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Evelyn Mitchell
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Evelyn Mitchell

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Performance anxiety as part of math trauma.
 
His red wine has not arrived yet, the first question hasn't been asked yet. But Edward Frenkel can't wait. "Fear of math? I see it as a childhood trauma," he explodes with a lilting Russian accent that hasn't worn out despite a half-life in the United States. "It's enough for this to happen once: You have to solve a mathematical problem in front of your class. It does not work. You feel stupid. A nightmare."

The wine comes, and Frenkel takes a sip. In bursts of short sentences he continues: "Then you're scared for life. Afraid to make a mistake and feel 'stupid'. What a shame, because it's a wonderful subject. This way, we deny millions of people this precious knowledge, wisdom and beauty.

---From an interview with the Dutch newspaper NRC
Edward Frenkel: De Russisch-Amerikaanse ‘rockstar mathematician’ Edward Frenkel wil wiskunde sexy maken. „Als iemand zegt: dit is te moeilijk, frustrerend, zeg ik: welkom in mijn wereld.”
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Plans to build machines to recycle/reuse plastic.
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You can find registration information and agenda details on the conference website. Or you can go directly to the Cvent registration page. Note that registration fees will increase by 50% at the end of early registration on May 6, 2016. The conference will take place on May 20 and 21, ...
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Two longtime porch activities are now combined into one simple contraption thanks to designers Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex, creators of the Rocking Knit. The wooden rocking chair is rigged to knit as you sway back and forth, producing a cap from minimal energy output. The invention was produce
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Some places are just more exciting than others. This evidently had us on the edge of our seats...
Have you ever heard the saying, "Only in Boulder?"
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Painting robot
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Got milk? So the phrase "thinking outside the box" gets overused, but coming at problems from a new viewpoint can be pretty useful. I don't know about practicality for scans used in situations where you don't want the risk of any grossly wrong areas in the scan (which is the big problem with most scanning techniques, not the accuracy), but it might be helpful for simple stuff.
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Good advice on the value of data fuzziness.
 
Aside from being a story about the consequences of not thinking carefully about default values, this article about a Kansas farmhouse that's in a geo-IP database with the meaning "somewhere in America" illustrates a problem that software design has rarely addressed: uncertainty of data.

The natural model for computer data is exact values.  If you ask a human "How many cows are in that field," the answer "four or five dozen" is an easy answer to work with.  But if you build a computer program to figure it out, you're likely to represent it with a single integer.  53 is way easier for a computer to work with than "dozens."

Scientists and statisticians are used to dealing with uncertainty in measurements and estimates, and good scientific reports will give error bars or ranges of values: based on our sampling technique, the field has 56 +/- 5 cows.  But whether through laziness or lack of foresight, the developer will probably choose a single integer and move on.

Geographic data would seem a very natural domain in which to apply data vagueness since it's already got spatial concepts.  Rather than represent location data as a single latitude/longitude pair, why not represent it as a polygon, with the size of the polygon representing the degree of certainty?  If you're pretty certain where the IP address is tied, put a small polygon around the farm.  If you just know the IP addres is near the middle of the country, draw a polygon around the middle of the Kansas/Nebraska border.  If you just know that it's somewhere in the U.S., draw a polygon around the whole country.

This isn't a new concept in geo-data handling.  A typical "where am I" user interface on a phone will display a circle of vagueness, with the radius determined by how strong a signal it can get from GIS satellites or cell tower triangulation.  Let's apply that "position with uncertainty" model to location lookup as well.

http://fusion.net/story/287592/internet-mapping-glitch-kansas-farm/
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tummy.com is still doing Linux, going on 21 years this year.
 
Linux at 25: Why It Flourished While Others Fizzled http://bit.ly/25ytpTz #OpenSource
Timing, cost, and the right license made all the difference
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Kudos.
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This looks like high living camping.
 
Vipp Shelter tiny prefab as precise industrial-era appliance

The Danish company VIPP (famous for its iconic 1939 wastebasket, now in the MOMA) has created a prefab tiny home designed down to the last detail (flashlight included). Their 592-square-foot “plug and play getaway” wasn’t designed to blend into nature, but to float above it; fifty thousand pounds of glass and steel serve as a frame for the surrounding landscape. VIPP designer Morten Bo Jensen explains that the shelter wasn’t designed as a piece of architecture, but an industrial object. The prefab structure is built in a factory and the four modules are transported by truck to the site. The shelter can be constructed in 3 to 5 days using just bolts for the modules and 9,000 screws for the steel plates. The small prefab can house 4 people: 2 on a daybed and 2 in a loft bedroom. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls slide open and closed with mechanical rollers, designed to move the 400 or 500-kilo doors with ease. “We kind of like this idea that you just grab it and slide it open,” explains Jensen, “instead of motorized solutions that would be more different from our philosophy of very mechanical products that just last for a long time.”
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+David Butler​ (and helpers) making space-tiling rhombic dodecahedra, designed by the origamist Nick Robinson.

Cc +John Baez​
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