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Allan Olley
27 November 2016 @ 01:59 pm
This started as a Facebook link post, but as it went on I figured it made more sense as a blog post. I am reacting to this opinion column from back in October. Although some of these thoughts have been stewing longer. I meant to post this some time ago about the idea that filter bubbles and echo chambers of search engines and social media may be overstated that we mostly read the same news story etc.

I can well believe that the most powerful filter on our perceptions is the one between our ears, so that we see or hear the same things and take away radically different things. I experience this occassionally.
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Really we need to do an experiment where we get people to use a set of nerfed Search Engines (with a secret non-nerfed Engine) for a couple of weeks and see whether they can figure out which ones we nerfed just by the results they get in searches they were doing anyway as part of life. I suspect people would be highly sensitive to sub-optimal search, which might indicate a limit on the effect of filter bubbles.
 
 
Current Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Current Mood: quizical
 
 
Allan Olley
01 October 2016 @ 07:04 pm
Back in August I bought the book MAD About the Fifties. I was on my way to my Monday evening dinner group. One of my fellow dinners who grew up in the 1950s opined that MAD's mascot the famous Alfred E. Neuman was inspired by the Gay Philosopher a piece of art depicting a smiling curious man and sometimes accompanied by the phrase "Why Worry", which parallels Neuman's motto of "What - Me Worry?" Read more...Collapse )
 
 
Allan Olley
15 June 2016 @ 09:32 am
I sent another letter to the editor to the Globe and Mail that got published.
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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
Allan Olley
01 September 2015 @ 03:22 pm
From the Abacus to the Smartphone is an interesting little book (100 pages in total including titles and other blank pages). It seeks to lay out the various attempts and successes in making the computer a portable device. It also indicates how the nature of this goal has changed over the course of various technological revolutions. After a brief prelude before the modern computer, the story begins with the DYSEAC vacuum tube computer made portable by mounting the apparatus on two flatbed trucks and continues the story to the current smartphone revolution.Read more...Collapse )
 
 
Allan Olley
07 July 2015 @ 12:08 pm
So I managed to get another letter printed by the Globe and Mail here. It was in response to this comment piece.

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Current Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
 
Allan Olley
I should have written this post a long time ago. This is sort of about the current Ontario election in that it frames my lack of faith in all parties and to a lesser extent the electorate. I wish I had something positive to say or do. WE CAN DO BETTER!

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Current Location: Oakville, Ontario
Current Mood: fowl
 
 
Allan Olley
I am doing the ride for heart again, for the ninth time. I began participating in 2006 in honour of Kiran van Rijn, my friend and fellow student at the IHPSTS, who died at the age of 29 of a heart attack, September 21st, 2005.
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So if you are interested check out my donation page here
 
 
Allan Olley
18 September 2013 @ 11:49 pm
My friend Mike put a link to this story about a middle-class white family in South Africa moving into a black slum for a month and there was much response on Facebook. Mike was unconvinced there was much merit to the criticism these people received and other people chimed in to suggest why it was problematic. Having now read the article I can see Mike's point as little harm seems to have been done and the family that moved into the slum seems to have acted in good faith. However I also see that the criticisms have some bite. I was just going to respond to his post, but this got way too long too fast.

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Current Location: Oakville, Ontario
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
 
 
Allan Olley
02 June 2012 @ 01:16 am
I am posting again (having spent 3 years not during which time I got a PhD, became an unemployed/independent scholar and made lots of facebook posts), recently I had a chance to comment on something even less common than my livejournal posts, the Transit of Venus. I wrote up some historical notes for the University of Toronto's Scientific Instrument Collection (UTSIC) exhibition on the Transit of Venus. Only parts of this were used in the actual exhibit, so here get the unabridged notes. The next Transit of Venus is on Tuesday, June 5th, after that you will need to wait until 2117. Click into the full entry to see the poster information and associated pictures (with text).

One final note there was a workshop on the history and science of the Transit of Venus on April 28th coinciding with the UTSIC opening. Full videos of the talks are available on UTSIC's Youtube channel.

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Also, I am doing the Ride for Heart again on Sunday, here is my sponsorship page.
 
 
Current Location: Oakville, Ontario
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: the Planets
 
 
Allan Olley
Hey all. Just wanted to announce that my choir the Hart House Singers has its concert tomorrow (Sunday 26th of July). As I may have mentioned for the past year I have not only been a singer in the choir, but also the webmaster for the site.

It should be a fun show we are doing a great many folk songs from various places.

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Current Location: Oakville, Ontario
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones