## LATEST ENTRIES

December 7th, 2016

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# Matrix multiplication example

I love this

Source

December 7th, 2016

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# Beautiful poses for thos 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 ...

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December 7th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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December 6th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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December 6th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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December 6th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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December 6th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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December 4th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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December 4th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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December 4th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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November 28th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 26th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 26th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 26th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 26th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 25th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 25th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 25th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 24th, 2016

In Business

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# 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, ...

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November 23rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 22nd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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November 22nd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 18th, 2016

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# 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

In Business

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# 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 ...

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November 14th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore

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.

“Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore,” read a flag-adorned note addressed to Mairah Teli, a 24-year-old language arts teacher in Georgia. “Why don’t ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

In Business

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# 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

In Business

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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 ...

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November 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 12th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 12th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 6th, 2016

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# Please finish this paragraph

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 ________, ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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, ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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, ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 1st, 2016

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# 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 ...

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November 1st, 2016

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# Failures at adulting

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 ...

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October 31st, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 31st, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 31st, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 30th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 30th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 29th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 29th, 2016

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# 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: ...

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October 28th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 28th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 28th, 2016

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# She had not asked such questions before

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 ...

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October 27th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 27th, 2016

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# 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, ...

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October 27th, 2016

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# 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

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 27th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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October 23rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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October 18th, 2016

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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October 13th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 13th, 2016

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# Chimamanda Adichie talks about Beyonce

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 ...

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October 13th, 2016

In Business

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# The corruption at WellsFargo

Interesting and sad:

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. ...

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October 10th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 9th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 9th, 2016

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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October 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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October 3rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 30th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 30th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 30th, 2016

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# 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

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 27th, 2016

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# 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, ...

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September 27th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 20th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 18th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 17th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 17th, 2016

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# I keep really good company

This article by Yegor Bugayenko cites the following people:

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

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# 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 ...

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September 17th, 2016

In Business

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# 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. ...

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September 17th, 2016

In Business

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# 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? ...

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September 17th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 17th, 2016

In Business

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# Why insult your customers?

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

In Business

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# 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, ...

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September 16th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 11th, 2016

In Business

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# 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. ...

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September 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 11th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 8th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 6th, 2016

In Business

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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, ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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.

All the money goes to the systems that collect the comments (Twitter, Facebook).

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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# Manila Social Club

I’ve heard good things about this place and I keep meaning to get dinner here.

Source

September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 5th, 2016

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# The Big O cheat sheet

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

Source

September 5th, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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September 4th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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September 4th, 2016

In Business

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# 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.

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August 3rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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August 3rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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August 2nd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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August 2nd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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August 1st, 2016

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# 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 ...

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July 31st, 2016

In Business

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# 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 ...

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July 27th, 2016

In Business

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# Twitter is violence

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 ...

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July 27th, 2016

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# 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 ...

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July 26th, 2016

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# 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

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# 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 ...

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July 25th, 2016

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# The advantage of a weight-balanced B-tree

A very interesting data structure of which I know nothing:

Source

July 23rd, 2016

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# 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 ...

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July 22nd, 2016

In Business

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# Romance writers lead the way regarding self-publishing

And self-publishing offers both money and artistic freedom:

According to the nonprofit Romance Writers of America, around 82% of US romance book buyers are women, and 41% are between 30 and 54 years old. Most romance authors are female. Yet for a long time, the link between writer and reader was broken by a long chain of agents, publishers, promoters, and retailers.

Perhaps one of the most shocking revelations of today’s romance renaissance is that readers aren’t crazy about those raunchy ...

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July 22nd, 2016

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# A string of characters is best parsed using a finite state machine

I already knew this, but I don’t think I knew the extent of what was sacrificed to give Perl backreferences s:

Notice that Perl requires over sixty seconds to match a 29-character string. The other approach, labeled Thompson NFA for reasons that will be explained later, requires twenty microseconds to match the string. That’s not a typo. The Perl graph plots time in seconds, while the Thompson NFA graph plots time in microseconds: the Thompson NFA implementation is a million ...

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July 22nd, 2016

In Business

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# Zach Tellman on the benefits of a senior engineer

Tellman is interesting as always:

senior engineers choose companies with the right risks

Every company has different risks, and so every company expects something different from their senior engineers. An engineer who has spent the last five years making small, continuous improvements to the processes in a larger company may not enjoy or even understand the sort of role expected by a three person startup. The expectation that “senior” is a fungible title is both widespread and harmful, leading to unrealistic expectations ...

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July 22nd, 2016

In Business

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# The problems at Reddit

Three bits jump out at me from this article:

One individual speculated that the reemergence of the company’s drinking culture was to blame for the uncomfortable environment. Under Pao’s reign, Reddit tried to eradicate the bro-like amount of alcohol consumption at the office, but that went right out the window following Pao’s departure in July 2015.

“During all the leadership regimes, there were multiple incidents where employees would drink too much and end up in embarrassing and inappropriate situations,” a source ...

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July 22nd, 2016

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# Strong law is stronger than strong code

I have been following with interest the conversations regarding crypto-currencies. These seem to have a strong appeal to people of beliefs that might be described as “libertarian”. These people believe there is some way to escape the need to engage in political struggle with their fellow humans, some way to avoid all the mess of life and instead go away somewhere else, and build an alternative system with an alternative currency. But these people are always a part of this ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# The problems with Clojure

The conflict between Object Oriented Programming and Functional programming comes up a lot with Clojure, because to do any serious work you have to eventually use some Java, which takes you back into the world of Object Oriented Programming. This sums up my feelings:

The thing I like most about Elixir is the low friction between it and it’s host language, Erlang. Erlang is a functional language right from the start, and the BEAM is designed to run a functional ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# Milo Yiannopoulos is proving the power of the modern troll

Milo Yiannopoulos has a style and humor that could only work in the era of Internet. He first gained fame from Gamergate. Trolls need attention, but they also get attention for getting attention — that is, their fans are often minor trolls themselves, all hungry for attention, so they give props to the better trolls, for being good at it, just like a tennis player might admire another tennis player of exceptional skill.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a bleach-blond Brit whose ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# The RegX that killed Stack Overflow

A great post-mortem of a crash at Stack Overflow:

The regular expression was: ^[\s\u200c]+|[\s\u200c]+$Which is intended to trim unicode space from start and end of a line. A simplified version of the Regex that exposes the same issue would be \s+$ which to a human looks easy (“all the spaces at the end of the string”), but which means quite some work for a simple backtracking Regex engine. The malformed post contained roughly 20,000 consecutive characters of whitespace on a ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# The difference between Kafka and Kestrel

For my purposes, for the next 6 months, it seems that Kestrel will be all I need. I’d have to be very successful before I would need anything as complex as Kafka.

The biggest conceptual difference is that Kestrel is a simple stand alone queue where as Kafka is a full fledged queuing system.

Kestrel runs on a single machine and has no concept of clustering or failover or any other features you might expect in a queuing system. Instead the clients ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# Honey Lee Cottrell is dead

I haven’t read Susie Bright in a while, so I missed this:

Honey Lee was my second butch girlfriend, but she was my first famous love, my first older woman lover . At the end of our first date, she dropped me off on the curb and said, “Bye–You’re a nice kid.” I was put out by that, but I was dutifully intimidated. Honey Lee had already been partners with a string of women who were like the Who’s Who of ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# RabbitMQ is difficult, Kafka is awesome, Kestrel is beautifully simple

A great review of these 3 queues:

Not mentioned below is that RabbitMQ works hard to guarantee delivery of a message, so it is slow, but that is because it is in some ways doing more than Kafka.

RabbitMQ:

I created 4 queues, wrote a ruby client and started inserting messages. I got a publishing rate of about 20k/s using multiple threads but I got a few stalls caused by the vm_memory_high_watermark, from my understanding during those stalls it writing to disk. ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# Kestrel is as simple as Redis but Kestrel is an actual queue

I feel stupid that I didn’t look at Kestrel sooner. I feel especially stupid that I’ve been using Redis when I didn’t actually need it.

Redis has a beautifully flexible API which makes it tempting to use Redis for everything, but Redis is really a cache that focuses on speed above all else. Everything in Redis has to fit in memory, and Redis will drop anything that can’t fit in memory. Also, the stuff in Redis can be mutated, ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# Only use Amazon SQS if you need a high-latency high-concurrency service

Also interesting, don’t use Amazon SQS unless your needs fit this very specific model where you can deal with the latency and make up for it by being highly concurrent.

I just did some benchmarking the other day to compare Amazon SQS with RabbitMQ. Publishing and consuming 10,000 messages serially in 2 threads (one publishing the other consuming) on an EC2 instance took over 6 minutes using SQS and 12 seconds using RabbitMQ. I didn’t test ActiveMQ since their clustering is ...

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July 21st, 2016

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# For Apache Storm, use Kestrel

There is a lot in this thread that is interesting. This is coming from Nathan Marz, the guy who invented Storm. He says he uses Kestrel, so that is a big endorsement.

You want to make sure that your spout source can support the out of order acking that Storm requires for guaranteed message processing. We use Kestrel because it has this property and is the simplest. RabbitMQ is another good one to consider.

Source

July 20th, 2016

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# The problem with RabbitMQ

Seems like RabbitMQ is good but not perfect:

Much like you’d chuck memcached on each of your web servers and access them in a ring, Darner can occupy a small niche on each box in your fleet’s resources. Tens of MB of RAM and negligible CPU opens up hundreds of gigabytes of queue spool per node. As queue size grows, memory usage remains constant.

Contrast this with Redis, which is speedy but limited in queue size to what will fit ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# ZeroMQ is the opposite of a queue

Reading this again, several years after the first time I read it, and now it occurs to me: I would use ZeroMQ only in exactly those situations where I would not use a queue. If I only need a queue, I can use Kestrel. But if I need some messaging pattern that is not supported by any queue, then I would use ZeroMQ. That is, if I had a truly unique situation that needed a unique pattern, then ZeroMQ would ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# Everything you need to know about queues

This looks like an amazing resource and I’m sure I’ll go back and read more soon.

Source

July 20th, 2016

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# The New York Times uses RabbitMQ

RabbitMQ is written in Erlang, so I was inclined to think well of it, though I heard criticism of it. And then the New York Times used it. A very surprising vote of confidence in RabbitMQ:

This architecture – Fabrik – has dozens of RabbitMQ instances spread across 6 AWS zones in Oregon and Dublin. The instances are organized into “wholesale” and “retail” layers. Connection to clients is via websockets/sockjs.

Upon launch today, the system autoscaled to ~500,000 users. Connection times ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# Gauges uses Kestrel which is based on work from Blaine Cook

Why does Kafka get all the attention if Kestrel is so reliable? I assume this is because Kafka can do so much more, though of course the devops work of Kafka can be frightening. I didn’t know about the Blaine Cook connection (of Twitter fame):

Before I get too far a long with this fairy tail, let’s talk about Kestrel — what is it and why did I pick it?

Kestrel is a simple, distributed message queue, based on Blaine Cook’s ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# Kestrel versus Resque

Interesting note about these queues, which certainly convinces me to use Kestrel:

There are a lot of things that could be done with either Kestrel or Resque. Because Resque is backed by Redis, you have to remember that all of the messages waiting to be processed have to be able to fit in the RAM of the Redis server, with Kestrel you could queue millions or billions of messages and then start to pull them off.

The biggest difference between the ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# How bad can MongoDB be with Dirty Reads?

Very worrisome, though no sane person would use MongoDB to track something involving money. That’s simply not what MongoDB is for.

How bad are dirty reads?

Read uncommitted allows all kinds of terrible anomalies we probably don’t want as MongoDB users.

For instance, suppose we have a user registration service keyed by a unique username. Now imagine a partition occurs, and two users–Alice and Bob–try to claim the same username–one on each side of the partition. Alice’s request is routed to the ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# How to return a disallowed field in GraphQL

Best Practices for GraphQL are still in a very immature stage, but these two ideas both have some merit:

First, return null for the requested field. This seems to work well in cases where there is no real harm in asking for a particular set of data and no real harm in denying it.

A good example would be asking for the email of a user where the backend only provides the user’s email to that user themselves. If I request my ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# Why has Google released gRPC

This is interesting:

Google has been using a single general-purpose RPC infrastructure called Stubby to connect the large number of microservices running within and across our data centers for over a decade. Our internal systems have long embraced the microservice architecture gaining popularity today. Having a uniform, cross-platform RPC infrastructure has allowed for the rollout of fleet-wide improvements in efficiency, security, reliability and behavioral analysis critical to supporting the incredible growth seen in that period.

Stubby has many great features – ...

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July 20th, 2016

In Business

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# An app to pay women for emotional labor

The modernization of the economy constantly brings forth new specialities that are at first astonishing, and in particular, previously unpaid work joins the wage economy. That trends is 500 years old. Women used to create all clothing at home, now clothes are created in factories, and sold in exchange for money.

So what about the emotional labor of trying to make a date work? Here is a type of work that somewhat overlaps with therapists and prostitutes.

Getting exactly what ...

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July 20th, 2016

In Business

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# Brad Sester is writing in public again

Brad Sester wrote a column on the world economy, all through the build up to the Great Recession. I read him all through 2007 and 2008. Then he went to the Financial Times and his writing was behind a paywall, and I didn’t have a subscription. But now he is again writing in a place I can read him:

Turkey has long ranked at the top of most lists of financially vulnerable emerging economies, at least lists based on conventional ...

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July 20th, 2016

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# The Republican National Convention

I laughed:

Jenkins also reportedly asked the crowd to “raise your hand if you believe in science,” to which they responded with boos.

Source

July 20th, 2016

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# Germs protect from allergies, biting nails helps

A very interesting theory:

When they tested at 13 for allergies to common things such as dust, grass, cats, dogs and molds, they found that 38% of those who had an “oral habit” tested positive — whereas 49% of those who didn’t suck their thumbs or bite their nails tested positive. This “protection” was still there at 32.

This fits with the “hygiene hypothesis,” which says that when children are exposed to germs early in life, their immune system gets trained to ...

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July 13th, 2016

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# Why I hate Ruby On Rails

I’m trying to help a friend with a very small Ruby On Rails project, where she needs a few elements of the interface tweaked. But this is Ruby On Rails, so of course I’m losing 3 hours trying to get setup. I’ve been drawn into the endless swamp of upgrading various libraries, which seems to be an automatic part of dealing with Ruby On Rails. If this was Clojure, or NodeJS, setup would have taken 5 minutes and I would ...

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July 13th, 2016

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# You are dragging this man by his ankles, through sliding glass doors down wide empty aisles

Isn’t this a brilliant opening paragraph?

You think: I want a flathead screwdriver. You imagine a large hardware store by your house. You are dragging this man by his ankles, through sliding glass doors down wide empty aisles, his pinkish, chewed down nails clacking against gray tile and his mouth still flapping though not saying too much of anything useful. In a word, blathering. Yammering. Prattling, etc. An unending tape loop of your yadda-yadda-yaddas.

That’s from Matthew Thompson. I worked with him ...

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July 13th, 2016

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# Why national legislators in the USA are ignorant about important topics

A very interesting article about the political process in the USA:

What now surprises me is when I come across a member of Congress who really does understand a particular issue in detail. And this sometimes does happen. Little pockets of expertise are scattered hither and yon all throughout Capitol Hill — especially when members dig in to work on idiosyncratic pieces of legislation that are off the radar of big-time partisan conflict. But on most issues, most of the time, ...

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July 13th, 2016

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# Mixins are harmful — the Javascript edition

Over the years there have been arguments against mixins, but the dominance of Object Oriented Programming meant that mixins still survived and had theoretical justification. Now, the spread of the Functional Paradigm has put renewed pressure on mixins. Dan Abramov at Facebook just came out with an essay against mixins:

“How do I share the code between several components?” is one of the first questions that people ask when they learn React. Our answer has always been to use ...

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July 13th, 2016

In Business

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# I am selling WPQuestions.com

I haven’t had the energy to make a successful business out of wpquestions.com, so I am going to sell it. Anyone interested should contact me.

I am selling the domain and the software and the datbase — the whole site.

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June 30th, 2016

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# The Agile process of software development is often perverted by sick politics

For those of you who don’t want to read this whole essay, here is the summary:

The word “agile” has a plain meaning in standard English, and that meaning was considered something positive by software developers, so much so that the most successful new development process of the last 30 years calls itself “Agile”. However, at many of the companies that I have worked, actual agility is suppressed because of various political factors. Fear wins out over trust. Instead of actual ...

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June 30th, 2016

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# The whole publishing industry depends on Barnes and Noble

Interesting and sad:

If Barnes & Noble were to shut its doors, Amazon, independent bookstores, and big-box retailers like Target and Walmart would pick up some of the slack. But not all of it. Part of the reason is that book sales are driven by “showrooming,” the idea that most people don’t buy a book, either in print or electronically, unless they’ve seen it somewhere else—on a friend’s shelf, say, or in a bookstore. Even on the brink of closing, Barnes ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# In Pergamon there is a huge marble altar, forty feet tall with large sculptures: it also includes a Gigantomachy (Battle of the Giants)

This sounds amazing:

In January 1880 the great Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, author of Fathers and Sons and one of the most cosmopolitan Russian writers of the time, was visiting Berlin, when he paid a visit to the Altes Museum. What he saw there not only made a profound impression upon him personally but marked the beginning of a momentous transformation in European understanding of the art and culture of the ancient Mediterranean world. He had been standing before a group ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Ленин — гриб

I would say this is an example of how dangerous it can be to remove all humor from a medium — people become more vulnerable to hoaxes:

Lenin was a mushroom (Russian: Ленин — гриб) was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast on 17 May 1991 on Leningrad Television.

The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program Pyatoe Koleso (The Fifth Wheel). In the interview, Kuryokhin, ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# How much time and energy should a computer programmer spend learning a proprietary server system?

By itself, this is an anecodote about Google’s particular system: (but see my point at bottom)

Is there a lesson in this? Well, if I were in the business of programming Google App Engine, a few days’ effort up front to get it going might seem not to be a big deal. However, when I visit a team who have just added a new person, I invariably find that person struggling to set up their workstation. There’s usually someone in the room ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# If equity is compensation, can an employer ever take back compensation?

This is a very emotional point that comes up when a company pays workers with equity:

Scott’s post genuinely makes me angry. It uses subtle language to imply that employees are inferior individuals who are lucky that the owners of capital deign to share anything with them.

In Scott’s worldview, choosing to leave a company before it has exited is inherently disloyal. Even if they’re paying you under market. Even if you could contribute more value elsewhere.

I wonder if he would accept ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Is Phoenix going to take over the tech industry?

If not, why? This has been one of the big puzzles of the last 30 years: if some technologies are clearly superior, then why don’t they take over? Apparently because they lack an element that appeals to management in big corporations? That’s always been the argument against Lisp: it is great for the individual master craftsman, but it doesn’t work in a big corporation full of badly paid, mediocre programmers.

Erlang has been the most safe, resilient technology out there ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# That strange isolation of raising kids

Very interesting:

Pregnancy and motherhood can be both a source of social detachment and foster an intense need for community, all at once. I’ve never felt simultaneously so siloed and also so much a part of the fabric of humanity than I have this past year, which hit me with endless contradictions. Pregnant, I felt incredibly special and also like a freak. I felt like an assembly-line conformist breeder and also an earth mama gushingly, glowingly, united with the cosmos (“like ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Maybe students and professors need to push back against the University?

