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big ol' link sunday: economics of Star Trek, walking in nature, artificial sweeteners [Aug. 2nd, 2015|10:08 pm]
[Current Mood |busybusy]

Things are always crazy this time of year between the summer musical (come see us!) and NIWeek, and they're extra crazy this year for various other reasons, so you get a giant batch of links. Starting...now!

- What the economics of Star Trek can teach us about the real world - sounds like an interesting book! Thinking about the end of scarcity in the world is hard to comprehend... (thanks Jessica!)

- You Just Got Out of Prison. Now What? - very cool story about ex-cons who pick people up from prison and helping them adjust to life outside.

- How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain - yay, walking in green spaces is good for you!

- Bang Bang Sanity - likely controversial, but: over the last few years I've gotten increasingly pessimistic that any meaningful gun control laws are going to be passed in the US. But, this is a pragmatic idea that hopefully both sides can agree on, and it might have an impact on deaths caused by guns. (last year, there were 12552 gun deaths, at least 1597 of which were accidental) (thanks James!)

- The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar - hmm, a nice "meta-analysis" in column form.

- More dirty coding tricks from game developers - oh, man, I love these! But, boy, that "...Or is it over here!?" story on page 2 *shudder* And I laughed out loud at "Constant craving" on page 2...

- Meet Margaret Hamilton, the badass '60s programmer who saved the moon landing - the code is as tall as she is!

- What About the Math Olympians? - wow, the US won the International Math Olympiad this year! Nice job!

- Anti-Gay Feeling Is High In Many African Countries Amid Obama Visit - wow, "high" is quite an understatement; those numbers are sobering.

- Why Is the Iraq War Never Mentioned in Debates About the Iran Deal? - hey, good question!

- Crashes only on Wednesdays - I did not see the punchline coming!

- Prankster showers Sepp Blatter with dollar bills at Fifa press conference - hah! (thanks Ben!)

- Quiz: Name That Narcissist - I did manage to get 11/15, but Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi are surprisingly alike.
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Optimal TFS Gated Checkin Batching [Jul. 23rd, 2015|10:13 am]
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[Current Mood |busybusy]

I've been on a mathy kick lately - here's how to figure out how many gated builds to batch at once in Microsoft's Team Foundation Server.
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link friday: racism, biological weapon tested in San Francisco, Inside Out, GMOs [Jul. 17th, 2015|02:53 pm]
[Current Mood |busybusy]

- I, Racist - very powerful sermon (thanks Britton!)

- 'One of the largest human experiments in history' was conducted on unsuspecting residents of San Francisco - what the what??

- The Science of ‘Inside Out’ - did I mention "Inside Out" is great?

- The Misleading War on GMOs: The Food Is Safe. The Rhetoric Is Dangerous. - long, convincing article that GMOs are pretty OK.

- The Really Big One - terrifying article about the Pacific Northwest and how an earthquake is going to destroy Portland.

- spaceprob.es is a nice view of our active probes.

- "This is the age of writing iOS apps for love" - (and Windows Phone apps, of course :-) )

- The real origin story behind how Rep. John Lewis became THE hit of Comic-Con - pretty cool! (thanks Jessica!)

- The Real Story of Obamacare's Birth - a reminder that some of the drafting problems were because no Republicans would support the bill, for political reasons
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Inside Out is really good, and a golden age [Jul. 14th, 2015|03:03 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

David and I saw "Inside Out" this weekend which, as its Metacritic score suggests, is very, very good. (it's my favorite Pixar film since WALL-E...still can't decide which I like better) It was emotional and thought-provoking and funny...and it's a kid's movie!

Between Pixar's movies and Disney's resurgence (Big Hero 6, Frozen), it feels like a golden age for kid's animated movies. Inevitably it won't last forever, so let's celebrate it while we can!
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Probabilities in the game Camel Up (or Camel Cup) [Jul. 11th, 2015|09:25 pm]
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[Current Mood |relaxedrelaxed]

If you like math or games, here is a post for you!
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same-sex marriage and religion [Jul. 2nd, 2015|11:06 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last week, some people have gone a bit crazy. Ted Cruz says the rulings on Obamacare and marriage were "some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history", which is...definitely saying something!

