Five short links

Picture by Hideji Terada

Locksmiths and perception of value – If you don't understand what somebody's doing, then you judge them on how hard they make their job look. In software engineering I used to think of this as the acrobats vs gymnasts problem. Some programmers put on a massive performance to make the most pedestrian feats look as impressive as possible, like acrobats at the circus. Often the best engineers make the miraculous look easy, like Olympic gymnasts. If you're not careful as a manager, you'll reward the acrobats and neglect the gymnasts.

Glitch art – I've always found the random results of computer errors compelling and thought-provoking on a visual level, ever since I was old enough to wave a magnet near my CRT TV.

The wonder of the universe – I failed to realize how much the estimate of the number of stars in the universe has grown in the last couple of decades. "200 sextillion stars, a 2 followed by 23 zeroes" is the latest, which has to be good news for Drake's equation, even if almost all of them are out-of-reach.

Some problems with Mexican mortality – Another great piece from Diego, showing that the victims of the Acteal Massacre were listed as 'accidental deaths' in the government statistics. A good reminder that we often accept numbers as hard facts, when you always need to know the rigor of the process that produced them to judge.

SchoolView – The interface is a bit tricky to navigate at first, but once you're in this is actually a compelling visualization of schools' quality across Colorado. Even more impressively, this is from the public sector, using Oracle fusion, according to a page I don't think they realize they're exposing.

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