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Andrew Reid
Works at NIST
Attended Queen's University
Lives in Washington DC
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I think "return" is a bit of an overstatement, but here's a nice summary of the ways in which the great Bill Watterson is engaging with the comics community.
It began in 2011. For the first time in 16 years, a piece of art by Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson appeared in public.
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That "Stripped" image is so dynamic!
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Many years ago I saw a talk by an HP guy about something similar to this, but with an even more ambitious target -- they were talking about using memristor schemes to dynamically reconfigure components on the fly between being memory or CPU units, with the idea of getting past the von Neumann scheme where a small fraction of the silicon real estate does basically all the work (the CPU), and huge amounts of silicon real estate are essentially passive, just storing bits (the RAM). There, as apparently here, the goal was to achieve a many-order-of-magnitude increase in device throughput and also operations per watt.

This was at a time when the multi-core scheme had not yet happened, and when HP was still making PA-RISC chips and the HP-UX OS.

If (as seems likely) this is a practical result related to that work, then that means this is the pay-off of at least twenty years of investment in R&D in what was, at the beginning, a pretty speculative technology. Congrats to HP for sticking with it.
 
Everything you should know about HP's "The Machine" in under 7 min.
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I was a bit baffled by the 'every byte addressable with 250ns' of the 160 rack machine.  Oops, I was thinking 1/4 ns -- only 7.5 cm at lightspeed rather than 250ns -- about 75 metres.
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Via Reddit MapPorn, an equal-time map of travel times from London to everywhere.

It suggests that you possibly could go all the way around in 80 days, if you closed the loop via Arabia and the Indian Ocean. Doesn't say if you need a hot-air balloon to do it.

The reddit comment thread is also pretty good, it's here: http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/27yfn0/isochronic_passage_chart_for_travelers_global_map/
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Holy crap, they did it! A crowd-funded, volunteer space salvage operation.

Getting this far involved emulating some of the required vintage radio gear in software, and some nice archival work at NASA recovering the command set, and getting some time at Aricebo, and putting it all together before mid-June.

I don't know if there's a "hacker of the decade" award, but if there is, these guys should get it.
 
BREAKING NEWS
We Are Now In Command of the ISEE-3 Spacecraft
The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is pleased to announce that our team has established two-way communication with the ISEE-3 spacecraft and has begun commanding it to perform specific functions. Over the coming days and weeks our team will make an assessment of the spacecraft's overall health and refine the techniques required to fire its engines and bring it back to an orbit near Earth.

+Ciro Villa +michael interbartolo +Amy Shira Teitel 
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I had to look it up myself and even then the name didn't ring any bells (unlike Skip Carmichael  and Melanie Slozar).  Maybe some day it will get an official DVD release.  I suggest they rename it "Matlock's Moon".
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As you may know, the Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh building recently had a very serious fire. If you'd like to donate to help them with the recovery, you can do so at the link.

I'm a big fan of Charlies Rennie Mackintosh generally, and Glasgow is dear to me as the place where my father's side of the family last lived before moving to Canada. In fact, at around the same time that Charles Rennie Mackintosh was doing his highly innovative modernist thing in Glasgow, my great grandfather was doing high quality but old-fashioned Victorian cabinet work just across the Kelvin, in Partick, which was not then part of Glasgow.
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Ran across this TED talk, it's a lot of fun -- it's about one guy's obsession with the spooky way that 4am keeps showing up as an archetypal bad time to be awake and doing things, but the talk itself is much more than just a catalog of these, it's a quite a well-constructed bit of spoken-word artistry.

The "museum" is here: http://fourinthemorning.com/.

It does make me wonder about licensing issues in presenting these things -- missing from the talk and the museum is what is to me a very conspicuous example, "It's four in the morning, the end of December..." is the opening line of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat". Maybe I just need to keep clicking on the museum....
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The New Yorker on the housing market in Vancouver -- the upshot is that prices there are high relative to residents' incomes in large part because of off-shore investment -- it's perceived as a safe haven, a "hedge city".

On the up-side, it's good for property values and tax revenue; on the down-side, it creates obvious housing-affordability problems.

 Missing from the article (probably due to brevity) is that, if I recall correctly, Vancouver positioned itself this way in the run-up to the handover of Hong Kong. The Canadian government created a "significant investor" immigrant category (which I think included a residency requirement), and welcomed Hong Kong residents who were barred from settling in the British Isles, even though they had British citizenship, due to the new British "resident abroad" citizenship category. Vancouver opened up the False Creek site, adjacent to downtown, to development after Expo '86, in part to accommodate the expected influx.
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Your local meteorologist's probability-of-precipitation forecast is probably inflated.
 
Is it going to rain? Your local weatherman exaggerates the worst. Hyperbole sells.

http://www.randalolson.com/2014/06/21/accuracy-of-three-major-weather-forecasting-services/
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Learned this in nate silvers book. Amusing
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This is really interesting to me, but not because I hold any bitcoins, or even really understand in detail what's going on.

