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June 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The difference between societies that collapse under the weight of stupid citizens versus those who transcend them are the makeup of the non-stupid

Funny and interesting:

Law 4: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril. This brings us to the fifth and final law:

Law 5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

And its corollary:

A stupid person ...

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June 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Atlas of Lie Groups

Interesting:

Adams is is the leader of a cutting-edge mathematical research project called the Atlas of Lie Groups and Representations. Lie groups are named after Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie (rhymes with “free,” not “fry”), who studied these crucial mathematical objects. Lie groups are used to map the inner machinery of multidimensional symmetrical objects, and they’re important because symmetry underpins far-flung mathematical concepts, from a third-grade number line to many-dimensional string theory. The Atlas project is a bona fide atlas of these ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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In the USA, women in their 30s are having more kids than women in their 20s

The Baby Boom peaked in 1958. This was also the peak year of teen pregnancy in the USA. Young birth hit its all time peak that year, at a rate above anything known in the 1800s or early 1900s. Since then, women have been having children at older and older ages. And now this:

That’s according to the Associated Press, reporting on some preliminary new stats from the CDC which says that in 2016, it was 103 births per 100,000 ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The sheer phoniness of Prime Minister May

Interesting:

Then the camera shows a middle-aged woman at a desk, sipping coffee and reading a paper. She is glimpsed from an oblique angle. Her face isn’t clear but the viewer knows her name. She is the most famous politician in the country, and the message is obvious: while you start your day she is already hard at work, safeguarding the future – strong and stable.

The woman in the video is Angela Merkel and the film is a highly effective advertisement ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How does Facebook undermine the open web?

Interesting:

I’ve made exceptions a handful of times over the years, but as a general rule I refuse to link to anything on Facebook either, for the same reasons as Dave. Last week I linked to screenshots of a Facebook post to avoid linking to the original. The original post by Marc Haynes was public, which I know because I do not have a Facebook account, but here’s what it looks like for me without being a Facebook user — a ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The odd politics and self-inflicted injuries of Labour

Interesting:

Each of Labour’s winners prevailed because they had established sufficient credibility with the country to make Tory attacks seem wild and silly. They put their credibility into the service of a narrative of national renewal that resonated with a critical mass of the electorate. Attlee’s compelling pitch – “now let’s win the peace” – was about building a Britain worthy of the collective sacrifices made in wartime. Wilson, updating what it meant to be on the left of the spectrum ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Australia is complacent

Interesting:

Success bred complacency. The old policymaker’s adage has been proved anew: “Good times make bad policy.”

By late Howard years, ambition and rigour were lost and spending grew wanton.

Budget night came to resemble “Christmas night in the pirates’ cave” in the words of the former Treasury budget examiner Stephen Anthony, as the government lavished handouts and tax cuts in the forlorn hope that it could win the people’s gratitude.

The former Treasury secretary Ken Henry, who served Keating and Costello, ...

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June 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The new kind of society writing is done by oneself, about oneself

This is an interesting example of our changing mores.

Did she wear many different looks?

Yes, she did. A Missoni turban was involved in “the perfect pool look for me to greet my guests in”; later, she wore a custom Cucculelli Shaheen emblazoned with “secret symbols, the constellations of our two astrological signs colliding together, our initials, and the date of our wedding night embroidered into it,” a customized lace robe for the after-wedding brunch, a Naeem Khan cape that was “an ...

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June 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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A suicide letter posted to Github

Very sad:

There is a lot here to talk about, but I will start with something trivial: that he made two commits to the repo.

In the second commit, he adds a photo:

https://github.com/yeukhon/suicide/commit/eddf98b9f3f4676b114680326314d98d8a395a0f

I feel like some day sociologists and historians will write of this era, and I hope details like this are remembered. It says something about how fully we live technological lives now, that a person might make multiple commits to a suicide note.

In fact, he might have made many commits ...

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June 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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There is no tax bill in Congress

I think the complete lack of knowing any facts is the part that history teachers will have difficulty explaining to children:

Perhaps the most telling thing President Trump said in his rambling justification of his decision to pull out of the Paris accords on climate change wasn’t about climate change at all. It was, rather, about the speedy advance of his administration’s tax bill in the United States Congress.

-@POTUS: “Our tax bill is moving along in Congress and I believe ...

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May 31st, 2017

In Technology

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Cost cutting at British Airways caused the catastrophic failure of its database service

This is obviously a lie:

BA insisted that the computer system outages that grounded hundreds of flights were not linked to ferocious cost-cutting and the outsourcing of work to contractors in its IT department.

There is absolutely no way to get a melt down of this scale unless you’ve just fired your key staff, so you’ve nobody left who knows how to bring the system back online. I’ve worked at very small startups, with just 3 people on staff, and we ...

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May 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Get out if you don’t like free speech!

This guy just murdered two people. Apparently that’s okay, because his right to free speech gives him the right to kill people.

As Christian walked into the courtroom he yelled out: “Free speech or die, Portland! You got no safe place. This is America. Get out if you don’t like free speech!

Standing behind glass partitions in the defendant’s area, he continued: “Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Death to Antifa! You call ...

