0xDE (11011110) wrote,

Link roundup

Some assorted links not big enough to make their own posts:

I'm still not posting at Google+, and this review from EFF mostly explains why. My feeling is that Google's anti-pseudonym policy acts to silence women, political dissidents, corporate employees, and many other sets of people, and I don't want to be a part of that. But see also this post by Arvind Narayanan about using Google+ for scientific communication, whose discussion has become unfortunately sidetracked by the nymwars.

Via Michael Mitzenmacher and Crooked Timber I learn of a scheme by some Saudi universities to defraud the university ranking systems by hiring well-cited academics in fake jobs to boost their numbers. I don't have a lot of good to say about university ranking systems but this is not an appropriate method for fighting them. As computer scientists we're somewhat immunized from this by the Saudis' reliance on ISI (which doesn't work so well for CS) but I was disappointed to see Neil Robertson's name among the schemers.

Via Kaveh on the TCS exchange I found some interesting criticism of hypercomputation, and via somewhere else that I've forgotten by now I found some interesting criticism of the Bourbaki approach to the foundations of mathematics.

Pat Morin has a new open-source undergraduate data structures text. Along with the existing one by Preiss, I think this is a helpful counterreaction to the trend of ever-more-expensive and ever-more-quickly-outdated commercial texts.

Lydia Kasumi Shirreff has some nice polyhedral art reminding me a bit of Escher's Stars in the contrast between the purity of the forms and the haphazardness of their decoration.

The French made one of their buildings into a giant pinball machine:



And then there's a chart categorizing Scottish single malt whiskies by their flavor. My taste tends towards the smoky ones: at least, I usually drink Laphroaig, have liked Talisker and Lagavulin when I've tried them, and didn't much care for The Macallan. Maybe I need a bigger data set, though.
Tags: academia, anonymity, art
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