Sunday, December 27, 2015

goat and epic farce

I'm putting into practice the model of "failing fast" -- try something, if it goes somewhere, great. if not, recognize that it's a dead end, and do something that will produce (desirable) results. I've used leanpub to share a farce which I hope you will find entertaining, or even informative.

Note I will not be insulted if you choose to slide the purchase price to $0, I feel it is more important to share something priceless like friendship and enjoyment, than to put a price on it. 

If you do have fun with it, feel free to share.


Gustavo Tanaka

Co-creator, Baobbá Lab
Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven't Noticed

Posted: 12/16/2015 1:57 pm EST Updated: 12/21/2015 5:59 pm EST

Most of us haven't quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.

A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unaware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post, I'll point out the eight reasons that lead me to believe it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

bullshit revisited

Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.

Keywords: bullshit, bullshit detection, dual-process theories, analytic thinking, supernatural beliefs, religiosity, conspiratorial ideation, complementary and alternative medicine.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ganesh on board !

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

who's looking at your internet usage? everybody!

becoming more obvious but you always knew it was going on since (latest) 2013:
"Comcast does not monitor your activities. Comcast receives notices from content owners identifying an anonymous set of numbers known as an IP address visible on the Internet when the subscriber engages in behavior the owner believes infringes its copyrights.  If Comcast matches the IP address and time listed in the content owner’s notice with our logs, then Comcast generates a copyright alert to our subscriber. The content owner cannot find out your identity through the Copyright Alert System. Comcast protects the subscribers' privacy, no information is shared with the copyright holder."
Not sure if it's more bothersome that a "copyright holder" out on the internet is able to tell that your IP address is going to another site, presumably unauthorized, and determine you are violating a copyright.  Does that sound like I can see that you're going to freestuf-dot-com and you're downloading my copyrighted material ?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

opt out of wifi tracking in your favorite stores

If you don't already know it, every time you walk into a modern store, if your smartphone or tablet wifi or bluetooth is turned on, the multiple wifi antennas in the store can identify you (the name you use on the device), your physical network address (read more below), and can triangulate where you are in the store,  whether you went left or right (which displays were more attractive?), and how long you lingered at each place.

If you want to see sample reports here are

In theory, you can elect to opt-out of their tracking, if you submit your MAC address (info on the site):

But the best thing is probably to simply turn off your wifi and bluetooth radios unless you are actually using them.  Otherwise, your information is already being collected, and you are counting on every participating vendor to scrub you out of their databases with the information YOU are giving them in the opt-out pages.  Hmm.  Really.

Monday, November 02, 2015


See for information.

Fundraiser on Saturday November 21st, 2015, 6pm to 9pm
for Medical Mission to Haiti (in Feb 2016)
at Parish of the Epiphany

Tickets $30/person, $60/family, get them from me ([email protected]) or at the door.

Joan is going on the fifth medical mission to Leogane, Haiti sponsored by a local church, the Parish of the Epiphany in February, 2016. The team of 17 volunteers will stay at the Hopital Ste Croix which organizes mobile medical clinics in rural villages near Leogane. The team will bring medical care, dental care, medication and hope to very poor Haitians. Last year we saw more than 1200 patients and filled over 5000 prescriptions, which was a record. Besides the prescribed medications, each patient receives a toothbrush and toothpaste and a 3 month supply of vitamins. We also gave out hundreds of pairs of reading glasses. Please visit our website at for more information and access to the blog entries from previous years.

We would deeply appreciate any financial help you can give. Apart from the money paid to Hopital St Croix for our room and board, we provide a much needed week of paid employment to a Haitian doctor, dentist, nurse, 12 translators and 2-3 drivers. We also need to raise almost $10,000 to buy all the medications that we take with us to Haiti to supply our clinics.

Donations are tax deductable and you can be assured that your gift is going to Haiti to directly help the people there. You can donate by check or on-line.

Checks: please make the check out to “Parish of the Epiphany” and write “Haiti Medical Mission” in the memo line. Checks can be sent to me at 4 Summit Ave, Winchester, MA 01890 or directly to Parish of the Epiphany at 70 Church St, Winchester, MA 01890.

On-line: go to our website and click on the Donate Now button. On the first page, enter the amount of your donation and select the Haiti Medical Fund. You will be asked to enter your billing information on the next page and will receive an email receipt after you submit the donation.

Life is slowly improving in Haiti. Let us share our blessings, care and help with these beautiful people. Thank you so much for your gifts in the past and your consideration this year.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Concord Rod and Gun Club - fundraiser for Jhamtse Gatsal 2015

Dance the Night Away on  Saturday November 14th, at the Concord Rod and Gun Club
Free Admission, snacks, see poster below for details.   RSVP: [email protected]
74 Strawberry Hill Road --  MAP

You Raise Me Up

You Raise Me Up
If it sounds like Danny Boy, you're not wrong.  Both have parts of melody based on Londonderry Air.

also some similarity to Ne Viens Pas
-- you decide.

Words and chords at

 When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary; 
 When troubles come and my heart burdened be; 
 Then, I am still and wait here in the silence, 
 Until you come and sit awhile with me. 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; 
 You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; 
 I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; 
You raise me up to more than I can be.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Justice vs Charity

This is how I tell the difference between justice and charity

By Rev. Arlene M. Tully, Special to the BDN
Posted Oct. 19, 2015, at 12:53 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 19, 2015, at 4:51 p.m.

As a United Methodist, I am rooted in my faith tradition’s dual emphasis on “personal and social holiness.” Going back to our 18th century founder, John Wesley, Methodists have always regarded as inseparable the practice of personal piety and the commitment to social justice.

While at Oxford in 1729, Wesley began meeting with “The Holy Club” — a group of students who gathered for prayer, devotional study and religious conversation. The seriousness with which they pursued their spiritual disciplines made them targets of ridicule. (In fact, “Methodists” was originally a term of derision.) But they were equally passionate about obeying the unmistakable biblical mandate to care for the needs of the poor and oppressed, and to advocate for justice.

Those first Methodists began ministering to people living in abject poverty in the streets of London. They raised money to provide food, clothing and medical aid. But they also worked to alleviate the conditions that perpetuated poverty, such as predatory lending practices and the lack of access to jobs that would provide a livable wage. The early Methodists understood that, without justice, the need for charity would be endless.

It can be difficult to understand the difference between justice and charity, and many contemporary faith communities routinely confuse the two.

A well-known parable offers a helpful distinction: There was once a small village on a river. One day a group of villagers was working in the fields when suddenly someone noticed a baby floating downstream. The villagers rushed out and rescued the baby, brought it to shore and cared for it. During the next several days, more babies were found floating downstream, and the villagers rescued them as well. But before long there was a steady stream of babies coming every day.

Soon the whole village was involved in the many tasks of rescue work: pulling the children out of the water and ensuring they were properly fed, clothed and housed. Before long, however, the village became exhausted with all the rescue work, and its resources were becoming scarce. Still the babies kept coming. Finally one day some of the villagers decided to go upstream to try to prevent the babies from being placed in the river in the first place.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

is nothing sacred

Nooo! Fake monks!

Is This Temple For Real? China Tries to Stamp Out Fake Monk Scourge

Here a monk, there a monk. Which one should you trust?

Any tourist in China knows to be vigilant against the country’s voluminous counterfeits, from fake lamb meat to phony jade bangles. Now, the government is offering its help in sussing out fakes of a spiritual kind.

Officials have begun certifying authentic Buddhist and Taoist temples to help distinguish them from their fake, profiteering cousins, the official news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday. “There have been some non-religious sites employing fake monks who tricked tourists into donating money or buying expensive incense,” Liu Wei, a State Administration of Religious Affairs official, was quoted by the agency as saying.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

What's it like having an "effect" named after you ?

Denis Diderot, where are you now ?

The Diderot Effect: Why We Want Things We Don’t Need — And What to Do About It
By James Clear | Optimizing Life, Self-Awareness, Simplicity

The famous French philosopher Denis Diderot lived nearly his entire life in poverty, but that all changed in 1765.

Diderot was 52 years old and his daughter was about to be married, but he could not afford to provide a dowry. Despite his lack of wealth, Diderot’s name was well-known because he was the co-founder and writer of Encyclopédie, one of the most comprehensive encyclopedias of the time.

