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August 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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End of the unacknowledged advertisement on social media?

Very slowly, the Internet is being forced to obey all the rules that apply to the rest of society:

Look at them, following rules! Only time will tell if these displays of somewhat honest business practices will stick or if they’re just playing along now while the story is still hot.

The Kardashian krackdown follows a report that the FTC is planning on getting tougher about sponsored content for all the C-list actors, reality stars and Instagram celebrities out there.

For now, an ...

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August 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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City as skyscrapers

Interesting point:

One of the weird cultural things in the US is the equation of “urban” with “downtown” and “downtown” with “Manhattan-like.” Basically, the city is where the skyscrapers are. NIMBYism related to density in urban areas that experience it (San Francisco especially these days) always raises the specter of 2-3 story residential neighborhoods being turned into “Manhattan” (And by Manhattan they mean Midtown or Downtown. You know, where the skyscrapers are).

Not everybody wants to live in Manhattan! Fair enough. ...

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August 23rd, 2016

In Business

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Where is the magazine industry going?

A very interesting take on all of the dead magazines:

The landscape that the early Gawker was teleported into each day afresh, always with little memory of the blog-day prior, was dominated by the stark shadows of three sunward-facing editors who were largely famous for extremely failed magazines. The 102 weekly issues of Adam Moss’s 7 Days made his reputation as the best package-man east of Aaron Spelling’s house. He took over New York magazine when Gawker was a bubbly infant. ...

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August 23rd, 2016

In Business

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What did Gawker do?

“Performative ignorance” is a great phrase. I like this assessment:

When I think about the demise of Gawker, I cope by viewing it from a remove and as a narrative. If nobody starves and this somehow manages to leave freedom of press unscathed (the latter obviously being the bigger if than the former), what has been crafted is a tale that would seem too outrageous as fiction. Each chapter in Gawker’s trajectory, particularly the last few feverish, increasingly mad entries, has ...

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August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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How much did war contribute to the strength of the early blogosphere?

Or rather, how much is debate energized by having an important issue to talk about? I think of this in relation to Andrew Sullivan:

And after 9/11, General Sullivan enlisted in the Fighting 101st Keyboard Kommandos, otherwise known as the “warbloggers,” whose primary mission was to fight America’s most important enemy, the enemy at home known as “Americans.”

In the Sunday Times of London on September 16, 2001 (!!), Andrew had these lines:

The middle part of the country – the great red ...

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August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The 20% of Real America

The math behind this is interesting:

If you’re one of these “real Americans,” you’re in the majority in almost every respect. Most Americans are white, most are Christian, most don’t have college degrees, and most live in the South or Midwest Census Bureau regions. And yet, only about 1 in 5 voters meets all of these descriptions.

Source

August 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Blinded by its simultaneous romanticization of and contempt for working-class America

A very interesting article:

But most of all, this kind of punditry, while ostensibly praising the Real America, is in fact marked by deep condescension. One pats the simple folk on the head, praising their lack of exposure to quinoa or Thai food — both of which can be found in food courts all across the country. Sorry, but there are no country bumpkins in modern America. Most of us, in all walks of life, have a pretty good sense of ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When is a woman a woman?

A great article about Caster Semenya and the unfair way that the Olympics tries to narrowly define what it means to be a woman:

What is it, exactly, that makes me a woman? Is it my breasts? If so, is it because they are a certain size? Is it that I have a womb? Does it matter that I have no idea if my womb works because I’ve never tried to get pregnant? Is it my two X chromosomes or my ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Technology

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HAProxy for MySQL

Three years ago, I was intrigued to read that Twitter had implemented dynamic network topologies. Something similar is becoming more common, thanks to the use of Nginx/HAProxy. One can use this for many things, such as connecting to a pool of MySQL servers.

However, there are some downsides worth remembering:

You have to be careful to tune your xinetd script to increase the cps and per_source limits accordingly to the load that your pool of servers generate with this proxy forwarding. Assuming that ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Business

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Is Twitter a common carrier or a community?

The debate continues:

Trying to be both a platform and a community are goals which are often in conflict, especially in terms of operations. Communities really need things like trust, reputation, moderation, rules, and enforcement. These are things that are hard to enforce programmatically, and often require a lot of customization. e.g. reddit started as a platform for communities, but the success of /r/all made it more a community of communities, at which point some of the more extreme communities became a ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Unnecessary amounts of gender at the Olympics?

Interesting:

Indian gymnast, Dipa Karmakar, just missed an Olympic medal by a small margin. She is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics. Dipa is one of only five women worldwide who have successfully completed the Produnova, the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. Here is an excellent article by Sharda Ugra of ESPN on Dipa, on the northeastern state of Tripura where she comes from, and on the story behind gymnastics’ unusual popularity there. ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Limits on hate speech in Western democracies

An interesting article about hate-speech:

The second kind of argument concerns hate itself, and the insidious effects that hateful ideologies have on individuals, groups, and the polity. EU reports make an effort to capture the essential nature and harms of hate (link). Hate incites mistrust, disrespect, discrimination, and violence against members of other groups. The social effects of hate are toxic and serious. Do these effects suffice to justify limiting hate speech?

This is a difficult argument to make within the context ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Technology

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Clever uses of a custom TCP stack

Interesting:

Fun anecdote, at Blekko we had people who tried to scrape the search engine by fetching all 300 pages of results. They would do that with some script or code and it would be clear they weren’t human because they would ask for each page right after the other. We sent them to a process that Greg wrote on a machine that did most of the TCP handshake and then went away. As a result the scrapers script would hang ...

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August 19th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The Roman economy was in danger of continuous secular stagnation

Here is Mark Koyama, who sounds stupid while trying to sound smart:

For Brown’s thesis to hold, therefore, the Roman economy must have been in danger of continuous secular stagnation.

Of course, every single economy in the history of the world was in continuous secular stagnation before 5,000 BC, and nearly all economies were in continuous secular stagnation from 5,000 BC to 1,500 AD. Escape from continuous secular stagnation is rare. Continuous growth, for several decades, is extremely rare in human ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What the culture gains and loses from gay dating apps

Interesting:

My biggest concern about my use of Grindr is that it will inflate my ego—and that I’ll furthermore get used to that inflation so that the day it pops, and I realize I’m too old to be considered desirable by any but a small niche, will fling me into a free fall. But for men whose egos have been already deflated by cultural stereotypes—as is the case for a gay Filipino-American academic I talked to for this piece, Anthony Ocampo, ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Business

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All the ideas we never work on

This is funny:

Your day starts in Salesforce. You have to email a bunch of people. You briefly contemplate a business idea you have that will totally kill Salesforce and Facebook at the same time. But you need a technical co-founder. Eventually you’ll get to it — after all, you’re smart and destined for greatness yourself. And your friends all tell you how you should start something someday.

Your 27-year-old CEO calls an ad-hoc all-hands meeting and regales about company culture and how your ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The big new insult of 2016

Interesting:

Although “cuckold” has been used since the thirteenth century (the word itself derived from cuckoo birds, which lay eggs in another’s nest), “cuck” was added to Urban Dictionary in 2007. Any more exact tracing of its origins is lost in the dense knot of the internet and the speed with which its population seized upon an insult to emasculate others. The word gained political potency during the 2016 election in the portmanteau “cuckservative” (cuck + conservative) used to imply that the ...

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August 16th, 2016

In Technology

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When algorithms betray you

Interesting:

You decide to share an article about Brexit from “The Atlantic”, which will somehow shed light to all your friends as to why it happened. The article is 1,000 words long — you only read half of it, but that’s good enough. It captures all the arguments you’ve been wanting to make for the past two months to your friends. Will this be the Facebook post that finally spurns your friends into action? You realize your Facebook friends all agree with your ...

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August 11th, 2016

In Technology

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Only good leadership can create good software

This is very true, and it applies to more than software:

Thirteen years ago, Eric Raymond’s book The Cathedral and the Bazaar (O’Reilly Media, 2001) redefined our vocabulary and all but promised an end to the waterfall model and big software companies, thanks to the new grass-roots open source software development movement. I found the book thought provoking, but it did not convince me. On the other hand, being deeply involved in open source, I couldn’t help but think that it ...

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August 11th, 2016

In Business

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A whole web site devoted to horror stories about Amazon.com

Wow, this is serious:

The next day I filed a complaint with HR and CC’ed my manager. This led to a phone call with HR asking me to allow them to investigate the situation and to keep the incident in confidentiality until the investigation was complete. (HR had trouble providing me with follow-up in writing— they preferred to keep everything face to face or over the phone.)

Naively, I agreed to keep it confidential until the investigation was complete. HR’s ultimate finding ...

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August 11th, 2016

In Technology

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Clever hacks whereby sites can see aspects of your browser history

Very interesting hacks:

Up until mid-2010, any rogue website could get a good sense of your browsing habits by specifying a distinctive :visited CSS pseudo-class for any links on the page, rendering thousands of interesting URLs off-screen, and then calling the getComputedStyle API to figure out which pages appear in your browser’s history.

After some deliberation, browser vendors have closed this loophole by disallowing almost all attributes in :visited selectors, spare for the fairly indispensable ability to alter foreground and background ...

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August 8th, 2016

In Technology

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The control mania of Scrum

This is very good:

Scrum inhibits deep understanding and innovation This is actually my biggest gripe about Scrum. As mentioned above, in Scrum, the gods of story points per sprint reign supreme. For anything that doesn’t bring in points, you need to get the permission of the product owner or scrum master or someone who has a say over them. Refactoring, reading code, researching a topic in detail are all seen as “not working on actual story points, which is what you ...

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August 8th, 2016

In Technology

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The daily Scrum meeting is a pointless ritual

I love this:

The daily standup deserves a blog post of its own. This religious ritual has become a staple of every team in the world. Ten minutes of staring into the void, talking about what you did while no one else listens, because they were in the middle of something five minutes ago and will go back to it in another five minutes, and waiting for everyone else to finish. I know this sounds cynical, but it is the ...

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August 8th, 2016

In Technology

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If you measure programmers by points then they will optimize for points

The worst thing with Agile/Scrum is that you can hit all your 2 week targets and yet a year later have software that no one wants to use, so to the extent that Agile is suppose to reduce risk, it fails completely.

But why does it fail? This is good:

No matter how you define story points, the real issue with them doesn’t go away. The main purpose of points is making planning more reliable, and providing a temporal perspective ...

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August 8th, 2016

In Technology

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Problems with the Scrum process

This is a great conversation:

cageface says:

But the author’s criticisms of the incentives of Scrum are on point I think. Because the stories are always articulated in terms of user facing features they encourage developers to hack things together in the most expedient way possible and completely fail to capture the need to address cross cutting concerns, serious consideration of architecture, and refactoring.

This is how you can get two years into a project and have managers and clients that think that ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The viewpoint of police in Germany

Interesting:

Another reason for that is the difference in prison sentences. If I was a drug dealer in the US and I had 20 pounds of coke in my trunk when a cop stops me for a broken taillight, I’d seriously calculate my chances of killing him and getting away. There is simply no reason for me to do that in Germany. The prison sentences are laughable here. It’s just not worth it. If they arrest me with the coke here, ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The popularity of artificial languages in the 1800s

Interesting:

Volapük was a hit! Volapük clubs started popping up throughout Europe. Large conventions were held first in Friedrichshafen in 1884, then Munich in 1887, and finally Paris in 1889. The first two conventions were held in German, but by the third conference, everyone was speaking in Volapük, even the waiters!

Kerckhoffs, who was an early friend and popularizer of the language, would subsequently sow the seeds for its destruction. Kerckhoffs was unhappy with some parts of the language and thought they ...

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August 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Confusing French

Hilarious:

Gender’s a bitch. Le poêle: a stove. La poêle: a frying pan. A man’s shirt, une chemise, is feminine, but a woman’s shirt, un chemisier, is masculine.

