Home > musing > Tweenage angst, RSS feeds, and upcoming talks

Tweenage angst, RSS feeds, and upcoming talks

April 8, 2013

Tweenage angst

Do you remember when you were just entering puberty, and absolutely everything was embarrassing? Even your mere existence twisted you in agony?

Well, I just brought my nearly-11-year-old and just-barely-13-year-old sons to their yearly checkups, and let me tell you, it’s painful to be within 10 feet of such exquisite awkwardness: how can you poke and prod this body to some universal understanding of science if I don’t even know its functions or potential grace? If I can’t even imagine it ever being graceful??

RSS feeds

I deleted a post (“Papers I’ve been reading lately”) which had some offending unknown characters that WordPress couldn’t handle, and most people can now read mathbabe again on their readers, except for some reason for people who read mathbabe via WordPress itself. My advice to those people: start using some other reader. Maybe feedly?

Upcoming talks

I’m giving three talks in the next two weeks.

  1. The first one is this Thursday at the Cornell math department, where I’m once again talking about Weapons of Math Destruction.
  2. The second one is in Emanuel Derman’s Financial Engineering Practitioner’s Seminar next Monday at Columbia, where I’ll talk about recommendation systems and MapReduce, taking material from Doing Data Science, specifically the chapters contributed by Matt Gattis and David Crawshaw.
  3. Finally, I’ll be giving the NYC Machine Learning Meetup next Thursday. The announcement of this is going to be posted some time later this morning is now up, and the content will be similar to the Columbia talk.
Categories: musing
  1. April 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I think I want a new reader. I’m looking a feedly and getting paranoid. They seem to want a Google username and password to sign up. There seems to be no other obvious way to get a feedly account. They make it look like you are signing into gmail and not really giving your Google username and password to feedly. Why am I having these “trust” issues? Why have 3 million people switched from Google Reader to feedly?

    As with a lot of “free” software, I’m not comfortable with this transaction because I don’t understand what they are getting and what I’m giving up. Do they get a free peek at all my old e-mails and whatever else Google knows about me?

    Maybe I don’t really want a new reader.


  2. April 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Hey Greg,
    I can’t swear that the Feedly folks didn’t do something evil, but they’re probably just using the logon infrastructure provided by Google to anyone that wants it and described here:


    As for everyone switching to feedly, Google has announced that they’re shutting down their reader. To answer your question about what they get to see, they never no your password, and only see a minimal number of things about you. Look in section 3 of the following for a few more details



    • April 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks Hamilton. Your info is helpful and I’m a little less paranoid about feedly.

      If relatively unknown sites start using Google’s login infrastructure in place of their own, how is a user supposed to know the difference between a legitimate login and a fake screen that’s getting a Google account and password? When working with unknown sites promising useful services, I’m willing to risk setting up a separate account and abandoning it if they turn out to be evil. The potential harm seems minimal, especially if I’m not giving away identifiable information.

      When an unknown site asks for my google username and password, it raises a massive red flag for me. I’ve learned never to give out passwords and have seen the results for those who are unwittingly duped into doing so. I don’t give out credit card info over the phone unless I’ve initiated the call for the same reason. It’s just not safe sex.

      Why does Google think this is a good idea? Seems they have lots to lose and not much to gain…..unless they are really evil.

      The login infrastructure is seemingly an open invitation to fraud and abuse. Not ready for prime time in my view.


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