Friday, February 22, 2008

Death By RSS

Where we're actually referring to Really Simple Syndication, not that the other RSS is much better

We came to feed reading quite late, we will blame Space Bar for telling us about it and convincing us that it wasn't too hard. So now we have 200 (200!) subscriptions classified into

Business (26)
Design (3)
Movies (12)
Personal (61)
Policy-type-stuff (23)
Quizzing (7)
Science (28)
Software-dev (39)
Stuff (10)
Technology (13)
Writing (10)

Please don't add the numbers and say the sum is > 200, some feeds count in more than one category. Also, the above is the most ridiculous possible classification, need to get more fine-grained ("Sports", "Politics", "Literature", "Arts", "Science", "History" etc.)

By far the most prolific feed is from the GWT Google Group. Don't ask why. Basically every message that gets posted there shows up, >200 per day.

Second, and definitely a candidate for favourite is ScienceBlogs Select feed. Possibly Brad DeLong's is third, although more often than not we don't understand/don't have the time for the stuff there.

So a random sample of interesting things that the feed reader has delivered over the last couple of days:

Conservative physicist and climate change skeptic Luboš Motl on How to Disprove Spoon Bending. Valuable in itself for a description of what it means to be scientific, it leads us to two other very readable articles, one on telekinesis and the other on What I Believe But Cannot Prove at Cosmic Variance, the group blog of a bunch of physicists and astrophysicists. The second post is really very, very useful and worth reading end-to-end and quoting from. The temptation to quote wholesale is overwhelming, but we will cease and desist. But do read the post. In passing, it will lead you to the Edge Question Center which every year asks an interesting question (What have you changed your mind about? Why? in 2007) to a bunch of interesting people (scientists, philosophers, mathematicians etc.) Hours and hours of browsing beckon...

Anand Giridhardas has a post (via Sepia Mutiny?) with a little documentary about how technology is making some professions disappear.

On the lighter side, here's a page whose sole commodity is photos of people proving mathematical theorems in sarongs (though many of the provers simply have the sarong wrapped around their shoulders, which is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention). Side splitting. On similar lines, 41 Hilarious Science Fair Experiments and they're really hilarious ("Crystal Meth. Friend or foe?", "Eww", "Fat man to Mars")!

Kufr should really be on your bookmarks list. He/she has a way of putting things across that cuts through the bovine ordure, smacks you in the face, and grabs your attention wholeheartedly. Fluidity of the Cesspool is one such ("once upon a time, not so long ago, educated hindus found a handy teddy bear in the theory of sanskritization. if a jati can move up the hierarchy by shedding its old, ugly customs and beliefs and adopting sanskritic mores, the caste system can't be so bad, right?...") There are many more.

Via the Delhiwalla, we hear about a Pakistani blogger who shares a name with a very famous poet.

Abel Pharmboy liveblogs his vasectomy, we kid you not. "doc started asking about workplace. told him about [controversial proprietary work] not being popular - he was not amused and asks why anyone is opposed to such a thing. man has now exposed my vas deferens and is cutting it. I will not argue."

What would "Stairway to Heaven" sound/look like, if "The Beatles" did it? Pretty catchily awesome, actually!

And Richard Dawkins tells us that one of evolutions missing links has been found in the Sydney Harbour.


Space Bar said...

dammit! i was going to do a whole post about this. luckily it's not quite the same...

Space Bar said...

you've been tagged. revenge is sweet!

Space Bar said...

er...sorry. why revenge? i've no idea! but tagged all the same.