The Quantum Pontiff

links for 2009-02-17

  • Now that’s a Seattle swimming pool view.
    (tags: real networks)
  • Court documents from a settlement between Facebook and ConnectU showed that Facebook values itself at $3.7 billion, much less than the $15 billion that was speculated during the Microsoft investment. The AP uncovered this by cutting and pasting from the redacted court document. It’s the same thing we showed in our PDF redaction screencast last summer… and it will never cease to be funny.
    (tags: cut and paste)
  • "The town of 830 people on New Zealand’s South Island is on a mission to protect the sight of the night sky, even as it disappears behind light and haze in many parts of the world.

    The ultimate prize would be UNESCO’s approval for the first "starlight reserve," and already the "astro tourists" are coming."

  • The reality check is that the social utility of the prediction markets is marginal. The added accuracy is minute, and, anyway, doesn’t fill up the gap between expectations and omniscience (which is how people judge forecasters). In our view, the social utility of the prediction markets lays in efficiency, not in accuracy. In complicated situations, the prediction markets integrate facts and expertise much faster than the mass media do. It is their velocity that we should put to work.
  • In a Rapid Communication appearing in Physical Review B, Vasile Garlea and collaborators at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, the Hahn-Meitner Institut in Germany, and the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique in Grenoble, France, report an unusual magnetic-field-induced spin ordering in a geometrically frustrated quasi-one-dimensional compound, Sul-Cu2Cl4