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May 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Book Of Joan sounds good

I’ve put this on my list of things to read: (this also makes me want to reread Dune).

Herbert’s hero, as emperor of Dune, was a godlike figure with uncanny abilities who embodied both immense capacity for destruction and a chance for renewal, if only he could overcome the temptations inherent in his powers. Although de Men in some ways exemplifies the same struggle, Joan must confront the implications of her powers as well, a reminder that our ecosystems ...

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May 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Cop jails black woman for passing him while driving

Sad that this still happens in the year 2017:

The incident, which took place May 20, began when Ponder found herself traveling behind a dangerous driver. Acting as any responsible driver would, Ponder signaled, maneuvered around the driver and continued traveling to her destination.

The driver—who had abruptly stopped several times, drifted in and out of lanes, and accelerated suddenly with no provocation, according to Ponder’s attorney, Lee Merritt—turned out to be Crews’ 14-year-old daughter.

Merritt explained what happened next in a Facebook ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Angry man wears a Make America Great Again hat

It is curious how many people wearing hats that say “Make America Great Again” seem to assume that making America great again means establishing a society where they can do whatever the hell they way.

The apparently entitled man took an aisle seat three rows ahead of her and refused to let anyone sit next to him, she said.

In video taken by Zimmerman, the man is seen with his hands folded behind his head and his feet propped up ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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British humor in the face of tragedy

This is some daring humor, in the face of tragic loss:

The next day, Mariah Carey had posted a picture of Martyn in a Mariah Carey T-shirt, accompanied by a devastated quote about the death of a member of her fandom. His brother’s response was one of those jokes that makes you gasp and laugh at the same time: “I was a little dubious about Martyn’s recent bold social media move,” he deadpanned. “But it worked.”

God, the sheer balls of that. ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Business

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Trump never thinks to export cars to Germany

This is a good point. Trump wants to block German cars from coming to the USA. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the USA and Germany might both be better off if the USA exported more cars to Germany.

But this is also true:

A more direct, and certainly effective way to reduce imbalances is to reduce the excess surplus (deficit) of domestic demand on GDP in deficit (surplus) countries. This is where more American cars in Germany would help. ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Is Clojure dying?

Interesting.

The past week or so a lot of discussion and introspection has been happening in the Clojure community. Eric Normand responded to my one year Lambda Island post with some reflections on the size and growth of the community.

And then Zack Maril lamented on Twitter: “I’m calling it, clojure’s dying more than it is growing”. This sparked a mega-thread, which was still raging four days later. A parallel discussion thread formed on Reddit. Someone asked if their were any Clojure ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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There is rhetoric in my writing

I’m reading some of Precious Nonsense by Stephen Booth.

One thing that really jumps out at me is the discussion of this sentence:

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

This sentence has a comma exactly where I would put it, but I know my friend, editor and co-author Natalie Sidner would remove that comma. Why?

The comma is here to indicate ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Also possibly interesting: the accumulation of so much potential and the absolute crushing of it

I’ve added this to my list to read. Interesting:

Watchful, bookish Cat and reckless, alluring Marlena have plenty of literary and pop cultural antecedents, but Buntin, through closely observed detail, makes these two her own. Their attachment is full of lovely teenage-girl things — cherry lip gloss, cut-up T-shirts, hearts drawn on the back of a hand, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks songs, tossed-off but unforgotten intimacies: “She scrapes a set of fingernails against my kneecap, a small circle that opens ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A heartless book?

This review sounds scathing, although I’m actually interested in reading the book now, because the reviewer concedes it manages to stay stylish despite its flaws:

Here it is again. The voice. The single white woman in New York figuring out her s- – - and drinking too much wine voice. Confessional, casual, brash, tell-it-like-it-is, flawed-yet-familiar, ostentatiously relatable.

Sometimes I feel like we’ve all made some blood pact to call this voice original and brave 20 years since it’s been either. In fact, ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Writing as the answer to life’s problems

This is something I’ll have to think about more:

As most narratives require, soon comes the fall: Levy finds that the things she holds dear to her are not as sturdy as they seemed. Most significant, however, was learning how much you can miss when you think of writing and its process as your ultimate savior: “My job is to interpret, and to communicate my interpretation persuasively to other people,” she writes. “The idea that in life, unlike in writing, the ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The frailty of modern marriage

Interesting:

Jo Piazza’s recent book How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage follows the Eat Pray Love method to the letter, and is animated by the author’s intense anxiety about “failing” at marriage. Piazza is a longtime travel writer, formerly at the helm of Yahoo’s travel vertical, which had her working 80-hour weeks and racking up air miles. The setting for this, her fifth book, reads ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Business

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Truckers have seen there wages shrink and automation can not be blamed

Interesting:

Trucking used to be a well-paying occupation. Here are wages of transportation and warehousing workers in today’s dollars, which have fallen by a third since the early 1970s:

Why? This is neither a trade nor a technology story. We’re not importing Chinese trucking services; robot truck drivers are a possible future, but not here yet. The article mentions workers displaced from manufacturing, but that’s a pretty thin reed. What it doesn’t mention is the obvious thing: unions.

Source

May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Humans used a paint shop in Ethiopia for 4,500 years

Amazing. This must have been a huge society to support such an active paint shop, especially at the peak. We know that, during the last 2,000 years, migrant societies of Asia often numbered in the millions, but they had the advantage of horses and goats and bison. Without domesticated animals, a migrant society was probably smaller, but perhaps there might have been a few 100,000s in the area of this paint shop when it was at its peak.

45,000 years ago, ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jupiter is complicated

Interesting:

While Jupiter’s iconic red storm, stripes and girth may loom large in the skies and in our minds, surprisingly little is known about it. Among the many questions Juno set out to answer: Does the gas giant have a solid metal core? Does it have any structure beneath its banded atmosphere, or are its depths well-mixed? How much water lies within its body? And what powers its auroras and its magnetic field?

Now, data from just the first two passes ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A need for safety keeps the poor near poverty

I think we already knew this;

I’ve written before about how inequality perpetuates itself through differences in confidence: people from rich backgrounds have the chutzpah to blag good jobs for which they are unqualified, whilst those from poorer backgrounds have confidence knocked out of them. However, a new paper by David Chivers suggests there’s another mechanism which can have the same effect – differences in aspirations.

He shows that people who are just above the poverty line are scared to take risks ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Business

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If Harvard University has information to sell, why don’t other countries build more Harvard Universities?

Now that we have the Internet, information is abundant. So if something like Harvard is scarce, I think it must be selling something scarce, such as prestige, rather than information. I don’t think this last paragraph can be justified:

But after 1980 America began to lose the race between education and technology.

The expansion of American higher education slowed massively. Higher education for native-born males simply froze in its tracks. As a result, in the world in which we have worked for ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Business

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How to respond to people who lose wages because of interruptions in their career

In the West, we are lucky to face two problems that have one solution:

1.) Motherhood contributes the gender gap

2.) Middle age men lose their factory jobs to automation, and never again get as good a job

In short, any interruption in one’s career causes wages to go down, and if you are over the age of 40, there is a good chance your wages won’t catch up to where they might have been if your career had never suffered an ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What forces exist to promote mutual respect and tolerance?

Interesting:

Organizations and leaders. Organizations like white supremacist clubs and their leaders make deliberate attempts to persuade outsiders to join their beliefs. Leaders make concerted and intelligent attempts to craft messages that will appeal to potential followers, deliberately cultivating the themes of hate and racism that they advocate. Young people are recruited at the street level into groups and clubs that convey hateful symbols and rhetoric. Political entrepreneurs take advantage of the persuasive power of mobilization efforts based on divisiveness ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Talking with my right-wing friends

I know a couple who are fairly right-wing. I like them dearly. They are important to me. They call themselves libertarian. They did not vote for Trump, though their parents and siblings voted for Trump.

I try to avoid talking politics with them, but on the rare occasion when politics comes up, the thing that strikes me most is this: they never ask me what I think, instead, they tell me what I think.

I’m not sure what their ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The strong Grandmother Hypothesis

I was never a hunter, but when I was 20 I loved to explore forests. I’d go into the forest for days, and explore areas where I thought other folks had not been in a while. I was mostly on the east coast of the USA so I did not have to worry too much about bears. When I was out West I had some close calls with bobcats, but I was lucky.

Young men typically go on adventures into ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Very unpleasant people who want a racial or religious war

I’m sick that people write such disgusting things:. And for every person who says something that disgusting in public, there must be a 1,000 who think something similar in private.

The newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins became the subject of a police review after the Manchester bombing on Monday, as questions were raised about the limits the press can go to when reporting the fallout from terrorist attacks.

Hopkins, who is employed by the Mail Online and LBC, was reported to the ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kennedy barely knew his Inaugural Address

I’m watching Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. I guess it’s been many years since the last time I saw it. I love the text of this speech. And I love studying great rhetoric.

But now, watching it again, I’m astonished at how hesitant he is. He keeps looking down at his notes. Yet it’s a short speech. He could have easily memorized it. I would have memorized it. How often do you get sworn in as President of the USA? Anyone ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The context that controls the reading of the Gettysburg Address

“Impregnated during a wild spree” wouldn’t sound correct, but “Conceived in Liberty” can be read that way. The context matters

This seems like an extreme dip into deconstructionism, but I think it can be a lot of fun to remember how slippery words are. The same phrase evokes different images for different people. The title of the work is “Precious Nonsense” which can only be accurate if all text is nonsense, since all text is slippery in the same way, unless ...

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May 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The rising appeal of religiously motivated punishments

A similar movement is spreading across the USA, where politicians are looking to see how much anti-gay hatred they can create. It’s seems to be a worldwide movement, effecting all of the religions, that these punishments are becoming more popular. Perhaps the curious thing is why politicians feel that the strictest and most narrow interpretations of traditional beliefs might now be the most popular? There have been centuries when homosexuality was treated as a minor sin, and other centuries ...

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May 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The trolls are more common than ever on Hacker News

Someone reasonable asked:

Should someone pay me for not having slaves and not being able to profit from exploiting them because I am a century or two late and missed the good old time when it was not yet an unacceptable practice?

And, in the year 2017, someone wrote:

If you legally acquired them, then yes. The British experience ending slavery was far more humane than the US one.

That is already surprising, but then I wrote this, and I was promptly downvoted:

You ...

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May 9th, 2017

In Technology

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Don’t use PM2 with NodeJS

Interesting:

I don’t use any of the “node” process managers because they don’t solve the problem of starting your process at server boot. I use init scripts, or upstart, or runit or systemd like you’re supposed to for a service. Anyone using forever or pm2 likely doesn’t understand sysops.

Source

May 5th, 2017

In Technology

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Very long GC pauses when NodeJS is about to die from memory exhaustion

I sometimes see stuff like this in my logs, when my NodeJS app has reached critical:

856870 ms: Mark-sweep 5647.1 (6029.8) -> 5625.8 (6029.8) MB, 10733.9 / 0.0 ms [allocation failure] [GC in old space requested]. 867774 ms: Mark-sweep 5625.8 (6029.8) -> 5625.8 (6030.8) MB, 10903.4 / 0.0 ms [allocation failure] [GC in old space requested]. 878580 ms: Mark-sweep 5625.8 (6030.8) -> 5625.8 (5996.8) MB, 10806.3 / 0.0 ms [last resort gc]. 889353 ms: Mark-sweep ...
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May 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Pro-tip: it’s not a great idea to be incredibly sensitive about how someone asks a question

Someone is a bit sensitive:

Source

May 2nd, 2017

In Business

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There’s a word that unites culture and the economy: politics

Politics:

Law and Justice MEPs sit in the same group as British Conservatives. Ashley Fox, leader of the Tory group in the European Parliament, came to the new government’s defence over the criticism it has received from Western media and from the European Commission. Even though Brexit threatens Poland with a significant cut to its EU funding, and means difficulties for Poles in the UK, Kaczyński has been energised by it, seeming to believe the shock of Brexit will force Germany ...

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May 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Bad ideas end with a sudden cascade

Interesting:

If one person convinces a second, says Blackford, then a third person will be far more likely to agree with the majority view. This effect exponentially increases with each person who agrees with the others. “We soon have a sociological effect whereby everyone knows that, say, a certain movie is very good or very bad, even though everyone might have ‘known’ the exact opposite if only a few early voices had been different,” says Blackford.

The cascade effect can help explain ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Business

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Part of the Great Stagnation is simply a lack of power

Literally, a lack of electricity:

In an article published in the Electricity Journal in 2015, former Lawrence Berkeley energy researcher Jonathan G. Koomey, now a consultant and a lecturer at Stanford, and Virginia Tech historian of science Richard F. Hirsch offered five hypotheses for why electricity demand had decoupled from economic growth (which I’ve paraphrased here):

State and federal efficiency standards for buildings and appliances have enabled us to get by with less electricity. Increased use of information and communications technologies have ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Social purity in 1903

What an interesting image:

Now we’ve established that if you, like “A Childless Wife,” have chosen to be child-free, you are empty of soul, selfish and controlled by your basest desires. It is also likely that you are suffering an inflated sense of your value to this world. A Childless Wife also had a rather long whinge about the likelihood that she would die during delivery. She was staunchly against dying. And yes, maternal death would have been a concern ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Technology

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More NLP for Clojure

This looks fantastic:

To do its magic, postagga extracts the phrase structure of your input, and tries to find how do this structure compare to its many semantic rules and if it finds a match, where in this structure shall he extract meaningful information.

Let’s study a simple example. Look at the next sentence:

“Rafik loves apples” That is our “Natural language input”

First step in understanding this sentence is to extract some structure from it so it is easier to interpret. One common way ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Technology

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TCP can fail in many, many ways

Amazing that the world depends on a technology with so many quirks:

So, if we read that data first, and LINGER, are we good to go? Not really. The close() call really does not convey what we are trying to tell the kernel: please close the connection after sending all the data I submitted through write().

Luckily, the system call shutdown() is available, which tells the kernel exactly this. However, it alone is not enough. When shutdown() returns, we still have no indication ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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English is not Latin

This has always been an idiotic rule:

There is a traditional view, first set forth by the 17th-century poet and dramatist John Dryden, that it is incorrect to put a preposition at the end of a sentence, as in where do you come from? or she’s not a writer I’ve ever come across. The rule was formulated on the basis that, since in Latin a preposition cannot come after the word it governs or is linked with, the same should be ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Business

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Dick Costolo destroyed Twitter

So sad:

The roots of Twitter’s decline were actually established in the Summer of 2010–on the day the company’s board pushed Evan Williams out as CEO and replaced him with Dick Costolo, a man who looked at Twitter and saw a media company in the advertising business.

While the details of the events that led to that moment are fascinating and involve enough infighting, backstabbing, and subterfuge to make a Byzantine emperor proud, they aren’t relevant to this essay.

