wildcat2030:

Cliodynamics’ is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History is an international peer-reviewed web-based/free-access journal that will publish original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this discipline. ‘Theory’ in the broadest sense includes general principles that explain the functioning and dynamics of historical societies and models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms. It also has empirical content that deals with discovering general empirical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with the data from actual historical societies. A mature, or ‘developed theory,’ thus, integrates models with data; the main goal of Cliodynamics is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history.

Aha…that’s what we’re doing at Synerscope — we make tools to visualize cliodynamics.

nikbits:

With the maximum growth in popularity, C# was the language of the year for 2012.
Looking across a longer time frame, Python has clearly been the language of the past decade!
(via PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language index - pyDatalog)

@nikbits conclusion is a bit hard to make out — draw a vertical between 2011 and 2012 and you can see his conclusion clearly.  Here’s the original post behind that graph…take some time to follow the link in the article to the TIOBE language popularity graph and read how these graphs are generated (PYPL’s methodology is more relevant, IMO).
There’s something far more interesting going on in the PYPL graph though — at the top of the year (2012), there was a sharp drop in popularity of C and a sharp rise in C#.  These two languages are very different beasts…so why the correlation?
Partly because Objective-C is being lumped in with C, and iOS programming is white-hot right now.  I would be willing to bet that the majority of the C curve is due solely to Objective-C.
But why the shift from Objective-C to C#? 
Well, all Microsoft Surface tablets are programmed in C#, so my assumption is that Microsoft must have opened up their pre-release development programs for the Surface in late 2011 / early 2012.  Here’s my evidence: Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK and Runtime (Updated Feb 2, 2012).
What this implies is that there is very heavy overlap between tablet programmers in the iOS world and those in the Surface world — in other words, tablet programmers in general are a rare lot and/or are a tight-knit community, because many of them are moving in lock-step.

nikbits:

With the maximum growth in popularity, C# was the language of the year for 2012.

Looking across a longer time frame, Python has clearly been the language of the past decade!

(via PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language index - pyDatalog)

@nikbits conclusion is a bit hard to make out — draw a vertical between 2011 and 2012 and you can see his conclusion clearly.  Here’s the original post behind that graph…take some time to follow the link in the article to the TIOBE language popularity graph and read how these graphs are generated (PYPL’s methodology is more relevant, IMO).

There’s something far more interesting going on in the PYPL graph though — at the top of the year (2012), there was a sharp drop in popularity of C and a sharp rise in C#.  These two languages are very different beasts…so why the correlation?

Partly because Objective-C is being lumped in with C, and iOS programming is white-hot right now.  I would be willing to bet that the majority of the C curve is due solely to Objective-C.

But why the shift from Objective-C to C#? 

Well, all Microsoft Surface tablets are programmed in C#, so my assumption is that Microsoft must have opened up their pre-release development programs for the Surface in late 2011 / early 2012.  Here’s my evidence: Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK and Runtime (Updated Feb 2, 2012).

What this implies is that there is very heavy overlap between tablet programmers in the iOS world and those in the Surface world — in other words, tablet programmers in general are a rare lot and/or are a tight-knit community, because many of them are moving in lock-step.

carlarweir:

Startup Artha Financial Technology is emerging a little from stealth mode to provide a few details of what it plans to be shipping early in 2012. via Pocket May 19, 2012 at 05:14PM Startup Artha Financial Technology is emerging a little from stealth mode to provide a few details of what it plans to be shipping early in 2012. artha fin tech, fpga, fpga on a chip, trading appliances, utility

FPGAs continue to find their place as accelerators of network-oriented applications (like direct market access), not as computation accelerators. 

yellingatnuns:

The Search for Self
Artist:  たみ。

An updated Escher’s Staircase…brilliant!

yellingatnuns:

The Search for Self

Artist:  たみ。

An updated Escher’s Staircase…brilliant!

(via yellingatnuns)

wildcat2030:

We’re living in a Black Swan world, but what does this mean for the future of technology? My new book Antifragile argues that technologies, ideas, and theories – anything informational or cultural, as opposed to physical – age in reverse. We may be trained to think that the new is about to overcome the old, but that’s just an optical illusion. Because the failure rate of the new is much, much higher than the failure rate of the old. When you see a young child and an old adult, you can be confident that the younger will likely survive the elder. Yet with something nonperishable like a technology, that’s not the case. There are two possibilities: Either both are expected to have the same additional life expectancy, or the old is expected to have a longer expectancy than the young. In this situation, if the old is 80 and the young is 10, the elder is expected to live eight times as long as the younger one. (via The Surprising Truth: Technology Is Aging in Reverse | Wired Opinion | Wired.com)

