29 August 2012

Tab Clearing

The Agitator | Radley Balko | Politicians Need To Be Needed
A politician like Hatch will always demand that powerful people kiss his ring. It’s why people like Hatch go into politics. The proper response is Gates’ initial reaction—to tell people like Hatch to pound dirt. The problems begin—and the corruption beings— when people like Hatch have the power to force people like Gates to respect them. So long as there’s hell to pay for not respecting Washington, no “get money out of politics” law is going to rid the city of corruption.
Read this post; this extract doesn't cover it.

I'm very interested in working on UAVs, but this is a big piece of why I don't want to ever work in the field. I don't want to start a company which the FAA could effortlessly squash because one stuffed-shirt Member makes a call.

Cafee Hayek | Don Boudreaux | On Joe Soptic’s Job-Loss

This is one of Boudreaux's best letters, and that's saying something.

What We Think and Why | Grant Davies | What Libertarians Do


The Thinker Blog | Jeffrey Ellis | Quote of the Day (for engineers)
To be a successful software engineer (or indeed, any engineer), one first needs to be utterly and completely broken by failure. One must be so humiliated by a complex system that they give up and realize that the only chance of moving forward comes from being a supplicant to the complexity, by approaching it with humility and caution, not with hubris. You have to listen to the system, coax it into behaving. Commanding it does not work. – Vivek Haldar
I really wish I had read this before I started my dissertation work. It wouldn't have made things easier, but it would have made dealing with everything easier.

Venomous Porridge | Dan Wineman | App.net isn’t just a country club
How many great ideas for socially-aware apps or services haven’t been built because there’s no common, open infrastructure to build them on?

Twitter could have become that infrastructure if the advertising people hadn’t won. Imagine if 140 characters of flat text were only one of the things that a tweet could be. What if when you added a photo to Flickr, say, your Flickr account “tweeted” (on your behalf) a block of data, tagged as a Flickr photo? People reading your stream from a Twitter client would never see this, because Twitter clients only know how to display text-based tweets. But a Flickr client? It would see just the Flickr data, allowing it to build an aggregated photo stream using Twitter as the plumbing. Now we have the equivalent of Instagram, and we didn’t have to build or scale or maintain any social networking infrastructure.
This is what I thought Twitter was going to be. It was the primary reason I was optimistic about it. I still like it, but I'm not so bullish on it lasting very long since they've turned away from becoming a way to pipe together different services.

ET Modern | Edward Tufte | All Possible Photons: The Conceptual and Cognitive Art of Feynman Diagrams
The resulting conceptual and cognitive art is both beautiful and true. Along with their art, the stainless steel elements of All Possible Photons actually represent something: the precise activities of Nature at her highest resolution.

Gathered together, as in the 120 diagrams showing all possible space-time paths of 6-photon scattering, the stainless steel lines (and their variable shadow, airspace, light, color, form) reveal the endless complexities that result from multiplying and varying fundamental elements.

Tufte & Feynman: two great tastes that taste great together.

Years ago I tried make sculptures of things like half-adders and multiplexers, but I had to use wire instead of round stock, so getting straight lines was next to impossible. One day I'll get around to this.

The Gormogons | Dr J | You have to pass the bill...Part 23

This needs no comment.


  1. I totally agree with you on Don Boudreaux's letter -- I posted on that one my self. He is The Man when it comes to reductio ad absurdum smack-downs.

  2. Yeah, I think I remember you posting that.

    It would be a waste of his other talents, but I think Boudreaux would be great at hosting a talking heads show. I would love to see him force guests to confront the logical results of their positions.

    1. Would be great indeed. I think he could pick up where Milton Friedman left off.