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21 Feb 18:12

Standards, to and with Resolve

by Bob Plankers

As the holiday season has progressed I’ve spent a bunch of time in the car, traveling three hours at a crack to see friends and family in various parts of Midwestern USA. Much of that travel has been alone, my family having decided to ensconce themselves with my in-laws for the full duration of the […]

The post Standards, to and with Resolve appeared first on The Lone Sysadmin. Head over to the source to read the full post!

21 Feb 18:09

Mapping the Past

by Jonathan Crowe

Another book I missed at the time of its publication: Charles Drazen’s Mapping the Past: A Search for Five Brothers at the Edge of Empire (William Henemann, August 2016). It’s a family history: Drazin’s grandfather and brothers were military surveyors from rural Ireland “who travelled around the world as officers in the Royal Engineer Corps—surveying, exploring, mapmaking, fighting— in the twilight years of the British Empire.” [WMS]

21 Feb 18:09

xkcd’s Time Zone Map

by Jonathan Crowe
Randall Munroe, “Bad Map Projection: Time Zones,” 15 February 2017. xkcd.

Randall Munroe is a bad man who is back with another bad map projection to make our eyes bleed. (If he does this often enough he’ll have enough for a book. Heaven forfend.) This one is, like his other maps, fiendishly subtle: it stretches and compresses countries to fit where their time zones ought to be, longitudinally speaking.

21 Feb 18:06

Open Letter to Governor Hickenlooper

by Alex

I sent this to the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper today, after seeing the AP story about a Trump administration draft memo regarding mobilization of the National Guard to be used to round up undocumented immigrants. Yes, I am aware that we’re talking a draft, but I find it seriously horrifying that this is even being talked about as an option, however off-handedly or unseriously. This is not a thing you fucking joke about.

Anyway, that prompted me to write and send the following message today. I’m sharing it in the hope that others will feel encouraged to send similar messages.


Dear Governor Hickenlooper:

Per the Associated Press today, a draft memo from the Trump Administration showed they’re thinking about using the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants. Considering the absolutely tragic and shameful history of our own state when it comes to the National Guard being mobilized against our citizens and residents (i.e.: the Ludlow Massacre), this calls on us all to speak firmly against this notion before it can gather steam.

Beyond that, undocumented immigrants are a vital part of Colorado society. It would be far better if they could have a path to legal citizenship or permanent residency, but lack of national will does not change the enormous contributions they make to Colorado daily. We should be respecting and protecting all of our residents, whether they have papers or not.

I urge you to speak out in strong support of undocumented Coloradans, and do everything in your power to keep their families from being torn apart by these unfair and racist policies we keep seeing from Washington DC. Make us a sanctuary state; while I know we can’t stop ICE, we can refuse to aide and abet the destruction of families and the victimization of innocent people who are integral to the fabric of Colorado.

With a lack of national will, it falls to us to step up and show our strength of spirit and compassion. I know Colorado is better than what our national government is currently trying to become.

Thank you.

21 Feb 18:03

A.V. Club Live: What is the worst movie the Mystery Science Theater guys have ever seen?

by Erik Adams

The answer may surprise you—and give new meaning to the phrase “Sophie’s choice.”

Watch the full interview here.

21 Feb 18:03

Houston Jewish Community Center Among 11 to Receive Bomb Threats Across Country (UPDATED)

A Houston Jewish community center became the latest target of slew of coordinated bomb threats across the country, which have come in waves on a regular basis since January. Around 10 a.m. Monday, the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center received an anonymous call from a person threatening to blow up...
21 Feb 18:03

University Offers Course To Help Sniff Out and Refute 'Bullshit'

by msmash
An anonymous reader shares an Engadget report: There's now a course at the University of Washington, "Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data" that helps you find bad information and show others why it's bad. The instructors, Professors Jevin D. West and Carl T. Bergstrom, jokingly write that "we will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be among the most useful ... that you acquire during the course of your college education." They add that the intention is not to be political, as "both sides of the aisle have proven themselves facile at creating and spreading bullshit." The intention, then, is to arm students (and the public if they want) with the tools to combat a scourge of misinformation that's aided and abetted by social media.

