‘Arguably the most pervasive element enabling exploitative office culture is the postmodern trickery of the contemporary working environment. Slavoj Žižek argues that modern employment tactics create the illusion that our employer is our friend. This fabrication empowers the employer while denying the employed the right to vocalise and protest dissatisfaction of their working conditions. “You’re not going to stick around and help out? I thought we were a team? I thought we were friends?”’
“We describe a novel algorithm for extracting a resolution-independent vector representation from pixel art images, which enables magnifying the results by an arbitrary amount without image degradation. Our algorithm resolves pixel-scale features in the input and converts them into regions with smoothly varying shading that are crisply separated by piecewise-smooth contour curves.…”
“I could not tell you how many times I’ve encountered libertarian arguments about law that assume that individuals can and ought to use contracts to protect themselves against just this sort of contingency. Don’t worry about users clicking “I agree” to overreaching terms of service; if they truly cared about the terms, they’d negotiate for better ones. Don’t worry about people who refuse to buy health insurance; they’re making a rational choice for themselves. Don’t worry about minority shareholders, don’t worry about franchisees, don’t worry about all the other groups that find themselves on the wrong end of a bargain that always seems to tip against them in the long run—if they wanted better protections, they could and should have negotiated for them up front.
Except they don’t. They never do. And really. If the uber-libertarians of the Cato institute can’t watch out for themselves, what hope is there for the rest of us?”
“A preliminary study has show this dynamic lighting is pleasantly perceived. A group of volunteers conducted office duties for four days subjected to light from a 30 by 60 cm ceiling display. On the first day the light was static, on the second it fluctuated gently, and on the third the changes in lighting conditions were more rapid. On the final day, the majority of volunteers (80 percent) said they wished to continue working with the rapidly fluctuating light.”
“Nonetheless, the success of JMLR does provide a clue that the cost of running a premier journal might be far less than publishers imply, if they were to rethink the process substantially — maybe not $10 per article, but surely far less than the $5,000 average revenue per article that scholarly publishers currently receive. This expectation is borne out by the several non-profit and commercial open-access journal publishers that are able to operate in the black with publication fees a fraction of that average.”
“Perhaps not quite as exciting as revivified dinosaurs, but still amazing: plants from the late Paleolithic era are claimed to have been regenerated from fossil material (Yashina et al. 2012. Regeneration of whole fertile plants from 30,000-y-old fruit tissue buried in Siberian permafrost. PNAS doi:10.10.73/pnas.1118386109). This has very little to do with systems biology, but I was interested and thought you would be too. Perhaps I could trace some kind of connection (did you know that our Artist-no-longer-in-Residence, Brian Knep, shared two Academy Awards for his work on the movie Jurassic Park?) but it would be forced and hardly worth it. Better to admit to mild frivolity.”
“Two nebbish Representatives, one Republican and one Democrat, distinguished only by their lack of legislative or political importance, sponsored the bill on behalf of the big boys who fast-tracked it under the radar (they learned from the SOPA debacle). Forget ideology or boasts about carrying a copy of the Constitution in the breast pocket of their suit, whether you are in an archconservative Congressional district or an ultraliberal one, almost every member of Congress voted “aye” to trash multiple amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Almost every one.
This is an accelerating trend in recent years and in particular, a bipartisan theme of the 112th Congress, which views Constitutional rights of nobodies as an anachronistic hindrance to the interests (or convenience) of their powerful and wealthy political supporters. Our elected officials and their backers increasingly share an oligarchic class interest that in important matters, trumps the Kabuki partisanship of FOXnews and MSNBC and inculcates a technocratic admiration for the “efficiency” of select police states.”
“Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of the move to a thick client architecture for web applications, and I’m becoming more and more certain that this means that Rails-style MVC frameworks on the server-side are going to end up being phased out in favour of leaner and meaner frameworks that better address the new needs of thick-client architecture.”
“The industry is inhibited by several obstacles that executives themselves candidly acknowledge. One involves the difficulty of changing the behavior of people trained in the ways of a mature and monopolistic industry. Still another is the unavoidable fact that the part of the newspaper industry that is growing, digital, continues to provide only a small part of the revenue, while the part that is shrinking, print, provides most of the money-a paradox that is difficult to navigate and hard to resist. One pervasive feeling is that 15 years into the digital transition, executives still feel they are in the early stages of figuring out a how to proceed.”
“My readers ask me that question more than just about any other. So here’s my question back: What is school for? (Click the link to get to the free download).
I’ve just published a 30,000 word manifesto, totally free to read, share, translate, print and, most of all, use to start an essential conversation. It took a lot to get it to you, and I’m encouraging you to take a few minutes to check it out. After you read it, perhaps you’ll write one of your own.”
“…In this paper, we introduce a replay method– ology for contextual bandit algorithm evaluation. Different from simulator-based approaches, our method is completely data-driven and very easy to adapt to different applications. More importantly, our method can provide provably unbi– ased evaluations. Our empirical results on a large-scale news article recommendation dataset collected from Yahoo! Front Page conform well with our theoretical results. Furthermore, comparisons between our offline replay and online bucket evaluation of several contextual bandit algorithms show ac– curacy and effectiveness of our offline evaluation method.”
“In terms of holdings, the fund has a heavy focus on health care (41.7%) and industrial revenue (28.3%) bonds which comprise the lion’s share of the assets. State exposure is also pretty spread out as California bonds comprise about 18.3% of the fund while New York bonds are another 11.1%. Beyond these two, the rest of the top five is rounded out by the territory of Puerto Rico (8.5%), and then the states of New Jersey (7.6%) and Ohio (6.9%). Maturity levels are tilted towards the longer end of the curve giving the fund a greater focus on yield but also on interest rate risk as well. Thanks to this, the fund pays out a 30 Day SEC Yield of 5.55%, a level that transfers over to 8.5% in tax equivalent terms for those in the top tax bracket.”
