Links for December 2014

by Izaak

This Wikipedia article outlines the order of precedence in official ceremonies in the US; in what order do people appear, starting with the president?

Are you somebody who has trouble making healthy meals for themselves sometimes? For a variety of reasons, people have trouble getting access to cheap, healthy, and quick food. Or maybe you’re just curious about ways to replace the normal methods of gaining sustenance, for a variety of reasons. Introducing, Meal Squares. Gluten free, 99% Lactose free, Vegetarian, and fulfills your entire daily nutrient requirement for $15 dollars PER DAY.

Honestly, I’m half surprised that this didn’t happen sooner, and half sad that the idea has already been taken and I can’t start this. Introducing Cuddle Up To Me, where you can go and spend $15 for 15 minutes of human contact; from sitting in a room and reading together, to cuddling. It’s one of the greatest ideas ever; possibly useful as a form of therapy. A lot of people find the idea disgusting though, and I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who finds it disgusting, and their reasons for why.

One of my favorite math YouTubers, ViHart, posted a link to a project she worked on with Nicky Case, which illustrates a lot of really subtle effects of ___ism, and ways that ___ism can arise or be perpetuated in a society that isn’t, on the individual level, ___ist.  (Fill in the blank with your favorite type of discrimination, though racism is the most applicable in this case.)

This also led me to the blog posts of Ian Gent and David Chart, who talk about gender disparity in Computer Science (and implicitly, in other fields as well) and how even if every individual (despite gender) acts equally sexist, the group that’s in a minority still receives a substantial increase in the amount of sexism they receive. I may write a blog post responding to and elaborating on this in the future.

Seriously, you should just go read Scott Alexander’s Link Post, but I just have to share that ISIS is running a Jihad dating site, economists have figured out how to use game theory to report rapes and sexual assaults, the war in Ukraine has killed so many Russians, some have started calling it “Russia’s Vietnam”, and finally, psychology papers have a publication bias so large you can see it from the moon.

Some trailers came out this week for the videogame No Man’s Sky, which is a game that involves the exploration of a (procedurally generated) 2^64 planet universe, with each planet as large as the earth. It would take 1 trillion years to visit every planet in the generated universe, and that doesn’t even involve any exploration of the planet’s surface; just teleporting from system to system every couple seconds. Also, it’s goddamn gorgeous.