## LATEST ENTRIES

January 20th, 2019

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# Actor autonomy when disagreeing with showrunner

It’s an interesting idea, how much autonomy the actor should have, in relation to the showrunner:

it makes me think back to bering and wells. the femslash ship that was captained by the two actresses themselves. and how the showrunner dug his heels in, not wanting them to be in a relationship, but the actresses played all their scenes romantically despite it. and to this day it holds semi-canon ship status. because the actors made sure to show (and say ...

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January 19th, 2019

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# Why Tumblr survives

This is actually an important post, with a message that the rest of the tech community would be wise to listen to:

What the experiment demonstrates is that I will put up with all of that just to use a site that shows me posts that I asked for in chronological order.

and this:

the key function of this site is not asking me for my real name/phone number and not using my contact list/other apps to find people/let people find me.

Source

January 18th, 2019

No Comments

# Peter-Paul Koch asked for a moratorium on new Web features in 2015

I missed this at the time. Interesting:

The main counterargument is that the moratorium would stifle web innovation. Since web innovation is currently defined as “emulating native even more,” I think a bit of stifling would actually be a good idea. Once web innovation is redefined as something that’s actually about the web we can proceed as usual.

Another counterargument is “But we need feature X!” Everybody will have a favourite upcoming feature that would be hit by the moratorium — mine ...

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January 18th, 2019

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# Hopepunk is Camus

Alexandra Rowland has more to say about her word “hopepunk”. This definition is nearly identical to Camus’s “Myth Of Sisyphus”:

The work is never finished. The work will never be finished. There will never be a nice, comfortable utopia where we can rest on our laurels and sip strawberry daiquiris by the pool and trust that now things are Fine and we can all relax. Utopia is not a stable system. It doesn’t last. The best we can hope for is ...

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January 17th, 2019

1 Comment

# When will the era of CyberPunk end?

People complaining about is the first sign of something ending.

Interesting:

This was science fiction perfectly tuned for the Reagan-Thatcher era. Its connection with punk music and subcultures is, of course, contingent. (Who knows what might have happened if Bethke decided to call his story Techno-Hipster.) Yet the clichéd punk imperative to “Do It Yourself” is in fact perfect for a kind of fiction whose ethos is that you have to survive in a world where unstoppable megacorporations control every aspect ...

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January 13th, 2019

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# To protect children, don’t send report cards home on a Friday

Apparently child abuse spikes when report cards are sent home, but the effect is especially strong if the report cards go home on Friday:

While talking to a pediatrician and fellow early-childhood researcher, Dr. Melissa Bright heard something that stopped her in her tracks: Child abuse spikes after report cards come out.

Bright, a research scientist in the University of Florida’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, couldn’t find any studies to back up what doctors have long observed. ...

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January 11th, 2019

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# It will consume it

English is a flexible language. Perhaps it is too flexible?

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as “the smoke alarm … telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it.”

Source

January 8th, 2019

In Business

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# Are hospitals allowed to sell my phone number to advertisers?

My mom was recently in the hospital. I gave the hospital my cell phone number, as the official point of contact between the hospital and the family. Suddenly I’m getting spam robots calling my cell phone, with messages about how I can get low cost health insurance. Someone sold my number. Maybe it was the hospital or maybe it was a related 3rd party, but someone sold my number. I am very irritated about this.

Source

January 4th, 2019

No Comments

# Nassim Nicholas Taleb accidentally argues against 4 year school degrees

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has an excellent essay about why science works to advance the human race, and how to structure a research program for maximum benefit. However, it is also the strongest argument I’ve ever seen for ending 4 year school degrees. Consider this bit:

1) Convexity is easier to attain than knowledge (in the technical jargon, the “long-gamma” property): As we saw in Figure 2, under some level of uncertainty, we benefit more from improving the payoff function than from ...

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January 3rd, 2019

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# What queers these heteros be

I’ve been watching the HBO production of My Brilliant Friend. I love it. I think the acting is great, the direction is great, the recreation of the past is great, the tension is constant. Everything about this is great. But I saw this Lesbian review on Jezebel, and I laughed because it seems so true. The two women are often in these situations, staring at one another, close together, bonded by some deed or secret, and its possible to imagine ...

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January 2nd, 2019

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# The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk

A good article at Vox, of obvious interest to me:

“The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk,” declared Alexandra Rowland, a Massachusetts writer, in a two-sentence Tumblr post in July 2017. “Pass it on.”

…When pressed by other Tumblr users to expand on her two-sentence Tumblr post that coined the term, Rowland elaborated on what she meant by “hopepunk,” touching on themes present in both her own psyche and in the spirit of resistance and political agitation all around her:

Hopepunk says that genuinely ...

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December 29th, 2018

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# Everyone has a gender identity now

Interesting:

One of my butch friends is a “They” now. A couple years ago we went to pride and I remember her specifically saying she’s happy to be a butch woman and she likes her breasts. I don’t know what has changed since then but I think the queer stuff has gotten really outrageous. She used to be a happy butch and now she doesn’t feel comfortable calling herself a woman. It seems crazy that women over 30 years old will ...

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December 28th, 2018

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# The rom-coms lie

An interesting comment over at Jezebel:

When I was single, I remember talking politics with some guy I’d met at a party. He tried to call me out for something, and I sternly nailed him back with facts and data. I sincerely thought he was a jerk because of the way he smugly raised his objections to my argument and rolled his eyes. I walked away.

For the remainder of the night, this guy would not leave me alone. He had to ...

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December 28th, 2018

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# Motivations of Trump

I’m not sure this is correctly stated, but it is interesting:

Some of this may reflect personal values: Putin, bin Salman and other strongmen are just Trump’s kind of people. But it’s hard to escape the suspicion that Moola — financial payoffs to Trump personally via the Trump Organization — plays an important role. After all, unlike leaders of democracies, dictators and absolute monarchs can direct lots of cash to Trump properties and offer the Trump family investment opportunities without having ...

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December 28th, 2018

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# Please do not simplify this code

Interesting:

// ================================================================== // PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SIMPLIFY THIS CODE. // KEEP THE SPACE SHUTTLE FLYING. // ================================================================== // // This controller is intentionally written in a very verbose style. You will // notice: // // 1. Every 'if' statement has a matching 'else' (exception: simple error // checks for a client API call) // 2. Things that may seem obvious are commented explicitly // // We call this style 'space shuttle style'. Space shuttle style is meant to // ensure that every branch ...
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December 27th, 2018

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# The Democrats should offer Trump a full pardon

Two points which I think are obvious:

1.) The USA should have never gotten into the ridiculous situation where its President is being blackmailed by a foreign power.

2.) However, once we ended up in this sad scenario, it seems to me important that the political system offer the President a full pardon, both so the blackmailers lose their power, and also the President can safely resign.

Source

December 24th, 2018

No Comments

# Text don’t tweet

Web 2.0 lasted from 2002 to 2008 and it will be remembered as the peak of the fun times on the Web. It was killed when Twitter and Facebook became popular in 2008. But it wasn’t till 2016 that we began to see how awful things could get. This is part of our learning process:

And maybe the things you don’t even need to whisper should be whispered. I’ve been slowly trying, as much as one can who works on ...

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December 22nd, 2018

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# The first task of the writer is to establish trust

Interesting:

The difference between a book that grabs you from the beginning vs. one that you’re on the fence about tossing out the window is winning your trust. It’s why it’s “easier” to read books by authors you already know, or fanfic where you’re familiar with the characters. Winning the reader’s trust as quickly as possible should be your first goal as a writer when you’re going back and editing your first draft. This can be accomplished by things like: speaking ...

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December 22nd, 2018

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# She or they?

Interesting:

at work today i was training with my coworker and our supervisor had a pic of her and her gf on her desk–coworker asked who “he” was, honest mistake as gf is butch. supervisor laughed it off and said it was a pic of her and her girlfriend, and very explicitly used “she” to refer to gf. and then my coworker, who is Queer, kept asking questions about the supervisor’s gf but using “they” like “what do they do” and ...

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December 21st, 2018

In Business

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# The end of the celebrity app?

Interesting:

The same three years were a wild time in the App Store. Just about every celebrity you could think of (Reba McEntire!) had an app of some kind; many were ill-advised ones that fell into two categories: 1) subscription-based blog-style apps that would provide more insight into the life of the celebrity at their core; 2) free social platforms specifically for fans, which involved collecting some kind of fake currency that could be most easily accrued by spending real currency, ...

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December 20th, 2018

In Business

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# If you’re not the customer, then you are the product

Interesting:

Profiles for Sale

In May 2017 artist Joana Moll and Tactical Tech purchased 1 million online dating profiles for 136€ from USDate, a US-based company that trades in dating profiles from all over the globe. The batch of dating profiles we purchased included pictures (almost 5 million of them), usernames, e-mail addresses, nationality, gender, age and detailed personal information about all of the people who had created the profiles, such as their sexual orientation, interests, profession, thorough physical characteristics and personality ...

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December 18th, 2018

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# A planet/exo-planet was discovered that is almost 5% of the way to Alpha Centauri

Interesting story.

So this object is a bit more than 11 billion miles from the sun?

And Alpha Centauri is 4.2 light years away, which is 24,635,923,200,000 miles?

So this object is roughly 0.046% of the way to the next star?

Assuming that the Alpha Centauri system reaches out to us as much as our system reaches out to Alpha Centauri, I am surprised that the two systems reach out to each other as much as they do.

Almost 10% of the distance between the ...

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December 17th, 2018

In Business

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# The original Macintosh manual only had photos of white males

This says a lot about the ways the culture has changed. Apparently, the original Macintosh manual of 1984 only had photos of white males. These are some of the photos:

Source

December 16th, 2018

No Comments

# But we’ve long since reached the point where coordinating our design vision by osmosis is not working well

The community around the Rust language is increasingly in conflict with itself. Why allow a team to grow out of control like this?

That’s a total of 770 comments on the design of the API for the Pin type, which has not yet been stabilized; I expect it will pass 800 comments before this is done. This is just one significant but ultimately fairly small std API addition, and it doesn’t isn’t including the discussion that’s gone on around the ...

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December 13th, 2018

2 Comments

# Yair Lapid: What does it say about us that Israel has become the only democracy in the world in which Jews don’t have freedom of religion?

I don’t follow politics in Israel, but my mom does. I did not realize how bad things had gotten, till she pointed me to this article, about the arrest of a rabbi who committed the crime of marrying a couple in a Conservative way, rather than in an Orthodox way.

Haiyun said he was shocked by his detention and said Israel was becoming an Orthodox theocracy.

“Iran is here already. I am not an offender, not a murderer, not a criminal,” ...

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December 13th, 2018

In Business

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# Cryptocurrencies are not money

It’s been sad to watch the rise (and partial fall) of cryptocurrency mania on Hacker News. Even now, I’m still seeing stuff like this:

“Beanie Babies are collectibles, cryptocurrencies are money.”

It’s been established over and over again that cryptocurrencies are not money. They are a collectible like Beanie Babies. Cryptocurrencies vary too much in value to be used as money. Would you go into a Starbucks and spend $4 USD dollars to buy a coffee, if there was a chance ... Read More Source December 12th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Why are there less and less articles about technology on Hacker News? Someone on Hacker News asked why there were less and less articles about technology. There are 2 obvious answers: In the first place, as Ycombinator became famous, more and more entrepreneurs began to hang out at Hacker News. The percentage of non-technical people reading the site is probably a lot higher now than in the past. Also, there is the changing technology. Once upon a time there were huge differences in major web frameworks. Compare Zope 2.0 to Ruby On ... Read More Source December 10th, 2018 No Comments # Why are beds so poorly designed for sex? People do a lot of important things in beds, but one of the most important is have sex. (Please note, nothing I say in this essay is meant to be a criticism of other locations for sex. If you’re into forest groves, mountain tops, office desks, bar bathrooms, or the kitchen floor, please know that you are valid and I support you.) First of all, beds are too small for sex, even if you limit yourself to just two people. These ... Read More Source December 3rd, 2018 No Comments # Will the tech industry ever have AI that can recognize porn? Tumblr has decided to delete all porn. They are going after images that are clearly not porn: I’m curious if Tumblr is using AI, or if they are using humans to delete these images? If AI, why is the AI always so terrible? Why does the tech industry talk about breakthroughs in AI, yet actual use of AI tends to be absurd? This story would be a bit more familiar if the deleting is being done by humans, especially if the ... Read More Source December 3rd, 2018 No Comments # Why does Clojure continue to draw so much creativity? Clojure continues to innovate. Navigation is generic and extensible As explained before, the core of Specter is the defnav operator upon which Specter’s entire collection of navigators is built. Specter’s extensibility is one of its most important features, as you may use data structures other than the ones Clojure provides. As I mentioned, I do a lot of work with graphs, and I just wouldn’t be able to work with them in any reasonable way without my internal collection of graph navigators ... Read More Source December 1st, 2018 In Business No Comments # Netflix is difficult to reach For a few years, Netflix has been showing me this message, which says they can not reach my email: I don’t know why they show me this message. They have a valid email. I receive their email. It’s an alias but it works. I can’t imagine what problem they are having. I wish I could talk to Netflix about this. But Netflix has no place I can send an email. In theory they offer live chat, but for the last two ... Read More Source November 30th, 2018 No Comments # The people for Brexit are children who failed to grow up Interesting: That’s what a seven-decade period of general peace and collective prosperity does for you. It makes you think it’s normal, rather than a hard-won, fragile rarity in history. It makes most people complacent, and turns a small but unfortunately influential number into the kind of adolescent romantics who think you can smash up everything in the house and stick two fingers up to Mummy and Daddy because, no matter what you do, they will always be there to make it ... Read More Source November 29th, 2018 No Comments # Shame is the opposite of art A woman writes to an advice columnist. The woman says she has wasted her life. The response is very good: Shame is the opposite of art. When you live inside of your shame, everything you see is inadequate and embarrassing. A lifetime of traveling and having adventures and not being tethered to long-term commitments looks empty and pathetic and foolish, through the lens of shame. You haven’t found a partner. Your face is aging. Your body will only grow weaker. ... Read More Source November 29th, 2018 In Business No Comments # John Kenneth Galbraith set the tone for the next 60 years I actually read this book, back in the 1990s. It was published in 1958. Reading about it again I’m reminded that it really set the tone for the modern era. These last 60 years of Democrat politics have largely followed the agenda he set, at least on economic matters. Whether the problem be that of a burgeoning population and of space in which to live with peace and grace, or whether it be the depletion of the materials which nature ... Read More Source November 28th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Hero stories about entrepreneurs are never true To my mind, the problem with the article is the nostalgia, and the desire to turn ordinary business people into community heroes. If you engage in this particular vice, you should expect to be disappointed. The criticism of the article is worth reading: But Alexander does not talk to Stanich’s wife, who—as the Willamette Week reported on Wednesday—had managed the restaurant for 19 years before being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. He does not mention that she and Stanich divorced ... Read More Source November 25th, 2018 No Comments # Jenna Marbles follows after a Bob Ross painting tutorial Funny! Source November 25th, 2018 In Business No Comments # What would it look like if the economy was running hot? President Trump has argued that the economy is doing well under his leadership. And Brad Delong, who has positioned himself as a mildly left-of-center economist, seems willing to agree: Nick Bunker has a very nice piece from late last month on wage growth and employment, as it bears on the question of whether the United States is at “full employment.” My take is that the U.S. economy probably is because at current unemployment and employment rates, if no additional shocks were ... Read More Source November 22nd, 2018 No Comments # LGBQ loneliness Specifically “L”, though I suspect every category of LGBQ suffers its own special kind of isolation. Interesting: I hate how the queerio community acts like being a lesbian means “UwU I love girls and every gorl is soft n precious and we wear matching flannels and both SLAY together!!! Wow being a lesbian is so cute and fun OwO.” When in reality, being an actual lesbian means growing up hating a part of yourself you cannot change, worrying that you come ... Read More Source November 22nd, 2018 1 Comment # Hillary Clinton keeps making the same mistakes This woman is a mess. For 30 years she’s been pushing the idea that we should accept what the right-wing says, at face value, and try to give into their demands, in the hopes that if we give the right-wing what they want, then they won’t be so angry anymore. It’s difficult to understand how she can continue to make the same mistake, over and over and over again. Except immigration is not stirring up right-wing populist fury, rather, right-wing populist ... Read More Source November 21st, 2018 No Comments # Social media fights of the 1600s I recently read “The World Turned Upside Down” and I was surprised by the parallels: https://www.amazon.com/World-Turned-Upside-Down-Revolution/dp/0140137327/ During the English revolt, the censorship of the press was suspended, and people could publish anything. And they did. And the number of inaccuracies spread rapidly. It became common to argue that England had once enjoyed a rough democracy during the Anglo Saxon days, even though there is no evidence of that. It became common to argue that studying the Bible was unimportant, compared to the importance of ... Read More Source November 21st, 2018 No Comments # It’s crazy how far people will go to protect the status quo I see a comment on this page that starts with “It’s crazy how far people will go to protect the status quo.” I agree with the sentiment. It is true when we talk about personal relationships, or personal friends, or defending professional colleagues. It’s also true in politics. And sometimes those overlap: As has been widely reported this week, Marcia Fudge, currently the Democratic representative of Ohio’s 11th district, was one of the letter writers. “Lance Mason is a good man ... Read More Source November 19th, 2018 1 Comment # To start with, tran­sient query surges are no longer a prob­lem? Tim Bray has an interesting article about the future of REST. However, I fail to understand this sentence: “To start with, tran­sient query surges are no longer a prob­lem” Why? The external world can still send unexpected surges of traffic, yes? Anyway, this is worth reading: Post-REST: Mes­sag­ing and Event­ing · This ap­proach is all over, and I mean all over, the cloud in­fras­truc­ture that I work on. The idea is you get a re­quest, you val­i­date it, maybe you do some com­pu­ta­tion on ... Read More Source November 19th, 2018 No Comments # Tim Bray, now at Amazon, is working on a universal language of software states Interesting. I’ll look at this later. I wonder if this will become important, or if it will go the way of RSS/Atom, something with huge potential, that somehow never clicks? Source November 19th, 2018 No Comments # Girls mature faster? Interesting: Source November 19th, 2018 No Comments # Circumventing the issue of mixing Futures and Actors required extra head scratching time I’ve already linked to this article, where Movio talked about moving away from Scala and towards Go. But I just re-read and had more to say about this: First, we made the mistake of making the persist function synchronized. This guaranteed that buffer-full-based invocations would not run concurrently with timeout-based invocations. However, because the stream digest and the persist functions did run concurrently and manipulated the buffer, we had to further synchronize those functions to each other! In the end, we ... Read More Source November 19th, 2018 No Comments # Is Scala necessary? There is a part of me that wonders if Scala will last. For awhile it was seen as Java 2.0. It generated some good ideas. People were excited about it for awhile. But it suffered its own chaos. It was too experimental to become the new standard Enterprise language. If it fails, I wonder what will take its place? First, we made the mistake of making the persist function synchronized. This guaranteed that buffer-full-based invocations would not run concurrently with ... Read More Source November 18th, 2018 No Comments # One write point, one read point, one log My last several clients have needed high write throughput systems. Most of these clients were doing something with Natural Language Processing (NLP) and they were often sucking in gigabytes of data, which had to be put somewhere until it could be processed. I found that entrepreneurs were surprised at how much time and money had to go into the support systems. So finally I created this all-in-one OWPORPOL graphic, which tries to show how all the different parts of the ... Read More Source November 17th, 2018 In Business No Comments # The USA is falling behind other Western nations when it comes to women working Back in the 1930s and 1940s the USA lead the way regarding women working. Although absolute numbers peaked in the 1980s, at the second derivative (the rate of the rate of the change) the biggest uptick were the years 1933 to 1944. But since the end of the 1980s there has been nothing but decline in the USA. To get some sense of the changing tone with which the USA talks about this, it is worth comparing some comedies from ... Read More Source November 16th, 2018 No Comments # Fast story telling: non-boring or plothole? I have a rule that when I write books the books should be 60,000 words or less, because I want people to be able to read my books in a single day. Because of this, I sometimes move fast and skip over things. I rely on the intelligence of my reader to guess at the gaps. I suppose some people hate this? I’m intrigued by the preferences suggested here: Source November 16th, 2018 No Comments # What can we expect from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I donated$400 to the campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That is the most that I have ever donated to any political campaign. What can we expect from her, while she is in Congress? During the next 2 years, I suspect the answer is “nothing.” The Democrats don’t have much power. And she faces at least two great difficulties:

1.) governing is a complex skill which takes 10 years to learn and she is a complete novice

2.) soon she will have to ...

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November 14th, 2018

No Comments

# Why did Basecamp crash?

Is this the best way to store events? In a relational database? Wouldn’t a log be better for this kind of data? Are the events actually relational? When not switch to a historic paradigm? Clearly, the Ruby On Rails model can be made to do almost anything, but is it ideal?

The root cause was that our database hit the ceiling of 2,147,483,647 on our very busy events table. Almost every single activity in Basecamp is tracked in this table. ...

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November 14th, 2018

In Business

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# Sometimes I want information, not sexy photos

I’d like some actual information about Volvo fleet sales, and how the process works. Leaving the marketing team in charge of the website means that I mostly get pages full of sexy photos, with only a few dozen words of actual information.

Source

November 14th, 2018

No Comments

# Fired Up, the movie

I just saw Fired Up! the movie. Some of the dialogue is very much an inspiration for the kind of comedy writing I want to do. In particular, repeating this 3 times:

Angela: What?

Nick: What?

3 times? That seems excessive, but it works in the movie.

Shawn: What to the panthers have that you don’t have?

Sylvia: Skills.

Bianca: Athletics-isms?

Caryl: Kick-ass cheers.

Sylvia: Laser hair removals?

Angela: Big ass titties!

Bianca: Hm?

Sylvia: What?

Angela: Well, I’m just sayin’.

Shawn: CONFIDENCE! They’re cocky-ass holes! Like Nick, he’s the cockiest ass ...

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November 12th, 2018

No Comments

# Another look at Lost In Translation

I liked this movie and I liked this review:

Returning to the movie, I feared that this relationship, too, might be diminished by time: both the length of time that has passed since the movie’s release and the moment of time in which I watch, weighted with a hyper-vigilant attention to all that can go wrong between older, more powerful men and younger, less powerful women. But Bob’s interest in a woman 20 years his junior strikes me as even ...

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November 12th, 2018

No Comments

# Simon Wren Lewis: I began writing my blog mainlymacro because of my anger at austerity

Interesting:

I began writing my blog mainlymacro because of my anger at austerity, and the fact that the view of the majority of macroeconomists that it was a bad idea was largely ignored by the media. When the media did talk to economists, they tended to be from the financial sector. Financial sector economists are biased in two directions: they tend to be right wing and they tend to talk up the importance of a capricious financial market and their own ...

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November 10th, 2018

No Comments

# He also criticizes the use of execution to punish theft, saying thieves might as well murder whom they rob, to remove witnesses, if the punishment is going to be the same

It is interesting, if a bit sad, to realize how common it is for some intellectuals to speak out against the injustices of the age, while having no power to stop those injustices. The injustices continue for another several centuries. This was written in 1516:

The first discussions with Raphael allow him to discuss some of the modern ills affecting Europe such as the tendency of kings to start wars and the subsequent loss of money on fruitless endeavours. He also ...

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November 10th, 2018

No Comments

# Sylvia Plath’s tragedy

Interesting:

“Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording —all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to ...

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November 6th, 2018

In Business

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# Computers continue to degrade productivity instead of improving productivity

As an aside, the German courts seem to produce less false imprisonment than Anglo-Saxon courts, in part thanks to the Schöffen, the lay jurists. I suspect that the medical profession would be greatly improved by a combination of Schöffen and doulas, who could work out a great many patient issues without needing to escalate issues to the attention of a doctor.

Interesting and a sad commentary of the failure of both the tech world and corporate management:

Burnout seemed to vary ...

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November 6th, 2018

No Comments

# Who paid for the Glorious Revolution?

Interesting:

“People who used the epithet revealed how narrow and myopic was their perspective, for obviously ‘Glorious Revolution’ could apply only to England, not to Scotland or Ireland” 2. But is this entirely true? As noted above, the English Parliament took pains to portray the bloodless coup in England as passing on the crown post abdication. But this argument could not be used in Ireland. The war that raged from 1689 to 1690 was called in the Irish language Cogadh an ...

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November 5th, 2018

In Business

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# Jakub Holý: what I learned when I was fired

An interesting story from Jakub Holý about the day he was fired:

When I came to the office one late autumn morning in 2005, I have been shocked to find out that – without any warning signs whatsoever – I hd been fired. That day I have learned the importance of communication. Their criticism was justified but the thing is, nobody bothered to tell me anything during my 11 months in the company. I received exactly 0 feedback about my ...

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November 5th, 2018

No Comments

# danah boyd comments on the methods of modern media manipulators

danah boyd is always good and this is one of her best:

Accusations of anti-conservative bias are not evaluated through evidence because reality doesn’t matter to them. This is what makes this stunt so effective. News organizations and tech companies have no way to “prove” their innocence. What makes conspiratorial messages work is how they pervert evidence. The simplest technique is to conflate correlation and causation. Conspiracy makers point to the data that suggests that both journalists and Silicon Valley engineers ...

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November 4th, 2018

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# Even when Larry Summers claims to have an epiphany, he’s just reconfirming what he already believed

This starts out well, and then goes down hill. Larry Summers and his wife did a drive across rural America, and Larry Summers feels he learned something important by visiting these rural backwaters. Likewise, when I was younger I spent 2 years of my life hitchhiking all over the USA, so visiting these rural backwaters was a formative experience for me.

Larry Summers starts out sounding like he learned something new, but in the end he concludes that the Democrats ...

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November 4th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# SmugMug understands why Flickr is important

I’m torn between thinking Yahoo is just fundamentally stupid, and Marissa Mayer especially, and thinking that Flickr, at its best, is simply a small business that can not support the kind of giant returns that venture capital, and then later public investors wanted. So perhaps Yahoo could only destroy Flickr, by demanding it support more than it could. But that simply goes back to Yahoo being stupid.

SmugMug is a successful mostly family owned business, looking for normal business returns, ...

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November 4th, 2018

No Comments

# The contradictions between wellness and corporate profits

Interesting:

But here’s the truly wonderful thing about neoliberalism—as it turns us all into paranoid, jealous schemers, it offers to sell us bromides to ameliorate the very bad feelings of self-doubt and alienation it conjures in our dark nights of the soul. Neoliberalism has not only given us crippling anxiety, but also its apparent remedy. It is no coincidence that as we become more nervous, “wellness” and “self-care” have become mainstream industries. Over the last few decades, workplaces have become ever ...

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November 4th, 2018

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# CIA hacked because too many people were using an informal channel

The real question is, why was it easier to use the informal channel? What about the formal methods of communication were difficult?

The CIA does appear to have lucked out when it comes to Russia. The Intelligence Agency ring fences its Russian activities and the report states that intel chiefs were quick to harden up its Russian communications channel at the first sign of trouble.

But the rest of the agency had become too reliant on the system, which was originally ...

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November 3rd, 2018

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# A story about forced marriage, of young women who grew up in the USA

Parts of this are outright illegal, and then other parts should be illegal but are frustratingly legal. Sad to think about these sisters (off-topic, but on the same theme, check out the Turkish film Mustang):

In 8th grade, our class took a field trip to tour the high school. No one wore uniforms, like we did in middle school! I could even wear my skinny jeans there. Yep, as strict as my mom was, she did buy me skinny jeans that ...

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November 3rd, 2018

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# Guy rejected by girl, acts pathetic

This guy is pathetic:

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November 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# Don’t say sorry

Posting some Tumblr links so I can remember where I saw this stuff:

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November 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# Queer is the new gay

LGBTQ language has been changing, in interesting ways. Much of the debate, and the problems arising, come from the difficulties of including transexuals into conversations about gay and lesbian issues. Especially problematic are when people born as men declare themselves to be women and want to have sex with women, declaring themselves to be male lesbians — this seems to raise a serious challenge to LGBQT alliances. The issues seem to get the most discussion on Tumblr.

So for instance:

I ...

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November 3rd, 2018

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# When your little brother is alt-right

A sad/funny story about dealing with a brother who is alt-right, written by a sister who is not alt-right:

the cool thing about having an idiot alt right supporting brother is when he gets mad over dumb shit my sister and i go “It’s concerning how such a small thing triggers such a strong reaction from you.” in the family groupchat and he’ll see the word “trigger” in relation to him and go fucking nuclear

the downside about having such a dipshit ...

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November 3rd, 2018

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# Changing norms in USA political debates

Interesting:

Meanwhile, his supporters say they believe his line that he’s not responsible for extreme rhetoric in politics or a sense of division in American life. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 80 percent of Republicans agree with Trump’s recent claim that the national media has done more to divide than unite the country since Trump took office.

Trump himself has refused to take any responsibility for his language, particularly at rallies where crowds jeer immigrants, Democrats, and other Trump dissenters. ...

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November 1st, 2018

7 Comments

# Zed Shaw is angry (abstraction and indirection)

In the tech world, a headline such as “Zed Shaw is angry” is the ultimate evergreen headline, since he is always angry, and it is easy to get tired of his ranting. But I think he has a good point here:

I hate using badly designed APIs. I hate it even more when someone beats me over the head with words they were handed in some rhetoric class masquerading as a computer science course. Words like “abstract”, “pattern”, and “object ...

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November 1st, 2018

No Comments

# Unicode Egyptian Hieroglyphs are sometimes censored?

Interesting to me because I’ve been writing fiction about Unicode:

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October 27th, 2018

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# Cognitive decline in ones 20s from the stress of running a startup?

Interesting if true:

I experienced severe cognitive decline in my 20s from the stress of running a startup.

The most alarming part was the loss of vocabulary. I was an avid reader and couldn’t call to mind fairly simple multi-syllablic words.

It took 5 years of bumming around in the mountains to heal the damage.

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October 27th, 2018

No Comments

# Depression can strike anyone, even the strong, even the healthy, even the young

After my dad died, in 2007, I was a zombie for a year. Taking Paxil helped. I identify with stories such as this. A beautiful story that everyone should read:

I lost my grandaddy to throat cancer. Lost my grandma to heart disease. Lost my best friend Geracy to the streets. He got stabbed to death in 2004, when we came back home for the summer.

I’m not saying that for sympathy. Everybody goes through darkness. I’m just saying that I kept ...

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October 19th, 2018

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# Trump praises a politician who beat up a journalist

Worrisome and alarming. Under this President social norms that help with the functioning of a healthy society are being violated on a constant basis:

Trump’s comments “mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil,” added the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Trump fondly reminisced about the physical assault that occurred on 24 May last year when Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy ...

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October 19th, 2018

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# I really liked Elizabeth Warren until she proved she is a complete idiot

So sad!

Imagine an 8 year old comes home from school crying and says “Mom, there is a bully at school, he called me fat!”

What happens next? Does the mom then say “No, honey, you are within statistically normal ranges. We can print out some charts from the World Healthy Organization. You know what you should do to get back at that bully? Next time he teases you, take your charts and attempt to demonstrate that your body weight is ...

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October 13th, 2018

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# The beautiful work you will never see because it won’t ever exist

Hazel Cills, making a point I’ve thought about often, the work that does not exist because of the oppression of women:

For every woman who comes forward, I imagine a second version of her, one who could freely pursue the art she wanted, claim the space she desired, without worrying that a man would come along and render her disposable. I’d much rather read stories on these women, who made news for the lives they lived than the ways in which ...

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October 13th, 2018

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# An authoritarian party that is waiting to take power

From Paul Krugman, very interesting:

About that conspiracy theorizing: It began in the first moments of Kavanaugh’s testimony, when he attributed his problems to “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” motivated by people seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” This was a completely false, hysterical accusation, and making it should in itself have disqualified Kavanaugh for the court.

But Donald Trump quickly made it much worse, attributing protests against Kavanaugh to George Soros and declaring, falsely (and with no evidence), ...

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October 7th, 2018

1 Comment

# Susan Kare invented the modern world

Some inspiration for a story I’m writing:

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October 4th, 2018

No Comments

# Trevor Noah does not know how to handle Anna Kendrick being on someone’s list

Some girls says her boyfriend wants to sleep with Anna Kendrick. I think I’m a bit surprised that Trevor Noah doesn’t know how to handle this moment. I’m also impressed with Anna Kendrick for being so ready to roll with it. I think I assumed that a professional comedian like Trevor Noah would handle awkward moments like this at least as well as Anna Kendrick.

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October 4th, 2018

No Comments

# Account suspended without any cause given?

Tumblr or Blogger are fine if you are 19 and posting cat pictures. But if you are building a professional audience? A reminder that it can be terrible to rely on a free blogging service for professional use:

But earlier this month, when I published a new article, Blogger prompted me to post it on Google+, and I did. A few hours later I discovered that my Google+ account had been suspended for violating terms of service, but I got ...

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October 4th, 2018

In Business

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# Sustainable large debts in Japan

The math here is a bit tricky:

Moreover, the Bank of Japan owns government bonds worth 90% of GDP, and ultimately returns to the government as dividends all the money it receives from the government as interest on the bonds it holds. Deducting both public financial assets and all the debts the Japanese government and people effectively owe to themselves, the debt level is only about 60% percent of GDP and not rising. This level of debt could be sustainable even ...

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October 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# Lock her up?

Worrisome:

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October 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# The old German middle class feels itself losing out to the hipsters

It is worrisome, that globalization has produced so much anger. Clearly, one can not build a global ecconomy, without first building global institutions.

A very good article on right-wing rage in Germany:

The success of the right-wing populists has a lot to do with changes that have occurred in Western societies, where a new class of disadvantaged has developed out of the erstwhile economic and political center – a new class which unabashedly took to the streets next to neo-Nazis in ...

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October 3rd, 2018

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# The police in East Germany still don’t know what their job is in a liberal state

It’s a bit depressing to see Germany struggling with a neo-fascist movement, and the police unclear about what their role is:

Let’s first look at the police, who, just as they did in Lichtenhagen in 1992, stood by helplessly – and hopefully not in quiet acceptance – unable to prevent the worst excesses. Twice in just a few days, the Saxony police showed that they have no clear idea as to what, exactly, their job entails in a democracy. The first ...

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October 3rd, 2018

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# Teaching immigrants about sex in Germany

One of the many difficult issues that immigrants face in Germany, is that native Germans grow up with excellent sex education, whereas the immigrants often come from countries where there is no sex education:

This article is from Die Zeit:

My experience thus far shows that the sooner young men attend a sex education course, the better are the chances to prevent the kind of group dynamic where sexual posturing combined with alcohol results in sexual assault. Sitting on colorful chairs ...

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October 3rd, 2018

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# Consider a birdcage

An interesting metaphor for the limits that women face:

Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, ...

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September 30th, 2018

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# Incel is a sickness like anorexia and bulima, you can not cure it by feeding it

A woman doesn’t cure anorexia by losing weight, and an incel does not cure being an incel by having sex. Both are a kind of mental illness. With anorexia, the rage is directed inward, and among the incel, the rage is directed outward, as this disgusting story make clear:

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September 27th, 2018

No Comments

# The role of elite schools in maintaining elite power from one generation to the next

Interesting article:

Elite schools spend a considerable amount of time and resources projecting a positive public image. Their image is necessary for legitimizing the elite status that they enjoy and all the advantages that come along with that status. Silence is necessary to maintain this image. All the not-so-good parts must remain hidden to continue being viewed as the best of the best.

This positive image obfuscates the real purpose of elite schools: From their inception, the core function of elite schools ...

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September 19th, 2018

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# The difference between women’s tennis and men’s tennis, and how it effects Serena Williams

My friend Kathryn sent me this in an email, and I thought it made a good point, so with her permission I post it here:

I watched the Women’s final on TV and have been reading and listening to the commentaries. I feel a little of both sides on this – I think Serena behaved badly and ultimately she needed to keep her cool and she didn’t. I also think the official overused his power unnecessarily and inserted himself ...

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September 6th, 2018

In Business

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# The stupidity of German policy toward Greece

Interesting:

The result was a slump which crippled the economy in a way that has few parallels in history. Most economists understand that in situations like this it is ridiculous to insist that the debtor pays all the money back. For basic Keynesian reasons this insistence just destroys the ability of the debtor to pay: it is not a zero sum game between creditor and debtor. This is why so much of German debt was written off after WWII, as we ...

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September 5th, 2018

No Comments

# The distracting temptations of beautiful strongly-typed languages

Interesting:

‘There’s something very seductive about languages like Rust or Scala or Haskell or even C++. These languages whisper in our ears “you are brilliant and here’s a blank canvas where you can design the most perfect abstraction the world has ever seen.’

Source

August 28th, 2018

No Comments

# Debugging a problem with an app running under Supervisord

I’ve run into this before, an app seems to work but if I run it under Supervisord it doesn’t work, so does that mean there is a problem with Supervisord or with the app itself? This is a useful bit of debugging advice:

Does the command supervisorctl status work when the process is in this state? If that hangs or doesn’t connect, it might indicate a problem in supervisord. If supervisorctl commands work normally, that almost always indicates something is ...

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August 26th, 2018

2 Comments

# What’s wrong with Hacker News

I often post comments on Hacker News. Over the years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with how the community works. I’ve been thinking about why, and I think it comes down to this:

1.) I want to read the comments by highly experienced people, reflecting the wisdom gained over the years. I’ve been doing tech work for 20 years now, and I’m especially interested in comments from peers.

2.) the audience at Hacker News skews young, and the comments are given prominence ...

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August 25th, 2018

No Comments

# How fasting helps the immune system

Interesting:

Some of the most promising recent science has come out of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. In 2014, researchers there found that a three-day fast involving less than 200 calories per day could help revitalize the immune system on a cellular level.

Reporting their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the study authors observed that when cells went without standard fuel from regular meals, the body switched to survival mode and ...

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August 25th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Can a YouTube influencer keep their income if they apologize very well?

This bit of melodrama reveals a lot about how to keep an online audience even after one is caught up in a scandal, as well as how to do this badly. The discussion in the comments is also interesting, regarding other people affected by the scandal, and how quickly they were able to regain their audience.

Still, the consequences hit hard and fast. Zamora and Dragun have bled subscribers since the incident; Dragun, alone, has lost at least 1,500, SocialBlade ...

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August 23rd, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# If you think the economy is normal…

Anyone who thinks the USA economy has fully recovered from the Great Recession should keep this in mind:

CR Note: Currently the target range for the federal funds rate is 1.75% to 2%. With inflation running close to 2% by most measures, the real Fed Funds rate is still negative.

Source

August 21st, 2018

2 Comments

# Has the Internet destroyed our ability to read?

I first read Hadrian’s Memoirs when I was 14 and I loved it. I was a serious intellectual back then. I re-read it in my 20s and I still loved it. But I recently re-read and I was disappointed at how slow it is.

I don’t blame the Internet, I just think I’m older and I tend to skim more often than before.

So this is an interesting alternative view

Wolf resolved to allot a set period every day to reread ...

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August 21st, 2018

No Comments

# LiveJournal and SomethingAwful helped shape the toxic culture of today’s Internet

Interesting:

As a teenager in the early 2000s, I was a member of a large, passionate, and loosely affiliated community of Harry Potter lovers (known, like other, similar communities, as a fandom), mostly gathered on LiveJournal. We discussed the books and characters; we wrote fanfiction and long diatribes about the movie adaptations; and we formed friendships and relationships with one another from behind our keyboards.

One particularly memorable community member was a poster named MsScribe. MsScribe was, like most of us, just ...

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August 19th, 2018

In Business

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# Experienced technical leaders greatly reduce the risk your project otherwise faces

Interesting:

In reality, there’s a balance between moving fast and and moving slow. It’s difficult to communicate that balance because every type of product demands a different balance. I suppose that intuition comes from experience, which is a terrible answer for someone trying to learn.

What’s a new developer to do?

The natural tendency seems to be asking the internet. It turns out that this is incredibly effective.

It’s also incredibly dangerous. Before I go any further, I’ll continue my story.

This company continued to ...

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August 18th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

Interesting:

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May 11th, 2018

No Comments

# Systems of process orchestration

I get that Linux Cgroups might be acceptable, in the sense that “perfect is the enemy of the good” and Cgroups are maybe good enough for now. I’d prefer it if the industry could rethink what a multi-user computer is, get rid of Unix, take the best ideas forward into a new system, and build something where something as clunky as Cgroups and Docker are not needed — it should be possible to have a “fat process” which does what ...

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May 11th, 2018

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# What are Linux cgroups

This is not the way I would have gone, but whatever. Here we are now:

cgroups (abbreviated from control groups) is a Linux kernel feature that limits, accounts for, and isolates the resource usage (CPU, memory, disk I/O, network, etc.) of a collection of processes.

Engineers at Google (primarily Paul Menage and Rohit Seth) started the work on this feature in 2006 under the name “process containers”.[1] In late 2007, the nomenclature changed to “control groups” to avoid confusion caused by multiple ...

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May 10th, 2018

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# After 1968 France and the USA went in different directions

I had no idea the history was so opposite:

In this new context, the salaries of executives and engineers rose structurally faster than the low and medium-range salaries in the 1950s-1960s and at first, nobody seemed to be worried. A minimum wage had been created in 1950, but it was almost never re-valued thereafter, with the result that there was a wide gap in comparison with the evolution of the average wage. Society had never been so patriarchal; in the 1980s, ...

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May 10th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# LinkedIn is so broken

One of many example’s of how broken LinkedIn is, I can not figure out who “walter” is, nor can I click on “walter” to go see that profile:

Source

May 10th, 2018

No Comments

# Dark Web Intellectuals

Interesting article:

The repeated outbreaks of fascination with the question of whether women and racial minorities are inherently unequal were not quite the product of the disinterested pursuit of the truth, Kitcher argued; otherwise, the same unpleasant questions would not keep appearing in radically different pseudoscientific forms. Instead, the recurrent interest stems from public and elite eagerness to believe that discrimination against women and minorities was justified.

This was reinforced by individual intellectual incentives to cultivate contrarianism for the sake of ...

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May 10th, 2018

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# Epigenetics was suggested decades before it was accepted

My friend Lark points me to this, and I am surprised to realize that the theory of epigenetics was around for a long time before it gained acceptance:

McClintock and the Theory of Epigenetics

Beyond her discovery of TEs and her revolutionary cytogenetic research techniques, Barbara McClintock was also the first scientist to correctly speculate on the basic concept of epigenetics-or heritable changes in gene expression that are not caused by changes to DNA sequences. Mainly, she recognized that genes can be ...

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May 8th, 2018

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# So many things can go wrong with Docker

Sean Hull always has interesting things to say, and so it is worth reading what tripped him up with a recent project where he had to Dockerize everything:

When a service is run, ECS wants to have *all* of the containers running together. Just like when you use docker-compose. If one container fails, ecs-agent may decide to kill the entire service, and restart. So you may see weird things happening in “docker logs” for one container, simply because another failed. What ...

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May 7th, 2018

No Comments

# Is there anyone who can keep up with everything AWS offers?

As I’ve suggested before, unless you a full time specialist tracking AWS, you won’t be able to keep track of all the services coming out of AWS. The one I just learned about is ALB:

Amazon Web Services (AWS) just announced a new Application Load Balancer (ALB) service.

I spent some time playing with the new service to understand what it offers and to see how it fits into our cloud architecture.

In summary, ALB is a massive improvement over ELB in almost ...

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May 1st, 2018

No Comments

# We all die

Interesting:

In Ehrenreich’s hands, wellness, for example, isn’t just a trend, but a reflection of the interplay of class, power, and health (a word, she argues, that’s meaning is too class-based to be useful to wellness gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow). Wellness, she suggests, eliminates the appearance of “conflict…endemic to the human world, with all its jagged inequalities,” emphasizing instead the harmonious individual—a body and mind in complete accord. But, to what end? “To feel good, of course, which is the same ...

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April 30th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Absentee leadership is the most common form of bad leadership

Interesting:

Researchers have studied managerial derailment — or the dark side of leadership — for many years. The key derailment characteristics of bad managers are well documented and fall into three broad behavioral categories: (1) “moving away behaviors,” which create distance from others through hyper-emotionality, diminished communication, and skepticism that erodes trust; (2) “moving against behaviors,” which overpower and manipulate people while aggrandizing the self; and (3) “moving toward behaviors,” which include being ingratiating, overly conforming, and reluctant to take chances ...

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April 30th, 2018

No Comments

# Soliders who criticize children

This is a solider who fought in combat and who is extremely critical that children at a school failed to act the way he behaved on a battlefield. One can never underestimate the complete insanity of the gun debate in the USA. There should not be a need to say this, but a 14 year old in biology class should not be expected to behave the way a solider, after years of training, might behave.

Source

April 30th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Age and entrepreneurship

Interesting:

The stereotypical startup founder is a 20- or 30-something man, probably white, probably wealthy. He wears a fleece vest, rides electric scooters, and drinks Blue Bottle coffee. You could be forgiven for mixing him up with a college frat guy.

