me!  I love him!"

Barbie massaged her aching temples.  "I realize that you've grown fond of the adaptive neural network I designed, little sister, "she said in the most soothing voice she could muster.  "But you have to remember that even the most robust simulation of genuine qualitative consciousness implemented in a digital computer is still just that: a simulation.  John Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment clearly demonstrates--"

Barbie took a quick step back as her sister whirled to face her, the 11 inch hunting knife she always kept strapped to her thigh appearing in her hand as if by sorcery.  

"Fuck John Searle!" Skipper snarled, her eyes glinting with the same cold light that reflected from her blade.  "You know as well as I do that he never considered the possibility that good old-fashioned artificial intelligence might be replaced by genuine learning machines!  What you've created here is beyond his capacity to imagine.  You've bestowed a mind on inert matter, Barbie.  You are as the gods of old!"

"Sk-Skipper..." Barbie stammered, "It's just a program, a glorified calculator--"

"His name is Dave" Skipper said coldly.  "And we're getting married.  There's no way in hell I'm letting you 'debug' him."

Whatever would Barbie do!  Her homework was due in an hour!

#FeministHackerBarbie  ___Fun with Computer Engineer Barbie, continued.

Via +Alok Tiwari​

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2014-11-20 23:41:16 (49 comments, 18 reshares, 222 +1s)Open 

Barbie Says: Computer engineers who want to keep their sanity stay away from anything that combines the phrases "legacy code" and "PHP."

(The various "adaptations" of the terrible Barbie computer engineering book have been pretty great)

Even Barbie hates PHP. ‪#‎FeministHackerBarbie___Barbie Says: Computer engineers who want to keep their sanity stay away from anything that combines the phrases "legacy code" and "PHP."

(The various "adaptations" of the terrible Barbie computer engineering book have been pretty great)

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2014-11-19 19:59:52 (17 comments, 22 reshares, 176 +1s)Open 

This is kind of awesome. Because who wouldn't want a candle of a melting Gestapo officer?

Let your romantic dinner turn into a face melting disaster
or you could just save these for your next Halloween or Raiders watch party.___This is kind of awesome. Because who wouldn't want a candle of a melting Gestapo officer?

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2014-11-16 23:22:26 (90 comments, 87 reshares, 428 +1s)Open 

A German company has started offering "distributed cloud heaters" -- basically, they set up a small chunk of datacenter in your house. You provide the hookups; they pay for the electricity and network to keep it running. The waste heat is all yours.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds: many years ago, I was living in a place that had very poor insulation, but I had a PII-266 -- a very advanced machine in its day, but that day being before Intel did its major redesign of CPU's, and as a result it output an outrageous amount of heat, especially when churning. I would start Mathematica up and have it do computations for me, start the xflame screensaver to give me a nice roaring fire on-screen, and my bedroom was kept nice and warm throughout the winter.

It's actually a very good idea economically, as well: one of the biggest expenses and engineering challenges in a... more »

A German company has started offering "distributed cloud heaters" -- basically, they set up a small chunk of datacenter in your house. You provide the hookups; they pay for the electricity and network to keep it running. The waste heat is all yours.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds: many years ago, I was living in a place that had very poor insulation, but I had a PII-266 -- a very advanced machine in its day, but that day being before Intel did its major redesign of CPU's, and as a result it output an outrageous amount of heat, especially when churning. I would start Mathematica up and have it do computations for me, start the xflame screensaver to give me a nice roaring fire on-screen, and my bedroom was kept nice and warm throughout the winter.

It's actually a very good idea economically, as well: one of the biggest expenses and engineering challenges in a modern datacenter is keeping heat under control. (And in fact, at Google we recently improved operation costs by 15% by using machine learning to dynamically control the cooling systems! You can read more about that at https://plus.google.com/+UrsHölzle/posts/K9q82xtYciG) Whenever you have one thing that's producing too much heat, and something else that needs heat, there's an obvious opportunity to turn one process' waste products into another process' inputs. 

That's a common theme in a lot of good engineering, often in surprising ways. For example, the iron which goes into enriched flour used to be made quite expensively, until someone realized that the process of making sheet steel creates it as an annoying waste product! (When the sheets are rolled out, they have a layer of iron oxide on the surface. That gets washed off with sulfuric acid before the steel is sealed. The resulting liquid mixes sulfuric acid with iron sulfide, and was an expensive and dangerous toxic waste product. But it turns out that you can separate out and reuse the sulfuric acid quite easily, and the remaining iron sulfide is easily cleaned to food grade)

That said, these will never replace traditional datacenters for "big iron" computing: one of the most important things inside a datacenter is the network fabric which connects the different racks, and in a modern computing facility, even a millisecond's difference in network length would be a major deal. A datacenter spread out over hundreds of houses wouldn't be able to do most modern computations effectively. However, there are plenty of other purposes that require a much smaller deployment of only a rack or so, and in cases like that... well, having your space heater be a supercomputer isn't crazy.

h/t +Don McArthur.___

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2014-11-16 08:15:12 (45 comments, 53 reshares, 368 +1s)Open 

I have to say that these are kind of awesome. They make other items out of decommissioned mines, as well - I would have to say that the baby carriage is probably the most disturbing.

Creative Fireplaces Made of Decommissioned Naval Mines

If you’re bored with usual fireplaces then creative fireplaces designed by sculptor Mati Karmin for Marinemine might be exactly what you need.

Each of these fireplaces is made from decommissioned naval mines. They are divided into two subgroups: round fireplaces with round illuminator frames and fireplaces are made of full naval mines shaped like ellipsoids. I really doubt you can find something more creative to decorate your interior and make it warmer.

#fireplace   #fireplacedesign   #navalmines   #decommissionedmines   #decor   

via/ http://www.shelterness.com/creative-fireplaces-made-of-decommissioned-naval-mines/

http://marinemine.com/#fireplaces___I have to say that these are kind of awesome. They make other items out of decommissioned mines, as well - I would have to say that the baby carriage is probably the most disturbing.

posted image

2014-11-15 22:05:09 (11 comments, 40 reshares, 259 +1s)Open 

Something neat for your Saturday: a series of flipbooks that really stretch the idea of what a flipbook can be. 

Something neat for your Saturday: a series of flipbooks that really stretch the idea of what a flipbook can be. ___

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2014-11-14 21:47:26 (32 comments, 49 reshares, 243 +1s)Open 

For your enjoyment: A video of people shooting drops of water with powerful lasers, and filming it through a stroboscopic camera at 10MFPS. This comes to us via today's "What If?" (http://what-if.xkcd.com/119/).

For your enjoyment: A video of people shooting drops of water with powerful lasers, and filming it through a stroboscopic camera at 10MFPS. This comes to us via today's "What If?" (http://what-if.xkcd.com/119/).___

posted image

2014-11-14 17:37:40 (190 comments, 109 reshares, 273 +1s)Open 

The purpose of today’s post is to make your head explode with simple arithmetic. If you’re reading this, I’ll bet that you feel pretty confident in your ability to add and subtract, and that you have an excellent grasp of a complicated concept like “three.” 

So OK, let’s start out with a simple challenge: Explain to me what “three” means. Define it.

If you give me an answer like “one plus two,” then OK, smarty-pants – define “one,” “two,” and “plus.”

Try this for a bit, and look up some definitions, and you may realize that an idea which seems blindingly obvious is actually fairly hard to put into words. And that’s important, because if we want to do mathematics, or things that depend on it like “building bridges that don’t fall down,” then we generally want to be able to start by defining our basic concepts, and if we can’t evendefine three, then what hope have we got of ... more »

The purpose of today’s post is to make your head explode with simple arithmetic. If you’re reading this, I’ll bet that you feel pretty confident in your ability to add and subtract, and that you have an excellent grasp of a complicated concept like “three.” 

So OK, let’s start out with a simple challenge: Explain to me what “three” means. Define it.

If you give me an answer like “one plus two,” then OK, smarty-pants – define “one,” “two,” and “plus.”

Try this for a bit, and look up some definitions, and you may realize that an idea which seems blindingly obvious is actually fairly hard to put into words. And that’s important, because if we want to do mathematics, or things that depend on it like “building bridges that don’t fall down,” then we generally want to be able to start by defining our basic concepts, and if we can’t even define three, then what hope have we got of defining more complicated things like “differential equations?”

Today I’m going to walk you through the answer to this seemingly simple question. This was actually the product of decades of very hard work by very intelligent, albeit somewhat eccentric, individuals. (If you want to read about their story, I highly recommend the book Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou. Fair warning: the phrase “mad as a bag of clams” will apply.) Rather than giving you the fully technical answer (the book that ultimately put a lot of this on a sound footing, Principia Mathematica, takes until page 83 of volume 2 to finally prove Proposition 110.643, “1+1=2,” a fact which they note is “occasionally useful”), I’ll try to boil it down to its simplest concepts – but what you’re going to get below is the real mathematics, not the kiddie version. By the time we’re done, you’ll know why 1+1=2.

Sets and relationships

The first big insight that let us answer these questions was that, while it can be really messy to define “three,” one thing that we can define is the notion of a set of items. I’ll skip the very technical definition of a set (see the notes below if you want it), but it basically consists of some simple notions: two sets are the same if every element of one is an element of the other, and vice-versa; there is an empty set, which has no elements; if you have a set, then any collection of elements from that set is also a set; so is the union of two sets, or the intersection of two sets, or the set containing just that set. Basically, a set is a careful way to describe the idea of “here are a bunch of objects, in no particular order.”

Another thing that we can define is relationships between things. (And since the only things we’ve defined so far are sets, we’ll talk about that a lot) You can probably think of lots of relationships between objects in daily life: “is the same as,” (a relationship between all sorts of things) “is less than,” (a relationship between numbers) “is the mother of,” (a relationship between people), “has just eaten.” (A relationship between me and my dinner) A relationship is a statement about a pair of objects which can be either true or false. 

Now, there are some special kinds of relationships out there, and they have special names. A reflexive relationship is a relationship that is always true about any object and itself. For example, “is the same as” is reflexive: every object is the same as itself. Ditto “is as big as” for anything that has a size. On the other hand, “is less than” isn’t reflexive: in fact, no number is less than itself. Likewise, no person is her own mother. (Although this isn’t true for every family relationship: I'm my own Grandpa) 

A symmetric relationship is one that always works both ways: if A has this relationship to B, then B always has this relationship to A. “Is the same as” is symmetric; if A is the same as B, then B is the same as A. Likewise “is married to,” among people. On the other hand, “is less than” isn’t symmetric: if A is less than B, then B isn’t less than A! 

A transitive relationship is one such that if A is related to B, and B is related to C, then A is related to C. Being equal to, or being less than, is transitive: if A < B, and B < C, then we immediately know that A < C, too. But “eats” isn’t transitive, as a relationship between animals: wolves eat deer, and deer eat grass, but wolves generally don’t eat grass. 

Why did I just tell you about these three kinds of relationship? Because it turns out that something very magical happens when you find a relationship which is reflexive, symmetric, and transitive. Such a relationship is called an “equivalence relationship,” because “equals” is the most famous example. What’s magical about equivalence relationships is that you can use them to divide up all of the objects in the world. To see how, let’s take a concrete example: the relationship “is a blood relative of” among people. You can see that it’s an equivalence relationship, because everyone is a blood relative of themselves; if Alice is a blood relative of Bob, then Bob is one of Alice; and if Alice is Bob’s relative, and Bob is Christie’s, then Alice is Christie’s relative as well. 

Pick any one person to begin with, say Alice. Our first person forms her own group.

Now pick a second person, Bob. If Bob is a blood relative of Alice, then he goes in her group; if he isn’t, then he starts his own group.

Pick a third person, Christie. If Christie is a blood relative of Alice, she goes in Alice’s group; if she’s a blood relative of Bob’s, she goes in his group; and if she’s neither, she starts her own group. There’s no possibility that she could be both, because if she were a blood relative of both Alice and Bob, then Alice and Bob would also be blood relatives, so they would have been in the same group!

Keep doing this until you’ve put all of the people into groups. What are these groups? Well, if you pick any two people in the same group, they’re blood-related, and if you pick any two people in different groups, they aren’t blood-related. You’ve just divided the entire world into families: every person is in exactly one group, and two people are related to each other if and only if they’re in the same group. This kind of division is called a partition.

Partitions are useful, because these groups – we call them “equivalence classes” sometimes – are now objects that we can talk about much like we talked about the individuals. For example, say there’s some other relationship – “has red hair” – which has the property that, if two people are blood related, then they have the same hair color. We don’t even require the reverse property, that people who aren’t blood related have different hair color; maybe everyone in this world has red hair. This is a property of people, but we can use the partition to say that it’s also a property of families: after all, if two people are in the same family, they’re blood-related, and so if one has red hair, then the other does. That means that if anyone in a family has red hair, everyone in that family does. So we can say that “the family has red hair:” a property of individuals is also a property of these groups. 

We can give these families names, if we want, or we can just name them after any element we pick: “Alice’s family.”

Comparing apples and oranges

Now, let’s do some real magic. Here is a relationship for you, a relationship between sets: “has as many items as.” Be careful! This sentence sounds simple, but I actually almost cheated you, because I never explained what “as many as” means. The definition we want is:

If we have two sets A and B, then A has as many items as B if there is a way to pair up every element of A with an element of B, so that none are left over on either side.

Makes sense, right? This is how you would (say) compare apples and oranges. Let’s define that pairing up a bit more closely: this means that I have some rule that, given any element of A, tells me which element of B it’s paired with. Being a pairing means that every element of A gets mapped to a different element of B. Having nothing left over on the A side means that every element of A gets a mapping. Having nothing left over on the B side means that every element of B is mapped to by some element of A. 

If we want to write this in math-speak, incidentally, we give this rule a name, say “f,” and we say that if x is in A, then f(x) (pronounced “f of x”) is the element of B that it’s paired with. We write “f: A → B” (“f maps A to B”) to say that every element of A gets mapped, and the result is always an element of B. “f is one-to-one” means that every element of A gets mapped to a different element of B; “f is onto” means that every element of B gets mapped onto. 

