## LATEST ENTRIES

January 14th, 2017

# President Tyler has grand-children who are still alive

Interesting:

Consider: He conceived so many kids and kept making babies for so long that two of his grandchildren are still alive. You read that right: two grandchildren of a man born in 1790, a few weeks after George Washington gave America’s inaugural state of the union address, a guy whose dad roomed with Thomas Jefferson at William and Mary, has two living grandchildren. No greats. Grandchildren.

Here’s how that works:

Tyler had eight children with his first wife, Letitia Christian.

A mere six ...

January 10th, 2017

# The advantage of centralized government

I saw this interesting bit on Hacker News: by bhups:

The United States is a federation of self-governing states within which there are open borders and free trade…just like the European Union. The United States has a population of 320 million people, while the EU has a population of a similar order of magnitude: around 500 million. To many voters, the idea of enacting broad social welfare programs in the United States sounds just as infeasible as enacting similar programs ...

January 10th, 2017

# How to solve the problem of gerrymandering

All of the problems with gerrymandering can be solved by eliminating districts and holding all elections at the national level.

As a thought experiment, assume a society that is ruled by a legislature of 29 people. Each year, society votes and elects a single individual, who then serves for 29 years. One person elected per year for 29 years gives you a legislature of 29 people. If all local, city, and regional voting districts are abolished (the districts still exist, but ...

January 8th, 2017

# The zeta function

If only all of math could be taught with essays as beautifully done as this one:

This builds up to an explanation of the Riemann Hypothesis

Source

January 8th, 2017

# Publish only mode as the cure for burnout

This is an interesting idea:

So, instead, I decided to fix the root of the problem. I realized that I was letting too many people into my world, not delegating enough, and needed help maintaining my projects. I didn’t want to lose what I valued most about my position within our community—being able to influence the world I cared so much about.

So, I unfollowed everyone on Twitter. Every single person. I stopped paying attention to tech trends and reading hacker ...

January 8th, 2017

# The collision of modern dating and traditional Islam

Interesting:

But Leyla would never allow anyone to dictate to her about whether she can wear tight jeans or high heels. And she does not want to feel ashamed for having had sex outside of marriage. Leyla dated a second man for two years and shared her past with him. But, she says, he treated her less respectfully with time, was often jealous and tried to stop her from going out with her friends. When Leyla finally broke it off ...

January 8th, 2017

# An anti-natalist quote from Schopenhauer

Interesting.

The conviction that the world, and therefore man too, is something which really ought not to exist is in fact calculated to instil in us indulgence towards one another: for what can be expected of beings placed in such a situation as we are? From this point of view one might indeed consider that the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir, but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères. However strange this may sound ...

January 8th, 2017

# Crazy times in Western democracies

Interesting:

The year that has passed dealt three tremendous shocks to Britain’s parliamentary system. Taken together, they constitute a quiet revolution: potentially the most significant recasting of how Britain is governed since the coming of universal suffrage. Understanding how this has happened, why it matters and what should be done about it is essential, if we are not to sleepwalk into new and potentially more dangerous forms of government in the year ahead.

The first great shock was Brexit, which struck the ...

January 8th, 2017

# Gender confusion and abuse

This is a tough story to read:

When I was three years old, I saw my father break my mother’s ribcage. I also saw my baby sister being born. As she herself grew, Emily became everything I wasn’t- pretty, good at making friends, she just fit in so well as I struggled with interactions outside my home. I was very shy. I didn’t “click” well with other children and would prefer to spend hours or days by myself, making elaborate stories ...

January 8th, 2017

# Conflict between mother and daughter

Such a sad story. This young woman died later that night of suicide.

According to a recording of that nearly five-minute call, a copy of which was obtained by KyCIR, an angry McMillen alternately screams at Gynnya and talks to the 911 operator, while the girl periodically cries out in the background.

“You dumb-ass whore, you gonna spend the rest of your goddamn 2½ years in a goddamn insane asylum with the rest of the retarded kids,” McMillen is heard ...

January 8th, 2017

# The new political religion

I like his metaphor comparing this to a religion:

Sean Illing

Tell me why you decided to end your show. You say the show was a kind of experiment to see if it was possible to call it straight and tell the truth to a (mostly) conservative audience. Why did your experiment fail?

John Ziegler There are a lot of reasons why it failed, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the election of Donald Trump. The part of this equation your ...

January 8th, 2017

# Why was stagnation so normal?

A bit of history has me wondering, once again, why stagnation was so normal for the last 200,000 years.

Davis and Stocker are interested not in the ruination of the palace, however, but in its beginnings. For several hundred years before the palace was built, the region was dominated by the Minoans, whose sophisticated civilization arose on Crete, with skilled artisans and craftsmen who traded widely in the Aegean, Mediterranean and beyond. By contrast, the people of mainland Greece, a ...

January 8th, 2017

# The big pivot at Medium

So long as they sell ads, then their model is the same as everyone else’s:

Our vision, when we started in 2012, was ambitious: To build a platform that defined a new model for media on the internet. The problem, as we saw it, was that the incentives driving the creation and spread of content were not serving the people consuming it or creating it — or society as a whole. As I wrote at the time, “The current system causes increasing amounts ...

January 8th, 2017

# An aggressive, unpopular government

For the sake of stability and the rule of law, I see a need for governments to survive, despite being unpopular. But in those cases, the individual politicians need to be protected from voter anger, since the only benefit of allowing governance by the unpopular is so they can push through their laws their own constituents would hate.

To me, it seems like the worst of all possible forms of government to have rule-by-unpopular-minority combined with every-politician-is-vulnerable-and-afraid.

Which is what ...

January 8th, 2017

# This year’s goal: move away from WordPress

Like a lot of people, I first used WordPress because it was quick and easy to get going, and because my designer knew it very well. But I dislike the dependence on MySQL, I dislike its slowness, and I dislike the security problems that I’ve had (this site has been hacked twice).

For my modest goals, I only need a static site, so I plan to switch to Cryogen. I was interested by this article:

For a while I ...

January 8th, 2017

# Different people have different strengths

I love this :

I’ve had similar self-doubt in the past, I considered myself fast but sloppy. I changed my opinion after a workshop on different team roles at my previous job. A lot of it was boring workshop fluff, but I loved the core message: that many personality traits aren’t purely positive or negative. Perfectionists are nitpickers. Fast developers are sloppy. Experienced ones overthink stuff. Bleeding-edge evangelists ruin long-term stability etc. There are two sides to every coin. We tend to ...

January 8th, 2017

# The nostalgia of the Star Wars saga

I think this is true of all the Star Wars movies, there is an avoidance of anything that resembles “science” or “technology” instead it’s all mysticism. It is a fantasy story that just happens to be set in space.

To explain: David Edelstein notes that the movie “it rehashes the plots of about a thousand World War II and/or Western films in which a brave squadron — a Magnificent Seven, a Dirty Dozen, a Force Five — prepares to sacrifice ...

January 8th, 2017

# Where is there misogyny on Hacker News?

I’ll save this in case I’m ever asked this question again. lacampbell’s rant (apparently by Lewis Campbell) basically amounts to “I want kids but I don’t want to pay for them”. Astounding that this kind of ranting still goes on:

Source

January 8th, 2017

# The injustice of the market

Interesting: Compare with Hayek’s Law, Legislation

and Liberty volume 2, pp. 73-74

It has been argued persuasively that people will tolerate major inequalities of the material positions only if they believe that the different individuals get on the whole what they deserve, that they did in fact support the market order only because (and so long as) they thought that the differences of remuneration corresponded roughly to differences of merit, and that in consequence the maintenance of a free society presupposes the ...

January 8th, 2017

# Can event logs, as a software architecture, really work?

This is an interesting bit of criticism of this architecture, an architecture which certainly has gotten a lot of attention over the last 4 years:

I have worked on, or cleaned up, 4 different CQRS/ES projects. They have all failed. Each time the people leading the project and championing the architecture were smart, capable, technically adept folks, but they couldn’t make it work.

There’s more than one flavor of this particular arch, but Event Sourcing in general is simply not very ...

January 1st, 2017

# The One Book religions

A friend wrote to ask me how I thought circumstances effected religious belief. I wrote this response.

—————————–

A fascinating fact is how much human religion was shaped by the lack of the printing press. Judaism, Islam, Christianity. These religions all arose after writing had been invented, but before the printing press. These are all One Book religions — the whole religion exists in a single book. In hindsight, it’s incredible how important this was. Before the printing press, there are ...

January 1st, 2017

# Flashback to 2006: Stefan Esser quits the PHP security team

I think I linked to this many years ago, but the original blog post seems to have disappeared and now it only exists in the Wayback Machine, so I’ll link to it again:

Last night I finally retired from the PHP Security Response Team, that was initially my idea a few years ago.

The reasons for this are many, but the most important one is that I have realised that any attempt to improve the security of PHP from the inside ...

January 1st, 2017

I thought this was a parody, but then I went to Twitter and I looked and it turns Trump actually wrote this.

He will be President of the United States in 3 weeks. This is simply incredible.

The election of Trump will be remembered as the worst self-inflicted disaster in history.

Source

December 30th, 2016

# Jia Tolentino talks to Rebecca Traister

Interesting:

Jezebel: Your book starts with a big first line.“I always hated it when my heroines got married,” you write. You talk about Laura Ingalls Wilder, and how as soon as you look at the book cover for The First Four Years, you know her story is over now: she’s a mommy, she’s a wife. There’s Jo March, who suddenly phones it in, gets married and opens a school for boys; there’s Anne Shirley, who passes the narrative to her daughter.

I’m ...

December 30th, 2016

Interesting:

It’s strange that until recently, domestic literature is seen as dull and boring compared to tales of male adventure, especially when a woman’s life, beginning to end, is filled with violence. We’re born, we learn to be afraid, learn to be looked at, learn to be quiet, we bleed, we give birth, we age, we’re forgotten, and then we die. So much of what we encounter—marriage, raising children—is meant to hold us painfully still. Those who don’t offer gratitude for ...

December 29th, 2016

# We have learned something crucial about how humans learn

The biggest disappointment regarding the Internet is surely that there has been no increase in the rate of discoveries. If you’d asked me in the 1980s, I would have guessed that a world wide network of information would increase the speed of scientific breakthroughs. I would still have said the same thing in the late 1990s.

From the point of view of intellectuals, the Internet seems like Utopia: so much information!

How could such an incredible resource fail to help ...

December 29th, 2016

# The decline of USA investment since 1964

It’s all been downhill

Source

December 29th, 2016

# Gatekeeper moms

This is an interesting German magazine that I just discovered:

“The affected woman desperately attempts to be the most important person to the child and outdoes the father because she perceives him to be a threat,” says Leipold. These mothers, therefore, put the parenting bar so high that the father is bound to fail.

This behavior arises because of entrenched traditional roles where household duties are unequally distributed. These roles are so deeply embedded in the subconscious that they are hard to ...

December 29th, 2016

# Zakiya Acey: We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it

The student learns nothing when the student is a consumer. Learning means maturing. Learning means becoming the change that one wants to see.

Interesting, but problematic:

Acey, who insists that Karega’s posts were more anti-Zionist than anti-Semitic, thinks professors often hide their racial biases. “But they’ll vote in a way that does not benefit the students,” he says. “Like, the way the courses are set up. You know, we’re paying for a service. We’re paying for our attendance here. We need ...

December 28th, 2016

# The weakness of the technocrats

I like this, but it is not an original point. The same point was made about Kerensky:

Trump called Mexicans rapists and demanded a ban on Muslims entering the country. Clinton countered with plans for a “comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship,” including measures to “fix the family visa backlog,” to “end the three- and 10-year bars,” and have “targeted” immigration enforcement.

Trump bragged about grabbing women by the “pussy.” Clinton planned to address “issues that affect ...

December 28th, 2016

# The last romantic battle

Interesting bit from 1914:

A century later, it’s easy to dismiss all the remembrances and tributes as being overly sentimental and maudlin. What’s often forgotten, however, is what the temporary peace represented in the larger scheme of things. There’s a very good reason why a truce never happened again in this war and in subsequent wars — and much of it had to do with the changing nature of military strategy, the changing role of soldiers and how they engaged with ...

December 28th, 2016

# Rising expectations versus Trump

This is well said:

This year is not the worst ever. Steven Pinker has argued, in his 2011 book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and elsewhere, that the world is actually growing less violent with time. What hurts so badly right now, I think, is this sense of unexpected retrenchment—the fear that decades of incremental progress will be rapidly eradicated by an empty-headed demagogue who appears to be doing everything on a whim. Perhaps 2016 feels so terrible partly because ...

