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Since people ask about learning programming for free, I figured I'd make a post with today's answer. (No, none of them are paying me to advertise for them.)
There are many avenues for learning computers and programming, but the following are free and very good.
Learn web programming for free on these links:
For possible paths see these links:
For free courses from universities, see these links. Note that these links also offer courses beyond computers and programming:
My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey", the recently concluded 13 episode science documentary TV series. A sincere thank you to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Seth MacFarlane, Ann Druyan, Fox, the National Geographic Channel, and the many who worked on Cosmos.
The show was thoroughly aligned with content my wife and I encourage for our kids. A sense of curiosity and wonder. Openness to different ideas and people. Awareness of the danger and responsibility of climate change: A climate change of a few degrees (or a few ppb of CO2) leads to an Ice Age or a Heat Age. The beauty and explanatory power of evolution. The importance of epistemology and the scientific method, and how it can stray.
I'll conclude with five simple rules that Neil mentioned in the last episode.
We've been distracted by the stunning advances that information technology has brought us, to the exclusion of very deeply held needs that we have in society.
In college I could barely do chemical engineering because I was so distracted by computers! The Web wasn't even up then, so people have even more distractions now.
Cosmos has, as its mission statement, the effort to convey to you why science matters. That is a different motivating factor than "Here's all this science I want to teach you."
There is so much mind in science that people forget that it has so much heart in it too.
Last night I attended the inaugral meeting [http://www.meetup.com/Health-Data-Liberation/events/156222932/] of the Meetup group "Health Data Liberation" [http://www.meetup.com/Health-Data-Liberation/]. The meeting was run by Dr Rebecca Wurtz, an Epidemiologist at Northwestern. 2-3 dozen attended including doctors, folks in BI & analytics, several in the open data movement, a fellow from payers, etc. There was a vigorous and enthusiastic discussion, that was not dominated by any one individual.
There was much discussed, and I just want to hit on a few key points.
Issue: Trust. Different systems already have our data. But who do we trust to merge data? How can we trust them? The data merging entity would have to promise to be the end-of-line as far as identified data, if they want to share the merged data, then they could only share de-identified data. The entity would have to have strong security and impoorting arrangements. Each person would have the right to their own data and to pull out at any time.
Issue: De-identifying data. There was much involved in suspending disbelief that we could actually de-identify data --especially once a data set has been merged with other data sets. The HIPAA standard for de-identification (45 CFR 164.514) does not stop people from using their Sherlock skills to identify people in merged data sets without the name, gender, address, date of birth, etc.
Issue: Name. It also became apparent that since we want the data to be as wide and complete as possible. The term "health data" is too restrictive. Perhaps "life data"?
Issue: Falsified data. We may like the concept of the quantified self, but did you really do 1000 push ups in 30 minutes today? It seems that we need external parties to provide some degree of validation of the data.
Issue: Select which data sets to share. People may be OK sharing most health data but not genomic data or book purchases. The People should be able to choose which data set (hospital, pharmacy, payers, labs, medical & exercise devices, Google, Amazon, genome, banks, utilities, etc) they want merged into the open data set. They should be able to do this in batches or stream, scheduled or one-offs.
Issue: Sharing data. I'm guessing that this will probably go the Semantic Web route with RDF, but in the meantime we have to deal with HL7 v2, HL7 v3, HL7 FHIR, EDI 837s, XDS, etc, etc. And that's not even talking about the non-health data sources.
Issue: Analysis. Open life data is in the twilight zone between collecting data and analyzing it. While systems already collect and analyze internal & proprietary data, no one is up to sharing the data for de-identification and open analysis yet. We didn't discuss the kinds of open analysis that could be done, but perhaps that would need to be a separate discussion because the other issues overshadow this one.
Issue: Starting. My guess is we'd have to start with small set of people who volunteer to make their life data open (but de-identified!) at some site X. Then they can choose which data sets to share their identified data with X. Site X would merge different identified data set but only share a de-identified data set to anyone. If successful, then there will probably be ways to incentivize people to participate in the data liberation.
Open data, open source. For the tldnr crowd:
This morning I walked by a building where some parts were covered with with windows and other parts with embedded stones. I saw people with window-washing scaffolding on the stone parts, so I assume that they were not window-washing but stone-washing.
An image popped into my mind of mountain water running over mountain stones. An image of water cleaning stones year after year, scrubbing stones down molecules at a time. I found it to be a beautiful concept. It was natural, clean, out of the city. It was redemption of mind, a renewal of spirit. The concept of it was more beautiful than the image.