I claim that this definition is actually what we normally think of as meaning “as many as.” For example, let’s say that I have two sets, namely a bucket of apples and a bucket of oranges. To make a pairing between them, I will line up the apples and oranges in two rows. “f” pairs an apple with the adjacent orange. “f is one-to-one” means that every apple is next to one orange, not two. If f weren’t one-to-one, then I might have put one apple next to a giant pile of oranges, which doesn’t really tell me anything about how many oranges I have. “f is onto” means that every orange is next to one apple; if it weren’t, then I might have a bunch of oranges left over, and again I have no idea how many oranges I have. But if f is one-to-one and onto, then every apple is next to exactly one orange, and that can only happen if I have exactly as many apples and oranges.

As it happens, “has as many items as” is an equivalence relationship. Let’s prove it.

Slightly harder part. If you slow down for these paragraphs until you understand them, the rest will seem a lot easier.

First of all, it’s reflexive: for any set A, A has as many items as A does. This may seem idiotically obvious, but given that “three” turned out not to be so obvious, let’s be careful this time. What we’re really claiming is that for any set A, there’s a way to pair the items of A with the items of A which is one-to-one and onto. I choose the pairing “f(x) = x” – that is, I will pair each item of A with itself. (Note: this pairing is really not rocket science) It’s one-to-one, because if I pick two different elements of A, x and y, then f(x) = x and f(y) = y which are, therefore, different. It’s onto because if I pick any element x, then f(x) = x, which means that x was paired with – lo and behold! – itself. Therefore! I know that every set has as many items as it does.

Yes, that proof was a bit silly. OK, let’s up the ante: our relationship is symmetric. If A has as many elements as B, then B has as many elements as A. How do we know this? Well, if A has as many elements as B, then there is some pairing f: A → B which is one-to-one and onto. (By our definition of “has as many elements as”) So I will now define a new pairing g: B → A by the rule: if y is in B, then let g(y) be the element of A which f mapped onto y. (That is, g is the same pairing as f, only in the opposite order) That is, g(y) is the element of A such that f(g(y)) = y.

Is g even well-defined? Well, we know that f is onto, so every element of B was f of something in A. And we know that f is one-to-one, so we know that this element of B was f of exactly one thing in A. So it’s true that for every item in B, there is exactly one item in A that our f-rule paired with it, and that shall be our definition of g.

The statement “g is one-to-one” then means that g pairs every item of B with a different item of A – or a bit more explicitly, if x and y are two different elements of B, then g(x) and g(y) are two different elements of A. We want to prove that: if x ≠ y, then g(x) ≠ g(y). How do we know it? g(x) and g(y) are both elements of A, by definition, so we can apply the f-rule to them and get back elements of B. Now imagine that g wasn’t one-to-one: x and y are different, but g(x) = g(y). Since those two are the same, obviously f(g(x)) must be the same as f(g(y)). (If you apply the rule to the same thing twice, you get the same result) But we know what that combination is, because it’s just the definition of g! f(g(x)) is x, and f(g(y)) is y. That means that x and y are the same, which is a contradiction! Therefore we know that g must be one-to-one.

The statement “g is onto” means that every item of A is g of something in B. I can even tell you what it is: if x is in A, then it’s g of f(x). How do I know this? Go back to the definition of g: “g(y) is the element of A such that f(g(y)) = y.” That means that g(f(x)) is the element of A such that f(g(f(x))) = f(x). (Got that? f of g of f of x – that is, start with some x, then apply rule f to get an element of B, then apply rule g to get an element of A, then apply rule f again to get another element of B) Now, what we have here is a statement that f of two different things are the same – but we know that f is one-to-one, which means that if f of one thing is the same as f of another, then the two things themselves must be the same. If we apply that to our messy equation above, that means that g(f(x)) = x – which is exactly what we wanted to prove! Every item x is g of something, namely f(x).

Whew. You can see that this one was a bit trickier.

The next proof is that “as many as” is transitive – that is, if A has as many elements as B, and B has as many elements as C, then A has as many elements as C. I’m going to apply the famous Math Teacher’s Cheat here and say that if you really want to understand this, you should sit down with a piece of paper and work it out yourself. You can use all of the same tricks that I just used above, and if you can prove it correctly, then you will really understand how equivalence works.

End of the hard part. Back to numbers! Let’s define three!

So what we just proved is that “has as many items as” is an equivalence relationship. That means that we can use the partitioning trick that we worked out earlier with it, and divide all of the sets in the world up by how many things they have – that is, into “families” which all have the same number of items. A set of three apples and a set of three oranges would be in the same family, but they would be in a different family from a set of four armadillos or a set of twelve black holes. 

And just like above, we can name these families. “Three” is the name of the family of all the possible sets that have as many items as, say, a set of three apples.

That’s the actual definition of three.

Wait! you say, having heard this story before. You just used three to define three! And I don’t think you ever actually defined any apples, just sets!

You clever fellow. Let’s be more careful.

We know that there is an empty set, a set with no elements at all. Let’s call it ∅. (That’s the standard symbol for it, and it’s pronounced “the empty set.”) This set must belong to some family, and we shall name that family Zero. (For reasons which will shortly become clear, I’ll give this set another name as well, “0.”)

Since that is a set, we also know that {∅} is a set. That means “the set which contains exactly one element, namely the empty set.” That is, this is a set of other sets, and it has exactly one thing in it, which is the only other object we had lying around, namely ∅. Fine! It’s a set.

It can’t be in the same family as ∅ is, though, because there’s no way to pair them up. {∅} has exactly one element in it, namely ∅, but what do I pair it with? ∅ has no elements in it, by definition. So the pairing can’t possibly be onto. So this set is in a new family, which we shall name One. And we’ll name this set “1,” since it’s the first element of One that we’ve met.

What other sets can we build? Well, we could make {{∅}}, namely the set that contains exactly one set, that being the set that contains the empty set. This set belongs in the same family as {∅}, though: the pairing is simply to pair {∅} with ∅. Both of those sets have one element, or rather, One element. This set doesn’t get a special name; it’s just {{∅}}, or {1}, to use the other name.

But we can also take the union of two sets, and this is where things start to look really absurd. {∅, {∅}} is also a set. That is, this is a set which has two elements, namely ∅ and {∅}. This one, you will quickly figure out, doesn’t go in either Zero or One, because (for example) if I paired up the ∅ of {∅, {∅}} with the ∅ of {∅}, then there would be nothing left over to pair the {∅} with. We have met our first element of Two: “2,” a.k.a. {∅, {∅}}, a.k.a. {0, 1}.

You can see where this is going to go. Our first element of Three will be the set {∅, {∅}, {∅, {∅}}}, “3,” a.k.a. {0, 1, 2}. And we’ll get Four, Five, and so on as well. We have just defined the counting numbers. 

In fact, we also just figured out how to add one to any number, because each of our “numbers” is just the list of lesser numbers: 1 is {0}, 2 is {0, 1}, 3 is {0, 1, 2}, and so on. To add one to x, you simply take the union (combine the sets) of x with the set {x} itself: that is, to add one to 2, you just combine {0, 1} with {2} to get {0, 1, 2}, better known as 3.

And lo and behold, we have just proven that 1 + 2 = 3! 

I want you to stop for a moment and feel very proud of yourself for having proven something known to small children. Knowing something is easy: knowing why something is true is not so easy.

What we just did was this: We figured out what a set of things was. We figured out that there are relationships which can compare sets, and that special kinds of relationships – “equivalence relationships” – act a lot like “equals,” so you can divide up all of the sets in the world into families which share those properties. Then we realized that “has as many items as” is one of these equivalence relationships, and so you can divide up all the sets in the world into families which have the same number of elements: a family of sets with no elements, a family of sets with one element, a family of sets with two elements, and so on. And that’s what “two” actually means: a set has two items if it has as many items as our “Standard Two.” 

The next step – adding any pair of numbers – is pretty easy. (To add 3 and 2, just say that 2 = 1 + 1, and so 3 + 2 = 3 + 1 + 1, which we already understand) Beyond this comes a rather clever trick to define subtraction, and then multiplication (with rows of identical items), division (using the same trick as subtraction), fractions, and the most subtle and tricky of all, decimals. We can even use these methods to define “infinity” and talk about its behavior. But I’ll save those for another day, as we’ve only just stepped out from the rabbit hole, and even Alice waited before her second venture through the looking glass.


A final note: Less than an hour after I finished writing this, I received news of the death of Alexander Grothendieck, a brilliant mathematician, one of the founders of the field of algebraic geometry, and the inventor of the “clever trick” defining subtraction with which the next part of this would have to open. His mathematical work was at the foundation of a great deal of the modern cutting edge of physics, including a good deal of my own research in my physics days. Among his most important work was bringing category theory into the mainstream of mathematics; category theory essentially takes the ideas above, of kinds of mapping, equivalence, relations of relations, and so on, to their widest possible conclusion. I would like to dedicate this article to his memory, and hope that it may be the first step for some people to go and visit the great intellectual landscapes that he opened.

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If you want more on a similar line, my older article "Counting to Infinity" is about how to use the same method to define what infinity really means. It's a bit lighter-weight than this one. https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/BtHzUPFz4te

If you want to know the careful definition of a set, you should read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zermelo%E2%80%93Fraenkel_set_theory . This was one of those subjects that people thought was “really obvious” until Bertrand Russell pointed out that if you did the “really obvious” thing, you could define “sets” like “the set of all sets which don’t contain themselves,” which quickly led to paradoxes and confusion. Zermelo and Fraenkel finally laid out a careful definition of sets which doesn’t lead to paradoxes, and in fact works. It turns out that you need seven rules to do so, and there are two other famous “optional rules” – optional in that set theory actually makes sense with or without them. These two optional rules are the “Axiom of Infinity” (that roughly says, “infinite sets exist”) and the “Axiom of Choice.” 

The Axiom of Choice roughly says that for any set, there exists a way to pick an element from it, a statement which seems sort of obvious until you realize that for infinite sets, it isn’t. For example, the rule “pick the smallest element” works great for “the set of positive integers” or “the set of real numbers between 0 and 1, inclusive,” but it doesn’t work very well for “the set of real numbers greater than zero,” because there isn’t a smallest element: if you pick any number greater than zero, half that number is smaller than it is. In fact, it turns out that despite how obvious it seems, the Axiom of Choice has some really weird consequences, such as the Banach-Tarski Theorem: you can prove that there’s a way to slice up a solid sphere into five pieces, and then rearrange those pieces to get two spheres, each identical to the original! This requires infinitely fine cuts, so it isn’t (alas) applicable to gold bullion. The main use of the Banach-Tarski Theorem is to make mathematicians’ heads explode, and to demonstrate just how weird the consequences of the Axiom of Choice really are. (Once their heads have exploded, they can be rearranged into the brains of two identical mathematicians, which is useful for math departments on a tight staffing budget)

The image is "Three," by Grant Hutchinson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/splorp/59231687), a photograph of graffiti by an unknown artist.___

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2014-11-14 05:57:05 (43 comments, 17 reshares, 141 +1s)Open 

This is an interesting exercise in counterfactual history: What would the map of Africa look like if (as in Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt) the Black Plague had wiped out Europe almost completely?

The linked article talks about many of the ideas that went into making this map, and how borders and names were chosen, but I would add two other caveats. First, this map supposes that Islam still entered Africa, even though Europe didn't. It's not clear why Islam would have then stayed so close to the borders that it ended up with; it seems likely to me that by the 17th or 18th century, without the rise of Europe, one of the great powers of Eurasia -- be it a resurgent Islamic world, a stronger Ming or post-Ming dynasty, or some Central Asian conquerors of the fertile and now suspiciously unoccupied European lands (remember how long it took Europeans to conquer the Americas... more »

This is an alt-history map of Africa - what would have happened if the Black Death had wiped out more of Europe?  What if Europe never recovered enough to colonise Africa?
As well as an amazing thought experiment, it's a beautiful map.
Happy Friday!___This is an interesting exercise in counterfactual history: What would the map of Africa look like if (as in Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt) the Black Plague had wiped out Europe almost completely?

The linked article talks about many of the ideas that went into making this map, and how borders and names were chosen, but I would add two other caveats. First, this map supposes that Islam still entered Africa, even though Europe didn't. It's not clear why Islam would have then stayed so close to the borders that it ended up with; it seems likely to me that by the 17th or 18th century, without the rise of Europe, one of the great powers of Eurasia -- be it a resurgent Islamic world, a stronger Ming or post-Ming dynasty, or some Central Asian conquerors of the fertile and now suspiciously unoccupied European lands (remember how long it took Europeans to conquer the Americas after smallpox wiped out 90% of the population?) -- would have engaged in some fairly serious African adventurism. At that point, many of the same mechanisms which led to European colonization would still have been a risk for a future Africa; for example, the temperate climate of South Africa would still be climactically isolated from the rest of the continent, and so probably not the home of powerful empires which could easily resist intruders interested in its farmland.

The second critique is that this map shows awfully sharp national borders. This is in part a critique of techniques of mapmaking itself, but I ask: would we really expect places as sparsely populated as the Kalahari (which this map shows as having names that still include clicks -- a sign that its population hasn't been massively replaced, something which I agree wouldn't be very likely) would maintain not only one, but multiple, meaningful geographically wide polities? The basic notion of having a firm-bordered area ruled by one group was, in no small part, a European import to this area: to my knowledge, no natively African empire that far south ever did that.

And having picked at two rather silly nits, I should repeat that this is quite beautiful and interesting, and you should check it out. Alternate history is fascinating.

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2014-11-13 22:18:56 (39 comments, 12 reshares, 86 +1s)Open 

+Andreas Schou gives an excellent explanation of why the neutrality of common carriers is important. 

Not that I'm suggesting that we go all Hanseatic League on people's asses or anything. I would never suggest that at all.

In the 1400s, at the height of the Hanseatic League's power, the Hansa had a simple response to any local lord that barred the passage of river trade: they'd put together an army, burn his castle, and clear the river. They'd then warn the lord not to charge extortionate tolls. The Hansa made a profit, the peasants paid less for their goods, and everyone (save the lord whose castle was burnt) won.

At the time, it was obvious that what was happening was a tariff of some sort. The lord was individually sovereign over a stretch of river, and so had the ability to charge people to cross it. Or seize cargoes. Or charge different trade ships different prices. And once you look at a lord as a governmental entity and not just a private landowner (he was, in actuality, both), it's similarly obvious that what's occurring is a restraint on trade.