Quote from Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

wildcat2030:

We’re living in a Black Swan world, but what does this mean for the future of technology? My new book Antifragile argues that technologies, ideas, and theories – anything informational or cultural, as opposed to physical – age in reverse. We may be trained to think that the new is about to overcome the old, but that’s just an optical illusion. Because the failure rate of the new is much, much higher than the failure rate of the old. When you see a young child and an old adult, you can be confident that the younger will likely survive the elder. Yet with something nonperishable like a technology, that’s not the case. There are two possibilities: Either both are expected to have the same additional life expectancy, or the old is expected to have a longer expectancy than the young. In this situation, if the old is 80 and the young is 10, the elder is expected to live eight times as long as the younger one. (via The Surprising Truth: Technology Is Aging in Reverse | Wired Opinion | Wired.com)

Quote from Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

wnycradiolab:

From Wired’s Best Scientific Figures of 2012.

Figures contained in scientific reports are a neglected area of the design world. Typically intended for display to academic audiences in the cramped confines of a journal, they tend to be utilitarian and esoteric—yet while looking through hundreds of articles in the course of 2012, certain figures transcended the technical and rose to the level of communication art. They combined visual clarity, information density and insight into some fact of fundamental interest.

Featuring such gems as “Gardening with Fire” and “All the Birds in the World.”

(via wildcat2030)

Virtual OpenCL

A word about that recent GPU-based password cracker: it was done using Virtual OpenCL, which extends OpenCL to clusters, allowing one program to use OpenCL and distribute its accelerator calls across all the OpenCL-aware accelerator cards in a cluster of machines.  This is a big deal, because it culminates years of effort to bring accelerator cards (of which GPUs are but one example) into the fore as a bona fide computing platform for general-purpose computing.  This will hasten the breakup of the traditional server architecture and pave the way for a much more distributed computing platform.

Still using that old 8-character password you invented back in the Windows95 days?  Fuggitaboutit…it can now be cracked in 6 hours by anyone who can collect together 25 GPUs and install some freeware.  Which of course means our government has been able to do it in 6 seconds for years now.

Note from the article that the space of passwords this approach can crack is 95^8, the “8” being the max number of characters in the password and the “95” being the number of characters in the alphabet (uppers, lowers, numbers, and some punctuation).  So changing the “o“‘s to zeros and the “i“‘s to ones in your password does nothing to improve its strength.  The ONLY way to increase the strength of your password is to lengthen it.

But don’t just add a character to the end of your existing password — if you’re going to extend it, do it up big and use a passphrase instead of a password.  Make up a memorable sentence and use that as your password.  And do, please, change it up a bit — replace a few letters with something random so your password isn’t simply cracked with a dictionary lookup.

Makyo v2.0

This weekend was rohatsu sesshin, which is usually a longer 4- or 5-day sesshin but this year was reduced to just a day and a half.  Anyone familiar with sesshins knows you can’t get a whole lot (not)done in just a day and a half.  But I tried.  And at first, it looked like I’d be proving the rule…but in retrospect I believe the time was a lot better spent than I thought.

Last sesshin, in October, was much longer (4 days) and I was able to really “polish the mirror” with great effort, to the point that I was really able to experience that “snow in a silver bowl” sort of clarity of vision.  It’s startling…the precision of that clarity of mind.  Everything takes on such a knife-edged exactness.  But it doesn’t last…well, at least not for me, not yet.

This sesshin started with makyo, almost immediately — as soon as I’d got my brain calmed down enough to stop complaining and focus a little, the makyo came on with a fury.  I’ve had powerful makyo before…hell, I’ve had full-on all-senses hallucinations.  These weren’t that strong.  But they were crystal-clear, high-definition, deeply-detailed, and fully observable (meaning I could look around at the details before the makyo faded).  And, most importantly, they were creative, and by that I mean that each makyo seemed to stand by itself apart from my personal history instead of being just a rehashed memory (my makyo are usually just that…rehashed memories). 

It occurs to me now that some of the realizations from October’s sesshin were powering the makyo in December’s sesshin.  That same clarity of vision was definitely there, as well as that shimmering snow-in-silver quality of light.  Either my brain is reusing the imagery…or my brain is learning how to get into that space quicker than I am willing to let go.  I believe it’s the latter, because when I engaged with these “bright makyo”, they turned to shit (meaning, the brightness dulled and their mind-essence returned).  As long as I was just observing them, they persisted…but as soon as I engaged with them, tried to reason about them, tried to investigate them, they turned to shit (or, rather, the clarity became obscured by my self-centered mind).  I can’t think of better proof of the obscuring qualities of the ego than this phenomenon of the bright makyo.