Archive for April, 2012

April 30, 2012

The Mermaid King, illustration for The Little Mermaid by Edmund Dulac

via artandopinion, lembarrasduchoix

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April 29, 2012

In AD 312 a pretender to the imperial title by the name of Constantine marched from Gaul … towards Rome…. [V]ictorious … the dominion of the Roman[s] was set upon a radically new path … an imperium christianum….

[O]n the shores of the Bosphorus, what had formerly been the pagan city of Byzantium [became] a Christian capital. Constantine … mark[ed] out the street plan … guided by the figure of Christ following before him … Constantinople….

A seat of empire, to be sure — but hardly a monument to Christian humility.

The leaders of the Church were unperturbed. Scarcely able … to credit the miracle that had transformed them … from a persecuted minority into an imperial elite, they raised few eyebrows at the spectacle of their emperor’s magnificence…. [I]t struck most of them that it would be a waste of time to preach revolution. Far more meritorious … to labour at … order, not egalitarianism…. What were the saints, the angels and the archangels if not the very model of a court…? A Christian emperor … could serve not merely as Christ’s ally in the great war against evil, but as His representative on earth…. In the bejewelled and perfumed splendours of Constantinople might be glimpsed a reflection of the beauties of paradise; in the armies that marched to war against the foes of the Christian order an image of the angelic hosts.

What had once been the very proofs of the empire’s depravity — its wealth, its splendour, its terrifying military might — now seemed to mark it out as a replica of heaven.

[T]he Christ to whom Constantine and his successors compared themselves bore little resemblance to the Jesus who had died in excruciating and blood-streaked agony upon a rough-hewn cross…. [Christ] began to resemble nothing so much as a Roman emperor. Whereas the faithful had once looked to their Messiah to sit in awful judgement over Rome, now bishops publicly implored Him to turn His “heavenly weapons” against the enemies of the empire, “so that the peace of the Church might be untroubled by storms of war.”

To [those] in the Church … desperate to see the imperial centre hold, the strident anti-Roman sentiments of St. John’s Revelation had long been an embarrassment. In 338, a council of bishops had sought to drop it altogether from the canon of Holy Scripture. In the East … the more prosperous half of Rome’s empire … the Book of Revelation would not be restored to the Bible for centuries.

Tom Holland, The Forge of Christendom

April 28, 2012

<![CDATA[
// use this if you want to place a note under the video
var noteHeight = 0;

var Browser = {
IeVersion: function() {
var version = 999; // we assume a sane browser
if (navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE") != -1){
// bah, IE again, lets downgrade version number
version = parseFloat(navigator.appVersion.split("MSIE")[1]);
}
return version;
},
Ie: function() {
if (navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE") != -1){
return true;
}else{
return false;
}
}
}

//some default settings
var verticalView = true;
var maximized = false;
$("#limaxv").css('display', 'block');
$("#liminv").css('display', 'none');

function computeHeightDefaultRatio(slideAreaWidth){
//this is the default 1.33 ratio
var ratio = 100 – (slideAreaWidth * 100) / 720;
desiredHeight = 540 – (540 * ratio) / 100;

return desiredHeight;
}

function computeWidthDefaultRatio(slideAreaHeight){
//this is the default 1.33 ratio

return slideAreaHeight * 1.33;
}

function setSlideAreaHorizontal(){
$('#playerComponent').css('width','320px');
var slideAreaWidth = $("#presentationContent").width() – $("#playerComponent").width()-20;
var desiredHeight = computeHeightDefaultRatio(slideAreaWidth);
setSlideAreaHorizontalCommon(desiredHeight, slideAreaWidth);
}

function setSlideAreaHorizontalMaximized(centerViewWhileMaximized){
$('#playerComponent').css('width','320px');
//obtain width by computing it using default ratio from the browser window height
var windowHeight = $(window).height()-50;
var computedWidth = computeWidthDefaultRatio(windowHeight);
var availableWidth = $("#presentationContent").width() – $("#playerComponent").width()-20;
//if computed width is larger than availableWidth, compute height using default ratio from the available width
//this is done to avoid slide area slide under the player because there is not enough room for its width
if (computedWidth 300){
$(“#playerComponent”).height(height+15+noteHeight);
$(“#summaryComponent”).height(height-250);
} else{
$(“#playerComponent”).height(325);
$(“#summaryComponent”).height(60);
}
}

function setSlideAreaVertical(){
var slideAreaWidth = $(“#playerComponent”).width();
var desiredHeight = computeHeightDefaultRatio(slideAreaWidth);
$(“#slideArea”).height(desiredHeight);
$(“#slideArea”).width(slideAreaWidth);
}

function accommodateSlideArea() {
if(verticalView) {
var presentationWidth = $(“#presentationContent”).width()-12;
$(‘#playerComponent’).width(presentationWidth);
setSlideAreaVertical();
}
else {
if (maximized){
setSlideAreaHorizontalMaximized(true);
}else{
setSlideAreaHorizontal();
}
}
}