December 28th, 2016

# The lunacy of the Artificial Intelligence fanatics

The tech world is getting strangely obsessed with the notion of Artificial Intelligence, and its ability to boost productivity.

I wrote on Hacker News:

In recent months, there has been a large number of posts on Hacker News extolling the coming robot (and/or AI) revolution. I’ve read that we are facing a jobless future because all the jobs will be automated.

All of that might be true, at some point in the future. The future is a very long time. I ...

December 28th, 2016

# Scientists on gender versus objectivity

Interesting:

Both male and female scientists felt that female scientists (light bars) were more objective, intelligent, etc. than male ones (dark bars), although the differences were larger when it was female scientists making the ratings.

Source

December 28th, 2016

# No improvement in women in economics since 1986

no leaking pipeline as in other social sciences, but “tiny” pipeline. Female undergrad won’t study econ. Number of ♀ PhD > ♀ econ BAs

Source

December 27th, 2016

Funny, and I also think this is true:

The Argument From Wooly Definitions

The concept of “general intelligence” in AI is famously slippery. Depending on the context, it can mean human-like reasoning ability, or skill at AI design, or the ability to understand and model human behavior, or proficiency with language, or the capacity to make correct predictions about the future.

What I find particularly suspect is the idea that “intelligence” is like CPU speed, in that any sufficiently smart entity can emulate ...

December 25th, 2016

# The insanity of utopian thinking about Artificial Intelligence

Interesting:

Since I’m being critical of AI alarmism, it’s only fair that I put my own cards on the table.

I think our understanding of the mind is in the same position that alchemy was in in the seventeenth century.

Alchemists get a bad rap. We think of them as mystics who did not do a lot of experimental work. Modern research has revealed that they were far more diligent bench chemists than we gave them credit for.

In many cases they used modern ...

December 25th, 2016

# Charles Dickens reports on poverty in 1856

Interesting:

Economists might also wince just a bit… Dickens writes: “I know that the unreasonable disciples of a reasonable school, demented disciples who push arithmetic and political economy beyond all bounds of sense (not to speak of such a weakness as humanity), and hold them to be all-sufficient for every case, can easily prove that such things ought to be, and that no man has any business to mind them. Without disparaging those indispensable sciences in their sanity, I utterly renounce ...

December 24th, 2016

# Adam Smith on the division of labor

Interesting:

In some cases the state of the society necessarily places the greater part of individuals in such situations as naturally form in them, without any attention of government, almost all the abilities and virtues which that state requires, or perhaps can admit of. In other cases the state of the society does not place the part of individuals in such situations, and some attention of government is necessary in order to prevent the almost entire corruption and degeneracy of the ...

December 22nd, 2016

# But as writer qua writer

It’s an interesting personal quirk that I understand entirely the need of skill when giving a talk, but I’ve always discounted the skill of writing qua writing. This is Menken reviewing Fitzgerald:

What gives the story distinction is something quite different from the management of the action or the handling of the characters; it is the charm and beauty of the writing. In Fitzgerald’s first days it seemed almost unimaginable that he would ever show such qualities. His writing then was ...

December 20th, 2016

# Management theory is increasingly obsolete

I love the analogy to the Catholic Church before the Reformation:

The similarities between medieval Christianity and the world of management theory may not be obvious, but seek and ye shall find. Management theorists sanctify capitalism in much the same way that clergymen of yore sanctified feudalism. Business schools are the cathedrals of capitalism. Consultants are its travelling friars. Just as the clergy in the Middle Ages spoke in Latin to give their words an air of authority, management theorists ...

December 20th, 2016

# Paul Krugman: American democracy is very much on the edge

Paul Krugman on how democracy might end in America:

Consider what just happened in North Carolina. The voters made a clear choice, electing a Democratic governor. The Republican legislature didn’t openly overturn the result — not this time, anyway — but it effectively stripped the governor’s office of power, ensuring that the will of the voters wouldn’t actually matter.

Combine this sort of thing with continuing efforts to disenfranchise or at least discourage voting by minority groups, and you have the potential ...

December 20th, 2016

# One family’s struggle with unemployment

I fret that I’m setting a bad example for my kids. I’m afraid that they see me as a cautionary tale, not a role model. When I talk to them, I try to emphasize the importance of hard work and being careful with money. I hope this is the side of me that gets through to them, not the man on his computer, endlessly clicking through applications, unable to muster up the courage to even tell ...

December 17th, 2016

# Sowmya Shriraghavan on discrimination in tech

Perhaps the saddest aspect of these stories is that things are clearly getting worse. Whereas 20 years ago most USA corporations were increasing ready to take a forward looking stance in creating a fair working environment, nowadays the focus is entirely on minimizing legal liability.

Sowmya Shriraghavan offers her own experience of discrimination in tech:

It took me a few weeks to realize that I was being willfully targeted, during which I tried to defend myself. The situation then escalated to ...

December 17th, 2016

# Tracy Chou on discrimination in tech

This is an interesting essay, from Tracy Chou:

To be fair, no one is being intentionally sexist or rude (okay, some people may be, but they’re a known entity). The problem is that people are inadvertently being sexist or reaffirming sexist stereotypes. The problem is in the subtle, unspoken biases conveyed in tone of voice, brief hesitations, careless exclamations.

I don’t want to cast overarching generalizations over my gender, but for the sake of argument, females in engineering tend to have less ...

December 16th, 2016

# Tim Duy: I don’t absolve the policy community from their role in this disaster

Except for the strange focus on the 1990s, and the strange focus on China, this post that says exactly what I was hoping someone would say:

Is this the right narrative? I am no longer comfortable with this line:

…for the most part we’re talking about jobs lost, not to unfair foreign competition, but to technological change.

Try to place that line in context with this from Noah Smith:

Then, in the 1990s and 2000s, the U.S opened its markets to Chinese goods, first ...

December 16th, 2016

# More researchers? Less researchers?

Compare these two.

First this:

I recall John Cochrane once shrugging at bad macro models, saying something like “Well, assistant profs need to publish.” OK, but what’s the impact of that on public trust in science? The public knows that a lot of psych research is B.S. They know not to trust the latest nutrition advice. They know macroeconomics basically doesn’t work at all. They know the effectiveness of many pharmaceuticals has been oversold. These things have little to do with the ...

December 16th, 2016

# The legacy of Obama

In the last two years, however, Obama has assumed his historic role with admirable eloquence and moral seriousness, in part, one suspects, because he accepted the fact that his presidency would not be transformative, and that he could, at best, be a bulwark against the racist furies that it unleashed; a civilized counterpoint to the vengeful white noise of the red states. As Régis Debray famously argued, “revolution revolutionizes the counter-revolution,” and so it has been with ...

December 16th, 2016

# President Lyndon Johnson on race relations

This is an interesting story:

That’s the context of one of the most famous statements on race ever attributed to President Johnson, an off-the-cuff observation he made to a young staffer, Bill Moyers, after encountering a display of blatant racism during a political visit to the South. Moyers tells it in the first person:

We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs. Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished ...

December 16th, 2016

# What happens if linkrot takes away John Rogers?

I’m thinking about Trump and thinking again how funny this old quote is:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

What happens when John Rogers dies and this disappears?

And what happens, generally, ...

December 15th, 2016

# Clojure / Java app dying while using XSSF and Sax parsers to import Excel files

I posted this question to StackOverflow and I would appreciate any help figuring out what the memory issue is:

Clojure / Java app dying while using XSSF and Sax parsers to import Excel files

Source

December 14th, 2016

# Noah Smith offers 1930s Spain as an example for the USA today

Interesting:

This means that if the U.S. had a civil war along currently existing left-right lines – i.e., Republican voters vs. Democratic voters – the right would win. It would probably win more quickly and decisively than the Spanish right won. This is not just because of military sympathies and gun ownership, of course. The American right has a population advantage among men, who are more likely to fight in war than women. It also has greater organization, being mostly unified ...

December 14th, 2016

# What does astrology teach us about President Trump?

This is good:

Tr

ump was born under a lunar eclipse. An eclipse is disruptive to the cycle of light and dark. It blocks energy. Like putting your thumb over the bottle of soda and shaking it: an eruption is inevitable. Moon energy is also emotional. Trump is the embodiment of erratic emotional energy spraying out from the pressure valve of conscious control. Honey-boo-boo on three cans of Mountain Dew has better control of her emotional presence than our ...

December 14th, 2016

# Trump supporters who rely on Obamacare

This is a sad story. There were apparently a lot of people in Kentucky who voted for Trump, even though Trump has said he will get rid of Obamacare. And these people rely on Obamacare. Why they voted for Trump is, of course, a complex question. How much did their racial identity influence them, and how much were they simply desperate for an improvement in their economic prospects? Trump won’t be able to help their economic situation, but I understand ...

December 14th, 2016

# The odd language of economists

Obviously I support the professional jargon that each profession needs to be successful. Computer programmers have a tendency to engage in games of “If we take this to its logical extreme…”. Economists engage in “Assume a can opener…” and “Let’s pretend only individuals exist”. As thought experiments, these are fine.

I do have a big problem when people switch modes and try to make their thought experiments political. The economist who starts with “Assume a world with homogenous preferences…” and ...

December 14th, 2016

# The saddest thing in the world is realizing that some people won’t ever change

I really laughed when I saw this one.

Source

December 14th, 2016

# Ugly engineering

This sounds hideous:

I used to work on the DynamoDB team. Throwaway account because my normal account can be tied back to my real name.

“Each hash key resolves to a number of possible servers the data can be on. Data is replicated across several of these servers. For redundancy. The hash key determines which shard to use. On individual machines, each set of data is stored by a compound key of hash key and sort key (if there is a sort ...

December 13th, 2016

# Beautiful engineering

Wow. Sometimes I witness some engineering that leaves me feeling joy and inspiration. I felt that way about the Golden Gate Bridge. But sometimes I feel that way about code. For instance, right now, I just learned that the defun macro for Clojure allows this function for calculating a fibonacci number.

A fibonacci function: (defun fib ([0] 0) ([1] 1) ([n] (+ (fib (- n 1)) (fib (- n 2))))) Output: (fib 10) ;; 55

That ...

December 10th, 2016

# Gender wage gap in tech versus other professional fields

Apparently the tech field is uniquely resistant to women:

Using the National Science Foundation’s SESTAT data, we examine the gender wage gap by race among those working in computer science, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. We find that in fields with a greater representation of women (the life and physical sciences), the gender wage gap can largely be explained by differences in observed characteristics between men and women working in those fields. In the fields with the lowest concentration of ...

December 10th, 2016

# Sneering at the white working class

I’m not here to get into a fight with Krugman, but come on. Sure, the right-wing media fans the flames of this stuff, but is there really any question that liberal city folks tend to sneer at rural working-class folks? I’m not even talking about stuff like abortion and guns and gay marriage, where we disagree over major points of policy. I’m talking about lifestyle. Krugman talks about fast food, and that’s a decent example. Working-class folks ...

December 10th, 2016

# Shelley Powers on gender and tech, and also some of my reflections on how the blogosphere operated at its peak

I’m gathering notes for a book. Below are some quotes Shelley Powers wrote about women in tech. You will perhaps recall that I quoted Powers often in my essay “RSS has been damaged by in-fighting among those who advocate for it”

I notice that her essays from 2003/2007 have suffered quite a bit of link rot. Many of the essays that she linked to are now gone. If there is an argument for RINA to replace the Internet, it is surely ...

December 9th, 2016

# Kathryn Jezer-Morton shares the national disaster with her kids

This is both funny and sort of sad and also true:

There is a part of me that wants my kids to feel, at least in some relatively painless and abstract way, that the world is fucked.

I know that denying my kids presents won’t raise their consciousness; they’re three and six. A cheerful pile of gifts is not analogous with the sewer drain into which so many of my hopes for progress and assumptions about cultural cohesion have disappeared. But I ...

December 9th, 2016

# People born in 1940 did much better than people born in 1980

Interesting:

The index is deeply alarming. It’s a portrait of an economy that disappoints a huge number of people who have heard that they live in a country where life gets better, only to experience something quite different. …

It begins with children who were born in 1940… The researchers went into the project assuming that most of these children had earned more than their parents — but were surprised to learn that nearly all of them had… About 92 percent of ...

December 9th, 2016

# Hacking online dating

In the same vein of thinking, I thought I’d make a small checklist of my own. As enticing as emails from IWantToTasteYou and DroopyEyzzzz69 are, I may need to heed Amy’s advice and change my approach.

Following are a few items from my checklist:

1. How do you feel about whiskey? 2. Are you allergic to cats? 3. Have you ever seen Human Centipede? 4. What are your thoughts on Archer? 5. Boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs? 6. Do you ...

