It’s a grey and rather dreary day here in Ithaca, NY (though it was quite bright and pleasant yesterday). I’ve been reading a lot more lately (since I essentially quit watching TV). I got through a lot this week, but I still have a lot to keep me busy on cold rainy days like this. Here’s a quick selection of my reading for this week:
Around the Web
Personally, I love open source. I love having access to use lots of great code and I enjoy contributing back and releasing my own work. However, I’m very aware that in many ways I’m exceptionally lucky: I have a stable job that lets me (in fact, encourages me) to open source and release my code to the public. At the same time, I know lots of people who don’t have the incentives or the opportunity to release open source code, even though they’re good engineers and most companies would hire them in a heartbeat. This is a long article that takes a good look at the expectations of open source development (and the role of particular services like GitHub) in the broader software culture.
I’ve always been intrigued by polymaths and the ideal of the Renaissance Man. While the sum of human knowledge (and capabilities) is too great for anyone to be a master of all of it, I think that we would do well to remember that specialization for insects, and that humans are very versatile, adaptable creatures. However, modern society seems to incessantly push us towards specialization and narrowness. If we are to unlock our human potential, then we have to take the initiative ourselves.
Academia and industry have always had a somewhat begrudgingly respectful appreciation of each other. But what happens when the skills that are increasingly necessary to do good research and make discoveries are rewarded by industry but academia is a little slow on the uptake?