Brett Szmajda

2 Followers | 6 Following


Brett Szmajda

42 days ago

Some fantastic stuff in here.

This is what the best of data journalism looks like

Brett Szmajda

96 days ago


Science is a frustrating, iterative process. When we communicate it, we need to get beyond the idea that a single, stunning study ought to last the test of time.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud.

Brett Szmajda

140 days ago

Atul Gawande - a doctor himself - talks about how to scale healthcare up, using the metaphor of a restaurant chain. A great read.

Big Med

Brett Szmajda

167 days ago

Unexpectedly fascinating. By sifting through reams of routine bureaucratic paperwork left behind when cities fell, the NY Times pulls together how ISIS was funded... and it’s not what anyone expected.

The ISIS Files: When Terrorists Run City Hall

Brett Szmajda

174 days ago

Phenomenal article. Also, gross.

When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home

Brett Szmajda

176 days ago

Love this.

Yet this uprising of the young against the ossified, monolithic power of the National Rifle Association has reminded me that the flaws of youth — its ignorance, naïveté and passionate, Manichaean idealism — are also its strengths. Young people have only just learned that the world is an unfair hierarchy of cruelty and greed, and it still shocks and outrages them. They don’t understand how vast and intractable the forces that have shaped this world really are and still think they can change it. Revolutions have always been driven by the young.

Go Ahead, Millennials, Destroy Us

Brett Szmajda

206 days ago

One must wonder how many such strident calls to action are needed before any action occurs.

When Will The Planet Be Too Hot For Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine.

Brett Szmajda

210 days ago

An interesting read. It's certainly true that the level of competition is getting so intense that even quality candidates are bouncing out of the system nowadays. I can't say that this story resonated with me personally -- I made peace with my choice long before I left academia, and I'm certainly happy now -- but I definitely see people in my work going through the loss that this writer feels.

Why Everybody Loses When Someone Leaves Academe

Brett Szmajda

227 days ago

Seems appropriate that on the morning of the successful Falcon Heavy launch I was reading this. A fantastic read from a couple years back, excerpted from a bio about Musk:

Elon Musk’s Space Dream Almost Killed Tesla

Brett Szmajda

240 days ago

If you’re confused about the whole Bitcoin/cryptocurrency mania going on right now, or wondering about the murmurs about blockchain being The Next Big Thing: this article is a fantastic and accessible primer. Worth your time.

The paradox about Bitcoin is that it may well turn out to be a genuinely revolutionary breakthrough and at the same time a colossal failure as a currency.

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble

Brett Szmajda

246 days ago

One of those articles that found me at exactly the right moment, as I’m being loaded up with responsibilities. A great reminder

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

Help Your Team Stop Overcommitting by Empowering Them to Say No

Brett Szmajda

248 days ago

Pulitzer Prize, here we come

Why The Rock Is Beyoncé for Boys

Brett Szmajda

248 days ago

The brain just doesn’t stop throwing out surprises, does it?

Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Brett Szmajda

250 days ago

A compelling read about an alien world: the fish markets of Japan.

What the Japanese buying agent determines by his quick and practiced analysis of that sliver of tail is an indication of the tuna's inner color, its oil content, and the presence, if any, of parasitic disease. A smooth-grained and marbled tail is a prime indication of quality. The richness of the tuna's lipid content, its fat, can be gauged by how slippery the slice of tail feels between the fingers. Pockmarks reveal parasites. It's a complex diagnostic method that is mastered only with years of practice. The overall form and color of the tuna are also quickly assessed at the same time. The ideal of these qualities, inner and outer—the word for this ideal is kata—is also a bit of a mystery to outsiders.

If You Knew Sushi

Brett Szmajda

253 days ago

I was recently bemoaning the demise of the album in favour of the playlist. Perhaps I just need to find better influencers to follow online.

In 2018, I want to find new music without using algorithms

Brett Szmajda

258 days ago

Pretty cool. A cartographer who worked on Apple Maps talks about how far ahead Google is with their mapping, and why that’s unlikely to change.

P.S. image-heavy, view on original webpage

Google Maps’s Moat

Brett Szmajda

282 days ago

A considered article with a surprising twist in the tail.

For the Good of Society — and Traffic! — Delete Your Map App

Brett Szmajda

285 days ago

Awesome to know that people like this exist.

@MosulEye: The blogger and historian reveals his identity

Brett Szmajda

309 days ago

An important one for people to know before they share data with Facebook (or any other social network, for that matter).

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

Brett Szmajda

323 days ago

Great portrait of Buzz Aldrin. Explores how a man can live with the spectre of one achievement always hanging over him. Insightful, and more than a little sad.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Brett Szmajda

328 days ago

Reinforcing yet again how weird biology is.

Building A House, Building a Cell

Brett Szmajda

331 days ago

A think tank sends researchers to understand the values of middle America, with the goal of finding common ground. They find anything but. A brilliant, if concerning read.

