Free Energy

One of the most fascinating articles I’ve read in a while pertaining to Karl Friston and his idea of “Free Energy.” Also pretty awesome that there is a Twitter parody account called @FarlKriston which essentially lives to mock the opacity if the theory. Heck, I’ve been so intrigued I really want to read his papers! Can anyone lead me in the right direction?

Free energy is the difference between the states you expect to be in and the states your sensors tell you that you are in. Or, to put it another way, when you are minimizing free energy, you are minimizing surprise.

According to Friston, any biological system that resists a tendency to disorder and dissolution will adhere to the free energy principle—whether it’s a protozoan or a pro basketball team.

6000 Words on Camping for Beginners

My family and I are very fortunite to have an amazing group of friends that we go camping with and with their guidance along with a few of my other friends, we've been rather successful.

With that, Ms. Rachel from Hobby Help posted this MASSIVE 6000 word guide on Camping for Beginners and I thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment. The first five tips are:

  1. If possible, go camping with a friend or relative who has experience
  2. Try out car camping first
  3. Practice pitching your tent in advance
  4. Stick to basic and necessary gear for now
  5. That said, invest in high-quality basics if you can

She expands into the where, which includes car camping and backcountry camping, what to pack, footwear, equipment, COOKING, hydrating, navigating around, staying safe, animals, fire and even river crossings. It's an awesome guide so be sure to check it out! I sure as heck learned quick a few things!

Coffee and the Body

A few years ago, I linked to a NY Times article about coffee. Here is an amazing and very thorough write-up with embedded videos on coffee and how it affects our body. In short:

Coffee can increase your ability to work and study, and therefore can improve that aspect of intelligence. It’s important, however, to remember the negative effects of caffeine and make sure that it’s drunk in moderation.

Working late into the night with a cup of coffee might seem like a great idea at the time, but in reality it might be best to have a sleep or a quick nap. That way you will wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any task.

An Insight to Apple's Spaceship

We go upstairs, and I take in the view. From planes descending to SFO, and even from drones that buzz the building from a hundred feet above it, the Ring looks like an ominous icon, an expression of corporate power, and a what-the-fuck oddity among the malls, highways, and more mundane office parks of suburban Silicon Valley. But peering out the windows and onto the vast hilly expanse of the courtyard, all of that peels away. It feels … peaceful, even amid the clatter and rumble of construction. It turns out that when you turn a skyscraper on its side, all of its bullying power dissipates into a humble serenity.

For the next two hours, Ive and Whisenhunt walk me through other parts of the building and the grounds. They describe the level of attention devoted to every detail, the willingness to search the earth for the right materials, and the obstacles overcome to achieve perfection, all of which would make sense for an actual Apple consumer product, where production expenses could be amortized over millions of units. But the Ring is a 2.8-million-square-foot one-off, eight years in the making and with a customer base of 12,000. How can anyone justify this spectacular effort?

I'd love a tour of this architectural marvel. Anyone?

Republicans Getting Bought

A look at eight of the country’s largest providers, as well as five of the trade groups that signed a letter in January in favor of overturning the rules, show that in the last six years, they gave a total of at least $1,726,288 to those 22 senators — an average of more than half a million dollars per election cycle.

Idiots. We should probably harvest their internet browsing history and share it with their constituents. Idiots. It's our political system and if this isn't a form of corruption, I don't know what is.

via 9to5mac

The Right Continues to Misfire on Technological Advances

Ingraham is now the National Chairman of the organization that just launched the campaign against Musk and his companies.

They market themselves as being against “the entire culture of corporations making billions of dollars off of the American people for almost zero return to the consumer”, but they target very specific industries.

For example, they say they are against “Big Energy” in their manifesto, but in the section about ‘Big Energy’ they only attack the solar industry because they receive tax breaks. Does the solar industry really represent “Big Energy”? If your goal is really to attack energy subsidies, solar and renewable energy subsidies should be your last target considering their share of federal subsidies: Fossil Fuels.

Politics like this I cannot stand. Relentless idiocracy. Utterless stupidity. So what, we continue to run on gas? Idiots. // *frustrated.

Banned!

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), today announced it is issuing an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States. Individuals who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device may not transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States. This prohibition includes all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. The phones also cannot be shipped as air cargo. The ban will be effective on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at noon ET.

