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Gregor J. Rothfuss
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Attended University of Zurich
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist
In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. The discovery could have profound implications for diseases from autism to Alzheimer's to multiple sclerosis.
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Very interesting. 
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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We journeyed via the icy, crystal clear waters of subterranean aqueducts that feed the Trevi fountain and two thousand year old sewers which still function beneath the Roman Forum today, to decadent, labyrinthine catacombs. Our laser scans map these hidden treasures, revealing for the first time the complex network of tunnels, chambers and passageways without which Rome could not have survived as a city of a million people.
architectural conjecture :: urban speculation :: landscape futures
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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The best archer in toshiya was Wasa Daihachiro of the Kishu clan, who took 13,053 shots in a single contest over 24h, out of which 8,133 were successful.
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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the global labor force’s average time in school went from 2.8 to 8.3 years from 1960-2010. How much richer should these countries have expected to become? In 1965, France had a labor force that averaged less than five years of schooling and a per capita income of $14,000 (at 2005 prices). In 2010, countries with a similar level of education had a per capita income of less than $1,000. Moreover, much of this increase cannot possibly be attributed to education, as workers in 2010 had the advantage of technologies that were 50 years more advanced than those in 1960. Clearly, something other than education is needed to generate prosperity.
In an era characterized by political polarization and policy paralysis, one area of agreement is that the key to inclusive economic growth is, as Tony Blair put in his 2001 reelection campaign, “education, education, education.” Unfortunately, the idea that education can be a growth strategy simply does not hold water.
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The relative value of labour to capital also has a big impact. Perhaps if we experience significant global population decline then the relative value of labour will go back up.
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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fungi have hundreds of genders to prevent inbreeding.
Yonatan Zunger originally shared to Today I Learned::
 
The Sex Lives of Mushrooms

The picture below may give you a hint about how the bird's nest fungus got its name. But what it doesn't show you is the rather fascinating love life that they have, and what this might tell us about where our own sexual preferences come from.

Bird's nest fungi live in places like rotting trees, dung piles, mulched woodpiles, nursery pots, and various other places; they've done quite well in human habitats, and so several species are thriving. When it first sets up shop, a fungus will grow out long filaments all through the body of whatever it's growing on, gradually digesting it with enzymes that transform wood (or whatever) into simple sugars. The fungus keeps growing until it touches a prospective mate: at this point, the two fungi will grow into each other, exchanging not just DNA but entire cell nuclei. The resulting "dikaryotic" ("two-nuclear") fungus then grows the fruiting bodies that give it its name: little cups with spores in them that look like eggs in a bird's nest.

These spores aren't firmly attached: in fact, they're designed to fly. When a raindrop hits a cup, it will propel the spores outwards (using the cup as a ramp) in all directions. The spores trail long, sticky filaments behind them, which get caught on branches; the (very lightweight) spores then wind around the branch grappling-hook style, leaving them firmly attached and ready to start their new life. The parent, meanwhile, will keep manufacturing more bird's nests for as long as it has the food and water to keep going.

There's just one catch: because the spores get distributed by rain, they don't fly very far, and that means that children of the same parents will end up close by. This means that the fungus has to have some way to avoid inbreeding. (Inbreeding causes bad mutations to build up, in the sort of way that dubious X-Files episodes parodied, and that makes the fungus less able to survive. The non-silly version of this is called "inbreeding depression," and you can get a good overview of it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbreeding_depression)

The fungi achieve this by being very picky about their mates. Humans come in two genders, and these are roughly our "mating compatibility groups." These fungi, on the other hand, use what's called a "tetrapolar mating system." What it means is this: instead of their being one category of gender, each fungus has two kinds of gender, with the poetic names "MAT-A" and "MAT-B." Two fungi can only mate if both their MAT-A and MAT-B genders are different. And each of these doesn't just come in two varieties – they can have dozens, or even hundreds.

(For what comes next, if you want to know the details I highly recommend this paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607108/)

Take Cyathus stercoreus, the "dung-loving bird's nest" (don't you love fungus names?), which is one of the most widespread of the bird's nest fungi. It has 39 different possible MAT-A's, and 24 MAT-B's. This means that there are a total of 936 (39×24) different genders, and an arbitrary fungus will be able to mate with 874 (38×23) of them. The children of this mating will be one of four possible genders (getting their MAT-A's and MAT-B's independently from each parent), and each child would only be physically able to mate with one in four of its siblings – the ones which have both a different MAT-A and MAT-B. That means that there's a 25% chance of successful mating with a relative, compared to a 94% chance with a random fungus it meets in the street. (Or rather, "in a pile of dung," but that seems a little less romantic) (Unless you're a fungus)

But to maintain 936 different genders, you need a lot of fungi, and in species that don't have as many individuals around, we indeed find that the number of distinct genders goes down in time, as various MAT-A and -B variations are no longer present. Cyathus striatus, the fluted bird's nest, only has 3 MAT-A's and 11 MAT-B's – giving strangers only a 61% chance (2×10/3×11) of being able to mate, with siblings still having that 25% chance. And in fact, C. striatus has been showing increased trouble breeding.

There's one other important difference between fungi and people: these hundreds of different genders (the technical term is "mating compatibility groups") don't have any differences in their large-scale physical shape. To tell the genders apart, you need genetic testing. 

