iOS8 Dominating the Internet

Via Dan Rayburn, just a few hours after its release, iOS8 is representing a sizable portion of global internet traffic:one 1024x446 iOS8 Dominating the Internet

two 1024x626 iOS8 Dominating the Internet


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Robot Cheetah!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but just came across a fascinating MIT robotics project in Popular Science worth sharing. In short, this beast is now out of the lab, running around Killian Court:

 Robot Cheetah!

Here’s the video:

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Andrew Combs’ Rainy Day Song

I discovered Andrew Combs about a year and a half ago when he opened for Shovels and Rope at the Sinclair in Cambridge. He’s got a really nice country/folk/americana thing going on, and if you like that sort of sound, I recommend checking out his album Worried Man on Spotify, and his earlier EP Tennessee Time.

I recently saw him a second time at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge, and he opened the set with a folk song off his upcoming second album which brought the noisy bar room to silence. I just found a recording of it, and thought I’d share. Doesn’t quite compare to how it sounded live, but beautiful nonetheless:

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What’s the Matter with Small Biz?

The following is a guest post from Robin Bose.

There’s a truism that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. I happen to think it’s true that small businesses make local economics more resilient to shocks and changes in the overall mix of market forces. If we accept that, then we should all be a little worried. A mildly alarming study The Brookings Institution published shows a 30 year decline in what the US census calls “new firm formation” (i.e., baby businesses getting formed) accompanied by no real change in “firm exits” (small business owners closing up shop). Some surprising highlights:

  • Troubling 30 year secular decline across multiple business cycles and political administrations
  • Trend is prevalent across all 50 states and all but a few of 360+ metros
  • No industry (not even high tech) has withstood the decline except financial services

I made a little slideshow pointing out some of the data the Brookings Institution used to make the case, as well as some of the reactions in the media trying to explain why this is happening. Will try to follow up with a post on my thoughts — feel free to leave thoughtful ramblings on why you think it’s happening.

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UberBoat Boston

This could be interesting. Starting this week, Uber began offering boat rides around Boston Harbor for $10/person:

“June 4 through June 15, you can use the Uber app to request a water taxi, powered byBoston Harbor Cruises. Make waves as you ride to your favorite Seaport restaurant. Sail over to the ICA for First Friday. Add a splash of fun to your morning commute – or even a quick cruise to or from Logan. Catching a flight has never been so easy!”

It actually seems like a reasonable deal to the airport from the Seaport, especially during rush hour. Or potentially as a quick way to get to Charlestown. Here’s a list of the pickup docks and destinations.

UberBOAT APP1 UberBoat Boston

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Some Nice Americana: Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis

MI0003734194.jpg?partner=allrovi Some Nice Americana: Bruce Robison & Kelly WillisI just discovered and really enjoyed Our Year by Austin-based Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis. The album came out late last month, and has a nice mix of Texas country and folk. The pace varies a good amount as well, with some upbeat tunes and plenty of mellow ones. And there’s some great harmonica and pedal steel work. The whole album’s on Spotify.

Here’s a blurb from All Music: “On their sophomore duet outing, this husband and wife deliver a soulful take on traditional (not retro) country music”

And here are a few tracks:

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Bullshit Detection Kit

Via The Big Picture, a brief excerpt from Carl Sagan’s book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Bullshit Detection Kit, on how to detect when people are spouting nonsense:

 The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. If you’re so inclined, if you don’t want to buy baloney even when it’s reassuring to do so, there are precautions that can be taken; there’s a tried-and-true, consumer-tested method.

1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”

2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.

3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.

4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.

5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.

6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.

7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.

8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.

9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.

All good rules of thumb for filtering through noise and distractions.

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A Flip iPhone

smartwatches A Flip iPhone

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Lasers for Space Broadband

Speeds of 622 Mbps from the moon:

Wireless broadband service went cosmic in a demo conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory and NASA, in which a laser-based communication uplink between the moon and earth beat the previous record transmission speed by a factor of 4,800.

The team’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) transmitted data over the 384,633 kilometers between the moon and earth at a download rate of 622 Mbps. In addition, data was transmitted from the earth to the moon at 19.44 Mbps, a factor 4,800 times faster than the best radio-frequency uplink ever used, MIT said.

Other moon-laser applications here:
laser pointer more power Lasers for Space Broadband

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Are There Hats?

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