Anton Aylward

Do Algorithms Discriminate?

http://cio.ittoolbox.com/groups/general/tech-news/do-algorithms-discriminate-5766423

Personally I think this is unfair.
It fails to differentiate between what I might term loaded or even pre-loaded algorithms and pure algorithms

Consider, if you will a Fibonacci sequence generator.
Such a sequence is defined by the formula

F(n) = F(n−1) + F(n−2)

Normally the seed values are 1 and 1, so the sequence becomes

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, …

That’s what I was taught at school.
What’s being taught these days is with seed values of 0 and 1 giving rise to

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, …

So what we have is a really a SET of sequences with different starting conditions. Was what I was taught 50 years ago wrong? No, it just had a different set of prejudices starting conditions.

The ALGORITHM is not prejudicial, it is how it is loaded with a starting condition that makes the difference.

Back in 1984 I applied for a job with a mathematical form and part of the interview test was to write a MINIMAL Fibonacci generator.

So I wrote on the board

while true do
      print "0, "
 done

Only one guy on the interview team was actually a REAL mathematician and he laughed his head off. he said to me “set theory?“; I said “Russell“; he replied “Cantor“. He insisted I get the job.

And that is the point. There are a whole set of such sequences depending on the initial starting conditions. The core algorithm that moves F-sub-zero and F-sub-one along is a pure algorithm. It doesn’t care what the parameters are.

In pure mathematics this is called “Closed Form”.
The closed form of Fibonacci is sometimes generalized as Binet’s Formula. This is relevant to astronomy a it is one of the few analytic way of solving orbital equations, sort-cutting second order nonlinear ordinary differential equations. More to the point, Binet’s work allows for off-axis non-circular motion, that is when the center of force and the focus of the orbit do not coincide. That, in case you weren’t watching, is something like the 3-body problem.

Let face it, would you prefer to iterate the successive integrations of ordinary differential equations to solve that?

The mathematics – read algorithms – of orbital equations carry a lot of assumptions about heliocentricity, gravitation, inverse square law, and if you want to be picky Mach’s principle for the distant stars. Its also not difficult to drift into Relativity. All this does, of course, discriminate against those who believe in the inerrant Word of The Bible – probably also believing, despite other evidence – that it was the literal word of God dictated to Moses and the Prophets and Scribes by an angel. The fact that such is an Islamic tradition and not a Christian or Jewish one is beside the point to such people. Science discriminates against them!

Anton Aylward

Why switch to Windows 10 or a Mac when you can use Linux instead?

http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-switch-to-windows-10-or-a-mac-when-you-can-use-linux-mint-17-3-instead/

This guy is obsessive about Mint!

There’s a plethora of minor things in that article which show up his limited experience with Linux.

Many of the complaints about Windows and the MAC are about what, to put it in a short form, involve “dumping’ users. Every Windows upgrade has outdated either equipment or training/experience, and sometimes both.
The UI model though XP was dumped and dumped again. The Office UI model was dumped and dumped and dumped again. Continue reading

Anton Aylward

Augmented Reality Contact Lenses

 

English: This is the logo of Wikitude World Br...

This is the logo of Wikitude World Browser, a mobile Augmented Reality software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.businessinsider.com/augmented-reality-contact-lenses-2012-7

Add this to the iPhone app that you can point to the night sky and it overlays the names of the planets and constelations …

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-20-disruptive-apps-2012-8#13-night-sky-8

or perhaps

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-20-disruptive-apps-2012-8#16-robin-for-android-5

 

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Anton Aylward

Could you live without your iPhone, Facebook or coffee?

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/could-you-live-without-your-iphone-facebook-or-coffee/16415

  Nearly 15 percent reported they would rather go without sex, and 40
percent would abstain from coffee instead of disconnecting.  18 percent wouldn’t mind forgoing their daily shower. That’s dedication to electronics.

Coffee cup icon

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Anton Aylward

“Ooh, sooo cute. Want!”

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/06/08/amd_palms_pcs_with_livebox_miniature_desktop/

MD is making a splash at Computex this week with its own mini PC setup, the AMD LiveBox.

Powered by one of AMD’s X86-based Fusion chips, the LiveBox boasts 1GB of RAM and Radeon HD 6200 graphics. The model on display features 64GB of SSD storage, which can be expanded through the Box’s memory card reader.

One standout feature is the ability to plug the LiveBox straight into a power outlet through its two-prong connector, built directly into the case.

There are also two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet socket and the
customary HDMI slot. For good measure, the company has thrown in space for a 3G SIM card and includes Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.

Sure, this particular prototype may currently run Windows 7 – no sign of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 just yet – and could only be sufficient enough for email, video and surfing the web, but it’s not bad for a piece of kit you can fit in your hand, eh?

Oh, you also need a screen and keyboard.
They don’t fit in your other hand, sadly.

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Anton Aylward

Dumbing Us Down

There is a maxim attributed to the Jesuits that goes: “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man”, meaning that the childhood years are formative. More ancient philosophies going back to to the Greeks and Chinese voice a similar outlook. Modern psychology, thanks in large part to Freud, supports this outlook.

I want to show how the bad stuff we learn at school harms us as individuals, in our relationships, in the workplace and how it damages society as a whole.

So its frightening when that principle is used for subversive ends. We feel horrified when we hear of children being recruited by rebels and terrorists in Africa and the Middle East, being armed with automatic weapons or being used as involuntary human bombs. What frightens us most, perhaps, is that their minds and outlook are being perverted, just as in another age children living in totalitarian societies were encouraged to “report” the “subversive” activities of their parents and other adults.

We, especially in the contemporary West, value our children and their innocence. We take the view that crimes against children, exploiting them or abusing them is particularly pernicious.

Why then, asks John Taylor Gatto, do we do so systematically, and have this deeply embedded in our culture and educational system? Gatto has written books and essays on this subject. The essay you can read on-line, the book is worth reading in its own right. Continue reading