Miscellaneous Items 20140604

North Korea as seen from the ISS

North Korea as seen from the ISS

North Korea is really dark. Flying over East Asia, an Expedition 38 crew member on the ISS took this night image of the Korean Peninsula on January 30, 2014.

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The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how wrong this view is: Math touches everything we do, allowing us to see the hidden structures beneath the messy and chaotic surface of our daily lives. It’s a science of not being wrong, worked out through centuries of hard work and argument.

HOW NOT TO BE WRONG

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If You Learn Nothing Else about Bayes’ Theorem, Let It Be This

2,302,554,979 BC; Galactic Core – A short story by Yvain about acausal trade. Related to Roko’s basilisk.

Drawing fractal trees and Sierpinski triangles with Python’s turtle graphics module. See also here.

Dangerous Delusions: The Green Movement’s War on Progress

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…if you think about it, it doesn’t make any sense. Why would you care more for your genetic siblings and cousins and whoever than for your friends and people who are genuinely close to you? That’s like racism – but even worse, at least racists identify with a group of millions of people instead of a group of half a dozen. Why should parents have to raise children whom they might not even like, who might have been a total accident? Why should people, motivated by guilt, make herculean efforts to “keep in touch” with some nephew or cousin whom they clearly would be perfectly happy to ignore entirely?

Asches to Asches (another “short story” by Yvain).

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Ten years from now:

…one widely accepted viewpoint holds that fusion power, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration will shortly solve all our problems, and therefore we don’t have to change the way we live.

[…]

 A hundred years from now:

It has been a difficult century. After more than a dozen major wars, three bad pandemics, widespread famines, and steep worldwide declines in public health and civil order, human population is down to 3 billion and falling.

Continue reading: The Next Ten Billion Years

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4 DARPA Projects That Could Be Bigger Than the Internet

3 guys Irish dancing around the world

The decline of Detroit in time-lapse.

Electrical ‘mind control’ shown in primates for first time