When Catherine the Great, the emperor of Russia, heard of Diderot’s financial troubles she offered to buy his library from him for £1000 GBP, which is approximately $50,000 USD in 2015 dollars. Suddenly, Diderot had money to spare.

Shortly after this lucky sale, Diderot acquired a new scarlet robe. That’s when everything went wrong.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

total eclipse of the heart

Eclipses of the Moon happen when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned to form an almost or exact straight line. The technical term for this is syzygy, which comes from the Greek word for being paired together.

Total eclipse of the moon starts the evening of 9/27 in North America

September 27 / September 28, 2015 — Total Lunar Eclipse In the US, Canada, and Central and South America, this rare Total Lunar Eclipse of a Supermoon will begin on the evening of September 27, 2015.

pictures are from


total eclipse of the heart -

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

find and do the work you love

Scott Dinsmore
asks "why are you doing the job you're doing?"

Warren Buffet said "taking up a job to build your resume is like saving sex for old age" ?

Scott was on the slopes of Kilimanjaro when he died just this past week.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ganesha Birthday 2015

Ganesha's birthday 2015

January 8th according to
September 17th by

silly jokes

Silliness.   Far from mutually exclusive-


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Monday, September 07, 2015

new wonderful toy

Today Ellen W dropped off a wonderful and joyful producer of sound.
This is just me messing around with it -- now to look for some instructional material.
Thank you Ellen, this is so much fun.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

I am so very sorry

Too Proud to Say You’re Sorry? In Japan You Can Pay a Specialized Agency to Do It for You
By Sumitra on September 4th, 2014

It’s not easy to apologise, and most people would like to avoid it entirely if possible. Well, it turns out it is possible, if you happen to live in Japan. They have these ‘apology agencies’ through which you could simply pay someone to say sorry on your behalf.

I can see why these businesses are so successful – it’s really tough to face the person you’ve wronged and tell them that you’re sorry. It’s a highly uncomfortable situation, especially if you’ve made someone angry or hurt their feelings.

By hiring an expert, not only do you get to avoid the discomfort, you also make sure that the person gets a proper apology. These agencies train their employees to handle things based on the gravity of the situation. These people are professionals, and it looks like they can get you out of all sorts of sticky situations.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

you suck at salary negotiation - so do something about that

Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued

Posted on January 23, 2012 by Patrick in career advice

[Editor’s note: At nearly 7,000 words, you probably don’t want to try reading this on an iDevice. Bookmark it and come back later.]

Imagine something a wee bit outside your comfort zone. Nothing scandalous: just something you don’t do often, don’t particularly enjoy, and slightly more challenging than “totally trivial.” Maybe reciting poetry while simultaneously standing on one foot.

If I told you I would pay you a hundred thousand dollars if you did five minutes of poetry recital while standing on one foot, would you do it? It’s an absurd image, but play it straight. There is no hidden gotcha here. You won’t be videotaped. Your friends will never see you make a fool of yourself. The revolution will not be YouTubed. The offer is exactly as simple as you think it is: poetry, foot, $100,000.

Would you read poetry for me?

ground hog or gopher ?

Groundhog day

Thursday, August 20, 2015

free programming and technology books

All you bored people with "nothing to read" check out these free books -- (some listings are free chapters, not the whole book, but hey..)

Sunday, August 09, 2015

the powers of malachite you never knew

I have to get some malachite from my geologists!
Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral, with the formula Cu2CO3(OH)2
Something from the Copper, and the carbonates, and those polar hydroxides, makes it magical of course.

Now where is my olde periodique tabble?
And finally, not to be outdone, magic crystal computer repair.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

spam scam TXT messages

It's no longer just email SPAM, it's TXT message spam and more.

If you get a TXT message telling you your mobile account has been suspended, click here to log in and fix it, DON'T. If your service has been suspended, you are not getting any messages of any kind.

If you get text messages about your credit card being suspended, or something like that, call the credit card company using the number on your card. Do NOT just click these links and start filling in with your name and password.

This might be shocking, but the surface text does not reflect where a link really goes. For example, if you click on this: will go to somewhere else (try it !). On some smartphones, if you do a "long press" put your finger and hold it, it will show where the link will go if you were to tap it.

