On alchemy: There is a school of thought that what the alchemists understood ahead of their time was that there's more to properties than composition, processing matters.
They were tinkering with processing-properties links.
An extreme version of this point of view is that alchemy was early systems thinking, and presaged modern materials science more so than the (reductive, non-systems-based) chemstry and physics.
I think that's overstating it, but it's a neat idea.
Also, one should probably consider negative motivations -- why did Google kill Reader? Many regarded it at the time as a "war on RSS", the protocol was too simple, no hooks for ads or monetization, it doesn't feed the dragon.
Apparently a mistake, most of the stuff I see in my Google Now launcher on my device is stuff I went to from Feedly, which replaced Reader, which the Googs _could_ have tapped directly if they hadn't burned it down.
On Google's motivations, there's a recent Atlantic article (which I found thanks to Andreas Soolo on G+, https://plus.google.com/+AndresSoolo/posts/eJgfFEtfCBo), which talks about the effort they put in to their scan-all-the-books project, the goal evidently being to make print searchable, and capture all that traffic, presumably to track and advertise to. Evidently many Googlers were skeptical, but Larry and Sergey pushed it forward personally.
I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
How did I miss this? Talk "Build a Better Monster: Morality, Machine Learning, and Mass Surveillance" by Pinboard founder Maciej Cegłowski (ht @cynix ):
"Ideally, we can find a way to have decentralized social networks, just like we do in real life."
"Opting out of a site like Google would mean opting out of much of online life (...) [a consumer boycott] is not something we can mobilize a mass movement around."
Mandatory UI/UX gripe:
I'm doing the thing where I find interesting people and see who they follow to expand my Mastodon horizons. The "following" display shows entries 12-up, in six rows and two columns, apparently in reverse chronological order, requiring me to load the next page to see more.
This isn't just a Mastodon UI/UX gripe, lots of sites do this. Seriously, I can scan pretty well, and may want to search-in-page. Just gimme all of 'em!
So, let me try something... Since it is so hard to find people over all the different instances, I created a pad where people who fight with depression can find each other:
So far I have learned that your view of the world changes dramatically based on what instance you are on.
My initial impression was that this thing resembled UseNET/NNTP, but I think this is not the case, individual instances filter differently, and users might be invisible.
Also, if you are signed in to two instances at once, it can be very confusing what's going on, you get quantum superposition of following/not-following.
Scientific computing, materials science, Linux, and the occasional bike ride.
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