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09 Feb 21:47

10 Samurai Jack Episodes You Need to Rewatch During Its Massive Online Marathon

by James Whitbrook

Excellent news: Samurai Jack is back next month! Even excellenter news: To celebrate, Adult Swim is streaming all 52 episodes of the show on loop, available for free online with no ads, right goddamn now. You should watch all of it, of course, but here are 10 episodes you just can’t miss before the new season returns…


09 Feb 21:46

"Objects in mirror are on the dark side" Star Wars sideview stickers

by Jason Weisberger

My Lyft driver had these on his Toyota Camry today. I laughed.

Objects in Mirror Are on the Dark Side - Decals Stickers via Amazon

08 Feb 18:51

Tech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity. Here’s How to Fix It

by Michael Connor
Tech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity. Here’s How to Fix It
Opinion: By failing to hire more women and people of color, tech companies do themselves---and their shareholders---a disservice. The post Tech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity. Here’s How to Fix It appeared first on WIRED.
08 Feb 18:42

Introduction to Political Philosophy: A Free Yale Course

by Dan Colman

Democracy is not a given. The Greeks experimented with it. Then it faded into oblivion, only to return many centuries later. Nowadays, democracy structures much of our modern world. But could it do a disappearing act again? If there’s enough complaceny and duplicity, you can’t rule it out.

All of this is to say, it’s a good time to think about democracy and its alternatives. And to do that, you can spend time with Yale University’s free course, Introduction to Political Philosophy. Taught by professor Steven B. Smith, the course covers the following ground:

This course is intended as an introduction to political philosophy as seen through an examination of some of the major texts and thinkers of the Western political tradition. Three broad themes that are central to understanding political life are focused upon: the polis experience (Plato, Aristotle), the sovereign state (Machiavelli, Hobbes), constitutional government (Locke), and democracy (Rousseau, Tocqueville). The way in which different political philosophies have given expression to various forms of political institutions and our ways of life are examined throughout the course.

You can watch the 24 lectures from the course above, or find them on YouTube and iTunes. To get more information on the course, including the syllabus, visit this Yale website.

The main texts used in this course include the following. You can find them in our collection of Free eBooks, or purchase copies online.

Introduction to Political Philosophy will be added to our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. There you can find a specialized list of Free Online Philosophy Courses.

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07 Feb 23:46

Myst's Robyn Miller talks about his favorite music-making tools

by Mark Frauenfelder

My guest on the Cool Tools Show week is Robyn Miller. Robyn co-founded Cyan Worlds in the late 1980s, where he designed and directed the landmark video games Myst and its sequel Riven. In 2010, he co-founded Zoo Break Gun Club LLC, with producer/filmmaker Mischa Jakupcak. ZBGC has produced several films and has projects in development for film, television and virtual reality. (more…)

07 Feb 19:29

Why Setting Goals Can Actually Make You Less Successful

by Stephanie Vozza

Sometimes goal setting can lead to a narrow focus that may lead you to limit yourself and miss opportunities. Just ask cab drivers.

Sometimes goal setting can lead to a narrow focus that may lead you to limit yourself and miss opportunities. Just ask cab drivers.

It may seem that planning out your goals in weekly, monthly, and yearly increments would be a blueprint for success. But could a more haphazard approach actually be better?

