‘Is there really a Universe that is not designed from the top downwards but from the bottom upwards? Can complexity emerge from lower levels of simplicity?’ It has always struck me as being bizarre that the idea of God as a creator was considered sufficient explanation for the complexity we see around us, because it simply doesn’t explain where he came from. If we imagine a designer, that implies a design and that therefore each thing he designs or causes to be designed is a level simpler than him or her, then you have to ask ‘What is the level above the designer?’ There is one peculiar model of the Universe that has turtles all the way down, but here we have gods all the way up. It really isn’t a very good answer, but a bottom-up solution, on the other hand, which rests on the incredibly powerful tautology of anything that happens, happens, clearly gives you a very simple and powerful answer that needs no other explanation whatsoever.
Douglas Adams — Speech at Digital Biota 2
Life is a funny thing, you know. But I’ve always thought thirty was about it. Beyond that would be horrible to be alive. Until I got to be thirty-one. Then, “why, I ain’t so shabby”, you know. “I’ll hang in a while”. As you go along, you realize this whole concept of growing up is… you’re not grown up until the day they put you six feet under. You’re never grown up.
Keith Richards – Under the influence
99% invisible tells the story of how Sigmund Freud’s couch came to be the symbol of psychoanalysis… even if it ceased to be as widely used as one might think based on movies and cartoons.
It’s time to dispel the myths about nuclear power lists some of the actual facts on the incidents on Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear plants. Something to really consider if you’re really interested in diminishing the participation of fossil fuels on electric energy production.
How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain tells the story of how every time the cartoon it’s about to enter the public domain, corporate lobbying it’s able to bend existing legislation to protect private interests.
Dan Luu writes about completely messed up practices that become normal, a very interesting look into organizational culture in the software development industry and the processes involved in building and justifying “deviant” beliefs and behavior.
It’s very likely that you already know about or even read the latest issue of Bloomberg, entirely dedicated to answer What is Code? — if you haven’t, you definitely should go read it.
The entire piece is informative and fun to read, and there’s probably something new for everyone reading it. My favourite highlight is:
Computing treats human language as an arbitrary set of symbols in sequences. It treats music, imagery and film that way, too.
It’s a good and healthy exercise to ponder what your computer is doing right now […]
Thinking this way will teach you two think about computers: one, there’s no magic no matter how much it looks like there is. There’s just work to make things look like magic. And two, its crazy in there.