Not So Fast Luddites. You Can Put the Robot Smashing Hammer Down Now.

While I would recommend reading Player Piano and learning to code, the economic effects of automation may be over-estimated by science-fiction writers and fans of the new automated menu at McDonalds. Libertarian blogger Garry Reed suggests we consider all the possibilities and reminds us that the future has not been written. Whether or not it will be automated, the future will be written by you.


While I would rather not comment on the absurdity that political discourse has become, I cannot stand by when the phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” [TANSTAAFL] is being used to attack political opponents. The main purpose of TANSTAAFL is to remind people  to think outside the box and consider the entire picture.

TANSTAAFL is used by economists to discuss opportunity costs and how there are costs associated with even products or services that are advertised as free. The term is also used by scientists when discussing biological systems and energy systems. There is even a No Free Lunch Theorem in Machine Learning Systems.

In most instances, TANSTAAFL is used to encourage people to consider the consequences of decisions and how they affect the world around them. In Machine Learning, TANSTAAFL is used to remind programmers there is no perfect system. It is a reminder to avoid developing tunnel vision and consider other possibilities.

Politics Divides, Technology Unites

Don’t say there ought to be a law, say there ought to be an app.

Through our smartphones and the app economy, we are being given tools to allow us to reach the world and connect with others in ways that were previously unimaginable. This is not a political solution; in fact, it might be solution precisely because it is not political.Jeffrey Tucker

Three people playing Pokemon. Cops show up. They explain the game to the cop. Cop downloads game.


How Facebook Picks the Posts You See

In recent years, Facebook has changed the way it decides what content the user sees. I noticed this while working with Songs of Freedom and Spirit of the Indies. The methods used to promote content no longer worked. Now it seems like you need to purchase advertising in order for anyone to see a page’s content in their newsfeed. Facebook told Tech Crunch that they are focusing on keeping users happy on Facebook and giving them the content that they want to see. They provided a simplified formula that initially reminded me of the aggregate demand formula.

V = I*P*C*T*R
I = user interest in the creator.

P = the post performance among other users

C = content creator's past post performance among other users

T = type of post the user prefers

R = recency

*And about 100,000 other factors

In the past, images tended to be more popular. However, if a user likes a lot of the text based statuses that their friends post, Facebook may be more inclined to show that a text based status. You may need to post a variety of content to see which type of content your audience prefers.


Google launches Project Bloks, a tangible programming learning tool

I have said that GUI [graphical user interface] is the best way to start programming. However, I have come to realize that tangible, physical programming may be the best place to start.  Google is launching a project to create tangible coding blocks to help beginner coders better visualize the coding process. As Sheena Vaidyanatham states in the video, a key element to learning programming is persistence. You do not know the true joy of programming or mathematics until you encounter a challenging problem and find the solution through persistent tinkering. That is a skill that trumps knowing syntax any day.