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Gordon Wells
Worked at Emory University
Lives in Stellenbosch
274 followers|210,282 views
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Gordon Wells

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Short and sweet talk by Dan Dennett describing the Hurley model of humour as the joy of debugging #fw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmfMyfu4NX0
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Gordon Wells

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"Conservation efforts often appear in the media like a series of defeats and retreats, but as soon as you look up from the crisis-of-the-month, you realise that, in aggregate, conservation is winning."  #fw  
The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis
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Gordon Wells

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"And then Pratchett added jokes, which makes him a dream mash-up of Dickens and Wodehouse, with a healthy sprinkling of genre just to ensure he got right up the right noses." #fw http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/terry-pratchett-kieron-gillen.html?mid=twitter_vulture
Comics superstar Kieron Gillen remembers the late author.
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It arrived! Because of my favourite episode of 99%Invisible, getting a hold of this was essential #fw
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I like this idea of conservation as Great Books. No good reason it can't happen here too:

"I love Jon Mooallem and I love animals, but this book is even better than the sum of its parts. Mooallem makes a persuasive case that wild animals are America's cultural heritage—our Sistine Chapel and our Great Books—and the story he tells is an archetypal American one. Even as the animals are being destroyed by unthinking, unconscious corporate forces, they are also being rescued through the tremendous energy and ingenuity of individuals, men and women who wear whooping-crane costumes, cohabitate with dolphins, and encourage condors to ejaculate on their heads. Wild Ones made me proud to be American."

—Elif Batuman
Have him in circles
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Gordon Wells

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If you care about design, and the future of Public Goods, pay attention to Roman Mars #fw

http://www.ted.com/talks/roman_mars_why_city_flags_may_be_the_worst_designed_thing_you_ve_never_noticed#t-638738
Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don't have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.
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I'm reading the fourth of Tufte's books, and would love to have used this wide-margin layout for dissertations and papers #htbp!!!!!!! #fw

https://www.overleaf.com/latex/templates/book-design-inspired-by-edward-tufte/gcfbtdjfqdjh
Edward Tufte is a pioneer in the field of data visualization, and his works inspired the creation of two LaTeX classes for books and handouts. Here we pre...
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Relates to my increasing dislike of "tech" being equated with programming #fw http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2015/04/02/silicon_valley_sunglasses.php
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"If you really want to get the techie crowd to understand why medicine and biology are so difficult, explain debugging the human body by software analogy.

Suppose there was a neural-network database engine, that would query its records according to some arcane undocumented (and indeed undocumentable) trained-in process. The database layout, indexing, data structure and so on were all designed by the neural network, with no attempt to influence it by externally applied human sanity. Nobody really knows what data corresponds to what, except in extremely vague empirically determined terms. Input and data retrieval is achieved by flashing different printed photos of dogs in front of the server webcam. The QA department refuse to give any feedback other than "Sometimes it works." Nobody knows how many dev teams have worked on this over the years, or recorded what features they (attempted) adding.

You are now tasked with debugging a problem in which duplicate data is sometimes lost.

Any variants on the phrase "abandon the whole thing and rewrite it from scratch" are an instant fail condition.

Begin."

Gordon Wells

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Questioning Monotheism: do we have to use monospaced fonts for programming? #fw
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Perhaps comments, but most docstrings I still prefer to see the length of the string at a glance. There was a wave of interest in 4GL languages in the 90s, those I can imagine would be better suited to a proportional type. (Although most of the languages were just a pain for real programmers... ABAP case in point.)

Gordon Wells

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Good news (and grouches beware), decoupling can happen, and is happening #fw

"Over the last 40 years, in nearly every field, human productivity has decoupled from resource use, Ausubel began.  Even though our prosperity and population continue to increase, the trends show decreasing use of energy, water, land, material resources, and impact on natural systems (except the ocean).  As a result we are seeing the beginnings of a global restoration of nature."

http://longnow.org/seminars/02015/jan/13/nature-rebounding-land-and-ocean-sparing-through-concentrating-human-activities/#summary
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http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/

"The motorists and cyclists of the 1890s and 1900s were not from different sections of society — they were frequently the exact same people...Many of motoring's key pioneers were officials in cycling organisations. Motoring pioneers originally celebrated their cycling credentials. By the end of the 1920s, with the development of its proletarian image, cycling's vital contribution to the development of motoring was deliberately suppressed." #fw
Cyclists were 1st to push for good roads & were pioneers of motoring
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Hehehe ;)
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Have him in circles
274 people
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Work
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Employment
  • Emory University
    Post Doc, Chemistry Dept., 2011 - 2013
  • University of Pretoria
    Post Doc, Biochemistry Dept. Malaria Research Group, 2010 - 2011
  • Meraka Institute, CSIR
    Scientific Officer, HPC Research Group, 2008 - 2010
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Stellenbosch
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Pretoria - Decatur - Hamburg
Gordon Wells's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Can you put a price on the beauty of the natural world?
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Those who reduce nature to a column of figures play to an agenda that ignores its inherent value – and seeks to destroy it

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Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting -- linguistically, culturally --

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