Weekend Reading CXXX

by uber

If he Wins, do we Stand with him?

In this case ‘he’, being Trump, and ‘we’ being redstate readers, the answer shows the lack of trust which political insiders have for the candidate-presumptive. It’s exactly the reverse, I think, of many Trump supporters, who see him as independent and forceful, rather than compromised. It presents an interesting question as to whether or to what degree a third-party candidate might be a spoiler in the General Election.

Farewell Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco died last week. My experience of Foucault’s Pendulum, reading a book about conspiracy and happenstance, had a lasting effect. Coincidentally, as I read about the main character’s travel to Salvador in Brazil, I was on a plan to that very city. It was spooky, and I was hooked.



I visited the former East German Secret Police Headquarters in Leipzig, and it was chilling to think
of how many people contributed to a massive surveillance culture. I’m interested by the question of standards in different journalistic domains: is it acceptable to invade celebrities’ privacy more or less than politicians’? Does it matter if a restaurant review or a theatre critique was comped? Are the standards universal, or is there a spectrum from news to information to entertainment?


You hear that voice in your head when you’re reading, right?

I do. It’s my ‘thinking voice’ most of the time. It’s sufficiently strongly tied to my hearing* that large amounts of background noise can make it hard to read. I’m reminded of Richard Feynman’s ‘suspicion‘ that communication requires a large degree of translation between different mental imagery.

What’s the hearing version of ‘vision’? ‘Audition’ obviously isn’t right, but was it in the past?

Disinformation on the Web: Impact, Characteristics, and
Detection of Wikipedia Hoaxes

The fact that you can only detect hoaxes reliably through metadata makes sense, but is an interesting indication of the challenges that face the broader task of believing articles, journal papers, or even rumours. As Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla said, ‘Cui bono?


That paper that says women are better coders than men but are judged on their gender? It doesn’t say that at all

One thing about pre-prints and open access is that it does make it a little bit more complicated to distinguish what should be reported. The problem is still that most science journalism, even in mostly-reputable venues, is terrible or terribly misleading. A second problem is that even if this were to be corrected, it would never carry the same, even within an order of magnitude, attention.


The Man who made the Worst Video Game in History

The pressure on a single developer must have been enormous. Even the indie developers who are small or single teams these days mostly build on libraries that support a lot of the work of getting the graphics, sound and input working.