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Michał Gancarski
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Michał Gancarski

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Everyday I add a new insult to my repository.
 
So, this happened: Nobel Peace Prize nominee Edward Snowden called my friend Jason a "cockfaced spidermonkey." This was, admittedly, while he was trolling Ars Technica and not when he was publishing NSA secrets, but still. 

I am not sure who, eventually, will have to live this down.
“Confidently, I submit to you that XaiaX is, in fact, a self-important, cockfaced spidermonkey.” — Edward Snowden, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Reply; Retweet Retweeted; Favorite Favorited. More. Embed Tweet. Retweets 2; Favorite 1; megan geuss · vfb · Sophia Hammett. 3:46 PM - 12 Feb 2014 ...
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Michał Gancarski

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A general remark: let's not mistake "developed" taste for "good" taste.
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#mathematics  

Jake: Why do we have two Theorem 1.12's?
Dr. Vaughan: Because I can't count. You should see me trying to calculate a tip at a restaurant.
Jake: You just divide by 6.
Dr. Vaughan: But that's too hard to do!
Jake: But you're a number theorist!
Dr. Vaughan: That's precisely correct. I know the theory of dividing by 6.

http://www.personal.psu.edu/rcv4/568Quotations.pdf
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#mathematics   #reddit  

There are ways to do higher mathematics only Reddit could suggest:

"
I'm not very clever but have managed to end up doing a PhD in higher order PDEs. The way I've come to approach problems is by something akin to echolocation. Rather than using sound to see the shape of things, though, my preferred output is idiocy. If I throw enough idiocy at a problem from enough different directions, the way it bounces back will (eventually, with some luck and feelings of shame) guide me to what I can do to solve it
"

http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/1sazhk/i_dont_feel_clever_enough_to_do_higher_level/cdvrygv
I'm not very clever but have managed to end up doing a PhD in higher order PDEs. The way I've come to approach problems is by something akin to echolo...
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#rant   #internet   #design   #ergonomics  

This is the home page of +Instagram . The website tries to automatically infer the language in which to serve its content and then shows translated version. The way it detects the user's locale is not based on IP, at least not exclusively, as different browsers display different translations. My guess is it checks the Accept-Language HTTP header and acts upon it.

This could work were it done properly. However, in this case everything that could go wrong, went wrong:

1. The content is only partially translated. In my case - navigation items, the login button and the last paragraph (!) of the main text are in Polish. The rest stays in English.

2. There is no dedicated URL for the language version currently displayed. Even if the meaning of the content is the same, every translation should have its separate URL, like instagram.com/pl. This would clearly indicate the language in which the page is served to the user. More importantly, it would provide a clear and easy way of switching the language by simply changing the last two letters in the address bar. Which brings me to the most crucial point.

3. There is no language switch anywhere on the page. Depending on the combination of system and browser settings, the Accept-Language header sent by the browser will be different, with no clear way of modifying it. In practice it leaves the user with no reasonable method of changing the language version of the site. Especially if the user has no control over these settings which may happen on a shared machine. Consequently, there is no assurance a user will be able to read the website, since the translation she is presented with may be in a language she does not speak.

The problem permeates the rest of the website, including the API documentation, the blog and other sections.

I am sure what +Instagram does is by all means an expression of good intentions. However, the way it is implemented, makes matters worse than if the service did not attempt to make its website multilingual at all. The purpose of multilingual websites is to increase accessibility, not hinder users' attempts to actually access the content they need.
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#culture   #videogames   #ps4   #xboxone  

The PS4 / Xbox One marketing war is gaining momentum. Advertising context aside, show this video to any person still wondering why people play video games :-)

Xbox One: Invitation
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Whoa. Read this! You will never feel the same way about Columbus again.  

I love the notion of Bartolome Day instead. Great work from The Oatmeal.
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Michał Gancarski

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Any +Uber users out there? Perhaps you could consider a bit of defiant consumer action by switching to +Lyft or other competitor available in your area?

http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft
Uber is arming teams of independent contractors with burner phones and credit cards as part of its sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors. Interviews with current and former...
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Michał Gancarski

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Somewhere in the wild great game soundtracks are being born.

Ed Harrison - Carapace [Neotokyo OST]

( long time ago via +Michał Dziewoński )
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Hah ;)

BTW, Neotokyo is now on Steam! And guess what I'm playing right now :)

(and if you like Ed Harrison, the first LP by Trifonic is worth it, too ;))
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#economics   #science  

I was a bit perplexed by this post from +David Brin so I left a comment there:

Generating part of GDP does not mean contributing to it in economic terms. Alternative cost has to be taken into account.

Create a law that makes people buy services only from particular providers and these providers' share in GDP would definitely rise. Now imagine somebody wants to strike the law down. The providers start a campaign, claiming they generate so much GDP and therefore are so important the law is definitely needed.

But this argument is wrong. Were the law struck down, general welfare of the population would rise as people could buy services on a more competitive market. Would overall GDP fall? Maybe, maybe not, in fact it could rise thanks to added efficiency. Would the protected providers' share in GDP fall? Obviously. Would it be bad for the society as a whole? Obviously not.

The fact that you earn a lot and employ lots of people does not mean you should be praised or protected. It may also mean that you are utterly inefficient or lack competition. That you enjoy unfair protection from technological and market disruption. That you make everyone else worse off because the alternative cost of these protections outweighs your contribution to GDP.

And what on Earth does copyright industry have to do with science - an endeavor that thrives in conditions of freely shared data and ideas?
 
U.S. copyright industries contributed more than $1 trillion to the gross domestic product in 2012, accounting for 6.5% of the nation's economy.
Supporting my contention that those pushing the War on Science are unambiguously all-out traitors.

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/19/business/la-fi-ct-intellectual-property-20131119
The economic contributions of U.S. copyright industries reached new heights last year, for the first time contributing more than $1 trillion to the gross domestic product and accounting for 6.5% of...
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#politics #escapism #books

"
It was a mistake to speak one’s mind at any time, unless it perfectly matched your political purpose; and it never did. Best to strip all statements of real content, this was a basic law of diplomacy.
"

Kim Stanley Robinson - "Red Mars"
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#videogames #playstation

A perfect day in a nicely done Playstation 4 commercial. Still - no women inside, which is strange as the singing format would be ideal for a male/female voice duo.

Official PlayStation 4 Perfect Day Commercial
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I can juggle three tennis balls. Tried with four but failed.