It's serious. Don't mess around and even think about showing up to the airport with Samsung's Note 7! (Bold is my formatting)

Failure to Recognize

Apple has squandered its once-commanding lead in hardware and software design. Though the new iPhones include several new features, including water resistance and upgraded cameras, they look pretty much the same as the old ones. The new Apple Watch does too. And as competitors have borrowed and even begun to surpass Apple’s best designs, what was iconic about the company’s phones, computers, tablets and other products has come to seem generic.

It's a generic now standard that Apple has created! No matter what Apple puts out, they are going to be haters because they haven't 1) advanced as much in hardware or software or 2) changed a standard currently widely adopted alienating a large chunk of their user base.

What Mr. Manjoo fails to accept is that no other company goes into their manufacturing details and design process as much as Apple does. It goes without saying, it's all deliberate. In describing the the creation of the new Jet Black iPhone 7, we are shown the process was indeed different from the previous iPhone 6/6s production and that the new Apple Watch series 2 development was put through the ringer in creating a truly water resistant and swimming pool compatible design able to withstand 50m.

Did you even check out the speaker ejecting water? That's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I don't think Samsung, LG or even HTC put that much care and love for design into ANY of their products. Slow and steady.

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Diamonds Are Done

reputational headaches have been compounded by a glut of diamonds caused by a slump in consumer demand in China. That has dragged prices of top-quality cut diamonds down from about $12,000 per carat to $7,400 in five years, according to Rapaport-RapNet Diamond Trading Network, a price index.

Against this backdrop, a technological challenge is also emerging that could make it harder for the industry to win over the millennial customers on whom future sales depend. From China to California, boffins are improving their ability to cultivate diamonds in labs. They are looking beyond the billions of carats of synthetic diamonds produced under high temperature and pressure that are used in industries such as oil drilling. Now they are perfecting gem-quality stones for jewellery.

Only fitting that these narcissistic rocks that people have associated with wealth are finally coming into their own worthlessness. Jewelry means nothing against the backdrop of origin and acquisition.

And here's a wonderful video explains why diamonds are dumb.

Ash Wednesday And Lenten Fasting

"The root of all sin" is thinking that one is god, something often expressed in a total preoccupation for accumulating money and power, the pope wrote. And just as individuals can be tempted to think they have no need of God, social and political systems can run the same risk, ignoring both God and the real needs of human beings.

"Love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness," Pope Francis wrote. It is the only response to the longings "that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches."

As he advised a year ago, Pope Francis reiterated that Lent is not just about giving up the soda, video games or anything else personal per se. The bigger picture is partaking in giving and doing good for others.

But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

Playboy Goes PG-13

In short, the new Playboy, which will appear on newsstands as early as this weekend, has ditched its jauntily illicit aura and become a slightly saucier version of a lot of other magazines, like Esquire and GQ. But the March issue retains elements of the original DNA, including a lengthy interview (with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow) and a long essay by a famous writer (the Norwegian memoirist and awkward-moment connoisseur Karl Ove Knausgaard).

Whether this will appeal to younger readers without alienating regulars is unclear. The problem is that many of these ingredients can be acquired separately by anyone with time and a web browser. And with a web browser, these ingredients can be acquired in no time at all.

The print version of Playboy, in other words, is struggling with the conundrum of the Internet, just like every other legacy media enterprise. But say this for the redesign: Even if it fails to increase subscriptions, it makes that deathless dodge “I read it for the articles” a little easier to utter with a straight face.

Exactly. Now we can truly admit it was always for the articles. I will miss the cartoons but who the hell am I to say. I haven't seen a Playboy magazine since my college dorm room days and back then, Maxim was the "better" magazines for pictures. Just saying.

via NYTimes via Playboy

Apple's iPad Pro Beats Last Year's MacBook Pro

The benchmarks speak for themselves. Apple is out pacing Intel's x86 architecture with their own in-house ARM A series build out and it’s really impressive. See for yourself.

After a very short conversation with my wife, looks like the iPad Pro might be her next machine while I’m still reserving myself for the SkyLake Retina MacBook Pro for gaming and heavy photography processing. Maybe some video intertwined here and there.