This is just one example of the stunningly intricate and beautiful multi-layered laser-cut wood artworks by Martin Tomsky featured over at Colossal. If you look carefully at the image you can see the layers of overlaid wood pieces.
I highly recommend you go to the site and see the rest of his work. Fantastic.
Posted in art, new!
Tagged art, collosal, wood
I knew that Paris had streets named after politicians and historical figures, but I didn’t know how many Paris streets are named after mathmaticians. Apparently quite a few! Amazing. One more reason to love Paris.
Dover publishers have the best books when it comes to math. If you want to see some of their better ones, see this list.
Published on 9/29 at 9:29 🙂
Posted in ideas
Tagged Books, Dover, math, paris
It’s not in full decline, but Silicon Valley is on its heels these days, whether due to the practices at Uber or Facebook or Google or …well, the companies that belong there as a whole. Here’s three pieces that all touch on the some of the problems there, but really I could have put three dozen recent articles instead of just these three:
- There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley
- Privilege and inequality in Silicon Valley – Tech Diversity Files – Medium
- Silicon Valley is confusing pseudo-science with innovation – The Verge
Everything I see tells me that they are not equipped to deal with the challenges on their own. If this is true, then expect these high tech companies to come in for a political bruising soon.
There are lots of videos on Youtube of scenes like this. Some are good for white noise, others are good for acting as a screen saver.
Ocean Waves at night:
Ocean waves in the day:
Snow fall in the forest
Snow storm in the street
Night rain sounds
Rain fall sounds
From dealing with difficult people to doing things better, here’s dozens of pieces on how to live better.
- Don’t treat love or leisure like a job | Life and style | The Guardian – good advice. I found that non-work activities that I treated like work became less enjoyable. If this sounds like you, read this.
- MJ Ryan Mantras For Dealing With Difficult Times – everyone can use this at one time or another in their lives
- End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email – The New York Times – what goes for email should also go for social media, Slack, etc. Improve your life: get offline more often.
- 7 Rules That Keep My Life Simple : zen habits – simple is often
- Relationship Problems? Try Getting More Sleep – The New York Times – sometimes the best approach is to start with the basics: sleep, diet, exercise.
- How to Write a Book: 10 Ridiculously Simple Steps – well, not exactly. But a good reminder on how the mechanics of book writing are important.
- Choose to Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier. – The New York Times – if not grateful, then appreciative.
- Pmarchive – Guide to Personal Productivity – odd, but interesting.
- Achieve Goals By Gamifying Them – 99U if you like games, a good approach
- A psychologist explains the limits of human compassion – Vox – a reminder to give yourself a break if you are beating yourself up for not doing more
- Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones – NYTimes.com – this is good.
- Inbox Zero trick: How to clean out your inbox on Gmail and start the year fresh. | Cool Mom Tech – smaller inbox, happier life
- 10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s | Mark Manson – 30 somethings, take note
- The Alan Kazdin Method for Making Your Children Behave – The Atlantic – advice for parents
- I’ve started responding to recruiters with this list of requirements · GitHub – how to deal with recruiters. Good idea.
- Résumé tips for Wall Street internships – Business Insider – I can’t recommend this, but for those who want that life.
- How to Start Running – Well Guide to Running for Beginners – Well Guides – The New York Times – plenty of good resources for new and experienced runners here.
- Make Yourself Note-able – who writes, rules.
- What Productivity Systems Won’t Solve – good advice, especially for those busy yet feeling stuck.
- 11 Ways to Write Better | The Minimalists – I am surprised the minimalists had this many 🙂
- Biggest goal setting mistake people make, according to Amy Cuddy – Business Insider – if you feel goal setting isn’t working, read this.
- Better Together – Kara’s Inspiration | Oiselle Running Apparel for Women – inspiration from one of my favorite athletes.
- How I Got My Attention Back | WIRED – in the Internet era, your attention is valuable. Keep hold of it.
- How to Be a Stoic | The New Yorker
- I Have 15 ideas To Change Your Life. Do you Have 5 Minutes? -sure you do. So read this.
- Tips for Minimal Living and Decor | Apartment Therapy – good advice on how to live minimally.
- The Life Balance Wheel: A Printable Tool to Find Harmony at Home | Apartment Therapy – a good technique. Replace things on the wheel with things you value most.
- You Should Work Less Hours—Darwin Did – see? now you have a reason to do this.
- How to Get to Know Someone: 53 Great Questions to Ask — Gentleman’s Gazette – for those of you that find getting to know people hard.
- Actually, we can buy happiness | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian – a good contrarian take on things
- Do These 5 Emotionally Intelligent Things Within 5 Minutes Of Meeting Someone – also good.
- When an Argument Gets Too Heated, Here’s What to Say – good to know.
(Image from Wikihow)
If you are looking to build AI tech, or just learn about it, then you will find these interesting:
- Artificial intelligence pioneer says we need to start over – Axios – if Hinton says it, it is worth taking note
- Robots Will Take Fast-Food Jobs, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes | Inverse – true. Economists need to stop making such a strong link here.
- Artificial Intelligence 101: How to Get Started | HackerEarth Blog – a good 101 piece
- Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself Chess in 72 Hours, Plays at International Master Level – MIT Technology Review – the ability of tech to learn is accelerating.
- Now AI Machines Are Learning to Understand Stories – MIT Technology Review – and not just accelerating, but getting deeper.
- Robots are coming for your job. That might not be bad news – good alternative insight from Laurie Penny.
- Pocket: Physicists Unleash AI to Devise Unthinkable Experiments – not surprisingly, a smart use of AI
- AI’s dueling definitions – O’Reilly Media – this highlights one of the problems with AI, and that it is it is a suitcase word (or term) and people fill it with what they want to fill it with
- A Neural Network Playground – a very nice tool to start working with AI
- Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News – there is no doubt in places like Foxconn, robots are taking jobs.
- 7 Steps to Mastering Machine Learning With Python – don’t be put off by this site’s design: there is good stuff here
- How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race – Bloomberg – Amazon made a smart move with that acquisition and it is paying off
- When Police Use Robots to Kill People – Bloomberg this is a real moral quandary and I am certain the police aren’t the only people to be deciding on it. See also: A conversation on the ethics of Dallas police’s bomb robot – The Verge
- How to build and run your first deep learning network – O’Reilly Media – more good stuff on ML/DL/AI
- This expert thinks robots aren’t going to destroy many jobs. And that’s a problem. | The new new economy – another alternative take on robots and jobs
- Neural Evolution – Building a natural selection process with AI – more tutorials
- Uber Parking Lot Patrolled By Security Robot | Popular Science – not too long after this, one of these robots drowned in a pool in a mall. Technology: it’s not easy 🙂
- A Robot That Harms: When Machines Make Life Or Death Decisions : All Tech Considered : NPR – this is kinda dumb, but worth a quick read.
- Mathematics of Machine Learning | Mathematics | MIT OpenCourseWare – if you have the math skills, this looks promising
- Small Prolog | Managing organized complexity – I will always remain an AI/Prolog fan, so I am including this link.
- TensorKart: self-driving MarioKart with TensorFlow – a very cool application
- AI Software Learns to Make AI Software – MIT Technology Review – there is less here than it appears, but still worth reviewing
- How to Beat the Robots – The New York Times – meh. I think people need to learn to work with the technology, not try to defeat it. If you disagree, read this.
- People want to know: Why are there no good bots? – bot makers, take note.
- Noahpinion: Robuts takin’ jerbs
- globalinequality: Robotics or fascination with anthropomorphism – everyone is writing about robots and jobs, it seems.
- Valohai – more ML tools
- Seth’s Blog: 23 things artificially intelligent computers can do better/faster/cheaper than you can – like I said, everyone is writing about AI. Even Seth Godin.
- The Six Main Stories, As Identified by a Computer – The Atlantic – again, not a big deal, but interesting.
- A poet does TensorFlow – O’Reilly Media – artists will always experiment with new mediums
- How to train your own Object Detector with TensorFlow’s Object Detector API – more good tooling.
- Rise of the machines – the best – by far! – non-technical piece I have read about AI and robots.