This is also good:

Another way to try to rate the difficulty of a language is to consider its unusual features: putting the verb before the subject in a sentence, for example, or not having a question particle (“do”). Researchers analyzed two hundred and thirty-nine languages to create the Language Weirdness Index, anointing Chalcatongo Mixtec—a ...

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August 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What causes burnout?

A very interesting article:

We commonly use the term “burnout” to describe the state of exhaustion suffered by the likes of Steve. It occurs when we find ourselves taken over by this internal protest against all the demands assailing us from within and without, when the momentary resistance to picking up a glass becomes an ongoing state of mind.

Burnout didn’t become a recognised diagnosis until 1974, when the German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger applied the term to the increasing number of ...

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August 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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You don’t have plenty of time

I love this:

“Plenty of time” is a fat bankroll, and you’re buying drinks at the bar. “Plenty of time” is wasted training cycles when you weren’t taking care of business. “Plenty of time” is failing at the little things, but it’s cool because it’s NBD. “Plenty of time” is spent before you know it. “Plenty of time” isn’t.

I’m not talking about priorities. You should have those, and believe me, Powerlifting hasn’t been #1 in my life maybe ever. I’m fine ...

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August 4th, 2016

In Business

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Even for successful writers, the traditional publishing industry is brutal

A sad story and it raises the puzzle, yet again, of why publishing is such a strange disaster of an industry:

That novel was called Lightning Rods, and it came out two months ago, with the much smaller press New Directions. She tried at various points over the past decade, but Ms. DeWitt could not get the book published before then. The book should have seen the light of day almost 10 years ago, when it was bought—after lengthy negotiations—by Jonathan ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Technology

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The JustWorks job interview

One of the most popular posts I’ve written is “Embarrassing code I wrote under stress at a job interview“. People get a laugh out of the dumb things I do doing job interviews. Here is another such post.

I did a job interview at JustWorks. They asked me to write the code to solve this problem:

The cost of a stock on each day is given in an array, find the max profit that you can make by buying once ...

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August 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Prison should not be a government’s profit center

A very worrisome attitude among some government officials:

The next to fall in Mississippi will be workers at regional jails that have lost 20 percent of their inmates. Officials in Stone County and George County said that around 40 employees in each would be laid off if the jails were forced to close, a necessity if the inmate population or the state reimbursement doesn’t increase. The counties are losing $72,000 per month each, officials said. Both counties still owe significant sums ...

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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

In Technology

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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

In Business

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Technology

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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

In Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Technology

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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

In Business

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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

In Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Technology

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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

In Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

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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

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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

In Philosophy

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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

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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.

$5,000 or best offer.

Source

July 10th, 2016

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The decline of entrepreneurialism in the USA

Sad news about this 30 trend away from startups:

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries hit an all-time low yesterday. Before you spin a story using recent events: remember long rates have been trending down for thirty odd years. And that’s true in most advanced economies. So think bigger than jobs day or Brexit or liftoff. And while I’ve got you thinking in decades not data releases … also consider that the share high-growth young firms, aggregate productivity growth, and general satisfaction ...

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July 10th, 2016

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How people get sober

A good article. And the struggle to learn new habits:

The modern world is designed for loneliness. Podcasts, Netflix, Amazon streaming. All that technology can disconnect us, yes, but it can also keep us tethered when real human contact feels like too much work. I spent six months in hiding, and do you know what I discovered in that time? How common it was. So many people drop out of life for MUCH more dire reasons than mine. Medical diagnoses, ...

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July 10th, 2016

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Edges is just a wrapper around the real results that adds extra data used for slicing the result cursor

I think the “edges” and “nodes” terminology is one of the most confusing things about React / Relay / GraphQL, at least at first:

Relay connection defines a relationship an an object that has two root fields: edges and pageInfo. Edges is just a wrapper around the real results that adds extra data used for slicing the results (cursors), PageInfo has metadata related to the current page. This is how it looks like:

connectionName { edges { ...
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July 10th, 2016

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I remember Remember The Milk

I liked I Remember The Milk. We used it a lot from 2007 to 2009. It’s interface was simpler than Basecamp, but slightly more than Tada lists, so it fit a niche perfectly for me. But I no longer use it. The only todo software that would work for me is software that has total integration with my email, yet all such solutions tend to be heavyweight. So I’m still waiting for something good to show up. Perhaps it now ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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How to be a writer

I love this article:

I became a writer relatively late, well into my 40s. That makes me a second-career or mid-career writer, even though by now, I rarely use the qualifiers at all. Like millions of other people in the world, I now identify myself simply as a writer. It seemed like a great act of personal delusion (or vanity) to think I could join the ranks of such an exalted club, the one full of people whose tools are only ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Make the Web compatible?

It must be 1999 again because someone is writing about browser incompatibilities:

Users won’t switch browsers, they’ll switch sites

You might think that users will switch browsers to use your site. But many won’t or can’t.

Users have no patience for things that don’t work, and they’ll just go to a competitor’s site instead. Failing at a critical point could turn a potential user away forever. According to Akamai,

32% of users who encounter a problem on your site are less likely to make ...

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July 10th, 2016

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Asymptotic

I’ve always known what this word meant yet I don’t think I could have come up with so clear an example:

A simple illustration, when considering a function f(n), is when there is a need to describe its properties as n becomes very large. Thus, if f(n) = n2+3n, the term 3n becomes insignificant compared to n2, when n is very large. The function f(n) is said to be “asymptotically equivalent to n2 as n → ∞”, and this is ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Emi Bryant Lotto moves to Kodansha

I worked with Lotto at Open Road Media. She is very in-touch with current trends in certain segments of the culture. In particular, new genres and new media formats, of which she can be said to be at the very cutting edge. From Japanese Kanji to manga to whichever genres of novels are doing well in the current publishing environment, Lotto is always absorbing more about this unique moment of rapid cultural evolution. I learned a lot from her.

Perhaps most ...

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July 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you

These are great quotes:

Source

July 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why are Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston pretending to date each other?

I admit, I am utterly intrigued with this story, since this is apparently how young people, and their celebrities, are adapting to the Internet. In an era where celebrities can’t have real privacy, the only way for them to control the narrative is to go to war with it.

Most telling, though, is Swift’s own demonstrated self-awareness about her image. Swift — not to mention her team of publicists and agents — is savvy about the realities of media attention, ...

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July 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why the police sometimes abuse their authority

This is an interesting point of view, written by a black police officer:

And no matter what an officer has done to a black person, that officer can always cover himself in the running narrative of heroism, risk, and sacrifice that is available to a uniformed police officer by virtue of simply reporting for duty. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted of all charges against him in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both black and ...

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July 7th, 2016

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The era of important Web based startups is over

This says exactly what I have been thinking:

The reasons people shift startup founding and investing patterns at the end of the cycle include: Everyone is searching for the next thing. The period of 2004 to the 20-teens will be viewed as the era of network driven business, developer & B2B SaaS infrastructure, and the lean startup. This rich vein of innovation is not over, but appears to be slowing. As this happens, entrepreneurs and VCs go into search mode, trying to ...

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July 6th, 2016

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England was already a great success by the 1600s

An interesting bit of economic history:

There are some signs of changes in relative productivity that might undermine this assumption. In Clark’s wage data, building workers’ incomes start to pull away from the 1620s, and from the 1680s masons consistently earn around a fifth more than agricultural labourers. In Allen’s wage data, the early seventeenth century is a period of relative prosperity for agricultural workers, and it is not until the 1680s that their earnings fall below those of building labourers. However, it is hard ...

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July 5th, 2016

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The problem with the Swedish housing market is that there are no houses and there is no market

This seems a bit exaggerated:

In January, the government sat down with the centre-right opposition, hoping to reach an agreement on how to increase building. But the centre-left – wanting more state funded rental accommodation – clashed with the centre-right, which wants more deregulatory measures to encourage private construction.

“The problem with the Swedish housing market is that there are no houses and there is no market,” said Emil Kallstrom, a spokesman for the opposition Center Party after the centre-right pulled ...

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July 2nd, 2016

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Success hides your mistakes

This is a great interview with Tim Brady of Yahoo:

Craig : After you closed those first ad sales were you all still freaking out over if this would be viable to not?

Tim : It was probably a full year of discomforting uncertainty. Even after we brought Tim Koogle in, it wasn’t a sure thing. The Internet was a sure thing but Yahoo wasn’t a sure thing. It probably took until the end of ‘95 to guarantee that.

Craig : Interesting. ...

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July 2nd, 2016

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Writer vents their rage while quitting after 14 years with People magazine

This is funny and also a kind of interesting look at the modern magazine industry:

This is just what the entitled stars and their bat—t crazy publicists put me and many other talented, hard-working reporters through. You people, as it turns out, are worse. Stupidly, we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service. We are naïve. Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, ...

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June 30th, 2016

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The tech elite of Silicon Valley are a surprisingly reactionary crowd

Interesting:

The second half of “Chaos Monkeys” takes place at Facebook, and it concerns the handful of dominant companies that have emerged from this start-up culture. These companies (in addition to Facebook, notably Google and Amazon), whose market values start at more than $300 billion, are approaching (or in the case of Apple and Microsoft, managing) middle age. In addition to contrasting their collective ethos with that of the start-up world, “Chaos Monkeys” touches on the also-rans like Twitter who failed ...

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June 30th, 2016

In Business, Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Technology

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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

In Technology

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Philosophy

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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

In Uncategorized

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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

In Philosophy

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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

June 23rd, 2016

In Technology

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Pagination with React / Relay / GraphQL

This is an awesome article:

Relay proposes a standard to define a has-many relationship for a GraphQL field. This standard defines a common structure that allows Relay to paginate and filter the results in an efficient way by using cursors, which I’ll explain in a bit.

This is the definition of a Relay connection (from the Relay connection specs):

Relay’s support for pagination relies on the GraphQL server exposing connections in a standardized way. In the query, the connection model provides a standard ...

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June 21st, 2016

In Business

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The dreamers of the Web are still dreaming

There is an effort to break open the closed silos of the Web:

Today’s Web has a number of problems, the attendees agreed; the most obvious being the kind of surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden’s revelations and the ability to block access, like China’s Great Firewall.

Tim Berners-Lee, who founded the Web and is now director of the World Wide Web Consortium, pointed out how far it has strayed from the original dreams for the technology. “That utopian leveling of ...

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June 21st, 2016

In Philosophy

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VioletBlue writes of being harassed by Jacob Appelbaum

I am worried about psychopaths like Appelbaum and how they manage to go on with their harassment, year after year:

When Jake got hired, he started giving tours. I only went on one of them. I had invited my editor and colleagues from the Chronicle to that happy hour, and we decided to go with him when Jake began leading people through the buildings for his tour. Kink’s main offices at that time were a wide, open-plan floor, with no ...

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June 19th, 2016

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What is a comic book?

Vox has an article that is suppose to list the best comic books being created right now. The list seems to be limited to USA creations, which is surprising given how much Japanese manga has become a part of what we consume, when we consume comics.

Suppli isn’t there.

Silent Voice isn’t there.

There is an abundance of good material coming from Japan. I can not possibly list all of the great publishers.

But whatever you might think of as ...

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June 16th, 2016

In Business

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The world is full of buggy jobs boards

This is a follow up post to what I wrote about Made In New York.

If I go here:

https://www.themuse.com/jobs/yodle/full-stack-engineering-manager-20d14e

and click “Apply” then I end up here:

Cleary, something is broken.

“Full stack engineering” become “Director of Sales”?????

Source

June 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When your trusted friends take the side of a charming psychopath and gang up against you

Wow, this is a very sad and shocking story:

Because the last thing anyone needs is to be targeted by Jake Appelbaum, I purged everything this person and sent and refused to hand over anything on privacy grounds. I explained what my reasoning was for doing what I did, was chastised further, let it go and considered the matter over.

But really, I thought, why would Jake be so defensive about some random LT that might have otherwise gone completely unnoticed? ...

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June 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Trolling is more and more a professional specialty

Sad and sickening:

A few years ago, Jamie Bartlett, a social media analyst and author of The Dark Net, met up with the man behind a popular online white supremacist account in the UK. The meeting took weeks to set up—numerous calls and emails were exchanged before the man (whom Bartlett calls “Paul”) agreed to meet him in the small northern English town where he lived. When the two finally linked up, Bartlett said he was surprised to find that the ...

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June 15th, 2016

In Technology

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Demanding ssh key login to a server is safer than allowing passwords

This is good and true:

Require ssh key authentication

We tend to avoid passwords for logging into servers. There was a lot of discussion around this after Bryan’s original guide came out, but I tend to fall into this camp as well. Here are a few notes on this:

ssh keys are better than passwords only because they contain and require more information.

Passwords can be brute forced. Guessing a public key is so essentially impossible that they can be considered perfectly secure

What ...

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June 15th, 2016

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Every manager needs to get better at firing people, because they always wait too long

The most common advice that I give to managers is “You need to fire more quickly”. It’s the most common advice I give because it is advice that managers do not want to listen to. Even supposedly “tough” managers hesitate far too long before firing people.

Apparently similar advice was given at Netflix:

McCord also convinced Hastings that he should ask himself a few times a year whether he would hire the same person in the same job if it ...

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June 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When a pregnancy isn’t viable

This is a sad story:

What happened at 31 weeks?

We went back to get a growth scan, and we saw the growth had fallen off a cliff. And this was the first time that we had been presented with this idea that there was something deeply wrong with the baby that had nothing to do with me. Until that point, all the really bad news had been with me, and my weird body. He had been thriving despite the environment.

But on ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Business

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The NYC.gov website is full of bugs and errors

I tried to apply for a job here and the site was full of errors. They should hire me so I can fix this awful mess:

As to the following error:

(please note that all I was doing was uploading a tiny text file that was 315 bytes of information)

Incredible that anyone gets through this process:

Source

June 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Tech forums can be nasty

And Hacker News is already a million times better than places like Reddit. We need more diversity in tech, but some folks seem willing to undermine the project of reforming the industry. I still see comments like:

He was privileged to be a black man since this drastically improved his odds of getting into Princeton. It’s not anywhere near as much of an achievement as you are making it out to be.

As of 2006, between 2/3 and 5/6 of black ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Mother and daughter and a short skirt

Just now. At the corner of Broadway and 96th street in New York City, daughter is 12 or 13, mother is 40 or 45, they are talking about a woman they just passed, who did not notice them. The woman was perhaps 20 and was wearing a red dress and holding a black purse.

Daughter: I so love her purse! And that dress! Such an outfit!

Mother: It was too short.

Daughter: And the fabric and…

Mother: It was too short.

Daughter: … the earrings ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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A screaming lunatic

True story:

Yesterday I went to the park along the Hudson River, near 96th st, and I started running north. I do a circuit up to 125th st, then back down to where there is construction around 88th st, and back, about 8 kilometers total. The path on the right side is sometimes for bikes and sometimes for a mix of bikes and pedestrians.

I’m running north and there is a guy on a bike coming toward me. He is extremely ...

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June 14th, 2016

In Technology

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Object/Relational Mapping is rarely worth it

I think this can be stated simply: for your basic operations (CREATE, UPDATE, READ, DELETE) then an ORM offers some convenience. But ORMs break down as soon as you have a complex query. And yet, if you start using an ORM because it helps you with the simple queries, it will seem natural to you to extend it and try to use it for the complex queries.

This is a strained analogy to the Vietnam war:

Object systems are typically characterized ...

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June 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Math is confusing even for those who are good at it

Always be learning:

Many people who are in this position, trying to learn mathematics on their own, have roughly two approaches. The first is to learn only the things that you need for the applications you’re interested in. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s akin to learning just enough vocabulary to fill out your tax forms. It’s often too specialized to give you a good understanding of how to apply the key ideas elsewhere. A common example is learning very ...

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June 11th, 2016

In Technology

1 Comment

AWS is inappropriate for small startups because its complexity demands a specialist

Sean Hull references a conversation that he and I had in Slack. I would like to expand on the argument that I made then. You might want to read his essay first, where he makes these points about AWS:

1. Over 70 services offered

2. Still complex to build high availability

3. Need a dedicated devops

4. Orchestration involves many moving parts

5. Troubleshooting failed deployments is difficult

At the time of our conversation I had crashed an AWS instance and we were having trouble fixing ...

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June 11th, 2016

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GraphQL is the best thing about React / Relay / GraphQL

React / Relay / GraphQL:

The big breakthrough here is obviously GraphQL. Not React or Relay, since there are many competing implementations that do similar things, but GraphQL. Even though there are graph query languages out there (Gremlin, etc) they were not suited to querying JSON over the wire. GraphQL is ideal. For my next project, I hope to do a Clojure implementation of most of GraphQL, because I think it can be married to Om.Next in a very powerful way.

Actually, ...

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June 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Inemuri

Interesting:

However, this experience of sleeping in the presence of others as children is not sufficient on its own to explain the widespread tolerance of inemuri, especially at school and in the workplace. After some years of investigating this subject, I finally realised that on a certain level, inemuri is not considered sleep at all. Not only is it seen as being different from night-time sleep in bed, it is also viewed differently from taking an afternoon nap or power nap. How ...

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June 11th, 2016

In Business

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The lights at the Dentsu headquarters in Tokyo are automatically turned off at 10:00 PM. But what happens afterwards?

Source

June 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Krubner, you saved my day

Aw man, after all the mistakes I make, it is nice to know I help people sometimes:

Source

June 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Sometimes I make a bad decision

It’s very, very, very rare, almost unheard of, but sometimes I make a mistake.

I was helping at Open Road this spring. Sean Hull was also helping. Open Road runs a bunch of WordPress sites, such as The Line Up. All of the images for these sites were stored on a central NFS server. All of the machines were starving for hard disk space. The previous Director Of Technology had made many, many bad decisions, including the decision to save ...

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June 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Meditation can lead to madness

Interesting:

“Recovery,” “permanently ruined”—these are not words one typically encounters when discussing a contemplative practice.

On a cold November night last fall, I drove to Cheetah House. A former student of Britton’s, I joined the group in time for a Shabbat dinner. We blessed the challah, then the wine; recited prayers in English and Hebrew; and began eating.

Britton, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, works at the Brown University Medical School. She receives regular phone calls, emails, and letters ...

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June 7th, 2016

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The thugs in Russia

There is a worrisome authoritarian movement in Russia. Many of its members are known criminals. They go after anyone who is vulnerable, just to demonstrate their contempt for the rule of law.

Datsik has a huge criminal background. He is an ex-fighter and boxer. Datsik has been imprisoned several times. He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union, which has similar political ideologies as Nazi Germany. The Slavic Union was banned in Russia because of their promotion of ...

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June 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Anna Rose Holmer is a genius

I saw a screening of this movie at the Gawker offices. I loved this movie. And Royalty Hightower is an amazing talent.

ANNA ROSE HOLMER: We started to talk about the film as a coming of age film—and even now, I’m so hesitant to use that phrase because it comes with a lot of baggage, particularly for stories about girls and young women. I think often it’s placed like five years later when you’re talking about sexual awakening, the idea that ...

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June 7th, 2016

In Technology

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The Belief that Tests are Smarter than Code Telegraphs Latent Fear or a Bad Process

This part is really good:

Programmers have a tacit belief that they can think more clearly (or guess better) when writing tests when writing code, or that somehow there is more information in a test than in code. That is just formal nonsense. The psychological perspective is instructive here, and it’s important because that — rather than any computational property — most drives developer behaviour. If your coders have more lines of unit tests than of code, it probably means one of several things. They may be ...

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June 7th, 2016

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The problem with unit tests

Interesting:

Unit testing is of course not just an issue in object-oriented programming, but the combination of object-orientation, agile software development, and a rise in tools and computing power has made it de rigueur. As a consultant I often get questions about unit testing, including this real one from a recent client of mine, Richard Jacobs at Sogeti (Sogeti Nederland B.V.): My second question is about unit tests. If I remember correctly you said that unit tests are waste. First, I was surprised by that. Today however, my ...

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June 6th, 2016

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Ruby On Rails is obsolete

This is a strange conversation to be having in the year 2016. Ruby On Rails changed the technology industry in 2004, but it can not claim to be winning in 2016. It still lacks a story for concurrency. It is being undermined by 2 forces:

1.) the need for concurrency, which is offered by other eco-systems, such as those that run the JVM. A language like Clojure offers the high level of meta-programming that Rubyists love, but with the vast arsenal ...

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June 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What does it mean for a criminal to express remorse?

Interesting:

I fully respected his right to a trial, but even after twelve jurors unanimously convicted him guilty of three felonies, all he has admitted to doing is ingesting alcohol. Someone who cannot take full accountability for his actions does not deserve a mitigating sentence. It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of promiscuity. By definition rape is the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply ...

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June 6th, 2016

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Elite conservatives attack the white working class

I am altogether amazed at the fissures opening up in the conservative coalition in the USA. The coalition came together after 1958, and has been the dominant voice in the USA since 1968. But that era appears to have ended.

My childhood was different from Kevin’s, but I grew up in Kentucky, live in a rural county in Tennessee, and have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at ...

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June 6th, 2016

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Fighting against poverty, yet indulging in corruption

The progress is great, but the money wasted on corruption is very sad:

The outsiders’ view of Rio de Janeiro—sexy beaches and city slums—make an incomplete sketch of the country. 193 million Brazilians live outside of Rio, many of them digging into the ground for water, using a community phone to receive calls, and walking long distances to catch buses to banks, where they stand in line for hours while awaiting the government assistance promised by the Worker’s Party.

Many Brazilians would ...

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June 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What makes a great fake viral story

Interesting:

And then there’s the anecdote, which feels like a mini-drama in and of itself. Act 1: A young, beautiful woman auditions for a part. We know, because of the face of this young woman and the connotation of actorly dominance that it has come to carry, that she was, without question, good enough for the role. Act 2: The people making the film think she’s not beautiful enough. She was, or theoretically was, sent to the precipice of disbelief: the ...

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June 6th, 2016

In Business

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How moderation grew up on the Internet

Interesting:

Mora-Blanco’s team — 10 people in total — was dubbed The SQUAD (Safety, Quality, and User Advocacy Department). They worked in teams of four to six, some doing day shifts and some night, reviewing videos around the clock. Their job? To protect YouTube’s fledgling brand by scrubbing the site of offensive or malicious content that had been flagged by users, or, as Mora-Blanco puts it, “to keep us from becoming a shock site.” The founders wanted YouTube to be something ...

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June 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Sexual ideas you should really avoid

This is funny. 33 things that happen in porn that you should never try yourself:

Propositioning your friend’s mom

Propositioning your mom’s friend

Propositioning your step-anybody

Spying on someone in the shower while assuming voyeurism turns them on

Picking someone off a street in your van

Sex with a strange pizza guy, plumber, electrician, or anyone else who’s paid by their employer to go to your house

Answering the door in only a towel

Answering the door completely naked and not expecting it to end ...

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June 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The way Trump is changing politics in the USA

In his excellent book Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch makes the point that the riot that occurred in Oxford, Mississippi (over the arrival of James Meredith) on September 30, 1962 was the last large scale white racist gathering in the USA for several decades. And for some decades, it seemed that there had been a permanent change in the USA, that such things would never happen again. And certainly, the Republican leadership would not allow such things, for a long ...

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June 2nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Pure objectivity in news is an impossibility

This is good:

Pure objectivity in news is an impossibility, and pursuit of such pure objectivity is a fool’s errand. As you pointed out, the editorial process in which a selection is made between newsworthy items is highly subjective. Every day only a few news items make it onto the front page, and there cannot possibly be a neutral metric that can determine which ones. Journalism doesn’t just provide the facts, it also has an obligation to educate and inform the readers. Impartiality ...

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June 2nd, 2016

In Technology

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Sometimes peer review delays progress for many decades

This is what real leadership looks like:

Morris intentionally consumes H. pylori. Like Marshall, he becomes ill, but unlike Marshall, he is not completely cured by antibiotics. The infection will remain with him for three years.

I wish he had been given a medal for his self-sacrifice. He was attempting to save millions from suffering.

Interesting, though very disappointing:

1881 Klebs notes the presence of bacteria-like organisms in the lumen of the gastric glands.

1889 Walery Jaworski describes spiral organisms in sediment washings ...

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June 2nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The diverse factions of the progressive movement in the USA during 2016

Interesting:

1.Genuine idealists: For sure, quite a few Sanders supporters dream of a better society, and for whatever reason – maybe just because they’re very young – are ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can’t be accomplished in a day.

2.Romantics: This kind of idealism shades over into something that’s less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement. (Those of us who were students in the 60s and ...

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May 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Zana Vrangalova’s research on human sexuality

A very interesting research project:

Still, the site is far from clinical. The home page is a colorful mosaic of squares, color-coded according to the category of sexual experience (blue: “one-night stand”; purple: “group sex”; gray: the mysterious-sounding “first of many”; and so on). Pull quotes are highlighted for each category (“Ladies if you haven’t had a hot, young Latino stud you should go get one!”). Many responses seem to boast, provoke, or exaggerate for rhetorical purposes. Reading it, I felt ...

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May 24th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Math papers are hard to read because people invent their own syntax

Obviously professional mathematicians need the power to continue to create new syntax. But should there be a syntax for creating syntax? I’m thinking of Lisp programming languages, that allow a programmer to invent new syntax, but enforces some rules along the way. One counter-argument, to applying such reasoning to math, is that vernacular languages, such as English, can be used to describe any syntax. But that is surely cheating: if math is to be a language, then the syntax for ...

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May 22nd, 2016

In Technology

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Why does Rails become awful?

Interesting:

Let me tell you a story about what can happen in a convoluted Rails codebase. Once, I joined an existing project. It was a huuuuge app which was running an on-line shopping community website. Complicated sales model, complicated promotions, complicated product setups, coupons, user groups, messages – it had it all. I joined them to help ship a few new features. One of my early tasks was to…add a link to something on some page. It took me few days ...

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May 15th, 2016

In Business

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Chronological feeds are being replaced by algorithms

Any algorithm can be gamed, so Facebook and Apple and Google are actually increasing the number of ways that content pushers can manipulate the system.

The feed is dying. The reverse-chronological social media feed — the way you’ve read Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs (which is to say, the internet) at various points over the last decade, updates organized according to the time they were posted, refreshed at the top of the screen — no longer really makes sense. The ...

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May 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Angry while female

Interesting:

Why, asked thousands of Twitter and Facebook users, can’t a woman be outraged without being labeled a diva?

Anger, as we have been told ad nauseam during this election cycle, is the driving force of American discourse, the bond that unites supporters of billionaire dabbler Trump with the earnest progressives behind Sen. Bernie Sanders. It fuels our commentary, our comedy, our drama, our love of social media. At worst, we have become a nation of venters, easily provoked and quick ...

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May 15th, 2016

In Technology

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The dumbest name for a good architecture is “serverless”

I strongly agree that the idea is good, but the name “serverless” is really stupid:

So… this is backend infrastructure (i.e. it runs on a server) to let your team deploy “severless” apps…

So they’re serverless. Except the server you’re running it on. And the lamba/style code they wrote and uploaded to it.

But serverless, because no ops staff required. Except the ones who installed and maintain this.

This is like a snake eating its own tail and wondering what hurts.

Edit: despite my sarcasm, ...

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May 15th, 2016

In Business

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The next wave of layoffs in tech

Interesting:

However, every time there is a great deflating, it is because the market is tired and preparing to embrace something different. So far I’ve been through several of these, chips in the 80′s dot coms in the late 90s, storage in the early 2000′s, and now either web 2.0 or social (depending on how you score it). Three threads are competing for the next round, IoT, Machine Learning, and Bioinformatics. CRISPR derived technologies could be in there too but ...

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May 15th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Who is Christian?

Interesting:

While the amount of constituents there is growing by the day, numbers in the West (the United Kingdom and United States, in particular) have nosedived in recent years, some 25 percent from 1972 to 2002, according to the Friends World Committee for Consultation.

Source

May 14th, 2016

In Business

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You rarely hear about how truly fucking brutal it is

I love this, so very true:

Usually you read about startups on sites like TechCrunch where a startup in San Francisco made some app that does something inane like sends “Yo” to your friends and raises million of dollars their seed round that later sells for 100s of millions to billions of dollars. You rarely hear about how truly fucking brutal it is. It’s not the long hours that most founders say in interviews, it’s the mental anguish. The euphoric Mt. ...

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May 14th, 2016

In Business

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Layers of abstraction build up in the financial world, just like they do in software

Interesting:

This is good and almost funny:

The financial system is built up in layers of abstraction over some vast and unwieldy machinery. The machinery is complicated in part in order to make the abstraction simple: You can buy stock with a click of a mouse because armies of people devote their careers to the legal niceties and operational maintenance and integration of all this back-office apparatus.

The boring details:

But usually it is more complicated than that. Mostly, it is inconvenient ...

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May 14th, 2016

In Business

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Financial innovation is often just corruption by another name

Sad:

In other words, LendingClub is an originator, funneling loans upstream to Wall Street firms. And in executives’ desire to grow amid demands from shareholders — LendingClub went public in 2014 — they began to exhibit the tendencies of the banks they sought to out-innovate.

First, Laplanche approached the board about investing in Cirrix Capital, an investment fund that actually bought a lot of LendingClub loans. If LendingClub invested in Cirrix, then Cirrix could invest more in LendingClub loans, a bizarrely circuitous ...

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May 10th, 2016

In Technology

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The sad, slow way a system of cron scripts becomes ugly

Do you have a chore that needs to run in the background, maybe once a day, or once an hour? Cron scripts will save you! They are the most amazingly amazing thing God has invented since Adam and Eve! For sheer wonderfulality they have no equal among the products of mortal fallen flesh!

At least at first.

The simple cron script is wonderfully direct and efficient. But the first can lead to a second. The second can lead to a third. ...

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May 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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If women could be fathers

Cloning would have to be 100% safe, and so would extracting the male genes from a woman’s cell. But the technology is not yet ready, and I have trouble imagining that any government will give this line of research any priority. Because a lot of people are afraid of women having that kind of freedom. But this is what Shulamith Firestone dreamed of:

So that just as to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass ...

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April 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Lying is a lot of work, especially in romance

Yes, the guy is trolling, but there is a grain of truth here. I do think lying requires a lot of work. For that reason, I avoid lying. I don’t have the energy for it.

I’m a corporate strategist so I approached my extramarital affair with an eye to the long game. I planned accordingly to have a mistress same as I planned years ahead to embezzle my retirement. Get married, share finances, and most importantly: have kids. Bind yourself ...

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April 23rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Love is hard because everyone is crazy

Interesting:

In a wiser society, prospective partners would put each other through detailed psychological questionnaires and send themselves off to be assessed at length by teams of psychologists. By 2100, this will no longer sound like a joke. The mystery will be why it took humanity so long to get to this point. We need to know the intimate functioning of the psyche of the person we’re planning to marry. We need to know their attitudes to, or stance on, ...

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April 23rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Weddings are not over

This is a very silly and stupid rant. This particular fight doesn’t really touch me directly. I’ve only been to two weddings in my life, for cousins, and I was young and I had to go. That was back in the 80s or 90s. But excess at weddings is likely to continue. Wealth in the USA is concentrating, and the working class no longer gets married, so marriage has emerged as a powerful status symbol. 50 years ago, when ...

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April 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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If your characters don’t interact then you don’t have a story

I love this:

Maybe it’s the rape, or the violence, or how it’s really boring. Everyone seems to have an opinion about why Game of Thrones, once a mesmerizing fantasy land that darkly mirrored modern day dilemmas, has become near unwatchable. (Which is not to say people have by any means ceased to watch it.) But there is one reason that rises above them all, and it is very simple.

Hardly any of the characters on Game of Thrones interact with each ...

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April 17th, 2016

In Business

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Innovation is dead

Funny:

Live from the Great Stagnation: Why in the past two centuries hasn’t there been a tea blend developed that I like more than Earl Grey? What is wrong with our innovation system—or with me?

Wikipedia: Earl Grey: “In one case study, a patient who consumed four litres of Earl Grey tea per day reported muscle cramps, which were attributed to the function of the bergapten in bergamot oil as a potassium channel blocker. The symptoms subsided upon reducing his consumption ...

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April 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What is education really for?

Interesting:

Forager children aren’t told what to do; they just wander around and do what they like. But they get bored and want to be respected like adults, so eventually they follow some adults around and ask to be shown how to do things. In this process they sometimes have to take orders, but only until they are no longer novices. They don’t have a single random boss they don’t respect, but can instead be trained by many adults, can select ...

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April 10th, 2016

In Technology

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What do AWS services actually do?

I love this:

Data Pipeline Should have been called Amazon ETL

Glacier Should have been called Really slow Amazon S3

Kinesis Should have been called Amazon High Throughput It’s like Kafka

I have used this but I did not know the name:

Snowball Should have been called AWS Big Old Portable Storage Use this to Get a bunch of hard drives you can attach to your network to make getting large amounts (Terabytes of Data) into and out of AWS It’s like Shipping a Network Attached Storage device to AWS

These are useful names that actually describe what ...

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April 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The rare moments I help someone

I wish I was more active helping out on open source projects. The few times I’ve contributed, advice or code, I tend to get positive feedback.

And my code suggestions are not wholly misplaced:

So really, why don’t I do this more often? I really am not sure. I suppose the desire to start my own business had me focus all my efforts on that, instead of the various open source communities?

Source

April 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Femslash and the growing power of fandom

I’m not saying anything new if I say that fandom has changed the relationship between the reader and the author. I have the impression this change started in Japan and has been imported to the USA. That’s despite fandom mostly living on the Internet and the Internet having been mostly developed in the USA.

Fandoms influence on authors tends to be trivial. Two characters who have never kissed, but of whom there is slash fiction, end up kissing, and the ...

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April 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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What does the word herbivore mean?

The herbivore serial killers:

He then spent six years in the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, along with Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma – and watched the squirrel death toll soar to 163.

“It boggles the imagination that something like that was going on under our noses and we didn’t notice,” says Hoogland. He describes the killings as “quick, subtle and unanticipated”.

While some prairie dogs chased the squirrels, others stalked them, waited outside their burrows or even ...

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April 1st, 2016

In Philosophy

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Planning the wedding a long time before the wedding

Interesting and funny:

OK here’s the thing. Knowing what you want to wear…. sure. Fine. Its a time you get to wear a pretty dress. But until you’re kind of close to the actual deal, I absolutely can’t stand it when women taaaaalk and talk about a wedding that isn’t even remotely on the map. I’m in a in a 6 year relationship that’s headed towards marriage; I love TV shows like Say Yes to the Dress – I still don’t ...

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March 27th, 2016

In Technology

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The fanaticism of “test driven development” is slowly fading

This was one of those trends that went too far and I’m glad to see people talking about reasonable limits:

If you’re part of the Ruby On Rails community for a long time, you’ve probably read tons of articles about testing Rails application (less these days, though). Although there always have been diverging opinions on the matter, it seems the common wisdom was to say that you had to test everything: models, controllers, views and full-stack tests. Oh, and you had ...

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March 27th, 2016

In Business

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Automation is putting people out of work

This should frighten people out of their complacency. Also, the trend starts in1958, not 1976.

From Tyler Cowen:

You sometimes hear there is no evidence of automation putting people out of work, but arguably the automation of manufacturing, plus IT-enabled foreign competition, are significant factors behind this trend. This picture also casts doubt on the common view that there are hidden real wage increases, not picked up by standard data and wage deflators and the like. You would expect ...

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March 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The languages of politics

Conservatives prefer the certainty of nouns:

This use of nouns, rather than adjectives, is seen to preserve stability, familiarity and tradition – all of which appear to be valued more highly by conservatives than liberals.

Because nouns ‘elicit clearer and more definite perceptions of reality than other parts of speech’, they satisfy the desire for ‘structure and certainty’ that is common among social conservatives, the research authors found.

The research was based on studies carried out in three countries – Poland, Lebanon, ...

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March 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Churchill’s vivid writing

I’m coming back to writing lately, after 20 years, and I find that self-expression means very little to me now, whereas making money does, so I am much more interested in writing things that other people will find entertaining. So I can relate to this bit about Churchill’s writing:

In fact Churchill resigned from the Conservative front bench in the 1930s so he could earn more money as a writer and to some extent make up for these losses; that ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Are bootcamps better than University?

My Europeans friends think its weird that universities in the USA insist that students take a wide range of classes. In Europe, university is seen as a time when one becomes a specialist in a particular skill. For instance, in Poland, it is common for a person to go to university for 5 years and graduate with the equivalent of a masters in a given field.

Especially considering how expensive university has become in the USA, asking students to take ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Business

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Why are women paid less than men?

Interesting:

That sounds like a truism, but the academic work behind it helps explain the pay gap’s persistence even as the factors long thought to cause it have disappeared. Women, for example, are now better educated than men, have nearly as much work experience and are equally likely to pursue many high-paying careers. No longer can the gap be dismissed with pat observations that women outnumber men in lower-paying jobs like teaching and social work.

A new study from researchers at ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Technology

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RESTful APIs are dead, long live GraphQL

We can argue whether RESTful APIs ever existed, since very few ever implemented HATEOAS. Ruby On Rails claimed it offered RESTful APIs, but it never offered HATEOAS. After 10 years of failure, the world is looking for something new.

Interesting:

Imagine we have a simple application that fetches a list of stories, and some details about each one. Here’s how that might look in resource-oriented REST:

// Fetch the list of story IDs but not their details: rest.get('/stories').then(stories => // This ...
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March 26th, 2016

In Technology

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Picking React isn’t a technology decision, it’s a business decision

Interesting:

The clear winner right now, is React. Components all the way down makes your application much easier to reason about. The learning curve is very flat. The important APIs would fit on one page. JSX is awesome. You get all the power of JavaScript and its tooling when writing your markup. It is the natural match for Flux and Redux (more on that later). The React community is amazing, and produced many best of breed tools such as Redux (also more on that later). Writing high ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Technology

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Pay discrimination in tech

This sounds bad:

Women who write the software that runs on mainframe computers earn on average 72 cents per dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to research conducted by Glassdoor Inc., the online job information firm. That pay gap exists even after controlling for age, education, experience, job title, employer and location.

This suggests that the gap widens with age:

However, not all tech jobs pay men and women so differently. Among mobile developers, there is just a 2.9% gap between ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Technology

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Left-Pad as a service

Everyone is laughing over this. An 11 line function as its own NPM module? I am unsure how I feel. The trend has been to smaller and smaller pieces of functionality. I don’t find this outrageous. Still, the parody is funny:

c4n4rd is game:

This is really exciting!!! I was a bit disappointed that the right-pad will be out only in 2017. I am looking forward to that release because there is a high demand for it now.

What kind of ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Technology

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null

Testing WordPress to see if a title of “Null” works.

Source

March 26th, 2016

In Business

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How long can an unsustainable economy grow?

Interesting, but wrong:

During the good times, “we always wanted to grow just a little more than we otherwise could.” There was always a reason why, if a little bit of growth was good, more would be even better. It was very easy to justify various kinds of mischief — from annual deficits to artificially low interest rates — in order to wring just a little more growth out of the economy. This is true whether your goals were motivated by ...

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March 26th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What name should the children get?

Interesting:

As my belly grew, the comments got even stranger. I had secretly hoped for no reaction, for our choice to be as common as saying, “I went with the mustard instead of the ketchup.” No reaction would mean something good, right? That women in this country are, for example, no longer considered the property of men, even in name. That archaic systems are truly collapsing. That we can reclaim language that was formerly used to control us.

But it seemed, ...

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March 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The First Civil War may end in time for the Second

Yet another sign that people are increasingly ready to move beyond the First Civil War:

Maryland lawmakers took a step Thursday toward scrubbing references to “Northern scum” and other Civil War-era phrases from the official state song.

The Maryland Senate voted 37-8 for the changes, while also recognizing “Maryland, My Maryland” as the state’s historic song. Supporters of the measure, which now goes to the House, said it was a compromise that removes offensive language and recognizes history.

“They keep the historic ...

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March 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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History is not individuals

I’ve noticed this too. We’ve come a long way from Braudel:

As I more closely looked at the books displayed, I noticed a peculiarity. Almost all books … on the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions were not only critical of the revolutions, focused on the destruction they wreaked, but were exposés of their leaders, of their murderous natures and sexual perversions. Robespierre is a green-spectacled misanthrope who never had sex; Lenin hated people and loved only his mistress; Stalin was not ...

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March 22nd, 2016

In Business

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The monoculture of tech

Worrisome and very true:

(3), combined with (1), gets at what TrendCo’s real complaint with Mike is. He’s not their type. TrendCo’s median employee is a recent graduate from one of maybe ten “top” schools with 0-2 years of experience. They have a few experienced hires, but not many, and most of their experienced hires have something trendy on their resume, not a boring old company like Microsoft.

Whether or not you think there’s anything wrong with having a type and rejecting ...

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March 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The end of what was in San Francisco

Rarely does there seem so extreme a case of affluent people moving to a city because it seems creative, and then, by their own efforts, killing off the creativity.

Sad and worrisome:

I just can’t. I was born in San Francisco; my parents live there, today.

Gentrification is real and palpable. Once cozy neighbourhoods have become playthings for the rich and entitled. Where botánicas once opened their doors, now pricey designers have moved their precious boutiques. Where once a freewheeling, affordable, ...

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March 18th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The big trials remind us of the changing times

Oscar Wilde’s trial reminds us of where gay rights stood in the 1890s, his astonishingly bold defense of gay sex reminds us that Victorians standards were beginning to crack. Big trials do that, they make an era vivid. The same is true of the trial of O J Simpson, which reminds us of where race relations were in 1994/1995.

I’d forgotten how much Marcia Clark was herself put on trial during the trial:

But, surely, the hardest part ...

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March 18th, 2016

In Technology

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The end of the test-first mania

It worries me that the tech industry is driven by such intense manias, which have cost me several jobs. For a long time you were not allowed to question Object Oriented Programming. I still go to job interviews and I’m asked the basics of Object Oriented Programming, and it is clear I have to say nice things about Object Oriented Programming or I won’t get the job. Thankfully none of these people ever check Wikipedia, where I am cited as ...

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March 18th, 2016

In Philosophy

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How the movies talk about authoritarian tendencies

I don’t understand why the movies need to use superheroes to talk about these issues, but it is good they are talking about these issues:

Source

March 17th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The new politics at National Review

There are some fundamentally new politics being expressed by the National Review. In some ways, these beliefs sound like the unpopular conservative beliefs of the era before 1958, which is basically the era before the National Review (which got going in 1955 and which helped launch the modern conservative movement). There is an aspect to this writing that expresses the contempt that wealthy Protestants expressed for the working class back in the 1800s. Really, this is a kind of politics ...

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March 17th, 2016

In Technology

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Onyx tested by Jespen is genius tested by genius

Good lord, this makes me happy. I think Michael Drogalis is a very smart guy and everyone knows that Kyle Kingsbury is a very, very smart guy. Kingsbury’s work on Jespen is the finest work that anyone has ever done on the problems of distributed data. Onyx is exciting as an a Clojure answer to Apache Storm. Sad to say, Storm is written in Scala. The idea of testing Onxy with Jespen is one of the finest ideas ...

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March 17th, 2016

In Philosophy

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How to erase a woman from her biography

To the extent that identity is imbued in the body and manifests as a nose or an eyebrow or a skin color, then changing a nose or an eyebrow or a skin color, even in subtle ways, can erase a person’s identity.

I do not believe and never said that the nearly all-white team behind film are out-and-out racists who sought to disrespect Nina Simone’s legacy. But, as Coates notes, “racism is a default setting,” and unless we are doing ...

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March 17th, 2016

In Business

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Living Social has raised more than $900 million to date

And it is dying. They just laid off more than half their staff. How do you gain so much investment and then die? Was the whole business opportunity a fad? An illusion?

Source

March 17th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The new politics in the USA

This is worrisome:

Source

March 17th, 2016

In Business

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Dov Charney continues to self destruct

This is one of the more extreme examples of self destruction in recent USA business history.

Source

March 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The math teacher who could not read his own math writings

Interesting:

Source

March 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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You can know someone day in, day out, love them completely and never really understand them

Interesting:

And that occurred to me over and over again as I read through the book. Couples tend have a lot of the same squabbles over money, domestic labor division, sex, free time, for a reason. But this book is not really a test of this couple; it’s a test of marriage itself. In a way, it’s an indictment of an institution that will take even the most easy going, low-key, adventuresome couple and leave them standing in the kitchen arguing ...

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March 14th, 2016

In Technology

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Unix processes have gotten bigger and slower over the years

Interesting:

The obvious question thus is: Why state machines? Why not processes or threads?

And the obvious answer is: Performance.

When UNIX was still young, scheduling was supposed to be done by the OS on per-process basis. When implementing a network server, for example, you were supposed to fork a new instance of the process for each TCP connection and rely on the OS scheduler to switch between the processes.

I guess it made sense from performance point of view back then. All ...

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March 12th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Had Linda been more confident, we’d have won

Interesting:

The other night, I was reminded that under-confidence also has costs. In our pub quiz one of my team-mates suggested several answers but with little confidence, causing our captain to choose other answers. However, she was right every time and our captain wrong. The upshot was that we slumped to an abject defeat to the bottom team in the league. Had Linda been more confident, we’d have won.

Is that right? Surely most of the blame attaches to the captain? What ...

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March 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Jakub Holý on copying :pre and :post conditions

Obviously I have read this article before (I offered response and was quoted before) but I’ve gone back to read it again and this jumped out at me:

Do you repeat the same checks again and again? Then you could either copy them using with-meta (they end-up in metadata anyway) or reuse the explicitly:

(defn with-valid-car [f] (fn [car] {:pre [:make :model :year]} (f car))) (def count-price (with-valid-car (fn [car] (do-something car)))) ;; or make & use a macro to make it nicer

That ...

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March 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Garth Greenwell talks about the importance, and the cost, of gay marriage

Very interesting:

I certainly was aware—and I was aware of this as a reader, and I was aware of this as somebody in the literary community—of this stigma about gay books. And I was also aware of a kind of gap between the generation of these trailblazers like Edmund White and Andrew Holleran, and my generation, in terms of those novels that document gay life at a particular moment. One explanation for that is very obvious: It’s AIDS.

Another explanation for that, ...

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March 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Sweden leads the world in the ratio of women to men getting college degrees

Interesting:

In 2013, six million students across OECD countries graduated from a higher education institution with a bachelor’s degree; 58% of them were women. This percentage ranges from 69% in Sweden [emphasis added] to 45% in Japan. Besides Japan, only Germany, Korea, Switzerland and Turkey still have more male than female graduates.

Source

March 9th, 2016

In Business

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The history of temporary workers

Interesting:

Northwestern Mutual was not unique. For instance, “a large Milwaukee bank” faced the rising challenge of data entry, but the cost of the machines to enter the data—“Comptometers”—was prohibitive. Instead of hiring more people to work during the day, which would have required more machines, the bank hired “several hundred temporaries [to work] during a short evening shift” doing the data entry on the machines that the permanent staff could not. The hours of expensive overtime became hours of cheaper ...

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March 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What used to be bad about Microsoft

Apparently this has gotten better under the new CEO:

In my (very-biased) opinion, I believe collaboration is fundamentally broken at Microsoft. It is all about politics, not great outcomes, and that is absolute death in a functional organization, which has nothing but collaboration to hold together cross-functional product teams. At least in a divisional model all of the relevant team members have a common product and a common boss, meaning everyone has no choice but to work together. Unless the employee ...

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March 8th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why women leave the STEM fields

These are worrisome stories:

I have my masters in a STEM field (forensic biology) and worked in the industry for 7 years before quitting and shifting careers completely. The terrifying and extremely persistent offers on late-night scenes, comments in the lab, and straight-up harassment from police officers in the field meant that I had to be an emotionless robot all the time or else risk my reputation/credibility. In many cases, my unresponsiveness made it worse and made the guy in ...

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February 27th, 2016

In Business

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Why is Slack popular?

I have been deeply confused about the rise of Slack, since it does not offer any new features that I am aware of. There have been a million chat applications over the years, all offering roughly the same mix of features that Slack offers. How Slack managed to hit such a sweet spot, in such a crowded market, is deeply puzzling to me.

I wish I could say that this article revealed some great truth to me, but it actually ...

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February 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When will New York City have a functioning subway system?

There is too much truth in this:

No man is an island except a man who lives in Williamsburg because the L train, his lifeline between Manhattan and home and the parties he is just slightly too old to attend in Bushwick, is definitely going to be shut down or at least crippled for many months or even years so there will be no way for him to get to any of those places, requiring that he be almost entirely ...

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February 17th, 2016

In Business

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Boom and bust, money and poverty

This is from Paul Graham, though it also describes me:

I was tired of being poor. I was working as a freelance programmer, and it was this sort of boom/bust thing where I would get money and then I would run out of money, and then it would be a disaster, and I just got tired of it. And then I thought, “I’m just going to work until I won’t run out of money.”

Source

February 15th, 2016

In Technology

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Sick politics is the driving force of useless ceremony

This is part 7 of a 12 part series:

1.) Quincy’s Restaurant, a parable about concurrency

2.) Why I hate all articles about design patterns

3.) Clojure has mutable state

4.) Immutability changes everything

5.) Mutable iterators are the work of the Devil

6.) Get rid of all Dependency Injection

7.) Sick politics is the driving force of useless ceremony

8.) Functional programming is not the same as static data-type checking

Interlude

9.) Inheritance has nothing to do with Objects

10.) Is there a syntax for immutability?

11.) Immutability enables concurrency

12.) Quincy’s ...

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February 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The first duty of an artist is to survive

I recently got done writing a parody of the craziness of the current tech startup scene, in particular the many scam artists and pretend “visionaries” who have been pulled into the scene by the recent gold rush mentality.

The antagonist is a man named Titian, who is distrusted by most of the artists and creative types that he needs to move his project forward. They regard him as a pretend visionary. At a large gathering, he gives a dinner toast, ...

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February 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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We never know the hour

I am not religious, but since Jess is gone, I have been thinking about that quote in the Bible Matthew 24:36:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

I was writing a bit of fiction, and in it the antagonist must convince a bunch of artistic types to trust him. They do not trust him. Over a year ago, I wrote most of his speech as ...

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February 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Goodbye Jess, I will miss you very much

It’s been 3 weeks, but I remain in a state of shock. My dear friend Jess is dead. She was a truly amazing human being. I will miss her more than I can easily say.

She was murdered in Grenada, where she and her husband had gone on vacation. Grenada is generally thought to be a safe island, so this is astonishing on many, many levels.

Jess originally thought she would make a career in publishing. After college, Jess went ...

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February 13th, 2016

In Technology

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Immutability changes everything

(Acknowledgements:

I offer a huge “Thank you” to Natalie Sidner for the tremendous editing she did on the rough draft of this post. To the extent that this article is readable, it is thanks to her. Any mistakes are entirely my fault, and I probably added them after she was done editing. If you need to hire a good editor, contact Natalie Sidner at “nataliesidner at gmail dot com”.

Also, I thank Blanche Krubner for reviewing this work. As Mrs Krubner studied ...

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February 13th, 2016

In Technology

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Functional programming is not the same as static data-type checking

(Note: Leah McCloskey is a brilliant illustrator who brings warmth and humor to every graphic she creates. She is also head of design at Haystack.im. Save for those rights which she specifically granted to me, she reserves all rights on these images, so if you wish to re-use them, then you must contact her directly at leah @ dendritecorp.com. I am grateful that she found the time to work on this project. View her portfolio!)

This is part 8 of a ...

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February 11th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why are great artists so weird?

The newest theories in science are invented by outsiders? Why are committees so awful? Because they move to consensus?

Source

February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Interlude

I am mostly done writing the second half of this series, however, it needs to be edited, some code needs to be written, all of the code needs to be checked, and I need to work with Leah McCloskey to develop further cartoons for illustrating the points made in this series. Also, I have a full time job. So it will likely be 2 or 3 months before I can publish the second half of this series.

The series is ...

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February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Get rid of all Dependency Injection

This is part 6 of a 12 part series:

1.) Quincy’s Restaurant, a parable about concurrency

2.) Why I hate all articles about design patterns

3.) Clojure has mutable state

4.) Immutability changes everything

5.) Mutable iterators are the work of the Devil

6.) Get rid of all Dependency Injection

7.) Sick politics is the driving force of useless ceremony

8.) Functional programming is not the same as static data-type checking

Interlude

9.) Inheritance has nothing to do with objects

10.) Is there a syntax for immutability?

11.) Immutability enables concurrency

12.) Quincy’s ...

Read More Source

February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Mutable iterators are the work of the Devil

This is part 5 of a 12 part series:

1.) Quincy’s Restaurant, a parable about concurrency

2.) Why I hate all articles about design patterns

3.) Clojure has mutable state

4.) Immutability changes everything

5.) Mutable iterators are the work of the Devil

6.) Get rid of all Dependency Injection

7.) Sick politics is the driving force of useless ceremony

8.) Functional programming is not the same as static data-type checking

Interlude

9.) Inheritance has nothing to do with objects

10.) Is there a syntax for immutability?

11.) Immutability enables concurrency

12.) Quincy’s ...

Read More Source

February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Clojure has mutable state

Warning: This post is an intro to mutable state in Clojure. If you already know Clojure, you can skip this. If you have no interest in learning Clojure, you can skip this.

This is part 3 of a 12 part series:

1.) Quincy’s Restaurant, a parable about concurrency

2.) Why I hate all articles about design patterns

3.) Clojure has mutable state

4.) Immutability changes everything

5.) Mutable iterators are the work of the Devil

6.) Get rid of all Dependency Injection

7.) Sick politics is the ...

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February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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Why I hate all articles about design patterns

Warning: This article merely describes what I hope to achieve with this series. There is no software code in this article. Those who wish to stay focused on those articles that are focused on code should skip this article. Since I am here describing my personal motivations for writing, this article is necessarily the most self-indulgent of the articles in this series.

This is part 2 of a 12 part series:

1.) Quincy’s Restaurant, a parable about concurrency

2.) Why I hate ...

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February 10th, 2016

In Technology

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A parable about concurrency (demonstrated with comical cartoons)

(Note: Leah McCloskey is a brilliant illustrator who brings warmth and humor to every graphic she creates. She is also head of design at Haystack.im. Save for those rights which she specifically granted to me, she reserves all rights on these images, so if you wish to re-use them, then you must contact her directly at leah @ dendritecorp.com. I am grateful that she found the time to work on this project. View her portfolio!)

This is part 1 of a ...

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February 9th, 2016

In Technology

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Why does Erlang allow so many processes to crash and how does promote reliability?

Why does Erlang encourage crashes?

Back-burning and controlled burns are a real world example of fighting fire with fire. In Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, the region I come from, blueberry fields are routinely burnt down in a controlled manner to help encourage and renew their growth. To prevent forest fires, it is fairly frequent to see unhealthy parts of a forest cleaned up with fire, so that it can be done under proper supervision and control. The main objective there is to remove ...

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February 8th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The importance of fun

Virginia Postrel at her best:

Bell was, however, wrong, or at least incomplete. He confused the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of sensation and left out the creative, productive role of play. He saw the California of hot tubs and casual sex (this was the ’70s) but ignored the Silicon Valley and Hollywood that worked practically round-the-clock. He both embraced and condemned the bureaucratic Organization Man but couldn’t imagine that a dynamic culture would find a more interesting, more productive, ...

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February 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Dorothy Thompson examines the fascists in 1941

August of 1941. The USA has not yet joined the war. But which of the guests at a dinner party would join up with the Nazis? Dorothy Thompson examines the different psychological types:

Sometimes I think there are direct biological factors at work—a type of education, feeding, and physical training which has produced a new kind of human being with an imbalance in his nature. He has been fed vitamins and filled with energies that are beyond the capacity of his ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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A recursive definition of what an expression is

I like this:

We’ll give a recursive definition of what an expression is; in other words, we’ll state what the most basic kind of expression is, we’ll say how to create new, more complex expressions out of existing expressions, and we’ll say that only things made in this way are valid expressions.

Variables are valid expressions.

If ee is any expression, and xx is any variable, then λx.eλx.e is an expression. Here it helps to think of e as typically (thought not ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Technology

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Hindley-Milner and the lambda calculus

A nice attempt to explain the crazy syntax of the math that formalizes the idea that the type of an expression can be deduced from the expression itself:

Okay, so we want to talk about expressions. Arbitrary expressions. In an arbitrary language. And we want to talk about inferring types of these expressions. And we want to figure out rules for how we can infer types. And then we’re going to want to make an algorithm that uses these rules to ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When we are held back by our plans

Jessica Abel suggests that sometimes our plans take the place of action.

I got this term from Kazu Kibuishi when I interviewed him for Out on the Wire episode 7: Dark Forest. His name for the concept was new to me, but it solved a huge problem: what to call this struggle with creative sunk costs that I understand all too intimately. Here’s Kazu: I try not to to look at what I’m going to do as this amazing great grand ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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I miss the old blogosphere

I am reminded of the quality of the conversations back then. I can recall a time when I my daily activity included checking on the weblogs of people such as Shelley Powers, Jeneane Sessum and Tara Hunt, among many others. Something important was lost when that blogosphere ended.

Several people did respond to the statement, both in my comments, in a post that Jeneane Sessum wrote and also in Tara’s posts. She didn’t specifically mention this in her second post, ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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A major turnover of the population in Europe around 14,500 years ago

A dramatic turnover in the population of Europe, as the region began to warm:

The new data show that the mitochondrial DNA of three individuals who lived in present-day Belgium and France before the coldest period in the last Ice Age—the Last Glacial Maximum—belonged to haplogroup M. This is remarkable because the M haplogroup is effectively absent in modern Europeans but is extremely common in modern Asian, Australasian, and Native American populations.

The absence of the M haplogroup and its ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The casualties of casual dismissal

I like the phrase:

And the larger LARGER problem for the blogosphere and twitterspehere is that a culture is developing — thanks in part to time-saving, fragment-tossing platforms like twitter, that by design silence dissenting voices — we have all become easy targets for extinction, the casualties of casual dismissal.

THAT’s what bothered me about this situation, about what Mike said to Shelley, about what Mike and others said about Lane without asking Lane anything, and STILL DOES bother me. ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Business

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Number of women in IT-related positions dropped by 20% in the last decade

This is from 2005. Worrisome that such excellent writing had no impact.

Recently, the Information Technology Association of America released a report examining the state of diversity in IT in the United States and the results are less than comforting: IT is rapidly becoming less diversified, rather than more.

According to the study the *number of women in IT-related positions dropped by 20% in the last decade. This in light of the fact that women in other traditionally male professions are ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Does weblogging disempower women?

From 2005:

I guess that other than this is my area of interest and my essay and so therefore I see the issue as more global, a key difference, to me, is that technology and weblogging have become so tightly intertwined; even more so than journalism and weblogging. After all, isn’t the focus of BlogHer’s first session on the technology, and its impacts? If the number of women in technology has declined in the last eight years, about the same length ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When did bloggers start counting links?

