10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 Applications for Simulated Worlds

Consider that applications of simulated worlds and simulated games to science and social science research are on the increase. Businesses build virtual worlds for commercial purposes. Scientists utilize video games to crowd-source solutions to protein folding, to invesfigate complexity theory and artificial life, to visualize the physics of black holes, and to research economic, social, and psychological behaviors. Call of Duty, Second Life, World of Warcraft—and the software that makes the...
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06 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Review Your Social Media Timeline to Improve Your Sense o...

In an experiment at Cornell, stressed college students randomly assigned to scroll through their own Facebook profiles for five minutes experienced boosts in self-affirmation compared to students who looked at a stranger’s Facebook profile. The researchers believe self-affirmation comes from reminiscing on past meaningful interactions — seeing photos they had been tagged in and comments their friends had left — as well as reflecting on one’s own past posts, where a person chooses how ...
Folksonomies: social media self-worth
Folksonomies: social media self-worth
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07 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Scientists in New Atlantis

"These are (my son) the riches of Salomon's House. "For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign countries, under the names of other nations, (for our own we conceal); who bring us the books, and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light. "We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators. "We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical...
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22 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Algorithms are Subjective/Creative Things

he algorithm may be the essence of computer science – but it’s not precisely a scientific concept. An algorithm is a system, like plumbing or a military chain of command. It takes knowhow, calculation and creativity to make a system work properly. But some systems, like some armies, are much more reliable than others. A system is a human artefact, not a mathematical truism. The origins of the algorithm are unmistakably human, but human fallibility isn’t a quality that we associate with ...
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21 APR 2017 by ideonexus

 Code is Not Literature

Code is not literature and we are not readers. Rather, interesting pieces of code are specimens and we are naturalists. So instead of trying to pick out a piece of code and reading it and then discussing it like a bunch of Comp Lit. grad students, I think a better model is for one of us to play the role of a 19th century naturalist returning from a trip to some exotic island to present to the local scientific society a discussion of the crazy beetles they found: “Look at the antenna on this...
Folksonomies: programming coding hacking
Folksonomies: programming coding hacking
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Seibel's observation that reading code is less like literature and more like science is dead on. No matter how readable the code is, when I'm confronted with 10,000 lines of it spread across numerous encapsulated functions, I must tackle it very differently from how I read prose. With a complex literary text, I can just read it in linear fashion with occasional segueing to look up words and concepts, with well-engineered code I must follow numerous cases into different flows of logic. These aren't the same at all.

I appreciate that he's trying to dispel the idea that we "read" code as we read for pleasure, I learn from code by experimenting with it. I open up the debugger and step through it, watch the variables change and see where it goes when I execute it. Most of all, I learn by changing that code and trying to build on it. I have enhanced my javascript skills immensely in recent years by cloning various projects on github and trying to expand on them or adopt them to my own purposes. I don't recommend opening up a code base and just reading it, actively engage it, break it, and enhance it.

14 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Studies on Secular Parenting

The results of such secular child-rearing are encouraging. Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militarist...
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