December 9th, 2016

# What is politics?

I am astonished at how naive this is:

Political conflicts cause harm here. The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation. Those things are lost when political emotions seize control. Our values are fragile—they’re like plants that get forgotten, then trampled and scorched in combat. HN is a garden, politics is war by other means, and war and gardening don’t mix.

Worse, these harsher patterns can spread through the rest of the culture, threatening the community as ...

December 9th, 2016

# Hacker News commenters ranting about gender

As the stereotypical white-cis-male-scientist, this sort of statement has always bugged me. I was pushed from science at every turn- multiple teachers said I would be no good, wasn’t allowed to take advanced courses in HS, was seen as a wannabe by friends and peers, but at every step I also saw a concerted effort to get women and minorities into my field of choice (physics). Support groups, gender or race only clubs (never ...

December 9th, 2016

# The average age of workers

Interesting:

Since 2008, the number of age discrimination complaints has grown to around 25,000 a year. Some may argue that everywhere we turn these days, someone is complaining about something being unfair. Alright. Let’s not just take complaints into account. But rather, let’s look at the average age of IT workers at well-established companies. Facebook: 28. LinkedIn: 29. Google: 30. To put that into perspective, the average age of all U.S. workers is 42. Well above the average age at these ...

December 7th, 2016

# Matrix multiplication example

I love this

Source

December 7th, 2016

# Beautiful poses for those with ugly politics

This is so good:

In Italy under Benito Mussolini, virility was reified and the “projection of the martial male body” became the personification the powerful and colonial state. Written onto that body are a series of myths about heroics, potency, and victory, as a model of masculine behavior, it was untouched by an (ostensibly immoral) social permissiveness. As a stand-in for security and normalcy, the martial male body masquerades as nature, as many have pointed out it substitutes “normalized” for historic ...

December 7th, 2016

# The crazy process of trying to release a Salesforce app

Right now I’m helping a client release an app for Salesforce in the Salesforce App Exchange. The process for releasing an app is completely insane and very poorly documented (or rather, there is an abundance of documentation for various parts of the process, but there is no summary of the process). I was lucky to stumble upon this post, which offers the nearest thing to a summary of the process:

1) Create a Dev Org

2) Become a Salesforce.com Partner

3) Create Test ...

December 6th, 2016

# Sampling versus Provenance

Why not record everyone’s name? Why not list everyone you sample from?

At the time of this writing, I haven’t heard a word from Arctander, or the curator, or the photo editor. The gallery responded only to one reporter, with one paragraph. The only person who has responded to my emails has been Hilton Als, who apologized (maintaining my fandom effortlessly), and asked how he could help.

He can’t, really. Because Arctander splattered paint over our image, it’s “good enough” to ...

December 6th, 2016

# There are no facts?

This is where we are right now:

Scottie Hughes is most famous as a Trump surrogate who got frequently trashed on live TV by anti-Trump Republican Ana Navarro. Hughes is still making the rounds defending Trump now that he has become our president-elect. The latest insane Trumpism she’s spewing word vomit on is his assertion that “millions voted illegally” in the election.

On Wednesday, Hughes appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, where she argued about the nature of facts: facts are now ...

December 6th, 2016

# Engage with users?

So, the leadership team could not think of a way to get readers to filter the best stuff to the top, which the writers could then engage with? This is why so many content sites die. They have such a stupidly narrow understanding of what they do. I don’t blame Lindy West at all, I put 100% of the blame on the leadership.

Lindy West: But I also wasn’t a very good Gawker Media employee. I didn’t go in ...

December 6th, 2016

# Listen to the Gentiles

My god, this is frustrating to watch. A large group of professional economists are struggling to find the words to understand the anger in the USA. And so they are translating into their own language things that others have said repeatedly for the last 40 years. What a privilege it is that your intelligence can be taken for granted, even though you are nearly the last person in the room to understand what is happening.

For all that, there is ...

December 4th, 2016

# Simon Wren-Lewis is angry

He has a right to be angry

Shrug your shoulders and move on? If it had appeared in the partisan press that would be a sensible reaction, but this was written by a widely respected journalist in the UK’s internationally renown financial newspaper. Furthermore – lest my motives be misunderstood – written by someone whose knowledge on the Eurozone is beyond dispute and whose views I often agree with. Well on this occasion this particular member of a discredited profession who ...

December 4th, 2016

# Did the Stoics want us to be happy?

Interesting:

In order to develop this further we might consider a popular critical image of Stoicism: a Stoic is someone who is powerless in the real world and so pretends that his or her happiness is something completely internal and within their own control. Got no money? Easy, just say that money is unnecessary for a good life and the problem is solved. According to a long line of modern critics of Stoicism from Hegel onwards, the Stoic is someone who ...

December 4th, 2016

# How much should a President personalize the management of the economy

Interesting:

Peggny Noonan offers a bit of history:

It was 1961 and the new president, John F. Kennedy, had been trying to signal to big business that they could trust him.. His impulses were those of a moderate of his era: show budgetary constraint, keep costs and prices down, prevent inflation…..

That September Kennedy asked the industry to forgo a price increase. He asked the steelworkers union for wage demands… Early in 1962 his labor secretary, Arthur Goldberg, put together a ...

November 28th, 2016

# A fictional Thanksgiving

I went to a writer’s workshop where we we were given the following scenario: I live in 2 story house and I sleep upstairs. I invite people over for Thanksgiving Dinner. After dinner I say goodbye to people and go to sleep. I wake up middle night and go downstairs. 5 people, heavily armed with guns, are in a Mexican standoff.

We were given 10 minutes to write. I couldn’t think of anything original so I went with a riff that ...

November 27th, 2016

# If Sanders had been the candidate

If Sanders had been the candidate, it wouldn’t be so easy for people like Tim Duy to write essays like this:

That sense of hopelessness would be justifiably acute in rural areas. Economic development is hard work in the best of circumstances; across the sparsely populated vastness of rural America, it is virtually impossible. The victories are – and will continue to be – few and far between.

The tough reality of economic development is that it will always be easier to ...

November 27th, 2016

# Sima Qian: The remorse I felt at the prospect of leaving the achievement dearest my heart incomplete

This is an impressive dedication to one’s art:

In surrendering alive Li Ling destroyed the reputation of his family. When I followed by submitting to the “silkworm chamber ” I became a second laughingstock. Oh, such shame! This is not something I could ever bring myself to recount to an ordinary person.… A man dies only once. His death may be a matter weighty as Mount Tai or light as a feather. It all depends on the reason for which ...

November 27th, 2016

# We could build a progressive movement that makes life better for everyone

Interesting. But these assertions can not be reconciled, they contradict:

One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled ...

November 26th, 2016

# Clojure for XML

This is a fantastic overview of different approaches:

Zippers are probably the easiest way to manage xml – once you grok them.

Zippers are a strange beast. Wikipedia describes them as:

A technique of representing an aggregate data structure so that it is convenient for writing programs that traverse the structure arbitrarily and update it’s contents…

I like to think of a zipper as a kind of pointer to part of a tree – at any time if you have a tree of nodes ...

November 26th, 2016

# How far can code be optimized

This is funny and interesting:

When you’re competing with another player, they will probably find a way to beat your score by just a few points. Let’s say my score is 340 and a friend beats me with a score of 335. (lower is better. The score is just the number of executed instructions) What follows is a bunch of head-scratching about how you could possibly get any more cycles out of the algorithm. After an hour of staring and trying ...

November 26th, 2016

# Secrecy is contagious

Interesting:

Imagine the scenario: you’re a security officer working at Los Alamos. You know that spheres are weapon parts. You walk into a technical area, and you see spheres all around! Is that an ashtray, or it is a model of a plutonium pit? Anxiety mounts — does the ashtray go into a safe at the end of the day, or does it stay out on the desk? (Has someone been tapping their cigarettes out into the pit model?)

All of this ...

November 26th, 2016

# Devin Faraci Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death

Interesting:

All of this is hugely disappointing, because Faraci has always presented himself as a feminist and has written extensively about female representation in pop culture, the dearth of female directors, etc. We’ve even quoted him and his work here at TMS. So, to know that he is also someone who may have allegedly committed an assault like the one described in the tweet above is hugely disappointing, because actions like this always feel worse when they come from people you ...

November 25th, 2016

# Emily Witt talks about the non-conformist marriage

Interesting:

In the book, you also write about your friends getting married but trying to divest themselves of the traditional patriarchal signifiers of marriage. This is such an “educated person” trend in marriage, the idea that a couple is going to engage in this really traditional institution in an untraditional way…

It’s a whole generational thing, to not be conformists.

You seem very wary of the claim that you can sever the institution from its history.

A lot of people will probably criticize ...

November 25th, 2016

# How Paula Scher remains productive

Interesting:

What is your biggest challenge as a designer? Not to repeat. I’ve been designing for over 40 years now, so the question becomes how to approach something with a new point of view. How am I not jaded?

Do you have any productivity tricks? I have a productivity trick that I didn’t know I had until I heard about it on a radio program. NPR did this interview with experts about boredom. iPhones and other forms of digital media were disrupting boredom, because ...

November 25th, 2016

# The bird with 4 sexes

Interesting:

Every summer for more than 25 years, Gonser and his wife, Elaina Tuttle, had made the trip to this field station in the Adirondack Mountains — a 45-minute boat ride from the nearest road. Now, as he moored his boat to the shaky wooden dock, he heard a familiar and short song that sounded like ‘oh-sweet-Canada’. The whistle was from a white-throated sparrow calling hopefully for a mate.

What he didn’t hear was the voice or laughter of his wife. For ...

November 24th, 2016

# The Information Society and feminism

Remember that the late 1930s saw the largest change, ever, in the rate of women going into the workforce. Absolute numbers were low, but the rate of change was at its peak.

Contrary to prevailing views, which locate the origins of the information society in WWII or in the commercial development of television or computers, the basic societal transformation from industrial to information society had been essentially completed by the late 1930s.

Microprocessing and computer technology, contrary to currently fashionable opinion, ...

November 23rd, 2016

# Doping at the Olympics

This is sad, but the opposite is also very interesting: 25 athletes took performance enhancing drugs and failed to win at the Olympics. That says a lot about the limits of such drugs. They don’t ensure victory.

More than 75 athletes from those two Olympics have been found, upon further scrutiny, to be guilty of doping violations. The majority are from Russia and other Eastern European countries. At least 40 of them won medals. Disciplinary proceedings are continuing against other ...

November 22nd, 2016

# Facebook does not control what news people see

If Facebook stops promoting viral content, it will quickly disappear, just like MySpace disappeared:

First, there is no incentive for Facebook to do any of this; while the company denies this report in Gizmodo that the company shelved a change to the News Feed algorithm that would have eliminated fake news stories because it disproportionately affected right-wing sites, the fact remains that the company is heavily incentivized to be perceived as neutral by all sides; anything else would drive away ...

November 22nd, 2016

# An interview with Emily Witt

This is an interesting article:

There’s this book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, and it’s about search data and it argues that men prefer visuals and women prefer stories. I do think that men tend to be more visual but visuals work on women. Visuals work on me, I just didn’t want them to. I experienced getting turned on by something like that with panic and anxiety. When I let myself recognize that it was happening, that it was me by ...

November 18th, 2016

# Why didn’t Lindsey Graham ever marry?

The article doesn’t raise the issue of Graham being gay. In the year 2016, that is what everyone reading will think of first.

Speaking of marriage, Graham writes: “I haven’t been lucky that way. But I have a family.”

“I have Darline, and her family. She’s married and the mother of two, and a respected professional, who runs the public information office of the state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation,” he writes. “I’m as proud of her as my parents would have ...

November 18th, 2016

# How Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne fell apart

It’s always a bit sad when a great artistic team can’t get along with each other:

For more than a few comic-book readers, it doesn’t get much better than the run writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne shared on Uncanny X-Men at Marvel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The nearly four years they spent together chronicling the adventures of the Children of the Atom produced some of the most beloved Marvel Comics stories of all time, including “The ...

November 18th, 2016

# Larry Summers has a new attitude about the phrase “political correctness”

Larry Summers lost his job at Harvard because some people felt some of his remarks were sexist. At that time he complained about “political correctness”. I am cheered to see him come round on this issue:

I have made no secret over the years of my conviction that the sensitivities of individuals or members of various group should not be permitted to chill free speech on college campuses. I have the scars to show for speaking out against overdoing the idea ...

November 18th, 2016

# The hate machine

The rule “Don’t feed the trolls” has to be balanced by the occasional moment when journalists go on the record to record the hate they receive.