This post, by Shelley Powers, in 2005, is a treasure trove of lost blogging culture:

Three or four years ago or so, weblogging didn’t seem to be as competitive. Oh, some folks would brandish their web site hit count, and demand we bend down and kiss the dusty hems of their royal robes. But for the most part, we seemed to be a mish-mash of people, some who had more readers than others.

I’m not sure when we started counting links. I ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Business

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Can boycotts help diversity in the tech industry?

Another old post from Shelley Powers. This one is from 2005:

A few years back, Clay Shirky held a invite-only meeting in New York, and a person who attended posted photos. As we looked at them, it became obvious, glaring really, that not only were all the attendees white, all but a few were men.

We pointed this out and it started a conversation that ended up pulling in Clay’s good friend, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Publishing. We began to look ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Has there been any improvement for women in tech?

Despite the current conversations about diversity in tech, it is interesting to go back and read someone like Shelley Powers, who wrote a lot about the issue 10 years ago. I’m left with the impression that things are still getting worse.

She complains that merely talking about gender and tech gets her dismissed as a niche writer:

I don’t believe I’ve commented on anything related to ‘feminism’ or bias against women in his weblog. I may have noted the hostility ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Business

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Is Github in crisis?

It seems like Github started with a flat structure, and then stuck with that for far too long. That seems to be a recurring trend in the tech industry, where a lot of software developers have an almost ideological commitment to the idea of unstructured businesses. But history teaches us that as a business grows larger, it needs to structure itself. Github is now struggling to do so.

Now Wanstrath is on a mission to overhaul Github, with full support ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Business

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There is deep denial about the problems of diversity in the tech industry

This is a breath-taking example of the kind of denial that pervades the tech industry regarding issues such as racism and sexism:

Programmers are abstract thinkers

Right. All programmers are exactly the same. We are a homogenous group. None of us could possibly engage in racism, because we exist at a higher level.

The full comment:

Programmers are abstract thinkers, and it’s disgusting to see them lower themselves and adopt the semantics and memes of obvious cultural constructs like race. What ...

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February 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Paul Krugman sometimes starts with a graph and then goes to learn the math

I am glad to hear this from someone so well-known, because I’ve leaned in this direction myself:

My own mathematical intuition, and a lot of my economic intuition in general, is visual: I tend to start with a picture, then work out both the math and the verbal argument to make sense of that picture. (Sometimes I have to learn the math, as I did on target zones; the picture points me to the math I need.) I know that’s ...

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February 5th, 2016

In Business

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Problems at Github

I have been wondering why Github doesn’t add all the features that people obviously want. Apparently others have been wondering the same thing. Searching previous commits is an obvious one, especially since I can do it at the command line. Real issue tracking is another. A real wiki is another. The big surprise is that so little has changed in the last 5 years. Github in 2016 has basically the same features it had when I started using it in ...

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February 5th, 2016

In Philosophy

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When no one listens, perhaps violent and ruthless truth-telling will save us

A very interesting quote from Keynes:

My book is completed and will be issued in a fortnight’s time. I am now so saturated with it that I am quite unable to make any judgement on its contents. But the general condition of Europe at this moment seems to demand some attempt at an éclairecissement of the situation created by the treaty, even more than when I first sat down to write. We are faced not only by the isolation policy of ...

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February 5th, 2016

In Business

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Students do not study the fields that might pay the most?

I am ambivalent about this post. It seems to imply that STEM fields pay more than the arts. But funding for science has been cut dramatically over the last 40 years, and many engineering jobs have left the country due to the decline in industrial employment. STEM wages have been stagnant for decades. That people should prefer STEM careers is non-obvious. If there was real demand for STEM workers, we would see large wage increases in STEM fields, and clearly ...

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February 5th, 2016

In Business

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The importance of institutions for economic growth

This is good:

Source

February 5th, 2016

In Business

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When a company runs out of money, its managers may suffer meltdowns

Some people (including my brother) had trouble believing that Milburn of Celolot would actually lose his temper with me. But it does happen, especially when a company is running out of business. So this story about screaming fits at Nasty Girl is easy for me to believe:

Several recently departed employees told Jezebel in June that the company had become an extremely dysfunctional place to work. The company was sued for allegedly firing several pregnant employees, during or just after ...

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February 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Destroy the old cells to regenerate the body

Interesting:

Mice whose senescent cells were killed off over six months were healthier, in several ways, than a control group of transgenic mice in which these cells were allowed to build up. Their kidneys worked better and their hearts were more resilient to stress, they tended to explore their cages more and they developed cancers at a later age. Eliminating senescent cells also extended the lifespans of the mice by 20–30%, Baker and van Deursen report in Nature on 3 February1.

The ...

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February 3rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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Fasting has benefits even if your long-term calorie intake is unchanged

Surprising:

Bimonthly cycles that lasted four days of an FMD which started at middle age extended life span, reduced the incidence of cancer, boosted the immune system, reduced inflammatory diseases, slowed bone mineral density loss and improved the cognitive abilities of older mice tracked in the study. The total monthly calorie intake was the same for the FMD and control diet groups, indicating that the effects were not the result of an overall dietary restriction.

In a pilot human trial, three cycles ...

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February 3rd, 2016

In Technology

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Beware of Ruby libraries that generate way too many objects

This is several years old and Ruby garbage collection has gotten better, but still, the point about certain libraries being excessive remains valid.

Be aware that you are allocating objects, for instance something as simple as 100.times{ ‘foo’ } allocates 100 string objects (strings are mutable and therefore each version requires its own memory allocation).

Make sure to evaluate the libraries you use, for instance switching a Sinatra XML rendering action from Builder to Nokogiri XML Builder saved us about ...

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February 3rd, 2016

In Technology

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Pat Shaughnessy dissects how much work Ruby has to do to give you a string

Easy is difficult, and this is a great look at how much work Ruby has to do so that you, the software developer, can change your mind about what kind of string you want:

The standard and most common way for Ruby to save string data is in the “heap.” The heap is a core concept of the C language: it’s a large pool of memory that C programmers can allocate from and use via a call to the malloc ...

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February 3rd, 2016

In Technology

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Software development is a complex system of multiple poorly understood feedback loops and interactions

I wouldn’t use exactly the same words that this article uses, but I agree with the gist of this part, especially where small, fast-moving startups are involved :

Finely grained management of software developers is compelling to a business. Any organization craves control. We want to know what we are getting in return for those expensive developer salaries. We want to be able to accurately estimate the time taken to deliver a system in order to do an effective cost-benefit analysis ...

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February 2nd, 2016

In Technology

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Leonardo Borges’s Imminent for futures and promises

Very interesting:

For the impatient, I’ve included a couple of examples below. I’ve chosen to translate the examples presented by Ben Christensen – of RxJava – in this gist. Albeit them being in Java, they highlight perfectly the problem with blocking futures. Here’s their Clojure equivalent:

;; ;; Example 1, 2 & 3 are handled by the approach below ;; Original examples: https://gist.github.com/benjchristensen/4671081#file-futuresb-java-L13 ;;

(defn example-1 [] (let [f1 (remote-service-a) f2 ...
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February 2nd, 2016

In Technology

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Why the tech community rejected XML

Interesting:

Java was a very limited language, and it was extremely verbose. There were type declarations and coersions everywhere. Almost all looping was managed with for loops (there were no higher order functions, and recursion wasn’t tail cail optimized… also there was no loop-recur macro…).

So XML wasn’t just there to be data, it was also code.

Everyone wrote little mini-languages into XML, because some things were so damn painful to express in Java that it was easier to just implement ...

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February 2nd, 2016

In Technology

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Clojure community problems

Interesting:

What an amazing language. Relatively frequent, consistently stable releases. A pleasure to use. A friendly, smart community. I feel very lucky to be a Clojure user! Thank you for all of your hard work.

The Clojure contrib process frustrates me more than any technical or community aspect of the language.

Clojure gets a lot right, but as has been repeatedly discussed the pace of evolution and the maintainership’s dim view of 3rd party non-bugfix work flatly leads to worthy but minor ...

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February 1st, 2016

In Business

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The founder of ThoughWorks is radical

Interesting:

Singham believes his company’s culture is its most valuable asset and a major reason it’s has been growing rapidly for the past five years – even in the industry’s darkest post-bubble days.

“How do intellectuals collaborate in the 21st century?” Singham asks, then answers his own question: “Self-organizing in small teams, poly-skilled, decentralized, non-authoritative. Libertarians and socialists agree on this, ironically.”

Singham is refreshingly candid about his struggle to reconcile his politics with his approach to business: He wants software to be ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Technology

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We want loose-coupling and high cohesion

This seems like a great rule of thumb for microservices:

“We want to avoid dumb, anemic services that are little more than CRUD wrappers”

But it doesn’t cover the old territory which, if you were using Ruby or PHP, you would cover with a cron script. I suppose all the cron scripts must become functions that live inside the “service” which deals with a given part of the datastore. But that is not how my friends talk about “microservices”.

Page 58, ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Technology

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A message hospital (or dead letter queue), where messages got sent if they failed

I like this book very much. I also like the idea of a “message hospital”.

Page 57, Building Microservices, Sam Newman:

Time for a cautionary tale. Back in 2006, I was working on building a pricing system for a bank. We would look at market events, and work out which items in a portfolio needed to be repriced. Once we determined the list of things to work through, we put these all onto a message queue. We were making use of a ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Business

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The early excitement about Facebook is long forgotten

Nowadays the tech community finds a home on either Twitter or Google+. Software developers think of Facebook as a social platform, but not so much of a place they would go to write about their technology ideas (I’m sure this happens to some extent, but not as much as on Twitter or Google+).

Still, there were a few years, perhaps from 2007 to 2010, when many folks in the tech community were looking at Facebook with great excitement. Facebook appeared ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Technology

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Jon Williams, Fractional CTO: Include business teams in the Agile process

Jon Williams offers a smart idea about getting the business people and the tech team to share as much information as possible, and even have the business people join the scum sessions.

The best implementation of the Agile process that I ever participated in was at ShermansTravel.com, back in 2011/2012. We had fairly good communication between the tech team and the folks running the actual parts of the business: editorial, advertising, marketing and more. A lot of the success of ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Technology

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Joe Armstrong figured out the right way to do everything, and nobody cared

I am puzzled why good ideas so rarely win out in the tech world. I do know the old saying “Most industries have a top player with the best marketing and the second best technology, with a second place player that has the best technology and mediocre marketing.” Back in the 1990s it was common to apply that slogan to Microsoft and Apple (when Apple had mediocre marketing! Such long forgotten days!).

Still, the lack of innovation in this industry ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Business

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This disproves the superstar theory of economic success

Do you believe that Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were superstars who created a large amount of wealth? Do you believe, in general, that there are superstars who should be given large rewards because they do amazing things? If so, consider this story as a counter-balance:

This person was an exceptionally sharp programmer. Everyone on the teams looked up to him. He had been with the company since the early days and not only knew our systems, but he seemed ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Philosophy

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The importance of intuition in the discovery of a person’s medical conditions

This is an interesting story:

I told the doctor that I kept having visions of my organs colliding like a lava lamp. As it turned out, there’s a name for that problem—the “placenta accreta,” wherein the placenta merges too deeply into the uterus, causing hemorrhaging and potentially a need for a hysterectomy. It’s life-threatening for both the baby and the mother.

The doctor ordered an MRI so that he would be able to see whether an accreta had formed. If the ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Business

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Britain has the safest wall sockets

Yet another story on the slow speed of technological change. Interesting:

• Prong Design: Like standard U.S. grounded plugs, the U.K. wall plug has three prongs. But the design of these prongs makes it nearly impossible for you to shock yourself accidentally. Unlike in U.S. plugs, half of each prong is coated in insulation. Because of this, even if a plug is not fully inserted into a socket, touching the exposed part of the prongs can’t give you a shock.

• ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Business

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Journalism continues to fall into deeper trouble

How can one get started in journalism nowadays?

