"Stanford University scientists have invented a low-cost water splitter that uses a single catalyst to produce both hydrogen and oxygen gas 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
"What’s compression in the first place? At its most basic, compression is a way of representing data using less space. An emoji is a good metaphor: it represents an entire word or even several words using a single character. Our minds then 'decompress' the character back into the word it represents.I Hacked the Middle-Out Compression from 'Silicon Valley' - Alexander Gould, Major League Hacking (Silicon Valley is on FanFare)
"When hackers see a magical plot-driving compression algorithm, it’s hard to chalk it up as simply a narrative device. After all, universal lossless compression sounds pretty sweet. So, at a recent hackathon, I decided to get to the bottom of middle-out compression."
"This case, which has been picked up by the media, does not fit neatly into the narratives that have fueled an ongoing national conversation about sexual assault of students on campus. But it exposes the risks of Stanford’s open door to Silicon Valley and the pressure that universities are under to do more for students who say they’ve been raped. It also reveals the complexity of trying to determine the truth in a high-stakes case like this one."
Late last year, a number of outlets reported that both AT&T and Verizon Wireless were injecting customer-identifiable, permanent tracking cookies into web requests. After this activity was made public, AT&T ceased injecting the cookies, claiming that they were only testing the practice. Verizon, however, did not. Now, computer scientist and lawyer Jonathan Mayer at Stanford University has reported that Verizon's advertising partner The Turn is using these super cookies to re-instate tracking cookies after a user clears their browser cache. [more inside]
The New York Times looks back at the Stanford Class of 1994 and what they are all up to today.
Victor Gama is a self-taught composer and musician who has expanded his process of composing music for himself and others to perform into creating new or modified instruments, and is also involved with traveling to hard to access regions of Angola and recording local music, as documented on his website Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior. You can read an outstanding interview of Victor with Ned Sublette for Afropop, or read more on his creation of instruments as part of his creative process, or you can experience his performances on YouTube and his music on Soundcloud. [more inside]
A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
In seven minutes, you can see the evolution of London, as seen in its road network, from the Roman port city of Londonium through the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor, Stuart, Early Georgian and Late Georgian, Early Victorian and Late Victorian, Early 20th Century and Postwar London, set to the scale of the 600 square miles of modern London, though the original city core is a very dense square mile. [more inside]
Insomnia causes depression as much as depression causes insomnia: Three surprising points from a fascinating episode of KQED Forum [audio, no transcript] with guest Dr. Michelle Primeau of the Stanford School of Medicine.
First story: Treating Insomnia to Heal Depression,
Follow up a couple of days later: Double Effectiveness of Depression Treatment by Treating Insomnia,
Two readers (both psychiatrists) respond, and
A NYT editorial. [more inside]
- Insomnia has long been taught to be a symptom of depression, but in many cases is a cause of depression.
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is an effective treatment for both insomnia and depression.
- CBT can be more effective and longer lasting than sleeping pills
Native Americans were promised health care by the government, but what are they really getting? Stanford Medicine on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where health services are underfunded, suicide rates are high, and the life expectancy is just 46 years:
Three months ago, Psychology Today blogger Susan Krauss Whitbourne posted an essay entitled The Rarely Told Story of Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. I eagerly read it in the hope that it would reveal some heretofore relatively unknown truth about this famous experiment. But, in fact, the essay is simply a summary--a well written one--of the experiment that takes at face value Phillip Zimbardo’s and his colleagues’ conclusions. In the introduction to the essay, Whitbourne states that the experiment is “Depicted in movies, television and of course all introductory psych textbooks…” It’s true that Zimbardo’s experiment is one of the two or three most famous experiments in the history of psychology. But it’s not true that it’s depicted in all introductory psychology textbooks. I’m the author of one such textbook (which is now in it’s 6th edition and is used in many colleges and universities). One of the questions I’m frequently asked about the book by professors who teach from it is, “Why don’t you include Zimbardo’s prison experiment, like all other textbook authors do?”Here’s why, the results of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment have a trivial explanation. See also, The lie of the Stanford Prison Experiment [more inside]
Syd Mead's Stanford Torus Illustrations for National Geographic got him the job, 40 years later, of designing Elysium for Neill Blomkamp. Mead calls the unique visual effect of these interior drawings, in which the horizon wraps up and over the viewpoint, 'inverse perspective'. This effect, and others like it, have been explored in the concept art for large, rotating, space habitats at least since the early 1960s. [more inside]
An old Stanford study famously found that preschoolers who could leave a marshmallow alone for 15 minutes in order to gain a second one would go on to do better at life. A new study suggests that the important factor here may not be the self control of the child, but the child's level of trust that the second marshmallow would ever appear.
The New Yorker takes on the MOOC: “One of the edX people said, ‘This is being sponsored by Harvard and M.I.T. They wouldn’t do anything to harm higher education!’ What came to my mind was some cautious financial analysts saying, about some of the financial instruments that were being rolled out in the late nineties or early two-thousands, ‘This is risky stuff, isn’t it?’ And being told, ‘Goldman Sachs is doing it; Lehman Brothers is doing it.’ ” Previously
"Milgram and Bishop are opposed to reforms of mathematics teaching and support the continuation of a model in which students learn mathematics without engaging in realistic problems or discussing mathematical methods. They are, of course, entitled to this opinion, and there has been an ongoing, spirited academic debate about mathematics learning for a number of years. But Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance. Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public." Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford, accuses two mathematicians, one her colleague of Stanford, of unethical attempts to discredit her research, which supports "active engagement" with mathematics (aka "reform math") over the more traditional "practicing procedures" approach. [more inside]
Like too many studies, the Stanford study dangerously isolates a finding from its larger context. It significantly plays down the disparity in pesticides...and neglects to mention that 10,000 to 20,000 United States agricultural workers get a pesticide-poisoning diagnosis each year. And while the study concedes that “the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was 33 percent higher among conventional chicken and pork than organic alternatives,” it apparently didn’t seek to explore how consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria might be considered “non-nutritious.”.... That the authors of the study chose to focus on a trivial aspect of the organic versus conventional comparison is regrettable. That they published a study that would so obviously be construed as a blanket knock against organic agriculture is willfully misleading and dangerous. That so many leading news agencies fall for this stuff is scary. Mark Bittman - That Flawed Stanford Study (SL NYTimes)
The Anternet is always up. On the surface, ants and the Internet don't seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. [more inside]
Recent technologies developed at American universities are making communication easier for the sight and hearing impaired. Last summer a Stanford undergrad developed a touchscreen Braille writer that stands to revolutionize how the blind negotiate an unseen world by replacing devices costing up to 10 times more. Thanks to a group of University of Houston students, the hearing impaired may soon have an easier time communicating with those who do not understand sign language. During the past semester, students in UH’s engineering technology and industrial design programs teamed up to develop the concept and prototype for MyVoice, a device that reads sign language and translates its motions into audible words, and vice versa.
The Ph.D. Grind: A Ph.D. Student Memoir is Philip J. Guo's candid book about his six years of working towards a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University. Lots of Hard-earned wisdom and useful advice (especially in the epilogue) for those thinking about getting a Ph.D. [more inside]
There is a dating guide for Stanford University (PDF file), and it includes a foreword by Philip Zimbardo.
Coursera - free, online, introductory- to upper-undergraduate level classes in a wide variety of subjects, led by instructors from Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the University of Pennsylvania
Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs. New York Time Op-Ed. March 14th 2012:
TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.[more inside]
The Love Competition: Can one person experience love more deeply than another? That’s what The Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging and filmmaker Brent Hoff set out to understand when they hosted the 1st Annual Love Competition. Seven contestants, ranging from 10 to 75 years of age, took part. They each spent five minutes in an fMRI machine, thinking deeply about love and allowing the imaging technology to measure activity in their dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin/vasopressin pathways. [via]
Recent news about free online education.
1, Khan Academy: Google's first employee, Craig Silverstein, is leaving Google and joining Khan Academy. [more inside]
1, Khan Academy: Google's first employee, Craig Silverstein, is leaving Google and joining Khan Academy. [more inside]
The inside story of how The Cornell-Technion Partnership won the bid to bring applied sciences to New York City. Will it make NYC the next Silicon Valley? [more inside]
There must be a recognition of the self in its relation to the profession one proposes. If we do declare our profession, we must also keep the epistemological awareness. That is, if we are our profession, we must know it. [more inside]
Stanford has announced new online courses for January 2012. Like the three courses currently running (1,2,3), these courses are free, open to the general public, and have no required textbook (previously). [more inside]
Stanford's 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence' course will be offered free to anyone online this fall. The course will be taught by Sebastian Thrun (Stanford) and Peter Norvig (Google, Director of Research), who expect to deal with the historically large course size using tools like Google Moderator. [more inside]
"Under Title IX, a woman is entitled to equal access to everything on a college campus. That includes being safe."
In response to campus advocates and new directives from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, Stanford University has lowered the evidence standard for cases of sexual misconduct from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to a "preponderance of the evidence". This move, which applied immediately and took effect during then on-going proceedings, was met with praise from students("If the new Standard of Proof bothers you, there’s an easy solution: don’t sexually assault people"), but has proved controversial among civil liberties organizations ("a shocking disregard for fair procedures on campus"), academic scholars ("a declaration of martial law against men...and a betrayal of the Title IX equity law"), and alumni ("The President’s recent decision is all the proof I need to know that the University shows little respect for the rights of students"). [more inside]
EterRNA (reg. req) is a game, of sorts, that asks you to design complex new ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules, with the chance to have your efforts synthesised by Stanford University. A successor to the protein-folding of FoldIt. There's some background info at the NYT.
openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
The Spatial History Project at Stanford University creates striking visualizations of historical data, including an 1850 yellow fever epidemic in Rio de Janeiro, and prostitution arrests in Philadelphia in the teens.
Stanford's library was running out of space for printed books and journals, so they've built a new space ... with even less room for printed titles and issues. It's hastening the move to a digital library. NPR reports.
1) “But there are other lives to be saved, of people who haven’t done horrible things, who haven’t actually hurt anyone.” 2) "Fix it or lose it."
Arguing Three Strikes. A defense lawyer (and co-founder of Stanford's unique Criminal Defense Clinic), and a tough-on-crime Republican D.A. make for unusual allies in the move to reform California's Three Strikes law. [more inside]
"The so-called Victorian conception of women's sexuality was more that of an ideology seeking to be established than the prevalent view or practice of even middle-class women."
"Some enjoyed sex but worried that they shouldn't. One slept apart from her husband 'to avoid temptation of too frequent intercourse.' " Standford Magazine on the accidental discovery of an unpublished sex survey of American women made 55 years before Kinsey . (via)
An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]
Recently, Fmr. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked some pointed torture questions by two Stanford students after an informal reception in a dorm building (transcript). Did she unwittingly confess to a role in a criminal conspiracy? Signs point to yes. [more inside]
The Dark Knight - On Sir Allen Stanford
Academic Earth collects lectures on a wide variety of subjects from UC Berkely, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale that the universities have released under Creative Commons. The site is still in beta so it doesn't quite have the thousands of lectures its frontpage promises. It has many full courses, for example Benjamin Polak teaching game theory, Amy Hungerford on the American novel since 1945, Charles Bailyn's introduction to astrophysics, John Merriman on the history of France since 1871, Shelly Kagan on death and Oussama Khatib's introduction to robotics.
Medpedia is coming. "In association with Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School and other leading global health organizations, the Medpedia community seeks to create the most comprehensive and collaborative medical resource in the world." Apply to contribute content. [more inside]
Shake Girl, a collaborative project by students in the Stanford Graphic Novel Project. [more inside]
VectorMagic is a new site that uses technology from the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to transform your bitmap images into vector art that can be scaled without becoming blurry of pixelated. Here's the first image I submitted, before and after.
Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.The prepared text of the speech delivered by Dana Gioia at Stanford University Commencement on June 17, 2007.
“I wanted to try to capture the intelligence of the design, not just the outcome of the design.” “In 1977, [Donald] Knuth halted research on his books for what he expected to be a one-year hiatus. Instead, it took 10. Accompanied by [his wife] Jill, Knuth took design classes from Stanford art professor Matthew Kahn. Knuth, trying to train his programmer’s brain to think like an artist’s, wanted to create a program [TeX] that would understand why each stroke in a typeface would be pleasing to the eye.”—from a profile of Knuth in the Stanford Magazine (May '06). Salon calls him “computing’s philosopher king” (Sep '99). NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Knuth as “the founding artist of computer science” (Mar '05). Perhaps a MeFite somewhere has one of these? (Previously)
Researchers are exploring the idea of scrapping the Internet and starting over with a Clean Slate. Stanford researchers say the 'Net could be a whole lot better, if it were rebuilt from the ground-up. They say that their research complements that of the National Science Foundation's Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) effort to build a better network research platform, as well as the Future Internet Network Design (FIND) program for developing new Internet architectures.
Retiring psychology professor Philip G. Zimbardo, who ran the Stanford Prison Experiment, gave his final lecture at Stanford this week, criticizing the Bush administration and saying that senior government officials responsible for Abu Ghraib should be "tried for the crimes against humanity." [Via MindHacks.]
Convicted as an ecoterrorist, a brilliant young scholar nose-dives in prison. An article on Billy Cottrell, a physics genius with Asperger's Syndrome who was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for his role in destroying $5 million worth of SUVs. His case was previously discussed here. [Via BB.]
The Philosophy Podcast seems to be a podcast where great philosophical works are read aloud. Unfortunately you need to pay for the full works, but the bits are fun. For something a little more contemporary, check out Philosophy Talk, hosted by Ken Taylor and one of the funniest contemporary analytic philosophers: John Perry. In particular, check out Perry's light essays in which the power of procrastination can be harnessed (and apparently now put on t-shirts), an ideal desk is a giant lazy susan, and connections are drawn between golf and suffering.
If you've ever thought that music can be an extremely intuitive and effective way to communicate things, then Stanford Professor Jonathan Berger (samples of his music) is doing some research that might interest you. (via)
Blu-ray discs, video games, and a cure for cancer... Too bad PS3 owners are a bunch of "know-not" idiots... More here and here.
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