Apologies for the radio silence for the last few days (Tilt, I’ll try to get that track to you at some point…) but I’ve been suffering from exhaustion – not just tiredness, but proper unable-to-function-in-any-coherent-way, barely-able-to-stand,unable-to-focus-the-eyes exhaustion – for the last week. For that reason today’s post will just be linkblogging. I hope I’m coherent enough to think tomorrow… I really want to do some comics posts soon…
Via Laurie Penny, whose article on it you should read, The Give Your Vote campaign exists for people who don’t want to vote, because they don’t think it changes anything or whatever. If you don’t want to use your vote, and you sign up, they’ll let you know how one person in a country affected by Britain’s foreign policy would vote had they the option. As someone married to an immigrant who can’t vote, and also as someone who’s often wished he could vote in the USian elections (because their foreign policy dictates ours to such a large extent) I think this is a fantastic idea (assuming the people are picked more-or-less randomly).
Lesswrong have a post on Goodhart’s Law, which states that “once a social or economic measure is turned into a target for policy, it will lose any information content that had qualified it to play such a role in the first place.” Quite fascinating stuff.
Someone – Wesley, I think – posted a link to this in the comments ages ago, but I’ve only just got round to reading it – a free online version of Newtons Sleep, the most recent Faction Paradox novel. I haven’t finished this yet, and won’t be doing an ABC post on it as that’s only for books I read in paper form, but it seems pretty good and I’m about 2/3 of the way through.
The Mindless Ones have another post on the identity of Doctor Hurt, given the extra information in the new issue of Batman & Robin.
A great post on Science News that talks about how “in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims”, due to unscientific nonsense like meta-analyses. (The basis of much of the talk about ‘evidence based medicine’ by people like Ben Goldacre, who refer to Cochrane reviews as ‘gold standard’, meta-analyses as currently practiced are the least scientific things I’ve ever come across. If anyone’s interested in why, I could forward them a copy of the paper ”Implications and insights for human adaptive mechatronics from developments in algebraic probability theory” (S. Hickey, A. Hickey, L. Noriega 2009), or they could take my word for it, but this article covers *some* of it…)
A judge has ruled that Echostar, a manufacturer of Digital Video Recorders, must send all its customers an ‘update’ that breaks their machines, after it was found to infringe on a patent. Not only does this show the stupidity of software patents, but it also shows why DRM’d, non-free-software devices like the iPad or the Kindle are such bad ideas. If I buy a computer, then I don’t want the manufacturers to have the power to break it any time they feel like it, or any time they’re given the order by a court. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the people who bought that device did so in good faith, and don’t deserve to have it broken .
And finally, Holly has pointed me to this masterpiece – someone’s Amazon reviews of the Mister Men books. “If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it. No literary character has ever been so fully and categorically obliterated by the forces of social control. Hargreaves may well pay homage to Kafka and Orwell in this work, but he also goes beyond them. ” Genius.