- We Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What It Found. – I was super impressed what Buzzfeed did here.
- The Best Machine Learning Resources – Machine Learning for Humans – Medium – tons of good resources here.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter are platforms. So are some retail sites. What does that mean? It means that they provide the means for people to use their technology to create things for themselves. Most of the time, this is a good thing. People can communicate in ways they never could before such platforms. Likewise, people can sell things to people they never could.
Now these platforms are in a bind, as you can see in this piece and in other places: Google, Facebook, and Twitter Sell Hate Speech Targeted Ads. They are in a bind partly due to their own approach, by boasting of their ability to use AI to stop such things. They should have been much more humble. AI as it currently stands will only take you so far. Instead of relying on things like AI, they need to have better governance mechanisms in place. Governance is a cost of organizations, and often times organizations don’t insert proper governance until flaws like this start to occur.
That said, this particular piece has several weaknesses. First up, this comment: “that the companies are incapable of building their systems to reflect moral values”. It would be remarkable for global companies to build systems to reflect moral values when even within individual nations there is conflicts regarding such values. Likewise the statement: “It seems highly unlikely that these platforms knowingly allow offensive language to slip through the cracks”. Again, define offensive language at a global level. To make it harder still, trying doing it with different languages and different cultures. The same thing occurs on retail sites when people put offensive images on T shirts. For some retail systems no one from the company that own the platform takes time to review every product that comes in.
And that gets to the problem. All these platforms could be mainly content agnostic, the way the telephone system is platform agnostic. However people are expecting them to insert themselves and not be content agnostic. Once that happens, they are going to be in an exceptional bind. We don’t live in a homogenous world where everyone shares the same values. Even if they converted to non-profits and spent a lot more revenue on reviewing content, there would still be limits to what they could do.
To make things better, these platforms need to be humble and realistic about what they can do and communicate that consistently and clearly with the people that use these systems. Otherwise, they are going to find that they are going to be governed in ways they are not going to like. Additionally, they need to decide what their own values are and communicate and defend them. They may lose users and customers, but the alternative of trying to be different things in different places will only make their own internal governance impossible.
Good news: Merkel won by moving to the center.
Bad news: AfD, a far right party, has surged and won seats.
This could either be a blip and AfD could fade after this election.
Or it could be the start of big and bad changes for Germany, Europe and the world.
For more on this, see this good piece: Angela Merkel wins 4th term as chancellor of Germany in Vox
If you are looking to declutter your place, consider this: 90/90 Minimalism Rule | The Minimalists. Simple, effective, obvious. Be honest about the second 90 though.
According to this source, Apple is going into the Health Care Industry: Apple Is Going After The Health Care Industry, Starting With Personal Health Data.
I think a more general statement is that Apple is going to be looking into expanding into services, be they health care, banking, or something else. They’ve already been successful with Apple Pay. I expect they can find niches in health care and other industries that they can easily fit into. Plus they can work with partners to deliver tools to people and health care providers that can save everyone in terms of health care costs.
I’m looking forward to Apple bring forth innovations in health care that results in lower costs and better care. I hope they can deliver.
For more on some current health features from Apple, go here.
This is a pretty cool DIY project: The AIY Voice Kit Lets You Build a Google Home for Only $35.
Now, I have my qualms about letting Google have access to so much personal information. If you do not have such qualms and you want to build a cool project, click the link and head on over to Wired, where they have more information on it and how to get it.
Bill Gates picks great books to read, and Business Insider has his latest batch here: Bill Gates’ favorite books on science – Business Insider. Unlike other such lists from famous people, I can imagine Gates actually does read all the books he recommends. From other reviewers I’ve read, his book selection is solid.
Not just non-fiction, there is some fiction in there as well.
What this piece in the New York Times says is the truth about tiny homes is really true about living in any small space, be it a tiny home or a very small apartment or condo. I liked this article because it mentioned things you might not think of, such as how ordinary objects which are not noticeable in bigger spaces become significant in larger spaces. Anyone thinking of downsizing should read this piece.
