Monday, March 26, 2018

Video: Selfish Altruism has a post with a video explaining why it is better for you if everyone's living standard improves.  It makes an interesting comparison between the situations in pre-industrial times and today.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sculpture in a notepad

A very cool post about some Japanese notepads that, as you remove the sheets, slowly reveal a laser-cut sculpture.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Making a stack of Chinese bowls

British woodworker Robin Wood has a blog post with a very well made short video showing a Chinese craftsman making a stack of wooden bowls using a foot-powered lathe.  I've never seen a lathe quite like that one - most of the Western ones I've seen use some sort of spring to counter-rotate the lathe - nor have I seen anyone make a stack of bowls all at once.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Singaporeans worry as temperature drops to low twenties

I lived in Singapore in the late nineties and I still sometimes look at the Singaporean news.  The Straights Times has an article cautioning residents that the temperature has fallen into the low twenties Celsius.
According to NEA's website, the lowest temperature recorded in Singapore was 19.4 deg C on two days in 1934. Both days were in the month of January.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Millennials' Financial Problems

The Huffington Post has an article about why Millennials are in such a bad financial position.  (And no it's not because of avocado toast.)
What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor. What is different about the world around us is profound. Salaries have stagnated and entire sectors have cratered. At the same time, the cost of every prerequisite of a secure existence—education, housing and health care—has inflated into the stratosphere. From job security to the social safety net, all the structures that insulate us from ruin are eroding. And the opportunities leading to a middle-class life—the ones that boomers lucked into—are being lifted out of our reach. Add it all up and it’s no surprise that we’re the first generation in modern history to end up poorer than our parents.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Finding Serial Killers Algorithmically

The New Yorker has an article about Thomas Hargrove who has been mining crime data to find groups of related murders that haven't been linked before.
Each year, about five thousand people kill someone and don’t get caught, and a percentage of these men and women have undoubtedly killed more than once. Hargrove intends to find them with his code, which he sometimes calls a serial-killer detector.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Torture doesn't work

The Guardian has a long piece about a pair of scientists who have proved what everyone knew but many didn't want to admit - that torture doesn't work for extracting information.  The article also covers how you should go about an interrogation.
The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world's first empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics.