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I guess it's time for a . I'm a theoretical physicist by training (PhD in quantum open systems/quantum information) and currently paying the bills as an engineer working in free-space optical communication (implementation) and quantum communication (concepts). I'm interested in physics and math, of course, but I enjoy learning about really any area of science, philosophy, and many other academic areas as well. My biggest other interest is hiking and generally enjoying nature.

I'm definitely interested in following , but I'm also just curious to see the mix of interesting photos and thoughts on myriad topics that may show up here.

I'm sort of part of the , but I honestly haven't used the bird site all that much in recent times, and as a FOSS/Linux geek I've been interested in federated services like Mastodon for quite a while.

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So, one lens on the weird direction of the modern Internet is that entities created to route you to cool stuff, e.g. search, social media, have especially in the last 5-10 years been taking an ever larger part of the pie via having giant networks. Google can now control whether a news site lives or dies. Meta can take 99.5% of all ad revenue displayed next to an artist's work and they have no power.

Long-term effect? Damage to the creative class.

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New at The Post: The best answer to misinformation campaigns, absent a surge in critical thinking, is “pre-bunking.” While it has worked in Taiwan and Europe, the U.S. is left with a patchwork effort after attacks from the far right. Free link here—

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In the real world, the rope in a knot has some nonzero thickness. In math, knots are made of infinitely thin stuff. This allows mathematical knots to be tied in infinitely complicated ways - ways that are impossible for knots with nonzero thickness! These are called 'wild' knots.

See the wild knot here? There's just one point where the stuff it's made of needs to have zero thickness. So we say it's wild at just one point. But some knots are wild at many points.

There are even knots that are wild at *every* point! To build these you need to recursively put in wildness at more and more places, forever.

Wild knots are extremely hard to classify. This is not just a feeling - it's a theorem. Vadim Kulikov showed that wild knots are harder to classify than any sort of countable structure that you can describe using first-order classical logic with countably many symbols!


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At CHI earlier this month: “Is Stack Overflow Obsolete? An Empirical Study of the
Characteristics of ChatGPT Answers to Stack Overflow Questions”.

> Our analysis shows that 52% of ChatGPT answers contain incorrect information and 77% are verbose.

> … our user study participants … overlooked the misinformation in the ChatGPT answers 39% of the time.

#chi2024 #StackOverflow #chatGPT

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This was in January 2021, right after the attempted insurrection.

"The Post decided not to report on the episode at the time because the flag-raising appeared to be the work of Martha-Ann Alito, rather than the justice, and connected to a dispute with her neighbors, a Post spokeswoman said. It was not clear then that the argument was rooted in politics, the spokeswoman said." Free link:

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Running your own mail server is educational. You’re forced to learn how a bunch of protocols work.

Running your own mail server is educational. You’re forced to learn how power impacts your ability to deliver email to people who want to hear from you.

Running your own mail server tips the balance, ever so slightly, back towards a distributed internet.

Buy @mwl new book on running your own mail server.

(I don’t know mwl. I haven’t read any of his books.)

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Okay now that cross Mastodon and Bluesky posting with Linky is confirmed you should see more of me. I’ve been selectively posting between three networks and it’s exhausting this will help.

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Several large studies of "microinclusions," small actions which demonstrate a commitment to shared
belonging, and a recognition of another person’s technical and social contribution, have found that experiencing
microinclusions increases anticipated role fit over and above simply socially warm gestures (Muragishi et al., 2023).

Cat Hicks @grimalkina

From this paper "Psychological Affordances Can Provide a Missing Explanatory Layer for Why Interventions to Improve Developer Experience Take Hold or Fail" by Cat Hicks really really stuck out to me. Keep rereading bits and pieces of it as it connects to my career in coaching and professional development of technical teams & orgs.

It's a very strong reaffirmation on the way I typically coach and interact in my technical and social spaces has some amount of pre-existing research and thought. My anecdotal evidence is that people always responded warmly to my interactions with time, but it was just anecdotal. My ability to lead with courage and build those true feelings of shared belonging & recognition for abilities & talents.

