Links

The majority of my posts are links to other websites. I've altered the feed to try to make things clearer. Now posts that are links start with the domain name of the site that they link to, so this:

A link to a fun youtube video

becomes this

[youtube.com] A link to a fun youtube video.

Let me know if this breaks anything, or if you have any suggestions for improvements.

The Exponential Function: Arithmetic, Population and Energy

Now, what I hope to do is, I hope to be able to convince you that the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

(Via Hacker News)

Ars and Metacritic

  1. Ars Technica produce some of the best video game reviews on the Internet.
  2. Metacritic aggregate scores from hundreds of websites to give a simple indication of the reception that games have received.

So why do Ars Technica actively avoid inclusion on sites like Metacritic?

You lose control over what your score means, because Metacritic has locked down a numerical score that tries to take non-numerical scoring systems into account. You lose control over when you can release your review, because companies give you ultimatums based on how Metacritic interprets that score. If you take your reviews seriously, both of those restrictions seem to be intolerable.

The fact that Ars Technica doesn't really provide a score at the end of reviews is probably why they are so good.

For those who doubt that the robot apocalypse is inevitable

The latest version of the LittleDog robot:

You might also be interested in the BigDog robot.

Solar system in CSS3

If you use a Webkit based browser then this demo looks amazing, although the discussion on Hacker News seems to indicate that Safari does better than Chrome because of Safari's hardware acceleration.

No idea what this looks like in Firefox, and I'm too mesmerised by it to check.

How long until we have quantum computers?

Scott Aaronson on why we don't yet have quantum computers:

The central technological obstacle to building a scalable quantum computer is well-known, and is decoherence, or unwanted interaction between the computer and its external environment. When information about a quantum state leaks into the outside world—by any means whatsoever, intended or not—the state loses its “quantumness” and reverts to being classical. So to do a quantum computation, it’s necessary to keep the qubits (atomic nuclei, photons, or whatever else they are) almost fanatically isolated from their environment. But at the same time, you also need to manipulate the qubits, move them around, etc., in such a way as to carry out the computation. Those twin requirements are the reasons why the most famous ’success’ of practical quantum computing to date was factoring 15 into 3×5.

30 years of The Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back may have had the least input from George Lucas

So that's why it's so good.

What you call 'liberal bias' I call 'accurate'.

The BBC reports on the changes being made to the school curriculum in Texas

The changes include teaching that the UN could be a threat to American freedom, and that the Founding Fathers may not have intended a complete separation of church and state.

Critics say the changes are ideological and distort history.

However, proponents argue they are redressing a liberal bias in education.

An argument against XML

I have always seen the sense in using SGML (or XML) for storage, but XML for data-interchange or configuration elicits a visceral reaction. I detest it.

Ugh.

(Via Hacker News)

Github connected a traffic light to their continuous integration system

Greg Borenstein wired up a UK traffic light to CI Joe.