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March 19, 2017

Men and computers could co-operate

"Men and computers could co-operate more efficiently . . . if a man could tell the computers how he wanted decisions made, and then let the computers make the decisions for him."

-- 1961

May 25, 2014

Excel-fu

"To be unnecessarily complicated is sin, to be auditable is glorious. You still have much to learn," sayeth those most wise in the art of Excel-fu.

March 16, 2013

Privacy constraints impair Google innovation


Google was becoming too big to manage, with far too many bits and pieces which could in theory help the broader company but which in practice, like Reader, just sat there using up resources and contributing very little in return. So Larry Page decided that he would start killing them off, and making Google more focused; I'm sure that decision was made easier by the fact that if Google now needs to control the amount of information it collects about people, it can't have engineers freewheelingly making unilateral decisions to start collecting exactly that kind of information. Dick Costolo's ideas were probably great in 2005; in 2013, they would be politically suicidal.

The result is that Google is going to be less of a utility, less of a public service, and more of a company with a constrained set of products. The problem with the death of Reader is that it was the architecture underpinning lots of other services -- the connective tissue of just about all RSS readers and services, from Summify to Reeder to Flipboard. You didn't even need to use Google Reader; it was just the master central repository of your master OPML list, all the different feeds that you were subscribed to. Google spent real money to provide that public service, and it's going to be sorely missed. As Marco Arment says, "every major iOS RSS client is still dependent on Google Reader for feed crawling and sync."

-- Reuters Felix Salmon.

June 14, 2009

Macroeconomics considered harmful

Most work in macroeconomics in the past 30 years has been useless at best and harmful at worst.

-- Paul Krugman.

May 2, 2009

Ecological awareness in America today

When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say 'global warming,' a certain group of Americans think that's a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.

-- ecoAmerica's president and founder, Robert M. Perkowitz

Continue reading "Ecological awareness in America today" »

October 1, 2008

Most researchers

"Most researchers want to put this in the greater context of their own research."

-- Greg Mankiw

September 1, 2007

Diversification

Diversification means investing in something uncorrelated,
not inversely correlated.

April 14, 2007

Internet take 2

Stanford program: http://cleanslate.stanford.edu
Carnegie Mellon program: http://100x100network.org
Rutgers program: http://orbit-lab.org
NSF's GENI: http://geni.net

DJ Ted Stevens Techno Remix: "A Series of Tubes"


Continue reading "Internet take 2" »

September 20, 2006

Hill climbers vs explorers

Let's say you have a landscape with a bunch of hills,
and you want to find the highest mountain. String
theory is a hill, and loop quantum gravity is a hill,
and so are spin foam models and twistor theory
and causal sets and brane worlds.

So some scientists are good hill climbers. You set
them on a slope, and they incrementally advance
the science upward. Other scientists are good
explorers – valley crossers – who find new slopes.

The problem we have now is that science is dominated
by hill climbers. They've found the tops of the hills,
and they're just defending the hill.

And meanwhile, the truth is somewhere over there.

-- Lee Smolin