The Y Combinator

I take my head off to Jim, that’s a great way to approach a weird intersection of mathematics and programming. 😉 For those who are curious … he uses a very simple mathematical algorithm to explore how you can express recursions in Lambda calculus and thus “derives” the Y combinator.

Totally useless, but worth every minute. 😉


Secrets of Search

Douglas Merrill from Google talks about what it takes to build a search engine for the web.

Besides that what strikes me as interesting is their choice of languages “focusing” (he didn’t exactly say that, but it’s what you understand, when he says they won a prize for it) their efforts in machine translation on: Arabic and Chinese … o.O

Joomla! Wold Conference 2012 Keynote: Changing the world with Open Source

Pascal Finette gave a great keynote at Joomla! World Conference 2012 talking about how Mozilla came to be and what they learned along the way. He shares insights on how to build a competitive product, a healthy community and maybe even a business around it, but developing and governing it the open source way.

NPO, what do you need cookies for?

If you try to visit any of the websites of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting service you get a pop-up informing about their use of cookies on their site and asking you for your consent in storing data about you in them.

NPO cookie consent pop-up

Well … if you click on the “decline” or “more information” links you are told to reconsider, because the use of cookies is essential for the working of the site (“Functionele cookies zijn strikt noodzakelijk voor de werking van de website”)!?! As a web developer I can say this is absolute bullshit. They also tell you why: because they “need” it for “managing” “web statistics, advertising and social media.” And of course them not being able to accurately (because you can track users without cookies) track you and siphon off your private data and selling your viewing habits, makes it technically impossible for them to serve you videos … see how they are linked?

Oh of course they have the obligatory “but none of the information can be linked to individuals … we value our users’ privacy” bullshit. If they really meant it, they wouldn’t force you to disclose this sort of information for a service that absolutely does not require it.

So it boils down to them denying you to watch TV programs that already got paid for in full (by the dutch tax payers, thank you for that ;), this also means there is no “need” to exploit your users) and forcing you to give up your privacy in order “for them to protect it” again … are you confused? … I am … this makes no sense!

Now I’m short of a media source for having a peek into another language/culture. 🙁

On a side note: despite all my rage I must admit, the reconsider allowing cookies page is really well done and does tell you in a simple way how cookies work and how they put them to use … I wish other sites were as open about it. 😉

Amplifiying Subtle Changes in Videos

I was pointed to an awesome piece of research titled “Eulerian Video Magnification for Revealing Subtle Changes in the World.”

They have developed algorithms that allow them to amplify subtle changes in videos (color, movement) … and select desired frequencies at that. They have an awesome demonstration video: