Archive for December, 2010

Dudes engineered macro-scale quantum behavior a la Schrödinger’s Cat Neandertal genome sequenced AIDS cure on the way? a dozen rare diseases isolated in genome quantum simulator — like a quantum processing unit progress on protein folding 1,000 Genomes RNA reprogramming lab rat genomics This Decade in Scientific Breakthroughs junk DNA ≠ junk

December 31, 2010

This Year In Science


Local characteristic times are at least 1 millisecond, and the speed of propagation of the nervous influx is between 1 and 100 meters per second, so that times of O(100 milliseconds) are easily reached.

December 30, 2010

The human brain is a highly connected net of 10¹⁰ neurons.

December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010

The methods of topology, when applied to cultural analysis, provide a rigorous, yet unabashedly humble investigation of the nature of cultural relationships.
—Brent M. Blackwell

December 28, 2010

Topology as a tool for Postmodern Philosophy


December 27, 2010

A circle is made up of points equidistant from the center. But what does “equidistant” mean? Measuring distance implies a value judgment — for example, that moving to the left is just the same as moving to the right, moving forward is just as hard as moving back.

But what if you’re on a hill? Then the amount of force to go uphill is different than the amount to go downhill. If you drew a picture of all the points you could reach with a fixed amount of work (equiforce or equiwork or equi-effort curve) then it would look different — slanted, tilted, bowed — but still be “even” in the same sense that a circle is.

Here’re some brain-wrinkling pictures of “circles”, under different L_p metrics:

astroid p=⅔
p = ⅔

The subadditive “triangle inequality” A→B→C > A→C no longer holds when p<1.

p = 4p = 4 

 p = 1/2
= ½
. (Think about a Poincaré disk to see how these pointy astroids can be “circles”.)
 p = 3/2 p = 3/2 

 workin on my ♘ ♞ movesThe moves available to a knight ♘ ♞ in chess are a circle under L1 metric over a discrete 2-D space.

December 26, 2010

December 25, 2010


The True Size of Africa

December 25, 2010

The True Size of Africa

Maybe during the 21st century, maybe during the 22nd — sometime in the future economic growth will change the face of global culture by bringing in all of these places.

I think we in the rest of the world can look forward to great books, inventions, exports, investment profits, and new ways of thinking as this huge part of the world catches up in wealth.

December 24, 2010

Under Pressure by Xiu Xiu

My favourite Under Pressure cover … and my favourite Xiu Xiu song.