Find beauty with the mind and heart, as well as the eyes, mouth, and ears.
Happy Birthday Kirk Douglas!
Just in case the link ever goes bad, here's his list:
An eidetic memory, open books, the Web, and Google help, but it's still mostly about problem solving. We start with solving simple problems often enough to integrate the solutions as the basics. Then we use the basics to solve more complex "level 2" problems. If you solve level 2 problems often enough, then you start building a repertoire of level 2 basics.
I can't stand memorizing and working, but I do like integrating and playing. Developing a repertoire of ever higher level basics sounds like work. If I trick myself into thinking of it as play, then I can do it. If I become conscious that I am tricking myself, then it becomes work again. The solution is that it can't be a trick -- it has to be earnest play. Or the problem has to be so important, so tantalizing, that you practically need to build the repertoire that allows you to progress on solving the problem.
Gmail had Labels and Filters. Then it added Smartlabels (Bulk, Notification, and Forum) in Labs (and is still in Labs). Then it added Categories as Tabs and Labels (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums) not through labs (possibly because it's the "graduate" version of Smartlabels).
I've been using Gmail's tabbed Categories for a few weeks now and I have been fairly satisfied. It has convinced me to get rid of a few labels and filters that I had before. For example: I used to have a Label and Filter I called "ADMIN", but it effectively functioned like "Notification" in Smartlabels, which in effectively functioned like the "Updates" Category.
However, there's always something. Here are three minor issues I have Categories so far:
1. Occasionally a new message will appear in the west for a Category Label, but will not appear in the Category Inbox Tab. Odd and a little annoying. Possibly just an asynchronous issue.
2. My guess that Gmail starts with what it thinks should go in each Category. Gmail probably starts by pre-identifying known social sources (like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus), promotional sources (like Amazon, Microsoft Store, and GrubHub), and update sources (like banks, Mint, and credit cards). Then Gmail probably learns which sources should go in which Category after you drag them into another Category several times. HOWEVER, I have been dragging emails from one Category Inbox Tab to another, but Gmail seems to be slow on learning my preferences.
3. When you have an email open in one Category Inbox Tab and switch to another, Gmail keeps that email open. Some people may like that, but I think it's a bit confusing to step away from Gmail for (gasp!) a few minutes, and then come back to find some email open that is not part of the currently selected Category Inbox Tab.
Over all, Categories automatically gives lots of people functionality that was only available to "power users" that tweaked their Gmail account.
I finished reading "Brave New World" (1931) by Aldous Huxley earlier this afternoon. The first chapter is harsh and it continued to be harsh. However in spite of the harshness I think it Brave New World was very provocative and applicable to the current time.
I'll get to those ideas, but first I will briefly discuss some of the science fiction aspects of Brave New World (BNW). Huxley started BNW as a dystopian variant of the utopian novels by H.G. Wells, so it had to have science fiction in it.
BNW has the circumvention of internal fertilization and our vivvparous nature (bearing live young). We have seen this in popular culture with movies like "The Matrix" and "Man of Steel". In real life, we have achieved some degree of ovuliparity (external fertilization) with test tube babies, but we are nowhere near achieving oviparity (laying eggs), or of developing the zygote in an artificial egg or bottle (the term used in BNW). The best we can do now is develop safer and more effective pain killing drugs and delivery methods (like epidurals). I'm sure women have wished to circumvent the pain of delivery for thousands of years --I wonder what was the earliest recorded expression of that wish in literature?
BNW has the casting of people into castes (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon) from the moment of conception. In BNW this was done through chemical manipulation since inception, and then brainwashing. If Huxley had written BNW after the discovery of DNA, perhaps he would have written in genetic manipulation. While corporations like Monsanto may do genetic engineering of food, people aren't doing much genetic manipulation of people --yet. As far as social stratification, we seem to do that to ourselves.
There's other science fiction stuff in it like centralized economic control, feelies (immersion movies that can provide direct neural stimulation), soma (a very powerful happy drug distributed by the state that BNW people consumed regularly), chemically induced youth, rampant recreational sex, etc. Even just listing that stuff can put people in a paranoid state about socialist godless liberal hippies running the world. Our social development comes partially from our science, but is largely driven by us.
The philosophical apex of the book happens in chapters 16 and 17 when John "The Savage" and Helmholtz Watson (the yearning writer) have a frank discussion with Mustapha Mond (the World Controller of Western Europe). The crux of the discussion is that in the face of self-extinction, the people in the BNW decided to favor safety, survival, stability, happiness, and comfort, over liberty, truth, beauty, history, and religion. I shall encapsulate the topic with the phrase "Safety v Liberty" for the sake of convenience and in honor of this saw from Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.".
