Since version 10.5 “Leopard”, Mac OS X has had DTrace, a tool used for performance analysis and troubleshooting. It provides data for Apple’s Instruments tool, as well as a collection of command line tools that are implemented as DTrace scripts. I’m familiar with the latter as I wrote the originals for the DTraceToolkit, which Apple then customized and enhanced for Mac OS X where they are shipped by default (great!). I use them regularly to answer this question:

why is my MacBook slow?

I work in an office where everyone has MacBook Pros, and “why is my MacBook slow?” is a common question. Applications can become slow or unresponsive while waiting for CPU work, memory requests or disk I/O to complete.

via Brendan's blog » Top 10 DTrace scripts for Mac OS X.

unreasonable reason

“Why," she asks me, "are the followers of reason so unreasonable?"

As Warsi was on her way to catch her flight to Rome she heard Dawkins, the supreme prophet of neo-atheism, on Radio 4's Today programme. He was attempting to celebrate a survey that proved, at least to his satisfaction, that supposedly Christian Britain was a fraud. People who said they were Christians did not go to church and knew little of the faith. Giles Fraser, a priest of the Church of England, then challenged Dawkins to give the full title of Darwin's Origin of Species. Falling into confusion, he failed. Fraser's point was that Dawkins was therefore, by his own criterion, not a Darwinian. Becoming even more confused, Dawkins exclaimed in his response: "Oh, God!"

“Immediately he was out of control, he said, 'Oh, God!'" Warsi recalls, "so even the most self-confessed secular fundamentalist at this moment of need needed to turn to the Almighty. It kind of defeats his own argument that only people who go to church have a faith."

De Botton finds Dawkins a psychologically troubling figure.

“He has taken a very strange position. He's unusual, in that he came from an elite British Anglican family with all its privileges and then he had this extraordinary career, and now he stands at the head of what can really be called a cult . . . I think what happened was that he has been frightened by the militancy of religious people he has met on his travels and it has driven him to the other side.

“It smacks of a sort of psychological collapse in him, a collapse in those resources of maturity that would keep someone on an even keel. There is what psychoanalysts would call a deep rigidity in him."

via New Statesman - The God wars.

social quants

On a recent winter’s afternoon, nine computer science students were sitting around a conference table in the engineering faculty at University College London. The room was strip-lit, unadorned, and windowless. On the wall, a formerly white whiteboard was a dirty cloud, tormented by the weight of technical scribblings and rubbings-out upon it. A poster in the corner described the importance of having a heterogenous experimental network, or Hen.MoreON THIS STORYNascar nationPeter Aspden Cary FukunagaWhat Eve Arnold sawWatch out, ObamaCalled to the barON THIS TOPICComment UK must stay open to foreign studentsIN FT MAGAZINEThe Inventory Ann WiddecombeThe naked truth on how to find our organsFirst Person Sarah PriceHow to have a conversationSix of the students were undergraduates. The other three were PhD researchers from UCL’s elite Financial Computing Centre. The only person keeping notes was one of them: a bearded, 30-year-old Polish researcher called Michal Galas. Galas was leading the meeting, a weekly update on the building of a vast new collection of social data, culled from the internet. Under the direction of the PhD students, the undergraduates were writing computer programs to haul millions of pages of publicly available digital chatter – from Facebook, Twitter, blogs and news stories – into a real-time archive which could be analysed for signs of the public mood, particularly in regard to financial markets. Word of the project, known as SocialSTREAM, had reached the City months ago. The Financial Computing Centre was getting calls most days from companies wanting to know when it would be finished. The Bank of England had been in touch.

via School for quants - FT.com.