16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Pianos Make Music Accessible Like Computers Make Math Acc...

Though it has become a naturalized part of music-making since the first one was built in 1710, the pianoforte (its name means "soft-loud") was a technical marvel for its time, a machine that changed music in ways that are hard to imagine. Computer pioneer Alan Kay once observed that any technological advance is "technology only for people who are born before it was invented,' and in the case of the piano, this applies to no one alive today. Seymour Papert, the MIT researcher, concluded, "That...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 A Sick Burn

Yet your prison without coherent design continues to imprison you. How can this be, if it has no strong places? The rational prisoner exploits the weak places, creates order from chaos: instead, collectives like the FSF vindicate their jailers by building cells almost compatible with the existing ones, albeit with more features. The journalist with three undergraduate degrees from MIT, the researcher at Microsoft, and the senior scientist at Apple might volunteer a few words about the regulat...
Folksonomies: insults
Folksonomies: insults
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27 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Anecdote of Badges Encouraging Tutoring

When it comes to biology, Catherine Lacey is a Level 40 Hero. That's her ranking on OpenStudy, where the University of Western Australia student spends up to 30 hours per week answering homework questions posed by students around the world. The level indicates time spent on the site, and Hero is the hardest-to-attain badge. If you think of helping with homework as a game, she's got the high score. The 20-year-old first stumbled upon the OpenStudy site while surfing the Web. She was hooked af...
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A student is motivated to tutor on a website that awards badges. Two takeaways from this: (1) award badges for mentoring and (2) award badges for content creation. Also, award points that can be spent in moderating like slashdot.

21 JUN 2013 by mxplx

 I am my connectome


We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how? Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It’s where nature meets nurture. Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain’s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking—the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest—but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are "wired differently," but nobody knows for sure. The brain’s wiring has never been clearly seen. In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to "upload" their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality. Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience

12 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 All Models are Wrong, but some models are useful

As the statistician George E. P. Box wrote, “All models are wrong, but some models are useful.”90 What he meant by that is that all models are simplifications of the universe, as they must necessarily be. As another mathematician said, “The best model of a cat is a cat.”91 Everything else is leaving out some sort of detail. How pertinent that detail might be will depend on exactly what problem we’re trying to solve and on how precise an answer we require. Nor are statistical models...
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All models are simplifications of the universe, this includes language as a form of modeling.

03 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Encapsulation Serves a Purpose

The quintessential example of the open ideal showed up in Freeman Dyson’s otherwise wonderful piece about the future of synthetic biology in the New York Review of Books. MIT bioengineer Drew Endy, one of the enfants terribles of synthetic biology, opened his spectacular talk at Sci Foo with a slide of Dyson’s article. I can’t express the degree to which I admire Freeman, but in this case, we see things differently. Dyson equates the beginnings of life on Earth with the Eden of Linux. ...
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Using the promise of synthetic biology as an illustration, Lanier explains why the ability to infinitely trade ideas or genes results in normalized unremarkableness.

23 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 LBJ Counting the Dead

Lyndon B. couldn't figure it out. Every day the advisers came to him with their facts and figures and laid them down on his desk. Army dead. Navy dead. Marine dead. Civilian dead. Diplomatic dead. MASH dead. Delta dead. Seabee dead. National Guard dead. But the numbers didn't compute. Someone was messing up somewhere. All the reporters and TV channels were breathing down LBJ's neck and he needed the proper information. He could help put a man on the Moon, but he couldn't count the body bags. ...
Folksonomies: casualties vietnam lbj
Folksonomies: casualties vietnam lbj
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The problem of counting the dead from Vietnam and needing computer scientists for the job.