Sean Hall

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6 documentaries on Netflix that will make you smarter

The reason these are the best of Netflix's many "brainy" entries is they all share a multifaceted approach — looking at the economics, social, and cultural angles of each problem while also keeping us tied to a single, compelling narrative.<p>Six incredible, stimulating documentaries, all streaming on …

Documentaries

There’s No Such Thing as Free Will

But we’re better off believing in it anyway.<p>For centuries, philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will—and that losing this belief could be calamitous. Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can …

AI Visionary Eliezer Yudkowsky on the Singularity, Bayesian Brains and Closet Goblins

I’m perpetually astonished by smart people who believe things I find preposterous. For example, geneticist and National Institutes of Health Director …

Are we more than molecules?

Novelists, poets and artists can help us to piece together the mystery of human consciousness, says Mark Haddon<p>My son’s nine-year-old friend Yahya said it most succinctly. Why is life in the first person?<p>We think. We feel. We are aware of ourselves and the world around us. We have consciousness. We …

The 7 most common Hadoop and Spark projects

There's an old axiom that goes something like this: If you offer someone your full support and financial backing to do something different and …

Big Data

New Theory Suggests That We Live In The Past Of A Parallel Universe

Whether through Newton's gravitation, Maxwell's electrodynamics, Einstein's special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward.<p>Of course the world we experience is entirely different. The universe …

The End Of The Hadoop Bubble?

After a bubble peaks, we look back at the year or two before the crash and say “what were we thinking?” The term originated with the South Sea Bubble which peaked in 1720 when the share price of the South Sea Company went up over the course of a single year from about £100 to £1000. “Among the many …

Berkeley Launches Big Data MOOCs

MOOCs<p>Berkeley has teamed with a private partner to launch two new MOOCs focused on big data analysis using Apache Spark, an open-source big data …

Time for Better Security for NoSQL

nosql hyperdex security opsec release November 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM Robert Escriva and Emin Gün Sirer<p>The state of NoSQL security is about as abysmal …

Don’t Do As the Romans Did…

It's not just the Islamic State. Obama must wage a two-front war for civilization, just like Ancient Rome.<p>For many years, the world’s greatest power faced two grave external threats: from irregular groups of non-state actors and from large, newly empowered, rising states that wanted to displace it. …

11 Imagination-Jarring Tips From Creative Geniuses

There are plenty of competing theories for how to boost your creativity: paint your room blue, work someplace noisy and distracting, complete a bunch …

They’re cloning Beyoncé! Why the future of music is a bizarre, computer-generated mess

<b>(AP/Robin Harper/Salon)</b><p>For anybody with eclectic musical tastes, the rise of Pandora and Spotify could turn out to be a real bummer<p>Andrew Leonard<p>May 16, 2014 11:44am (UTC)<p>The genre of "instrumental hip hop" has taken over the airwaves in my house. Not because I have ever expressed any direct …

Apple Will Use Curation To Beat A Path To Mainstreaming Music

Ask the average person who their favorite musicians are and they’ll struggle to name more than a few. That’s one reason search-based streaming services haven’t hit critical mass. They force users to know what they want to hear. And this is why Tim Cook kept touting Beats as the “first streaming …

The Meanings Behind the Symbols on 20 Beer Labels

Breweries are some of the oldest companies in the world, and beer labels are full of little symbols and phrases that point to their storied …

Your Computer Downtime Could Help Crack the Alzheimer's Code

George Mason University researchers create a distributed computing project to unravel the mysteries of the disease.<p>Researchers at George Mason University have created a tool that allows anyone to donate their computer downtime to Alzheimer’s research, enlisting the public’s help in studying the …

11 Financial Books Every Young Person Should Read

Those of you who are seeking investing enlightenment are not going to find much of it on the web.<p>I suggest you log off, power down your computer, and read some books. Take your time. The months you spend perusing this list will be well spent.<p>I'd recommend reading at least the first four books …

Mutual Funds

This Video Explains The Net Neutrality Debate In Plain English And Will Probably Make You Mad

Watch the video above in order to get a crash course on what this net neutrality thing is all about.<p>YouTube user Vihart explains all the noisy debate surrounding the topic by fitting it into the analogy of a mail carrier delivering packages to people, just as internet data flows from a source (like …

Trifacta gives data wranglers a secret weapon for saving time

OK, so you’ve launched a Hadoop cluster to store and process lots of different kinds of data. Good luck cleaning up your messiest unstructured data before you can dig up all of those amazing business-changing insights you’ve heard about.<p>Typically, data cleaning, or data transformation, takes up …

Enterprise-Ready Apache Hadoop Data Lake and Big Data Management

How Cloudera plans to stand out from the Hadoop herd

Amid all the recent noise about Hortonworks and Pivotal, it's been easy to overlook another major Hadoop player, Cloudera, and the milestone release …

Hadoop

Maturing the NoSQL argument

A system cannot mature its way out of a fundamentally wrong architectural choice. Companies as modern and data-focused as Facebook, Google, and …

Databases

Behind the Machine's Back: How Social Media Users Avoid Getting Turned Into Big Data

To prevent being tracked by algorithms, we've begun thinking like algorithms.<p>Social media companies constantly collect data on their users because that's how they provide customized experiences and target their advertisements. All Twitter and Facebook users know this, and there is a broad array of …

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Rock is dead — long live rock. The Who introduced this contradictory sentiment 20 years ago, around the time of punk’s birth, and Pavement revive it …

From the Observer archive, 20 January 1957: Humphrey Bogart – a man who could win you over in 30 seconds

Many of us must have been saddened by the news of Humphrey Bogart's death. Some of us have known him on the screen for 21 years. We can remember the day in 1935 when, as "Dook" Mantee in <i>The Petrified Forest</i>, he lounged into the garage cafeteria in the desert and held up waitress Bette Davis, poet …

How baby boomers screwed their kids — and created millennial impatience

<b>Lena Dunham and Laurie Simmons in "Tiny Furniture" (Submarine Entertainment)</b><p>Ambitious but easily distracted, Gen Y wants to be good but can’t stick to anything. It’s their parents’ fault<p>Simon Sinek<p>January 4, 2014 2:45pm (UTC)<p>Excerpted from “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others …

The Steroid Hunt

We know what MLB players were doing during the steroid era. Here's what baseball writers did.<p>As sports fans, we’ve decided two things about the …