Source

November 15th, 2016

# Japan has little inflation because women can’t get a raise

Interesting:

Japan offers a preview of future U.S. demographic trends, having already seen a large increase in the population over 65. So, how has the Japanese economy dealt with this change? A look at the data shows that women of all ages have been pulled into the labor force and that more people are working longer. This transformation of the work force has not been enough to prevent a very tight labor market in a slowly growing economy, and it may ...

November 14th, 2016

# NLP with Clojure and OpenNLP

This is a fantastic introduction:

Natural Language Processing (NPL) opens the door to the possibility of turning otherwise inert text into meaningful or, more interestingly, actionable information. It is the latter that I am interested in and what this installment will focus on. I will explore the basics of NLP using the OpenNLP library and Clojure to convert a sentence into a useful structure to store or act on. More specifically, my goal is to take simple sentences that indicate the ...

November 13th, 2016

# When the government is weak, people turn to the Mafia

Or the public turns to fascists such as Mussolini. Interesting:

References to a criminal group resembling the ’Ndrangheta first appear in the late 19th century. But it was not until 1955 that a derivative of the name appeared in print – and even then with a slightly different spelling – when the Calabrian writer Corrado Alvaro tried to explain the mindset of the inhabitants of his poverty-stricken birthplace. His fellow Calabrians, he wrote in Corriere della Sera, were helpless in the ...

November 13th, 2016

# The consent of the governed

from the Declaration of Independence.

I hate Thomas Jefferson for several reasons. Not just because he is a rapist pedophile, although that doesn’t win him much admiration, does it? I also hate him because of his intellectual laziness and incoherence. Consider these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure ...

November 13th, 2016

# Lady Parts reacts to the election

One of the many reactions from the artistic community, of what I assume will soon be a mass movement:

The sensation I felt as the electoral map started bleeding red Tuesday night was deeply familiar to me. It was that sickening, unshakable sensation that begins somewhere behind your navel, subtly shifting your center of gravity as it prepares your body to fight, fly, or freeze. It was the sensation that pools heavily in your core, forcing the air from your lungs ...

November 13th, 2016

# Poland’s tragic rejection of the West

Very sad to see Poland fall so low, but I suppose the USA has also fallen just as low:

Law and Justice’s particular resentments, above all its virulent anti-Communism in the absence of actual Communists, may be distinctly Polish. But in its revolt against European liberalism, the party stands at the forefront of a growing movement. The one unifying feature of Western democracies today is the rise of nativist, nationalist parties. All of them tap a deep and thickening vein of ...

November 13th, 2016

It is worrisome that this can happen in the USA in 2016:

“Quit overreacting, it’s just politics,” crow the Trump sympathizers (because truly, anyone who says that, even if they didn’t vote for him, is a Trump sympathizer). Tell that to the Muslim high school teacher who received a note from a student suggesting she hang herself with her headscarf.

November 13th, 2016

# Lady Chatterley’s Lover as a weapon against censorship in the USA

Interesting:

In 1954, when Grove Press was still in its infancy, Mark Schorer, the distinguished literary scholar and professor of English at Berkeley, wrote to me suggesting that we publish an unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. D. H. Lawrence’s last major work had long been banned in England and put on the “proscribed” list by the United States Post Office Department. Now, Professor Schorer, whom I had never met in person, had placed the Lady on our doorstep. Here she ...

November 13th, 2016

# The astonishing rise of graphic novels

When I a teenager I read comic books, and that was a very unpopular thing to do at the time. Things have changed radically. I’m amazed to see how high on this list graphic novels have risen:

Source

November 13th, 2016

Interesting:

Publishers took note. In the year after Ward published Damaged, she was offered a series of deals from various publishers totaling $1.5 million, by her estimate. She turned them all down, and by the time she said no to her last contract, she was making eight figures as a self-published author. “It would have been a colossal mistake to sign with them at that point, financially,” she says. Romance novels, home of heavy lids, hot breaths, and grabbed wrists, have long ... Read More Source November 13th, 2016 No Comments # The best interview technique: pay people$200 to attempt some task over the weekend

I like this idea:

In regards to what works the best, I found that these 2 ideas work the best when combined.

PAID Sample project assignment (err on the side of paying fairly — say $100+/hour for estimated completion time — if the problem should require 2 hours to complete, offer$200)

Bring the candidate in and discuss the solution. Let the candidate talk about their design decisions, challenge them as you would any team member and let them provide their reasoning.

Paying candidates to work on a ...

November 13th, 2016

# The performance aspects of men announcing they voted for Clinton

Interesting:

In the waning moments of the presidential election, my co-workers and I have noticed a certain trend: self-identified liberal men who are desperate to perform political awareness. They are eager to tell you that they voted for Hillary Clinton, while subsequently outlining all of the reasons why voting for her was a Herculean task in which they miraculously overcame themselves. Their endorsements of Clinton aren’t necessarily endorsements, but rather an acknowledgment that voting for Donald Trump is unconscionable.

It’s a kind ...

November 12th, 2016

# Angela Merkel reacts to the election

How incredibly weird that Germany is now the last defender of the West. I suppose this is when it can pay back its moral debt.

Much like her initial response to the Brexit vote — urging calm and expressing the intent to work for a close relationship with Britain no matter what — Ms. Merkel’s reaction to the election of Mr. Trump was deft.

On a fateful date when Germans are usually preoccupied with remembering Kristallnacht — the Nazis’ pogroms against ...

November 12th, 2016

# Harry Reid reacts to the election

He writes:

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking ...

November 11th, 2016

# Jean Paul Sartre, Troubled Sleep, Donald Trump

I look forward to moving past the shock, but never the outrage. I am pleased to think that the outrage is just getting started. What I mean by that is something like the feeling expressed by Jean Paul Sartre, in his novel Troubled Sleep, about World War II.

In the novel, Germany invades France, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

The Germans destroy village after village, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are ...

November 9th, 2016

# Alex Pareene reacts to the election

He writes:

Blame white people. Blame white men in particular, but reserve plenty of blame for white women. Blame old people, too. Blame rich people, as always. Blame the public at large for Donald fucking Trump getting more votes than Donald Duck. Democracy enacts the will of the public; this is what the public wants.

Blame the Founders for enshrining white supremacy in our constitution and making it nearly impossible to fully expunge. Blame a political system that advantages rural areas at ...

November 9th, 2016

# Kelly Stout writes about the election

She writes:

The Clinton campaign itself responded to Trump’s historic hatred with an ad that featured young girls listening to Trump’s words as they inspected themselves in the mirror. The ad’s implicit promise was that a vote for Hillary Clinton might unsay Trump’s words and deliver us a nation in which little girls can get dressed for school without ever having heard Donald Trump’s voice in the other room saying, “A person who’s flat-chested—it’s very hard to be a ‘10.’” Your ...

November 9th, 2016

# Rich Juzwiak on the election

He writes:

I started getting mocked for being gay in the second grade, before I even knew what “gay” was. To cope, I learned the power in selective listening. We need to rely upon the world to tell us about ourselves, and yet as early as 8 or 9, I knew I had to temper my credulity. And no matter how much hurt I might have felt when I was derided, I knew they were wrong. The wrongness of hating ...

November 9th, 2016

# Kelly Faircloth reacts to the election

She writes:

To grow up a girl in the 1990s was to stew in a particularly rich pot of misogyny and, for some of us, to have one’s sense of the world shaped by the treatment of an uneasy trinity of women: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Monica Lewinsky.

Sure, my experience was exaggerated by living in the Deep South—Georgia went for Bill Clinton in 1992, then promptly gave the country Newt Gingrich—and it’s not like I would have sidestepped sexism if ...

November 9th, 2016

# Clover Hope reacts to the election

She writes:

Last night, the hidden factions of white supremacy fully emerged, though we know they were never really hidden. You could call Donald Trump’s win a shock, but that’s also another lie. The blinding red map last night that looks so much like blood, and feels so much like a relapse, is simply the reality of existence. Did you need to see it?

Overwhelmingly, white people voted to preserve whiteness. Fifty-eight percent of white Americans, according to CNN’s exit polls, voted ...

November 9th, 2016

# Krugman reacts to the election

He writes:

First of all, it’s always important to remember that elections determine who has the power, not who has the truth. The stunning upset doesn’t mean that the alt-right is correct to view nonwhites as inferior, that voodoo economics works, whatever. And you have to hold to the truth as best you see it, even if it suffers political defeat.

That said, does it make sense on a personal level to keep struggling after this kind of blow? Why not give ...

November 6th, 2016

This is from an article about “The 15 Coolest Neighborhoods In The World”. What strikes me is how international the definition of “cool” currently is. How many neighborhoods could we write this paragraph for?

_____ is a hothouse of alternative culture and creativity. A young population have flocked to the area in recent years, leading to an upsurge in cool and quirky shopping, eating, drinking and partying venues. This neighborhood is renowned for its vintage shopping scene. A must-visit is ________, ...

November 5th, 2016

# Boring and failed attempts to produce a story about something strange and new

Interesting:

Later in 2012, Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall told Empire Online that an (unnamed) HBO executive producer would lean over him and egg him on to include more full-frontal nudity, and that he “represents the perv side of the audience.” In 2014, True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto told BuzzFeed that there’s a “clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity.”

As it turns out, SNL wasn’t all that far off.

Even setting aside HBO’s proclivity for more nudity at ...

November 5th, 2016

# The sacrifices of dancers

Interesting:

At 35, Alexandra has only recently come to a realization that most of us are forced to reckon with much, much earlier: “You can try to do everything right and it still may not work.” Though she spends many of her days in an office, she says she’s not an office person. Learning to communicate verbally has been a challenge. “I didn’t realize how introverted I was. I had been so used to emoting silently and physically.” Nonetheless, she is ...

November 5th, 2016

# Why we need more queer stories

Interesting:

The plot of As I Descended both hinges on the characters’ queerness and transcends it—there’s nothing about the book that would be inaccessible to a straight reader, but same-sex romance is an inextricable part of its plot. In a literary environment where LGBTQ representation is still catching up from centuries of erasure, it’s refreshing to see a queer protagonist like Maria, not a stereotype nor a trope but a deeply flawed, complicated person battling conflicting desires. When Maria gives in ...

November 5th, 2016

# The perfect Javascript file uploader?

This looks amazing:

The default behavior of Fine Uploader is to immediately attempt to upload files as they are selected. One option allows you to simply queue all files, and then start uploading at a later time by calling uploadStoredFiles() on your Fine Uploader instance. You can also easily allow your users to edit the names of each submitted file before uploading.

This Fine Uploader instance below also demonstrates the edit file name feature, which allows you to edit the name of ...

November 5th, 2016

# A set of interconnected ideas that have become commonplace in much of our discourse

Interesting:

I like to treat neoliberalism not as some kind of coherent political philosophy, but more as a set of interconnected ideas that have become commonplace in much of our discourse. That the private sector entrepreneur is the wealth creator, and the state typically just gets in their way. That what is good for business is good for the economy, even when it increases monopoly power or involves rent seeking. Interference in business or the market, by governments or unions, ...

November 5th, 2016

# Criticizing sexism in Hollywood

There is clearly new energy in the movement to give women equal standing in professional fields. I wonder why this energy runs so strong in some decades and disappears in others? It was running white hot in the 1970s, then faded in the 80s and 90s, and now its back. An example of our times:

In an open letter titled “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again,” published on her husband Ashton Kutcher’s website A Plus – underwritten by Chicken Soup ...

November 5th, 2016

# Hiding gender politics in games

Games can have invisible politics, and the fact that the politics are hidden in the mechanics of the game makes the message much more powerful than if it were overt. Consider that these words are more controversial than the game they comment on, and you’ll realize the political power of games:

In an article headlined “How RimWorld’s Code Defines Strict Gender Roles” writer and academic Claudia Lo dug into RimWorld’s code and found that “there are no bisexual men, only ...

November 5th, 2016

# The death of the crow

Linda Guzynski tells a story about a crow, who eventually dies. She offers this bit of astrological wisdom:

Sometimes we come to an astrologer to be told when the next great dollop of goodness is going to come our way. I am guilty of looking longingly at my chart, calculating the next ease from the “benifics” and scorning the heavier transits from the “malefics”. I do know that this life is not about being effortlessly served bon-bons of our whimsy, ...

November 5th, 2016

# When corporations try to use copyright law to silence their critics

Interesting:

But as Audrey Alford found out, actors can’t even sound the alarm about it.

Alford, co-founder of the New York-based Ivy Theatre Company, first saw the casting call for a Nick Jonas summer tour video partially quoted in an actor friend’s Facebook post in May. The job description, which had been posted on Actors Access, requested “stunning female models,” “the kind of girls Nick Jonas would have a crush on,” as in, “mainly Caucasian,” with possible, “ethnic flare, like Indian ...

