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My ratings (R) are from 1 to 9. My Dates are also permalinks. Click on the column headers to sort Jots. Feel free to use the address bar like a command line interface by setting the optional query string parameters: Dtm1 (10, 20, 30, YYYYMMDDhhmmss), Dtm2 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss), IsJot (Jot or Not), Tag (zero+ times), NotTag (zero+ times), OrderBy (PostForDate, PostTitle, PostLink, PostText, PostSource, PostRating, PostSize) & Desc(Desc), and Limit(integer).
|20141212 170533 Z||Building a space elevator starts with a lunar elevator by 2020||www.gizmag.c … -liftport/35119/||Cool, Space Elevator, TECH||A Moon-to-orbit space elevator seems feasible by 2020 and would be a great leap to developing an Earth-to-orbit space elevator.|
|20141205 162051 Z||Successful Launch of Orion Heralds First Step on Journey to Mars||www.nasa.gov … rs/#.VIHabDHF_wt||Cool, Space, TECH||Orion, the NASA program to Mars, is off to a great start with today's successful launch. Men are scheduled to land on Mars in the 2030s!|
|20141205 161237 Z||Why More Solar Panels Should Be Facing West, Not South||www.nytimes. … 0&abt=0002&abg=0||Solar, TECH||Why west instead of south? Because the Grid needs more assistance later in the day. If you're not doing it for the Grid, then that's another story.|
|20141027 151434 Z||Isaac Asimov Asks, "How Do People Get New Ideas?"||www.technolo … e-get-new-ideas/||Cool, Inspiring, Mind, Psychology, Reading, Text||"On Creativity" (1959) by Isaac Asimov, just published. A small group of creative, relaxed, jovial folks having a cerebration session sounds like a lot of fun!|
|20141021 182145 Z||Hendo Hoverboards - World's first REAL hoverboard||/www.kicksta … -real-hoverboard||Cool, Gadget, Physics, TECH||Hendo Hoverboards should be all over the place in a few years. Go, go Lenz's Law!|
|20141010 152809 Z||The Quest to Build an Elevator to Space||gizmodo.com/ … space-1638192427||Space Elevator, TECH||Whoot! Companies that are trying to build space elevators, like Obayashi and LiftPort, have been getting more coverage lately.|
|20141010 152038 Z||Batteries Included: A Solar Cell that Stores its Own Power||news.osu.edu … s-its-own-power/||Solar, Sustainability, TECH||The combination solar cell and battery by Yiying Wu at Ohio State University is one of the more exciting developments in solar tech.|
|20141003 153202 Z||New 'Diamond nanothreads' may make space elevator a reality||www.cnet.com … vator-a-reality/||Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Space Elevator, TECH||The new diamond nanothreads may be stronger than carbon nanotubes. Possibly another step closer to space elevators.|
|20140812 145734 Z||RIP Robin Williams||Celebrity, News, Obituaries, Psychology, Show Biz||RIP Robin Williams (Chicago 1951-07-21/2014-08-11). For your wonderful work --making us laugh and cry-- I thank you. For your advocacy for those with depression, nihilism, or pain --even with your death-- I thank you.|
|20140627 163000 Z||Revision Control||georgehernan … isionControl.asp||My Stuff, Programming, TECH||I redid my page on Revision Control [http://georgehernandez.com/h/xComputers/zMisc/RevisionControl.asp]. It was originally mostly about Mercurial, but is now about both Git and Mercurial.|
|20140528 220338 Z||A First Drive||http://youtu.be/CqSDWoAhvLU||Chill, Cool, Gadget, Google, TECH||I would settle for cruise control and automatic lane alignment, but it seems like Google self-driving car is pretty decent.|
|20140522 211600 Z||gMath Help||mathtechtips … /gmath-help.html||Cool, Google, Math, TECH, Writing||I just noticed this awesome Add-on for Google Drive Documents, called g(Math). It allows you to add equations and graphs with LaTeX syntax!|
|20140404 145602 Z||Energy breakthrough uses sun to create solar energy materials||www.scienced … 140403132353.htm||Cool, Engineering, Solar, Sustainability, TECH||Solar tech to make materials instead of energy!|
|20140330 160738 Z||Light Speed: From Minecraft to Reality||/www.youtube … ch?v=SLffdgotHEA||www.reddit.c … _with_minecraft/||Chill, Cool, Funny, Inspiring, Physics, Play, Science, Space, TECH, Video Games||A Minecraft world is 60 Mm across, the Earth's circumference is 40 Mm, the speed of light/gravity/etc is 300 Mm/s.|
|20140317 202828 Z||Big Bang's "Smoking Gun" Confirms Early Universe's Exponential Growth||news.nationa … n-science-space/||Cool, Inspiring, Space, TECH||Gravitational waves have been discovered! They spent 3 years checking the results before announcing it today. I'm sure Neil deGrasse Tyson knew before today especially since Harvard was involved. Go Cosmos!|
|20140317 195957 Z||Jimmy John's is awesome!||Cool, Food, My Stuff, Restaurants||I'm a regular at Jimmy John's. Today I forgot my wallet and the dude said we gotcha. Sweet! Now I'm not just a regular, but a loyal regular. Made my day!|
|20140306 173516 Z||The truth about idling a vehicle||/www.upworth … it-aint-2?c=ufb2||Sustainability||If you need to idle for more than 10 s, then it is more fuel efficient to turn the car off, then on again.|
|20140221 151653 Z||Space Elevators Are 'Possible' Says New Study||www.huffingt … e_n_4821785.html||Nanotechnology, Solar, Space, Space Elevator, TECH||A rare mention of space elevators in main stream media. The necessary tech (esp CNT & solar) is developing nicely so space elevators are likely to become a reality. FYI: http://www.space.com/24739-space-elevator-tether-technology.html, has a bit more meat but it's not as mainstream.|
|20140213 152655 Z||Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty||www.bbc.co.u … ronment-26151062||Art, Beauty, Cool, Math, Mind, TECH||Apparently math/abstract beauty excites the same parts of the brain as sensory beauty.|
|20140210 184838 Z||Why we should give free money to everyone||/decorrespon … 0798745-cb9fbb39||Economy, Inspiring, Money, World||The concept (and experimental results) of "Basic income" [W] is mind blowing.|
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."
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