I got into a discussion on Facebook (I know, I know...) which quickly became unhinged about whether this means churches will be forced to marry same-sex couples or go to jail or something. (for the record: NO, obviously, since this isn't true today! A Jewish couple can't get married in a Catholic church, etc, etc, etc)

So all that had me feeling rather down on religion this week. And then: the Episcopal church voted to allow same-sex weddings! (although bishops and clergy can opt out)

This really meant a lot to me, since when David and I were planning our ceremony 6 years ago, we wanted to have it at our Episcopal church but were told (very nicely, of course!) that the Church didn't allow it. So hooray!
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Fourth of July links: the Cardinals are dirty cheaters, neural networks, 3-pointers [Jul. 1st, 2015|02:17 pm]
[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

- Cardinals Investigated for Hacking Into Astros’ Database - Booooo Cardinals!

- Inceptionism: Going Deeper into Neural Networks - fun with neural networks!

- Stephen Curry and the duration of the great stagnation - why did it take so long for NBA teams to realize that the 3-pointer was such a good shot?

- Hooray for Obamacare - Obamacare is working!

- Spot the Ball - a fun game to celebrate the Women's World Cup! I beat 59.6% of other players, which is...not great.

- A Sea Change in Treating Heart Attacks - yay, good for hospitals!

- 11 bonkers quotes from Donald Trump's campaign announcement - a little old, but still funny/crazy!

- 5 simple chemistry facts that everyone should understand before talking about science - everything is made of chemicals!

- Fifa's United Passions confirmed as lowest-grossing film in US history - hahaha!

- You Draw It: How Family Income Predicts Children’s College Chances - another fun game from the New York Times.

- Did Nielsen Kill The Radio Star? - interesting!
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2 quick thoughts about same-sex marriage [Jun. 26th, 2015|11:47 pm]
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[Current Mood |overjoyed]

0) It was an utter joy updating the map. I still can't believe it happened! Nate Silver points out that change doesn't usually come this fast.

1) Somewhere around 10% of the population is gay (maybe 20%), but regardless of the number you pick, it's well less than the 60% of Americans that support same-sex marriage. We have a ton of straight allies who get no benefit from supporting us, but we wouldn't have made much progress without them. Thank you!

2) Elections matter. 2 of the 5 Supreme Court votes today were from justices appointed by Obama. If Obama hadn't gotten elected in 2008, I would probably not be writing this post tonight. Even today, none of the myriad of candidates running for the Republican nomination have come out in support of the ruling, and in fact none of them support same-sex marriage. Not a one!

Elections matter.
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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore review [Jun. 20th, 2015|10:52 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Mr. Penumbra"s 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the geekiest fiction book I have ever read, and it was amazing! Lots of interesting topics, and a lot of the stuff I spot-checked was actually true. Highly recommended!

View all my reviews
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link friday: what is code, Lake Travis water levels, After Dark in CSS [Jun. 12th, 2015|02:20 pm]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

- What is Code? - this very long article (over 30,000 words!) is the best introduction I've seen to what it's like to be a programmer these days. Highly recommended!

- For a quick view as to just how rainy Austin was in May, here's the Lake Travis water level. That's quite a spike! Of course if you include 2010 we're still below that level, and Lake Buchanan is up but still pretty far below full...

- I couldn't find a post associated with this, but here's a funny comparison of Texas cities.

- If you remember the After Dark screensaver from the early 90s, here's a reimplementation in pure CSS. (don't miss the flying toasters!)

- Dream Come True: DrumPants Allow You to Play Drums By Hitting Your Pants - whoooa I want these!

- How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes - even though it wasn't entirely their fault, between this and that other ProPublica article about the Red Cross I'm not real excited about giving to them in the future.

- The Onion's AV Club had a few interesting articles: Sesame Street staffers on the show’s smart and adorable pop parodies and The making of "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"

- How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that toppled Sepp Blatter - Andrew Jennings has been investigating FIFA's corruption for 15 years!

- The validictorian of a Colorado high school was planning to come out as gay in his graduation speech, but his principal forbade him to do so, presumably because he was unaware that it's 2015. Anyway, Larry Wilmore had him on his show, which is awesome!

- To End Soccer Riots, This Brazilian Club Forces Fans To Sit Next To Rivals - clever!
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