The first way this hooks my interest is that it confirms my hard-earned knowledge that security is hard. It sounds like the distributed security model of bitcoin relied on a secondary model of self-interest, and an assumption that individual actors would pursue their own economic self-interest, and contribute to the advancement of the system as a side-effect. They failed to anticipate large differentials in computing power, and the possibility of pure vandalism. This is a blind spot I have often shared, though in more mundane contexts. Maybe with enough reinforcement, the community and I might actually learn this.

The second hook for me is that, what I've seen so far from the various blogs where this has popped up is a real desire to constructively engage with the problem, and either patch it, or make a new distributed cryptocurrency that doesn't have this problem. I hope this happens. One of the things I really like about bitcoin is that it seems to me to be a very high expression of the good kind of hacker ethic -- money is just a system, systems can be hacked, let's hack money! This is the kind of playing-with-the fundamentals that can lead to really robust innovations and cultural shifts. Of course, the risk of spectacular and messy failure is also high, as we are seeing, but that's not a reason not to do something like this again.

I assume that, once the mainstream media gets on to this story, we'll be hearing a lot about how stupid these people were to even try this, and how their undoing by naivte was inevitable. I pre-emptively disagree. I'm not personally a huge fan of the libertarian posturing that seems to go with it, but if that's what it takes for risky hacks like this to exist, I can live with it.
 
 "Is This Really Armageddon? Yes, it is. GHash is in a position to exercise complete control over which transactions appear on the blockchain and which miners reap mining rewards. They could keep 100% of the mining profits to themselves if they so chose. Bitcoin is currently an expensive distributed database under the control of a single entity, albeit one whose maintenance requires constantly burning energy -- worst of all worlds."
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+Andrew Reid I had a chance to look at the book you mentioned. It looks very interesting. For theoretical and personal, religious reasons, I've never accepted the Austrian case for usury; it seems like they've reasoned that because it can be explained properly by their theory, it is just, which obviously doesn't follow. Austrian theory explains theft too.

It'd be interesting to see if Graeber can correct some of the Austrian's [in my view] shortcomings on usury. I'm interested enough to give him a read anyway.
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Charlie Stross on the background to Scottish Independence, some of which I knew, and much of which I didn't.

Scotland is dear to my heart, so I've been watching the independence issue with some interest, and really appreciate this backgrounder, including Charlie's good description of his own frame of reference.
 
Worth reading: Charlie Stross' breathless recap and summary of The Scottish Question
"...at this point, we can safely say that any democratic mandate to rule had been lost. Except that there wasn't one in the first place, and colonial rule continued for another five years ..."
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+Andrew Reid I have read the article by Charles Stross, the article only highlighted certain points about past governance of Scotland and the Scots.
How-ever, the attitude towards the Scots from Westminster, which includes Scottish MP's/MSP's and  Scottish Lord's, along with major businesses has been described as questionable.

It was stated that Mr Obama was briefed for his reply about Independence by Westminster. How-ever, history shows the USA gained Independence under the  " Declaration Of Independence " on 4th of July 1776 from Great Britain.   

Charles did indicate, mistreat the Scots at your own peril, this was evident as the Conservative Government led by Mrs Thatcher who implemented the Poll Tax a full year before the rest of the UK, one may ask is this another bargaining tool in Independence.

The oil industry have stated they will have no problems working with an Independent Scotland, which, surprised some people.

HMNB Clyde ( HMS Neptune ) aka Faslane the base for all Nuclear Submarines ( were the USA has a vested interest ) and the surrounding storage areas is seen as a  massive bargaining position for an Independent Scotland, although, the SNP have declared it wants the removal of all the nuclear deterrent from an Independent Scotland.

The war of words about the Pound Sterling and the EU has been hit on the head by the facts about the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man who have Independence, yet remain Crown Dependancies with EU membership and use of the Pound Sterling.

Finally, it's up to the voters of Scotland to decide on Independence.  
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I recently re-subscribed to the RISKS digest, and this week's batch has this item, with a slightly alarmist headline, about a near miss between Hawaii and LA, as seen from passenger Kevin Townsend's perspective, including his follow-up investigation.

Apparently, there are many rather fragile steps involved in the reporting of near-miss events, and a long road translating them into regulatory or policy improvements.
How Two Jetliners Nearly Collided Over the Pacific, Why No One Knows About It, and What It Means for Safety Oversight Ab…
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Oh, boy, a classic case of improvement being not all good.  Probably a net benefit if altitude is more tightly controlled, but might to do add a random number generator to have planes pick a path somewhere in the middle quarter of the corridor.
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Stick with it at least until around 1:15, it kicks up a notch at that point.
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Have him in circles
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Scientific computing
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  • NIST
    Scientific computing, present
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Washington DC
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Canada - Calgary - Vancouver - Chicago
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Clever. Maybe clever enough.
Introduction
I studied computer science and physics at UBC, and have never really let go of either. I read a lot. Geeky, but not in a debilitating way.
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I know how much wood a woodchuck would chuck, but I'm not telling.
Education
  • Queen's University
    Physics, 1989 - 1994
  • University of British Columbia
    Physics, 1986 - 1989
  • University of British Columbia
    Physics and Computer Science, 1982 - 1986
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