The topic of "Safety v Liberty" is old and important. There is safety in consolidating power to one or a few, but its price is Liberty. The closest we seem to get is a Republic (rule of law) and a Democracy (rule of the people). I'm not too worried about the government against the people because the trend is towards government by the people instead of the few. Don't like Gaddafi or Morsi?, then throw them out. (Good luck getting rid of Putin or Kim Jong-un!) What do I care that Google and the NAS have info on me?
My concern is of "Safety v Liberty" is on the personal level. It's not so much a matter of explicit cases of "Hikikomori" (Japanese "pulled inward") or hermits, but the more subtle case of people fooling themselves. As Feynman said: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.". You don't need friends or corporations or government to fool yourself. When you fool yourself, you feel safer, but you steal time from yourself, thus taking away your liberty, your freedom.
Another interesting thing in ch 17 of BNW was their discussion of God.
"We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property."
I agree with that except that I think we merely are, we are of the universe, we do what we can, and we are no one's property.
"as the passions grow calm, as the fany and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns toward the source of all light"
Probably many of us start thinking along these lines when we get to be middle aged and the flower of youth if fading. At this point one seeks a transformation, a continuation, because otherwise there is only decay then death. I've always looked for a meaning, but if I can no longer find meaning in the magnificence of my physical prowess (I'm so awesome!), then what do I find meaning in? For some it will be in the continuation of genes, goals, or memes. But isn't it possible that a gamma burst could wipe out all life on this planet at any time? Or that this universe could blink out because of some event in the multiverse? What if there is not continuation? What if there is? Each of us has to look for that meaning. Is "seeing God" the easy way out? If instead you see the void, then perhaps you need to look harder until you see something else?
"God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness."
It's interesting that Mond, who actively suppresses the propagation of the concept of God, thinks that "there quite probably is one", but that God manifests himself as an absence. In BNW, society lives youthfully, safely, happily, and then slips into death while in a soma-induced happy state. So where is a need for God in that? In BNW, it is more convenient to be without God, but in the real world, for many it is more convenient to have God.
I usually avoid political posts, but this has too much WTF to resist.
"What do you think makes a woman want to have an abortion?"
"... I don't know, I have never -- it's a question I have never thought about."
When is the best time to take out the trash? Some say immmediately, but that interferes with your flow. Some say whenever the trash can is full --We sort of do that at our house but then we just put the trash bag at the back porch where they pile up. I used to take the trash out just before my morning workout, but with my injured knee the trash has been piling up.
This morning I've decided to make it a habit (a resolution?) that I will take the trash out just before I go out! I'm usually dressed and ready to go out well before the wife and kids are so it won't interfere with my flow. At my house there is a flow issue in that we exit through the front, but the large trash bins are at the rear. However, that's a small problem, and I will give myself a pat on the back anyway.
I do buy-ins with other areas of my life, but the buy-in technique is clearly demonstrated with workouts. I was doing The Open portion of the 2012 CrossFit Games (http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/the-open) the other day, when it hit me that the 5th week of it will roughly coincide with the release of the "Hunger Games" movie! I then sold myself on the idea of doing my workouts as if I were preparing to be a participant/tribute in the Hunger Games. I was also inspired by the competitors in the 55+ category!
Here's another recent examples of the buy-in technique: I was warming up the other day and noticed that I was already mentally and physically tired. I then thought that when I'm fatigued is a good time for someone to attack me. I instantly got a "fuck you" attitude and decided that my workout would be 3 rounds of heavy bag work, where each round was 3 minutes. I was energized and vigorous and proud for overcoming the fatigue. I do a similar technique when I take a hot shower: If I notice that have any hesitation about suddenly switching to a cold shower, then I've sold myself on the idea that I must then suddenly switch to a cold shower.
One more buy-in: I sometimes have a hard time getting the kids to do martial techniques with me. But just yesterday I was fooling around with a jump rope and iron whip techniques and the kids were laughing it up. I switched to doing a knife fight with the jump rope handles as the knives. The rope forced some measure, and the handles were so un-knife like that it seemed less violent. Basically it was different enough that the kids bought into it and wanted to try it out!
A buy-in gives any project drive and gets results!
Watch the wind uproot and uplift the discarded debris of paper and plastic into fanciful flights overhead, on high, soaring out of sight.