So we’ve been told by movies like The Social Network and shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, and accolades like the Thiel fellowship, which hands out $100,000 grants to people younger than 23. Previous academic research has put the mean startup founder ... Read More Source April 30th, 2018 No Comments # Confluence is very difficult to set up I had endless errors with Confluence. Each time I started over, I set up a new EC2 instance. I eventually learned that it was possible to restart the setup process by deleting the file confluence.cfg.xml so I did this: /etc/init.d/confluence stop rm /var/atlassian/application-data/confluence/confluence.cfg.xml /etc/init.d/confluence start but now I’m trying to finish the setup, and all I get is a blank page: Does anyone know how to fix this? Source April 29th, 2018 No Comments # Aunt Coulter I suspect this will last. It’s a phenomena that needed a name, and this is actually a good name. A hundred years from now, this might be the only thing that is remembered from this particular event. Wolf continued: “I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.” Sanders looked stony faced ... Read More Source April 26th, 2018 No Comments # You’re so irrational [[ My thanks to Natalie Sidner for editing this essay. All names in this essay have been changed. ]] While it might be admirable to aspire to be as rational as possible, what I’ve noticed, over and over again, is that people overestimate how rational they are. Or they imagine themselves to be objective and unemotional, when in fact their behavior is driven by strong emotions. The accusation “You’re emotional, I’m objective” tends to be a manipulative power play. I ... Read More Source April 23rd, 2018 No Comments # Six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree Interesting: Despite Mr. Trump’s considerable flaws as a presidential candidate, he effectively diagnosed the reasons the Republican Party is widely disliked, even by its own voters. It has become the party of the white working class — six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree — but it has done next to nothing to address the terrible problems that disproportionately affect that class. These afflictions include economic stagnation, the opioid epidemic, family dissolution, high rates of work force ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # My father did not die peacefully in his sleep The Onion has a reputation for humor that cuts close to the bone, and this really hits me hard: “‘Your Father Died Peacefully In His Sleep,’ Assures Hospice Nurse Who Spent Past 6 Months Watching Man Wither Away In Agony” In an attempt to console the family of the deceased, Mountain View Hospice nurse Sam Bakshi—who watched his patient wither away for half a year in unrelenting torment—told relatives of the late Dennis Ridges on Tuesday that the man had died peacefully ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # Generous narcissism Interesting: In 2013, scholar Mehron Abdollmohammadi coined the phrase “generous narcissism” to describe a kind of self-expression they’d observed in online queer communities: “a generous practice of mutual and excessive attention that worries excess… a becoming-self, a care for the self that recognizes and celebrates the strength of the slippage between self, image, and other… fashioning, from the refuse of culture, tools with which to navigate the crippling distance between one’s sense of self and the vehicle of self, the body.” I ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # The new revolution of gender Unlike the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the change of the last 10 years has been dramatic but less talked about. “I just have one thing to say about promise rings,” said Jordin Sparks, then a newly-minted American Idol winner, as she took the stage in 2008 to present at the MTV VMAs. She was gearing up a response to host Russell Brand, who earlier in the night had made a dig at the band the ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # Technology starts off promising freedom and later is used by dictators Interesting: In 1982, eleven clandestine Radio Solidarity radio stations were shut down across Poland. The scientists who cooperated in the balloon project were risking serious jail time in addition to the loss of their career and livelihood. Their act of defiance didn’t bring down the state. It didn’t do much more than give hope and brighten the day of a few hundred people. But it went straight back to that first idealistic promise of radio: that there existed magic, invisible rays that ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # The reaction against Facebook This seems about right: I think a very inconvenient and ugly truth is slowly dawning on Facebook and society in general: connecting people at mass is bad. Facebook may go down in history as the next Big Tobacco or Big Fast Food that touted new innovation as a mass utopian relief, only to be later debunked as charlatan science Zuckerberg has always touted Facebook’s core mission as “connecting people throughout the world.” The mission is so fervent you get socially deranged executives ... Read More Source April 21st, 2018 No Comments # The endless lies of depression There is always some lie at the heart of depression, some fiction. A large body of research suggests a link between creativity and depression. I think the link must be the ability to go over the same story a thousand times, and slowly refine it. I assume Bach did that with his cello suites, and Victor Hugo must have rehearsed Les Miserable a thousand times to get the structure of the narrative down. Over and over we go, repeating ... Read More Source April 20th, 2018 No Comments # The end of old-fashioned useful banking Interesting: Something has happened to big banks along the way, where they no longer actually provide banking services to their customers. When I walk into a Wells Fargo branch now and sit down with a “banker” to take care of my accounts, it consists of sitting next to them while they call 1-800-WELLSFARGO for me and talk to a call center. There simply is no service anymore. I walked into my local branch to open up an IRA last week before ... Read More Source April 20th, 2018 No Comments # The corruption of Italy Interesting: What began in Italy is now manifest in the US and beyond, public discourse degraded into a sick tabloid fantasy, of sex, corruption, violence and lies. What began with Berlusconi continues with Trump and Weinstein. All are men in positions of power and of a now all-too-familiar type, who view women as chattels to serve their sexual lust and to puff up their fragile egos, and who then, later, try to cover up their crimes with bribery, threats and intimidation. ... Read More Source April 20th, 2018 No Comments # She was everywhere, then she was nowhere An interesting example of an artist whose star burned brightly for many years, then faded completely. I’ve never heard of her before this. Walsh died of tuberculosis in October 1926 at the age of 31, leaving Boyle pregnant with his child, born in March 1927. Her husband, Richard, invited her and her daughter, Sharon, to return to live with him in Stoke-on-Trent, England, where he had found a job with the Michelin Tire Company. Out of options, Kay accepted. She ... Read More Source April 18th, 2018 No Comments # The epidemic of loneliness Interesting: Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy summarized his experience as a doctor in an article in September in The Harvard Business Review: “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Patients came to see him partly because they were lonely, partly because loneliness made them sick. Weak social connections have health effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a greater negative effect than obesity, he said. Over the ... Read More Source April 16th, 2018 9 Comments # Poland was shockingly liberal during the 1400s I feel like my teachers lied to me. The version of Western history that I was taught in school mostly focused on Spain and Portugal during the 1400s and 1500s, France and Germany in the 1700s and 1800s, Russia and Germany in the 1900s, and Britain during the whole era from the Dark Ages onwards. But I never learned anything about Poland, except for the weird fact that Copernicus showed up, out of nowhere, and suddenly invented modern science. Except ... Read More Source April 15th, 2018 No Comments # Japanese humor in advertisements I have trouble imagining this working for an American audience. There is a level of cuteness and irony that is popular in some USA sub-cultures, but never seems mainstream enough to be addressed in an ad. Source April 12th, 2018 No Comments # Excessive abstraction in PHP frameworks I’m working with Laravel now, a PHP framework. I see this on StackOverflow: With Laravel, everything is more complex than it needs to be. Yesterday I was dealing with the issue of logging and errors. How to get Laravel to output errors somewhere that I could see them? Well, that involves overriding some logging classes. The tone of the documentation is always “See, it’s very simple, and flexible, just override the default classes, inherit from the parent, override the method, choose ... Read More Source April 10th, 2018 No Comments # Our species evolved in Asia, not Africa As soon as the Denisovan were discovered, it should have become necessary to update our ideas about where homo sapiens first arose. It’s simply too much of a coincidence. Neanderthals and Denisovans and Sapiens seem more similar to each other than to homo erectus, therefore they must have had a somewhat recent common ancestor, and if Neanderthal and Denisovans first evolved in Asia, that means Sapiens must have evolved there too. Roughly, the most likely theory at the moment is: 1.) ... Read More Source April 9th, 2018 No Comments # Do the staff at Jezebel manually manage the trolls in the comments? Apparently so, this is interesting. Someone named Jinni writes: Our Muqaddimah of Code 45* is still banned, alas. A bright point in my own days feels notably dimmed. For those of you who didn’t read (or quite ‘get’) Code 45*; it was a hallucinatory tour into the subconscious of Donald Trump as evidenced by the odd and illogical punctuation of his disordered tweets. Code 45*, like a creative, and slightly mad psychotherapist, attempted to wrest vestiges of meaning from the morass of ... Read More Source April 9th, 2018 No Comments # The FBI raided the office of Trump’s lawyer I’m not clear how they got around attorney-client privilege, but I assume the exception here was similar to the one used against lawyers who work for the Mafia: if you know you are protecting criminal behavior, then your privilege is revoked. Clearly, the FBI raid against Trump’s lawyer represents a huge escalation of the investigation against Trump. Trump sounds just barely coherent in his response: The president also complained about Session’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a longtime sticking ... Read More Source April 8th, 2018 No Comments # Can there be a history of slaves? In 1855 Jules Michelet claimed he had invented “Universal history,” a history that included everything, and Marx increasingly thought of history as involving more than just kings and battles, but true social and economic histories didn’t becomes widespread till the 1890s, and perhaps saw their best expression with Fernand Braudel, in the mid 20th century. My point is, it is extraordinary that anyone in 1832 would raise the possibility of writing a history of slaves. This was really ahead of its ... Read More Source April 8th, 2018 No Comments # PHP code for Apple Push Notification Service I just lost a week of my life trying to send a message from my server to the APNS servers. A previous team had given us some bad PHP code which I could not get working. I finally tore it out and replaced it with the example I found on