This is interesting:

I study Classics professionally, so I have more at stake in this issue than most. I taught Antigone just last semester. And I hope that students never stop being disturbed by it. If you’re mocking students for having a strong emotional response to that text, you haven’t read it. (It should but doesn’t always go without saying that, if you haven’t read something, you have no right to an opinion on its appropriateness for the classroom, particularly ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# The importance of taking a break

Such a good point about burnout and mental health:

I’ve definitely burnt myself out in the past. I’ve often worked morning till late night, most of the time, for months (years, since the breaks didn’t feel like they really counted?). And before that, being a broke student working multiple jobs wasn’t exactly great in terms of stress.

Part of me looks back and realizes that this is partially my fault, partially my managers’. The senior people around me also worked a ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Merav Michaeli changes the Hebrew language

What an interesting fact:

Michaeli has long lobbied for action against sexual harassment and sexual assault, and has urged Israeli women to refrain from getting married until civil marriage is an option (in Israel, the rabbinate has jurisdiction over such matters; women married under Jewish law cannot get a divorce unless their husband agrees to it); she recently passed legislation creating alternative dispute solutions for couples seeking divorce. Perhaps most interestingly, she has had a remarkable influence on the Hebrew language ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# The arrogance of computer programmers

I think there is something to this:

As computer programmers, our formative intellectual experience is working with deterministic systems that have been designed by other human beings. These can be very complex, but the complexity is not the kind we find in the natural world. It is ultimately always tractable. Find the right abstractions, and the puzzle box opens before you.

The feeling of competence, control and delight in discovering a clever twist that solves a difficult problem is what makes being ...

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June 29th, 2016

In Business

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# Niche content plays that I was not aware of

I stumbled upon this site and it seems like a Tumblr blog, but apparently it is business that tries to make money. . My first reaction is “There is no way this will work”. I will check back in a year. I like to track these things, because I learn so much when it turns out that I am wrong.

Source

June 29th, 2016

In Business

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# Why the public no longer listens to economists

Another interesting article:

One reason for the lack of faith is the failure to predict the Great Recession, but the public’s dismissal of macroeconomists is based upon more than the failure to foresee the dangers the housing bubble posed for the economy. It is also due to false promises about the benefits to the working class from globalization, tax cuts for the wealthy, and trade agreements – promises that were often used to support ideological and political goals or to serve ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Which groups of people benefit most from global trade

This is an interesting article:

Economists have long predicted this sort of convergence. Observing how U.S. states tended to have more similar income levels over time, economists such as Robert Solow built models in which fast catch-up growth eventually leads to a more equal world. But the stubborn failure of global incomes to converge defied the theory, and economists were forced to accept the idea that countries’ differing institutions created differences in their long-run economic potential. That was a somewhat unsatisfying ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# Everyone who becomes a writer becomes a writer in their own way

A very interesting article:

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember the awkward conversations during the most self-doubting times. There was, for instance, the dinner party where my friend, the hostess, seated me beside a Pulitzer Prize-winning author as if we had something in common. I had recently finished the first draft of a novel, and on my desktop floated the files of a dozen or so essays that were in the process of being ...

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June 29th, 2016

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# What it is like to tutor the wealthy and the privildeged

An interesting article, from a tutor, about the way wealth sometimes protects mediocre students, and allows them to get into good colleges:

Because UT Austin is a terrific place—the rare kind of school that radiates both capaciousness and prestige—it is the top choice for many Texas high school students, and its unique admissions policy carries a lot of weight. It is discussed ad nauseam during application season; however, the reasoning behind this policy—behind the 10 percent rule, behind affirmative action—is not. ...

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June 25th, 2016

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# What age group stans on social media?

When the blogosphere was at its peak in 2005, I noticed that people only started blogging on political topics when they were about 24 or 25. If they were 18 or 19, large-audience blogging made no sense to them. At 18 or 19, what they wanted was a blog for their personal friends. They might have had a LiveJournal blog, and they expected a few of their friends to follow their diary. But blogging for a bunch of adults who ...

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June 23rd, 2016

In Business

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# How can you not mention the writer and singer of a song?

I know the music industry is screwed up, but I’ve never seen this before. I listened to a woman singing a song credited to Calvin Harris and I wondered “Who is singing?” since it clearly wasn’t Harris. Apparently others are wondering too, because I found this article.

Source