Monthly Archives: December 2015

My favourite mathematics proof.

Is this:

A nice use of computing to refute an old conjecture from no less than Euler.

Found thanks to a tweet from Aatish Bhatia 


At Theranos, things are coming undone

And the journalists at Wall Street Journal have been leading on this story for some time now. Their latest piece, which is a good summary of what has been happening recently with the blood testing company is here:  At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags – WSJ.

Everything I see leads me to believe this will be a debacle. It’s hard to tell, since Theranos consistently defends themselves against the many charges against them. Perhaps they will come out successful in the end. I think we’ll find out soon enough.

Trying to get started running? Here’s four links that can help

If you want to get started running, first see your doctor and make sure you can without any risk to your health. Assuming you are cleared, then check out these worthwhile links and get ready to hit the road:

  1. How to Go From Sedentary to Running in Five Steps : zen habits
  2. Start Running Now: Our Get-Going Guide – Beginners – Runner’s World
  3. Overweight? That’s ok, you too can start running! | RunAddicts
  4. How I Got Over the Jogging Beginner’s Hump

It’s not A.I. or robots that are taking away jobs. It’s you.

A year or so ago, a parking lot I use had a human in a booth to take tickets and provide other  services. That human booth was replaced by the thing in the photo above.

It’s not a robot and it’s not A.I., but it is replacing humans.

Stories about A.I. or robots taking over work makes them interesting. It’s also secondary to the real story. What is really taking people’s jobs is a willingness of others to use technology, and a willingness of companies to replace people with technology. People are not afraid to use technology. If anything, sometimes they prefer to deal with technology. This makes it easier for companies to go with technology as compared to using people, and if companies can save money or make money, so much the better.

It is happening in all sorts of industries, from food to sportswriting. The technology isn’t the driver of this: it’s the willingness of people to prefer technology that is the driver.

Thinking critically about robots. (Hint: think vending machines)

The following is anuncritical and hyped-up analysis of robots, from Wired (On Cyber Monday, Friendly Robots Are Helping Smaller Stores Chase Amazon). A key quote from it is this (highlighting by me):

… (Amazon) is relying on more than 100,000 temp workers this holiday season to supplement its already massive warehouse workforce, the advantages of offloading more of that work onto machines are easy to see. Robots don’t slow. They don’t tire. They don’t get injured or distracted or sick. They don’t require paychecks or try to unionize.

Now check out this robot:

Once you get over the word “robot”, you can see it resembles alot of the other machines you see in workplaces. Machines like high speed printers, scanners and even vending machines.  All of those things don’t slow, don’t tire and don’t unionize. They don’t get sick, but they break down alot, which is just the same. They don’t require a paycheck, but they do cost the organizations that use them. Sometimes they perform their function so poorly that people bypass them altogether.  As well, robots need others to take care of them. An army of robots just doesn’t show up: there is an entire process of testing, deploying, fixing and replacing them that is costly and non-trivial. There is a process for deploying human resources, too, but to say that that is costly and the process of deploying robot resources is not costly is wrong.

Robots will take over some functionality in workplaces, be that function blue collar or white collar. But that is no different from alot of other machinery already in place. The difference with robots will be that they are mobile. That’s it. We should get over the notion of robot as some magical creature and just accept them as another machine.

Are you getting charged for monthly subscriptions from Apple apps? If so, read this

This is for a particular app (MLB At Bat monthly subsciption charge will continue until you turn it off), but it should work for any app you have that is billing you monthly.

It may not seem much a month, but like any slow leak, the cost adds up. Best to seal it right away.

Dietary food guides are just that: guides. A good reminder of that, here.

And as you can see from this: Italy’s dietary guidelines actually say pasta and cookies are food groups in Vox. Depending on where they originate, food guidelines are often very different. There is some overlap (which isn’t surprising), but there are just as many differences.

If you are confused as to what you should choose, try going with Sweden’s (below): it seems the most sensible.