$(window).resize(function() {
accommodateSlideArea();
});

function setHorizontalView(centerViewWhileMaximized) {
var playerContainerHeight = 265+noteHeight;
var playerComponentHeight = 590+noteHeight;
//temporary here until integration of overlay ads for other languages than en
$(‘#lhv’).css(‘font-weight’,’bold’);
$(‘#lhv’).css(‘color’, ‘#000000’);
$(‘#lvv’).css(‘font-weight’,’normal’);
$(‘#lvv’).css(‘color’, ‘#1C497B’);

$(“#lihv”).addClass(“selected”);
$(“#ahv”).addClass(“horizontal-selected”);
$(“#livv”).removeClass(“selected”);
$(“#avv”).removeClass(“vertical-selected”);

$(‘#playerComponent’).css(‘width’,’320px’);
$(‘#playerContainer’).css(‘margin-right’,’0px’);
$(‘#playerContainer’).height(playerContainerHeight);
$(‘#playerComponent’).height(playerComponentHeight);

if(Browser.IeVersion() >= 7){
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’265px’);
}else{
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’0px’);
}

$(‘#slideArea’).css(‘margin-left’,’6px’);
if (maximized){
setSlideAreaHorizontalMaximized(centerViewWhileMaximized);
}else{
setSlideAreaHorizontal();
}
verticalView = false;

$(‘#playerComponent’).css(‘width’,’320px’);
$(‘#playerContainer’).css(‘margin-right’,’0px’);
$(‘#playerContainer’).height(playerContainerHeight);
$(‘#playerComponent’).height(playerComponentHeight);

if(Browser.IeVersion() >= 7){
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’265px’);
}else{
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’0px’);
}
$(‘#slideArea’).css(‘margin-left’,’6px’);

if (maximized){
setSlideAreaHorizontalMaximized(centerViewWhileMaximized);
}else{
setSlideAreaHorizontal();
}
}

function setVerticalView() {
//temporary here until integration of overlay ads for other languages than en
$(‘#lvv’).css(‘font-weight’,’bold’);
$(‘#lvv’).css(‘color’, ‘#000000’);
$(‘#lhv’).css(‘font-weight’,’normal’);
$(‘#lhv’).css(‘color’, ‘#1C497B’);

$(“#livv”).addClass(“selected”);
$(“#avv”).addClass(“vertical-selected”);
$(“#lihv”).removeClass(“selected”);
$(“#ahv”).removeClass(“horizontal-selected”);

var presentationWidth = $(“#presentationContent”).width()-12;
var playerComponentHeight = 265+noteHeight;
$(‘#playerComponent’).width(presentationWidth);
$(‘#playerContainer’).css(‘margin-right’,’10px’);
$(‘#summaryComponent’).css(‘height’,’265px’);
$(‘#playerComponent’).height(playerComponentHeight);
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’0px’);
$(‘#slideArea’).css(‘margin-left’,’0px’);
setSlideAreaVertical();
verticalView = true;

presentationWidth = $(“#presentationContent”).width()-12;
playerComponentHeight = 265+noteHeight;
$(‘#playerComponent’).width(presentationWidth);
$(‘#playerContainer’).css(‘margin-right’,’10px’);
$(‘#summaryComponent’).css(‘height’,’265px’);
$(‘#playerComponent’).height(playerComponentHeight);
$(‘#clearLine’).css(‘height’,’0px’);
$(‘#slideArea’).css(‘margin-left’,’0px’);
}

function setMaximizedView(){
//comment this for now
//$(“#limaxv”).addClass(“selected”);
//$(“#amaxv”).addClass(“maximize-selected”);
//$(“#liminv”).removeClass(“selected”);
//$(“#aminv”).removeClass(“minimize-selected”);
//make maximize button invisible
$(“#limaxv”).css(‘display’, ‘none’);
$(“#liminv”).css(‘display’, ‘block’);
maximized = true;
}

function setMinimizedView(){
//comment this for now
//$(“#liminv”).addClass(“selected”);
//$(“#aminv”).addClass(“minimize-selected”);
//$(“#limaxv”).removeClass(“selected”);
//$(“#amaxv”).removeClass(“maximize-selected”);
//make minimize button invisible
$(“#limaxv”).css(‘display’, ‘block’);
$(“#liminv”).css(‘display’, ‘none’);
maximized = false;
}

function modifyDocument (){
setMaximizedView();