I periodically do a review of my software usage -- especially if I've gotten a new computer! However this year I'll emphasize software on my phone and tablet.
Hardware and Operating System:
Games: Lots available for phone, tablet, comp, console, physical, etc. These are more for my kids.
Comics: Just read in print or online with a big screen!
Reading: Going with e-books if available. Hesitating on digital NGM because we love the print.
News: Perhaps we all check the news too often!
Audio: I don't do lots of music, but so far I like Amazon's handling of music better than Google and Apple. Yay radio!
Media: I watch YouTube and Netflix, but I don't do much TV, otherwise cable and Hulu might be interesting.
Phone: I use the fewest phone minutes in my family. Waiting for phone wallets to mature.
SMS/IM: Yes, my family texts/chats often!
Email: I prefer to do email at a full computer. Urgent communications should be done by phone or text.
Social: I prefer to do social sites on a full computer. I do Facebook, but barely do Twitter and the rest.
Office and Files: I prefer to do office stuff on a full computer but I love having centralized simple text files that my wife and I can both access. I'd really like to log my workouts in my Google Docs spreadsheets but the interface is a clunky.
Maps: Mobile maps is important when you're travelling.
Utilities: A calculator with basic science functions should be built-in!
Non-mobile computer software brief version:
History repeats itself?
History: 55.8 million year ago an extreme climate change occurred called the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The PETM is so clearly visible in the geologic evidence that it defines the border between two epochs. One of the main theories about PETM is that global warming melted the polar ice and exposed methane. Methane is 20x more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, so the global warming was exacerbated, the oceans acidified, and mass extinction occurred.
News: The Siberian Arctic Shelf and permafrost has been melting. Now hundreds of methane fountains are turning up. My guess is that once it gets this far, there's no reversing it. We've already been causing extinctions, but there are going to be a lot more. Runaway global warming here we come.
I've kept a "Life Log" for years. It's a short document (only a few pages long) with a chronological listing of important events, places, people, things, jobs and salaries, medical incidents, births, deaths, etc. in my life.
The format of my Life Log is simple. For each year I have a short line with the year, my age on my birthday of that year, my "grade" if I was in school that year, and similar info for my wife and kids. EG: 2011. 43. JH XX. CH 13/8. YH 10/5. AH 7/1. Then for each year I have bullets for the important things, nested by date and time if possible.
Recently I rediscovered the comic "936 Little Blobs" [http://abstrusegoose.com/51] where the each of the blobs corresponds to one month in a typical lifespan of 78 years. I like it because it gives you a one page view.
However the blobs don't provide much metadata so I decided to transform it into a Life Log spreadsheet [https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Anl6QqLgOdR9dFNZTDBERGluYWhiUzFYNG1LQmdlWXc] where each cell represents a month. You can enter as much or as little info in each cell. When you're done entering info, just turn off word wrap and the cells shrink, thus allowing you to see your life on one page. As a spreadsheet, it also does things like calculate your age on your birthday for each year.
A Life Log has a lot of practical uses: Medical history, resume building for job hunting, credit reports, legal issues, etc. However its most important function is to give me perspective on where I've been, where I'm going, what's important, and that time is passing.
My numbers for today are 7 and 13.
7 is for We are Seven by William Wordsworth. The death of a loved one temporarily weakens us, but to honor them we must ensure that their lives strengthen us and lives through us.
13 is for transformation, rebirth, rebellion. 13 exceeds the numerology of 12. A death must occur in order to have a resurrection. The extraordinary requires the surpassing the status quo.
We are seven! We will transform!
[FYI: Here is a copy of "We are Seven" by William Wordsworth. I prefer the original intro by Coledridge.]