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07 Feb 19:21

Anti-Defamation League Reports Striking Uptick in "Hate-Related Incidents" in Houston

Swastikas spray-painted on fences and signs in Sienna Plantation. Students saluting Adolf Hitler during Cypress-Ranch High School's senior class picture day. Racist and anti-Semitic  fliers distributed at universities and in neighborhoods across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. All of that happened in just one week, leading the Anti-Defamation League's...
07 Feb 18:49

I Am Not Your Negro Clip Destroys the “I Have a Black Friend Therefore Am Not Racist” Myth

by Keisha Hatchett

After watching Ava DuVernay’s 13th, a deep dive into America’s broken prison system and how it’s a new form of slavery, you should definitely check out the documentary I Am Not Your Negro. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film is based on activist James Baldwin’s unfinished book Remember This House, and it explores racism in America through his recollection of civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The clip above, titled “Segregation,” perfectly explains how a white person who has black friends or is really nice to their black maid doesn’t automatically mean they’re not racist. As he recalls in the video, his friends would invite him other to their house but never came to his. They were segregated not just in school, but in life because that white friend doesn’t know his experience outside of their limited interactions. “I’m sure they have nothing against Negroes [but] that’s really not the question,” Baldwin says. “The question is really a kind of apathy and ignorance.”

Basically, just because one isn’t burning crosses on their black friend’s lawn doesn’t mean they can’t be racist. For those with a black friend who refuse to visit that person’s neighborhood or are uninterested in hearing about their experiences, the question to ask yourself is why.

(image via screencap)

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03 Feb 18:21

'To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics'

by msmash
Excerpts from an article on Quanta Magazine, rearranged for clarity and space: Math conferences don't usually feature standing ovations, but Francis Su received one last month in Atlanta. In his talk he framed mathematics as a pursuit uniquely suited to the achievement of human flourishing, a concept the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia, or a life composed of all the highest goods. Su talked of five basic human desires that are met through the pursuit of mathematics: play, beauty, truth, justice and love. Su opened his talk with the story of Christopher, an inmate serving a long sentence for armed robbery who had begun to teach himself math from textbooks he had ordered. After seven years in prison, during which he studied algebra, trigonometry, geometry and calculus, he wrote to Su asking for advice on how to continue his work. After Su told this story, he asked the packed ballroom at the Marriott Marquis, his voice breaking: "When you think of who does mathematics, do you think of Christopher?" If mathematics is a medium for human flourishing, it stands to reason that everyone should have a chance to participate in it. But in his talk Su identified what he views as structural barriers in the mathematical community that dictate who gets the opportunity to succeed in the field -- from the requirements attached to graduate school admissions to implicit assumptions about who looks the part of a budding mathematician. When Su finished his talk, the audience rose to its feet and applauded, and many of his fellow mathematicians came up to him afterward to say he had made them cry. [...] Mathematics builds skills that allow people to do things they might otherwise not have been able to do or experience. If I learn mathematics and I become a better thinker, I develop perseverance, because I know what it's like to wrestle with a hard problem, and I develop hopefulness that I will actually solve these problems. And some people experience a kind of transcendent wonder that they're seeing something true about the universe. That's a source of joy and flourishing.

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03 Feb 16:41

Ursula K. Le Guin Wants Everyone to Know the Huge Difference Between 'Alternative Facts' and Fiction

by Katharine Trendacosta

The word “alternative” appears both in the fun new craze sweeping the government (“alternative facts”) and in a few science fiction staple ideas (“alternate history” and “alternate universe,” for example). Despite that superficial similarity, legendary scifi author Ursula K. Le Guin wants to make sure no one confuses…


03 Feb 16:40

William Smith’s Geological Maps Online

by Jonathan Crowe


William Smith’s 19th-century geological maps of Britain are now available online via an interactive map interface. [Maps Mania]

03 Feb 16:39

List: Trump Cocktails for Every Occasion

The Harvey Wallbuilder

Vodka, orange juice, and Galliano L’Autentico, garnished with an IOU from Mexico.


140 ounces of all caps, exclamation points, and petty complaints. Best served at 3 AM with typos.

A Shot of Bannon

Mix pure evil, bad skin, rheumy eyes, and domestic abuse with white nationalism and fascism. Stir until you develop Cirrhosis of the Soul.

Muslims Go! Mojito

Create the most delicious, welcoming drink 200 years ago. Then decide in 2017 that it’s for Christians only. Sorry!

