In order to expand on my previous post on weapons of math destruction, I thought that it would be helpful to spend some time exploring the potential pitfalls inherent in statistical models. Our world is increasingly awash in models and, in order to understand how they shape our daily lives, it helps to appreciate both how they work and why they occasionally cause damage.
One of the items on my Christmas list this year was Cathy O'Neil's book on the societal challenges posed by 'big data': Weapons of Math Destruction. In her book, O'Neil provides examples to illustrate how the statistical models used by governments and businesses can have negative side effects and emphasizes the need to ensure fairness for those impacted by models.
When working on creative projects, it isn't uncommon to encounter blocks along the way. Over time many people have suggested different ways to overcome creative blocks, from simply pushing through to lateral thinking and imposing further limitations on yourself. One of the more unique proposals for resolving creative blocks was Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.
Whenever there's a market crash; be it stock, housing, currency, or other; the result of it is the creation of a large amount of shell shocked investors who are looking for 'safer' places to stash their money. Invariably, gold and precious metals are on that list of 'safer' investments.
Larry Wall, creator of the programming language Perl, is widely known for his humorous and approachable writing style. In the first edition of his book Programming Perl, Wall listed his theory of the three virtues of a great programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris. While none of these seem remotely virtuous at first examination, upon closer inspection they begin to make sense.
My long-suffering web server logs all types of information that I rarely look at. Successful pages which are sent out, non-existent pages which are requested, and attack attempts tend to be the most common log entries. In December, members of the Chaos Computer Club in Germany decided to send out some malformed requests that would fill server logs with something different - poetry.
A little while ago I was picking my way through stacks of books at a Salvation Army store when one title caught my eye: The War of Art. I had never heard of this book before, but the title sounded intriguing. I immediately purchased it and have been enjoying reading through it since then.
I really enjoy running, but this doesn't extend to running through the winter. Temperatures below -30° celsius don't mix well with strenuous physical activity in my mind, and consequently I take a sabbatical from running each winter. By the time that spring comes and the temperatures start to rise, I'm pretty excited to start running again.
I've used a lot of different content management systems and hosting platforms on this website over the years. The full list runs from simple manually-edited HTML files to enterprise platforms like Drupal. I've re-created and moved this site from platform to platform depending on my needs and changes in software. This month, I decided to move once more.
A list of creative and adventurous date ideas which may (or may not) have originated from Randal Munroe. This was posted online roughly a decade ago and I kept a copy of it, but the original source appears to be long-lost. If you can verify the authorship or provenance of this list please let me know so I can provide proper attribution.