Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sevdiğim Film/Oyun Müzikleri

Dram ve kahramanlığa zaafı olan bendenizi hislendiren film/oyun müziklerinden bir demet... Bir gün bir sunuşta kullanmak üzere...

Film: Plunkett & Macleane / Müzik: "Escape" - Craig Armstrong:

Film: 300 / Müzik: "Just Like You Imagined" - Nine Inch Nails

Oyun: Doom 3 / Müzik: Bitiş müziği (Doom 3 theme)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Design that Matters

Design that Matters (DtM) mission:
Our mission is to create products that improve the services of social enterprises in developing countries. DtM leverages the skills and intellectual capital of hundreds of volunteers in academia and industry to create breakthrough solutions for communities in need.

(pdf) Implementation and Initial Assessment of the Design That Matters Program at MIT and other Universities:
DtM serves as the "institutional memory" ... to allow successive teams of students to build on each other's work.

In selecting problems to address, DtM relies on the
following basic selection criteria:
• Need: the design challenge meets a real need, something
that seriously affects the lives of thousands or even
millions of people.
• Scope: we can provide sufficient information and enough
focus to make the problem accessible to students in a
single semester. This may involve breaking a large
problem up into smaller component problems.
• Contacts: there exist community/stakeholder
representatives, NGO contacts and domain experts who
can answer questions and are willing and able to put the
student innovations to immediate use.
• Status: there are no existing, satisfactory solutions to this
problem, nor do any appear to be in development.

DtM specifically targets design challenges that assist
communities to exploit local resources in a sustainable fashion.

mp3: Craig Armstrong - Escape

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kitap: Becoming a Technical Leader

Etkin problem çözen bireylerin ve ekiplerin oluşturulması ile ilgili ipuçlarını anlatıyor Becoming a Technical Leader, Gerald M. Weinberg, 1986:
[p.22] Many children have never known the ecstasy of having one of their ideas heard, let alone used to solve a problem. After a while, they stop trying to work with ideas. Some of them grow up trying to stop others.

[p.29] More important than the clever idea is creating an environment where the right idea for solving the problem will be recognized when it comes along.

[p.40] In order to climb, you must leave the sure footing, letting go of what you already do well and possibly slipping downward into a ravine. If you never let go of what you already do well, you may continue to make steady progress, but you'll never get off the plateau.

[p.44] Instead of feeling anxious, defensive, and worthless, I felt excited, creative, and capable of coping with almost everything. To achieve this kind of metalearning, you have to survive the first ravine. Not everyone has sufficient motivation, or can take the emotional shock.

[p.65] The only way we can see ourselves is through other people.

[p.80] I don't know what you need to learn about yourself, and chances are you don't either. That's no excuse for not keeping a journal. In fact, it's the best reason to keep one.

[p.86] To anyone who isn't blinded by the threat/reward model, the world is overflowing with ideas. In fact, every mistake is a new idea, if seen by a mind prepared to use it.

[p.89] The emphasis on competition ... can create individuals who believe that it's desirable to be the smartest, and the emphasis on tests can inculcate the idea that there is one and only one right answer to everything.

[p.111] We tend to think that our messages are perfectly clear, but you can generally assume something will be lost in every reception. The same applies when you are on the receiving end. You never get exactly what was sent.

[p.125] When things don't go according to plan, only the adaptability of people can rescue the operation.

[p.127] If you are a leader, the people are your work. There is no other work worh doing.

[p.135] If people don't want your help, you'll never succeed in helping them, no matter how smart or wonderful you are.

[p.190] Encourage others to use facts and logic before changing their minds.

[p.190] Consesus teams may be slow when they first form, but tend to become superfast once team members get to know each other.

[p.201] Regarding people as if they were machines is another big obstacle to effective organization... when carried too far it leads to ever-expanding books of standards and procedures as the basis for organization; and as the books grow in precision, they diminish in effectiveness. Nobody ever takes the time to read them, let alone follow them. The leader who is busy organizing through written procedures and memos soon loses touch with the people who are supposed to be following them.

[p.204] In the most effective organizations, everyone is solving problems and making decisions, as required to get the job done.

[p.236] By and large, technical workers tend to be stronger on the planning side than the personality side ... That's why computer programmers are so happy working with their machines: Personality doesn't influence computers.

[p.236] If you really can't stand being tested, you should stay out of leadership roles.

[p.252] have to let them make mistakes. It's part of the price you pay, and it's more efficient in the long run.

[p.273] ...three questions [before taking the lead]: 1. Whay do I want to do this? 2. What assets do I have to contribute? 3. What liabilities do I bring?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who Rules America: Power at the local level

Who Rules America: Power at the local level:
...the residents of a city want the local government to spend a greater share of its budget on municipal services, social services, parks, and other amenities. But the growth coalitions want the lion's share of the money to go to physical infrastructure and anything else that aids growth. Once people are in the city, the growth coalitions do not worry much about them. Its members are very shortsighted if spans of decades are taken into consideration.

Academic Earth

Lectures graded by users: Academic Earth. Thanks to Arda

I just watched How to live given the certainty of death and I recommend it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gölcük 2

Bolu/Gölcük'e en son 2006 Eylül'ünde gitmiş, hep tekrar gitmek istemiştik. Kısmet bugüneymiş.

Sandviçlerimizi hazırlayıp termosa da çayımızı koyup düştük yola. Tabiatta mangala karşı olduğumu daha önce de söylemiştim. Ortalığın içine etmenin (tabiat kokusu yerine mangal kokusu hakimdi) yanısıra yükünüzü ve yapmanız gereken işi arttırıyor. Çevrenin tadını çıkaracağınıza, yemeğe konsantre olmak zorunda kalıyorsunuz. Gölcük yemek için bir dekor değil, yemek çabucak halledilmesi gereken bir angarya (annem bu yorumumdan hoşlanmayacaktır). Basit kaşarlı sandviçler yeterli. İki kişinin yükü, küçük bir sırt çantasını geçmemeli.

Hava serindi ve sis hakimdi. Gölü aheste tempoyla turladıktan sonra biraz da arabada kitap okuduk ve Ankara'ya döndük. Sonbaharda tekrar görüşmek üzere...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pasteurization vs Sterilization

Today I learned the difference (wikipedia):
Unlike sterilization, pasteurization is not intended to kill all pathogenic micro-organisms in the food or liquid. Instead, pasteurization aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause disease (assuming the pasteurization product is refrigerated and consumed before its expiration date). Commercial-scale sterilization of food is not common because it adversely affects the taste and quality of the product. Certain food products are processed to achieve the state of Commercial sterility.

Pasteurization typically uses temperatures below boiling since at temperatures above the boiling point for milk, casein micelles will irreversibly aggregate (or "curdle").

Bonus 1: Cloning ants
Mycocepurus smithii is the first known ant species to consist exclusively of females and to reproduce asexually. The species, which lives in South America, reproduces by cloning—all ants in a colony are clones of the queen.

Bonus 2: Cloned camel:
Injaz (Arabic: إنجاز‎, meaning "achievement"; born April 8, 2009) is a female dromedary camel, credited with being the world's first cloned camel.

Bonus 3: Ageing (Senescence)
Lately the role of telomeres in cellular senescence has aroused general interest, especially with a view to the possible genetically adverse effects of cloning. The successive shortening of the chromosomal telomeres with each cell cycle is also believed to limit the number of divisions of the cell, thus contributing to aging. There have, on the other hand, also been reports that cloning could alter the shortening of telomeres.

Cancer cells are usually immortal. This evasion of cellular senescence is the result, in about 85% of tumors, of up-activation of their telomerase genes. This simple observation suggests that reactivation of telomerases in healthy individuals could greatly increase their cancer risk.

