The science of sync, Steven Strogatz

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“We don’t have to live in a world where 99% of rapists get away with it”, Jessica Ladd

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Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters [TED talk]

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Some important quotes

Now, there’s all kinds of things to say about that mentality, the first of which is that the people who say that, who say that privacy isn’t really important, they don’t actually believe it, and the way you know that they don’t actually believe it is that while they say with their words that privacy doesn’t matter, with their actions, they take all kinds of steps to safeguard their privacy. [eg; Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg]

Now, there’s a reason why privacy is so craved universally and instinctively. It isn’t just a reflexive movement like breathing air or drinking water. The reason is that when we’re in a state where we can be monitored, where we can be watched, our behavior changes dramatically. The range of behavioral options that we consider when we think we’re being watched severely reduce. This is just a fact of human nature that has been recognized in social science and in literature and in religion and in virtually every field of discipline.

society in which people can be monitored at all times is a society that breeds conformity and obedience and submission

What all of these seemingly disparate works recognize, the conclusion that they all reach, is that a society in which people can be monitored at all times is a society that breeds conformity and obedience and submission, which is why every tyrant, the most overt to the most subtle, craves that system. Conversely, even more importantly, it is a realm of privacy, the ability to go somewhere where we can think and reason and interact and speak without the judgemental eyes of others being cast upon us, in which creativity and exploration and dissent exclusively reside, and that is the reason why, when we allow a society to exist in which we’re subject to constant monitoring, we allow the essence of human freedom to be severely crippled.

Update: In early July 2015 it was announced that AshleyMadison, a cheating site, was hacked and data of users has been leaked or is being threatened of being leaked. In 2014, Gmail passwords were also leaked. And in 2013 data of 6 million users were leaked from Facebook. These are just a few examples.

Remember: NOTHING you put online is ever safe, No matter how secure systems are or how smart those are who built it. There will always be smarter people, smarter way, and new tools to de-cripple security systems. EVERYTHING you put online is there to stay.

Recommendations: If you care about the security of your accounts, and want to make them more secure, I sugges you use a password generator and manager software like KeePass and KeePassX or others (choose one that is local; I don’t trust online services like LastPass since they are equally hackable as other services). This way all you have to remember is one password.

For your convenience, use a browser with a password manager and master password like Firefox.

Also make sure to make most of your passwords at least 35-40 characters long (anything less is computationally crackable through brute-force attacks; also see Rainbow table).

Theo Jansen: My creations, a new form of life (from plastic tubes) (TED 2007)

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website: http://www.strandbeest.com/

TEDMED – One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

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Research paper: Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain, DOI: 10.1126/science.1241224

Important points:

  • Brain has no lymphatic system to clean it
  • During sleep brain cells seem to shrink
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) acts as a detoxing agent removing toxins built up while the brain is conscious.
  • CSF influx only happens during sleep. It is inhibited during wakefulness.

and we discovered that at the same time when the brain goes to sleep, the brain cells themselves seem to shrink, opening up spaces in between them, allowing [cerebrospinal fluid – CSF] fluid to rush through and allowing waste to be cleared out.

But our most surprising finding was that all of this, everything I just told you about, with all this fluid rushing through the brain, it’s only happening in the sleeping brain.

Visualized statistical history of the world (BBC Four & TED)

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Today I share two videos with you. The first is an episode of BBC Four’s “The Joy of Stats”. The other is a TED talk.
Both are presented by Hans Rosling.

In these videos Hans Rosling visually demonstrates statistical data on the world’s wealth, health, family size, & daily income among several others by continent and country. The demonstrations are amazing. Enjoy

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Wireless data transmitted through light bulbs [TED]

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Below is a very interesting TED talk by Harald Haas from July 2011 on the use of light (and light detectors) to transmit digital data. I watched this video in August 2011 and just watched it again from my downloaded archive. This is really interesting.

It is worth noting, as Harald mentions, that data is transmitted as electromagnetic waves. And to those who are not aware light is an electromagnetic wave.

Enjoy