On Safari in Trump's America

Brett Szmajda

333 days ago

A nice profile of Google X, and the hard thing about trying to do hard things 😊

Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity

Brett Szmajda

334 days ago

Keep speaking out, ladies. Some of us are listening, and invested in seeing change. #IHearYou

The Raw Power of #MeToo

Brett Szmajda

334 days ago

A great read on parenting children to become mature, self-reliant adults.

Nine Skills Worth Teaching Your Children to Build Personal and Financial Independence

Brett Szmajda

341 days ago

Say whaaaaaat? OK this is freaking awesome

Another technique is based on some beautiful work by William Freeman and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who showed how if you magnify really small changes in a video of a person, you can see subtle changes in the colours in their face that correspond to their pulse rate. We showed that you can use this to distinguish real people from computer-generated people.

The scientist who spots fake videos

Brett Szmajda

344 days ago

Fascinating read for anyone interested in the brain.

Diary of a concussion

Brett Szmajda

347 days ago

A great read. Underscores the importance of rigorous design and a rethinking of the paradigm of software engineering; particularly since software now underpins so many aspects of daily life, from routing 911 calls to controlling cars.

The Coming Software Apocalypse

Brett Szmajda

349 days ago

For all the creatives in my life who struggle with self-doubt.

My 150 Writing Mentors and Me

Brett Szmajda

361 days ago

Great speech, and a worthy topic for debate.

Yes, we disagree constantly. But what makes our disagreements so toxic is that we refuse to make eye contact with our opponents, or try to see things as they might, or find some middle ground.

Instead, we fight each other from the safe distance of our separate islands of ideology and identity and listen intently to echoes of ourselves. We take exaggerated and histrionic offense to whatever is said about us. We banish entire lines of thought and attempt to excommunicate all manner of people — your humble speaker included — without giving them so much as a cursory hearing.

The Dying Art of Disagreement

Brett Szmajda

361 days ago

A brilliant article covering not only a pivotal scientific discovery, but also a chef's tour of much of cosmology. If that wasn't hard enough, it manages to also work in poetic phrases like: "Science owes its epistemological gravitas to its stern insistence that every idea faces the firing squad of experiment."

Settle in with a coffee, this one is a treat.

In the beginning

Brett Szmajda

362 days ago

Brilliant (and necessary!) research. And the pictures alongside this article are jaw-dropping.

This Tiny Country Feeds the World

Brett Szmajda

364 days ago

The revolution that ain't. Like in many things, science fiction is further away than it seems. Reality has a lot to answer for

IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close

Brett Szmajda

366 days ago

Great read about an inspiring CEO.

Satya Nadella Rewrites Microsoft’s Code

Brett Szmajda

382 days ago

Good article and I love this quote particularly.

“Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

You’ll Never Be Famous — And That’s O.K.

Brett Szmajda

387 days ago

An unexpectedly moving article, especially given its publication on a site where I go for my tech news.

This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same

Brett Szmajda

391 days ago

Great read.

most of Damore’s memo seems to be talking about preferences, which is to say, rather than innate skill he means what women would rather be doing versus what men would rather be doing. In fact, one recurring finding in sex difference research is that in cultures seen as more egalitarian, differences in preferences between men and women become more pronounced. With more opportunity, says one hypothesis, men and women are more likely to follow their respective blisses.

The Actual Science of James Damore’s Google Memo

Brett Szmajda

397 days ago

Interesting insight here.

Had Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen been able to post YouTube videos of the horrific and pointless slaughter on the western front in World War 1, the British public would have sued for peace. In a democracy, with a free media, the horrors of war are a hard sell

Why the World’s Biggest Military Keeps Losing Wars

Brett Szmajda

398 days ago

Wow, what a read. An inspiring and encouraging story of an unlikely partnership. Pour yourself a coffee and settle in, because you'll have a hard time pulling yourself away from this one.

Like Something the Lord Made

Brett Szmajda

398 days ago

A very cool photojournalism assignment -- document the life and times in Australia's Outback. View on a big screen, some gorgeous pics.

Through the Outback

Brett Szmajda

398 days ago

A great primer on the court case that condemned Google's book-scanning operations to the dustbin of history.

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

Brett Szmajda

404 days ago

Well that's depressing.

You Won’t Finish This Article

Brett Szmajda

414 days ago

This is fascinating, important, and terrifying.

Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House

Brett Szmajda

416 days ago

Super interesting read - how the Dutch are using their years of experience to become ambassadors for climate change preparation.

The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

Brett Szmajda

423 days ago

And part two of the primer on anonymous sources, namely which ones are more trustworthy than others. A good read.

Which Anonymous Sources Are Worth Paying Attention To?

Brett Szmajda

424 days ago

A good primer on reading the news from Washington critically.

When To Trust A Story That Uses Unnamed Sources

Brett Szmajda

442 days ago

A good read about... reading!

What does it mean for a journalist today to be a Serious Reader?

Brett Szmajda

465 days ago


The Liver: A ‘Blob’ That Runs the Body

Brett Szmajda

480 days ago

Takes a bit to get to the data, but there is some interesting stuff in here.

Trump, fake news, and shrinking newsrooms: does journalism still matter in 2017?

Brett Szmajda

487 days ago

A very good read about some characters that have recently been thrust centre-stage.

What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey

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