Whether cell senescence plays any role in organismal aging is at present unknown, and is an active area of investigation.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menuet in A minor ve Varyasyon Videosu

Org derslerinde ulaştığım noktayı belgelemenin zamanıdır.

Orjinal Menuet in A minor (Youtube):

Benim varyasyonum:

Kitap: A Passion for Wisdom

İnsanlığın bugüne kadar ürettiği felsefenin tarihini 140 sayfada sunuyor A Passion for Wisdom - A very brief history of philosophy. Felsefeye genel hatları ile giriş için güzel bir eser. Bugün var olan çoğu temel sorunun binlerce yıldır tartışıldığını görmek öğrenmenin mutluluğu ile birlikte fazla yol alamamış olmanın hüznünü yaşatabiliyor.

Hayata bakışımın Aristotle (M.Ö. 384-322) (sayfa 42) ve aydınlanma dönemi (17-18. yüzyıl) (sayfa 80) ile benzerliklerini görüp şaşırdım. Nietzsche'nin dini yaklaşım ile ilgili eleştirileri (sayfa 107) aklıma dedemin yaşam tarzını getirdi (!) Simone de Beauvoir'un kişisel özgürlük ve sorumluluk konusundaki düşüncelerini (sayfa 125) kendime çok yakın buldum (bu düşünceye verdiğim isim "pırıltı felsefesi").

Kafamdaki bölük pörçük fikirlerin düzgün ifade edilmiş hallerini görmek faydalı oldu. Düşünmeyi seven ve insanlığın ortak aklından yararlanmak isteyen herkese tavsiye ederim. Bu tür felsefe kitapları ile birlikte evrim literatürünü de takip ederseniz hayatı anlayacak ve nasıl yaşanması gerektiği üzerine sağlam temellere sahip olacaksınız.
[p.ix]: The story of philosophy is the history of humanity's self-awareness and wonder with the world.

[p.3] Curiousity about nature, not just as a practical necessity but as genuine wonder, probably dates back to the Cro-Magnon.

[p.13] Philosophically, the idea of a single, all-powerful God implied universality, a single set of rules and beliefs that would apply not only in this or that region or city-state but everywhere and to everyone.

[p.23] Jewish law presumes the presence of an all-powerful God who both dictated the laws and sanctions them, while both the Greeks and the Chinese saw the sole end of ethics as the promotion of a harmonious society, quite apart from any external judge or law-giver.

[p.24] Love may be the answer, but its precondition is security backed up by force.

[p.27] The great physician Hippocrates (c. 460-370 B.C.E.) summed up the new consciousness of the age by saying, "Men think [a disease] divine merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things."

[p.36] has been famously noted that all of (Western) philosophy is nothing but a footnote to Plato.

[p.42] Happiness is not the life of pleasure, Aristotle argues. Some pleasures are degrading and humiliating, and, more important, pleasure is just an accompaniment to satisfying activity, not activity's end or goal. The good life is not defined by wealth, which is just a means to happiness, nor is it defined by honor, power and success, because such things depend on the whims of others. Happiness, properly understood, should be self-contained and complete in itself.

[p.46] Tribalism establishes an individual's identity and significance as a person only in the context of his or her family and community... an isolated individual lacking the concrete presence of intangible ties of kinship is understood as hopelessly lost or effectively dead.

[p.64] Abelard...believed, as do many philosphers today, that most theological and philosphical confusions are the result of confusions about language, about the meanings of words.

[p.67] The very idea of indulgences presupposed that human actions (whether the recitation of prayers or the giving of alms) could have an impact on one's salvation. In Luther's view, this idea was tantamount to the claim that one could bribe God or buy salvation.

[p.73-74] Descartes's philosophy...began with the demand that each of us establish for ourselves the truth of what we believe. To this end, he invented a radical method, "the method of doubt," in which he considered all of his beliefs suspicious until they could be proven to be justified.

[p.80] In place of sectarian battles that had bloodied the past several centuries, the Enlightment philosphers insisted on being "cosmopolitan" - being citizens of the world, ignoring national boundaries, rejecting sectarian affiliations. Their truths would be universal truths, not to be imposed on others but to be discovered independently by them.

[p.88] ...despite the booming thesis of Wealth of Nations, Smith believed that people are not essentially selfish or self-interested but are essentially social creatures who act out of sympathy and fellow-feeling for the good of society as a whole. A decent free-enterprise system would only be possible in the context of such a sciety.

[p.93] In order to persist in our commitment to morality, we need to believe that, ultimately, moral behaviour converges with happiness.

[p.107] Nietzsche applauded the ancient Greeks for their ethical outlook, which stressed the development of personal excellence and nobility, in contrast with what he saw as the Judeo-Christian obsession with sin, guilt, and otherworldy salvation... The person who essentially does nothing with his life but avoides "sin" might merit heaven, on the Christian view, while a creative person will probably be deemed "immoral" because he refuses to follow "the herd".

[p.109] Many of the European settlers had left Europe in search of religious freedom and tolerance, but (as so often happens) once they found it, they became less than tolerant themselves.

[p.112] Dewey's emphasis...was on practice, on the actual ways in which we learn to do things by doing them.

[p.125] Simone de Beauvoir...shared with Sartre this emphasis on freedom and on responsibility for what one is and "what one makes of what is made of one".

[p.126] Surprisingly few talk very much about the family, and interpersonal relationships in general play an embarrassingly minuscule role in the history of Western philosophy... Feminist philosophy challenges the entire Western tradition (and not only that tradition). While claiming to be universal and all-inclusive, philosophy has not even included or taken account of the woman next door.

[p.127] As the world gets smaller, there are growing concerns about the way cultural groups can and should live together. Philosophy should become a major intermediary in this process.

[p.128] Philosophy has always been representative of what is most human about us. Perhaps what we need is not more sophistication but more openness. We need to be not more clever but, rather, better listeners. What philosophy is, after all, is thoughtful openness to the world, a passion for wisdom.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yes we can

Fidan Dikme Sanatı

Nisan başında Derya'nın köyüne gidip fidan diktik (benim için bir ilk), temiz hava ve huzur teneffüs ettik. Fidan dikme işi bilmeyene zor. İşte işin incelikleri:

* Sekiz fidan diktik. Toplam 40 TL. Kiraz, vişne, armut, dut, elma, kaysı, 2 erik
* Çukur kazmak için "bel" kullanılır, "kürek" toprak atmak içindir. Ben "bel"i de kürek zannediyordum :*)

* Yaklaşık yarım metre derinliğinde ve çapında çukur kazılır.
* Aşı toprağın üstünde kalacak ve güneye bakacak

* Fidanın dibine önce yanmış (yüzeydeki güneş görmüş) toprak atılıyor. Yanmış toprak daha besleyici imiş

* Toprak arada tepelenip sıklaştırılır. Köklerin kıvrık değil de uzunlamasına durması için fidan hafif yukarı çekilip sonra tekrar toprak tepelenir

* Fidana atılan toprakta canlı ot olmamasına dikkat edilir.
* Suyun fidan etrafında toplanabilmesi için fidanın etrafında göllenme bölgesi (bu çok bilmiş tabiri ben uydurdum) oluşturulur

* Bir bidon türkü söyleye söyleye can suyu dökülür

* Bel ve küreğin üzerindeki artıklar kazınır

Fidan dikmede bize yardım eden (işin tamamını yapan demek daha doğru) Bayram amcaya ve Hamit dayıya teşekkür ederiz.

Which image file format to use, JPEG or PNG?

When I deal with images, I almost always use either JPEG or PNG. JPEG is good for pictures with a lot of colors like photographs. PNG is much better if you have limited colors like screen captures of a program or plot.