A little child, dear brother Jem, That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death? I met a little cottage Girl: She was eight years old, she said; Her hair was thick with many a curl That clustered round her head. She had a rustic, woodland air, And she was wildly clad: Her eyes were fair, and very fair; --Her beauty made me glad. "Sisters and brothers, little Maid, How many may you be?" "How many? Seven in all," she said And wondering looked at me. "And where are they? I pray you tell." She answered, "Seven are we; And two of us at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea. "Two of us in the church-yard lie, My sister and my brother; And, in the church-yard cottage, I Dwell near them with my mother." "You say that two at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea, Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell, Sweet Maid, how this may be." Then did the little Maid reply, "Seven boys and girls are we; Two of us in the church-yard lie, Beneath the church-yard tree." "You run about, my little Maid, Your limbs they are alive; If two are in the church-yard laid, Then ye are only five." "Their graves are green, they may be seen," The little Maid replied, "Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, And they are side by side. "My stockings there I often knit, My kerchief there I hem; And there upon the ground I sit, And sing a song to them. "And often after sunset, Sir, When it is light and fair, I take my little porringer, And eat my supper there. "The first that died was sister Jane; In bed she moaning lay, Till God released her of her pain; And then she went away. "So in the church-yard she was laid; And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played, My brother John and I. "And when the ground was white with snow, And I could run and slide, My brother John was forced to go, And he lies by her side." "How many are you, then," said I, "If they two are in heaven?" Quick was the little Maid's reply, "O Master! we are seven." "But they are dead; those two are dead! Their spirits are in heaven!" 'Twas throwing words away; for still The little Maid would have her will, And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
A good and kind friend of mine from high school died. It's been a rough week of mourning, weeping, writing, and staring. I can't sustain this, and yet I don't want to let go because thoughts of her are all I have left of her. I'm hoping a public posting and a poem will purchase some closure for me.
Thank you Judy B.
As year goes on to year:
Light after light turns dark.
Some lights glow long and strong,
Some lights spark.
You were my saving star
in my darkest hour.
A moment of grace,
in a cruel place.
You may have gone where I cannot see.
And I cannot repay my debt to you.
But the light of kindness you passed to me,
I can share with others, that I can do.
Thank you Judy B.
Say hello to my little friend: ELI. "Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility, known as "ELI," would concentrate 200 petawatts of power -- that's 100,000 times the world's power production -- and fire it at a single point for less than a trillionth of a second."
"by giving spacetime a hernia, it is hoped that theorized "ghost particles" may spill from the fissure, providing evidence for the hypothesis that extra-dimensions exist and the vacuum of space isn't a vacuum at all -- it is in fact buzzing with virtual particles."
If I can believe (and test) that the Internet is passing terrabytes of data through my nose right now, then why not believe (and test) that my nose is also buzzing with ghost particles/anti-particles?
I just attended the morning session of poetry assembly at my kids' Burley elementary school. The courage and quality of the group is always moving. I was inspired to throw together a few lines myself:
Each generation is beautiful in body, face, and mind;
Each act of joy and sharing, out shines the acts unkind.
Knowledge of beliefs --true and justified-- are wonderful to behold;
But without love and beauty, such treasure fast grows cold.
Weariness and routine bring nihilism nigh;
So shine a light and pass it on, then sweetly you can die.
But realize, dear friend, the best light, shines in your eye.
Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after struggling with cancer for almost a decade. Thank you for making the only PC that I've kept after I retired it: A Mac Classic with 9 inch black and white screen. Thanks for Pixar. Thanks for belief, vision, and style. Thanks for sharing.
"Death is very likely the best invention of life. All pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
-Steve Jobs (1955-02-24/2011-10-05) in 2005.
Here a set of thoughts that are mixing around in my head. I'm going to spill them out here before they vanish.
I don't know if theres a thread connecting the thoughts, but if I were to guess it's something Tao-ish, something along the lines of "Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place." That is, how to do things best while making it easy like play.
There are several ways to do this on an individual and collective level. That distinction is fairly clear. The distinction that gets blurry is betwen tactical and strategic because the two go back and forth. Every individual is tactical in that they deal with what at hand; Every individual is strategic because they have a larger picture in their head. Similar things can be said for collectives. Collectives are masses of individuals making tactical and strategic decisions individually, but with a net result of collective tactics and strategies.
Bridging the individual and the collective is key. One of the tools I like is the triplet of Interested, Informed, and Involved. An introvert may start out with an interest then gets more informed, and eventually more involved. An extrovert may start out with getting involved with people, then getting informed to stay involved, and may develop a genuine interest. A person may get informed in order to do make money, then get more informed and involved to do the job better.
Bridging the tactical and the strategic is also key. Talented individuals can have great tactics and strategies for themselves and the collective. However the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Individuals who can work with a collective in a productive, involved fashion, can produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts. "Great men are rarely isolated mountain peaks; they are the summits of ranges." - Thomas W. Higginson. Greater vision can be acquired by standing on the shoulders of others. The tactics come from experience gathered, shared, and practiced. Strategy is applied tactics with vision and insight. Choosing between attacking by direct assault, or attrition, or by out flanking, requires data, experience, insight, and intuition.
