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Biweekly links for 11/24/2008

by Michael Nielsen on November 24, 2008
  • Brad DeLong: Le Citi Toujours Dormer…
    • Informative account of what’s really going on at Citigroup.
  • Structure and Randomness: pages from year one of mathematical blog « What’s new
    • The book based on the first year of Terry Tao’s blog is now out; the book based on year two will shortly start being prepared.
  • Science in the open » Links as the source code of our thinking – Tim O’Reilly
    • Tim O’Reilly: “showing the data behind your argument is a lot like open source. It’s a way of verifying the “code” that’s inside your head. If you can’t show us your code, it’s a lot harder to trust your results!”” Cameron Neylon: “In a sense Tim is advocating the wholesale adoption of the very strong attribution culture we (like to think we) have in academic research. The importance of acknowedging your sources is clear but it also has much more value than that. By tracing back the influences that have brought someone to a specific conclusion or belief it is possible for other people to gain a much deeper insight into how those ideas evolved. Being able to parse the dependencies between ideas, data, samples, papers, and knowledge in an automatic, machine readable, way is the promise of the semantic web, but in the meantime just helping the poor old humans to trace back and understand where someone is coming from is very helpful.”
  • Gnome-o-gram: “Managing the Economy” (Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason)
    • From John Walker, founder and first CEO of AutoDesk, on “managing the economy”: “Let me tell you what it’s like to “manage” an enterprise vastly smaller and far more easily directed than these railroad-era continental-scale debt-financed fiat money economies the politicians pretend to steer… In reality, it’s like this. You, Mr. or Ms. CEO, are sitting in your office. Your desk has dozens of levers you can adjust and dials you can twiddle affecting the disposition of financial resources within your organisation. Half of these do nothing; a third of the remaining have results opposite to your expectations; and the balance work in the expected direction, but with disparate and often nonlinear effect. All of these controls, for better or for worse, have no immediate effects upon visible results, but only after a lag which is often unknowable and interacts with the settings of the other controls. And you have no idea which of the controls have what kind of effect upon the results. “
  • The End of Wall Street’s Boom – Portfolio.com
    • Informative insider account of more than 20 years of events leading up to the recent crash.
  • Polymeme
    • I’ve been using polymeme.com for a few weeks as a source of news, and it’s pretty good – I’ve spotted a lot of good quality stuff here that I didn’t see elsewhere. Came recommended in a blog post by Ethan Zuckerman.
  • Why the World Needs Quantum Mechanics
    • Appears to be a Chinese translation of my article “Why the World Needs Quantum Mechanics”
  • Official Google Blog: Sorting 1PB with MapReduce
    • Sorting a petabyte: “It took six hours and two minutes to sort 1PB (10 trillion 100-byte records) on 4,000 computers.”
  • Papers Written by Googlers
    • A bibliography of papers written by people at Google. Many very interesting publications in there, including the fundamental papers on MapReduce, the Google File System, and BigTable, amongst many others.
  • Google is Done Paying Silicon Valley’s Legal Bills | Electronic Frontier Foundation
    • “when innovators like Google cut individual deals, it weakens the Silicon Valley innovation ecology for everyone, because it leaves the smaller companies to carry on the fight against well-endowed opponents. Those kinds of cases threaten to yield bad legal precedents that tilt the rules against disruptive innovation generally.”

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