Jim Tankersley is economic policy correspondent for The Washington Post. In an interview with Quartz, Tankersley notes that while reporting has always been demanding, the current environment has created problems far beyond the bounds of workplace exhaustion.

“What strikes me lately [. . .] is how relentless the demands are on all of my reporter friends, no matter where they work or what they write about,” Tankersley says. “Everyone is juggling. If you ...

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January 31st, 2016

In Philosophy

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Chasing stats to the detriment of your team

Soccer is less vulnerable to this, since there are less stats in soccer:

Draymond Green and the Warriors lost by -3 in Philadelphia to those guys who are always hogging the court down at your local Y. The Warriors clinched the narrow loss with a Harrison Barnes three, from a great pass out of the middle from Green. However, they really shouldn’t have let it get that close. Golden State blew a 24-point lead, turned the ball over 23 times, and ...

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January 30th, 2016

In Technology

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When technology goes on strike

Interesting:

Amazing but true When I’d finished this article, I wanted to spell check the content. emacs-ispell mode decided to go on strike. It could not find aspell, the program that I use for spelling checking.

My emacs spell checker has worked faithfully on this machine for several years. And just when I complain that I spend half my life fixing things that shouldn’t be broken the emacs spell checker decides to break.

I don’t believe in malicious Gods, nor that the laws ...

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January 30th, 2016

In Philosophy

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A nation’s income can be predicted from its technology in 1500 AD

Interesting:

Half the variation in income per capita in 2002 is associated with variation in technology in 1500AD. It is worth stopping here to say something about what CEG are saying empirically. This is not a “policy experiment” paper, and I don’t think it is appropriate to evaluate it as such. This is a paper about forecasting, basically. What their result says is that if you tell me the level of technology in 1500AD, I can predict with a good amount ...

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January 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Why did Nasa allow the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster to happen?

Incredible this could happen after Nasa had been given such a clear warning.

Source

January 26th, 2016

In Business

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Forbes wants to block my ad blocker

Interesting. These are my screenshots. I could not click past this:

So, can I simply click my way past this?

No:

I am using Ghostery. Apparently Forbes won’t show me its site.

Source

January 25th, 2016

In Business

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The future is over

Interesting:

Aside from its being an interesting story, however, why is it important to study this transformation? Mainly, Gordon suggests — although these are my words, not his — to provide a baseline. What happened between 1870 and 1940, he argues, and I would agree, is what real transformation looks like. Any claims about current progress need to be compared with that baseline to see how they measure up.

And it’s hard not to agree with him that nothing that has happened ...

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January 24th, 2016

In Business

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Amazon.com will give away your personal details to hackers

Very frustrating:

Wow. Just wow. The attacker gave Amazon my fake details from a whois query, and got my real address and phone number in exchange. Now they had enough to bounce around a few services, even convincing my bank to issue them a new copy of my Credit Card.

Trying very hard to not take out my frustrations on an unrelated support rep, I contacted both Amazon Retail and AWS expressing my disappointment and asking them to put a note on ...

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January 24th, 2016

In Technology

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Groping in the dark as a method to discover module boundaries in microservices

I’m not sure that we will ever have a better way (but then, we can never pretend to be like other types of engineers, can we?):

Having clients talk to the application service instead of an ORM or the data backends directly lets you forget that there is a MASSIVE PROBLEM with ORM frameworks (for anything more interesting than, say, a blog website framework), because you will still have to write a translation between your application representation and the database representation. ...

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January 24th, 2016

In Technology

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Why I love Erlang

And why I dislike Scala. I would bet that Scala was designed in the opposite fashion:

Everything was very problem oriented and we did not have as goals that Erlang should be a functional language or that we should implement the actor model. We knew nothing of the actor model until later when we heard that Erlang implements it. :-) …

Again our goal was to solve the problem, not design a language with a predefined set of primitives.

Source

January 23rd, 2016

In Philosophy

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The non-rational roots of politics

Interesting:

For their part, psychologists have responded that they aren’t dismissing conservativism as irrational. After all, just because people are predisposed to believe something doesn’t make them wrong. Saying someone is more likely to find an argument persuasive because of their psychology doesn’t invalidate the argument. As psychologists see it, the desire for simplicity is just a fact about the way people think — one that several decades of research has now confirmed.

Hibbing of the University of Nebraska says this ...

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January 23rd, 2016

In Business

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T-shirts vary like crazy, in terms of size

Interesting:

You may have had this experience before: You buy two identical articles of clothing. They are the same brand, style and size — maybe even the same color. They are exactly the same except that one fits, and the other does not. The problem is manufacturing variance.

To test manufacturing variance, we measured 20 identical new t-shirts. These shirts were priced in the $20 range. The graph below depicts the distribution in chest width and length, which each have a standard ...

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January 22nd, 2016

In Technology

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HTML is the failed GUI for TCP/IP

I posted this to Hacker News. I was surprised that someone did not immediately understand what I meant when I referred to HTML as the GUI of TCP/IP. Someone had surveyed 80 frontend designers and found they lacked basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. I responded:

The contrarian argument is that this signifies an important truth, that HTML never worked the way it was suppose to. In the same way that we might argue that a misunderstood product is the fault ...

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January 21st, 2016

In Business

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You can be the most popular business in your market for years, till the year that changes

Being super popular for years is not a good argument, if you are trying to explain why you will continue to be super popular in the future:

This proposed a problem, if a theoretical one, for ESPN: while it grew into the giant that it is today on the back of the dual revenue stream, it faced a dual threat. It faced the same threat as everybody else in the television industry, that consumers could cut the cord entirely and instead ...

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January 20th, 2016

In Business

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Once you go public, it doesn’t matter what rock-solid assurances you might have been given

We see certain patterns repeating over and over again, especially in Silicon Valley. Phillip Greenspun was promised that he would be allowed to run his business his own way? And then, as soon as sales began to fall, he was kicked out? And that was back in 2000. So we see it again, with Twitter:

VCs like Bill Gurley can talk about the “big leagues,” “The World Series,” “The Superbowl” or any other sports metaphors all they want when they ...

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January 20th, 2016

In Technology

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An Amazon DSL in Clojure

Good lord. This is an impressive list of supported Amazon APIs:

Api Gateway Autoscaling CloudFormation CloudFront CloudSearch CloudSearchV2 CloudWatch CodeCommit CodeDeploy CodePipeline Config DataPipeline DeviceFarm DirectConnect Directory DynamoDBV2 EC2 EC2 Container Registry ECS ElastiCache ElasticBeanstalk ElasticFileSystem ElasticLoadBalancing ElasticMapReduce ElasticTranscoder Glacier IdentityManagement Kinesis KinesisFirehose KMS Logs Lambda MachineLearning OpsWorks RDS Redshift Route53 S3 SimpleDB SimpleEmail SimpleWorkflow SNS SQS StorageGateway

Source

January 20th, 2016

In Technology

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A 3D DSL in Clojure

Very interesting, and a nice example of how much Clojure allows the creation of new languages:

My first step in the HOLO design process was the creation of a sufficiently flexible GP playground for my later experiments and to evolve path-finding agents to create a (typographic) form as an initial design idea. Related to this, though a year prior, I created the Mophogen DSL, partially done as a component of my commission for the Barbican / Google DevArt exhibition. Morphogen ...

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January 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Humans have been practicing genocide for a long time

I suppose this only confirms what we all knew, but it is bit awful to read:

Skulls smashed by blunt force, bodies pin-cushioned by projectile points and hapless victims—including a pregnant woman—abused with their hands bound before receiving the fatal coup de grâce.

This violent tableau resembles something from the darker side of modern warfare. But it instead describes the grizzly demise of a group of African hunter-gatherers some 10,000 years ago. They are the victims of the earliest scientifically dated ...

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January 18th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The end of _why

One of the great performance artists of the tech industry has closed out their personality, leaving us wondering what it all meant:

Impermanence is possibly the biggest question raised in CLOSURE.

kafka would be a lot harder to get into if the trial only ran on a power pc. – one of _why’s last tweets

This tweet was really confusing, until CLOSURE. _why reveals that one of his biggest problems is what we call ‘bitrot’: you can’t just write a program, it must ...

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January 18th, 2016

In Business

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Patents impose tariffs of 1,000%

Amazing:

In the vast majority of cases, the drugs in question are not actually expensive to manufacture. The way the drug industry justifies high prices is that they must recover their research costs. While the industry does in fact spend a considerable amount of money on research (although they likely exaggerate this figure), at the point the drug is being administered this is a sunk cost. In other words, the resources devoted to this research have already been used; the economy ...

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January 17th, 2016

In Business

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The decline of computer programming in the USA

There are less computer programming jobs in the USA than there were 20 years ago.

Stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USA):

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm

1990 Number of Jobs 565,000

2010 Number of Jobs 363,100

2012 Number of Jobs 343,700

There is a tiny subset of the industry that is growing, and we associate these with the startups in San Francisco and New York. But so far these startups have not created enough jobs to offset the jobs lost due to other factors.

This suggests that there must ...

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January 16th, 2016

In Technology

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Microservices first

Stefan Tilkov adds clarity to an argument that I’ve been making since 2013:

If you are actually able to build a well-structured monolith, you probably don’t need microservices in the first place. Which is OK! I definitely agree with Martin: You shouldn’t introduce the complexity of additional distribution into your system if you don’t have a very good reason for doing so.

(So what would be a good reason? There are many, but to me the most important one is to ...

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January 16th, 2016

In Business, Technology

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I give good tech advice to startups, and different good advice to Enterprises

I had a job interview recently that went well. But then, the CTO read something that I had written a year and a half ago.

Then the CTO said to me “We can’t hire you. We are a tiny startup. We are facing some serious deadlines. We need to push a product out the door.”

I said, “I want to help you push a product out the door. I can work hard and help you guys move fast.”

He said, ...

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January 16th, 2016

In Technology

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The cost of using patterns is that I have to give up the illusion that I am infinitely creative

This is true of all creative fields:

The cost of using patterns is that I have to give up the illusion that I am infinitely creative. I don’t invent a new programming language with optimizing compiler and novel operating system and complete programming environment for every line of code. To make best use of my three billion seconds, I should ignore most of my options and focus on a few degrees of freedom that really matter right now.

Source

January 16th, 2016

In Technology

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Paralyzed by too much thinking

I like this:

When I started programming again, I vowed not to type a single character unless I knew what pattern I was applying as I did so. The result was incredibly frustrating. I want a class called “Stack”, but why “Stack” and not something else. Then I would go and write the patterns for naming classes and then I could type “Stack”. Then I would want to make its first method public, but why public?

At first, it was like ...

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January 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Bayghazi

Uh, “military contractor” is a euphemism for “mercenary”. We have come a long way as a nation if it is now socially acceptable to root for these people. Interesting

Tuesday’s carnival laid bare the strange and changing nature of the Benghazi obsession—the odd way it veers from sincere and mournful to maudlin and kitschy, the way it’s been instrumentalized. It was, in some sense, intended to be a memorial. People filtered into the stadium under giant waving flags on the stadium’s ...

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January 15th, 2016

In Business

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Bitcoin has failed

Interesting:

But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.

Why has Bitcoin failed? It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of ...

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January 14th, 2016

In Business

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Startups don’t make you rich

Interesting:

His thesis: the meme that startups will make you rich is false. I’ve written much of the same thing before, so I agree with Dan.

My question is why more engineers don’t realize that being an employee at a startup usually means getting financially screwed. My theory: there is a cult like atmosphere surrounding silicon valley.

I’ve had countless friends who fell into the trap, and I fell into it myself.

Founding a company is the only thing that makes sense, and even ...

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January 14th, 2016

In Technology

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The purpose of abstraction is not to be vague, but to create a new semantic level in which one can be absolutely precise

Interesting

What is the black king in chess? This is a strange question, and the most satisfactory way to deal with it seems to be to sidestep it slightly. What more can one do than point to a chessboard and explain the rules of the game, perhaps paying particular attention to the black king as one does so? What matters about the black king is not its existence, or its intrinsic nature, but the role that it plays in the game.

The ...

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