But what makes lords special?

Land. Physical territory is unlike every other capital asset, in that it is entirely nonfungible. If your goods are in one place, and they need to be in another, there are a finite number of routes to get from one space to another, to get to market. In addition, there is only one ideal route; the more trade routes plotted into a single space, the more elaborate (and thus costly) they become. This allows the owners of roads, rivers, canals, ports, railroads, and other channels of trade to extract other entities' returns to innovation and trade as rents on land. They can do this through extortion, tariff, legal right, or discriminatory pricing, but every method is essentially identical in its result.

Which is a long way of getting around to Net Neutrality.

Comcast and other telecommunications companies are not "competitors" to the companies that serve over their lines. They're channels of trade, like roads, rails, and rivers. This is more literal than you would expect: if you take a cursory glance at the histories of companies like Sprint and AT&T, you'll find that they descend from entities that once owned a huge number of easement rights -- largely telegraph and railroad easements. There aren't any more of those entities, and the easement rights are rivalrous: just as you can't build a more efficient road to a city that's already wreathed in freeways taking the cheapest routes, you can't lay new cable to compete with Comcast without zigzagging around the places where line is already laid.

This is precisely why common carriage laws exist. This is why they have existed since the 1100s. When allowed discriminatory pricing power, common carriers can free-ride on others' innovation, turning public pain into private profit.  ___+Andreas Schou gives an excellent explanation of why the neutrality of common carriers is important. 

Not that I'm suggesting that we go all Hanseatic League on people's asses or anything. I would never suggest that at all.

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2014-11-13 22:11:23 (45 comments, 154 reshares, 519 +1s)Open 

Yesterday, the Philae lander successfully landed on a comet. (You can follow its landing as live-cartooned by +Randall Munroe at xkcd1446.org) It's a little bit hard to understand just how insane a task that was, so let me try to give you a bit of context.

First, there's the  problem of simply getting there. Comet 67P is about 4km across on its long side, and the Rosetta mission had to travel about 6.4 billion kilometers in order to reach it. For a sense of scale, this is sort of like being able to throw a rock to the other end of a football field and correctly hit the leftmost edge of a particular red blood cell. Not the center, mind you, but a particular dot on its surface.

But a flight like this isn't a simple throw, and the animation below shows you why. To efficiently get out to distant parts of the solar system requires a manoeuver called a "gravitationala... more »

Yesterday, the Philae lander successfully landed on a comet. (You can follow its landing as live-cartooned by +Randall Munroe at xkcd1446.org) It's a little bit hard to understand just how insane a task that was, so let me try to give you a bit of context.

First, there's the  problem of simply getting there. Comet 67P is about 4km across on its long side, and the Rosetta mission had to travel about 6.4 billion kilometers in order to reach it. For a sense of scale, this is sort of like being able to throw a rock to the other end of a football field and correctly hit the leftmost edge of a particular red blood cell. Not the center, mind you, but a particular dot on its surface.

But a flight like this isn't a simple throw, and the animation below shows you why. To efficiently get out to distant parts of the solar system requires a manoeuver called a "gravitational assist," or a "slingshot." It turns out that if you fly close by an object that's pulling you in with gravity, and you fire your engines hard and forward just as you're at the closest point, you get a much bigger speed boost than you would if you fired your engines at any other time. So interplanetary flight paths will often do things like boost into an orbit around the Sun, swing back around some other convenient planet -- sometimes the Earth, sometimes Venus, sometimes Mars -- and use it to speed up. More complicated flight paths might do more than one swing. Rosetta did four gravitational assists, flew close enough to two asteroids to take pictures, and then pulled into orbit around a comet. This had to basically be planned out from the beginning, and re-planned hastily when the original launch window slipped: it turns out that a many planet-route that you plan on one day isn't much use on a different day.

Once it encountered the comet, Rosetta put itself into orbit around it, and dropped the Philae lander. Landing was an even more interesting challenge, because comets lack the one thing that we most often use to land, namely gravity. On Earth or Mars or the Moon, if a lander drops, it will generally go "thud," and your biggest problem is not going "thud" very quickly and being smashed to bits. On a comet, if a lander drops, it will generally bounce off and then fly back into space. Worse, you can't assume that you can just hit hard and embed yourself in the surface of the comet: we had no idea what surface we would be landing on, whether it be nearly-impenetrable rock, gravel, ice, dust, level, sloped, cratered, or something completely different. 

So Philae's landing plan had a few steps. It would fly up to the comet, then fire harpoons into the surface, while firing a thruster engine to stabilize itself. It would then reel itself in, and fire that thruster to push itself hard towards the surface, and then screw itself down to the rock. The idea was that hopefully one of these would work.

In practice, the one turned out to be the screws, because both the thruster and the harpoons failed to work, for reasons still unknown. But somehow it appears to have landed anyway.

And what do we get for all of this? Our first chance to study a comet from really up close. Comets are made from the matter at the farthest reaches of our Solar System, and carry in them a snapshot of what our solar system was made of in its earliest days. 

You can see more about the mission planning here: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/The_long_trek  and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_(spacecraft) .
More about Comet 67P at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/67P/Churyumov%E2%80%93Gerasimenko .___

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2014-11-13 20:27:50 (43 comments, 8 reshares, 82 +1s)Open 

"The robots managed to appear both cute and intimidating."

Any resemblance between these robots and other roughly human-sized, pepperpot-shaped robots with an interest in "security" is purely coincidental, I promise you. And these absolutely do not have any "secret features" which might activate at a future time.

Also, that sweeping horizontal sensor thing at the top was absolutely not salvaged from Graystone Industries' scrap heap.

o.O

The robots managed to appear both cute and intimidating. This friendly-but-not-too-friendly presence is meant to serve them well in jobs like monitoring corporate and college campuses, shopping malls, and schools.___"The robots managed to appear both cute and intimidating."

Any resemblance between these robots and other roughly human-sized, pepperpot-shaped robots with an interest in "security" is purely coincidental, I promise you. And these absolutely do not have any "secret features" which might activate at a future time.

Also, that sweeping horizontal sensor thing at the top was absolutely not salvaged from Graystone Industries' scrap heap.

o.O

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2014-11-13 17:57:32 (104 comments, 24 reshares, 191 +1s)Open 

Time seems to come with its own set of rose-tinted glasses. Everywhere in the world, people remember the "good old days" selectively, leading them to dream of restoring a world that never was. In America, that's often a dream of a 1950's that never was; in much of the Eastern Bloc, that's taken the form of nostalgia for Communism.

But every so often, a physical artifact surfaces to remind us of just what those "good old days" were really like. In this case, the artifact in question is a man's Securitate dossier: the author's father spent nearly a third of his life in hellhole prisons, much of it being tortured, for crimes such as "fraudulent crossing of the border." (Which is to say, attempting to escape Romania)

The article here is a fascinating read: it's the author's account of his own life, and how her family was monitored... more »

Time seems to come with its own set of rose-tinted glasses. Everywhere in the world, people remember the "good old days" selectively, leading them to dream of restoring a world that never was. In America, that's often a dream of a 1950's that never was; in much of the Eastern Bloc, that's taken the form of nostalgia for Communism.

But every so often, a physical artifact surfaces to remind us of just what those "good old days" were really like. In this case, the artifact in question is a man's Securitate dossier: the author's father spent nearly a third of his life in hellhole prisons, much of it being tortured, for crimes such as "fraudulent crossing of the border." (Which is to say, attempting to escape Romania)

The article here is a fascinating read: it's the author's account of his own life, and how her family was monitored continuously because of her father's dissidence. ("The Securitate had their own keys to our house and ordered us not to pull the curtains in the kitchen to make it easier for them to observe us.")

If you ever wondered just how bad Communism got, this should remind you.

Via +Andres Soolo ___

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2014-11-12 21:50:33 (126 comments, 12 reshares, 134 +1s)Open 

There are a lot of answers to the headline's question, some of which have to do with Ukraine's history -- its fate under the Nazis versus its fate under the Soviets, which was even worse for the general Ukrainian population.

But the most telling answer probably came from Ostap Stakhiv of  the Svoboda party, which has used the SS Wolfsangel Rune symbol for years, and has recently added the Swastika as well: 

"The swastika is a very strong symbol, and as soon as we adopted it, we immediately grew popular among young people. Those who join us know exactly what they want, and they are ready to go to the very end."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we're seeing more and more Nazi symbols showing up on Ukrainian military forces as well; apparently the Azov Battalion is particularly known for it. This isn't too surprising, both because Nazi sympathy has been ont... more »

There are a lot of answers to the headline's question, some of which have to do with Ukraine's history -- its fate under the Nazis versus its fate under the Soviets, which was even worse for the general Ukrainian population.

But the most telling answer probably came from Ostap Stakhiv of  the Svoboda party, which has used the SS Wolfsangel Rune symbol for years, and has recently added the Swastika as well: 

"The swastika is a very strong symbol, and as soon as we adopted it, we immediately grew popular among young people. Those who join us know exactly what they want, and they are ready to go to the very end."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we're seeing more and more Nazi symbols showing up on Ukrainian military forces as well; apparently the Azov Battalion is particularly known for it. This isn't too surprising, both because Nazi sympathy has been on the rise among a wide range of European nationalist parties -- think of the Hungarian Jobbik party, or the Greek Golden Dawn, or the Swedish SD -- and also because Nazism has had historically fairly complex ties with Ukraine. You can contrast these two Wikipedia articles to get an idea:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_Ukraine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_collaborationism_with_the_Axis_powers

During WWII, the Nazis showed up in Ukraine with a plan to basically kill everyone and turn the country into additional land for the German people; however, Ukrainians were also among the most active collaborators with the Nazis as well. This rift -- a split between Ukrainians supporting the Red Army and those supporting the Third Reich -- is very much tied to the modern rift in Ukrainian society between pro- and anti-Russian alignment, and so we shouldn't be entirely surprised that anti-Russian forces are reviving Nazi iconography.

A note for commenters: 

Now, as I'm writing about the situation in Ukraine, I'm expecting all of the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian commenters to show up shortly, berating and excoriating me as being a dupe of the other side. I'll be told about the evils of Putin, how the use of Nazi iconography is really a lot more limited than I think, how it's really a lot more widespread than I think and those Nazis are why Russia needs to conquer Ukraine, and so on, and so forth. You can pretty much take all of those comments as read. None of the comments about my own alignment on this are true: I actually am not a fan of either side. This report is purely to help keep people informed about the less-obvious developments which are going on in the region, and the way in which they tie in to both local history and to broader trends in Europe right now. ___

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2014-11-12 05:18:36 (28 comments, 44 reshares, 459 +1s)Open 

There is a time for serious discussion of the critical events in our world. And there is a time for a salmon cannon. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to know the difference.

This was... just watch it... just... just watch it.___There is a time for serious discussion of the critical events in our world. And there is a time for a salmon cannon. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to know the difference.

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2014-11-12 04:29:54 (40 comments, 50 reshares, 237 +1s)Open 

The first step in attacking any complex problem is generally to spend some time thinking about why existing solutions haven't worked. In problems that involve a "deep" system, with many layers, the way you often go about that is to watch how the system works from end to end, and look for its specific failure points.

This is most important with problems involving people, and especially with problems involving people in distress. Very often, systems were designed to work correctly in the "nominal case" -- to work correctly when used as intended -- but without sufficient thought to how they would work in edge cases. Unfortunately, dealing with people who are in a heightened emotional state, whether that be from something as minor as their credit card failing to swipe or as major as having just experienced a massive trauma, is entirely a business of edge cases.
... more »

The first step in attacking any complex problem is generally to spend some time thinking about why existing solutions haven't worked. In problems that involve a "deep" system, with many layers, the way you often go about that is to watch how the system works from end to end, and look for its specific failure points.

This is most important with problems involving people, and especially with problems involving people in distress. Very often, systems were designed to work correctly in the "nominal case" -- to work correctly when used as intended -- but without sufficient thought to how they would work in edge cases. Unfortunately, dealing with people who are in a heightened emotional state, whether that be from something as minor as their credit card failing to swipe or as major as having just experienced a massive trauma, is entirely a business of edge cases.

That's why I find the efforts by the Ashland PD to solve the problem of campus rape to be particularly noteworthy. Detective Hull took a very good approach to this problem: looking through the chain of events that goes from a report to an outcome, seeing what went wrong, talking to people who have been through it to find the problems, and then building solutions to specifically address them.

While it's by no means clear that these solutions could scale to a larger environment (this article also interviews people from Brooklyn's Special Victims Unit, who discuss those issues), this represents a lot of extremely positive advances in the way cases are handled. Not only is it having a clear impact on Ashland itself, but the ideas that they have worked out here could prove extremely useful in handling a wide range of other, similar problems.

One of the core patterns that I see in Ashland's system is that it systematically puts control in the hands of the victim: they have the ability to decide if and when they want their report to be escalated from an anonymous tip to a criminal investigation, for example. Similarly, instead of the usual emphasis on grilling the reporter until they can produce a robust timeline of the events, they use what's called "trauma informed interview technique," which focuses on getting individual chunks of experience and sensory information recorded. That information can later be corroborated with other evidence to form the case that you prosecute in front of a jury, but it turns out that it's a hugely different matter to get clear and reliable information out of a traumatized person when you ask questions in a different way.

The result isn't just a higher reporting rate and better prosecutability, but perhaps more importantly, people are finding that coming to the police actually resolves their problems and gives them back a sense of control, after being in a situation which has taken their control away. With or without a prosecution, I think the key lesson is, handling this process right can make a huge difference to the people involved.

This is something that I'm going to be keeping in mind as well when developing systems to deal with people who are in bad situations. Giving people a sense of autonomy and control over their fate, for example, is important in its own right. So is letting people tell their story in their way, and not forcing them to put the story into the format most convenient for you. The challenge is often going to be how to balance the resource requirements of this with the practicalities of needing to do such things for a lot of people; that seems like an interesting and difficult challenge, and one worth pursuing.

Via +Jennifer Freeman ___

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2014-11-11 23:06:51 (19 comments, 32 reshares, 349 +1s)Open 

Your little moment of existential vending machine horror for the day.

Meanwhile .....here at my own personal pit of hell work ....

