The Longest Now


A patent alternative: aaaaaagmmnrr

Hooke liked to note discoveries he had made before he had found time to exlpain and prove his discoveries.  He used the simple mechanich of anagramming an entire phrase:

The true Mathematical and Mechanichal form of all manner of ARches for Building, with the true butment necessary to each of them. A Problem which no Architectonick Writer hath ever yet attempted, much less performed. abcccddeeeeefggiiiiiiiillmmmmnnnnnooprrsssttttttuuuuuuuux

This code, not decrypted during Hooke’s life, was revealed on his death to anagram to: Ut pendet continuum flexile, sic stabit contiguum rigidum inversum — “As hangs a flexible cable, so inverted, stand the touching pieces of an arch”.  The modest original context follows; (more…)



… Synergy Epitome
Thursday January 27th 2011, 8:56 am
Filed under: Blogroll,Glory, glory, glory,popular demand,Uncategorized

From a world of transient characters and jargon, a vignette about synergy and beauty:

  1. Two friends program and voice a two-minute RPG.
    The game becomes somewhat popular.
  2. Someone posts a very literal, frustrated, typo-ridden review.
    The review becomes infamous.
  3. The voice actor finds and narrates the review.
    The narration becomes very popular.
  4. Someone finds the narration and animates its text to Carl Orff.
    A one-hit wonder is born.

Epic win.



Mapping global communities
Thursday January 27th 2011, 1:41 am
Filed under: fly-by-wire,Glory, glory, glory,international,metrics,wikipedia

We’ve been working on a few different visualizations of the OLPC community around the world.  The most enjoyable and colorful is olpcMAP, a collaborative mashup designed by Nick Doiron that blossomed after last month’s map sprint.  (Nick is an avid map hacker and long-time OLPC volunteer who has also written the popular Map activity for offline Map-creation and -marking using XOs.)

Before this map was launched, the sorts of global visualizations we had were limited to large established groups (mapping chapters and major deployments), average statistics by region, or thousands of scattered individuals without a coherent feel.  olpcMAP combines this with personal and class projects from hackers and teachers around the world, adds search and an API for reuse, and feels above all approachable.

At the moment you can import JSON data and can choose between Google Maps and OSM layers.  The search matches both on locations on the map and on keywords used in marker descriptions. It is designed around the Google App Engine, and the growing olpcMAP API lets you request images, iframes, or KML to use this as  backend for further remixing (say, embedding a screenshot or overlay of part of the map elsewhere on the web).

You can browse the olpcMAP code and try setting up your own instance.  The framework is quite general, and it is straightforward to brand it for other communities.

I would love to see this sort of map of Wikimedians around the world, for instance — I suspect that we would see a very different picture of ourselves as a community than our current self-image.  The distribution of 10th Anniversary events this month was a first step in this direction, and was a surprise to many people.

And it would be amazing to see comparative maps of different global communities — Firefox users, Ubuntu hackers, Red Cross volunteers — using this model.   If you’ve tried to set up your own olpcMAP instance (if this becomes a general community-mapping framework, perhaps we should pick a more universal name), or have features you would love to see implemented, please let us know.



On parenting and love and expectations
Thursday January 13th 2011, 4:24 am
Filed under: %a la mod,fly-by-wire,metrics

An interesting parenting discussion is underway on Quora. There’s primarily a focus in these conversations on performance, knowledge, and skill; with a few asides on inspiration and creation.

The anecdotes in question are too general to say anything about genius and will, though I have similar questions there — William James Sidis is on my mind. (ᔥBoingBoing)



λ♥[love]
Saturday January 08th 2011, 3:00 am
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,poetic justice,Rogue content editor,Uncategorized

I’m almost back from 2010… here one more from the road, to make you smile or win your fellow linguist’s ♥!. Lyrics and fabulous youtube recording (what, no video?) are (c) Christine Collins:

let me have your heart and i will give you love
the denotation of my soul is the above
if there’s anything i lack, it’s you
as my double brackets, you make me mean things
i can’t say enough
(more…)



I love it when scientists talk dirty…
Friday January 07th 2011, 1:59 am
Filed under: Blogroll,chain-gang,indescribable,international,metrics,Too weird for fiction

…and when they make loose with a few orders of magnitude.

Rouder and Morey critique some recent work by Bem on “Feeling for the Future”:

[O]ur assessment is that Bem’s experiments, collectively, provide some evidence of psi phenomena, but not enough to sway the beliefs an appropriately skeptical reader…

…There is [a] surprising degree of evidence for the hypothesis that people can feel the future with emotionally-valenced nonerotic stimuli, with a Bayes factor of about 40. Though this value is certainly noteworthy, it is several orders of magnitude lower than what is required to overcome appropriate skepticism of such implausible claims.”

The framing of the questions and hypotheses here is most amusing, and worth a read. Rouder’s face sums up this whole debate.

Hat-tip to Cassandra Vieten at HuPo.



My blackberry is not working!
Wednesday January 05th 2011, 11:23 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,fly-by-wire,Glory, glory, glory,Rogue content editor

For my mother.




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