The duties of John von Neumann's assistant (1993)
- I was being offered the job of assistant to John von Neumann!
- To attend von Neumann's lectures on operator theory on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, take copious notes, complete unfinished proofs, see them through the secretarial jungle, and promptly circulate them to all American university libraries.
- To be von Neumann's assistant as Editor of the Annals of Mathematics.
- The wrapping paper was torn unevenly, and a good portion of the words and symbols in the margins were missing.
- The Annals editorial assistant retyped the paper, supplying all the missing symbols.
- The Annals of Mathematics had been printed in Hamburg, Germany by the firm of Lutke and Wolk.
- Solution: Let von Neumann's assistant teach them!
- To translate into English von Neumann's numerous 100-page papers.
- Now that von Neumann was a professor in an American institute, it was thought that his papers should appear in English, not German.
Netanyahu can survive his corruption crisis — but it will depend on him generating as much chaos as possible
- Continuing to sow chaos and confusion and emphasizing that shadowy forces are out to get him is the best way for Netanyahu to ensure that any charges brought against him create too large a risk of ripping the country apart.
- Continuing to sow chaos and confusion and emphasizing that the shadowy forces out to get him cannot be trusted is the best way for Netanyahu to avoid having to step down under a cloud of indictments.
- It will put pressure on Mandelblit to let Netanyahu off the hook rather than risk ripping the country apart and creating an even bigger crisis of confidence in Israel's institutions than would ensue with the simple indictment and resignation of a prime minister.
'Black Panther' inspires more than African Americans
- Regardless, the popularity of "Black Panther," which took in $192 million in North American theaters its opening weekend, lets me -- and people of other minority groups -- dream of one day seeing our own superheroes.
- More specifically, I could hear the emotion in the voices of African-American listeners who spoke of growing up and seeing black people almost always depicted as criminals and drug addicts in film.
- Let me be brutally honest: If you are a minority, it's challenging to not be angry with Hollywood for the irresponsibly negative ways it has depicted blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Arabs and other minority groups -- all in the pursuit of making millions, if not billions, of dollars.
- And here's hoping "Black Panther's" popularity translates into other minority groups getting a chance to see someone who looks like them save the world.
How to weaponize our tech addiction: A ‘stickiness gap’ law
- In the process, we’ll guarantee American tech supremacy, forever.
- The stickiness gap law mandates that every tech company of a certain size must make their products at least 20% more addictive to global audiences than they are at home.
- But if Americans lose 1 hour and 36 minutes per day and Indians keep losing 2 hours per day, that’s a 24 minute edge!
- Multiply that 20 percent edge by every tech product, and we win productivity forever without having to sacrifice our work-life balance.
- Our productivity would shoot up; theirs would stagnate or decline.
- Contrast the stickiness gap with venture capitalist Mike Moritz’s recent suggestion that Americans need to double our work hours to compete with foreign challengers.
- You’re wondering whether our tech companies can afford to decrease American stickiness.
- Tech is only the pilot program, and the stickiness gap scales like a balloon.
Mind over matter? Alex Hutchinson explains the role of the brain when it comes to the limits of human endurance
- In the 1920s, the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist A.V. Hill wrote all these ideas for Scientific American, talking about how the human body is just a machine, and if we could learn the parts and measure the outputs, we can really confidently predict the outer limits of human performance.
- I’d say the last 10 or 15 years, there’s been lots of talk about the role that the brain plays, and that’s where the interesting debates are now.
- In running, you breathe hard and you think that oxygen is a limiting factor, so I also looked into these free divers to see how long you can go without oxygen.
- We’re born with certain physical characteristics and we can change them and get fitter, but if I want to know whether I’ve gotten the most out of myself, if I look back at my running career and say, did I run as fast as I could have?
The Mueller indictment exposes the danger of Facebook’s focus on Groups
- A year ago this past Friday, Mark Zuckerberg published a lengthy post titled “Building a Global Community.” It offered a comprehensive statement from the Facebook CEO on how he planned to move the company away from its longtime mission of making the world “more open and connected” to instead create “the social infrastructure ...
- Adopting US identities and personas, they created a variety of groups and pages across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for the express purpose of pushing Americans to extremes.
- Last year, Facebook said 100 million people are in what the company calls “very meaningful” groups, or groups that are a primary part of the user’s social networking experience and extend to offline interactions.
- In his post last year, Zuckerberg said Facebook hoped to increase the number of people in very meaningful groups to 1 billion.
A tribute to John Perry Barlow
- John Perry Barlow, who died on February 7th, was a Grateful Dead lyricist, cyber pundit, cattle rancher and idealist.
- His lyrics, like his lifestyle, were a world of cowboys, nature and passions.
- “I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream/ I can tell by the mark he left you were in his dream/ Ah, child of countless trees/ Ah, child of boundless seas/ What you are, what you're meant to be” he wrote in the song “Cassidy” in 1972 with his childhood friend Bob Weir, a guitarist in the psychedelic band Grateful Dead.
- Barlow co-founded a group to militate for freedom in cyberspace called the Electronic Frontier Foundation, now a major advocacy group.
- They had spent years serving on commissions, testifying before Congress and speaking to boards of directors about the importance of bringing law onto the network so that the internet could become a mainstream medium.
Why does Melania stay?
- On Wednesday, a Marist poll revealed that more than a third of Americans think Melania should leave her husband, though they were responding to the other infidelity alleged of Donald Trump -- an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels, whom Trump attorney Michael D.
- It's been widely reported that she and her husband keep separate bedrooms, and the Farrow piece alleges that Trump told McDougal that Melania "liked her space -- to read or be alone." If you believe an ELLE magazine examination of the couple over the years, you might agree she was never, in fact, all that into him.
- Some in the legal community have speculated that Trump's prenuptial agreement with Melania is likely very tight (he once said that it "made their marriage stronger") and that it's unlikely their prenup changed after he became President, even though the stakes for her staying were raised considerably.
Why a politician's character is more important than their capability, according to a reputation expert
- What exactly is it that politicians are expected to do?" The research is pretty clear that says that it's character that matters much more than capability when it comes to politics.
- I think that irrespective of where you sit in terms of the actual outcome, it's pretty clear that Hillary suffered a number of reputational downsides, she was hampered in her ability to secure the nomination by a number of repetitional factors.
- The first is I think a question of, actually most of them are perceptions of character as opposed to capability.
- I think most people regarded Hillary as an incredibly capable woman, and as a someone who was definitely able to command the incredibly complex world that she was trying to secure through the presidency.
- Politics and politicians character is an incredibly important feature of reputation formation and destruction in political circumstances.
President George Washington: Calm, Cool, and Collected Commander in Chief
- Washington had been renting a family farm in Northern Virginia from the widow of his older half-brother Lawrence, who died in 1752.
- He settled easily into the life of a respected planter and enjoyed days spent with his family, improving the farm, fishing, hunting (particularly fox hunting), riding, feasting, dancing, and generally reveling in the style of the Virginia aristocracy.
- In early July he arrived in Cambridge to meet his “army,” finding an obstreperous, disorganized gaggle of New England militiamen, most hardscrabble farmers and small-time merchants, holding the British army at bay in Boston.
- And for just a few years Washington was indeed allowed the life of an unbent mind, reveling in his daily routine as a planter, coming up with strategies to improve the operations and production of Mount Vernon and his other nearby farms, neglected over the nine years of his absence.