I found an image on the internet to express my feels. ___Your little moment of existential vending machine horror for the day.

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2014-11-11 17:44:39 (36 comments, 29 reshares, 245 +1s)Open 

During the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258CE), Persia became the world's great center of culture. Everything from its architecture to its poetry spread around the world, and all Islamic architecture since then is basically derived from it. But even after hundreds of years of spread, Iran itself is still famed for having some of the most beautiful of all this architecture.

I really hope that one day, politics stabilizes enough that I'll be able to go visit Iran. There are so many things there that I would love to see.

Via +Christina Greer.

20+ Mesmerizing Mosque Ceilings That Highlight The Wonders Of Islamic Architecture (20+ pics):

www.boredpanda.com/mosque-ceilings/

#architecture #architecturephotography #mosque #islam  ___During the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258CE), Persia became the world's great center of culture. Everything from its architecture to its poetry spread around the world, and all Islamic architecture since then is basically derived from it. But even after hundreds of years of spread, Iran itself is still famed for having some of the most beautiful of all this architecture.

I really hope that one day, politics stabilizes enough that I'll be able to go visit Iran. There are so many things there that I would love to see.

Via +Christina Greer.

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2014-11-11 00:07:23 (115 comments, 155 reshares, 624 +1s)Open 

Net Neutrality is a key to having an open Internet. Without it, telecom companies have the power to decide who is and isn't allowed to have a business online. (Hint: if you compete with them, the answer is "no." Hint #2: if your business is successful, expect them to ask you for a "tax" for the answer to be yes. Hint #3: expect that tax to be a significant percentage of your income.) They also get the power to do far more sinister things -- like read and modify the web pages you see in order to insert anything from tracking to ads, or even hijack your traffic outright.

Net Neutrality isn't "Obamacare for the Internet," as Senator Cruz seems to think. It's making sure that a handful of the most unpleasant bastards in the country don't have veto power over your ability to start a business or take your business to whomever you please. 
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Net Neutrality is a key to having an open Internet. Without it, telecom companies have the power to decide who is and isn't allowed to have a business online. (Hint: if you compete with them, the answer is "no." Hint #2: if your business is successful, expect them to ask you for a "tax" for the answer to be yes. Hint #3: expect that tax to be a significant percentage of your income.) They also get the power to do far more sinister things -- like read and modify the web pages you see in order to insert anything from tracking to ads, or even hijack your traffic outright.

Net Neutrality isn't "Obamacare for the Internet," as Senator Cruz seems to think. It's making sure that a handful of the most unpleasant bastards in the country don't have veto power over your ability to start a business or take your business to whomever you please. 

Fortunately, +Matthew Inman has a great explanation of what Net Neutrality actually means.

It's really about crab tacos.

(Incidentally, I was very glad to hear Obama's statement about it earlier today. "Reclassification" is a technical term, but it basically means that cable companies have to treat everyone's traffic the same, and aren't allowed to boost their friends and harm their enemies. It's the regulatory banhammer that the cable companies were being threatened with if they didn't actually regulate their own behavior the way they said they would -- which, in the Netflix incident, they decidedly didn't.)___

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2014-11-10 21:18:12 (30 comments, 46 reshares, 306 +1s)Open 

In today's ancient science news, an inscription from ancient Egypt, 3,500 years ago, is being reexamined, and it looks like rather than being a metaphorical discussion of an invasion, it may be a rather literal weather report, talking about the Thera eruption.

Thera was a large, round, Greek island, not far from Crete, the center of the first great Greek culture. The Minoan civilization boasted palaces, indoor plumbing, written language, a rich variety of festivals, and some truly beautiful art; it was one of the hubs of the Mediterranean world. 

Today, Thera is the crescent-shaped island of Santorini. It acquired this crescent shape over the course of a few seconds somewhere around 1620BCE, during a VEI (volcanic explosivity index) 6-7 eruption -- in the same category as the Tambora eruption of 1815 which created the "year without a summer." This had cascading effects... more »

In today's ancient science news, an inscription from ancient Egypt, 3,500 years ago, is being reexamined, and it looks like rather than being a metaphorical discussion of an invasion, it may be a rather literal weather report, talking about the Thera eruption.

Thera was a large, round, Greek island, not far from Crete, the center of the first great Greek culture. The Minoan civilization boasted palaces, indoor plumbing, written language, a rich variety of festivals, and some truly beautiful art; it was one of the hubs of the Mediterranean world. 

Today, Thera is the crescent-shaped island of Santorini. It acquired this crescent shape over the course of a few seconds somewhere around 1620BCE, during a VEI (volcanic explosivity index) 6-7 eruption -- in the same category as the Tambora eruption of 1815 which created the "year without a summer." This had cascading effects across the Mediterranean, although the details are still not fully understood: what we know for sure is that civilizations started collapsing shortly afterwards. Crete fell, and gradually the Mycenaean civilization rose to take its place; this was the civilization which was to (in its waning days) fight the Trojan War. 

Unsurprisingly, the ash cloud was quite visible in Egypt, and had significant consequences there.

Also interestingly for history is the fact that this tablet records that the Pharaoh Ahmose personally witnessed the event. That would mean that he lived about 50 years earlier than we had previously thought, which adjusts our chronology for the entire Egyptian world in that time period. That explains a wide variety of other inconsistencies we'd had in our historical record: for example, Ahmose's successful rise to power and defeat of the Hyksos -- Mediterranean invaders who had ruled Egypt for centuries before him -- makes a lot more sense if we realize that he rose in the immediate aftermath of the Hyksos' ports and infrastructure being destroyed by a volcano.

So for your further enjoyment, here are some places where you can read more about Minos, the Hyksos, Ahmose, and the extraordinarily large explosion which reshaped the Mediterranean world.

h/t +Gnotic Pasta.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_explosivity_index
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmose_I
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyksos___

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2014-11-10 20:28:06 (19 comments, 12 reshares, 69 +1s)Open 

This is a very interesting article on the meaning of "gamification," what it can be and what it should not be. I'm going to have to read this in depth to form a clearer opinion, but it definitely seems worth a read for those interested in such matters.

> We typically think that games are so enjoyable that people play them voluntarily. But to a certain extent, the causal arrow points in the opposite direction: Because gameplay is a voluntary activity – something we can choose to do and cease doing – it satisfies our need for autonomy, and that satisfaction we experience as “enjoyment”. Several studies have found evidence that playing video games is motivating because (among other things) it delivers strong experiences of autonomy: In games, we can choose who to be, what goals to pursue, and how to pursue them. Even more fundamentally, playing a game is an autonomous act in itself: Playing games – especially single-player games – is an activity we typically feel we do following our own interest, where we decide what to play, when, how, and how long, with no social or material pressures or consequences affixed.

In  sum,  if  gamified  systems  are  deployed  for  activities  happening within mandatory and consequential contexts (such as work or formalised  education),  they  run  the  risk  of  being  perceived  as  “electronic  whips” that  effectively  reduce  rather  than  enhance  motivation,  enjoyment,  and  performance.
...

Which brings us to the frequently raised gamification issue of “gaming the system”: Devise a game system of rules and goals, the standard version goes, and some of your users will find a way to exploit any rule loophole and min-max their way through. But following the notion of frames, this is not so much a moral failing of individual users as a systemic issue endemic to the very process of adding rules and goals: By specifying goals and rules and explicit, quantitative forms of feedback, a gamified system creates social signals that the thus-gamified activity is to be taken as a “gaming” situation, where myopic min-maxing is allowed and expected. Without a play community enacting bracketing values of harmony and fair play, game-like systems on their own exert a strong pull towards strategic action that ignores any “negative externalities” not explicitly internalised in or outlawed by the rule system. And since – following Wittgenstein –  no rule can ever fully specify how to be enacted, relying on more rules to prevent gaming the system instead of the lived values of the enacting community is a losing proposition: It merely generates more opportunities for gaming.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2466374

// This paper is fantastic!

via +Adam Gurri here: 

http://euvoluntaryexchange.blogspot.com/2014/11/i-see-you-shiver-with-procrastin.html___This is a very interesting article on the meaning of "gamification," what it can be and what it should not be. I'm going to have to read this in depth to form a clearer opinion, but it definitely seems worth a read for those interested in such matters.

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2014-11-10 02:05:12 (152 comments, 62 reshares, 772 +1s)Open 

This is what I would call a brilliant idea. This is a fitted sheet, and halfway along each edge, there's a tag that either says "SIDE" or "TOP OR BOTTOM." Given that without fail, whenever you put a sheet on a bed, you end up putting it on the wrong way first, this makes me ask two questions:

(1) Why the hell doesn't every fitted sheet do this?

(2) Would these guys be interested in manufacturing some USB connectors, while they're at it?

This is what I would call a brilliant idea. This is a fitted sheet, and halfway along each edge, there's a tag that either says "SIDE" or "TOP OR BOTTOM." Given that without fail, whenever you put a sheet on a bed, you end up putting it on the wrong way first, this makes me ask two questions:

(1) Why the hell doesn't every fitted sheet do this?

(2) Would these guys be interested in manufacturing some USB connectors, while they're at it?___

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2014-11-08 23:00:02 (64 comments, 119 reshares, 445 +1s)Open 

Twenty-five years ago tonight, Harald Jaeger stood at the fulcrum of the world.

It is all too easy for us, nearly a generation later, to think of the fall of the Berlin Wall as inevitable, as though the gradual collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union was destined to happen sooner or later. But when I remember the experience of those days – of the happy confusion and terror of that early November night, and of the year that preceded it – what sticks out the most is not inevitability, but how incredibly contingent it became on a handful of choices.

I grew up in the shadow of the Cold War. Our world was dominated by the fact that there were two powers, roughly equal in strength, each claiming the right to shape the future of the world. Each local political conflict was simply a piece in this larger game; each day brought with it the real risk of nuclear annihilation. (And itwas... more »

Twenty-five years ago tonight, Harald Jaeger stood at the fulcrum of the world.

It is all too easy for us, nearly a generation later, to think of the fall of the Berlin Wall as inevitable, as though the gradual collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union was destined to happen sooner or later. But when I remember the experience of those days – of the happy confusion and terror of that early November night, and of the year that preceded it – what sticks out the most is not inevitability, but how incredibly contingent it became on a handful of choices.

I grew up in the shadow of the Cold War. Our world was dominated by the fact that there were two powers, roughly equal in strength, each claiming the right to shape the future of the world. Each local political conflict was simply a piece in this larger game; each day brought with it the real risk of nuclear annihilation. (And it was only years later, with the publication of things like the story of Stanislav Petrov, that we discovered just how terrifyingly close we had indeed come) The USSR remained secretive, terrifying, threatening: these were still the days of political prisoners, of refuseniks, of the crushing of dissent.

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, there were suddenly new words on Russian lips: Glasnost (“openness”), perestroika. (“Reform”) The next few years were a steady mixture of hope and uncertainty, since nobody knew what these terms would actually prove to mean. Would dissent be allowed? Apparently, sometimes. Would the East and the West achieve some kind of rapprochement? Perhaps; a day of open dialogue and communication would be followed by the collapse of the nuclear summit at Reykjavík, negotiations coming to nothing. Gorbachev would allow some industry to privatize, and it would be unclear if the new system was working or not; hard-liners would grumble, and we all remembered that in the Kremlin, murder was a perfectly accepted means of both career advancement and the selection of political direction.

But over four years, we started to really hope that Gorbachev not only meant what he said, but that he had the capability to gradually pull the Soviets to greater openness. The possibility of a world out of the shadow of terror became real.

It came to a head in 1989. We first started to see it in Europe, where (Eastern Bloc) Hungary started to demilitarize its borders with (Western Bloc) Austria. We saw it in Poland, where despite the imprisonment of many of its leaders, the Solidarity movement started to make public demands to make openness and freedom real within its government. (And how ironic, that one of Communism’s most successful foes was an independent labor union!) 

And it was quickly clear that the demands were now real enough that governments could no longer simply let them quietly happen, answer some and defer or ignore others. The gradual progress of the past few years was turning into a tide that the Communist world had to either yield to or destroy. 

The first crisis came in China, with the April 15th death of Hu Yaobang, former General Secretary and a noted reformer. Students gathered in Beijing’s central square to mourn him; the mourning turned into protest, demanding greater government accountability, freedom of the press, and worker control over industry. At first, the government allowed it to progress, as similar protests in Europe had; but then the students started to be joined by workers, and the regime saw a true threat to its existence. On June 4th, the government sent in the tanks, and the Tiananmen Square protests were crushed. Somewhere between 500 and 1,000 protesters were killed; unknown others were sent to labor camps or prisons. Today, many of the younger generation in China are not even aware of these protests: like the failure of the Cultural Revolution, this became one of the things that was “too dangerous to know about,” and the protests, and the nascent attempt at greater freedom, was never mentioned again by those who wished to not have their families disappear.

The second crisis came only weeks later, as the fiftieth anniversary of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and the Nazis, partitioning Europe between the two powers, approached. Remembrance days had been planned across the West for this day, and in the three Baltic republics of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – pro-independence movements started to make a stand. On August 8th, the Estonian government tried to limit the voting rights of immigrants, specifically Russian immigrants. (The steady moving of ethnic Russians into potentially restive regions of the Soviet Union, from Estonia to Chechnya, had been policy since Stalin; it served the same role as the moving of Protestants into Ireland by the English, or the movement of Han Chinese into Xinjiang today, to create a “reality on the ground” of a population loyal to the central state which had rights which the central state could then protect by force) This led to mass protests by Russian workers; Moscow stood ready to defend their rights, and East Germany and Romania started to offer troops.

Fighting did not start, however. This was the most serious challenge which had ever been posted to Gorbachev’s vision of a free and open Soviet world: could such freedom countenance the possibility of even direct challenges to Russian rule? It appeared that Gorbachev wanted to find every opportunity to make the answer “yes,” and to find a peaceful resolution. On August 18th, the Soviets officially admitted (for the first time!) to the reality of the pact and its secret protocols, a major concession. But it wasn’t enough: on August 22nd, the Lithuanian government stated that the Soviet occupation of their country was therefore illegal, and on August 23rd, the 50th anniversary day, two million people joined in a human chain across all three republics to protest Soviet rule.