StackOverflow: /* We are using the sandbox version of the APNS for development. For production environments, ... Read More Source April 8th, 2018 No Comments # A pem tool to generate the pem file for Apple Push Notification Service Having lost the last week of my life trying get a pem file that will let me talk to APNS, I will link to this, because it seems to be a solution for the future: Automatically generate and renew your push notification profiles Tired of manually creating and maintaining your push notification profiles for your iOS apps? Tired of generating a pem file for your server? pem does all that for you, just by simply running pem. Source April 7th, 2018 No Comments # Cuttlefish sex ratio I wonder why some species have such lopsided ratios of male/female? Male cuttlefish challenge one another for dominance and the best den during mating season. During this challenge, no direct contact is usually made. The animals will threaten each other until one of them backs down and swims away. Eventually, the larger male cuttlefish mate with the females by grabbing them with their tentacles, turning the female so that the two animals are face-to-face, then using a specialized tentacle to insert ... Read More Source April 6th, 2018 No Comments # Why don’t any articles about Apple Push Notifications agree about what commands to use? Apparently there are a lot of ways to do this? I am suspicious, because I lost days trying to get this to work. This article says: Now we need to encode these two files in Base64: openssl base64 -in cert.pem -out cert.txt openssl base64 -in key.pem -out key.txt But this gist says: Step 1: Create Certificate .pem from Certificate .p12 Command: openssl pkcs12 -clcerts -nokeys -out apns-dev-cert.pem -in apns-dev-cert.p12 Step 2: Create Key .pem from Key .p12 Command : openssl pkcs12 -nocerts -out apns-dev-key.pem -in apns-dev-key.p12 None ... Read More Source April 6th, 2018 No Comments # Fire gave rise to babies Homo sapiens have an unusual reproductive system. Whereas apes rarely have more than 5 children, humans typically had 20 to 25 children. What lead to the huge increase in the number of children? One possibility is fire, which lead to cooked food. One can reason from the opposite of this paragraph: This hypothesis stems from a few modern observations. When you eat cooked food, you have access to many more calories than if you eat the same food raw. There ... Read More Source April 5th, 2018 No Comments # Apple Push Notifications converting p12 to pem files None of the commands listed on this page worked for me, and yet that is the topped ranked page in Google. What did work for me: openssl pkcs12 -in apns_certificates.p12 -out apns_certificates.pem -nodes openssl pkcs12 -in apns_key.p12 -out apns_key.pem -nodes chmod 0400 apns_key.pem chmod 0400 apns_certificates.pem openssl s_client -connect gateway.sandbox.push.apple.com:2195 -cert apns_certificates.pem -key apns_key.pem cat apns_certificates.pem apns_key.pem > Peeroapp.pem Source April 3rd, 2018 No Comments # The difficulties of starting a career in tech This is a good summary of some issues with starting a career in tech. This one jumps out at me, though I realize the issue of portfolios is controversial in some quarters. More than a couple of times have I met developers looking for web development gigs without a proper portfolio to show off. Having a portfolio helps to demonstrate what you are capable of doing. You’ve probably been told that having a personal domain puts you a mile ahead in your ... Read More Source March 31st, 2018 No Comments # Science is dying and it drags down those who make their careers with it Interesting: Here is an explanation from 1994 by Dr. David Goodstein of Caltech, who testified to Congress on this back then, whose “The Big Crunch” essay concludes: https://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg/crunch_art.html “Let me finish by summarizing what I’ve been trying to tell you. We stand at an historic juncture in the history of science. The long era of exponential expansion ended decades ago, but we have not yet reconciled ourselves to that fact. The present social structure of science, by which I mean institutions, ... Read More Source March 29th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Teen Bo$$It’s probably good that teens today are producing stuff for YouTube, rather than just passively consuming whatever is on television. Interesting: The magazine Teen Boss, styled as Teen Bo$$!, débuted in September of last year. It publishes quarterly, like an earnings report. The title is aimed at girls aged eight to fifteen, and it has a bright, pink-heavy, clamorously cheerful aesthetic to match. September cover lines included “how to make money online right now!” and “turn your piggy bank into ... Read More Source March 27th, 2018 No Comments # I just lost a week of my life dealing with one bug in a Cordova/Ionic mobile app Over the last week I had two marathon days where I worked more than 12 hours, and I had 4 normal days where I worked 6 to 8 hours, and all of it was wasted on one bug. I’ve a friend who wanted an app built that would work for both iOS and Android. He contracted with a team in India to build it. They used Cordova and Ionic. When they were done with the project they sent it to ... Read More Source March 27th, 2018 No Comments # The Wing is a private club for women Interesting: If you live in New York City or Washington, D.C. and work in a certain kind of industry, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Wing. If you haven’t: Founded in 2016 as a private social club and co-working space for women, the company currently operates three locations, collects dues from more than 1,500 members (including Jezebel’s Editor-in-Chief Koa Beck), and attracts the sort of media coverage that most publicists can only dream about. All of this has drawn ... Read More Source March 25th, 2018 No Comments # Apple takes two weeks to update a forgotten password? I am amazed by this. On Friday I tried to log into: https://developer.apple.com None of my regular passwords worked. Only later did I realize I’d probably set up a separate account for this, using some unusual password. Anyway, I figured this would not be a big deal. I clicked “I forgot password”. I put in my email and then my phone number. Apple then sent a text message to my phone, with a code that I was to type into the website. ... Read More Source March 22nd, 2018 No Comments # Even a basic iOS app generates a huge number of errors in Xcode I’ve decided I should learn how to build native iOS apps. So I am following a basic tutorial for Xcode and iOS. As soon as I’ve created the project, I try to run it. It does compile and run, but the log is full of hundreds of errors. I’m putting a small sampling below. Does Apple realize how confusing this is for someone who is just beginning? I learned how to program back in 1999, writing PHP scripts. One great ... Read More Source March 21st, 2018 No Comments # Peer review is new Interesting: Of course the thing may exist before the word: but one thing I’ve found invariably in looking at these etymologies is words usually do not march straight out of the primordial ooze into widespread use for no reason at all, particularly words describing so specific and unpoetic as a practice like this. Usually there is some reason, some new thing in the world that requires a new term to distinguish it from what has come before. So what new thing gave ... Read More Source March 20th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Rapid hiring for a tech team is a warning sign Although rapid hiring suggests that something good is happening (money is coming in) when a tech team expands 100% in a year, it is likely that the short-term growth will undermine the long term growth. Every since Fredrick Brooks published “The Mythical Man Month” we’ve understood that rapid hiring in a tech team leads to very difficult communication issues. And yet somehow, these problems are still normal in the game industry: The culture of the company changed dramatically as a result. ... Read More Source March 19th, 2018 No Comments # CSS is terrible because it is global state CSS is broken because the style sheets are global. Once upon a time, this didn’t seem terrible because it was thought that CSS would operate as CONSTANTS. But they are not constants. On any modern website or app, the styles are always changing. So the styles are really a global variable, and they have all the problems that 60 years of computer science has taught us to expect from global variables. There are other problems with CSS. Perhaps the biggest ... Read More Source March 19th, 2018 No Comments # Online education in the 1960s Interesting: As Dear tells it, students were far more interested in using PLATO to chat with one another than to complete their lessons. They even created their own emoticons by taking advantage of a feature within PLATO’s operating system that allowed them to stack letters on top of each other instead of typing them side by side. Typing the word “WOBTAX” in a stack produced a smiley face. “This was a great pastime of many undergraduates, many of whom would flunk out ... Read More Source March 17th, 2018 No Comments # The video: NYU Varick Street incubator The events in my book “How To Destroy A Tech Startup In Three Easy Steps” happens at the NYU Varick Street startup incubator, in 2015. Of the incubator where these events occur, my co-author, Natalie Sidner, produced a 4 minute for her family, back in June of 2015: Source March 16th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Fail at everything and get promoted Interesting: The U.S. Trustee in the Toys R Us bankruptcy case has filed a strongly worded objection to the company’s plan to pay between$16 million and $32 million to its 17 most highly paid executives. “It defies logic and wisdom,” the objection by Trustee Judy Robbins states, that Toys R Us is proposing “multi-million dollar bonuses for the senior leadership of a company that began the year with employee layoffs and concludes it in the midst of the holiday season in ... Read More Source March 15th, 2018 No Comments # Tribalism in USA politics The right-wing has become a tribe. This has been true at least since Newt Gingrich won the congressional elections in 1994, but it has only recently become fashionable to say this out loud. And the New York Times is both unwilling and unable to represent that tribe on its opinion pages: Here is the scary truth that NYT editors and readers alike resist: US politics today is not a contest of ideas or governing philosophies. We are witnessing a massive revanchist ... Read More Source March 13th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Thoughts about school Interesting: 8. Psychology matters much, much more than people think, and varies wildly based on socioeconomic background. People that don’t know many people that are middle class literally don’t understand what’s possible, and are unable to take the corresponding risks as a result of that. 9. 99% of people, when left long blocks of time alone to work on something without anyone to be accountable to, will watch Netflix. 10. Nearly everyone recognizes that MOOCs are by and large a failure with ~2% ... Read More Source March 13th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Responsibility for diversity in tech? Interesting: Just as advancing the diversity conversation isn’t up to one company, it’s also not up to one person or group within a company to solve a diversity shortfall. “Why do I—as the black woman—have to fix that?” Saint John said. “There’s 50 of you, there’s one of me. Ya’ll fix it… Everybody else needs to make the noise—I want white men to make the noise.” With those 37 words, Bozoman clarified something that anyone working in an industry plagued by bias (read: ... Read More Source March 11th, 2018 In Business No Comments # NYU startup incubators: 3,200 jobs and$4 billion for New York