I still think there are lots of benefits in living in a small space. And some of them, like the one above from inhabitat.com, are gorgeous. But yeah, onions and laundry baskets. 🙂
Or at least a high resolution image of Vermeer by going here:
Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings (Most in Brilliant High Resolution) | Open Culture
Open Culture has lots of great links, including at the bottom of the Vermeer one, mentioned above. Open Source is good; so is Open Culture.
(Image linked to on the Open Culture page)
This piece, Why Freud Survives, is a great review of not just Freud’s legacy, but some of the people involved with Freud’s legacy since his death. I’ve read about it before: believe it or not, this is the short version of it. While long, the piece is well worth reading.
This section in particular gives some good context with regards to psychoanalysis in the context of psychiatry.
Since the third edition of the DSM, the emphasis has been on biological explanations for mental disorders, and this makes psychoanalysis look like a detour, or, as the historian of psychiatry Edward Shorter called it, a “hiatus.” But it wasn’t as though psychiatry was on solid medical ground when Freud came along. Nineteenth-century science of the mind was a Wild West show. Treatments included hypnosis, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, full-body massage, painkillers like morphine, rest cures, “fat” cures (excessive feeding), seclusion, “female castration,” and, of course, institutionalization. There was also serious interest in the paranormal. The most prevalent nineteenth-century psychiatric diagnoses, hysteria and neurasthenia, are not even recognized today. That wasn’t “bad” science. It was science. Some of it works; a lot of it does not. Psychoanalysis was not the first talk therapy, but it was the bridge from hypnosis to the kind of talk therapy we have today. It did not abuse the patient’s body, and if it was a quack treatment it was not much worse, and was arguably more humane, than a lot of what was being practiced. Nor did psychoanalysis put a halt to somatic psychiatry. During the first half of the twentieth century, all kinds of medical interventions for mental disorders were devised and put into practice. These included the administration of sedatives, notably chloral, which is addictive, and which was prescribed for Virginia Woolf, who suffered from major depression; insulin-induced comas; electroshock treatments; and lobotomies. Despite its frightful reputation, electroconvulsive therapy is an effective treatment for severe depression, but most of the other treatments in use before the age of psychopharmaceuticals were dead ends. Even today, in many cases, we are basically throwing chemicals at the brain and hoping for the best. Hit or miss is how a lot of progress is made. You can call it science or not.
Psychiatry has a long way to go. It will need better tools and better ways of understanding the brain and the mind. I think over time Freud will be seen the way Galen is: not so much relevant as influential and important in moving medicine forward.
(Image from link to Wikipedia)
Mostly good recipes, but some pieces lower down on food
- Sauces made simple: The Five Mother Sauces Every Cook Should Know, Five Sauces Everyone Should Know How to Make for Endless Meal Options, and 5 Sauces You Can Use on Everything – Cook Smarts.
- Good for fall:
- An Authentic, Maritime Fish Chowder | Laura Calder
- Lots of summer dishes here: Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less – NYTimes.com, here Caribbean Herb Grilled Fish and here 27 Summer Pasta Recipes
- Easy but great: Skillet roast chicken with veggies – The Globe and Mail
- A classic pasta recipe: Sicilian pasta – Chatelaine
- These look yummyBaked Vegetable Chips – Hither & Thither
- From David Lebovitz, Chicken bulgogi
- For vegetarian or those that want to be: 21 Vegetarian Burgers, Wraps, and Sandwiches to Make for Meatless Monday | Kitchn
- More cool weather food: Classic French Cassoulet Recipe – Bacon is Magic – The Best Food Around the World
- More soups! Sweet Potato Minestrone | A Cup of Jo
- These look fantastic: belgian brownie cakelets – smitten kitchen
- More D.L.: Tangerine Sorbet Recipe
- Easy but looks professional. Also tasty: Stacey Snacks: Healthy & Delicious: Cod Provencal
- For fall and winter too: Easy French Hot Chocolate | Chocolate & Zucchini
- Eat more greens with better vingaigrettes: An Easy Template for Citrus Vinaigrette, 5 Ways | Kitchn
- More Caribbean food from Chris: Roasted Tomato And Bacon Soup Recipe.
