Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #437

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for InterestingTilt the WindmillHBS, chair of StrataStartupfestPandemonio, and ResolveTO, Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • Curiosity and Procrastination in Reinforcement Learning – Google AI Blog. “The more we try to teach machines, the more we learn about ourselves. Suppose you’re trying to encourage an algorithm to explore a virtual space. What if it gets stuck? Well, if you reward curiosity, then it tries new things. But what if it gets obsessed by something and doesn’t focus on the task at hand? Then you punish procrastination. If this sounds more like parenting than computer science, well, that’s rather the point.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • The personality test that conned the world – The Spectator. “The history of the Meyers-Briggs test is even weirder than you think.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The Time Capsule That’s as Big as Human History – GQ. “It looks increasingly like the End Times to me: will we destroy human civilization with climate change, nuclear war, or just by killing each other with AR-47s? When we go, the Internet will go with us, and then what happens to all of this stuff we’ve typed into the web over the last couple of decades? Sure, the Internet Archive is trying to preserve everything, but if the Internet goes, so does But, somewhere, buried in a salt mine in Austria, you’ll fine stacks of ceramics laser inscribed with the musings and ephemera of thousands of people around the globe, and later humanoid, or alien, civilizations will have a physical, close to indestructible, archive of this time in human history to sift through.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Salt mining – Wikipedia. “After reading about Martin Kunze‘s archive buried in a 7000-year old salt mine in Hallstatt, Austria, I got fascinated by salt mines. There are so many things we just don’t think about, among them: where does all this our salt come from? The answer is pretty amazing.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Google Can Tell Which Restaurant Gave You Food Poisoning – PC Magazine. “When I think of real-time information, this is the kind of tech innovation that really gets me excited. There’s a local restaurant that is both highly lauded by critics and food lovers and ranked amongst the best in the city. I don’t think I’m getting food poisoning there, but every time that I have been, I have become ill. I’ve done searches online to see if I am alone. Because of their reviews and how much they are loved by the media, it’s nearly impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff. Also, it’s not in real-time. Who needs customer reviews or the big foodies/critics to tell us what’s good, when you we can know how many people have become sick from eating somewhere? The other side of this? The legal challenge, competitors seeking revenge, etc… Still, this would be fascinating.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Twitter co-founder Ev Williams says in retrospect that showing how many followers you have wasn’t ‘healthy’ – Recode. “Social media is (and will always be) a popularity contest. Sadly. I’ve been known to tell brands (and individuals) that it doesn’t matter how many people are following them, but rather ‘who’ those people are. I still believe this, but the world – clearly – could care less about what I think. Everyone chases followers (many buy them) and yearn for the coveted blue checkmark (are you verified?). What happens when a founder and Silicon Valley icon thinks that those metrics were a mistake? Let’s see…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.