November 5th, 2016

# What progressives should say to people who want to vote for Jill Stein and the Green party

The correct way to deal with folks who want to vote 3rd party is to talk about amending the Constitution so that America can have 3rd parties, like other Western nations. There is clearly a large group in the USA who would prefer to have a parliamentary system as is common in Europe.

This is potentially a good idea, so it is curious that it doesn’t get more discussion. Perhaps we all know the right-wing will oppose any amendment to ...

November 5th, 2016

# The New York Times reacts to sessesion

This is from 1861:

Among the many voices raised in Europe over the disaster of secession, amid the groans of sorrow, cries of indignation and tones of sympathy which reach us from many lands beyond the sea, there is one neither loud nor mocking, but which, like the endless monotone in the poet’s description of the uproar in hell, is more tormenting than all the other sounds combined. We mean that complacent “We told you so” of the friends of the ...

November 1st, 2016

# In the Alogos, the algotrons have an identity function

Very interesting:

The reasoning behind the idea comes from several earlier discoveries by physicists, such as a 2006 paper by Shinsei Ryu and Tadashi Takayanagi showing a connection between entanglement and the geometry of spacetime. Building on that work, in 2013 Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind found that if two black holes became entangled, they would create a wormhole—a shortcut in spacetime predicted by general relativity. This discovery (nicknamed ER=EPR, after physicists’ shorthand for wormholes and entanglement) and others like it ...

November 1st, 2016

I can relate to the feeling of not having real adult stuff, though my parents and family were never a reference point for me. Rather, I went the other way: my parents moved out of New York, to live in the suburbs, I moved out of the suburbs to move to New York. I have never struggled “to find relevance in a slew of anachronistic cultural detritus” but rather was happy to invest new cultural expressions. But I didn’t exceed ...

October 31st, 2016

# AirBnB lacks the power to fight discrimination

I suppose it does some good for them to go on the record as being against discrimination. But I also agree with this:

Airbnb can do whatever they want in property they own/lease. However since they ‘share’ (funny word that) people’s private homes they will have to live with the fact that those people will refuse guests for whatever reasons they feel like, this is the flip side of the coin of not having a relationship where they are ...

October 31st, 2016

# Stripe almost got burned by Bitcoin

It’s amazing how many disasters seem to happen whenever companies try to use crypto-currency:

For a variety of reasons, it is sometimes necessary to refund bitcoin transactions: For example, a customer cancelling their order; accidentally sending in the wrong number of bitcoins; or even sending in the correct number of bitcoins, but not within the requisite time window, resulting in their value being lower than necessary. Consequently, Stripe allows for bitcoin transactions to be refunded — with the caveat that, for ...

October 31st, 2016

# Voter fraud in Iowa

I am having trouble thinking of the last time another Western nation had a vote with this much irony.

An Iowa woman arrested on charges she voted twice for Donald Trump attempted to explain her behavior by stating that “the polls are rigged,” according to Iowa Public Radio.

…Vote fraud is extraordinarily rare, despite Trump’s repeated claims during the campaign; a comprehensive study found 31 fraudulent votes in one billion cast. And when it does happen, basic safeguards identify the ...

October 30th, 2016

# I like echo chambers

It’s rare for people to argue in good faith on the Internet, which is why I think people look for walled gardens, where they can talk to people who agree with them.

You know what I’ve decided? That I like so called echo chambers, like Jez, and I’ll admit it. The reason I say this is that no one argues in good faith. I love hearing differing opinions and sharing mine but Jesus fucking Christ everything is a damn gotcha ...

October 30th, 2016

# When we gather our identity from many sources we create a more diversified sense of esteem

Interesting and raw and honest:

I understood his situation all too well. I found it nearly impossible to escape my identity as a founder. I built a narcissistic fortress around that identity. It’s the inescapable pending doom scenario. Money will run out, investors won’t continue to write checks, slowing growth, big companies will sue us to the point of oblivion, founders kill each other, you name it–somehow the founder has to step in to do whatever it takes to save ...

October 29th, 2016

# Being judged incapable of producing your own work BURNS

So true!. This happened to me in 4th grade. My teacher asked a question about the coast of Africa. I answered the question, then added that South America had split off from Africa, and, according to the theory of plate tectonics, all of the continents had belonged to the super continent Pangea, which began to break up about 180 million years ago… My teacher then cut me off with an abrupt “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ...

October 29th, 2016

# Democracy is a colossal swindle

From Mencken. The parts of this paragraph that arise from direct observation are very good. The parts that don’t arise from direct observation are very bad.

I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: ...

October 28th, 2016

# It sets a trap like a spider building a web, or a witch casting a spell

Starbird Astrology is using her skills to decipher Hillary Clinton. I think this description of a Scorpio sums up Clinton very well:

Hillary’s Sun, Venus and Mercury are in Scorpio, also a feminine sign. Mars the warrior is the traditional ruler of Aries and Scorpio. Unlike his Aries’ direct and naive persona, the Scorpio soldier requires different tactics. Scorpio is a nocturnal sign and charging rashly forward in the dark is not wise; you might fall off a cliff or ...

October 28th, 2016

# Soylent is every stupid thing about the tech industry

A few good quotes:

Soylent made such a big deal of being a “tech company”, and boasted about their overdesigned web infrastructure for a business that did two transactions a minute. What they didn’t have is advanced technology on the production side. They write about “sending samples out” to external labs. It’s not like they had an automated lab constantly sampling their production line and posting the results to the web. There are production line testing machines for biological contamination and for ...

October 28th, 2016

Such a tragic waste of resources, especially the brilliance of these minds:

For example, while studying the epidemiology of HIV and tuberculosis, one of us (T.O.) realized that many people with these infectious diseases in urban areas also have non-infectious conditions, including hypertension and obesity. Hardly anyone was examining how and why, or investigating strategies for integrated prevention and management. Her proposals to research these topics were not well received by peer reviewers, who commented that she had not asked such ...

October 27th, 2016

# We need perspectives on the startup scene

This is a woman talking about the startup scene in Bangalore, but I think this is true everywhere, and on many fronts:

We need more voices — voices who are unknown AND/OR don’t speak because of shyness — of women in leadership positions in Bangalore startups. For instance, rarely have I heard from Leena SN about her experiences of being the ‘woman’ CTO of Multunus and raising two daughters at the same time. Leena has spoken at several HasGeek events, conducted workshops and is one ...

October 27th, 2016

# Why are Americans so good at sports and so bad at math?

Interesting:

Yet my children’s experience of school in America is in some ways as indifferent as their swimming classes are good, for the country’s elementary schools seem strangely averse to teaching children much stuff. According to the OECD’s latest international education rankings, American children are rated average at reading, below average at science, and poor at maths, at which they rank 27th out of 34 developed countries. At 15, children in Massachusetts, where education standards are higher than in most states, ...

October 27th, 2016

# Software doesn’t need options

At least for the consumer. An API for a developer is something else completely.

Great software is:

Opinionated Options are a cop out. It’s the designer’s job to figure out the best way to use the product, and delegating that choice to the user is pure laziness. Hive only resorts to options as a last resort.

Source

October 27th, 2016

# Is it useful to have a college degree?

In the USA, since the mid 1970s, a college degree has offered an increasingly important economic benefit. Partly this is because working class wages have declined. The median male wage has declined since 1973, but not for those who have a college degree. A college degree protects a person from economic hazard.

At least, that is how things worked till 2008. But since then? Consider this chart:

It’s possible that it is still useful to have a college degree in the ...

October 27th, 2016

# Until 1896, not a single Election Day passed in the United States without someone getting killed at the polls

Interesting:

Most Americans have forgotten how rough our elections used to be. But early in the republic, political violence was the norm, not the exception. “Until 1896, not a single Election Day passed in the United States without someone getting killed at the polls,” historian Jill Lepore writes in the New Yorker.

The most notable period of election-related violence came during Reconstruction, the Northern effort to rebuild the South after the Civil War and empower black citizens. The postwar attempt by black ...

October 27th, 2016

# When The Nas looked out his window and wrote what he saw

Nobody knows what caused the crime in the USA from 1963 to 1993. Nobody knows why it ended. It’s is the most important cultural event of the last 60 years, waiting to be explained. One lens we can use to talk about it is Hip Hop. And New York played a special role in that crime wave, and any explanation needs to tell a special story about New York. And those who were there at the time, and looked out ...

October 27th, 2016

# Who talks about rigged elections?

Interesting and worrisome:

The first major test of Trump’s inflammatory language about a stolen election will come on Election Day itself. Trump has been encouraging his supporters, who are heavily white and non-urban, to “go around and watch other polling places.” He has specifically told his supporters to watch polling places in urban areas; the racial subtext isn’t exactly subtle.

“I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not ...

October 23rd, 2016

# What if we spent out money building businesses, instead of subsidizing houses?

One can see the influence of tax subsidies, and the boom in home ownership:

That is trillions invested in buying homes. What if those trillions had been invested in businesses instead? What would the USA economy look like now?

Source

October 20th, 2016

# This was the war witnessed by Thucydides

So true! Thucydides has very few equals.

Thebes and Plataea were separated by only seven miles. That is barely a shadow on the frontier of the greater ancient empires. Even the fabled Sicilian campaign, whose distance robbed Athens of her empire, was only half as far away as Caesar wandered from Rome, and only a fourth of the distance Han warriors traveled from their capitals at Chang’an or Luoyang to the farthest frontier of their empire.

A bit less than three hundred ...

October 18th, 2016

# In 2024 Michelle Obama will become our second female President

I think this is obvious, but it is still worth saying. And I believe she will be a good President.

Source

October 13th, 2016

# The odd rhetoric for expressing outrage, in the Republican party

Interesting:

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used a written statement of displeasure with Trump to identify himself as “the father of three daughters.” This was apparently a wellspring of his pique, which didn’t rise to the level of actually rescinding his endorsement of Trump. Would a fourth daughter have done the trick? A fifth?

“As a husband and father” was how Mike Pence, who has a son and two daughters, commenced his own short-lived reprimand of Trump. Jeb Bush tweeted that ...

October 13th, 2016

# The stagnation in the USA

All 4 of my grandparents were born overseas. They arrived in the USA in the 1920s. They would be surprised by the recent stagnation. Interesting:

When progress is the norm, it feeds on itself. People can trust that their own sacrifices will usually pay off. They can endure hard times without becoming cynical and can be generous toward others.

Now, imagine a different reality: one in which your family — or whole community — had known scant progress for decades.

You couldn’t tell ...

October 13th, 2016

Interesting:

Her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men. Did he hurt me? Do I forgive him? Did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the ...

October 13th, 2016

# The corruption at WellsFargo

Ashley, working for them and making only $35k per year in San Francisco, was continually harassed to sign people up for accounts they didn’t want. An old man comes in, pensioner,$200 in overdraft fees due to being duped into excess accounts. She dips into her own savings to get him back in the black. She reports the incident to the internal ethics line. Nothing. Tries again. Nothing. She refuses to fraudulently push excess accounts onto people. Fired. ...

October 10th, 2016

# Anti-Chinese sentiment in New York City in 2016

This is a surprising story, in New York City of all places! And in the year 2016!

An editor at the NY Times used Twitter to recount an extremely disturbing incident that unfolded in Manhattan today. Or it just sums up what America has turned into, a depressing cauldron of resentment and ignorance. Michael Luo tweeted, “Well dressed woman on Upper East Side, annoyed by our stroller, yells: “Go back to China…go back to your f—ing country.” #thisis2016.”

Then he continued, “I ...

October 9th, 2016

# California history foreshadows modern politics

Interesting:

Who are the Golden State thinkers who have helped build a sophisticated case for the proudly unsophisticated presidential candidate? In the northern half of the state, there’s Victor Davis Hanson, the celebrated Hoover Institution classicist who has favorably described Trump as a “D-11 bulldozer blade” against a bankrupt Acela establishment, and Ron Unz, an idiosyncratic Bay Area political activist and entrepreneur who publishes the Unz Review, a Trump-friendly, highbrow online journal with a devoted following.

Curtis Yarvin, the software developer ...

October 9th, 2016

# Ross Douthat describes post liberal thought

Interesting:

The liberal system’s weak spots did not go away. It delivered peace and order and prosperity, but it attenuated pre-liberal forces – tribal, familial, religious — that speak more deeply than consumer capitalism to basic human needs: the craving for honor, the yearning for community, the desire for metaphysical hope.