This may give us a hint as to how gender started out in the first place. At the simplest end, we have asexual reproduction: creatures that divide via mitosis and leave it at that. Next, we have creatures that can penetrate each other's cell walls and exchange nuclei, like these fungi do; that gives them the advantages of cross-breeding. Compared to them, every asexual species is suffering from permanent inbreeding depression, as each creature only "mates" with itself. Then you see the development of things that quickly kill off any attempt to mate with excessively similar creatures, like this system of genders. You could easily imagine the next stage: the genetic variation between the genders starts to get used in building the physical structure of the creature. This opens up the possibility of different genders specializing in various ways, including in parts of the reproductive process – and the rest, as they say, is (pre)history.

But even we mammals haven't given up on the old systems of genders! Studies in a wide range of species have shown that everything from butterflies to rats will actively avoid mating with anything that smells too much like them. Scents come from a variety of sources, but significantly, many of these scent components are inherited. What we have is a collection of genetic variants that make people who are too closely related to us not smell like prospective mates. This doesn't physically prevent mating, but as you'll have noticed above, even the fungi's rather elaborate system only reduces the inbreeding rate to 25%; an imperfect system is a lot better than no system at all.

So the next time you smell your relatives, think about the mating habits of fungi, and how your pattern of scents may well be the evolutionary remnant of a system of thousands of different genders that let our earliest ancestors know their kin.

Many thanks to +John Baez for the original article (shared below) which sparked my curiosity with its talk of "mating compatibility groups." Who would have known that fungi could do that? Well, apart from mycologists, I guess.
Blue mushrooms This is a bird's nest fungus - a kind of mushroom that looks like a bird's nest full of eggs.  More precisely, it's Cyathus… - John Baez - Google+
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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i don't usually go to church, but when i do, i go to http://amorphicrobotworks.org/works/theroboticchurch/
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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the security theater we pay for at the TSA has a 5% success rate, to the surprise of no one. disbanding TSA is the next logical step.
An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation's busiest airports.
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“[Testers] know exactly what our protocols are. They can create and devise and conceal items that … not even the best terrorists would be able to do,”

um, yeah. 
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#ourdumbworld  
Paris will begin removing the “cadenas d’amour.” Almost a million padlocks, weighing up to a staggering 45 tons, will be taken away. Last year, a part of the railing at the Pont des Arts collapsed under the weight of the locks
Starting today, the city will begin removing “love locks” from the Pont des Arts, a bridge near the Tuileries garden.
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Just like people carving hearts and their names into trees/plants
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finally a clear public statement about all the nonsense "google sells your data":

Does Google sell my personal information? No. We do not sell your personal information
When it comes to privacy and security, we know you have questions. So, let’s start with a few basics.
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<3
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Gregor J. Rothfuss

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Our ancestors were making stone tools even earlier than we thought—some 700,000 years older, dating to 3.3 million years ago, in northern Kenya. "These aren't the very first tools that hominins made. They show that the knappers already had an understanding of how stones can be intentionally broken, beyond what the first hominin who accidentally hit 2 stones together and produced a sharp flake would have had. I think there are older, even more primitive artifacts out there."
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At some point they become indistinguishable from rocks to all but the most discerning viewer?
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In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren't built — they're grown
Centuries-old bridges, grown from tangled roots
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There is a dope segment on this on Human Planet
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new conductive yarn allows to build multi-touch right into your pants.
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Education
  • University of Zurich
  • Literargymnasium Rämibühl, Zurich
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Maps Janitor at Google
Introduction
I am the technical lead for the Google Maps UI, bringing maps and local search to a billion users around the world.
Work
Occupation
Senior Staff Software Engineer / TLM
Employment
  • Google
    Senior Staff Software Engineer / TLM, 2007 - present
  • Endoxon
    Software Engineer, 2005 - 2007
  • Digitas
    VP / Architect, 2004 - 2005
  • Wyona
    COO, 2002 - 2005
  • KPMG
    Team Lead, Emerging Technologies Group, 1998 - 2002
  • SQE Services
    Software Engineer, 1993 - 1997
  • KAYWA
    Cofounder, 2003 - 2003
  • GateInfo Ltd
    Project Manager, 2001 - 2001
  • OSCOM
    Board Member, 2002 - 2006
  • Apache Software Foundation
    VP, Apache Lenya, 2003 - 2009
  • Xaraya
    Project Management Commitee, 2002 - 2003
  • PostNuke CMS
    Project Management Committee, 2001 - 2002
  • University of Zurich
    Teaching Assistant, 1997 - 2000
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
New York
Previously
Zurich, Switzerland - Cambridge, MA - Berkeley, CA - Bangkok, Thailand
Gregor J. Rothfuss's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Colorizing photographs since 1831.

Art Nerd NY Street Art Hotspot: ICY &amp; SOT View from the Bridge
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We recently met the prolific (and young) Iranian brothers/street art duo ICY &amp; SOT- two really nice dudes. We&#39;re LOVING their new piece over

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One Night Stand Sleeper Sofa by Blu Dot Sofa Sleeper of the Week
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In my weekly profiles of various Sleeper Sofa models, the One Night Stand sofa from Blu Dot is repeatedly listed in the comments as a favori

Pavegen Tiles Turn Footsteps Into Electricity - Earth911.com
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Guide to local resources including recycling centers, how to recycle, pollution prevention and how help protect the environment.

decent place to try some alsacien specialties. the restaurant has a lot of old charm but staff is a bit surly.
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amazing street art, always something new to come back to.
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The statues are amazing, though marred by the huge number of visitors.
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Delicious brunch options. The sizes are quite large so plan accordingly.
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1996 reviews
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Not enough green space.
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Convenient location. Rooms are nothing special, with fairly small beds.
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The light show on this mini eiffel tower is quite subtle.
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