I use plots/screen captures that rarely have more than 256 colors in my reports all the time. I save them as PNG's because the picture will be clearer (PNG uses lossless compression) and the file size will be smaller than JPEG. The following plot saved as PNG takes 3KB of space while the JPEG takes 8KB:

This photograph, however, takes 321 KB in PNG and only 51 KB in JPEG:

Moral of the story: Use PNG for plots and screen captures, JPEG for photographs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gelir Dağılımı

Derya ile bu akşamki sohbet konumuz insanlara ödenecek ücretlerin nasıl belirlenmesi gerektiği idi. Her işin kendisine göre faydaları/zorlukları vardı ve bir işin diğer işten üstünlüğünü belirlemek kolay değildi. Bir uçta ücret konusunu tamamen serbest piyasaya bırakmak var, diğer uçta ise herkese ne iş yaptığına bakmaksızın aynı ücreti vermek.

İşi serbest piyasaya bırakabilir ve ücretleri arz talebe göre şekillendirebiliriz. Kötü işlerde ucuza çalışmak zorunda kalanlar için "ne yapalım, onlar da okusalardı canım" deyip vicdani yükümüzden kurtulmayı deneyebiliriz. Sorun insanların kaderlerinin sadece kendi ellerinde olmaması... Hayata kimin çocuğu olarak başladığınız, hangi şehirde büyüdüğünüz gibi çok sayıda etken geleceğinizi önemli ölçüde belirliyor. Aklınız başınıza geldiğinde fırsatlar kaçmış olabilir. Tesadüf bu ya bu sabah bir minibüsün arkasında şu yazıyı gördüm:
Demir tava geldi, kömür tükendi
Akıl başa geldi, ömür tükendi
Bir çözüm, devletin / hayırseverlerin parasız yatılı okullar benzeri uygulamalarla hayata kötü bir noktadan başlangıç yapanlara yardım etmesi olabilir. Çocuklara özellikle görgü ve düşünme becerisi kazandırmak önemli. Teknik bilgiyi öğrenmek kolay, nasıl yaşanacağını öğrenmek ise meşakkatli, hele de böylesine hızlı değişen zamanlarda.

Diğer uç olan herkese aynı ücreti vermek ise işini iyi yapma insiyatifini yok edebilir, insanların vasat performans sergilemesine, kaynakların çar-çur edilmesine neden olabilir. Maslow piramidinin tepesindeki insan miktarı kritik kütleye ulaşana kadar uygulanması zor. Ancak open source, google ve Barack gibi örnekler ümitvar olmamızı sağlıyor.

Velhasılı kafamız başladığımız noktadan daha karışık halde sohbeti bitirdik çünkü saat gece 11 olmuştu, alışveriş poşetlerinin içindekiler hala dolaplara yerleştirilmeyi bekliyordu. Ama olsundu, ödül yolculuğun kendisi idi ;)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Browser Comparison

I use both Google Chrome and IE8. Here is a short comparison about features that I use most:

* Chrome's menu bars take less screen space. IE8 uses one row more:

* Each new tab in google chrome starts with the most used sites list while IE8 can only be configured to show your home page:

* In blogger when I use the "insert link" button, Chrome displays the window without the "http//" being selected. You have to delete it before you paste your copied link. IE8 first asks that annoying " here to allow scripted windows", then you have click again but it diplays the link window with the "http://" part selected (Update April 23: I downloaded Chrome 2 beta, problem solved):

* If you have multiple tabs open and accidentally close the browser window, Chrome does not warn you while IE8 asks you if you are sure (which is a good thing). I hope the Chrome guys will add this feature. But you can tell Chrome to open the last session automatically the next time you launch Chrome. Go to Options / Basics and select "Restore the pages that were open last". This should come as default.

Result: I like Chrome better.

For tips see The Power User's Guide to Google Chrome