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Lauren Weinstein
379,002 followers -
Technology Systems & Policy Analysis: Internet, Privacy, plus Other Sundry Topics.
Technology Systems & Policy Analysis: Internet, Privacy, plus Other Sundry Topics.

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I wonder how many people today know offhand that the term cone of silence comes from a classic 1960s comedy series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWtPPWi6OMQ

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There should be a YT reporting category for reporting obvious general copyright violations -- like this kind of typical, awful abuse by this uploader -- even when "my rights" aren't affected. This kind of abuse damages not just the actual rights holder, but the entire YT community -- and Google in general.
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This bit was performed in 1956 as part of a benefit to help keep Carnegie Hall from being closed and demolished -- a demolition which had been scheduled for 1960. It's important to understand that just as Benny's "character" was supposed to be "cheap" -- when the real Benny was incredibly generous, his character was a terrible violin player, while in reality he was an excellent player.

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It was probably the cigarettes that killed him, not his work.
American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father of the atomic bomb", died of cancer in Princeton at the age of 62 on February 18, 1967. Oppenheimer was appointed to lead the secret weapons laboratory for the Manhattan Project in 1942, which was relocated to Los Alamos, NM the following year. Following WWII Oppenheimer taught at CalTech, was chair of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Committee formed by President Truman, and helped to establish the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so."

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors."
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James Dewar, inventor of Twinkies, the "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling". 
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Still the greatest!

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It's a good effort, indeed. But I have reasons to doubt the efficacy of the current approach in key respects related to user interface design in the context of the total universe of Google users.
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The best way to create product-wide efficiencies is to change the way the team or process works in ways that will (initially) be uncomfortable for the engineering team, but that pays dividends that can't be achieved any other way. SETIs and TEs must work to identify the blind spots and negative interactions between engineering teams and change the environment in ways that align engineering teams' incentives. When properly incentivized, SWEs will make optimal decisions enhanced by product-wide vision rather than micro-management.
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Lately I'm finding that simply saying:

Hey Google, play anything.

Results in a damned good stream of music that is very closely aligned with my tastes (e.g., lots of classic instrumental film and TV scores). Yeah, drink the Kool-Aid.

Well, perhaps some progress on the quest for the elusive sleep timer. At least Home is now admitting that the concept exists:

Hey Google, stop playing in 5 minutes.

Sorry, sleep timer is not yet supported.


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I have to admit, this Android app is scary good, even in free beta form. I needed to create 3D models from some small physical objects, and researched the array of photogrammetry options available that could work from sets of photos. There are many, ranging from free to expensive, but almost all have rather complex pipelines or other "too much hassle for this" aspects. Then I stumbled across this app, which claimed to create 3D models from a set of photos you take with your phone (or you can import photo sets from other sources). What really seemed unlikely is that it does all of the processing on the phone itself -- it does not require uploading to a cloud system as do most of these solutions. And it claimed the ability to output a variety of formats, including common STL. The results in my early testing are ridiculously good, even from relatively small sets of photos (e.g. 16). The resulting models are excellent, and import into other tools without difficulty. And this was just at default settings (processing only took a few minutes) -- there are higher quality settings available. In fact, it has worked great from my very first try. Pretty amazing.
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