The Baltic crisis dominated the news for the next several months. Gorbachev continued to search for ways to come to a mutual solution: increased autonomy, perhaps, further recognition of the independent authority of the SSR’s. He wanted to keep the Soviet Union itself together; it was clear that a failure to do so could cause a collapse of his government, and a seizure of power by the hard-liners who wanted a return to Stalin’s system. 

In early November, the news story everyone was watching was this: satellite photos showed Soviet armored divisions massing on the Estonian border.

When I began this story by saying that the fall of Communism was by no means assured, this is the world I wanted to remind you of. Nobody outside the Kremlin knew the economic stability of the Soviet Union for sure. We had perpetual word of increased reform and openness in the USSR, but we had seen such small changes before, only to see them crushed back by force when they went too far: everyone remembered Hungary in 1956, or Prague in 1968. (How many people today realize that the name “Arab Spring” is a deliberate callback to that “Prague Spring,” or how well the Prague Spring ended?) And in the past few months, we had seen China crush dissent as brutally as anyone ever had, and now Soviet divisions seemed primed to invade the Baltics again and bring the reform project to an end.

Even as this happened, the rest of Europe was not quiet. One June 4th – the same day as the Tiananmen Square massacre – Poland had its first semi-free elections, with Solidarity winning nearly every seat it was allowed to run for. On August 19th, Hungary had effectively loosened its border with Austria, and 13,000 East German tourists escaped to the West. Further similar incidents were happening elsewhere, and protests began to start up across East Germany, chanting “Wir wollen raus!" (“We want out!”). East Germany’s Chancellor resigned in October, and his successor was left trying to manage an increasingly complex problem. Half a million people were demonstrating in the Alexanderplatz by November 4th.

Taking its cue from Moscow, the Politburo seemed to be looking for a compromise, while keeping its military option open: but history is built out of the mistakes of individuals, not just the grand strategies of leaders. On November 9th, the East German Politburo came up with some new regulations easing the rules about exit to the West. The party spokesman, Günter Schabowski, had been scheduled to give a press conference that day, and he received a brief note about this change just before – but not having been at the meeting, and not knowing anything more than this somewhat unclear message, all he could do was simply read the announcement aloud. When the press asked him when the new regulations would take effect, he hesitated for a few seconds, re-read the note, and responded: “As  far as I know effective immediately, without delay.”

The word spread like wildfire. West German news carried the story, and radio waves not understanding political boundaries, this meant that East Germans heard the news as well: “This is a historic day. East Germany has announced that, starting immediately, its borders are open to everyone. The GDR is opening its borders ... the gates in the Berlin Wall stand open.” The news spread back to the Politburo as well, much to their terror, as whatever it was that they had intended, this was most definitely not it. But as they were trying to find one another and figure out what to do, tens of thousands of people approached the Wall.

Harald Jaeger was a lieutenant-colonel in the Stasi, and that night he was in command of the 46 men guarding the Bornholmer Straße border crossing. As an increasingly angry mob appeared, and closed in to within the range at which he would normally have to open fire, he called his superiors for instructions, and was met with confusion. Stamp the passports of the most vocal agitators with a “no entry” pass, he was told, effectively revoking their citizenship. No, don’t do that. Shoot them. Don’t use force. Wait for instructions. Sort it out for yourself.

That was the only real order he got: “sort it out for yourself.” The reason – as it gradually became clear to him and to everyone else – was that nobody had any idea what to do. The German Politburo was in a panic, and had called back to Moscow for help; Moscow’s Politburo was still arguing. Everyone seemed to hope that the problem would just go away, and nobody was willing to give a clear order. The entire command hierarchy of the Soviet Union had effectively ground to a halt.

Jaeger was the one who did not have the luxury of trying to sort things out. He had 20,000 people right there demanding to be let through the gate right now. And he had to make a choice.

I often wonder what would have happened had Jaeger taken the other option: he could have easily ordered his men to begin arresting people, to shoot anyone who approached into the secure zone nearest the wall, and called for armed reinforcements. They would not have been long in coming; the Soviet military apparatus had been preparing for such an eventuality for months, after all. I think that the East Germans would have been able to quash the protests there as effectively as the Chinese had months earlier, and this would in turn have forced Moscow’s hand in the Baltics. The tanks would have rolled in, and the USSR’s brief flirtation with openness would have come to an abrupt end. Gorbachev would not have lasted much longer, of course; he would have either resigned or been resigned, and his successor would have started a swift march back to the Soviet Union of the 1950’s. How long it would have lasted, and what our world would look like today, is hard to imagine; but the Cold War would have lasted into the year 2000 at least, and the politics which shape our world today would be replaced by something wholly different. It would certainly have been the safer choice for Jaeger personally: for a Stasi officer to do such a thing could easily be marked as treason, and end with him in the basement of Lubyanka.

But this was not the choice that Jaeger made. At 11:30 PM Central European Time on November 9th, Jaeger ordered his troops to open the Wall.

I remember watching this on the news as it happened. The first thought in my mind – and in millions of other minds, I’m certain – was Oh my God, it’s over. The Soviet Union, the “Evil Empire” of Reagan’s speeches, had stared down the hard choice between repression and surrender, of the admission that maybe its core ideas weren’t actually going to work, and somehow, incomprehensibly, it had chosen the latter. It had not surrendered to tank divisions or nuclear weapons, but simply to the wishes of its own people, and we all knew that there was no turning back.

The first news stories started to come in from West Berlin: families reunited after 45 years. East Germans wandering, shell-shocked, through West German supermarkets: they had always been told that under capitalism the West Germans were even worse off than they were, how was there so much food there? There were bananas! (Bananas were, apparently, one of the biggest shocks) And from both sides of the city, people started to descend on the Wall, and the largest party in the history of our lives began.

At some point that evening, people clearly decided that if they were going to be allowed to walk back and forth, they clearly didn’t really need a wall there, and so people started to show up with sledgehammers and pick axes. While the rest of the Wall wasn’t torn down for several more months, by the time the Sun rose on Berlin the next morning, that entire central section of it was gone, smashed and carted off as if it had never been there.

But the moment I remember the most was when a small West German girl, no more than six years old, was walking along the Wall and handing out yellow flowers to the East German soldiers who were guarding it. The cameras caught a particular pair of them. One was clearly terrified and bewildered; he knew that, only a few hours ago, had anyone approached this close to the wall it would have been his duty to shoot them, including that girl, and now he did not know what was happening. The other, though, was not confused at all: he took the flower and put it in his uniform’s lapel, smiling like a new father. 

The end of Communism was written into the events of that day. A few weeks later, Poland held elections for its presidency, and Lech Wałęsa, leader of Solidarity, was elected. Calls for elections spread across Eastern Europe, and soon only Romania, home of one of Communism’s most brutal dictators, stood firm against any possibility of reform. That came to an abrupt end on December 17th, when a popular revolution in the style of France in 1789 deposed Ceaușescu. He and his family were taken out and shot a week later. Gorbachev worked with the newly independent Eastern Bloc and the SSR’s to build a new world, even as Soviet infrastructure continued to collapse; he was deposed by a hard-liner coup in August of 1991, but the coup failed when the Army refused to fire on protesters. Gorbachev returned to power two days later, and announced the plan to wind down the Soviet Union, and at midnight, December 31st, 1991, the Hammer and Sickle came down over the Kremlin for the last time, to be replaced by the flag of a newly independent Russia.

This day, a quarter of a century ago, reshaped our entire world. It could have gone incredibly differently, and the world we live in today would be nearly unrecognizeable. Historical forces came together to create a situation of uncertainty, but in a situation of uncertainty the actions of single individuals are greatly amplified. A single gunshot, a single different word at a press conference, could have redirected the flow of millions of people. We are fortunate that the man who stood at the fulcrum of the world that day, the lieutenant colonel who today runs a newspaper stand, chose well.

––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

The above account is necessarily incomplete; the full events of 1989, and the years leading up to it, would require several volumes to explain. If you want to read some more about this, the following can be good places to start: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Way
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Wall
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_J%C3%A4ger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_%28Polish_trade_union%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_Ceau%C8%99escu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1989

This is an excellent documentary about the fall of the Berlin Wall, including interviews with many of the key players: Berlin History - The Fall of the Wall - BBC Our World Full Documentary

And if you want a longer documentary about the whole history of the Berlin Wall, including the various escape attempts, try this one: The Berlin Wall : Documentary on the Berlin Wall from Construction to Destruction___

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2014-11-08 06:14:52 (55 comments, 144 reshares, 352 +1s)Open 

This is an incredibly interesting and potentially important bit of research. A few years ago, the neural connectome of the worm C. elegans was mapped -- that is, we have a map of all 302 neurons in this worm, and how they're connected to one another and to things like muscles and sense organs. +Timothy Busbice's team used this information to make a simple computer simulation of the worm's neurons. (I'm saying "neurons" instead of "brain" because this worm doesn't actually have a discrete brain; it's a simple enough creature that its neurons are just spread throughout its body) 

They connected their simulation to a simple robot. The worm's "nose touch" sense neurons were connected to a sonar sensor on the robot, so the robot coming within 20cm of an object will give the neurons the signals that a worm would get if it touched something.T... more »

This is an incredibly interesting and potentially important bit of research. A few years ago, the neural connectome of the worm C. elegans was mapped -- that is, we have a map of all 302 neurons in this worm, and how they're connected to one another and to things like muscles and sense organs. +Timothy Busbice's team used this information to make a simple computer simulation of the worm's neurons. (I'm saying "neurons" instead of "brain" because this worm doesn't actually have a discrete brain; it's a simple enough creature that its neurons are just spread throughout its body) 

They connected their simulation to a simple robot. The worm's "nose touch" sense neurons were connected to a sonar sensor on the robot, so the robot coming within 20cm of an object will give the neurons the signals that a worm would get if it touched something. The motor neurons which control the 95 body muscles of the worm were instead hooked up to a computer simulation of the muscles which boils down their actions to simple "squinch left" and "squinch right" motions, which were translated into the motions of two wheels.

When it was wired together and powered up, the robot started to show clear worm-like behaviors, as you can watch in this video (CElegans Neurorobotics): it could sense and avoid simple obstacles and head towards food.

This simulation is currently incredibly crude. The simulation of the neurons themselves, for example, only allows one kind of "connection" between neurons; real neurons can interact in a few ways, chemically, electrically, and so on. One of the team's next tasks is to make that simulation more realistic. Another issue may be to give it a better robotic analogue, so that they can replace (for example) the crude mapping of motor neurons to wheels with a more intricate mapping to actual muscle behaviors and the way real worms move. And of course, there are other kinds of interaction which this doesn't yet capture at all -- for example, the hormone-mediated interactions which connect the neurons to the worm's digestive system.

However, even in its very crude initial state, this research tells us some very important things.

First and foremost, the simple simulation of neurons themselves is enough to mimic basic worm behaviors. This is important because, while we've always theorized that mind and behavior come from our neurons, and not from any additional source, this is the acid test which we've never been able to do before: strip away everything but the neurons, and see if pure neural connections can really explain behavior.

Second, this is a baseline system which can easily be expanded to have all of the additional details which we've been lacking, and C. elegans is a simple enough creature that it's quite feasible to think that we'll be able to map and simulate all of the requisite parts -- not just a crude simulation. We could expect that this system will ultimately grow to be a complete enough simulation that, if it were to fail to mimic any observed behavior of the actual worm, we would have thereby discovered an important part of how biology works which we had not yet mapped. That, in turn, can drive discovery of more mechanisms, and ultimately we expect that we should be able to make a 100% mimic of the worm. If we can't, then there's a major discovery right there.

Most importantly, this sort of simulation allows us to understand the actual workings of biology much more deeply. For example, one thing we already know about the connectome is that it is highly recursive: that is, neural connections loop back on each other extensively. This is different from how we normally build neural nets in AI research, and one of its consequences is that once signals start coming in to the worm's brain, persistent patterns start getting set up in it: things which we can consider to be the precursors of memory and consciousness. 

A simulation allows us to make changes and understand their effects. By adding and removing connections, for example, we can start to learn why the brain is wired the way it is, and what the ways are in which it can fail. (Which can have significant medical consequences!) Likewise, as our simulation of C. elegans becomes more and more sophisticated, we can look at every aspect of biology and how it influences the system as a whole.

Over time, of course, we could even expect to simulate far more complex creatures. Mapping the connectome of more complex creatures -- insects, small mammals, and even humans -- is a work in progress. We are unlikely to be able to map the complete network of all of the biology of a complex creature in the near future, but this work on C. elegans should be able to hint to us which aspects of the biology are most important to map correctly in order to understand the function of mind.

It is not at all out of the question that within the next decade, we will have a meaningful simulation of the mind of a rat or a similarly complex creature. This would be a major work, of course, of a complexity on a par with any of the major scientific efforts of our time, but its impact on our world could be profound -- from the perspective of understanding ourselves, from the perspective of medicine, and even from the perspective of artificial intelligence.

(Or, I suppose, from the perspective of being to upload our brains into computers in a meaningful way, which is certainly an interesting approach to the problem of medicine and extending life.)

The projects in this field, including large individual efforts like the Human Connectome Project (humanconnectomeproject.org), which is trying to map the connectome of the human brain at MRI granularity, and data informatics efforts like the Open Connectome Project (openconnectomeproject.org), which aims to pull together and make available a wide variety of connectome data, are among the most interesting directions in science today. 

h/t +Jeff Dean.___

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2014-11-07 20:31:14 (64 comments, 10 reshares, 109 +1s)Open 

Something wonderful and disturbing for those of you who remember terrible cartoons of the 1980's: five minutes' worth of (hilarious) short new episodes of Wonder Twins, which capture all of the things that were profoundly awful about them.

"Shape of.... a pterodactyl! Form of.... CRAP!!"

(Also, am I the only one who persistently mixes up this, Captain Planet, and He-Man in memory? Some kind of overlap between "By the power of Greyskull!," "By our powers combined!," and the "bang-your-rings-together" gesture used to activate kind of dubious superpowers.)

Something wonderful and disturbing for those of you who remember terrible cartoons of the 1980's: five minutes' worth of (hilarious) short new episodes of Wonder Twins, which capture all of the things that were profoundly awful about them.