Those needs endured, muted but not eliminated by greater social equality and rising G.D.P. Nonetheless the liberal consensus seemed impressively resilient, even in the midst of elite misgovernment. 9/11 did ...

October 9th, 2016

# Samuel Beckett looks miserable with success

Interesting

He remains hectically, miserably busy. ‘Forgive delay in answering yours of Jan 18,’ he writes to Alan Schneider in February 1966. ‘Have been up to my eyes since Xmas. Preparing and shooting here film of Play, then London for Eh Joe with Jack and a record and poetry reading with same. Back now finishing film and rehearsing new show at Odéon. Play, Come & Go, Pinget’s Hypothèse and two Ionesco shorts — Délire à Deux & La Lacune.’ When he’s ...

October 9th, 2016

# Distrust the other

This is a rather pure expression of the bias that comments can not be trusted unless they come from someone who looks just like us.

Source

October 6th, 2016

# An elected House Of Lords would fix this

If true, this would be an argument for having leaders who are elected for very long periods of time. Something like the Supreme Court, long enough that they would not have to worry about their re-election. An elected House Of Lords.

The basic idea may also be put this way. A left wing government might not want to pass policies to educate the masses or open markets to small business firms because such policies are likely to be successful ...

October 3rd, 2016

# A Nobel Prize for the describing the details of autophagy

Interesting:

The term autophagy was coined in 1963 by Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on cell structure and organization.

But before Ohsumi’s research, scientists “didn’t know what it did, they didn’t know how it was controlled and they didn’t know what it was relevant for,” said David Rubinsztein, deputy director of the Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge.

Now “we know that autophagy is important for a host of important ...

October 3rd, 2016

# How process becomes bloated and bureaucratic over time

This is good:

Checkout/Ordering team: “Your Payment Processing release broke Checkout in production.”

Payment Processing team: “Didn’t know this would affect Checkout. Had no time to look into it because we were too busy working on the new payment functionality in the iOS app.”

Mobile App Product Visionary: “I want my own dedicated team. This happened because Payment Processing is spread too thin to work on the app and the backend at the same time.”

Development Manager: “Org chart change – let’s have all ...

October 3rd, 2016

# There is no cure for depression

There are treatments for depression, and sometimes people are happy, but life can always hand them shattering events, at which point their underlying depression is brought to the surface again:

Godelieva, who taught anatomy to nurses, had been in therapy since she was nineteen. With each new doctor, she embraced the therapeutic process anew, adopting her doctor’s philosophy and rewriting her life story so that it fit his theory of the mind. She continually dissected the source of her distress. “I ...

October 3rd, 2016

# Working hard: love of work or misguided hero complex?

Interesting, and very American, with the long need to explain why working 80 hours a week might be bad:

In March of 2011, I was in the depths of burnout. I had been working 80+ hour weeks at least twice a month since the previous fall. My design studio, Metagramme, had an ongoing project that grew beyond all reckoning, swallowed the majority of our billable time, and crippled our ability to pursue new work.

I developed vision trouble. Distant objects refused to ...

September 30th, 2016

# After 1970, people had to spend more on rent

Interesting:

From 1940 to 1960 across 20 large U.S. cities, rental housing’s price fell, renters’ incomes rose, rent’s share in household budgets fell, and, as expected, renters’ real housing consumption increased. From 1970 to 2010, rental housing’s price increased, renters’ incomes decreased, but, unexpectedly, renters’ real housing consumption increased. We find neither demographics nor housing supply factors account for the anomalous post-1970 increase in renters’ housing consumption. We conclude that after 1970 there was a nationwide increase in renters’ preferences for ...

September 30th, 2016

# The rarity of a game that allows much expression of femslash

Overwatch fans and femslash

Slash, as this is known in fandom circles, has a long history of sparking the imagination, stretching as far back as Star Trek. Historically, a lot of slash has focused on men’s relationships with each other (M/M), while fan-created material about women’s relationships (also known as femslash, or F/F) feels an underappreciated but no less ferocious wing of shipping. An informal 2013 count of the tags in on Archive of Our Own, a popular fanfiction library, shows ...

September 30th, 2016

# An unusual election in the USA

This isn’t normal. This will be a reference point for decades to come. The Republican nominee has a strange obsession denouncing a woman who disappointed him 30 years ago. And as one commenter said, the use of “my” in “my worst Miss Universe” is absolutely creepy. He doesn’t own her.

Source

September 29th, 2016

# Online beauty gurus have become much more reliable than brands

Interesting:

This seems to mirror general consumer consensus that online beauty gurus have become much more reliable than brands. The brands are, in turn, increasingly reliant on bloggers for marketing. … The beef stems from a Vogue roundtable published on Sunday in which several editors discussed Milan Fashion Week and denigrated style bloggers in the process. Vogue.com’s chief critic Sarah Mower turned a nose up, stating, “The professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is ...

September 27th, 2016

# Why wouldn’t people buy Hermione Granger and the Philosopher’s Stone?

This is an interesting argument, that Hermione might have been one of the more original aspects of Harry Potter, and perhaps its most tolerable aspect.

This is something that the Harry Potter fan community has been discussing for years: Hermione drives the story because she has her own story. No one in their right mind would trust 13-year-old Harry Potter with a Time Turner, but Hermione gets one and she deserves it. She dates a celebrity, and she outsmarts Rita Skeeter, ...

September 27th, 2016

# Andrew Montalenti: Ask a teacher, police officer, or firefighter if they are paid proportional to the value they add

It’s an interesting essay, but I can’t go along with the complacency that’s implied. If people are paid unfairly, then we should try address that. Programming might seem to be reasonably paid when compared to doctors or lawyers or teachers, but there is the larger issue, are workers, as a group, being paid fairly? Anyone who reads history is aware that during the Gilded Age monopolists bribed politicians to enrich themselves to the detriment of the public. The ...

September 27th, 2016

# Inequality ruins romance

Interesting article:

Lily is, essentially, upper middle class. She has enough money and status to play bridge and attend balls with the truly wealthy, but she is living beyond her means, and her debts are always mounting. In order to secure a place for herself in society and to pay off her debts, she has to find a rich husband. Lily’s story illustrates the strain of the upper middle class trying to achieve true wealth—and the terrible consequences of failure—in a ...

September 20th, 2016

# Software as a metaphor for human behavior

I’m focusing on “sensitivity chip”. Interesting:

Jennifer Aniston is interviewed by Vanity Fair’s Leslie Bennetts. In the profile, titled The “Unsinkable Jennifer Aniston,” Aniston (crying the whole time) speaks on her marriage to Pitt, telling Bennetts, “We’re divorced, and you can see why,” referring to the aforementioned W spread.

She adds, “Brad is not mean-spirited; he would never intentionally try to rub something in my face. In hindsight, I can see him going, ‘Oh—I can see that that was inconsiderate.’ But I ...

September 18th, 2016

# Rapidly Exploring Random Trees

Interesting. It says the RRT proceeds by breaking the Voronoi spaces into smaller Voronoi spaces. The algorithm has a bias towards unexplored territory, unlike a purely random algorithm, which tends to loop back to explored space. I didn’t dig into the algorithm, but I can imagine how this would be useful in some situations.

Source

September 18th, 2016

# Women at the White House amplify what they each say, so as to avoid being ignored

This is brilliant:

In the early days of the Obama White House, nearly two-thirds of Obama’s senior staffers and advisors were men. The Washington Post reports that the “women complained of having to elbow their way into important meetings. And when they got in, their voices were sometimes ignored.”

So, the women of the Obama White House banded together and sketched out a strategy that would effectively force their male colleagues to listen to them. They called it “amplification,” a simple ...

September 18th, 2016

# As a consolidation client for Kinesis, ZeroMQ is much better than Kafka

This is fantastic:

With the problem of real-time log consolidation solved with ZeroMQ, supporting durable storage of logs for later post-processing becomes a smaller and a much more manageable challenge. For example, off the shelve solutions like Logstash are capable of capturing data from ZeroMQ and publishing it to a variety of destinations. In our particular situation at Auth0, we are already using AWS Kinesis, ElasticSearch, and Kibana as a log processing pipeline in other parts of our operations. As such we ...

September 18th, 2016

# I always learn what I need to know about a year too late

At Celolot I wrote a bunch of Clojure apps that talked to each other over Redis thanks to Carmine/Nippy. We passed around maps, and each app checked a field in the map to see if the map was a message that it was suppose to respond to.

But I bet this is a thousand times faster:

ZeroMQ does not have a first class notion of a topic, yet it does have a first class concept of a subscription filter. Subscription filters ...

September 18th, 2016

# Camille Fournier on ephemeral nodes in etcd

I missed this the first time. In etcd a service needs to constantly update the fact that it is alive. If it dies, its info disappears. So other services can contact etcd and ask “Who is alive right now?”

ZooKeeper allows stateful connections. Thick clients. But what happens when you try to use ZooKeeper from a language that does not allow threads? Do you block on the only thread that you have?

For pub-sub she recommends RabbitMQ or ZeroMQ.

Source

September 18th, 2016

# Why would I ever want to use Docker?

I’m trying to be open minded about Docker, but it is a struggle to grok why this is good. Do I want to bind all dependencies to my app? Great, then I’ll build uberjars that combine everything into 1 binary. But how will I work with Ruby On Rails? That’s easy: it is time to move away from Ruby On Rails. If Ruby can only be kept alive by using Docker, then we should give up on Ruby.

How will ...

September 18th, 2016

# The universe as a Church encoding

I think it is extremely messy that math has integers, fractions, irrational numbers and worse. If I was rich, I would work on a model of the universe where the only primitive is the function. One has to admit, the idea of a universe with only one primitive is extremely attractive.

In mathematics, Church encoding is a means of representing data and operators in the lambda calculus. The data and operators form a mathematical structure which is embedded in the ...

September 18th, 2016

# Unary Numeral System

Interesting:

Addition and subtraction are particularly simple in the unary system, as they involve little more than string concatenation. The Hamming weight or population count operation that counts the number of nonzero bits in a sequence of binary values may also be interpreted as a conversion from unary to binary numbers. However, multiplication is more cumbersome and has often been used as a test case for the design of Turing machines.

Compared to standard positional numeral systems, the unary system is inconvenient ...

September 18th, 2016

# What sort of apps would we get if everyone could program?

This issue has been brought up many times over the decades, most especially with Hypercard, and then again with the invention of the Web in 1989. Are there categories of software that we don’t get now because the only people who create software are highly skilled specialists?

Here is a story of a young woman creating an app, and it suggests what the world might be like if anyone could create software:

A lot has changed since I was in ...

September 18th, 2016

# Video games as a supplement to other mental medications

Interesting:

At a young age I knew I was different, but always just hid behind a theatre kid exterior and chalked all my anxiety up to “budding creativity” that just needed an outlet. Surprise! Turns out my anxiety is actually a chemical imbalance in my brain that kept escalating until it exploded. I was nearly 21, living at college, and having a full-on anxiety attack every day. After dropping about 10 pounds (I’m very small to begin with) and not being ...

September 18th, 2016

# The promise of equity no longer aligns the interests of workers and startup founders

This essay is fantastic:

Sure enough, companies like Snapchat and Palantir have adopted policies that either vest employee options over a longer period of time (five years in the case of Palantir) or back-weight the bulk of vesting later in an employee’s tenure (Snapchat vests only 10% the first year, 20% in the second, 30% in the third, and 40% in the fourth). Still, while this adjustment may strike VCs and founders as a reasonable tradeoff, lengthening the time workers are ...

September 18th, 2016

# It took me 10 years to write that 5 line app

There is the story where Picasso paints a quick sketch and wants a huge amount of money for it, and the art collector says “It only took you 15 minutes to make that sketch!” and Picasso says “I spent 60 years learning how to do that in 15 minutes.”

Maybe something like this applies when it comes to microservices. When I advocate for microservices, I bring 17 years of experience to the conversation. The first 7 of those years meant ...

September 18th, 2016

# The economy is a collection of many distinct but interconnected practices

Or as Joseph Schumacher said, “The social process is really one indivisible whole!”

This is interesting:

We should see our economy not simply as a capitalist market system but as a collection of “many distinct but interconnected practices”. Neither the traditional economist’s focus on firms in markets nor the Marxist political economist’s focus on exploitation of wage labour by capital is a viable way of understanding the real economy, and the book takes some steps towards an alternative view.

Both of ...

September 18th, 2016

# Post-Real Theory

I think this is actually happening in most fields, not just economics. It’s happening in physics, in biology, in computer technology:

In response to the observation that the shocks [in DSGE models] are imaginary, a standard defense invokes Milton Friedman’s (1953) methodological assertion from unnamed authority that “the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions (p.14).” More recently, “all models are false” seems to have become the universal hand-wave for dismissing any fact that does not conform to the ...

