google gender/ diversity memo firestorm, other tech+gender stuff

hi all. what a firestorm this week. james Damore got fired over his memo analyzing gender differences at google, citing scientific research into evolutionary psychology. theres so much media froth on this feel sure that it will continue into next week, but my bookmarks runneth over at this point. “triggered”! like the essay itself: touched a nerve….

this comes at a very bad time for Google which was already under investigation for hiring balances by the US labor dept[a23] and female engineers are considering a class action lawsuit.[a14][a15] looks from here like Google is under pressure from multiple/ all sides/ fronts, maybe in a catch22/ no-win situation wrt this issue. aka a lightning rod, just like damore himself! its turned into a black eye/ PR nightmare for everyone involved…

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collatz revisualized

starting these blogs out, sometimes dont really know where they will lead ahead of time, but its a new month and a new pov. so the (“inherently a priori“) title is typically either “whats happening at the moment” or “some general/ larger theme intended to be pursued,” in this case the former. (now pondering that, am intending to revisualize the last collatz experimental angle in particular but on other hand, nearly entire theme of this overall research prj/ program in general could be said to be “revisualization”!)

at 1st was thinking maybe not all the major extra effort for polished/ pretty visualization was worth it at the moment, but couldnt resist, just wanted to see it, and was curious/ wondering about a few additional statistics. there was some real payoff by saving all the intermediate data and coming up with a major refactoring of the visualization code, ie decoupling visualizing and generation phases, and did a fairly massive rewrite without having to rerun the very expensive generation code. all easier imagined/ said than done! took quite awhile/ substantial effort.

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Mirzakhani math superwoman 1977-2017

205EAEF2-F2D9-4809-87A5-4AA8A211C433-641-0000007822AA4645😦 😥 ❤ a few years ago Mirzakhani was credited in this blog with her striking bolt-from-the-blue achievement, and now its with major regret to write this “postscript” in this case also a “postmortem”. (“bolt from the blue” is a turn of phrase used by Heisenberg to describe the Einstein EPR1935 paper and Bohrs response to it, which historical echo seems somewhat fitting/ apt here. coincidentally, it just now occurs to me, Turings amazing paper introducing or even “solving” the undecidability problem was released one year later in 1936. two problems that have been particular extreme focii of attn for me over the years, and is there maybe some deeper resonance that could be observed beyond superficial connections?)

ironic or a bit eerie that Mirzakhani died at age 40, exactly the cutoff age for the fields medal, a topnotch prize with a rare age limit (over the years, not without some element of professional/ expert questioning verging on controversy). on the other hand esp in “winner take all capitalism”, the golden rule is he who has the gold, makes the rules…

have long thought the fields medal prize value ought to be much higher. its status is far higher than the numerical reward in dollars. ($15K, ~1.5% of a Nobel despite being called the “Nobel of mathematics” or ~0.5% of the Millenium prize won by her cohort Tao [a8]—who btw apparently still has said absolutely nothing about his award(s) in all his copious blogging and advice pages and elsewhere!)… but maybe the comparatively micro-money-prize is fitting for mathematicians who tend to profess to be unmotivated by material rewards? or maybe better to avoid such “calculations”? 😮 🙄

(brief tangent, inserting prize trivia or nontrivia depending on your pov, am reminded some of the TCS $5k Godel and Knuth prizes. extremely prestigious, rather tiny by Trumpian standards. another interesting case study is the Turing prize which was apparently unfunded for ~¼ century, was $¼ million ($250K) for ~½ decade, and went to $1M the same year Mirzakhani won, 2014. yeah as iconoclast Kary Mullis observed, prize money awards are one of the most irrational things around… near miss with Nobel himself, long story…)

am not familiar with Mirzakhanis work in particular but the identification of it as “science fiction mathematics” is personally meaningful/ delightful (have myself admittedly consumed vast quantities in written/ visual/ hollywood form of the literary genre, no intention of pulling/ holding back on that in future). as regular readers know, there is a lot of flavor of dynamical systems analysis in these pages lately wrt Collatz conjecture, and there can be regarded as some rough/ abstract connection.

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love/ hate letter to stackexchange summer 2017 at ½ decade mark

hi all, have now been on stackexchange over 5 yrs, focusing on CS-related groups, mainly theoretical computer science and the computer science sites. its been a wild ride and full of a lot of color and online adventures. the cyber culture is quite rich. full of dynamic psychology and ripe for a sociological/ anthropological study. when finding this site early on and seeing their rapid growth, thought it could be a like a mini-facebook. but alas, there are really no other mini-facebooks! (lol at someone-or-other who told me in chat not long ago that SE is not a “social networking system”!) its a winner-take-all situation in capitalism and mirrored in cyberspace.

for 4 years focused on building up my online rep. shew, it sure/ really isnt easy! esp if one wants to have a personal style to their posts! the site culture is very “left brained”. analytical. exacting. its that old japanese expr applied to cyberspace:

the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

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qm computing summer 2017 update

hi all, seem to have reached a momentary lull in my own schedule and also the QM computing news that typically runneth over. maybe a moment of breath to clear out the queue. years ago it was cutting edge to talk about it but now it looks like a lot of the media is attuned and into covering the race[k] esp with inroads by big corporations (Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel) into the area. Intel seems a relative newcomer but did finally show up on the radar.[a10]

can recall some of the earliest QM computing books came out around late 1990s eg 1997 or so, so now its been almost exactly 2 decades. here is a technology with immense promise but also immense engineering challenge.

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