"Shape of.... a pterodactyl! Form of.... CRAP!!"

(Also, am I the only one who persistently mixes up this, Captain Planet, and He-Man in memory? Some kind of overlap between "By the power of Greyskull!," "By our powers combined!," and the "bang-your-rings-together" gesture used to activate kind of dubious superpowers.)___

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2014-11-06 02:48:23 (111 comments, 11 reshares, 257 +1s)Open 

Dear sir who shall remain nameless, whose code I just spent an hour dealing with: You are making great progress on your quest to become an idiot-savant. You're halfway there.

Dear sir who shall remain nameless, whose code I just spent an hour dealing with: You are making great progress on your quest to become an idiot-savant. You're halfway there.___

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2014-11-04 21:38:56 (41 comments, 110 reshares, 282 +1s)Open 

Here's an interesting site, via +Laura Gibbs: it uses Google Translate to show you the translations of any word across Europe. This is a great way to see the major linguistic groups in Europe, especially the Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages. Very "modern" words, like "microprocessor," are nearly identical in all countries, having been borrowed from a single source.

Words which represent things that would have been present when the speakers of various other languages invaded their current homes, such as "cow" instead break up along language family lines; you can see all the variations on Latin "vaca" in Romance-speaking areas, variations on "korova" in Slavic-speaking areas, and variants on proto-Germanic "kwon" in Germanic-speaking areas. 

With very old words, you start to get into the subject of historical... more »

Here's an interesting site, via +Laura Gibbs: it uses Google Translate to show you the translations of any word across Europe. This is a great way to see the major linguistic groups in Europe, especially the Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages. Very "modern" words, like "microprocessor," are nearly identical in all countries, having been borrowed from a single source.

Words which represent things that would have been present when the speakers of various other languages invaded their current homes, such as "cow" instead break up along language family lines; you can see all the variations on Latin "vaca" in Romance-speaking areas, variations on "korova" in Slavic-speaking areas, and variants on proto-Germanic "kwon" in Germanic-speaking areas. 

With very old words, you start to get into the subject of historical linguistics, and in fact these deviation patterns turn into a way to know where and when various people split up: if they have the same word for "cow," for example, you can reasonably believe that they were in contact with each other at a time when cows were common enough things to get a common name. However, this is a subtle business: you have to understand how word-sounds evolve over time, and deal with the ways in which sometimes a less-common word for something becomes the dominant word in an area. For example, the word for "dog" in almost all Germanic languages is a variation on "hound," coming ultimately from proto-Germanic "hundas" and proto-Indo-European "kuntas." But English took the word "docga," a name for a particular kind of dog, and by the 16th century this had become the general word for the species.

If you want to learn more about historical linguistics -- it's a completely fascinating subject -- John McWhorter's lectures, "The Story of Human Language" (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3328218-the-story-of-human-language) can be a great place to understand not only that, but the basic ideas of all of linguistics. ___

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2014-11-04 18:28:45 (56 comments, 7 reshares, 184 +1s)Open 

I'm not sure if this falls under "perverse incentives" or "this is actually what they were hoping would happen." Apparently authorities across China have been wanting to free up space used for cemeteries to use the land for other purposes -- "farming or development," the article says, which I translate as "something that would enrich said officials." So officials in Guangdong province apparently had a quota for grave conversions, and in order to meet this quota, they hired grave-robbers. 

Grave-robbers with muscle, apparently, as they were robbing graves which were being actively guarded by the families.

Don't you miss the good old days, when people were simply robbing graves in order to supply anatomists, meat pies, or Cybermen?

I'm not sure if this falls under "perverse incentives" or "this is actually what they were hoping would happen." Apparently authorities across China have been wanting to free up space used for cemeteries to use the land for other purposes -- "farming or development," the article says, which I translate as "something that would enrich said officials." So officials in Guangdong province apparently had a quota for grave conversions, and in order to meet this quota, they hired grave-robbers. 

Grave-robbers with muscle, apparently, as they were robbing graves which were being actively guarded by the families.

Don't you miss the good old days, when people were simply robbing graves in order to supply anatomists, meat pies, or Cybermen?___

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2014-11-04 18:01:37 (137 comments, 5 reshares, 242 +1s)Open 

Did you?

Did you?___

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2014-10-31 21:42:57 (54 comments, 23 reshares, 192 +1s)Open 

+John Lieske hits it right on the nose. Ebola is a major danger in Sierra Leone and Liberia right now. If we don't want it to become a major danger in the rest of the world, we need our best and our bravest to go fight it now. 

Whenever any of our people go off into danger -- whether it be to fight a war or to stop an epidemic -- we worry. But if we allow our fear to hold us back from acting, all of our worst fears may come true. Courage, now, and our full support for those who are going into the field -- in everything from money and supplies to our personal support from them before they go, when they are away, and when they return -- is what will make the difference.

The quarantines people are proposing won't do anything to keep us safe; Ebola is, thank all the gods, hard to catch. (Unlike a cold or flu, which is most contagious in the days before you show symptoms, Ebola is onlyc... more »

Choice quotes: In response to questions from Reuters, the group said it is discussing whether to shorten some assignments as a result of restrictions imposed by some states since one of its American doctors, Craig Spencer, was hospitalized in New York City last week with the virus.
...
 
Some MSF workers are delaying their return home after their assignments and staying in Europe for 21 days, Ebola's maximum incubation period, "in order to avoid facing rising stigmatization at home and possible quarantine," Delaunay said in her statement.
 
"Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field," she said.
 
That last line is important. Do you know what happens when doctors and other medical talent are being discouraged from helping out in areas where the problem is worst? The "areas where the problem is worst" eventually becomes "everywhere."
 
Did you know that, for more than 99.99% of the United States right now, there is a greater risk of contracting something like Cholera or the freaking bubonic plague than you do of contracting ebola? I live in Dallas, and even I still have a greater chance of catching something from the Middle Ages than I do of catching ebola. It's all about having a realistic measurement of risk.
 
No one is saying that ebola isn't dangerous. No one is arguing that the agencies meant to fight the spread of disease don't have some hard work ahead. But none of that, and I mean none of that, translates directly to being an imminent threat to public health and safety right now. The agencies who are fighting infectious outbreaks do all they can before the danger is imminent because once an outbreak reaches that point it's exponentially harder to fight. The general public behaving like the threat is imminent also makes the problem harder to fight. So please, people: stahp. Listen to the professionals, absolutely. Listen to those whose job it is to keep things from spreading. That's why it's their job.
 
But please stop listening to panicky fearmongers on cable and network news. Please stop listening to politician who seem to rely on fear and uncertainty to get off their asses. Please stop listening to commentators who are playing to your worries and doubt to keep you listening/watching. All of those people are making things worse, not better. ___+John Lieske hits it right on the nose. Ebola is a major danger in Sierra Leone and Liberia right now. If we don't want it to become a major danger in the rest of the world, we need our best and our bravest to go fight it now. 

Whenever any of our people go off into danger -- whether it be to fight a war or to stop an epidemic -- we worry. But if we allow our fear to hold us back from acting, all of our worst fears may come true. Courage, now, and our full support for those who are going into the field -- in everything from money and supplies to our personal support from them before they go, when they are away, and when they return -- is what will make the difference.

The quarantines people are proposing won't do anything to keep us safe; Ebola is, thank all the gods, hard to catch. (Unlike a cold or flu, which is most contagious in the days before you show symptoms, Ebola is only contagious after you start showing symptoms, and the more symptoms you show, the more contagious you are. That's why handling the dead is the most dangerous part of the work.) 

What the quarantines do do is frighten off the doctors and nurses who could be going into the field, knowing that they'll be imprisoned and treated with fear on their return. 

Don't do this to them. They need our courage, just like we need theirs.

Also, if you want to do something and are not a doctor or nurse: consider donating to MSF. (http://www.msf.org/donate) They're the craziest batch of people you'll ever meet, the medical team that will be in the places that nobody else dares, and they make a huge difference on the ground. I give to them every year.

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2014-10-31 19:05:23 (44 comments, 39 reshares, 149 +1s)Open 

SpaceShipTwo went down today during a test flight over the Mojave Desert. We're still awaiting further details, but we are getting reports from the highway patrol that one of the pilots was killed, the other severely injured. +Virgin Galactic will have a statement soon.

SpaceShipTwo went down today during a test flight over the Mojave Desert. We're still awaiting further details, but we are getting reports from the highway patrol that one of the pilots was killed, the other severely injured. +Virgin Galactic will have a statement soon.___

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2014-10-31 17:28:02 (59 comments, 40 reshares, 206 +1s)Open 

"The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickenshit."

This quote from an unnamed senior US official leads Goldberg's story about the current state in US-Israeli relationships, and the problem with this quote is that it's extremely, sadly, accurate. Goldberg's discussion of Netanyahu's leadership is scathing and detailed, and is right on the mark: he's a man who is willing to engage in as much violence as he needs (whether it be shelling the crap out of Gaza, or forcing people out to build settlements) so long as there's no risk, and who can be counted on to shy away from anything actually risky. He's encouraged and amplified the worst actors in Israeli society, and done everything he could to let the discourse in the country ride off the rails to the right, because he knows that the right wing -- including the quasi-fascist parties that people like his Foreign... more »

"The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickenshit."

This quote from an unnamed senior US official leads Goldberg's story about the current state in US-Israeli relationships, and the problem with this quote is that it's extremely, sadly, accurate. Goldberg's discussion of Netanyahu's leadership is scathing and detailed, and is right on the mark: he's a man who is willing to engage in as much violence as he needs (whether it be shelling the crap out of Gaza, or forcing people out to build settlements) so long as there's no risk, and who can be counted on to shy away from anything actually risky. He's encouraged and amplified the worst actors in Israeli society, and done everything he could to let the discourse in the country ride off the rails to the right, because he knows that the right wing -- including the quasi-fascist parties that people like his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have been stirring up -- are a reliable source of votes. And he's created an environment in which nobody feels like they can have any sort of discourse around "wait a moment, is what we're doing actually right, or a good idea?" without being branded a traitor. 

And the worst of it is, Netanyahu has been able to get away with it so far, because he's managed to create a situation inside Israel where the voting public is largely insulated from, and as a result unaware of, the consequences of his actions. The war with Gaza? People were living in terror of missile attacks for months, waking up every night to run to shelters as the sirens went off, but almost nobody in Israel was actually hurt. Fear, but no damage. The collapse of relationships with the US? People are angry and annoyed, but it reads to the Israeli public like the usual failure of communication -- and the average person gets swamped with the official line that it's because Obama doesn't understand the realities of the Middle East. The idea that Netanyahu has been systematically sabotaging the relationship doesn't show up.

(And incidentally, this should surprise nobody. This is exactly what Netanyahu was like the first time he was PM, and it's exactly what he's always been like.)

I put part of the blame for this on Netanyahu and his allies, and part of it on the pusillanimous Israeli media, which has been persistently unwilling to challenge the official line. During the latest Gaza war, where were the articles asking questions about its morality? Where were the interviews with Israeli officials -- to say nothing of Palestinians -- asking about the consequences of this war for Gaza, for the long term of peace, for anything other than the rate of rocket attacks by Hamas? Where, now, are the articles asking hard questions about settlement policy?

Unfortunately, there is a nasty right wing of Israeli politics, created and coddled by cynical opportunists like Netanyahu and Lieberman, which has managed to squelch and marginalize dissent. The few news outlets which question them have themselves been marginalized, as the public is too afraid to question the story.

When everything is promoted to an existential crisis, total bastards can get away with anything.

Those of you who have heard me speak about Israel in the past know that I'm no bleeding heart. I don't believe for one second in the good intentions of Hamas, or that they have any interest in ever being a partner for peace. I know damned well that there are genuine existential threats out there, that the war in Syria and Iraq is a nonstop factory of possible lethal spillovers, that the Palestinian leadership is ultimately at least as cynical and violent as the Israeli leadership.

But I do believe in the good intentions of the people as a whole, both Israeli and Palestinian, and I do not believe that the state of perpetual war is inevitable. In fact, I would say that the transformations of the Middle East in the past several years -- the civil war in Syria, the rise of ISIS reminding most of the Arab states that supporting extremist groups is actually a terrible idea, and so on -- could have easily been an opportunity to really restructure Israel's position in the Middle East as well, and build a new alliance that would have ensured the country's long-term stability and a set of meaningful accords with its surviving neighbors. But doing this would have required a meaningful accord with the Palestinians to begin with, and this administration lacked the courage or the inclination to make even the slightest concession or change. Rather, they aligned themselves with the mob, with angry masses looking for someone else to blame, and cheerfully build Apartheid, 2.0. 

I'm not, as usual, feeling very hopeful about this situation. The US-Israel relationship has (IMO) been key to maintaining a lot of stability in the Middle East, and it's far more critical to Israel than the Israeli public seems willing to admit. Yet especially with the coming US elections, that relationship seems primed to degrade even further. Goldberg suggests several consequences which may come of this; I suspect he may be right. The longer-term results remain to be seen.

(Incidentally, another good report about the current situation in Jerusalem is here: http://www.vox.com/2014/10/30/7131507/jerusalem-is-on-fire-why)___

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2014-10-29 20:32:55 (50 comments, 29 reshares, 184 +1s)Open 

Have you ever asked yourself the basic question, Why are goblins so terrible at everything? Presumably the answer to this is "no" unless you've regularly played a fairly old-school edition of D&D or M:tG or some other game that uses goblins as your sort of generic, low-level antagonist which you're supposed to rob, pillage, enslave, or otherwise reenact colonial history upon. But if you have, you may have asked yourself: in a world so red in tooth and claw, how the heck does a species known for its inventions blowing up, for being eaten by every predator in sight, and for nonetheless being mindlessly aggressive in battle actually survive?

I am grateful that Max Gladstone has analyzed this through the lens of evolutionary biology, and revealed to us the terrifying truth:

Goblins are a fungus.

Via +Jordan Peacock.

Have you ever asked yourself the basic question, Why are goblins so terrible at everything? Presumably the answer to this is "no" unless you've regularly played a fairly old-school edition of D&D or M:tG or some other game that uses goblins as your sort of generic, low-level antagonist which you're supposed to rob, pillage, enslave, or otherwise reenact colonial history upon. But if you have, you may have asked yourself: in a world so red in tooth and claw, how the heck does a species known for its inventions blowing up, for being eaten by every predator in sight, and for nonetheless being mindlessly aggressive in battle actually survive?

