Oct
15
2009

Ludwig Beethoven’s Testament: This strangely brought me to tears.  And please do read the whole thing. From  “Letters of Note” blog

Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to isolate myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh, how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, “Speak Louder, shout, for I am deaf”. Oh, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed. – Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.

My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished. I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for companionship.

via Letters of Note: I would have gladly mingled with you.

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Oct
15
2009

I am reiterating my post yesterday! Let’s go to baguio!

Ad Congress pulls out of Baguio, cutting revenues for city’s rehab

MARIA ELENA GONZALES

10/15/2009 | 04:51 PM

BAGUIO CITY – Organizers of the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress have chosen to hold the event elsewhere, depriving the city of much-needed revenue for its rehabilitation efforts.

The Advertising Board, organizer of the annual gathering of the country’s advertising industry, has canceled hotel reservations, “even though the venues for the events were ready and waiting and none were affected by the typhoon,” Anthony de Leon, head of the Baguio Tourism Council said.

Slated for November 18 to 21, this year’s Philippine Advertising Congress was expected to bring over 5,000 participants to the mountain resort.

Millions of pesos worth of hotel reservations for both the Camp John Hay Manor and the Baguio Country Club have been lost due to the venue change.

Despite the cancellation, the council “will be working double time to bring back tourism and business here,” De Leon said.

The city is also set to host the annual Fil-American Golf Tournament in December where 1,300 golfers are expected to converge for two weeks of play.

“If these conventions take place tomorrow, we are still ready,” De Leon said.

via Ad Congress pulls out of Baguio, cutting revenues for city’s rehab – Business – GMANews.TV – Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs – Latest Philippine News.

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Oct
15
2009

Something good where the Philippines is best at  LECHON!

The article in the Food & Wine Magazine blog, is written by their restaurant editor, Kate Krader, and includes excerpts of Anthony Bourdain’s interview by the New York Times food critic Frank Bruni at the NYC Wine and Food Festival held last weekend in New York City. And I quote:

On the hierarchy of pork he’s eaten around the world: “Puerto Rico’s lechon is great. In Bali, the lechon is even better. And in the Philippines, the lechon is slightly better than that. It’s the best of the best.”

via Market Manila – “It’s the best of the best.” – General.

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Oct
15
2009

The proliferation of pseudo science and stupidity cannot be counteracted by non-fiction books or not fun (at least to a fictional normal person) reading material. We really need to counteract this by playing to what the market wants.

One of the reasons Japan leads in Robotics  is probably  anime.  We need more of things like this.  We must try to make science fun. A novel such as Logicomix for a host of subjects may probably help; although I suspect that the bestseller status of Logicomix just says how large the geek and nerd market is.

Shock seller

Originally published in Greek in the fall of 2008, Logicomix enjoyed a successful run at home. But its authors were unprepared for the reception in the United States and Britain, where it sold out on the first day of its release in last month.

The New York Times greeted the comic’s U.S. debut with a bemused “well, this is unexpected”. It said the story was “presented with real graphic verve” and “for the most part the ideas are conveyed accurately, with delightful simplicity.”

“I think the publishers (Bloomsbury) were shocked. I was shocked, too,” Doxiadis said. It sped up bestseller lists to occupy top 10 spots in comics, fiction and general book rankings on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Unlikely topic for a comic book

“No Greek book has sold abroad like this in 30 years,” said Dinos Vrettos, a manager at a major Athens bookstore.

The aim of Logicomix is “to tell a fascinating story about the history of ideas” said Doxiadis, who in 2001 published a novel titled “Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture” about a boy’s quest for knowledge on his reclusive mathematician uncle.

“In Logicomix, the story I think is in some ways emblematic of much of what happened in the 20th century, with its search for certainty, for knowledge, and what often went with it, for power over life,” he added. “The fact that this idea looked like, to put it mildly, not a very likely idea for a comic book, never deterred me.”

via Greek maths comic is surprise bestseller | COSMOS magazine.

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Oct
15
2009

Someone needs to tell google to give these people google wave invites! The geniuses shows the drones how to get things done.

New projects now under way will help to explore how collaborative mathematics works best (see http://go.nature.com/4ZfIdc). One question of particular interest is whether the process can be scaled up to involve more contributors. Although DHJ Polymath was large compared with most mathematical collaborations, it fell short of being the mass collaboration initially envisaged. Those involved agreed that scaling up much further would require changes to the process. A significant barrier to entry was the linear narrative style of the blog. This made it difficult for late entrants to identify problems to which their talents could be applied. There was also a natural fear that they might have missed an earlier discussion and that any contribution they made would be redundant. In open-source software development, this difficulty is addressed in part by using issue-tracking software to organize development around ‘issues’ — typically, bug reports or feature requests — giving late entrants a natural starting point, limiting the background material that must be mastered, and breaking the discussion down into modules. Similar ideas may be useful in future Polymath Projects.

via Massively collaborative mathematics : Article : Nature.

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Oct
15
2009

Wow reading this really got me excited. Hope this becomes a normal practice. Its innovations such as these that would help maximize the potential that the information age has brought us!

The working record of the Polymath Project is a remarkable resource for students of mathematics and for historians and philosophers of science. For the first time one can see on full display a complete account of how a serious mathematical result was discovered. It shows vividly how ideas grow, change, improve and are discarded, and how advances in understanding may come not in a single giant leap, but through the aggregation and refinement of many smaller insights. It shows the persistence required to solve a difficult problem, often in the face of considerable uncertainty, and how even the best mathematicians can make basic mistakes and pursue many failed ideas. There are ups, downs and real tension as the participants close in on a solution. Who would have guessed that the working record of a mathematical project would read like a thriller?

via Massively collaborative mathematics : Article : Nature.