//set css inline to avoid being overriden by the existing css classes
//an alternative would be jQuery addClass method, but it is error prone
$(“#columns_container”).css({“padding-left” : “0px”});
$(“#columns_container”).css({“margin-right” : “0px”});
$(“#rightbar”).css({“display” : “none”});
$(“#header”).css({“display” : “none”});
$(“#footer”).css({“display” : “none”});

//FIXME CHECK THIS set minimum width for the container to be smaller with 510px(the added left and right paddings)
$(“#container”).css({“min-width” : “480px”});

//expand presentation area according to available size
accommodateSlideArea();
}

function rollbackDocument () {
setMinimizedView();

//set css inline to avoid being overriden by the existing css classes
//an alternative would be jQuery addClass method, but it is error prone
$(“#columns_container”).css({“padding-left” : “10px”});
$(“#columns_container”).css({“margin-right” : “355px”});
$(“#rightbar”).css({“display” : “block”});
$(“#header”).css({“display” : “block”});
$(“#footer”).css({“display” : “block”});

//FIXME CHECK THIS set minimum width for the container at the original size
$(“#container”).css({“min-width” : “990px”});

//always rollback to horizontal for IE6; prevents from messing up the layout
if(Browser.IeVersion() >= 7){
//alert(“Version is: ” + Browser.IeVersion());
//accommodate presentation area according to available size
accommodateSlideArea();
}else{
//alert(“Version is: ” + Browser.IeVersion());
setHorizontalView(true);
}
}

var counter=10;

function countDown()
{
if (counter > 0){
$(“#counterMessage”).empty().append(JSResource.content_accessible_prefix + ” ” + counter + ” ” + JSResource.content_accessible_suffix);
–counter;
setTimeout(“countDown()”,1000);
}else
{
$(‘.close’).trigger(‘click’);
//close the overlay programatically
modifyDocument();
}
}

//after DOM loads
$(function() {
$(“.overlaytrigger”).overlay({
closeOnClick: false,
closeOnEsc:true,
mask: {
color: null,
loadSpeed: ‘fast’,
maskId: ‘overlay_mask’,
zIndex: 9999
},
effect: ‘apple’,
onBeforeLoad: function() {
//grab wrapper element inside content
var wrap = this.getOverlay().find(“.contentWrap”);
//load the page specified in the trigger
wrap.load(this.getTrigger().attr(“href”));
},
onLoad: function() {
counter = 10;
countDown();
},
onClose: function() {
//counter set to 0 to end countDown function that keeps running in the background if we close the overlay prior of the 10s
counter = 0;
modifyDocument();
}
});
});

//pass the title of this content to the bookmark JS function
function bookmarkContent(){
var contentTitle = “We Really Don’t Know How To Compute!”;
bookmark(contentTitle);
}

$(‘#playIssue’).click(function() {
$(“#videoIssueEmail”).attr(“href”, “mailto:video-issue@infoq.com?Subject=Issue watching video: “+window.location);
// next line is needed for IE, when href is changed IE also changes the html part(the text part)
$(“#videoIssueEmail”).html(“video-issue@infoq.com”);

$(‘#instructions’).show();
return false;
});
$(‘#hideInstructions’).click(function() {
$(‘#instructions’).hide();
return false;
});

$(“#playerContainer”).hover(function(){
if(!$(‘#problemsVideo’).is(“:visible”)){
$(“#problemsVideo”).show();
noteHeight=20;
if(verticalView){
setVerticalView();
}else{
setHorizontalView(false);
}
}
}, function(){
$(“#problemsVideo”).hide();
noteHeight=0;
if(verticalView){
setVerticalView();
}else{
setHorizontalView(false);
}

});
]]>

Gerald Jay Sussman on biology & computation.