- Eat more grains: Apple Cider–Cooked Farro Recipe | Bon Appetit
- Make those herbs last: Why Freezing Is the Best Way to Preserve Cilantro | Kitchn
And now for some non-recipe related food links:
- What I learned not drinking for two years – Medium
- I hate food: For some of us, eating is just about sustenance – The Globe and Mail
- How to Start Cooking (Even If You Feel Doomed)
I have been fascinated by the idea of povera cucina. Here’s too links on it.
- POVERA CUCINA
- La Cucina Povera or the Kitchen of the Poor
(Image linked to is of chicken bulgogi from David Lebovitz.)
If you are looking for a variety of low cost meals online that are straightforward to make — I am looking at you, college students — then I recommend the site BudgetBytes.com. Each of the recipes has a breakdown of the expected cost, how long it takes to make, as well as the typical information you will find in a recipe. Here’s a few I highlighted recently, in no particular order.
They have a wide range of recipes, and categories (e.g. chicken, vegetarian). The recipes are simple, the ingredients easy to find, and generally they look good. Give it a try.
Save money, eat better.
(Image from here.)
Posted in food
Tagged cooking, food, recipes
Getting fit can seem like a big production, and for people who haven’t been exercising, that can be all it takes to prevent them from getting fitter. Speaking from experience, I know this to be the case.
What I think you need is something that will a) get you in the habit b) be so low key you have no real excuse to get started.
If you agree then I think these two pieces are just what you need to get started on your way to being fitter.
- 10 Minutes And Some Stairs Are All You Need To Get More Fit — Science of Us
- Yoga for Everyone: A Beginners Guide – Well Guides – The New York Times
As for the yoga, if you don’t want to do all 10, then pick a few just to get started. Even doing 2-3 at first should get you started.
P.S. For more on simplifying exercise, check out this piece in Vox.
Of course you can go out and order one. But if you feel like staying home and making one, then the good folks at Bon Appetit have two version on the classic martini you might be interested in trying:
- The Modern Martini
- Fifty-Fifty Martini Recipe | Bon Appetit
Don’t have martini glasses? Consider Crate and Barrel: they have a selection here.
(Image from Crate and Barrel)
Most people understand depression does exist and it is different and more severe than routine sadness or tiredness. Recent studies in depression indicate that there may be different categories of this mental illness. As this piece highlights, Brain Scans Show 4 Different Types of Depression | Mental Floss, there may not be just one medical profile for people with depression, but…
different medical profiles. Patients in subtypes 1 and 2 described feeling more fatigue, while people in subtypes 3 and 4 had trouble feeling pleasure.
One significant thing about this separation is that there are different treatments for different subtypes.
If you suffer from depression or know someone that does, or want to have a better understanding of the disease, I recommend that piece. That said, if you think you may be suffering from depression, always seek out professional help.
(Image is a link to the web site http://namila.org/)
And the NYTimes has an update on where he is in his life and his career, here: David Hockney, Contrarian, Shifts Perspectives – NYTimes.com.
I have always admired Hockney both for the wonderful lushness of his paintings and for the way he speaks about art. Both of those admirable qualities are on display in the piece in the Times. He’s in his 80s now: I hope he continues to work and speak for some time to come.
(Image linked to in the NYTimes and taken by Nathanael Turner)
Posted in art
Tagged art, Hockney, nytimes
These are all links I’ve come across recently and thought worthwhile:
If you are not used to reading philosophy, the first one is a must read. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to read philosophy in a way that leaves you frustrated.
I’ve seen references to virtue ethics (as well as stoicism) frequently these days: if you aren’t familiar with it, that link is a good starting point to get to know it.
Finally, the last link is useful if you are new to philosophy and want to know it better but find it hard to get started.
(Image from http://uucch.org/morning-philosophy-group)
Highly recommended: Emil Zátopek: The greatest Olympian vanished from public life after he defied Russian tanks in 1968 | The Independent.
As a kid I saw a documentary on Zatopek and was in awe of how dominant a runner he was. Anyone looking for inspiration in athletics can find that in many places: I found mine watching Zatopek and Abibi Bikila (running barefoot in Rome) excel at the Olympics.
