Using a tried but true internet meme. Seven quick reactions to interesting things on the internet this week.
Who would have thought that 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 ……. = -1/12? The guys at the youtube channel NumberPhile have the details:
The result is sound but a little deceptive. The idea a non-converging series having a finite numerical identity is already such an abstract concept that it’s hard for me to really expect a rational looking result moving forward. Still the result is weird, valid and apparently applicable to string theory. But how can you add bunch of positive numbers together and still get a negative one?
2.) Privacy – Good News : Obama Scales back the NSA spying program
The Obama Administration looks like it’s finally embarrassed itself enough and is now making some retractions on spying. Though, I suspect this ultimately may amount to little more than a strategic repositioning. It looks like there is still going to be some kind of data retention mandate that forces the third parties to retain data in case the government has “legitimate” reasons to make queries. Of course, we all know that we can count on large corporations to securely hold vast collections of personal data they do not expect to profit from. Right?, right?
3.) Privacy – Bad News : Target’s Personal Data Breach May Be Worse than expected
So, unsurprisingly, Target has lost an astronomical amount of customer data including e-mail, telephone numbers, and PINs. It’s looking like negligence on the part of Target played a role in the breach but I am not expecting anyone to ultimately care about this. Even if we can expect a large amount of identity theft coming from the data showing up on a Russian hacker site, is the public really going to link the increase in identity theft back to bad corporate data management?
4.) Folk Music : Is Inside Llewyn Davis Accurate?
It looks like a number of folk singers have pushed back against the portrayal of early 60s Greenwich Village. No comment here, but the discussion is quite interesting.
5.) Entertainment : The Academy Award Nominated Animated Shorts
Probably the highlight of the Academy Award season is the Animated Shorts category. It’s usually worth it to catch the shorts in theaters and now we have the lineup with trailers:
- Feral by Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
- Get a Horse by Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy
- Mr. Hublot by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
- Possessions by Shuhei Morita
- Room on the Broom by Max Lang and Jan Lachauer
This year’s fare seems a little disappointing however. Most look like very straightforward Pixar clones. In fact, I’m finding myself looking forward more to a feature-length nomination, namely, The Wind Rises , Miyazaki’s last film detailing the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the father of Japanese aviation and the infamous creator of the Zero.
6.) Religion : Atheist “Church” in Schism Several months after starting
I blogged several month’s ago about the coming of an “Atheist Babylon”, where atheist communities would schism along ideological lines so stark that most non-believers would prefer to associate with like-minded believers rather than their atheist brethren. Sure enough in the news today:
The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC (Atheist congregations DL). Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.
Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”
Someone still needs to explain what “humanistic cult” means to a militant atheist, it sounds like something a conservative Catholic would say.
Finally, a new speculation about uses of data-mining in the pharmaceuticals industry. This looks like a long shot to me, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. I might start worrying if the results are more successful.
Anyway, Happy Martin Luther King Day Weekend! I’ll stay updated.