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In November, we asked the community:

Are there major initiatives for which the capabilities of @ChandraScience are absolutely required to address fundamental questions about our current understanding of the Universe that would represent a crucial missed opportunity if they are not completed during Chandra's lifetime?

The community responded, and we are pleased to announce two Chandra Legacy Programs

#Astrodon #Astrophysics #XraysAreTheBestRays #ChandraXRay

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finally ready to announce that my git zine, “How Git Works", is coming out in ONE WEEK! on May 31!

it also comes with this (free!) cheat sheet which you can download and print out here:

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This guy calls 911 to report his dad missing. The cops interrogate him for 17 hours, claim to have found his father's dead body, and threaten to kill his dog if he doesn't confess.

His father was alive and well, having decided to take a trip. For some unknown length of time, the cops knew this but continued lying to their innocent prisoner.

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I just had an epiphany. The purpose of an review rebuttal is not to convince the reviewers to change their mind - which is obviously not possible except in vanishingly rare cases - it's to convince the programme committee that the reviewers don't know what they're talking about

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You may be in a position where leaders in your company are hot to turn on Microsoft Copilot Recall.

Your best counterargument isn't threat actors stealing company data.

It's that opposing counsel will request the recall data and demand it not be disabled as part of e-discovery proceedings.

The threat that keeps your executives up at night are lawyers, not hackers.

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“The good people at the Pew Research Center have just released a careful, quantitative study of linkrot that confirms – and exceeds – my worst suspicions about the decay of the web[…]

“The headline finding from "When Online Content Disappears" is that 38% of the web of 2013 is gone today. Wikipedia references are especially hard-hit, with 23% of news links missing and 21% of government websites gone. […]”

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Pointed to this paper from a column on it:

Folks in dev psych and elsewhere often talk about girls being underconfident. But how rarely we frame in terms of boys' overconfidence.

"Across a range of countries, contexts, and domains, men have been found to exhibit higher degrees of confidence in their ability than women (Kay and Shipman, 2014). This phenomenon
has been particularly salient in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)."

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For more than four days, a server at the very core of the Internet’s domain name system was out of sync with its 12 root server peers due to an unexplained glitch that could have caused stability and security problems worldwide. This server, maintained by Internet carrier Cogent Communications, is one of the 13 root servers that provision the Internet’s root zone, which sits at the top of the hierarchical distributed database known as the domain name system, or DNS.

Given the crucial role a root server provides in ensuring one device can find any other device on the Internet, there are 13 of root servers geographically dispersed all over the world. Normally, the 13 root servers—each operated by a different entity—march in lockstep. When a change is made to the contents they host, it generally occurs on all of them within a few seconds or minutes at most.
Strange events at the C-root name server

This tight synchronization is crucial for ensuring stability. If one root server directs traffic lookups to one intermediate server and another root server sends lookups to a different intermediate server, the Internet as we know it could collapse. More important still, root servers store the cryptographic keys necessary to authenticate some of intermediate servers under a mechanism known as DNSSEC. If keys aren’t identical across all 13 root servers, there’s an increased risk of attacks such as DNS cache poisoning.

For reasons that remain unclear outside of Cogent—which declined to comment for this post—the c-root it’s responsible for maintaining suddenly stopped updating on Saturday. Stéphane Bortzmeyer, a French engineer who was among the first to flag the problem in a Tuesday post, noted then that the c-root was three days behind the rest of the root servers.

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In the annals of we-are-all-connected....

Each year, on average 27.7 million tons of Saharan dust, carried on wind currents across the Atlantic, drop into Amazonia, bringing vital phosphorus from the Bodélé Depression in Chad, an ancient lake bed. Amazonia's plant life needs this transoceanic fertilization.

#Connections #NASA #currents #wind #sahara #amazonia #rain forest

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No showers, no privacy: What it’s really like to live in Antarctica.

CNN reports on the experiences of the few thousand humans who can say that they have lived in Antarctica.

#Antarctica #Research #Science

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