Then you need to read this: The Thrill of Losing Money by Investing in a Manhattan Restaurant | The New Yorker
It is a wonderful read of a terrible experience.
Besides that, though, it is an entertaining but damning analysis of the restaurant business in cities like New York. (I imagine it is the same for most cities.) I think at some point there will be fewer and fewer fine dining experiences in cities, and the best food will come from places that are small and have very low overhead. And all those large spaces that were once filled with large restaurants will close.
If you still want to own a restaurant after all that, don’t say you weren’t warned! 🙂
(Image is of Prune, one of my favourite NYC restaurants. If fine dining is to have a model in the future, it is likely to come more from places like this, imho.)
The juicero is toast. Not surprising to me: it was a terrible idea.
While the juicero was terrible, this analysis of the engineering behind the juicero is fantastic: Here’s Why Juicero’s Press is So Expensive – Bolt Blog.
Even if you aren’t interested in this device, read this analysis. You will come away with a much better appreciation of all the devices currently in your own life and some of the thinking that goes into making them.
If you are applying for a job and haven’t done so in a while, chances are you will have a difficult time with some of the questions asked of you, if only because you are expected to provide answers on topics you likely haven’t thought of in some time.
Two ways to deal with that. First, find friends who have recently gone to job interviews and get them to give you some of the questions they were asked. Second, try out some of the questions found here: swissmiss | My Favorite Interview Questions.
I should add, any place that asks you the kind of questions found at swissmiss.com is likely the kind of place you want to work.
Good luck. Ace that interview.
(Image linked to http://sscrecruitmentresults.in/hr-interview-questions-answers-freshers/)
Perhaps the hype around the standing desk is finally going to die. Here’s hoping. Based on this source, Standing All Day Is Twice as Bad as Sitting for Your Heart | Runner’s World, standing all day is no good either. It mentions an interesting study….
… just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that finds jobs that require a lot of standing to be much worse for your health than jobs that require mostly sitting. The new study is a surprising counterweight to the ubiquitous “sitting is the new smoking” message
Like anything, standing or sitting at your job should be done in moderation. Ideally you would have a work station that allowed you to easily switch from sitting to standing (like the one in the image above from http://www.smallbiztechnology.com/). If you don’t have a set up like that, at least try and find opportunities to stand and sit throughout the day. Better still, get a walk or two in as well.
Be good to yourself and your body.
If you take any of these meds then you really should read this: Should you take Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin for pain? Here’s what the evidence says. – Vox
I was surprised by what they said about Tylenol. You might be surprised by what’s in here as well.
As for me, I have found when I have had a sore back, ASA was the best thing to relieve the pain.
Like any medicine, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking. You should especially consult with them if you are taking such medicine on a regular basis.
(Image from bayer.com)
When I first saw this: 20 misused English words that make smart people look silly in Quartz, I was confident that I would not be someone who misused any of them. Turns out there were a few that I did. Not many! But a few. 🙂
See if the same applies to you. If none, congrats!
Easy, with this beautiful map:
A link to a full sized version of the map is here.
More information on the map, here: New map charts parks near TTC stations
What does it mean to be lonely? Here are two good pieces exploring the aspect of being lonely. First up, a review of the book, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, which is something of a memoir, but a memoir focused on exploring the idea of loneliness. The second piece, The future of loneliness | Olivia Laing | Society | The Guardian, examines the idea of loneliness in the context of our current technology and our current society.
How you think of aloneness and being alone depends on your own personal experiences and context. For some, it can be a terrifying idea, being alone, while others find it liberating and exciting. To some, being alone is a foreign place, to others, the state of aloneness is the place they call home.
One of the best things, and hopeful things, ever made about being alone, is this video:
Yesterday I mentioned Robert Caro and his writing routine. Today, here’s a good piece by George Saunders and what writers really do when they write in The Guardian. Well worth a read.
I find Caro a fascinating person and this portrait of him in this Paris Review interview is well worth reading: Paris Review – Robert Caro, The Art of Biography No. 5.
It’s worth comparing it to this piece on him in the New York Times that talks about his routine, including how he goes to a separate office in Manhattan just to work and that he wears formal business attire to do so. A rare life writing about another rare life.