For AT&T,  you can report TXT SPAM by forwarding it to 7726 (spell out SPAM).   There is no charge and it does not count against your text usage or data plan.

Even though the title says "block" I cannot see the explanation of how to actually prevent the sender from future messages.  Perhaps if enough reports come in, the sender is eventually blocked.   

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics

Almost No One is Evil. Almost Everything is Broken.
Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error.

The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics

The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics says that you can have a particle spinning clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time – until you look at it, at which point it definitely becomes one or the other. The theory claims that observing reality fundamentally changes it.

The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics says that when you observe or interact with a problem in any way, you can be blamed for it. At the very least, you are to blame for not doing more. Even if you don’t make the problem worse, even if you make it slightly better, the ethical burden of the problem falls on you as soon as you observe it. In particular, if you interact with a problem and benefit from it, you are a complete monster. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought, but it seems pretty popular.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Whale of a watch

The Bangor Daily News reported a whale stranding off Mount Desert Island.

Some photos and the evening news clip on the necropsy (autopsy) of the humpback called Spinnaker, 11 years old and regular visitor to this area.  CAUTION: some photos might be tough to view.!20128&authkey=!AN4FcB8RQ1ZUWBo&ithint=album%2c

We had the rare opportunity to view soime of the proceedings and videos from the pier. It was a solemn occasion and every effort was made to treat Spinnaker with respect and care that every living entity deserves

=============from the BDN article==================
Body of dead humpback whale washes up on shore of MDI

Allied Whale photo
A dead humpback whale identified by researchers as Spinnaker floats off Great Head on Mount Desert Island on Thursday.

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted June 12, 2015, at 8:04 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Spinnaker, a humpback whale who cheated death a few times by becoming entangled in and then freed from ropes floating in the ocean, has run out of luck.

The body of the 40-foot-long female whale washed up Thursday on the shore of Mount Desert Island, a researcher with Allied Whale said Friday.

Spinnaker was 11 years old.

Rosemary Seton, research associate and marine mammal stranding coordinator for Allied Whales, which is affiliated with College of the Atlantic, confirmed Friday that the dead whale is Spinnaker. She said she and other Allied Whale staffers were contacted Thursday about the whale by officials at Acadia National Park and then went to Great Head in the park, where the whale was floating against the rocky shore, to see if they could identify the animal.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

inherit the wind


11:29 עֹוכֵ֣ר בֵּ֭יתֹו יִנְחַל־ר֑וּחַ וְעֶ֥בֶד אֱ֝וִ֗יל לַחֲכַם־לֵֽב׃

11:29 ὁ μὴ συμπεριφερόμενος τῷ ἑαυτοῦ οἴκῳ κληρονομήσει ἄνεμον δουλεύσει δὲ ἄφρων φρονίμῳ

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) 
11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

I finally read the play.  What caught my attention was how two friends drifted away from each other and somehow were not able to connect with the other across the divide.  In looking at this from a conflict resolution view, one thing might have been to seek an area where both could agree they found value.   Would it be a reminder of the value of family (and somebody needs to talk to the pastor:  even Brady thought he went too far condemning his own daughter) ?    A search for a goal of "justice",  or "truth" ?  

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Moz tools

Mozilla tools -- when did this get out ?
And when was someone going to tell me ?

Among the tools:  Appmaker - make your own mobile apps ?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I want one:
Admit it, you want one too.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

why cheat ?

There was something in the title of this article that initially sounded appealing:  a "cheater's guide" as if this information would give you (dear reader) an edge to living well and long.  But it did not sit well with me, because there is no need to cheat to have the benefit.  And (not less importantly), cheating is unfair and is simply not ethical.   My impression of "cheating"  that might give you a temporary advantage, lives in a "win-lose world".  In a world where "win-win" is allowed, there is no need for cheating.

I do understand that sometimes there is a perceived need to have a provocative eye-catching lead to grab eyeballs;  boring headlines are ignored.  But there seems no need to endorse fundamentally unethical behavior.  Do something else, please.