The book I wrote is about events which occurred at one of the NYU startup incubators.

I was interested by this article about the economic impact of these incubators:

“In the last year, the Future Labs and our companies reached significant milestones. We started with news of Uber acquiring Geometric Intelligence, and throughout the year, significant rounds of investment closed by current and graduate companies. In this single year, the Future Labs economic output totaled $1.2 billion,” said Steve Kuyan, NYU ... Read More Source March 10th, 2018 No Comments # The lack of volume in a high-dimensional cube I wish this felt more intuitive to me: This is a starting point for intuition: To provide some intuition consider the situation in two dimensions, as shown in Figure 10. For a point on the circle to be close to the equator, its y-coordinate must be small. So, this is sort of an expression of the Curse Of Dimensionality? But perhaps the most amazing thing is that we can not figure out how many spheres might surround a central sphere, in such a ... Read More Source March 9th, 2018 No Comments # How long can two people share a life before they are dating? An interesting glimpse of a sub-culture and a meme (a somewhat extreme take on the “useless lesbian” meme): My wife and I literally would make out, sleep together, moved in together, adopted a dog together, go to family and work functions together, and built a life together for about three years before she proposed. Only to catch me by surprise, because I didn’t realize we were dating, thinking this was just normal friend stuff. She still likes to remind me that ... Read More Source March 8th, 2018 No Comments # In Apache you can setup a reverse proxy with either RewriteRule or ProxyPass With Apache I have always done something like this: ProxyPass / http://127.0.0.1:8080/ ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:8080/ But I just saw this interesting bit on StackOverflow: RewriteEngine On RewriteRule ^(/.*)$ http://app-server:8181/jellyfish$1 [P] ProxyPassReverse / http://app-server:8181/jellyfish/ Which does the same thing. The RewriteRule says “grab everything after the ... Read More Source March 8th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Very early digital development I likely this because it is an example of how innovation sometimes comes from unlikely people. The wife, in particular, does not initially seem like the type to revolutionize part of the computer industry. The story concept was certainly innovative, but it wasn’t the sort of innovation that would immediately appeal to a guy like Ken, with little interest in game design in the abstract. He was rather interested in products he could sell, operating intuitively by a rule he would ... Read More Source March 5th, 2018 No Comments # The quiet censorship of PR firms managing interviews I would have found this very frustrating: I started to ask about Mad Men’s discussion of the issue of harassment in the workplace, citing a Boston Globe piece from earlier this year titled, “Before #MeToo, there was Mad Men.” Before I could ask about whether it struck Hendricks that Joan’s final storyline was in many ways prescient in terms of how this conversation would come to play out just a few years later, the publicist interrupted: “I’m so sorry, but we ... Read More Source March 5th, 2018 In Business 2 Comments # Why do entrepreneurs engage in self-sabotage? Just to get this out of the way, entrepreneurs engage in all of the self-destructive habits that non-entrepreneurs sometimes engage in: drug addiction, denial, blame shifting, perfectionism, depression, mania, laziness, etc. I’m not going to write about that, because all of that is too obvious, and great essays have already been written about those subjects. Instead I’m going to write about the self-destructive habits that are unique to entrepreneurs. There are 3 patterns that I have seen a lot ... Read More Source March 3rd, 2018 No Comments # Remembering where politics was in early 2018 I’ll write this down, just so I can remember it later. Below I post an example of incoherent writing. It is possible the person who wrote is struggling with some mental health issues. But those are interesting in themselves. I’ve read that before 1960, people suffering from schizophrenia, in the USA, mostly commonly said they were being persecuted by Satan, but during the 1960s and 1970s, they most commonly claimed they were being persecuted by the CIA. Even those with ... Read More Source March 3rd, 2018 In Business No Comments # Mistakes that lead to Brexit Interesting: 1. Deindustrialisation The 1980s changed Britain, most of all above the line between the Wash and the Bristol Channel. Between 1979 and 1986, jobs in the manufacturing industry shrank from 7m to 5.1m. Of all the jobs lost, in services as well as manufacturing, 94% were to the north of that line. Deindustrialisation neither began nor ended in the Thatcher years, but it was under Thatcher’s premiership that shutting down factories, shipyards and mines began to seem like a perverse ... Read More Source February 26th, 2018 No Comments # Is there a new openness regarding the use of racist language? It is worrisome to think that politicians now feel comfortable using racist language, in a way they have not felt comfortable these last 50 years. I recall when I was young people said “The older generation is racist but the younger generation will change things.” But nowadays, some of the leading racists are younger than I am. And the trend seems to be getting worse instead of better. Here is a rather overt example from the heartland of the USA: According to ... Read More Source February 26th, 2018 No Comments # What can people hope for from romance? Interesting: Could any single relationship not fall short of such expectations? Maybe these women were on to something — valuing their marriages for the things it could offer and outsourcing the rest, accepting the distance between the idealization and the actual thing, seeing marriage clearly for what it is and not what we’re all told and promised it will be. My friend told me she felt this way of thinking was the only answer, and the way she’d come to reconcile her ... Read More Source February 25th, 2018 No Comments # If we give powerful people everything they want, maybe they will be nice to the rest of us? At the end of the English revolutionary period, during the 1660s, a conservative reaction set in, and even some peasants were infected with the conservative spirit. Some wanted England to become a monarchy again, and they openly called for the return of the King. They had a saying: “All will be well when the King enjoys his own again.” In the 1970s, conservatives began to promote “supply side economics” which is the modern, pseudo-scientific way of saying “All will be well ... Read More Source February 22nd, 2018 No Comments # The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong No one wants to die. The police don’t want to die. Faced with death, the police panic. Fantasy deludes some gun advocates, in particular, the fantasy that every cop will act like Bruce Willis did in the movie Die Hard. The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong. The police officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resigned Thursday, under investigation for failing to enter the building as a ... Read More Source February 22nd, 2018 No Comments # If favorable news coverage is bribery, what should we think of Fox News? This is an interesting interpretation, but what does it mean if applied to Fox News? Reality needs to be called what it is. Systematically skewing coverage and providing a false picture of reality to the public constitutes a financial benefit on a huge scale. When a senior politician gets a series of flattering articles from a publisher, it’s worth a lot more to the politician than a box of cigars or a suitcase of cash to finance primary election activists. When ... Read More Source February 18th, 2018 In Business No Comments # It is time for companies to close down their websites On the Internet, the house always wins the bet, and by “house” I mean Google, Facebook, Amazon — the dozen top online tech companies. Everyone else is a sucker. (This is more true for consumer apps than business apps.) I strongly agree with this: Now, almost every website looks the same — and performs poorly. Offline, brands try to make their store experiences unique to differentiate themselves. Online, every website — from Gucci to the Gap — offers the same experience: a ... Read More Source February 18th, 2018 No Comments # The smart way for Russia to help Trump: manipulate votes to elect Democrats (The following is about the USA, obviously) I know of Democrats who are currently dreaming of winning a large majority in the House Of Representatives in the elections of 2018. Then they can proceed to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. There is an obvious way for Russia to help Trump, and that is to hack the election machines and so ensure that some Democrats win. Bonus points for candidates who were expected to lose — their wins will later seem ... Read More Source February 18th, 2018 No Comments # A quote about Nature that sounds smart but is wrong This initially sounds smart: “We like to romanticize the wild, raw, majestic beauty of nature. But when you take a closer look, nature is really just a giant fuckfest. That beautiful bird chirping? It’s a mating call. That pretty little bird is trying to get laid. And why does the peacock have such beautiful feathers? To attract females. Because he’s trying to get laid. Animals in the wild spend their entire lives trying to stay alive, and to mate. That’s it. They ... Read More Source February 16th, 2018 No Comments # Alex Tabarrok hates children The population of Bulgaria is in decline. Alex Taborrok raises the question of whether this should be a concern: A correspondent wrote me asking what to do. I responded what’s the problem? Of course, there are plenty of things one could do to make Bulgaria a richer and better place to live, some of which Bulgaria has been doing and some of which they have not. The more fundamental question, however, is why the number of a particular type of ... Read More Source February 16th, 2018 No Comments # How to raise children the German way Interesting: Zaske argues that thanks in large part to the anti-authoritarian attitudes of the postwar generation (the so-called “68ers”), contemporary German parents give their children a great deal of freedom—to do dangerous stuff; to go places alone; to make their own mistakes, most of which involve nudity, fire, or both. This freedom makes those kids better, happier, and ultimately less prone to turn into miserable sociopaths. “The biggest lesson I learned in Germany,” she writes, “is that my children are not ... Read More Source February 16th, 2018 No Comments # Eroding political norms is a good thing if the old norms violated fundamental rights Interesting: The authors want to posit the 1850s as a moment that “undermined America’s democratic norms,” strongly suggesting that prior to the 1850s, there was a robust enjoyment of democratic norms in America. Most of us would argue that when one portion of the people enslaves another, denying them their humanity (and the vote), there’s no real democratic norm in play. (Not to mention that one-half of the population, white and black, didn’t have the suffrage at all.) And while it ... Read More Source February 16th, 2018 In Business No Comments # The very sad decline of Barnes and Noble Interesting and sad: So, if you were trying to solve the problem – if you were trying to revitalize this business – what would you do? “Oh, I know! I would tighten my belt at the executive level, then I would double-down on what we can offer that Amazon can’t: enthusiastic staff that can find and upsell books to suit each customer, and the largest in-store selection possible so that everyone who comes in can walk away with what they want. If ... Read More Source February 15th, 2018 In Business No Comments # When companies make a fetish of being data driven they reward a passive aggressive style This was initially inspired by an article posted to Hacker News, regarding Google’s mismanagement of its communication tools. ————————- When I talk to the 20 tech people who I respect most, what I notice is that everyone respects Google less now than 5 years ago. Is it a successful branding strategy that generates so much dislike? I’m especially curious because Google is famous for basing its decisions on “data”. I have no idea how things work in Google, but I can say ... Read More Source February 15th, 2018 No Comments # The paradox of freedom: Germans have more freedom driving because the government insists on more training I was in Germany this summer. My friend and I went to visit her parents. Her parents wanted me to see a historic town nearby. We got in the car. The father drove down the road at 190 kilometers per hour. The other cars were also going fast. I saw cars at an intersection make turns, in front of other cars, that I would never do in the USA, because I would never trust the other drivers to behave correctly. ... Read More Source February 14th, 2018 No Comments # France has no age-of-consent laws Interesting: France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship – although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist. …In a decision that shocked many, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Pontoise decided ... Read More Source February 14th, 2018 In Business No Comments # Why doesn’t President Trump push for a huge infrastructure bill? If President Trump passes a huge infrastructure bill this year, it will go into effect in 2019, and have full effect in 2020, before the elections. Trump will be re-elected, and serve a full 8 years. So why doesn’t Trump fight for this? Apparently he is only proposing$200 billion over several years, which is a joke. The USA is in urgent need of at least \$2 trillion in repairs, and an infrastructure bill would be extremely popular with blue ...

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February 12th, 2018

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# Containers like Docker will not fix the sick politics of your company

Interesting:

Deciding what’s yours and what’s theirs is the basis of every sibling-rivalry détente. In Eric Brewer’s CAP theorem you can pick two of consistency, availability, and partition tolerance as long as one of them is partition tolerance, because, as distributed systems expert Caitie McCaffrey puts it, “physics and math.” In a distributed system that contains humans in multiple time zones, you’re inevitably going to have partitions, and waiting 10 hours for headquarters to wake up and make a decision is ...

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February 10th, 2018

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# Wasting 5 million dollars

While I’m in favor of a stronger safety net for the sick, if people are able-bodied, I think they should work. This sounds like a good reason to let copyright lapse when an author dies:

Mr. Clarke was a rascally nine-year-old when he inherited that jewel. Ever since, as “Goodnight Moon” has drifted toward the center of America’s collective consciousness, he has floated on the fringes of society. No steady job. No fixed place of abode. Dozens of arrests. Rarely has ...

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February 5th, 2018

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# Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe

This is amazing. This tool, for burnishing leather, is still in use today. It is perhaps the only tool that the Neandertals invented and which we still use today. Neandertal culture lives.

However, we cannot eliminate the possibility that these tools instead indicate that modern humans entered Europe and started impacting Neandertal behavior earlier than we can currently demonstrate. Resolving this problem will require sites in central Europe with better bone preservation.

How widespread this new Neandertal behavior was is a ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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# Great creative partnerships are rare, and it is such a shock that people throw them away

Of the many tragic aspects of predators such as Weinstein, one is the waste of a great creative partnership. For now, this seems like a minor part of this story, a tiny thing compared to the actual violence and harm of these stories, and yet I wonder if, many decades from now, we might look back and wonder about what might have been, if the film industry had not been full of predators. What if these women had been in ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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# Born free, but still needing to be freed by courts in 1655

Interesting story. Apparently slave children with white fathers were considered free in the 1600s. And then they changed the law in 1662 to make it far more oppressive.

Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Key, was charged with fathering Elizabeth, which he at first denied, and as result he was brought to court to be forced to support her and arrange for apprenticeships so that she could learn skills. That was the protocol at the time for anyone seeing to get a “bastard” ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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# When things go wrong on a software project

I like this:

Whenever things are not progressing as expected, it is a natural instinct to fall back to micromanagement, but it seldom truly cures the ill. It’s probable that your team disagrees with your vision or its feasibility – and that you’re either not listening to their feedback, or they don’t think you’d care. It’s good to assume that most of your employees are as smart or smarter than you; barking your orders at them more loudly or more frequently ...

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February 2nd, 2018

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# Adam Smith summarized: everyone sucks

Interesting:

In their mad ambition, they try to rule the world (see Davos): “…the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind” (Book 4, Ch. 3, p. 621). Short of the world they try to rule countries: companies of merchants (the British and the Dutch East India Companies) grew immensely rich by mismanaging and exploiting India and Indonesia: “The government of an exclusive company of merchants ...

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February 2nd, 2018

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# A very long debate about when to use a library and when to write your own code

The whole thing is interesting, but Jens Stimpfle’s comment comes close to representing my view:

“I see the value in learning by building yourself, but from a software engineering point of view, using a tried and tested framework is likely to give you higher quality product in less time.”

Well, the framework I was to use last (Qt) had bugs that simply can’t be fixed by users (memory leaks, double free leading to segfault when exiting after reloading QML engine) and immature ...

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February 1st, 2018

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# Chatbots are dead?

Interesting:

But now we’re really changing things up, killing off what was once our sacred cow — a Digit experience built on messaging. We’ve redesigned our app with a graphical UI to make everything clearer and more intuitive. The old conversational UI is still there, in the background. But all the functions you want are now on tap, not commands to type. And we’re happy to admit openly what we’ve long considered quietly — chatbots aren’t the answer for keeping an ...

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February 1st, 2018

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# How to chase down a bug

This is a good story, and it communicates how insane things can get when one is chasing down a bug.

Having calculated the theoretical peak throughput, I decided there was no good reason this microprocessor shouldn’t be able to maintain a much higher level of throughput. Time to do some low-level packet analysis.

I set up Wireshark and started capturing packets. At first, everything seemed ok but looking at the timestamps showed clearly that the transmissions were very bursty. Sometimes there ...

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January 30th, 2018

In Business

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# Group meetings waste time — my interview with Christian McCarrick

Christian McCarrick is CTO at Global Tel*Link and he has also created the SimpleLeadership podcast. SimpleLeadership is designed for both new and experienced software & technology managers who want to build high-performing teams, better motivate & mentor their employees, reduce attrition and advance their career. It is for people who want to go beyond just being a manager and become a true leader.

