19 February 2016

Unicode proposal

Proposed implementation UTI #2, Unicode Bristol Scale Encoding Status: Open Originator: http://meta.ATH0.com/ Date: 2016-02-18 Description of issue: The Unicode Technical Standard has (since Unicode 6.0) listed the code point U+1F4A9 as “Pile of Poo”, and it has proven very popular. However, there are two issues with its current implementation in contemporary operating systems. The first issue is that one vendor opted to place eyes and a smiling face on the poo. ... Read more

14 February 2016

The life changing magic of tidying up your download files

Marie Kondo is author of a popular book called The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever. Tim Harford talks about one of the tricks of the book: you should flip your status quo, so that your default behavior is to throw things out, and you have to explicitly decide if you want to keep something. Confession time: I don’t do this in everyday life with physical objects. ... Read more

9 February 2016

#superbowl2016

A few years ago after some social media sites started telling me whenever #superbowl was trending, I got into the habit of responding by posting photos of majestic owls tagged #superbowl. Just over 3 years ago I decided that the joke was wearing thin — but that it could be rescued by taking it to the next level. I got spousal buy-in to throw an actual Superb Owl party. (I would like to take a moment to say that this was before Colbert. ... Read more

4 February 2016

Policy hamburger

A few weeks ago I had an idea for an article. I would set out the arguments in favor of a political position which I deeply want to be true. And then, I would set out the evidence which proves that it’s actually false. The idea is that if you’re really in favor of evidence-based policy, you’ll be in favor of it even when your own sacred cows are being made into policy hamburger — so why not demonstrate that with an article? ... Read more

3 February 2016

Kurt Gödel

I may not be much of a mathematician, but I have a favorite mathematician: Kurt Gödel. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Bertrand Russell started an ambitious project. They would begin from basic principles of logic (truth, falsity and sets), and gradually derive the whole of modern mathematics. The work began to be published as a series of volumes named Principia Mathematica. After 379 pages, they’d gotten as far as conclusively proving that 1+1=2, so it looked as if they were well on the way to deriving integers, fractions, and so on. ... Read more

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