Gin and Panic

Gin consumed directly from bottle while sitting in a dark closet reading news alerts on iPhone.

Bloody Mary Bleeding Out of Her Wherever

Tomato juice and vodka, served with a jumbo tampon that was not procured at a local Planned Parenthood office.

Omarosa Mimosa

Bitter orange juice mixed with the only black liqueur the orange juice has ever tolerated.

Grab the Pussy on the Beach

A short-fingered pour.

Pre-existing Condition on the Rocks

Crushed Tylenol dropped into a large glass of whiskey. This is also now your Primary Care physician.

Alternate Factarita

Lime juice, with enough tequila to make you forget that you lost the popular vote and then declared yourself Bartender of the World.

St. Petersburg Ice Tea

Send email to your mother on a private server asking for recipe. Answer will be sent to you from a “Mrs. Nice Lady American Person Who Is Not Spy.”

The Kellyanne Cosmo

Vodka, Triple Sec, and not even a splash of compassion or morality. Prepare while wearing a garish red, white, and blue Teddy Bear costume.

White Russian Election Rigger

Coffee-flavored liquor and ice. Sip while simultaneously giving Putin his massage and Assange his foot rub.

The Really Really Old Fashioned

Bourbon on the rocks. Add a splash of Jeff Sessions bitters, then enjoy while the women are in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant.

Hot Toddy Planet

Whisky, honey, and enough hot water to melt all the glaciers that aren’t really melting because climate change is a myth, you liberal moron.

Nuclear Sunrise

Tell dancing fool/Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to put tequila, OJ, and grenadine syrup in a blender, then accidentally push the red button for the nuclear arsenal instead of the mix button. You’ll never know what hit you!

03 Feb 16:38

How Madden Got So Silly Good at Predicting Super Bowl Winners

by Julie Muncy
How Madden Got So Silly Good at Predicting Super Bowl Winners
EA Sports' 'Madden' games have correctly predicted the Super Bowl's outcome nine out of 13 times. How? Data. The post How Madden Got So Silly Good at Predicting Super Bowl Winners appeared first on WIRED.
03 Feb 16:35

Newswire: Depeche Mode releases “Where’s The Revolution” from upcoming album Spirit

by David Anthony

In a lengthy Rolling Stone feature, Depeche Mode announced its new album Spirit, which is coming March 17, and released the record’s first single “Where’s The Revolution?” In the interview Depeche Mode vocalist David Gahan says Spirit isn’t expressly political, but that theme seems to appear time and again. “I don’t listen to music in a political way,” said Gahan, “But it’s definitely about humanity, and our place in that.” Those humanist and quasi-social themes are evident on “Where’s The Revolution?,” a song that Gahan claims was written by the band’s chief songwriter Martin Gore in “a very sarcastic, English way.” That can be seen in the song’s chorus which reads, well, a little odd. Gahan sings, “Where’s the revolution? / Come on people, you’re letting me down” at a time when people in America are regularly organizing and activating, but ...

31 Jan 21:52

Elon Musk Thinks We Will Have To Use AI This Way To Avoid a Catastrophic Future

by msmash
Elon Musk has long said that artificial intelligence will have to augment human abilities, rather than compete with them, in order to avoid a portentous future. He has been active in trying to find ways to evaluate and reduce potential risks posed by AI. From a report: On Monday, Musk tweeted out a set of principles for AI research and development created by a group of scientists at a recent conference for the Future of Life Institute (of which Musk is a board member). Musk said in response to a comment that ensuring AI augments human abilities is "critical to the future of humanity." Musk recently told a Twitter user that there may be an announcement "next month" regarding such as device, which Musk has called, in the past, a neural lace.

