Biweekly links for 06/26/2009

  • Paul Buchheit: Collaborative Charity
    • “Here’s how it works: I’m going to donate a bunch of money, but I want random people on the Internet to decide where it goes.”
  • Org Mode – Organize Your Life In Plain Text!
    • Fascinating document. Haven’t used org mode in a year or two, but I might retry it.
  • io9 – Michael Bay Finally Made An Art Movie – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    • “So, to sum up: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, if not the greatest. You could easily argue that cinema, as an artform, has all been leading up to this. It will destabilize your limbic system, probably forever, and make you doubt the solidity of your surroundings. Generations of auteurs have struggled, in vain, to create a cinematic experience as overwhelming, and as liberating, as ROTF.”
  • “I strongly suspect”
    • A nice Google catch about Wolfram’s “A New Kind Of Science”, from Danielle Fong.
  • Four crowdsourcing lessons from the Guardian’s (spectacular) expenses-scandal experiment » Nieman Journalism Lab
    • “Journalism has been crowdsourced before, but it’s the scale of the Guardian’s project — 170,000 documents reviewed in the first 80 hours, thanks to a visitor participation rate of 56 percent — that’s breathtaking. We wanted the details, so I rang up the developer, Simon Willison, for his tips about deadline-driven software, the future of public records requests, and how a well-placed mugshot can make a blacked-out PDF feel like a detective story.

      He offered four big lessons […]”

  • The Limits of Elven Vision : Uncertain Principles
    • Why every fantasy author needs to put a physicist on retainer.
  • pygowave-server – Google Code
    • “I couldn’t wait until the guys at Google released their reference server implementation, so I decided to build my own in the meantime.

      This implementation uses Django – a well-known python web framework – as its backend and is in a very early stage. Just as Google, I want to release it to the public as fast as possible.

      In the end, this will eventually be a full-featured server implementation for easy use, extention and integration with your web servers and applications.

      Note: All of the code is directly derived from Google’s published Wave API and protocol specification. “

  • Open Source Dendrochronology : Aardvarchaeology
    • “Dendrochronology has a serious organisational problem… the problem of proprietary data. When a person or organisation has made a reference curve, then in many cases they will not publish it… This means that dendrochronology becomes a black box into which customers stick samples, and out of which dates come, but only the owner of the black box can evaluate the process going on inside. This is of course a deeply unscientific state of things. And regardless of the scientific issue, I am one of those who feel that if dendro reference curves are produced with public funding, then they should be published on-line as a public resource.

      But there is a resistance movement: amateur dendrochronologists such as my buddies Torbjörn Axelsson and Ã…ke Larsson. They practice open source data transparency on the net, which means that arguably amateur dendrochronology is at this time more scientific than the professional variety. “

  • African Americans in theoretical physics « Q2C Festival
    • Unfortunately, I’m not surprised by this: “In 2004, there were 64 African American faculty members out of 185 physics departments in the United States.”

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