September 18th, 2016

# Petty Revenge Stories

I am thinking of launching yet another blog service, so I am studying existing blog services.

I am curious how certain Tumblr blogs manage to attract enough of an audience that they get a steady stream of submissions. Petty Revenge Stories, for instance. How did this get famous enough that now it gets a steady supply of submissions.

As near as I can tell, the owner of Petty Revenge Stories never speaks. They do not offer a performance of their ...

September 18th, 2016

# Is this a story about women in journalism in the 1920s, or is this a story about burnout?

Since I’ve dealt with my own episodes of burnout, I would say this sounds a lot like burnout. If you both love a profession and find yourself unmotivated to do the work, then you are suffering from depression/burnout.

The couple married in 1934. Velva sold her automotive Corona and would soon retire to the serenity of the Outpost Estates home where Rick grew up. She was free from the rat race.

And yet, when I looked in city directories for the ...

September 18th, 2016

# For the last 10,000 years, the banking industry has relied on eventual consistency

Why do computer programmers feel smug offering the following example, when it is so clearly wrong?

Transactions, to a database, are important, because banks must keep track of money. Suppose a person were to move $100 from their Savings account to their Checking account. Suppose$100 is added to checking, and just then the electricity dies, and the computers die, before $100 can be subtracted from their Savings account. The person now has an extra$100, which they should not ...

September 17th, 2016

# How not to transition from celebrity life to politics

Ivanka Trump is used to getting easy questions from the celebrity press. She is surprised to face tough questions now that she has entered politics. Interesting:

For the rest of the interview, she’s combative: “You said he made those comments,” she says to Gupta. “I don’t know that he said those comments.” When Gupta reiterates that, yes, Donald Trump said pregnancy was an inconvenience, Trump responds, “There’s plenty of time for you to editorialize around this, but I think he put ...

September 17th, 2016

# I keep really good company

Edsger W. Dijkstra

Alan Kay

Paul Graham

Richard Mansfield

Eric Raymond

Jeff Atwood

Linus Torvalds

Oscar Nierstrasz

Rich Hickey

Eric Allman

Joe Armstrong

Rob Pike

John Barker

Lawrence Krubner (me)

Asaf Shelly

I must be doing something right to get cited alongside Edsger W. Dijkstra, Alan Kay, Paul Graham, Linus Torvalds, and Rich Hickey.

Source

September 17th, 2016

# Americans are less enamored of the status quo

Interesting:

Politics is seeping into American public life — and with it, the belief that the status quo isn’t worth saving

We’ve seen in this cycle — in the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as well as Donald Trump — the appeal of a politics that puts forward a robust alternative vision for society. A politics that doesn’t just promise improvements to the lives of individual voters but declares what America itself ought to be.

That’s not a vision that can be put into ...

September 17th, 2016

# Failing to expand cities will come at a cost

This article does not do much more than remind us that automobiles have been the primary transportation mechanism of the last 100 years, and therefore growth and autos are linked. A different technology would generate different results. But we should also the cultural and political paralysis that contributes to this. Ideas about private property work well when we discuss unsullied fresh ground way out in the middle of nowhere. Ideas of private property break down when we are discussing Manhattan. ...

September 17th, 2016

# I am confused why large firms acquire smaller firms

It is well known that most mergers are failures. Hundreds of good studies have been written on the subject. And yet large firms continue to acquire smaller firms.

There are other ways that large firms could behave:

1.) A large firm, with mature markets and steady cash flows, act as venture capitalists, funding hundreds of small firms and setting them free

2.) A large firm, with mature markets and steady cash flows, could simply give the money back to investors

So why acquire? ...

September 17th, 2016

# When is consistency needed in a database?

This is a great comment :

Consistently is overvalued. Requiring consistency in distributed system generally leads to designs that reduces availability. Which is one of the reasons that bank transactions generally do not rely on transactional updates against your bank. “Low level” operations as part of settlement may us transactions, but the bank system is “designed” (more like it has grown by accretion) to function almost entirely by settlement and reconciliation rather than holding onto any notion of consistency. The real world rarely involves ...

September 17th, 2016

This seems like an unnecessary self-inflicted wound. I get defending one’s work as an artists, but there is a conflict between asserting a vision as an artist and being a businessperson who has a comfortable relationship with one’s customers.

Source

September 16th, 2016

# For the USA economy, 2015 was the best year since at least 1999

Very interesting:

That is great news of course. Do note however the following (NYT):

The median household income is still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession. It also remains 2.4 percent lower than the all-time peak reached during the economic boom of the late 1990s.

Even with this unexpected and quite remarkable income gain, America is close to having gone twenty years without a significant money pay hike for its middle class category.

And do note this: two days ago, ...

September 16th, 2016

# The fraud at WellsFargo is historic

So you might have bank accounts that you don’t want and you never asked for? You might be charged fees on these accounts? Reasonable people should find this terrifying:

If you Google the phrase “bank cross-selling,” you don’t get many hits about the recent Wells Fargo scandal, in which thousands of bank employees were fired for the most blatant sort of corporate fraud. “Team members,” as Wells Fargo prefers to call its employees, had strict mandates to sign existing customers ...

September 11th, 2016

# Why did Salesforce use markup tags for VisualForce?

By now, I think we can agree, using HTML for the web was a mistake. But Sir Tim Berners-Lee could not have known that back in 1989. He was thinking that he could create a Semantic Web, and for that, the use of a markup language was defensible. Only in retrospect do we see that HTML was mostly used as a GUI for TCP/IP. Eventually Sir Tim Berners-Lee conceded the point, and so he went off and created RDF.

But ...

September 11th, 2016

# Could crime prediction software force patterns of crime to continue as they have in the past?

If a town starts off, years ago, policing an area heavily because that area is black, and therefore many incidents in that area are formally reported, and then software is used to look for patterns of reports, and the software highlights the black areas, then we are using software to legitimate the over-policing of certain neighborhoods.

Very interesting article:

The fact that we even call these systems “predictive” is itself a telling sign of excessive confidence in the systems. The ...

September 11th, 2016

# Are ebooks in decline?

Interesting:

And self-published “indie” authors — in part because they get a much bigger cut of the revenue than authors working with conventional publishers do — are now making much more money from e-book sales, in aggregate, than authors at Big Five publishers.

…The AAP also reported, though, that e-book revenue was down 11.3 percent in 2015 and unit sales down 9.7 percent. That’s where things get misleading. Yes, the established publishing companies that belong to the AAP are selling fewer e-books. ...

September 11th, 2016

# Rolling coal is sheer aggression

This is an interesting point:

Entire dissertations could be written about rolling coal. Even more than Trump’s ascension, it seems to perfectly capture a moment in time, an inarticulate yawp of protest from angry white men. They feel disdained and overlooked and they will blow thick black smoke in your face until you pay attention.

There’s no faux nostalgia involved. Unlike with, say, hunting, there’s no tale of rugged rural self-sufficiency to draw on. This is not some sturdy heartland tradition ...

September 11th, 2016

# When co-workers doubt complaints of sexual harrassment

This is a story that I think will become a reference point, in future years, for how badly one’s co-workers react to this kind of thing:

Skepticism of women who report sexual misconduct is deeply ingrained in our culture. It’s a reflexive, often subconscious bias that can be hard to shake. Some people will take longer to shake it than others — even in the relatively hip-to-feminism era of 2016 America.

So it’s always encouraging to see people realize and publicly ...

September 11th, 2016

# Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time

The most interesting sentence:

These patterns of behaviour exist even among individuals living alone

This is a great article, but it doesn’t mention the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. But this seems to be an example of Sapir–Whorf:

Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time. Why?

Using time-use survey data from the US, we show that female immigrants coming from countries whose dominant language relies on sex-based grammatical distinctions bear a far larger share of ...

September 8th, 2016

# Political reactions to recent protests in Dallas

Interesting the way some people see broad conspiracies in what is probably a small terrorist plot:

Walsh gained a reputation while in office for aligning himself with a group of politicians who showed themselves to be rape apologists just before the 2012 election (which Walsh lost to Rep. Tammy Duckworth). Walsh, who is pro-life without exception, also somehow misinterpreted science so grossly that he stated publicly that it was virtually impossible for a woman to die from a pregnancy.

“This is an ...

September 6th, 2016

# When women’s entrance to the workforce had the most effect

I am surprised that women’s entry into the labor force was no longer a driving power as early as the 1970s. The big surge is entirely in the 1960s.

Source

September 5th, 2016

# Comparing data sets that are imbalanced

Interesting:

Research on imbalanced classes often considers imbalanced to mean a minority class of 10% to 20%. In reality, datasets can get far more imbalanced than this. Here are some examples:

1.) About 2% of credit card accounts are defrauded per year1. (Most fraud detection domains are heavily imbalanced.)

2.) Medical screening for a condition is usually performed on a large population of people without the condition, to detect a small minority with it (e.g., HIV prevalence in the USA is ~0.4%).

3.) Disk ...

September 5th, 2016

# Base 10 numbers need log(10) digits to be described

I’m sure I knew this example once, but I’d completely forgotten it, and it is so perfectly obvious when we talk to non-technical people and they ask for an example of what logarithmic growth looks like:

In mathematics, logarithmic growth describes a phenomenon whose size or cost can be described as a logarithm function of some input. e.g. y = C log (x). Note that any logarithm base can be used, since one can be converted to another by multiplying ...

September 5th, 2016

# Accessing any single element in an array takes constant time as only one operation has to be performed to locate it.

This seems like it could be used as a trick question that would trip me up during a job interview:

An algorithm is said to be constant time (also written as O(1) time) if the value of T(n) is bounded by a value that does not depend on the size of the input. For example, accessing any single element in an array takes constant time as only one operation has to be performed to locate it. However, finding the minimal ...

September 5th, 2016

# Beware Big O Notation in higher level languages

This essay has a nice bit of details about a general point that needs to be made:

Here we get the result that will be counterintuitive to many. No matter how large n gets, the Array List still performs better overall. In order for performance to get worse, the ratio of inserts to iterations has to change, not just the length of the collection. Note that isn’t an actual failure of Big O analysis, it is merely a common human failure ...

September 5th, 2016

# The gamification of Slack makes it addictive but also makes it a drain

Very interesting:

Everything bad about Slack is fundamentally Slack’s fault. Slack’s sane default for a new user is to play a sound and send a desktop notification every time anything happens anywhere. There is no way to simply turn off the screaming red circle on the dock icon. There is no way to simply fold away the sidebar so you can focus on whatever it is you are trying to do. These UI nitpicks help us understand Slack’s conception of the ...

September 5th, 2016

# Some blunt advice on management

This is an interesting essay:

Managing people at startups is different because you have no safety net. You may think, having spent a few years at a big company in a management position, that you know how to manage already. You’ve given performance reviews, done interviews, dealt with project timelines, played politics. You know the basics. Right? Here’s what you don’t see until you leave the safety of a big company. You don’t see the millions of invisible systems all around you ...

September 5th, 2016

# Hausdorff space

What is fully normalized data? Reading up on this, it is fascinating to consider the overlap here between database schemas and topology:

In topology and related branches of mathematics, a Hausdorff space, separated space or T2 space is a topological space in which distinct points have disjoint neighbourhoods. Of the many separation axioms that can be imposed on a topological space, the “Hausdorff condition” (T2) is the most frequently used and discussed. It implies the uniqueness of limits of sequences, nets, ...

September 5th, 2016

# What Gawker did well

Interesting:

What Gawker did at its best was stand up and say, “No, you’re right, these are lies, you are correct to think that you are being lied to” and for however long that assertion hung there in the air you were able remind yourself that you weren’t wrong to feel discomfort with what whatever narrative they were pushing at you. You weren’t alone. It did not make the world better but at least it pressed pause on the world’s becoming ...

September 5th, 2016

# What is continuous?

I like this simple set of examples:

As an example, consider the function h(t), which describes the height of a growing flower at time t. This function is continuous. By contrast, if M(t) denotes the amount of money in a bank account at time t, then the function jumps at each point in time when money is deposited or withdrawn, so the function M(t) is discontinuous.

Source

September 5th, 2016

# The nostalgia for old games

Interesting that someone brought back Runequest:

Thanks to your overwhelming support during our Kickstarter, we are proud to announce that RuneQuest 2 (and 1) are Back in Print and back with Chaosium! Just in time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Glorantha.

This is the game that started it all. It defined the d100 role-playing experience, with skills instead of levels and having a game tied into a deep mythic background: Greg Stafford’s world of Glorantha. Steve Perrin and Ray Turney worked with ...

