Tuesday, 31.12.2019 – Things That Are Accidentally Turing-Complete

Link of the day: List of Things that are Accidentally Turing-Complete

A machine that is Turing-complete can in principle execute every conceivable computer program (I leave the detailed explanation to Wikipedia). Some things are designed to be Turing-complete (programming languages), others are not (Pokemon Yellow Edition, Super Mario, MS PowerPoint). And the latter are decisively more funny. Check it out, if you’re interested. Also look at this hilarious 5min video of someone programming software with PowerPoint!

Monday, 30.12.2019 – Maximize Your Blessing

Link of the day: Maximally Efficient Blessings

You want to do your job as a priest as efficiently as possible? Maybe you should do as a priest in Lousiana did and use a crop duster plane to spread the holy water across an entire community.

Favorite quotes: “We can bless more area in a shorter amount of time” and “Before taking off on its holy mission, the crop duster was cleaned out of pesticides.”


36C3 Video Recommendations

I had the great pleasure to attend the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) in Leipzig. Over 4 days, speakers gave very interesting and often quite entertaining talks. Here are the talks that I can recommend (and also some that I still want to watch). For the talks in German, there usually is an English version as well, just look for it on youtube. I will update this post once I have seen more of the talks.

Talks I can definitely


Sunday, 29.12.2019 – Cost Effectiveness of Surgery in Low and Middle Income Countries

Link of the day: Cost Effectiveness of Surgery in Low and Middle Income Countries

This paper reviews the cost effectiveness of different surgical procedures in a Global Health context. It suggests that many interventions like circumcision or cleft lip and palate repair are very cost efficient in lower income countries. If you’re interested in Global Health, this might be interesting to you.

Saturday, 28.12.2019 – Computing with Light: A Neural Network in A Piece of Glass

Link of the day: A Neural Network in a Piece of Glass

Usually, we conceptualize neural nets as a piece of software running on a computer. A group of researchers now used a block of glass as a neural network. You don’t need any electricity or anything else to power it. Simple shine a number from one to ten on it and the glass will output the correct number with 80% accuracy. The researchers are currently working on improving the … more

Does Christmas Harm the Economy?

Every year, billions of dollars get spent on Christmas presents. But, economists argue, this does not increase the overall amount of spending, it just shifts it towards something else. If you would not have bought these presents, you would have bought something else. Maybe you should have invested the money in something useful instead of buying something for your mother-in-law whom you maybe don’t even really like? As a rule of thumb, buying presents for someone else is much more … more

Thursday, 26.12.2019 – How Mosquitoes Changed Everything

Link of the day: How Mosquitoes Changed Everything

The article reviews the book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator. In it the author argues that mosquitoes were a defining factor in many of the world’s great historical developments: the rise and fall of the Greek and Roman empires, the colonization of the Americas and many more. Mosquitoes probably were one of the main factors that explain how the Spanish brought so much havoc to South America. … more

The Donation Matching Fund

On December 26, 2019 I started the Donation Matching Fund (DMF). The purpose of this fund is to encourage donations to effective charities by offering to match any donation with a rate between 1% to 125% (as chosen to by the donor). The fund specifically emphasizes donating to charities affiliated with the Effective Altruism community. As an alternative to donating directly, donors can give money to the fund in order to encourage future donations. 100% of the money given … more