McCarrick interviewed me a week ago, and we spoke about the issues of productivity, and especially how group ...

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January 30th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# The formal versus informal question — how I answer email

Because I interact with people from many countries and cultures, I’ve adopted the rule that I tend to let them set the tone and style of our interactions. I try to minimize the number of cultural faux pas I commit (speaking of which, should I follow English or French rules of pluralization when I went to pluralize “faux pas”?) . Most of the time, I simply mimic the style they set.

So a few rules I follow:

If they address ...

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January 28th, 2018

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# Some women waited their whole lives for the Wonder Woman movie

Interesting:

I’m 6 years old, and I’m Luke Skywalker, blowing up the Death Star in his X-Wing and using the Force… until I go outside to play Star Wars with the neighborhood kids, and I’m told I can’t be Luke because I’m a girl. I have to be Leia instead. Nothing wrong with Leia, but she’s the girl. She’s my only option, otherwise, I’m not allowed to play.

I’m 7 years old, and I’m She-Ra, with a pegasus and sword and… and ...

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January 27th, 2018

In Business

2 Comments

# Sarah Kessler attacks Steve Yegge over so-called privilege

Sarah Kessler has a post on QZ, the goal of which is left unspecified.

The title is “Writing 5,000 words about why you quit Google is the ultimate privilege”. I’m pretty sure the ultimate privilege is cheating your workers, sexually harassing 20 women, and then getting elected President Of The United States of America. There are other great privileges in this world, such as the ability to avoid paying taxes because you keep most of your assets in overseas ...

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January 26th, 2018

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# How software gets written

This is the history of almost every software project I can remember:

When I started preparing for teaching the chain rule in my class, I didn’t like the way the book did it. I felt like the proof was overly complicated and seemed to deliberately avoid an easier method. I couldn’t figure out why the author approached the proof the way he did. I started writing up different notes that I thought would be more clear. After a few hours ...

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January 25th, 2018

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# Am I completely insane?

I’ve reached a point in my life where I think only two possibilities can explain my relationship to the world:

1.) Over the last 25 years, I’ve gone completely insane.

2.) The world is insane, and over the last 25 years, I’ve become more aware of this.

I worry about the sheer number of things that seem painfully obvious to me, and yet which are met with widespread resistance from many groups, often the overwhelming majority of all people who care ...

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January 18th, 2018

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# The continued adaptation, modification and correction of errors in them, is essentially dependent on a certain kind of knowledge possessed by a group of programmers

Interesting:

The conclusion seems inescapable that with at least certain kinds of large programs, the continued adaptation, modification and correction of errors in them, is essentially dependent on a certain kind of knowledge possessed by a group of programmers who are closely and continuously connected with them.

Source

January 18th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Who is responsible for increasing diversity in tech?

Interesting:

We reject the idea that it is the “responsibility” of marginalized people to stay in toxic tech culture despite abuse and discrimination, solely to improve the diversity of tech. Marginalized people have already had to overcompensate for systemic sexist, ableist, and racist biases in order to earn their roles in tech. We believe people with power and privilege are responsible for changing toxic tech culture to be more inclusive and fair to marginalized people. If you want more diversity in ...

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January 17th, 2018

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# Chris Zheng is angry at the Clojure community

This initially sounds like it is going to be interesting:

I say it with much admiration and respect to all the members of community. I’ve learnt so much from being in this microcosm of dynamism, ideas and learning over the past 8 years. Clojure has allowed me to get to know so many amazing people, to travel to a whole bunch of places and to do things that I had never thought possible.

Having said that, I’ve gone from a wide-eyed, ...

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January 17th, 2018

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# Sometimes The Onion is exactly correct, part XXXVII, Honey Boo Boo

When Jane Austen was 17 years old she visited some cousins, who had some old copies of the Spectator. Since she recognized the name, she started to read the famous magazine. She was horrified. The vulgar language, the sexual terms, the gross metaphors invoking shit and maggots and eating babies — everything disgusted her. She said that she could form no liking of an era that had tolerated such coarseness.

The Onion reminds us that we will surely someday have ...

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January 16th, 2018

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# The continuing power of tradition, as it effects gender

An interesting bit from Barbara Kingsolver (I am a fan of her novel The Poisonwood Bible):

Most progressives wouldn’t hesitate to attend a football game, or to praise the enlightened new pope – the one who says he’s sorry, but women still can’t lead his church, or control our reproduction. In heterosexual weddings, religious or secular, the patriarch routinely “gives” his daughter to the groom, after which she’s presented to the audience as “Mrs New Patriarch,” to joyous applause. We ...

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January 16th, 2018

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# What is up with Narrative.io?

When I go to the website of Narrative.io all I see is black. Is this because I have an ad blocker installed? If so, this is the most dramatic ad-block caused bug that I’ve seen. Something like 20% of everyone on the Web is now using ad-blocking. Narrative.io should keep that in mind when they design their site.

Source

January 9th, 2018

No Comments

# A child struck by a car

Very sad story:

I’d been praying that maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked, that maybe he would be OK. I remember just leaning over and crying, and then trying very hard to get hold of myself.

The police agreed to let me wait in one of the neighbour’s houses. She was so kind. She had a daughter just a few years younger than me and I think she knew that her daughter could just as easily have been the perpetrator, ...

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January 8th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Psychological benefits of worker democracy

This democratic experiment sounds good, but the lack of structure sounds bad. The lack of structure won’t scale to large enterprises, and I believe large enterprises will always be with us. I wonder if the same psychological benefits can be gained by allowing workers to elect their CEO at large firms? The firms would have to be highly structured hierarchies, but the workers could still be allowed to vote for the leadership. That must bring some change of attitude, yes? ...

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January 7th, 2018

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# Why do social media designers think we want to see posts out of chronological order?

Interesting:

Source

January 7th, 2018

No Comments

# The best argument for mandatory education

I had not thought about this carefully enough, but as soon as you stop requiring education, you weaken the rest of this chain reasoning. The question then is how to extend this reasoning to college.

Source

January 7th, 2018

No Comments

# The current changes to the Labour Party are likely to be long lasting

Interesting:

This is a transformation of Labour as dramatic as anything that happened under Tony Blair in the 1990s. Arguably, it is much more significant. During his time as leader, Mr Blair did not put in much organisational effort to ensure that his ideological shift was a permanent one. New Labourites just assumed – how wrong they turned out to be – that the hard left had lost the arguments so comprehensively that it could not revive. New Labour never attempted ...

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January 7th, 2018

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# A few random thoughts about how a country gets to a constitutional crisis

What is the difference between heart disease and a heart attack? One is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term crisis that demands immediate attention. It is somewhat uncommon to have a heart attack, without first having heart disease. Likewise, what is the difference between a constitutional malaise and a constitutional crisis? Again, one is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term ...

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January 6th, 2018

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# The influence of the MeToo movement

Interesting:

Yesterday, one of these men asked jinni if he could share her table. The other tables were taken, so she said ‘of course’. He tried to chat her up but she simply responded monosyllabically, and returned to her book. He stared at her openly for about twenty minutes. Finally, she decided to leave (mostly because he also had a hacking cough). When she put her book in her bag, he again tried to kick up conversation with her, this time ...

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January 6th, 2018

In Business

No Comments

# Yegor Bugayenko: what motivates me as a programmer

Bugayenko has a very good list of things that motivate him. I find myself in agreement, with most of these things applying to me as well.

Here is two that I like very much:

Career path. I have no problem starting as a junior developer, but I have to know exactly what my future is and when it will happen. I want to become a CTO, no matter what. And it’s not about the title. It’s about the amount of technical ...

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January 6th, 2018

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# Yegor Bugayenko: 5 things to improve Java

Yegor Bugayenko offers suggestions for making Java better:

Global Variables. There are Singletons in Java, which, as we all know, are nothing but global variables. Wouldn’t it be great to enable global variables in Java and get rid of Singletons. PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and many other languages have them, why doesn’t Java?

Global Functions and Namespaces To group static methods together we create utility classes, where we have to define private constructors to prevent their instantiation. Also, we have to remember which ...

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January 5th, 2018

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# How should your company handle data safety and version control?

I’ve been writing software professionally since 1999. The first few years, I didn’t work at a company that used version control. Colin Steele mentioned Subversion to me in 2005. I used it till 2011. Since 2011, every company I’ve worked at has used Git.

From 2005 to 2011 we used Subversion to keep track of all projects. This was at both startups that I helped run, and also while doing most client work. During these years, I only had one ...

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January 5th, 2018

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# The problem with HTML

(originally from a longer essay)

Just to offer some perspective about where I’m coming from, I’ll start by saying that I think of these as tools that made it easy for beginners to be productive:

Hypercard

Visual Basic (obviously I mean the classic versions, before .NET. The stuff in the 1990s was genius)

Adobe Flash

Adobe Dreamweaver

(Of these links, I especially recommend the one about Hypercard.)

I spent 1995 learning HTML and putting together simple websites. I was thinking this is something I’d like to ...

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January 5th, 2018

In Business

4 Comments

# Why are women being pushed away from the tech industry?

Back in the 1970s, when my mother was in graduate school, she studied computer programming so she could build simulations of the urban transportation issues that she was researching. Her computer science professor was a woman. At the time, that wasn’t especially surprising. If you’ve seen movies like Hidden Figures, you are probably aware that the computer industry was initially welcoming to women (at least, relative to other industries at that time).

Over the last 30 years, women have been ...

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January 4th, 2018

No Comments

# The importance of bridges

After so many years of crumbling infrastructure, I’d like to think the USA is finally going to invest in itself again. I’m encouraged to realize that something like this can be popular with the young crowd that hangs out on Tumblr.

Source

January 4th, 2018

No Comments

# Why is the USA press so relentless on the issue of Israel?

I pray for peace in the MidEast. I don’t think we can get there by arresting a bunch of 15 year old girls.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# God should have made girls lethal when he made monsters of men

Interesting:

“God should have made girls lethal/when he made monsters of men” reads a line by poet Elisabeth Hewer. The line has stuck with me since I stumbled upon it in another book, not just because it’s striking, but because I resent its truth. I’m bored with dissecting my own victimhood but I also feel choked by it, held in place by its reality.

…I’ve had many men (and it’s only been men) tell me that the Weinstein fallout is a watershed ...

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January 3rd, 2018

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# The total number of fatal knife stabbings in London in 2017 rises to 80

This is a large amount of knife murder:

The new year attacks – three on 31 December and a fourth on 1 January – pushed the total number of fatal stabbings in London in 2017 to 80. The incidents occurred within a 15-hour period at locations in north, east and south London.

The region of New York City is a good 50% more populous than London, and they had 286 murders last year, mostly from guns.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

No Comments

# Cosmetics as self care

This article raises the question of self-care and cosmetics:

n 1908 guards stormed into a cell in Milan, tearing away bed sheets, flipping over mattresses, and yanking off pillowcases for a piece of contraband that had left the warden mystified for the preceding couple of weeks. The prisoner stood to the side, patiently watching her cell get turned inside out, her cheeks painted in cheerful red circles like a ballerina.

They were after her blush like it was a brick of cocaine.

No ...

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January 2nd, 2018

No Comments

# A Tory has no friends, and brags about it

What a blind thing to do. Toby Young got married, and very few friends showed up for his stag party. He is a vile person with vile politics, so it makes sense that no one likes him. But he decided that most people aren’t loyal. And he wrote an article about it. You’d think he’d be embarrassed that so few people like him, but he apparently doesn’t realize how his readers are likely to see him.

It was on my ...

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