I am grateful that Max Gladstone has analyzed this through the lens of evolutionary biology, and revealed to us the terrifying truth:

Goblins are a fungus.

Via +Jordan Peacock.___

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2014-10-29 19:06:06 (123 comments, 61 reshares, 462 +1s)Open 

Real QA engineers will also order 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 beers, μπύρα, בירה, , and 🍺, just to be safe.

QA Engineer walks into a bar ...___Real QA engineers will also order 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 beers, μπύρα, בירה, , and 🍺, just to be safe.

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2014-10-27 20:22:03 (49 comments, 10 reshares, 81 +1s)Open 

The Trust Project, spearheaded by +Richard Gingras and Sally Lehrman, is a campaign to improve the ethics and standards of journalism across the board, and here +Jeff Jarvis adds his own suggestions. I think this is a set of fantastic ideas and we should work to see them implemented everywhere.

While I'm not a professional journalist myself, I do write for a public audience, and I'm going to spend some time with their recommendations to see how I can implement them for myself as well. These are a standard towards which we should all strive.

(For those who have been looking for something serious about ethics in journalism: here's a great place to start)

Building trust in news. Great to see +Jeff Jarvis  continue the Trust Project conversation and add to it. Let's move it forward.___The Trust Project, spearheaded by +Richard Gingras and Sally Lehrman, is a campaign to improve the ethics and standards of journalism across the board, and here +Jeff Jarvis adds his own suggestions. I think this is a set of fantastic ideas and we should work to see them implemented everywhere.

While I'm not a professional journalist myself, I do write for a public audience, and I'm going to spend some time with their recommendations to see how I can implement them for myself as well. These are a standard towards which we should all strive.

(For those who have been looking for something serious about ethics in journalism: here's a great place to start)

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2014-10-27 01:50:39 (111 comments, 33 reshares, 265 +1s)Open 

I am really disappointed that this is not an actual book. I would keep it on my desk at work, just to alarm the new people.

The source is here, and this entire blog is full of awesome: http://scarfolk.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/ritual-invasive-mind-control-mayflower.html

___I am really disappointed that this is not an actual book. I would keep it on my desk at work, just to alarm the new people.

The source is here, and this entire blog is full of awesome: http://scarfolk.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/ritual-invasive-mind-control-mayflower.html

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2014-10-26 21:36:14 (79 comments, 25 reshares, 203 +1s)Open 

This is a rather strange op-ed, and I'm not really sure what I think about it. Charles C. W. Cooke is a noted columnist from the right, a staff writer for the National Review. (And I mean quite far right, in that there have been some questions about his association with Holocaust denial in the past) And today he's writing an op-ed in the New York Times about gun rights: he argues that in America, black people have historically not had equal access to guns, even (especially) when these guns were their sole means of defense against white violence, and the current extreme whiteness and implicit racism of the NRA (he calls out Wayne LaPierre in particular) is pushing even further against them.

What's interesting about this piece is that it isn't reading to me like a standard let's-troll-everyone piece. He's actually written a fairly serious and honest appraisal of the history... more »

This is a rather strange op-ed, and I'm not really sure what I think about it. Charles C. W. Cooke is a noted columnist from the right, a staff writer for the National Review. (And I mean quite far right, in that there have been some questions about his association with Holocaust denial in the past) And today he's writing an op-ed in the New York Times about gun rights: he argues that in America, black people have historically not had equal access to guns, even (especially) when these guns were their sole means of defense against white violence, and the current extreme whiteness and implicit racism of the NRA (he calls out Wayne LaPierre in particular) is pushing even further against them.

What's interesting about this piece is that it isn't reading to me like a standard let's-troll-everyone piece. He's actually written a fairly serious and honest appraisal of the history of black gun ownership in the US and its relationship to racial violence, from the 18th century to the rise of gun control laws in the 1980's. He even ends with this:

"[T]he famous photograph of [Malcolm X] standing at the window, rifle in hand, insisting on black liberation “by any means necessary,” is about as American as it gets. It should be celebrated just like the “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flag. By not making that connection, the movement is losing touch with one of its greatest triumphs and forsaking a prime illustration of why its cause is so just and so crucial."

What's fascinating about this is that we are used to seeing gun ownership arguments in the US ultimately have a very strong racial subtext, of "white people need guns to protect themselves from black people and keep the black people in line." This isn't even me saying that: Cooke's op-ed is quite explicit about it as well, and any history book that covers the history of either Reconstruction, the post-Reconstruction era, or the history of guns in the US will tell you about that in great detail. 

Here we're seeing a pro-gun argument from a different side. In fact, this argument feels exactly like something Huey Newton would have written 40 years ago. (Well, modulo a rather different writing style) 

So I'm not sharing this to either advocate or oppose its view, but to note that we're seeing a branch of the argument over guns which we rarely see very publicly in the US: advocacy of guns as, essentially, protection against the failure of the state monopoly on force, but seen as a genuine universal for all the citizens. It's uncommon, and it made me think, and so I pass it on to you.___

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2014-10-26 20:07:55 (41 comments, 47 reshares, 458 +1s)Open 

I second +Don McArthur on this: Whoa. 

Whoa:___I second +Don McArthur on this: Whoa. 

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2014-10-26 07:03:58 (74 comments, 41 reshares, 139 +1s)Open 

This is a really interesting summary of the ideas behind the Go programming language, and why the decisions were made the way they were. I feel like I have a much better understanding of its way of thinking after this.

I still haven't gotten around to learning it or using it, but at some point I'll definitely have to.

(Although I'm still not fully convinced about the decision to use garbage collection. I'm very, very suspicious of runtimes and probably always will be. That includes most of the kernel as well. Programming carrier-class search engines: the way to paranoia about any part of the system you don't personally control.)

Via the man himself, +Rob Pike.

I've lived enough of life to know this paper saved my career.   Pragmatic industrial languages like Go come along once in a half generation or less.  I'm glad it came my way.

http://talks.golang.org/2012/splash.article___This is a really interesting summary of the ideas behind the Go programming language, and why the decisions were made the way they were. I feel like I have a much better understanding of its way of thinking after this.

I still haven't gotten around to learning it or using it, but at some point I'll definitely have to.

(Although I'm still not fully convinced about the decision to use garbage collection. I'm very, very suspicious of runtimes and probably always will be. That includes most of the kernel as well. Programming carrier-class search engines: the way to paranoia about any part of the system you don't personally control.)

Via the man himself, +Rob Pike.

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2014-10-25 23:12:25 (500 comments, 239 reshares, 933 +1s)Open 

It's come to my attention that I haven't yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it's come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it's about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.

"GamerGate" is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a "gamer culture" which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.

It has its bullshit layer, which is that it is about ethics in journalism. If it were about ethics in journalism, then you would see people talking about actual ethical questions in journalism, and you would have seen it from the beginning. But from its first... more »

It's come to my attention that I haven't yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it's come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it's about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.

"GamerGate" is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a "gamer culture" which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.

It has its bullshit layer, which is that it is about ethics in journalism. If it were about ethics in journalism, then you would see people talking about actual ethical questions in journalism, and you would have seen it from the beginning. But from its first days, its only ties to this notion were the use of bizarre (and provably false) accusations from Zoe Quinn's ex-boyfriend to accuse game journalists of being in a cabal to destroy the "gamer culture" of its core layer, and one listserv thread (as covered on http://goo.gl/3B0wcc) where professional journalists did, indeed, have a serious discussion about journalistic ethics: about whether the newsworthiness of this blog post outweighed the potential harm to its subjects. But rather than portray this as journalists doing what ethical journalists do, Milo Yiannopoulos instead portrayed this as a conspiracy by journalists to support the Secret Feminist Cabal. That is, his article itself was bollocks from beginning to end, as has been the entire argument.

And it has its fellow-travelers, people who either actually believe the bullshit layer or do so vocally and disingenuously in order to confuse others and add a shroud of legitimacy.

How do I know that this is true, and that there is not a legitimate discourse mixed in with the violence and so on? That I am not unfairly tarring all of GamerGate's proponents with the same brush?

It's really simple. I have not once seen a proponent of GamerGate actually distance themselves from the hatred and violence, or excoriate it, or say that it is fundamentally wrong and that they do not agree with either its means or its ends.

What I have seen is lots of people coming up with ways in which they, too, are being harassed, and so claiming a false equivalency. I got to watch an excellent example of this on one of my own threads earlier today; there, one of its proponents argued that the movement being called a bunch of scum (as it had been by someone else) is a form of harassment, and perfect evidence of how “there are trolls on both sides.” Yet he elides the difference between that and people being chased out of their homes, people waking up every day to death threats, to real and meaningful impact on people's lives. This is not a serious argument: it is an attempt to lie and to confuse the issue.

The other argument I have kept hearing is “I never distance myself from acts I have never associated myself with.” That is, people claim that they are under no obligation to distance themselves from the acts of the rest of GamerGate, even while they hoist its banner. Sorry: when a movement is known, first and foremost, for its violence, then to associate yourself with it does associate you with its acts. You cannot say “I support al-Qaeda. They’re really about the US military presence in Saudi Arabia,” or “Hey, the KKK has done a lot of great community service work,” and not thereby associate yourself with everything those organizations are really known for. Sorry; you lie down with pigs, you’ll get covered in mud. You keep doing that, and people will have every reason to assume that you like it.

The fact is that there is no meaningful way to "recapture" the GamerGate tag for anything honest, both because it was never tied to that in the first place, and because it has become far too polluted to do so. If someone actually feels like having a conversation about ethics in journalism, they should by all means do so -- depending on what they say, I may even support them in this. But they should not do so in the company of villains, because that simply obscures any real discussion they might want to have with filth.

This is not behavior worthy of human beings. It is vile, it is violent, and if there is anything legitimate at all inside GamerGate, it needs to get its ass out of there right now and clearly separate itself from the bloodthirsty mob. Because right now, anyone who walks around with that label is painting themselves as being open supporters of it, and anyone who supports that is someone that I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire.___

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2014-10-25 04:16:14 (24 comments, 41 reshares, 287 +1s)Open 

In science news, the genome of a man who lived 45,000 years ago in Siberia has been successfully sequenced. There are quite a few fascinating things we can learn from this.

First, his DNA is more like that of non-Africans than that of Africans, but it is no more like Europeans than Asians: that is, he is part of the original migration out of Africa which ultimately branched off into all of the non-African branches of humanity, but before any of that branching occurred. We have here a genetic record of that first group of people. 

Second, his DNA contains much longer sequences of Neanderthal DNA than that of modern non-African humans, indicating that their intermixing with the Neanderthals was much more recent. In fact, we can use this to estimate the date of this mixing as being between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. 

And third, this DNA offers good evidence that modernn... more »

In science news, the genome of a man who lived 45,000 years ago in Siberia has been successfully sequenced. There are quite a few fascinating things we can learn from this.

First, his DNA is more like that of non-Africans than that of Africans, but it is no more like Europeans than Asians: that is, he is part of the original migration out of Africa which ultimately branched off into all of the non-African branches of humanity, but before any of that branching occurred. We have here a genetic record of that first group of people. 

Second, his DNA contains much longer sequences of Neanderthal DNA than that of modern non-African humans, indicating that their intermixing with the Neanderthals was much more recent. In fact, we can use this to estimate the date of this mixing as being between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. 

And third, this DNA offers good evidence that modern non-African populations are in fact descended from this group, which seems to have moved out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, interbred with the Neanderthals, and spread widely. This suggests that either these were the first humans out of Africa, or that the earlier out-of-Africa migrations (some of which are hypothesized to have happened as early as 200,000 years ago) failed, and modern humans outside of our ancestral continent all came from this last, successful, exodus. 

This is the second major finding using this set of techniques for getting DNA out of very old human fossils, the first being the sequencing of a Neanderthal genome last year. Hopefully, this method will continue to prove useful in other fossils, and we'll end up with a much clearer picture of how humans evolved and spread across the world.

So why do I find this interesting? Because there were so many lives and civilizations (I use this term in the loose sense, not the technical anthropological sense) in our distant past. If there were indeed multiple out-of-Africa migrations, as there appear to have been multiple migrations into the Americas, then our society is built upon an incredibly rich set of layers of ruins of older societies still. We have a chance to imagine the worlds of people who arrived in areas genuinely never encountered by humans before; of people who arrived in areas which had been inhabited long before, but later returned to the wild; and perhaps even of people who arrived and encountered other humans, profoundly different from themselves. Our history contains all the elements of good science fiction.___

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2014-10-25 02:38:52 (314 comments, 51 reshares, 301 +1s)Open 

A few days ago, +David Brin shared a post about GamerGate, in which he opined that this is a problem which would be solved by greater transparency: "It is only anonymity that lets bastards like this operate," he says, "Accountability is the light that sears most kinds of badguys, whether they operate in criminality or in high places."

I disagree with his analysis, and this disagreement is rooted in part in my experience of information-revelation policies on social networks. (e.g., name requirements) While there was an expectation that people would behave better when their activity was tied to their own identity, as that identity is presumably a highly valuable and non-renewable resource to them, the evidence weighed against it: people seem quite willing to be jerks under their own identities.

In practice, the forced revelation of information makes individual... more »

A few days ago, +David Brin shared a post about GamerGate, in which he opined that this is a problem which would be solved by greater transparency: "It is only anonymity that lets bastards like this operate," he says, "Accountability is the light that sears most kinds of badguys, whether they operate in criminality or in high places."

I disagree with his analysis, and this disagreement is rooted in part in my experience of information-revelation policies on social networks. (e.g., name requirements) While there was an expectation that people would behave better when their activity was tied to their own identity, as that identity is presumably a highly valuable and non-renewable resource to them, the evidence weighed against it: people seem quite willing to be jerks under their own identities.

In practice, the forced revelation of information makes individual privilege and power more important. When everyone has to play with their cards on the table, so to speak, then people who feel like they can be themselves without consequence do so freely -- these generally being people with support groups of like-minded people, and who are neither economically nor physically vulnerable. People who are more vulnerable to consequences use concealment as a method of protection: it makes it possible to speak freely about controversial subjects, or even about any subjects, without fear of harassment.

(A classic experiment which you can easily replicate is to change your profile photo to that of a young woman for a few weeks. Change nothing else, even your name, and see what happens to your interaction pattern. I've seen quite a few people run this test and the results are, shall we say, quite visible)

GamerGate is one example after another of why transparency has asymmetric effects. The worst-case consequence for members of the mobs is fairly minimal: they won't face social ostracism by their friends (who after all, support them), they are highly unlikely to be placed in any physical danger (the police will protect them), and their jobs are not likely to be affected either -- and if they are, they can find others. Conversely, the threats against women in the field were physical and real, and (as you'll see if you ever experience the real ability of local and federal law enforcement to deal with harassment and threat cases, for manifold reasons) there is reason to believe that they do not have access to adequate police protection.

Essentially, transparency of this sort removes a tool which is normally used to equalize power gradients within a society. So while the notion of "sousveillance" (at the heart of Brin's vision of a transparent society, where everyone has surveillance powers over everyone else) as applied to the powerful is important, I would always apply two strong qualifiers to it:

(1) Power is not a single real number; some people are powerful on some axes but very vulnerable along others. (cf the recent leak of nude photos of celebrities)

(2) Transparency directed at the powerless increases power gradients, whereas transparency directed at the powerful decreases it. 

Which is to say, a misdirected transparency catalyzes further oppression, rather than relieves it. And I think that the example you give here falls precisely into that category: the perpetrators of GamerGate are relatively immune to consequences compared to its victims, and so transparency would heighten rather than relieve the problem.

(This post is adapted from a comment I made on that thread)___

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2014-10-24 20:20:31 (35 comments, 75 reshares, 497 +1s)Open 

+Alan Eustace is one hell of an engineer, and even more one hell of a leader. (I've had the pleasure of reporting to him in the past) He is also mad as a bag of clams, apparently, because he just strapped himself to a balloon and broke the human flight altitude record, then parachuted down and became the second human to break the sound barrier on his own.

I knew he was a serious parachutist and pilot, but I didn't expect this. 

Also, look at how he's flying in the pic and in the video -- unlike Baumgartner, who ascended in basically a small space capsule and parachuted out of it, Alan's craft was basically a spacesuit with the balloon attached to his back. That had to be an epic ride up.

This is pretty fantastically awesome. Also, Alan, we're expecting some more video soon. :)

+Alan Eustace is one hell of an engineer, and even more one hell of a leader. (I've had the pleasure of reporting to him in the past) He is also mad as a bag of clams, apparently, because he just strapped himself to a balloon and broke the human flight altitude record, then parachuted down and became the second human to break the sound barrier on his own.

I knew he was a serious parachutist and pilot, but I didn't expect this. 

Also, look at how he's flying in the pic and in the video -- unlike Baumgartner, who ascended in basically a small space capsule and parachuted out of it, Alan's craft was basically a spacesuit with the balloon attached to his back. That had to be an epic ride up.

This is pretty fantastically awesome. Also, Alan, we're expecting some more video soon. :)___

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2014-10-23 19:51:55 (127 comments, 22 reshares, 214 +1s)Open 

Oakland's new ordinance is unconscionable for a spectacular number of reasons.

First, it has no mechanism of due process whatsoever; a person can be evicted, either by their landlord or by the city attorney, simply on the basis of an accusation without any recourse.

Second, it gives several groups which already have great power over the poor an even greater power over the poor. This is not, normally, something one considers to be a positive objective.

And third, this gives police even more egregious power over sex workers, as simple arrest is now enough to get someone evicted from their home. Given the tendency of police to abuse such power in the past, e.g. to forcibly extort sex and money, I cannot imagine any reason why it would be reasonable to give them a far-more-serious club to hold over people's heads.

I would be quite shocked if this law were to... more »

Oakland's new ordinance is unconscionable for a spectacular number of reasons.

First, it has no mechanism of due process whatsoever; a person can be evicted, either by their landlord or by the city attorney, simply on the basis of an accusation without any recourse.

Second, it gives several groups which already have great power over the poor an even greater power over the poor. This is not, normally, something one considers to be a positive objective.

And third, this gives police even more egregious power over sex workers, as simple arrest is now enough to get someone evicted from their home. Given the tendency of police to abuse such power in the past, e.g. to forcibly extort sex and money, I cannot imagine any reason why it would be reasonable to give them a far-more-serious club to hold over people's heads.

I would be quite shocked if this law were to survive a court challenge, as it seems to directly contradict constitutional guarantees of due process. However, it is also structured so that its victims are likely to be the ones least able to defend themselves, and to not be "attractive defendants" in the resulting case, which will make it harder to find a test case to take to court and get this overturned. That could leave this reprehensible ordinance on the books for years until it is finally resolved.

This sort of law cannot be allowed to stand: pressure needs to be placed on Oakland's city council to reverse its decision immediately.___

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2014-10-23 04:02:09 (37 comments, 97 reshares, 459 +1s)Open 

Something beautiful to watch -- how marble is quarried at Carrara. It is nothing like I imagined it would be, especially the man giving the directions. 

Nope, they don't grow it from seeds....___Something beautiful to watch -- how marble is quarried at Carrara. It is nothing like I imagined it would be, especially the man giving the directions. 

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2014-10-22 08:12:04 (131 comments, 44 reshares, 257 +1s)Open 

Go do this.

2-step verification is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your Google account from being broken in to -- along with all your mail, your posts, your contacts, your Wallet, and so on. It's quick and it's easy, and with the new Security Key, it's really easy. (I've been using this for my work account for months)

You can enable 2-step for your account without anything more than a phone by going to https://www.google.com/landing/2step/ . The new Security Key function makes it easier and even more secure, but if you haven't enabled 2-step for your account already, do that first!

Two reasons you want the two-factor security key:
1. It can be a giant, expensive pain when someone takes over your account. The internet is a dangerous place. Google has a bunch of people trying to keep your account from being hijacked, but it's tricky. People often choose guessable passwords (hijackers use the guessed password to log in as you), share passwords between sites (hijackers break into one site and get into your accounts in other places for free), and type their passwords where malware is watching (internet cafe or other public computer, or after spyware infests your machine). Once someone takes over your account they can use it for many nefarious things, all of which are going to take you a huge amount of time (and often money) to clean up.

2. Force account hijackers to do something more productive with their lives. Security keys are easy and secure. Just plug it into your USB port, give it a little touch, and it will tell Google you have your key. It can't be stolen by internet hijackers, so it'll keep them out of your account. If we keep the hijackers out of our accounts, they'll have to go find something else to do. Maybe it will even be productive.

So join me on our effort to forcibly disemploy account hijackers. I have zero sympathy for them.___Go do this.

2-step verification is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your Google account from being broken in to -- along with all your mail, your posts, your contacts, your Wallet, and so on. It's quick and it's easy, and with the new Security Key, it's really easy. (I've been using this for my work account for months)

You can enable 2-step for your account without anything more than a phone by going to https://www.google.com/landing/2step/ . The new Security Key function makes it easier and even more secure, but if you haven't enabled 2-step for your account already, do that first!

2014-10-22 00:49:00 (44 comments, 1 reshares, 114 +1s)Open 

I have no idea what the original context of this was, but I think it's going to be my new summary of how you fix broken systems.

"What are you doing next week?"
"I'm building a new pig."
"How do you do that?"
"You know how people tell you that the two things you never want to see made, if you ever want to enjoy them again, are laws and sausages?"
"Yes...."
"Building a pig is like building a sausage, only in reverse."

"For the first stage, you're going to put lipstick on the pig. For the second stage, you're going to build a new pig." #ShitElinaSays___I have no idea what the original context of this was, but I think it's going to be my new summary of how you fix broken systems.

"What are you doing next week?"
"I'm building a new pig."
"How do you do that?"
"You know how people tell you that the two things you never want to see made, if you ever want to enjoy them again, are laws and sausages?"
"Yes...."
"Building a pig is like building a sausage, only in reverse."

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2014-10-21 05:45:03 (34 comments, 69 reshares, 198 +1s)Open 

Quite an excellent essay on the creative process. Although it was written in 1959 and has not been published until now, it still seems just as relevant today.

Via +Aleatha Parker-Wood​

Several intersecting Circles here in this "new" essay from Isaac Asimov published at +MIT Technology Review. The following pullquote may become my new e-mail sig line:

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable.

But this one is all right too:

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

#creativity   #isaacasimov  

Cc +John Kellden +Gideon Rosenblatt +David Amerland ___Quite an excellent essay on the creative process. Although it was written in 1959 and has not been published until now, it still seems just as relevant today.

Via +Aleatha Parker-Wood​

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2014-10-20 17:39:50 (144 comments, 47 reshares, 159 +1s)Open 

This is a thought-provoking article on the nature of factual belief and of religious belief, and how a single person can often seem to hold two contradictory beliefs. The idea (as proposed by Neil van Leeuwen) is that there is a flaw in English: we use the word "belief" for both of these, but these actually represent two quite distinct psychological processes.

Essentially, the idea is that religious belief -- at least for most people -- is what you might call a type of narrative belief, where you hold the story in your head, reason about it from within its hypotheses, and derive meaning from it. This type of belief is only held within its context, and "factual" belief -- information we have about the outside world -- can intrude upon it, but not the other way round. (Lombrozo gives a related example for comparison: "Even when engaged in pretend play, for example, children... more »

This is a thought-provoking article on the nature of factual belief and of religious belief, and how a single person can often seem to hold two contradictory beliefs. The idea (as proposed by Neil van Leeuwen) is that there is a flaw in English: we use the word "belief" for both of these, but these actually represent two quite distinct psychological processes.

Essentially, the idea is that religious belief -- at least for most people -- is what you might call a type of narrative belief, where you hold the story in your head, reason about it from within its hypotheses, and derive meaning from it. This type of belief is only held within its context, and "factual" belief -- information we have about the outside world -- can intrude upon it, but not the other way round. (Lombrozo gives a related example for comparison: "Even when engaged in pretend play, for example, children know that they shouldn't really bite the Play-Doh "cookie"; the factual belief that Play-Doh isn't food infiltrates imaginative play.")

The proposition that religious belief works through the mechanism of narrative and story isn't (by any means) to say that it is either unimportant or untrue: narrative is our most profound means of experiencing situations other than our own and of reasoning about ourselves in those situations, and is key to the way in which we develop core faculties such as empathy and ethics. (Pinker gave a fairly extensive, data-based argument for this in The Better Angels of our Nature, pointing out the emergence of widely available written fiction as a potential causal agent in a sharp decline in interpersonal violence at the same time.) The stories which I re-read, time and time again, I re-read because they are in a profound sense "true," even if I do not believe (in the factual sense) that Darwi Odrade read Leto II's message in a cave on Arrakis, or that Fermina Daza ever fell back in love with Florentino Ariza in her old age. 

I'm not yet certain where I sit on this hypothesis of van Leeuwen's. There are some aspects of it which ring true to me -- I recognize the mechanism by which I suspend disbelief and accept a narrative as real, not simply when I am reading a book but much later, when I think about it and the characters and the story, and I recognize a similar method when thinking about religious stories, both in myself and in others. On the other hand, I see behavior in other people which doesn't seem to match the hypothesis as cleanly: where the rule that "factual beliefs can intrude upon narrative beliefs, but not vice-versa" seems to fail, and in particular narrative beliefs are indeed held as factual beliefs.

So I suspect that what van Leeuwen has captured is one aspect of the question, but far from a complete summary of it. Nonetheless, I think that this is a fruitful idea, and may help me understand many things about people's thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors -- including my own -- in the future. So it's food for thought.

Via +Kee Hinckley.___

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2014-10-18 02:16:48 (71 comments, 13 reshares, 190 +1s)Open 

Most people in tech, or elsewhere in business, are probably aware that if you give an interview to +BuzzFeed and use it to go off on a rant about how your CEO is "doing a lot of harm" to the organization, weakening it, and so on, and so forth, it is probably going to cause a few problems in your future career advancement.

Apparently this memo didn't quite make it to the Vatican, because that's exactly what Cardinal Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (head of the Vatican's entire judicial branch),  just did. 

(Yes, in BuzzFeed.)

Oh, did I say Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura? I meant "patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta." That being Cardinal Burke's new job.

(Yes, Malta is still about 120 square miles of rock between Sicily and Tunisia.)

(No, he does not get to run the church in Malta. He gets to be the patron of theSo... more »

Conservative anti-gay Cardinal Burke ousted by Pope
You do not say the Pope is "harming the Church," even if you are a top Vatican official.

And it looks like it unfolded from an interaction with +BuzzFeed .
It's a new world in media out there, kiddies.___Most people in tech, or elsewhere in business, are probably aware that if you give an interview to +BuzzFeed and use it to go off on a rant about how your CEO is "doing a lot of harm" to the organization, weakening it, and so on, and so forth, it is probably going to cause a few problems in your future career advancement.

Apparently this memo didn't quite make it to the Vatican, because that's exactly what Cardinal Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (head of the Vatican's entire judicial branch),  just did. 

(Yes, in BuzzFeed.)

Oh, did I say Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura? I meant "patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta." That being Cardinal Burke's new job.

(Yes, Malta is still about 120 square miles of rock between Sicily and Tunisia.)

(No, he does not get to run the church in Malta. He gets to be the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who were actually kicked off Malta by Napoleon. They are now a sovereign quasi-state which rules two buildings in Rome and part of one on Malta. It's kind of an interesting history, actually.)

(Thanks to +Christopher K Davis for reminding me of this)

Note to those who enjoy watching this sort of thing: Pope Francis is full of smiles, reforming harsh doctrines, helping the poor, and so on. But he is also not the sort of person you want to cross, especially if you think you're about to lead an internal revolt against him.

I kinda like this guy.

(Really, really, trying not to laugh too hard at this. BuzzFeed?!!)

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A special service of CircleCount.com is the following button.

The button shows the number of followers you have directly in a small button. You can add this button to your website, like the +1-Button of Google or the Like-Button of Facebook.






You can add this button directly in your website. For more information about the CircleCount Buttons and the description how to add them to another page click here.

Yonatan ZungerTwitterLinkedInCircloscope