September 5th, 2016

# How Uber failed in Japan

Really interesting:

This strategy has been phenomenally successful in America, but has failed miserably in Japan for three key reasons. #1 People Trust Government More than Industry My libertarian friends in San Francisco find this baffling. They often dismiss it as brainwashing or propaganda when I explain it, but it’s not. The United States is unique in the free world for our visceral disgust for and distrust of our own government.

It’s not that people is Asia consider government motivations to be pure. Over ...

September 5th, 2016

# Content on the web doesn’t pay, and giving up on comments will make everything worse

It’s a failure of leadership when a content play can not figure out how to make money off of comments.

NPR is making an announcement today that is sure to upset a loyal core of its audience, those who comment online at NPR.org (including those who comment on this blog). As of Aug. 23, online comments, a feature of the site since 2008, will be disabled.

With the ...

September 5th, 2016

# Progressive values in science-fiction and fantasy

Interesting to see this change happening now and not in, say for instance, 1975.

The three fiction longer-fiction categories were each won by a woman of color: N.K. Jemisin (Best Nove), Nnedi Okorafor (Best Novella) and Hao Jingfang (Best Novellette). Additionally, Michi Trota, one of the editors of Uncanny Magazine, noted that she was the first Filipino to win a Hugo.

Jingfang, who hails from China, won for her story Folding Beijing, and is the second Chinese science fiction authors in ...

September 5th, 2016

# Mena Trott did not understand the online world she was helping to build

This has been common, with the technical and business leaders having no understanding of the implications of what they were building. This is the norm, not the exception.

Trott has an interesting golden rule that she would like to see bloggers adopt. “If you aren’t going to say something directly to someone’s face, than don’t use online as an opportunity to say it,” she says. “It is this sense of bravery that people get when they are anonymous that gives ...

September 5th, 2016

# It’s not even XML!

Dave Winer said he is deeply depressed. Sometimes he seems frightened by the march of change. I suppose that is an aspect of depression. His initial fear of JSON seems like an expression of fear:

I’ve been hearing, off in the distance, about something called JSON, that proposes to solve a problem that was neatly solved by XML-RPC in 1998, the encoding of arrays and structs in a format that could easily be processed by all programming languages. The advantage ...

September 5th, 2016

# Finding novelty via friends is a metric not yet captured by recommendation engines

This is a good point:

The traditional regime of recommendation systems has been obsessed with (1). What’s the uplift of recommendation algorithm A vs recommendation algorithm B? Which is driving more click-thrus and conversions?

There’s something fundamentally broken in the this way of thinking though. I don’t care what the computer says. I care about what my friends say. The meaningful music I’ve discovered over the last 10 years has been music liked by someone I respect. Friends. Other musicians I ...

September 5th, 2016

# Detecting voting rings with HyperLogLog

While this seems like a clever trick, I typically want a lot of metrics regarding voting, so throwing away the metadata doesn’t seem like an option to me. As an aggregate tool whose only purpose is finding voting rings, maybe this useful maybe?

But consider what would happen if we created a HyperLogLog counter for every user on Reddit, and any time that a user receives an upvote, we update the corresponding HyperLogLog counter with the id of the user ...

September 5th, 2016

# Manila Social Club

Source

September 5th, 2016

# Great browser software in 1996

These technologies sound so amazing, I wonder what happened to them?

Atlas is the precursor to the next step in Navigator’s evolution, Version 3.0. It’s “alpha” code; in other words, that celebrated tower in Pisa is more stable. When it works, Atlas promises to deliver:

VRML viewing. VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) is one of the competing standards for expressing three-dimensional information in compact form. VRML documents can be static or interactive. For example, you could create a Web page that ...

September 5th, 2016

# Social media is the highlight reel of other people’s lives

Interesting comment:

Social media and the internet has made it incredibly easy to see the various people out there who are in the top of their league at any particular hobby, vocation or activity, and made it seem like that’s the ‘norm’. If you’re an entrepreneur, it can feel like everyone’s making millions off their startup ideas and that anyone who isn’t is a failure. If you’re a web developer, it can seem like the majority of developers are experts in every ...

September 5th, 2016

# The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants

Interesting:

“The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants, and there are indications that some of these variants make you respond in less reactive ways to oxytocin in your blood,” explains Luc Goosens, a developmental psychologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. If you have the most common genotype of the oxytocin receptor gene, GG, you may be more attuned to the emotions of others but also more sensitive to rejection and more likely to end up feeling lonely.

In a ...

September 5th, 2016

# The Big O cheat sheet

I just discovered the Big O cheat sheet and I think this is very useful:

Source

September 5th, 2016

# Raj Bhakta is a pathetic loser

This fellow Bhakta sounds like a lot of the wealthy people I’ve had as clients and as business partners. Immune to normal reality because of their wealth. They “fail” by doing something embarrassing, but they are incapable of failing in the Greek Tragedy sense: of falling out of their social class. Their family won’t let them fall.

Actually, I don’t know anything about Bhakta, but he does remind me of my ex-business partner:

1.) parties too much

2.) wants a glamorous life

3.) believes ...

September 4th, 2016

# Faraday’s breakthrough came when he wrapped two insulated coils of wire around an iron ring

I just realized that I’ve been confusing Faraday and Maxwell. It’s Maxwell who did the 4 equations.

Faraday’s breakthrough came when he wrapped two insulated coils of wire around an iron ring, and found that upon passing a current through one coil a momentary current was induced in the other coil.[2] This phenomenon is now known as mutual induction.[44] The iron ring-coil apparatus is still on display at the Royal Institution. In subsequent experiments, he found that if ...

September 4th, 2016

# The 1990s were a golden age for paper magazines

Even if the big profits were for the weeklies (Time, Lucky, Life) back in the 1950s and 1960s, for originality and dare, the magazines in the 1990s were amazing.

August 3rd, 2016

# The IMF admits it has favored austerity at the wrong time and the wrong place

An interesting article:

It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking breakdown in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.

The report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) goes above the head of the managing director, Christine Lagarde. It answers solely to the board of executive directors, and those from Asia and Latin America are clearly incensed at the way European ...

August 3rd, 2016

# The importance of the blogosphere for economics

An interesting article:

A few weeks ago was typical. After some time off, my feed aggregator displayed 794 blog posts, 56 of them foolishly filed into the “must read” folder. Here lay a polemic blasting the FT for worrying about China’s debts; there a graph strewn post about US inflation expectations. Virtuoso “infovore” Tyler Cowen had dug up a fascinating passage on how China runs monetary policy. Another polymath, Brad DeLong (former Clinton staffer and tireless scourge of rightwing bunkum), had ...

August 3rd, 2016

# Is Docker ready for production?

I prefer uberjars to Docker, and I prefer fat binaries, such as those allowed by Go, over Docker. And still there is the question “Is Docker ready?”

Senex says:

I’ve been tracking the beta for a while. I’m confused about this announcement. These issues still seem unresolved? (1) docker can peg the CPU until it’s restarted

(2) pinata was removed, so it can’t be configured from CLI scripts

(3) it’s not possible to establish an ip-level route from the host to a container, which ...

August 3rd, 2016

# Kent Beck suggests winter could come to the tech industry

Very interesting, especially since this is Kent Beck:

As a new millennium dawned, I was riding high. Extreme Programming was the flavor of the month, my price for consulting was crazy high and rising, XP Explained was a big hit. Two years later I was battling depression, I was burning through savings, and I couldn’t get a gig to save myself. In between I made bad decisions in a panic. It’s not the bad times that wipe you out, it’s the bad ...

August 3rd, 2016

# Crime is rising in the outermost suburbs

For a few decades after WW II the middle class of America operated under the rule “The cities are dangerous, the suburbs are safe”. Apparently that began to change after 1990:

The violent crime epidemic of the 1970s and 1980s was concentrated in big cities, and the crime decline that followed was concentrated there, too. As someone who lives in a big city and remembers the 1980s, I can attest that the change has been dramatic, almost miraculous. But if ...

August 3rd, 2016

# Flossing does not improve gum health

The British point of view:

The enthusiasm with which American dental professionals promote flossing despite the evidence, has raised the notion of a conspiracy with floss manufacturers. I don’t believe for a second that American dentists are in cahoots with floss makers, but why do they cling to the notion that floss is a good idea and keep recommending it? Perhaps because, like flossing, it’s a habit and after over a century of promoting the use of floss, it must be ...

August 3rd, 2016

# A Swede lands in Silicon Valley and is disappointed

A very interesting point of view:

I encountered levels of homelessness and mental illness that I was entirely unprepared for, but was repeatedly discouraged from donating any spare change by my new American community. It’s not your problem, that was the mantra that un-ironically flowed from the lips of entrepreneurs that otherwise convinced themselves that they were making the world a better place, presumably for themselves and the people who were their problem. There was something absurd and almost obscene about ...

August 2nd, 2016

# Why do people join hate groups?

This is an interesting article:

But it is problematic to use data garnered in externalist studies to draw conclusions about micromobilization since it is not possible to infer the motivations of activists from the external conditions in which the group emerged. Because people are drawn to far-right movements for a variety of reasons that have little connection to political ideology (Blee 2002)—including a search for community, affirmation of masculinity, and personal loyalties— what motivates someone to join an anti-immigrant group, for ...

August 2nd, 2016

# Grief regarding the end of the old political system

My sense is the changes will eventually involve fundamental constitutional revision. For now, people are talking about minor changes of policy:

The emergence of the Trump and Sanders insurgencies in the US, the Brexit vote in Britain, the formation of ultra-nationalists movements in Europe, are obvious markers of the new mood. The sea-change presents itself in different ways in different places. ISIS is a protest too.

Writers on the left have been taking positions on these issues for years, not ...

August 1st, 2016

# Why people hate Clinton

This is an interesting point of view:

My research indicates that the reality — the facts (I realize facts are immaterial when talking to many Trump supporters) — are that Hillary Clinton is one of the most honest politicians tracked by the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking project Politifact. I would also call upon Jill Abramson’s piece in the Guardian. Most of you probably know Abramson from the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Abramson writes:

As an editor I’ve launched ...

July 31st, 2016

# Square Space offers marketing nonsense when I want actual facts

Frustrating. Square Space offers a page remarkably free of any facts, which I suppose is meant to work as marketing, though it is so general and far removed from reality that it actually repels me from the service. I believe the line of reasoning was “Square Space exists to protect people from the technical details of building a website, so let’s avoid mentioning any specifics on the page about blogs” but in the end, a service does need to offer ...

July 27th, 2016

A very controversial idea, that is interesting nonetheless:

The root problem with Twitter is that the product is carefully engineered to cultivate maximum violence. Not intentionally, of course, but rather through a combination of early product decisions that were not re-visited, together with blind optimization of Twitter’s game mechanics toward vanity metrics. Twitter’s cultivation of violence, in turn, affects user engagement, user churn, the demographics of Twitter, and numerous other factors that have resulted in Twitter’s total failure to become a behemoth ...

July 27th, 2016

# How to package dependencies in Golang

Very interesting, as I’m a fan of the idea of “vendoring”:

An attempt to fix packaging in Go:

Manul is a vendoring utility for Go programs.

What’s the reason for yet another utility?

Because all other vendor utilities suffer from the following:

Some wrap the go binary and spoof the GOPATH env variable. You will have a non-go-gettable project which needs additional software in order to compile and run;

Some copy the source code of dependencies into the vendor directory:

It will be nearly impossible to find ...

July 26th, 2016

# Google Maps does not name Nachitschewan?

I can not find a zoom level where Google Maps names Nachitschewan. Is this a political thing?

Source

July 25th, 2016

# This is one dirty latrine

I’m trying to imagine how dirty a latrine gets after 220 years of use?

Cambridge researchers Hui-Yuan Yeh and Piers Mitchell used microscopy to study preserved faeces on ancient ‘personal hygiene sticks’ (used for wiping away faeces from the anus) in the latrine at what was a large Silk Road relay station on the eastern margins of the Tamrin Basin, a region that contains the Taklamakan desert. The latrine is thought to date from 111 BC (Han Dynasty) and was in ...

July 25th, 2016

# The advantage of a weight-balanced B-tree

A very interesting data structure of which I know nothing:

Source

July 23rd, 2016

# The rigidity of gender norms

An optimistic take would be that the people most willing to reconsider gender norms are non-conformists who see no need to get married. So the lack of flexible marriages doesn’t indicate a lack of flexible relationships. A very interesting article:

Bargaining models of the household assume that households are able to bargain – that men and women can change the way that they relate to each other; they can change the way that they spend money and allocate tasks. And ...

July 22nd, 2016