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Oct
15
2009

This has me thinking how shallow specialization really is, and how the real specialist are the people pushing the field at its boundaries.

I remember an exchange between Hank Pym  and Reed Richards (from memory excuse my lameness)

Hank: You needed me?

Reed:I need your help, You are the world’s foremost expert in biochemistry.

Hank:Why?

Reed: I need a whole week of study to get up to speed with this, we don’t have that long.

(If Hank had a thought balloon he would have said WTF one week I’m gonna kill this MottaFckr, who does he think he is)

ASIDE: It’s been written about how hard it is to be a polymath these days. I think this is true, but is mainly half or part of the story. The fact is knowledge is multiplying at a frightening pace yet the way we learn and the way we teach the kids have just not kept up. We are really failing the future, or It is because of our inadequacies that the future is not coming as fast! When will the singularity come?

You Know You’re Getting Close to Your Customers When They Offer You a Job

I believed that good marketers used their own products. I got facile enough with a few of the applications that I could even run some of them myself. I could build simple finite element models with Patran and set up a run of the Nastran analysis codes.

Later on in the company’s life I went to give a lunch-time seminar to Chevron’s La Habra research center on the use of graphics supercomputers in petroleum applications. I spoke about the state of the art in computational reservoir simulation and what could be accomplished using finite difference and finite element methods on the new class of machines that were coming from companies like ours. During the question and answer session my heart was in my throat since like any good marketer, my depth of knowledge was no more than one level away from being a complete idiot. At the end of the talk the head of the research facility came up to me and said, “That was a great talk. We’re glad your company hired a real petroleum engineer to come speak to us. We hate when the sales and marketing types come down and try to get us to buy something.”

For one of the few times in my life I was at a loss for words, and I was completely unprepared for what came next. “Here’s my card, if you ever want to consider a career in Chevron research. We’d be happy to talk to you.”

Marketing was really fun.

via Ardent War Story 4: You Know You’re Getting Close to Your Customers When They Offer You a Job « Steve Blank.

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Oct
15
2009

There is a concept called code smell, and in that spirit there is also I believe a company smell and if a company won’t hire you because of a lack of certification, well that is a company you probably shouldn’t work for. I’ve continuously stated that If I get an IT related certification I probably have given up or no longer trust my own skills. I hope I can follow through with this declaration!

There is a huge difference between training and certification. I guess that anyone, even Joe the Most-Experienced-Developer-In-The-World, would benefit from a few days of training by Ron Jeffries and most other people arguing for certification now. But that is because these people really have something to say about the way software is built and if you are looking for gems of knowledge that is the right place to look. Developers should take training to get that knowledge, not to get a piece of paper that is supposedly going to help them get a job (and it will not, at least in any company that really cares about development). Training is there to help you get started with a new practice or fill in the gaps. It is not the end of the journey but quite the opposite, just a beginning on the path to knowledge.

via Gojko Adzic » Joe the Developer doesn’t need a certificate.

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Oct
15
2009

Bravo!

Mexican 5th grader donates to flood victims

10/15/2009 | 10:11 PM

A donation of P2,451 may not be much, but victims of tropical cyclones “Ondoy” (Ketsana) and “Pepeng” (Parma) will find it meaningful since it came from a fifth-grade student from Mexico.

Young Alejandro Luna Flores told Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Alejandro Ortigas III he took the money right out of his “alkansiya” (piggy bank).

“(Flores called Ortigas) to express sympathy for the victims of typhoons ‘Ondoy’ and ‘Pepeng’ and to hand over a donation of $410 Mexican pesos (approximately P2,451 Philippine pesos) for Filipino children who are victims of the calamities,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said, citing a report from Ortigas.

The DFA said Alejandro, accompanied by his lawyer parents and his six-month-old brother, took the amount straight from his piggy bank during their meeting Oct. 9.

It said Alejandro developed an interest about the Philippines during a summer class and started collecting items about the Philippines, including P2 bills.

Alejandro told Ortigas in a letter that he is interested in Philippine history, and that the Chocolate Hills in Bohol are among his favorite tourist destinations.

“The young boy said he hopes to visit the Philippines someday,” the DFA said.

Ortigas said he intends to ask a friend in a chocolate and cookies business to match 100 times Alejandro’s donation, so it can benefit more Filipino children.

via Mexican 5th grader donates to flood victims – Pinoy Abroad – GMANews.TV – Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs – Latest Philippine News.

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Oct
15
2009

As we I get older I notice a marked uptick in the interest of people in health and healthcare related issues, With this in mind I think the following advice is very valuable and I hope you read the linked article!

How to read articles about health and healthcare

By Dr Alicia White

If you’ve just read a health-related headline that’s caused you to spit out your morning coffee (“Coffee causes cancer” usually does the trick) it’s always best to follow the Blitz slogan: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. On reading further you’ll often find the headline has left out something important, like “Injecting five rats with really highly concentrated coffee solution caused some changes in cells that might lead to tumours eventually. (Study funded by The Association of Tea Marketing)”.

The most important rule to remember: “Don’t automatically believe the headline”. It is there to draw you into buying the paper and reading the story. Would you read an article called “Coffee pretty unlikely to cause cancer, but you never know”? Probably not.

Before spraying your newspaper with coffee in the future, you need to interrogate the article to see what it says about the research it is reporting on. Bazian (the company I work for) has interrogated hundreds of articles for Behind The Headlines on NHS Choices, and we’ve developed the following questions to help you figure out which articles you’re going to believe, and which you’re not.

via “How to read articles about health” – by Dr Alicia White – Bad Science.

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