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31 Jan 21:52

It’s Dystopian Sci-Fi Total War. Also, The Expanse Is Back

by Daniel Starkey
It’s Dystopian Sci-Fi Total War. Also, The Expanse Is Back
Sci-fi has a knack for addressing the present by imagining the future. 'The Expanse' nails that. The post It's Dystopian Sci-Fi Total War. Also, The Expanse Is Back appeared first on WIRED.
06 Jan 20:00

Team Chat

2078: He announces that he's finally making the jump from screen+irssi to tmux+weechat.
16 Dec 18:17

Are planets like those in 'Star Wars: Rogue One' really out there? NASA plans to find out

In the "Star Wars" universe, ice, ocean and desert planets burst from the darkness as your ship drops out of light speed. But these worlds might be more than just science fiction.
16 Dec 18:14

Our most detailed view of Earth across space and time

by Chris Herwig

In 2013, we released Google Earth Timelapse, our most comprehensive picture of the Earth's changing surface. This interactive experience enabled people to explore these changes like never before—to watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we're making our largest update to Timelapse yet, with four additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. We’ve even teamed up again with our friends at TIME to give you an updated take on compelling locations. 


Meandering river in Nyingchi, Tibet, China [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)

Leveraging the same techniques we used to improve Google Maps and Google Earth back in June, the new Timelapse reveals a sharper view of our planet, with truer colors and fewer distracting artifacts. A great example of this is San Francisco and Oakland in California:

Bay Bridge
San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge reconstruction [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)

There’s much more to see, including glacial movement in Antarctica, urban growth, forest gain and loss, and infrastructure development:

Shirase Glacier Antarctica
Shirase Glacier, Antarctica [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus)
Hourihan Glacier
Hourihan Glacier, Antarctica [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)
Dalian Liaoning
Dalian Liaoning, China [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)
Nuflo de Chavez, Bolivia [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)
O'Hare Chicago
O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois [view in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)

Using Google Earth Engine, we sifted through about three quadrillion pixels—that's 3 followed by 15 zeroes—from more than 5,000,000 satellite images. For this latest update, we had access to more images from the past, thanks to the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation Program, and fresh images from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2.

We took the best of all those pixels to create 33 images of the entire planet, one for each year. We then encoded these new 3.95 terapixel global images into just over 25,000,000 overlapping multi-resolution video tiles, made interactively explorable by Carnegie Mellon CREATE Lab's Time Machine library, a technology for creating and viewing zoomable and pannable timelapses over space and time.

Ft. McMurray

Alberta Tar Sands, Canada [View in Timelapse] (Image credit: Landsat / Copernicus*)

To view the new Timelapse, head over to the Earth Engine website. You can also view the new annual mosaics in Google Earth's historical imagery feature on desktop, or spend a mesmerizing 40 minutes watching this YouTube playlist. Happy exploring!

*Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey. Images also contain modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2015- 2016.

15 Dec 22:07

Ian McShane

Ian McShane (DeadwoodLovejoy) chats with Chris about his character Al Swearengen on Deadwood, how he got into acting on TV and how he picks new projects. Ian also talks about his dad who was a professional football player, they talk about being sober and his new film The Hollow Point!

15 Dec 21:06

This is what it's like when tyranny takes hold

by Andrea James


"What is the precise moment, in the life of a country, when tyranny takes hold? It rarely happens in an instant; it arrives like twilight, and, at first, the eyes adjust."

The New Yorker's Evan Osnos, with one of the best essay openings of the year, examines the posthumous memoir of Xu Hongci, a Chinese revolutionary and true believer of Mao Zedong, later imprisoned.


08 Dec 22:31

Harris County Flood Control Doesn't Think Climate Change or Growth Cause Flooding

Past and present leaders of the Harris County Flood Control District do not believe that climate change has contributed to more frequent major rain events in the region or that extensive development has contributed to major flooding. That’s according to a joint feature published yesterday by the Texas Tribune and...
08 Dec 22:30

Everything is a Remix, including Star Wars, and that's how I became a writer

by Cory Doctorow


Kirby Ferguson, who created the remarkable Everything is a Remix series, has a new podcast hosted by the Recreate Coalition called Copy This and he hosted me on the debut episode (MP3) where we talked about copying, creativity, artists, and the future of the internet (as you might expect!). (more…)