True Leadership is Sacrifice, Not Privilege >

Desiring God blog:

Christian leadership — in the home, the church, and elsewhere — is not for those clawing for honor and recognition, but for those most ready to fall to their knees and be inconvenienced by the needs of others. They are those who, in a sense, have their house sufficiently in order to be able to turn their attention to serving others. Instead of pursuing their own immediate benefit, they are willing to sacrifice for others’ benefit.

Like the Son of Man, we lead not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). We die to self so that others might live.

16 Ways to Design a Better City Intersection

If you think the only purpose of intersections is to move cars past each other, you solve problems like a plumber: with bigger pipes. But wide, barren streets full of traffic don’t make a livable city. One solution would be nothing. No lights, no curbs, no sidewalks—just colored pavers. It works. Accidents decline, traffic slows, and property values rise. “You’ll never do as good a job as two ­people using body language and eye contact,” says Sam Goater, a senior associate at the Project for Public Spaces. But don’t rip out the infrastructure just yet. Urban designers have a good set of tricks to turn a city intersection into something more like a plaza and less like a freeway interchange. Cars pass, people walk, bikers bike, and everyone’s lives flow more smoothly.

​City Planners around the world are taking up the challenge to make their cities more liveable.

20 years from now a lot of cities are going to be very different from how they are now.

Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

Climate scientists agree that humanity is about to cause an equal or greater rise in sea level, but they have tended to assume that such a large increase would take centuries, at least. The new paper argues that it could happen far more rapidly, with the worst case being several feet of sea-level rise over the next 50 years, followed by increases so precipitous that they would force humanity to beat a hasty retreat from the coasts.

​I really don’t know how to process news like this. 

It’s depressing because I don’t know what I can do about it (save physically moving myself and my family to a city at a higher elevation). I want to do something but my options are limited. 

At the same time I feel defeated knowing that no matter what people do the world is going to change. 

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

Cursive or not, the benefits of writing by hand extend beyond childhood. For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information. Not only do we learn letters better when we commit them to memory through writing, memory and learning ability in general may benefit.

Two psychologists, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, have reported that in both laboratory settings and real-world classrooms, students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard. Contrary to earlier studies attributing the difference to the distracting effects of computers, the new research suggests that writing by hand allows the student to process a lecture’s contents and reframe it — a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding.

I’m a big believer in writing things by hand. Most of my childhood was spent doodling and writing. Can’t imagine a world without that!

But does this really affect the way we think? Only time will tell as the internet generation of kids grows up.

KFC recipe challenge: Tribune kitchen puts the 11 herbs and spices to the test

Countless recipes have been tried out in the Tribune test kitchen but never one quite like this.

Our mission: find out if 11 ingredients handwritten on a piece of paper could be the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that go into Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe — a closely guarded formula that remains one of the world’s biggest culinary mysteries.

The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal.

We wanted to see — make that taste — for ourselves. So we put it to the test.

Sounds legit… one day I’ll get round to trying this.

We Need to Save the Internet from the Internet of Things

Distributed denial-of-service attacks are a family of attacks that cause websites and other internet-connected systems to crash by overloading them with traffic. The “distributed” part means that other insecure computers on the internet—sometimes in the millions—are recruited to a botnet to unwittingly participate in the attack. The tactics are decades old; DDoS attacks are perpetrated by lone hackers trying to be annoying, criminals trying to extort money, and governments testing their tactics. There are defenses, and there are companies that offer DDoS mitigation services for hire.

Basically, it’s a size vs. size game. If the attackers can cobble together a fire hose of data bigger than the defender’s capability to cope with, they win. If the defenders can increase their capability in the face of attack, they win.

​> What this all means is that the IoT will remain insecure unless government steps in and fixes the problem. When we have market failures, government is the only solution. The government could impose security regulations on IoT manufacturers, forcing them to make their devices secure even though their customers don’t care. They could impose liabilities on manufacturers, allowing people like Brian Krebs to sue them. Any of these would raise the cost of insecurity and give companies incentives to spend money making their devices secure.

Even worse, most of these devices don’t have any way to be patched. Even though the source code to the botnet that attacked Krebs has been made public, we can’t update the affected devices. Microsoft delivers security patches to your computer once a month. Apple does it just as regularly, but not on a fixed schedule. But the only way for you to update the firmware in your home router is to throw it away and buy a new one.

​If this is true we are in for some very ‘exciting’ times with regards to cyber crimes. 

Searching for clues to an heir in Bukit Brown >

The search for Madam Wan’s descendants has included tombstone inspections at the Bukit Brown cemetery, a listing on the Government Gazette and a newspaper advertisement last month.

Mr Lee and Mr Goh will do a further search of court records and then approach the High Court for an order to distribute the money among those who come forward by Jan 1.

​This is a bit of a personal anedcote as my great grandfather’s tomb is one of the featured tombstones in the article. 

My relatives did file a claim but it got rejected because they weren’t considered to be related closely enough. 

Why Tokyo Is Home to So Many Cyclists But So Few Bike Lanes >

The Japanese have a strong communal culture, generally speaking. But when it comes to bikes in cities, there’s a self-fulfilling cycle of tolerance that occurs: as more people ride bikes, more people become sensitive to the needs of bike riders. So it’s not uncommon to find bikes left unlocked on the streets in Tokyo. And whereas riding on the sidewalk is seen as taboo in Western cities, Baur points out that it’s a regular habit in the city.

​I recently spoke to a 75 year old colleague who’d just returned from a holiday in Japan where he went cycling. He said that, even while cycling on the road, never once did he feel threatened by cars.

This is one of the fascinating things about Japanese culture that’s hard to export. And since human nature is hard to change unfortunately that means having to pay for segregated cycling paths.

Maybe one day Singapore will get there.