Links 2/6/14

Links for you. Science:

How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul
When antivaccinationists play on
Hawking: Is He All He’s Cracked Up To Be? We all know that Stephen Hawking is the greatest living physicist—but what we all know may not be true
Teaching young wolves new tricks: Wolves are considerably better imitators than dogs
Ray Kurzweil is wrong: The Singularity is not near


The Problem for Progressives is Corruption Not Messaging
When Pedestrians Get Mixed Signals
Yah They Screwed It All Up
New research reveals that unemployment is especially hellish in the U.S. — because unemployed Americans blame themselves for their plight
An Investigative Look at The Woody Allen Case
Raw Data: Charter School Attendance in Florida Increases Earnings Later in Life (the issue, though, is that charter schools have much higher drop out rates–there’s no mention of what happens to students who start at charters and then move to public school)
The Pension Heist: How politicians raid retirement funds to enrich their corporate masters
Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars: Empowered by social media, feminists are calling one another out for ideological offenses. Is it good for the movement? And whose movement is it?
Pennsylvania still doesn’t trust cyber charter schools, and rightfully so
Kamikaze turkey attacks Brandeis dorm
The Evergreen Topic of Grade Inflation
Nobody Goes There, It’s Too Crowded
Building the legacy backwards

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5 Responses to Links 2/6/14

  1. Charlie Pye says:

    I feel like Kurzweil has somehow built an entire career out of misleading hype over the exponential function. “Look, in the past it increased slowly but in the future it will increase faster and faster!” Yes, Ray, that’s how exponential functions work, and they will look like that regardless of what timescale you use. You could easily replot his singularity graph to make it look like the Cambrian Explosion is the singularity.

    Not to mention his totally arbitrary choice of data points- for example, why is “the industrial revolution” just one point whereas telephones, computers, and PCs are all separate points? Oh, right because that makes it fit an exponential curve better.

  2. The funny thing is that Moore’s Law is pretty much dead. The x86 hit 3 GHz 10 years ago, and is still at 3 GHz today. Moore’s Law? Ten years later, two to the fifth should have been 32, but all we’ve got in our peecees is marginally faster quad-core processors. Oops. That computation isn’t going to be getting much better (without hard work) has been known for 9 of those last 10 years. (This paper is seriously amazing: Sutter got this right as it was happening.)

    But I’m not sure Kurzweil has made a _whole_ career from silliness. Prior to playing the futurist game, he was into doing really hard amazing things that would be trivial and boring a few years later (reading machine and electric piano based on sampled sounds).

  3. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    We all know that Stephen Hawking is the greatest living physicist

    O know no such thing. There are many physicists of similar brilliance. Steven Weinberg is still alive, for instance. Hawking just managed to get some mainstream popularity due to his physical incapacitance, not his theories.

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