The short version of the article consists of four things to do:
1. Find Your Tribe
2. Eat Smart
3. Seek a Purpose
4. Move It 


The Cheater's Guide to Living to 100
April 3, 2015 – 5:00 AM
(Dollar Photo Club)

Four super-simple secrets to living longer, healthier and happier—from longevity expert Dan Buettner and centenarians around the world

By Ginny Graves

You turn 50 and suddenly you’re pegged as “middle-aged.” But what if it really was the middle, and you could expect to live to 100 or even 120? Don’t laugh. There are 53,364 centenarians in the U.S. today, according to the latest Census Bureau figures, and experts estimate that number could skyrocket to 600,000 by 2050. Better yet, many of these oldsters will defy the doddering stereotype. Take Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Michigan. She was still bowling at 104 and getting around with the help of a walker last May—when she celebrated her 115th birthday. Last year, UnitedHealthcare polled 104 people who’ve reached triple digits and found that not a single one felt sad or burdened, or even particularly old. On average, they said, they felt more like whippersnappers of 83.

Friday, April 10, 2015

fake or real? can you tell ?

There is a bit of generalization that the ability to detect fake smile from real, is a measure of empathy:  seems not to be a foregone conclusion.  The ideas could be getting conflated in this article.

Psychology of smiling: can you tell a fake smile from a genuine one?

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has devised a photographic test to check people’s empathy. Do you pass the test?
Can you guess immediately which the genuine smile is? The answer’s at the end of the article. Photograph: The Observer

Robin McKie, science editor

Friday 10 April 2015 02.30 EDT Last modified on Friday 10 April 2015 03.34 EDT

A smile is the universal welcome, the writer Max Eastman once remarked. But how sure can we be that a person’s smile is genuine? The answer is the empathy test, created by psychologist Richard Wiseman, which probes our ability to appreciate the feelings of others – from their appearance.

A photographer asks a subject to imagine meeting an individual they don’t like and to put on a fake smile. Later the subject sits with a real friend and as they converse, the photographer records their genuine smile. Thus two versions of their smile are recorded.

The question is: how easy is it to tell the difference? “If you lack empathy, you are very bad at differentiating between the two photographs,” says Wiseman, who teaches at the University of Hertfordshire.

But how do professions differ in their ability to spot a fake? And in particular, how do scientists and journalists score? Neither are particularly renowned for their empathy, after all. Last month’s Scientists Meet the Media party, for which the Observer is the media sponsor, gave Wiseman a perfect opportunity to compare the two professions.

At the party, hosted by the Science Museum in London, some of Britain’s top researchers mingled with UK science journalists. About 150 guests were shown photographs of subjects with fake and genuine smiles. Guests were then asked to spot the false and the true. The results were intriguing.

“The public normally gets around 60% right, which is above the chance level of 50%,” says Wiseman. “Partygoers got 66% which is significantly higher while there was some difference between age groups: under-40s did slightly better than over-40s.”

However, the real difference came with professions: physical scientists got 60% right; biological scientists 66% and journalists a very impressive 73%. But they were all eclipsed by social scientists, with 80% – though only four took part, making their results less significant.

As to the difference between the two photographs above, it is the one on the right that is false. “You use more face muscles when you have a genuine smile and you see that in the lines round the eyes of the subject which crinkle up more,” says Wiseman. The eyes have it, in short.

Friday, April 03, 2015

accessible MOOCs

Reaching out to people with disabilities --  making online courseware accessible:

April 3, 2015
edX to Improve Access to MOOCs for People With Disabilities

By Casey Fabris

Under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday, edX, the nonprofit MOOC provider created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has agreed to make its offerings more accessible to people with disabilities.

The settlement agreement, which marks the department’s first effort to challenge the accessibility of massive open online courses, affects the colleges that are members of edX as well as the nonprofit consortium itself.

The agreement calls for a number of changes, such as making edX’s website, mobile applications, and learning-management system fully accessible in the next 18 months; providing guidance to course creators on best practices for making online courses fully accessible; hiring a web-accessibility coordinator with specific responsibilities; and developing a web-accessibility policy.

The settlement notes that edX maintains that it was not inaccessible to people with disabilities and that the group did not admit any wrongdoing.

The changes were prompted by a compliance review begun by the Department of Justice.

"We were very aware in 2012 or so about the emergence of MOOCs and the importance, or the potential importance, that they offer to students who have distance barriers and cost barriers to getting good educational content," said Eve L. Hill, the department’s deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights. "And they offer a potentially really good avenue for students with disabilities."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

growing the art of empathy

Non Violent Communication
Sounds boring (dry?), but there is a lot of nutrition here.

This entire idea needs a shorter, better name (easier to remember), needs its own meme.    The idea of empathy, and "honoring the humanity in all of us",  for many people "any action is an attempt to have a need met".   Too much good stuff to put into a single email, so I'll let you bookmark some of the sites and catch up when it grabs your attention.   Conflict resolution is a symptom that comes about when we don't communicate, when we don't have a connection.   Therapy seems to only address those symptoms -- if we are able to move from Jackal to Giraffe, violence might not even arise.

Some local resources right here:

A nice summary to the basic ideas:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

are you smart - measurements of cognitive fitness

The rise and fall of cognitive skills
Neuroscientists find that different parts of the brain work best at different ages.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
March 6, 2015

Scientists have long known that our ability to think quickly and recall information, also known as fluid intelligence, peaks around age 20 and then begins a slow decline. However, more recent findings, including a new study from neuroscientists at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), suggest that the real picture is much more complex.

The study, which appears in the journal Psychological Science, finds that different components of fluid intelligence peak at different ages, some as late as age 40.

“At any given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things, and you’re at a plateau at some other things. There’s probably not one age at which you’re peak on most things, much less all of them,” says Joshua Hartshorne, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and one of the paper’s authors.

“It paints a different picture of the way we change over the lifespan than psychology and neuroscience have traditionally painted,” adds Laura Germine, a postdoc in psychiatric and neurodevelopmental genetics at MGH and the paper’s other author.

cathedral of computation

the Cathedral of Computation: is it more illusion than reality ?

The Cathedral of Computation
We’re not living in an algorithmic culture so much as a computational theocracy.

IAN BOGOSTJAN 15 2015, 8:59 AM ET
Daniel Schwen/ Bogost

Algorithms are everywhere, supposedly. We are living in an “algorithmic culture,” to use the author and communication scholar Ted Striphas’s name for it. Google’s search algorithms determine how we access information. Facebook’s News Feed algorithms determine how we socialize. Netflix’s and Amazon’s collaborative filtering algorithms choose products and media for us. You hear it everywhere. “Google announced a change to its algorithm,” a journalist reports.“We live in a world run by algorithms,” a TED talk exhorts. “Algorithms rule the world,” a news report threatens. Another upgrades rule to dominion: “The 10 Algorithms that Dominate Our World.”

Science and technology have become so pervasive and distorted, they have turned into a new type of theology.Here’s an exercise: The next time you hear someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with “God” and ask yourself if the meaning changes. Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers people have allowed to replace gods in their minds, even as they simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.

Sunday, March 08, 2015


so much for that blue and black dress, um, white and gold, um..

brain and eye compensate for the anticipated shadow-- block out the center of the picture with your finger or pen and you will see that the top and bottom rectangles are the same color:
Why Are Our Brains Fooled By Optical Illusions?
2014's top optical illusions


Saturday, February 14, 2015


Robert Montgomery

Lots of images of poems and posters here.

A particularly good one is:

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

post super bowl love letter

I have my own reasons for being ambivalent about the outcome of the game:  Russell Wilson being a badger and all.  Plus there is the family connection.  And the fact both Boston and Seattle are on interstate 90 like an unbreakable strand from sea to shining sea.  Enough waxing ? Read the article.   Well said, Paul.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Pico Iyer has a TEDbook
on the idea of
In an age of speed ... nothing could be more invigorating than going slow.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
In an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. 
Look on the TED talks where you can find them (yt has most of them).  The book is short, and worth the quick read.   Today in the local library there are 68 holds on 18 copies.

Opportunity for contemplative, quiet moments are, as he reminds us, like the Sabbath that has fallen by the wayside as we are increasingly scheduled and try to fill our lives with activity and productiveness.  The day of rest is the only Commandment that is called "Holy".  The rest are important, but otherwise rather ordinary by comparison.

If you have not already heard of Thomas Merton and Matthieu Ricard, their stories are fascinating.  Leonard Cohen, Emily Dickinson are in their company,