“A good visualization conveys key information to those who may have trouble interpreting numbers and/or statistics, which can make your findings accessible to a wider audience (more on this below). Visualizations also give your audience a break from lexical processing, which is especially useful when you are presenting your findings–people can listen to you and process the findings from a well-designed visual at the same time, but most people have trouble listening while reading your PowerPoint bullet points. Visualizations also convey key information embedded in massive amounts of data, which can aid your own exploratory analysis of data, no matter how massive.”
“These enormous, intricate designs are the creation of one man and his snowshoes. Simon Beck, whom you can see in the last image below, conceives and executes these patterns, turning fresh snow into alien messages.”
“The debate is an old one. New however is the ease – though, I can assure you, editing away objects in Photoshop in a clean way is far from easy – and the extend in which manipulation can be done today. Magic Wand-ing, cloning and gaussian blur are now part even of the vocabularies of a growing number of retirees with too much spare time and an interest in photography. The expectation that a beautiful images ‘has to be manipulated’ is so ingrained that we don’t even pause to question our own paranoia.
But, rather than bothering ourselves with the question if an image is 100% ‘true’ – something that, in my own opinion will never be – we should ask ourselves if adaptations (not ‘manipulation’) are reasonable; if they add or remove something essential to the image. Erasing some zits from a model’s face is perfectly reasonable. Making eyes a little brighter can be legitimate. Blowing up boobs, lengthening legs and shrinking waists is not.
Ethics surrounding photo-manipulation is never so simple as a yes or no question and is not even a ‘thin line’; it is a mine-field in a no man’s land. That careers can be scuttled be being ‘caught’ doing so is sad, in particular because in the trench war between ‘digital compositors’ and photo-purists, there appears to be little willingness to come to a middle ground.”
Cooking for Assholes: Shrimp and Grits — For years shrimp and grits was exactly that: shrimp and grits. Recently a bunch of self-righteous asshats started gussying it up with all sorts of bullshit so they can feel better about themselves. For this recipe I have provided you the backbone of shrimp and grits. What you choose to do with it is your own fucking business but remember that there is beauty in simplicity.
Faye: Simple pub/sub messaging for the web — Faye is an easy-to-use publish-subscribe messaging system based on the Bayeux protocol. It provides message servers for Node.js and Rack, and clients for use in Node and Ruby programs and in the browser.
Diagnosing the DSM — Dana Foundation — With respect to the DSM-5, I am agnostic about the diagnostic criteria for individual conditions, such as panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder; in the end, I am not certain that either of these categories capture nature or will even appear in the DSM-6. When it comes to individual diagnostic categories, I would recommend that the DSM-5 take a conservative approach, leaving criteria unchanged unless compelling new evidence suggests that a change would be beneficial. Whatever the ultimate approach to the DSM-5, it is critical that the scientific community escape the artificial diagnostic silos that control so much research, ultimately to our detriment.
HOWTO: Build a Local Startup Community — The process of bringing together entrepreneurs has been made exponentially easier by the coworking phenomenon. If done right, these spaces become incubators for new businesses and help drive job growth in the area.
More shocking portraits of robot abuse — io9 — It’s called the DLR Hand Arm System. It has an anthropomorphic design and packs 52 motors, ultra-miniaturized control electronics, a supercapacitor-based power supply, and a web of high-strength tendons. But what makes it stand out compared to conventional systems is its ability to withstand collisions, thanks to ingeniously designed joints and actuators that can absorb and dissipate energy, much like our own arms and hands do.
HOWTO: Make Your PR& Marketing Believable — “Affinity has become the new secret weapon — we believe in people and companies that we like,” said Bhargava. For those in the public relations and marketing industries, it is important to gain back the trust they’ve lost from consumers by understanding what makes people, ideas and organizations more believable.
How Gaiman’s “8in8” is Exciting SFF Fans | tor.com | Science fiction and fantasy | Blog posts — The group ended up recording a 6 song album, “Nighty Night,” in the space of 12 hours. You can listen to the full record streaming on Amanda Palmer’s site.
The Creative Commons-released material and somewhat egalitarian nature of the project has led to the online SFF and rock communities picking up the music and using it to craft their own original works. Below the cut, we list the coolest videos that have grown out of the project so far!
Copyright laws prevents release of historic jazz recordings — Boing Boing — The question, however, is whether that will happen anytime soon. And if it doesn’t, music fans might be justified in putting the blame on copyright law. “The potential copyright liability that could attach to redistribution of these recordings is so large–and, more importantly, so uncertain–that there may never be a public distribution of the recordings,” wrote David G. Post, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, on the Volokh Conspiracy blog.
Empathy and Collaboration in Social Business Design « Skilful Minds — Collaboration means getting to know that other employees possess expertise on this or that topic, but also developing comfort with one another by sharing significant symbols relating to self, family, friends, and social activities, thereby understanding one another as people.
Are Cameras the New Guns? — Gizmodo — In 2001, when Michael Hyde was arrested for criminally violating the state’s electronic surveillance law — aka recording a police encounter — the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction 4–2. In dissent, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall stated, “Citizens have a particularly important role to play when the official conduct at issue is that of the police. Their role cannot be performed if citizens must fear criminal reprisals….” (Note: In some states it is the audio alone that makes the recording illegal.)