Thursday, December 3, 2015

(Late) November Links

I should have put this up a few days ago but I was somewhat distracted starting my new job at RightHand Robotics.  There are some pretty cool videos on our front page.  But on to a curated list of nifty things I found on the internet in the last month!

Nature has a good list of some interesting unsolved mysteries in physics and cosmology.

There are a lot of nifty things that can only be made in microgravity like foamed metal and antibiotic crystals.  Now we can add metal glasses to this as well.

A lot of the time we think of conservatives as being in favor of "original interpretations" of the Constitution and liberals as being more supportive of the "living constitution" approach.  There are good reasons for that but it's worth remembering that many of the things that the Black Lives Matter protesters and others criticize about how our criminal justice system handles police immunity were "judge created law" as conservatives usually put it.  The recent ruling saying that policemen can't be sued for using deadly force against fleeing suspects is just another example.

There's been a lot of ink spilled on the problem of replicating experiments in psychology recently.  Here's a comic that basically shows how you get the problem.  Here's a nice article on how you can find it via analyzing papers without having to do a study yourself.  And here's on possible solution.

There was a kerfuffle at the MFA recently with their Kimono exhibit which let museum patrons try on kimonos.  A diverse group of people protested saying that this was cultural appropriation and the counter-protest of a group of Japanese and Japanese-Americans wasn't able to prevent the museum from closing the exhibit.  And of course back in Japan people mostly interpreted the protesters as just being anti-Japanese.

Some people are thinking of mining undersea vents.  I think that article did a pretty great job of covering the pros and cons.

The New Yorker had a pretty excellent piece on Nick Bostrom and some of his ideas.  I've been following him since 2001 or so and I was happy to see it.

And speaking of the New Yorker they also got Randall Monroe to do a piece on the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of relativity.

On average about 56 million people die each year so roughly 4.6 million died in the last month.  Wikipedia has a list on the few hundred who are the most famous.  One particular one, Joseph Engelberger, was "the father of robotics" which struck a bit close to home (though he actually died Dec 1st).  Every one of those millions of deaths is a tragedy and it's worth remembering that when we consider the various people killed in terrorist attacks this month.  The 9/11 attacks killed 3,000 people directly.  The extra road deaths they indirectly caused through people not flying as much, through fear of terrorism or TSA hassle, now stand at about 7,000.  But in the end both of these numbers are tiny compared to the vast ocean of suffering that exists in the world.

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