Now the trick is to make all this natural, intuitive, easy like play, and yet challenging, difficult, and fearful. A task requires no courage if there is no fear to face. Flow is matching tasks with ability. "There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results." - Ken Blanchard. How do you motivate folks to become more than just interested, but committed? How does you motivate folks to move beyond themselves and get involved with others? How does you motivate folks to move beyond the answers they know and get more informed?
Part of the problem is the language. In the phrase "How do you motivate folks to ....", does the "you" refer to an individual or a collective? do "folks" refer to an individual or a collective? Yes and yes. The individual and the collective must be bridged!
From there you move on to the motivation problem. Part of it is expectations, setting up expectations. Not just theoretical virtues, but real problems requiring real virtues, real action. You must reach through the bosom and grasp the living heart.
And so I've come once again to soul searching. What is my mission? What am I committed to? What is my job? What would I cry and bleed for? What should I do before I die? The goofy thing is that some people are good at grabbing the heart but don't do something with it. That means that they haven't gotten there yet --they are merely righteous. Some people have committment handed to them, but they still have to work on being informed and involved, otherwise they too are merely righteous.
That's where I stand. We all have our talents. We can all be informed, involved, and interested. But what am I committed to? Tick-tock, tick-tock.
I put my family health data in spreadsheets: Without clear success stories in Personal Health Records (PHRs), I couldn't justify doing data entry in a particular PHR, especially since we don't know which, if any, are here to stay.
In contrast I know that I use Google Contacts on the Web and on my phone, so I know that it is beneficial to enter contacts in Google --but those entries are less frequent and less laborious than health records.
On the other hand if I knew my doctor was actually going to look at health info I entered, then I might have some incentive to enter it in their system.
They DNA-tricked a human embryonic kidney cell to have green fluorescent protein (GFP, like first found in bio-luminescent jellyfish), then placed it between mirrors, and zapped it with blue light. The GFP acted as the gain medium, the light bounced back and forth between the mirrors until it got strong enough to come out of the semi-transparent mirror as a laser beam! The kidney cell survived just fine.
This is the first time they've used living tissue as a gain medium. They have all sorts of ideas for applications, even Townes couldn't predict what we eventually used the laser for.
Soon we can have frickin sharks with frickin laser beams!
Imaginative code is more important than tested code.
We all know by now that Test Driven Development is a best practice. And so is having 100% of your code reviewed. And 70% unit test coverage. And keeping your CCN complexity numbers below 20. And doing pre-sprint grooming of stories. And a hundred other industry 'best practices' that in isolation seem like a great idea. But at the end of the day, how much time does it leave for developers to be innovative and creative? A piece on O'Reilly Radar argues that excessive process in software development is sucking the life out of passionate developers, all in the name of making sure that 'good code' gets written. 'The underlying feedback loop making this progressively worse is that passionate programmers write great code, but process kills passion. Disaffected programmers write poor code, and poor code makes management add more process in an attempt to "make" their programmers write good code. That just makes morale worse, and so on.'
The music cloud wars are upon us.
Get your music from anywhere (Apple, Amazon, etc), sync them and store them at Google's cloud. Like Amazon Cloud Player, you don't have to worry about space. Apple's music cloud should be coming out soon. Microsoft?
It shouldn't just be music though. It should be contacts, books, videos, photos, files, whatever. Key issues include syncing multiple sources, monetizing, and selecting subsets for when your offline with little space.
Of the articles I've read, this one has the most detail so far.
According to John Brennan, White House counterterrorism coordinator, the SEALs first tried to capture bin Laden but he resisted and used a woman, initially thought to be one of his wives, as a human shield as he fired shots at the attacking commandos.
Gaah! What scum!
The one flaw in the mission caused a brief moment of tension for President Obama and senior officials as they watched the operation unfold in real time Sunday afternoon at the White House, Mr. Brennan said.
The intelligence official said the one-acre compound, with two main buildings, was designed as a fortress, with walls up to 18 feet high, balconies with seven-foot-high privacy walls, and barbed wire along the top of the walls. The residents, unlikely to be mere neighbors, burned their trash as a security measure and it was equipped with two gates with opaque windows. Mr. Obama was first made aware of the Abbottabad compound in September and ordered action against it “as soon as he concluded that the intelligence case was sufficiently strong,” this official said. “A range of options for achieving the mission were developed, and on Friday he authorized the operation.”
A senior intelligence official said Monday that both visual identification at the scene and later DNA tests confirmed bin Laden was killed. His body was buried at sea from the USS Carl Vinson around 2 a.m. Monday in the north Arabian Sea.
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