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The Environmental Impact of the Data-Center Industry. My favorite part of highways in the American midwest are the wind turbines.

The Environmental Impact of the Data-Center Industry

Not so much the massive wind turbines on the horizon, begging for a contemporary Don Quixote to come at them, but the bits and pieces of wind turbines—single fan blades and bits of foundation—that pass by on longhaul trucks. They’re like an exploded diagram on wheels, a useful reminder of the sheer scale and complexity entailed in building energy systems. Data-center operations managers love to talk about energy systems—or, more specifically, efficiency in their use of energy systems. The fact that companies increasingly foreground this sustainability information when engaging with journalists demonstrates a growing public interest in The Cloud’s environmental impact. Turing-Complete Contracts. The divested Microsoft divisions have automated their legal processes and are spawning subsidiaries, IPOing them, and exchanging title in a bizarre parody of bacterial plasmid exchange, so fast that, by the time the windfall tax demands are served, the targets don't exist anymore, even though the same staff are working on the same software in the same Mumbai cubicle farms.

Turing-Complete Contracts

Accelerando, Charlie Stross Inspiration and Motivation Once upon a time, a programmer received an investment contract containing the following text: If the investment for the purpose of the Series B Funding is valued at not more than S$32.5 Million, then the investors in the Note shall be entitled to convert the Note into Shares at a fixed valuation of S$27.5 million. If the investment for the purpose of the Series B Funding is valued at not less than S$100 million, investors in the Convertible Note will be entitled to convert the Note into Shares at a fixed pre-money valuation of S$50 million. Imagine a dog. Got it? I don’t. Here’s what it’s like to be unable to visuali... Why My Young Daughter Is So Much Better at Learning Chess Than I Am. Evolution. A new species has emerged in front of scientists' eyes.

LIKE some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards.

Evolution. A new species has emerged in front of scientists' eyes

It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.

Interbreeding between animal species usually leads to offspring less vigorous than either parent—if they survive at all. Dealing with Autism. Beautiful minds wasted. IN AMERICA in 1970 one child in 14,000 was reckoned to be autistic.

Dealing with Autism. Beautiful minds wasted.

The current estimate is one in 68—or one in 42 among boys. Similarly high numbers can be found in other rich countries: a study in South Korea found that one in 38 children was affected. Autism is a brain condition associated with poor social skills. How Warren Buffett’s Son Would Feed the World. When his three children were young, Warren Buffett installed a dime slot machine on the third floor of the family’s house, in Omaha, Nebraska.

How Warren Buffett’s Son Would Feed the World

The Water in Your Glass Might Be Older Than the Sun. The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous. J.G. is a lawyer in his early 30s.

The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous

He’s a fast talker and has the lean, sinewy build of a distance runner. His choice of profession seems preordained, as he speaks in fully formed paragraphs, his thoughts organized by topic sentences. He’s also a worrier—a big one—who for years used alcohol to soothe his anxiety. J.G. started drinking at 15, when he and a friend experimented in his parents’ liquor cabinet. He favored gin and whiskey but drank whatever he thought his parents would miss the least. His drinking increased through college and into law school. Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them. Next time you bite into a slice of watermelon or a cob of corn, consider this: these familiar fruits and veggies didn't always look and taste this way.

Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them

Genetically modified foods, or GMOs, inspire strong reactions nowadays, but humans have been tweaking the genetics of our favourite produce for millennia. While GMOs may involve splicing genes from other organisms (such as bacteria) to give plants desired traits – like resistance to pests, selective breeding is a slower process whereby farmers select and grow crops with those traits over time. From bananas to eggplant, here are some of the foods that looked totally different before humans first started growing them for food. Wild watermelon. Everything Science Knows About Hangovers—And How to Cure Them. Good morning, sunshine!

Everything Science Knows About Hangovers—And How to Cure Them

You are so screwed. The light coming in through the window is so … there. Fleming's discovery of penicillin couldn't get published today. That's a huge problem. After toiling away for months on revisions for a single academic paper, Columbia University economist Chris Blattman started wondering about the direction of his work.

Fleming's discovery of penicillin couldn't get published today. That's a huge problem.

He had submitted the paper in question to one of the top economics journals earlier this year. In return, he had gotten back nearly 30 pages of single-space comments from peer reviewers (experts in the field who provide feedback on a scientific manuscript). It had taken two or three days a week over three months to address them all. So Blattman asked himself some simple but profound questions: Was all this work on a single study really worth it? Was it best to spend months revising one study — or could that time have been better spent on publishing multiple smaller studies?

Some days my field feels like an arms race to make each experiment more thorough and technically impressive, with more and more attention to formal theories, structural models, pre-analysis plans, and (most recently) multiple hypothesis testing. Why don’t we learn from our mistakes – even when it matters most? Perhaps the greatest academic growth area over the past twenty years or so has been “European integration studies”, a field that has both analysed and boosted support for the European “project”.

Why don’t we learn from our mistakes – even when it matters most?

The Potato Chip That Tastes Like a Sandwich: A Scientific History of Extreme Flavors.