  • The human genome is 1 GB. So is Windows OS.
  • We have no idea how to program a 10¹²-unit thing like a human, or a cow.
  • A salamander regrows three elbows if you break off its arm and reattach it — responding to local errors.
  • We have no idea how to write computer vision in a few steps like neurons do.
  • Program efficiency doesn’t matter.
  • Memory is free right now.
  • Computation is free right now.
  • For a million bucks you can get a seriously computer—but what to do with it?
  • Most of the cost of a computer program is paying programmers. —Huw Evans
  • Yet we spend so much time modifying existing code. —Huw Evans
  • Correctness doesn’t matter. (Getting a reasonable answer is fine.)
  • Security doesn’t matter. (Humans are attacked by parasites all the time.)
  • Biological systems are written to solve problems that the designer didn’t foresee.
  • This LISPian stuff of writing programs that write programs looks very awesome; what I’ve pretty much always wanted to do with computers. (I tried and failed to use PHP’s multiple dollar signs to helpful effect.)
  • Some stiff-matrix stuff that you can understand if you watch some Gilbert Strang videos.
  • The point being: with bindings and such you can write a program that’s somewhat robust: performing operator overloading or similar things so that you can just tell the computer basically what you mean. (Rather than having to be so specific.)
  • “Mathematical symbols are impressionistic” — just think about how the fnof; symbol is used — yeah, some function, whatever, ya know what I mean.
  • Systems that accept a wide variety of inputs and only give a small range of outputs.
  • Your cells have about 1 GB of ROM and a few megabytes of RAM.
  • “Galileo discovered the value of a lie — to figure it out without the friction and then put it back in.”
  • Propagators: Independent Stateless machines connecting stateful cells
  • Satisficing / monotonically increasing local information about a referent.
  • Synchronising problems in parallel computation go away.
  • EE, not CS, point of view. (and I daydreamed off into economic theories using this circuit-diagram thinking)
  • “I hate modern languages, even the ones I invent! … There are no names for intermediate parts [of expressions].”
  • Min 44. Maybe this is an insight into explaining statistics to programmers. Errorful processes go in; this would be like multiple inputs (maybe a distribution assumption, maybe a bound on the error, maybe an independence assumption or equal variances) — and an errorful result comes out. Just like division-of-integers has two outputs—quotient and remainder—so do statistical processes spit out a ton of outputs as well:—answer(s) like beta;’s, error estimates (p’s and t’s), and tons of different ways of looking at what might be wrong with the assumptions (Durbin-Watson, structural F statistic, White estimators). Of course you could turn these outputs into Boolean by saying like “alpha; <.05 goes to TRUE” — but really the continuous alpha score is better.
  • Expert reasoning in circuit diagrams as local reasoning between neighbouring pieces of the circuit diagram.
  • Improving measurements by making independent measurements of the same thing by different methods.
  • Tracking of provenance & shadow premises—….daydreaming: relationship to religious faith/scepticism.
  • Giggling when logic subsystems conflict.
  • Truth Maintenance Systems — the ability to back out
  • Finding lies — medical statistical results
  • Globally inconsistent worldviews that are locally consistent.
  • Aaaand, find me the consistent sub-worldviews that are consistent.

April 28, 2012

lavender in Provence

April 27, 2012

by Melanie Authier

via newstijl

The XX – Intro

April 26, 2012

Intro by The XX

via venoms

April 26, 2012

My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil.

J P Getty, How to Be Rich

April 25, 2012

Me Cuesta

April 24, 2012

I’m a native English speaker. In Spanish class I was wrongly taught that the basic word “costs” translates as costar — so when you’re talking prices with a merchant, you should be saying ¿Cuánto cuesta?

Except that’s wrong.

When I spent time in Latin America, people either said cobra or vale. The only usage of cuesta that I heard was to mean opportunity cost. As in,

  • Cuesta mucho aprender inglés.
  • Hervir el agua cuesta un rato.

Which leaves me to wonder: does Spanish embed the concept of opportunity-cost into the language? So if Spaniards had been the first moral philosophers, they wouldn’t have needed to invent a separate term called “opportunity cost”?

April 23, 2012









David Hale laying out the basic facts, in one minute each, on:

  1. US housing demand
  2. developing-country demand for automobiles
  3. volatility in agricultural prices

Did you know?

  • Americans burn down 400,000 houses every year.
  • $7 trillion wealth loss for Americans from house price declines.