The abridged version is ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Business

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The crisis in retail will outlast the next few booms

Interesting:

the crisis of retail seems unstoppable for numerous reasons:

Obviously e-commerce and the rise of digital retail giants Amazon and Alibaba are said to have ‘disrupted’ retail and changed consumer expectations. It is accused of destroying the old retail models. It may be true. However when it comes to groceries, online retail still only accounts for a relatively small part (between 5% and 15% depending on the country);

Internet has brought about new business models that transform ownership into services: rather than ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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See something, say something, watch the authorities overreact

This is the result of trying to find policies that force various agencies to act on auto-pilot:

Long story short: A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter was briefly detained on suspicion that he was engaged in sex trafficking. (And not to pile on, but it was a United flight.) Despite papa having her passport, his passport, and a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jennifer Jason Leigh talks about Quentin Tarantino

This is a really interesting comment about Hollywood:

What accounts for this comeback you’ve had (1)? Was it a change of management or just good fortune?

I am well over 40. I feel like the door was closed, and I had made my peace with it and I was fine. I worried a little bit about money. “Am I going to work again … Maybe I’ll go more into writing.” But I’m very happy being a mom. I just thought I had ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Technology

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Thinking about Concurrency, Raymond Hettinger, Python core developer

A basic overview of concurrency, most of which I knew, but he had one good line at the end: “If you add enough locks to your concurrent code, it is no longer concurrent. It is completely sequential, you’ve simply made it a lot more complicated than single threaded code.”

Source

April 23rd, 2017

In Business

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Workers reduce accidents when they point at things

Interesting:

Japan’s rail system has a well-deserved reputation for being among the very best in the world. An extensive network of tracks moving an estimated 12 billion passengers each year with an on-time performance measured in the seconds makes Japanese rail a precise, highly reliable transportation marvel.

Train conductors, drivers and station staff play an important role in the safe and efficient operation of the lines; a key aspect of which is the variety of physical gestures and vocal calls that they ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Business

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Report a security problem to a bank and get threatened with the FBI

It is a bit frustrating that banks show so little interest in increasing their online security:

The next day, I phoned the Zecco office with message to Jeff Chamberlain, and Jeroen Veth to arrange a phone call.

During the week of 2008-01-06 I held phone conferences with Jeff Chamberlain (Fraud Prevention Manager), Jeroen Veth (Founder and CEO), Michael Raneri (then CTO, later promoted to CEO and now Managing Director – PwC), Phil (Penson Bank, their software vendor), Greg (VP of Engineering) Loren ...

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April 15th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Gender ideals in sports in Germany before the Nazis

Interesting:

He completed his Ph.D. in 1925, and the following year he dashed to global fame, competing in seventy-six races, achieving four national records, three world records, and beating two reigning Olympic champions. His racing style was brash and incautious, reckless even, relying on his blistering pace on the home straight to seal victory. It mirrored his combative personality; his on-track success was accompanied by stories of frequent confrontations with coaches, teammates, opponents, and the stuffed blazers who ran German athletics ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Anti-gay human rights abuse in Chechnya

Really awful:

At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.

As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jack London was his own lawyer and he won

Interesting:

Jack London advocated a different revolution, a Socialist one. The various books, articles, and speeches referred to as his Socialist writings, though now little read in the United States, sold well when first published and have been avidly read all over the world. The Iron Heel, for instance, sold over 50,000 copies in hardback, and Wikipedia lists translations of the novel into thirty-two languages (including Esperanto). According to Alex Kershaw (in his Jack London: A Life), the novel “was…passed ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Technology

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Python has greenlets

I’m sad that Python is doing so well. It gets all the attention that should go to Clojure. They are both great for AI and NLP, but Python doesn’t have as many great ideas for concurrency. Or rather, the language doesn’t, but the eco-system makes up for that with a wealth of interesting ideas — and it is sad to see so much effort go to see making Python work, rather than just starting over with something that has a ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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English adventurers in the Black Sea just before the First Crusade

This is sort of a precursor to the Crusades, with less of a goal, and more random adventuring:

This sequence of events appears to underlie all four of the sources mentioned above and is moreover supported by contemporary Byzantine sources too, as Jonathan Shepard has convincingly argued.(2) As to the date of this emigration of disgruntled Anglo-Saxon lords and their followers, Christine Fell makes a good case for it having taken place in the mid- to late 1070s, after the death ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Sweden is a nation of introverts

Interesting:

“Swedish culture isn’t exactly known for its extroversion and mingling,” says Sophia Skinbjerg, a 25-year-old Australian-Danish marketeer, who is based in Stockholm. “Connections, whether personal or professional, are often fostered from a very young age. So as a foreign person, it’s very difficult to break through and establish your own network quickly.” Risk avoidance With one of the highest standards of living in the world and a booming start-up scene, Sweden has attracted growing numbers of expats and economic migrants in recent years, ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Business

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Doc Searls: ad tech is destructive to brands

Interesting:

The New York Times said AT&T and Johnson & Johnson were pulling their ads from YouTube, concerned that “Google is not doing enough to prevent brands from appearing next to offensive material, like hate speech.” Business Insider said “more than 250” advertisers were bailing as well. Both reports came on the heels of one Guardian story that said Audi, HSBC, Lloyds, McDonald’s, L’Oréal, Sainsbury’s, Argos, the BBC and Sky were doing the same in the UK. Another Guardian story that ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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When were women active in politics

Measured by how many women testified before Congress, it seems women’s political mobilization peaked in the mid 20th Century:

First, far from retreating from public life in the post-suffrage and postwar decades, women and their organizations were out in force. Working through mass membership federations, to which Theda Skocpol has called our attention, women testified collectively on a wide range of issues including but not limited to foreign policy, affordable housing, children’s well-being, military readiness, public education, tax policy, and immigration. ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Technology

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Katharine Jarmul describes the bias in Google’s Word2Vec software

Interesting:

I must warn you that parts of this post are disgusting, disturbing and awful. If you are having a rough day, feel free to save for another time. If you are already sick of seeing hateful language, this is likely not a post to read at present. That said, I feel my duty as a former journalist to look at it, expose it, and hope to spark better conversations around how we handle both implicit and explicit bias and prejudice ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The alt-right has always been part of the USA political scene

Interesting:

American historians’ relationship to conservatism itself has a troubled history. Even after Ronald Reagan’s electoral-college landslide in 1980, we paid little attention to the right: The central narrative of America’s political development was still believed to be the rise of the liberal state. But as Newt Gingrich’s right-wing revolutionaries prepared to take over the House of Representatives in 1994, the scholar Alan Brinkley published an essay called “The Problem of American Conservatism” in The American Historical Review. American conservatism, ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The decline of the public intellectual

Interesting:

If you were a certain sort of ideas-oriented young person coming of age in the 20th century, it was very likely you would give yourself a label and join some movement. You’d call yourself a Marxist, a neoconservative, a Freudian, an existentialist or a New Deal liberal.

There would be certain sacred writers who would explain the world to you — from Jung to Camus, Dewey or Chesterton. There’d probably be a small magazine where the doctrines of your sect ...

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April 11th, 2017

In Technology

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Why are people ignoring the problems with NodeJS?

Two weeks ago I wrote “A surprising NodeJS failure mode: deterministic code becomes probabilistic under load“. Since then I’ve been reading up on NodeJS and learning more about its substantial failure modes. I’m left feeling very surprised at the success that NodeJS is having.

Just to give you a sense of what I mean, this is how The New Stack sums up the success of NodeJS:

Ready for a Long Term Node Relationship?

In just seven short years, Node.js has gone ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Manhood in the age of Trump

Interesting:

For some decades now, since I was a child, I’ve heard people talking about how our understanding of gender would need to change, and how men would need to reinterpret what it needs to be a man. But apparently, open mindedness on this issue is easier for men when they know their wages will be going up for some decades. In the USA, men were tolerant of the surge of women into the workforce during the 1930s and 1940s. In ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Britain in south east Africa in 550 AD

Amazing to think that British merchants reached Tanzania in the mid 500s. If there was still so much trade going on, why did the economy collapse to completely?

Tanzania? A small number of beads have been found on the East African coast at Dar es Salaam and Kisiju, Tanzania, which have been considered to be early Anglo-Saxon in origin by a number of researchers, including Richard Hodges and Barbara Green, as was discussed in a previous post. Given their likely origin, ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Octopus can kill dolphins even after the dolphin has swallowed them

Interesting:

Essentially, the octopuses’ tentacles keep fighting, blocking the dolphins’ airways, even after most of their bodies have been swallowed. It’s a terrifying way to die, but Sprogis and the researchers observe that octopuses must be such valuable prey that they are worth it. Over seven years of observation, she and her team watched 33 dolphins “handling” octopuses in ways that made them meal-ready. Typically, the encounter would start with the dolphin biting the octopus’ head off, followed by tossing the ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Vikings raided Africa and then took slaves back to Ireland

One of the great puzzles of history is why a particular region might suddenly become active and attack another region. Why was Scandinavia not a factor during Roman times but then suddenly a volcano that spewed attacks outward like a volcano throwing out lava? Why did the Vikings suddenly come onto the scene? What had they been doing previously? Why did they attack Africa, rather than the other way around? Why has there never been a time when Sub-Saharan Africa ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Korzybski on linguistic relativism

Interesting:

Sapir/Whorf contemporary Alfred Korzybski was independently developing his theory of general semantics, which was aimed at using language’s influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive abilities. Korzybski’s thinking was influenced by logical philosophy such as Russell and Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.[72] Although Korzybski was not aware of Sapir and Whorf’s writings, the movement was followed by Whorf-admirer Chase, who fused Whorf’s interest in cultural-linguistic variation with Korzybski’s programme in his popular work “The Tyranny of Words”. S. ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Business

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Donovan Data Systems and the modernization of the ad business

I just stumbled on this story from 2008. It makes me sad to think that Donovan Data Systems has had a tough time dealing with the modern ad market. I knew Michael Donovan, one of the great entrepreneurs of the 20th Century. He was a friend of the father of my business partner, and the father asked him as a favor to come and advise us.

But it is tough for a company to remain agile, after a long period ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Maybe naked mole rats are simply very good at fighting off cancer?

If a tumor is only a dozen cells, scientists would have difficulty finding it. Previously, researchers thought naked mole rats could not get cancer. Then they found one who got cancer but then healed. What if naked mole rats do get cancer at a normal rate, but their immune system is good about destroying all tumors before scientists can detect them? Interesting:

Dr. Delaney and her colleagues have studied lesions on naked mole rats for more than a decade, but it ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Mojica was overcome, and found himself with tears in his eyes

Interesting:

But every time Mojica and his colleagues repeated the experiment, the same pattern—30 or so bases that appeared over and over again, separated by lengths of seemingly unrelated DNA—reappeared. Reading journal articles in the library, Mojica learned that a Japanese group had noticed something similar in the genome of E. coli a few years before. Despite the fact that the repetitions did not seem to be connected to H. mediterranei’s predilection for salt, he put a chapter on them at ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The alternative media on the right

Interesting:

“The long, lucrative right-wing grift is blowing up in the world’s face”: “Because there was a lot of money in it for various hucksters and moguls and authors and politicians, the conservative movement spent decades building up an entire sector of the economy dedicated to scaring and lying to older white men. For millions of members of that demographic, this parallel media dedicated to lying to them has totally supplanted the ‘mainstream’ media. Now they, and we, are at the ...

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April 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Clean decimals are limited to primes of your base

Interesting:

Floating Point Math

Your language isn’t broken, it’s doing floating point math. Computers can only natively store integers, so they need some way of representing decimal numbers. This representation comes with some degree of inaccuracy. That’s why, more often than not, .1 + .2 != .3.

Why does this happen?

It’s actually pretty simple. When you have a base 10 system (like ours), it can only express fractions that use a prime factor of the base. The prime factors of 10 are ...

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April 5th, 2017

In Business

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Andy Grove does not understand why cancer research is so hard

Interesting:

Andy Grove: The fundamental tenet that drives us all in the semiconductor industry is a deeply felt conviction that what matters is time to market, or time to money. But you never hear an executive from a pharmaceutical company say, “Before the end of the year I’m going to have xyz drug,” the way Steve Jobs said the iPhone would be out on schedule. The heart of every high-tech executive has been, get the product into customers’ hands and ramp ...

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April 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Have I been shadowbanned from Hacker News?

Very strange. Check out this page on Hacker News.

None of my comments are appearing there. I wonder if I have been banned? I can’t imagine why this would happen. I believe I offer good comments that move a conversation forward.

The article asks this question:

Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the most expensive cities?

To which I responded:

(Please forgive the side-story, I believe this comment eventually forms a cohesive story.)

Once upon a time I had ...

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April 3rd, 2017

In Business

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Sometimes consultants are cheaper and better than full time hires

Sean Hull makes this point, and I’m surprised that more CTOs don’t get this. As I make clear in my upcoming book, sometimes it is better, smarter and cheaper to hire a real expert for 2 weeks, rather than hire someone fresh out of college and allow them to thrash around for 3 months.

4. Halftime need

Smaller demand? Perhaps your capacity isn’t a full 40-hour week. Then an on-demand hire is really ideal.

Also: Is the difference between dev & ...

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April 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Language is the only homeland

The only homeland. This strikes me as the only way forward for Europe, and perhaps the world, though I realize there are some groups, such as African-Americans in the USA, who might strongly disagree, as they use the language of the oppressors. But maybe if we can interpret the words broadly enough, then the idea fits everyone? Beyoncé recently sang:

My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama

So where is her homeland? What ...

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March 30th, 2017

In Technology

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A surprising NodeJS failure mode: deterministic code becomes probabilistic under load

I have a client. Let’s say they run some scripts that scrape the web for data, then they run some NLP scripts to pull out the facts they need, then they need to insert that into their MySQL database. When they gather facts, they need to know if the facts are about an organization that is already in the database. So they asked me to create an API that could take their new facts, and try to match those facts ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Business

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Svbtle was a final attempt to keep blogs alive

I find it very sad that the era of experimentation on the Web has come to an end. We won’t be seeing much like Svbtle ever again:

Dustin Curtis is a developer, designer, and blogger who has accomplished the rare feat of getting a blogging platform off the ground. Called Svbtle, it launched in early 2012 as a sort of application-required Tumblr — a few tech thought leaders using a uniform minimalist theme to publish long posts. But it’s grown ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Another blow to the indie Web: the Deck ad network closes down

So sad:

LONG STRANGE TRIP

We started The Deck in 2006 and for the first couple years it struggled. By 2008, it was an OK business and by 2009, it was a pretty good business. From then through 2013, The Deck was going along just fine.

THINGS WORK, UNTIL THEY DON’T

Things change. In 2014, display advertisers started concentrating on large, walled, social networks. The indie “blogosphere” was disappearing. Mobile impressions, which produce significantly fewer clicks and engagements, began to really dominate the market. ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Technology

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Skip Lists: A Probabilistic Alternative to Balanced Trees

Interesting:

Skip lists are a data structure that can be used in place of balanced trees. Skip lists use probabilistic balancing rather than strictly enforced balancing and as a result the algorithms for insertion and deletion in skip lists are much simpler and significantly faster than equivalent algorithms for balanced trees

A node that has k forward pointers is called a level k node. If every (2i)th node has a pointer 2i nodes ahead, then levels of nodes are distributed in a simple pattern: 50% are level 1, 25% ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Technology

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Novelty seeking multi agent systems

Interesting:

This paper considers novelty-seeking multi-agent systems as a step towards more efficient generation of creative artifacts. We describe a simple multi-agent architecture where agents have limited resources and exercise self-criticism, veto power and voting to collectively regulate which artifacts are selected to the domain i.e., the cultural storage of the system. To overcome their individual resource limitations, agents have a limited access to the artifacts already in the domain which they can use to guide their search for novel artifacts. Creating geometric images called spirographs as a case study, we show ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Technology

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Bushy join trees for snowstorm queries

I am taken aback by the amount of jargon here:

Many workloads for analytical processing in commercial RDBMSs are dominated by snowstorm queries, which are characterized by references to multiple large fact tables and their associated smaller dimension tables. This paper describes a technique for bushy join tree optimization for snowstorm queries in Oracle database system. This technique generates bushy join trees containing subtrees that produce substantially reduced sets of rows and, therefore, their joins with other subtrees are generally much ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Technology

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How to combine novelty search with fitness-based evolution

I need to go back and read this whole article:

Novelty search is a state-of-the-art evolutionary approach that promotes behavioural novelty instead of pursuing a static objective. Along with a large number of successful applications, many different variants of novelty search have been proposed. It is still unclear, however, how some key parameters and algorithmic components influence the evolutionary dynamics and performance of novelty search. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive empirical study focused on novelty search’s algorithmic components. We ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Technology

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Novelty search

Interesting:

Novelty search is a recent algorithm geared toward exploring search spaces without regard to objectives. When the presence of constraints divides a search space into feasible space and infeasible space, interesting implications arise regarding how novelty search explores such spaces. This paper elaborates on the problem of constrained novelty search and proposes two novelty search algorithms which search within both the feasible and the infeasible space. Inspired by the FI-2pop genetic algorithm, both algorithms maintain and evolve two separate populations, ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The rise of neo queerbaiting

The actress, who is contractually obligated to defend the storyline that the corporation decides to advance, offers a diplomatic answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a man, versus her answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a woman:

Also

Source

March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How long can sha-1 crypto survive?

Interesting:

SHA1 was meant to be a replacement for MD5. MD5 has an output space of only 128-bits, where as SHA1 has an output space of 160-bits. SHA1 is also designed differently than MD5, and is meant to not suffer the same sort of weaknesses or attacks that MD5 faces. However, over time, cryptographers have been able to severely attack SHA1, and as a result, they’ve all been warning us to get off SHA1, and move to SHA2. It should ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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After 121 years of terrible journalism, the DailyMail is finding ways to be worse

When every article you publish is terrible, it takes something unique to stand out from the debris and make people say “That is much worse than usual“.

The meeting presented a new low for the newspaper, its perpetually disappointed proprietor and its lickspittle columnist: as if it weren’t bad enough that women held high office and didn’t have the grace to think the same about things, they were also each in possession of not one but two legs. Who knows where ...

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March 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail

Good lord, this song is good:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Technology

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What every object on a network needs

There is no need to rely on the Web for these things:

The problem with operations is that we have to define, a-priori, the semantics of each individual operation. We cannot tell, unless we know beforehand, whether the operation is safe to call multiple times, whether the result of an operation will be the same every time we call it, whether the result can be cached, and if so for how long. Many years of building distributed applications have told ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Complexity emerges when a system has transitions that demand a different kind of math

Interesting:

When we observe the largest scale behaviors of a system, we simplify the mathematical description of the system because there are fewer distinguishable states, and only a limited set of possible behaviors. This also means that systems that look different on a microscopic scale may not look different at the macroscopic scale, and their mathematical descriptions become the same.

An important example of this arose in the study of phase transitions using the new mathematics of renormalization group. The transition ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Use pseudo URIs for an id

A long article, but this is interesting:

When facing the problems above, my team at SoundCloud started exploring alternatives that would allow for us to have simple, scalar values that were still rich enough to act as good identifiers across our hundreds of microservices. Reading through decades of industry work on the matter, we found something simple that could help us: Uniform Resource Names, or URNs. URNs were a type of Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that, as opposed to URLs, were ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Did sleep paralysis start the Salem Witch Trials?

Interesting:

Sleep paralysis researchers Brian Sharpless and Karl Dograhmji have collected 118 different terms from around the world that describe sleep paralysis-like experiences: Germans have terms for hexendrücken – witch pressing – and alpdrücken – elf pressing. Norwegian folktales include svartalfar – evil elves that shoot people with paralysing arrows before perching on their chests. The Japanese have a term, kanashibari, in reference to being magically bound by invisible metal. In parts of Switzerland people speak of tchutch-muton, an evil ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Will we live in a society where everyone needs an advanced college degree?

It’s amazing that this was written back in 1903, when less than 4% of the population had a college degree:

Human nature is once for all so childish that every reality becomes a sham somewhere, and in the minds of Presidents and Trustees the Ph.D. degree is in point of fact already looked upon as a mere advertising resource, a manner of throwing dust in the Public’s eyes. “No instructor who is not a Doctor” has become a maxim in the ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Do researchers have momentum?

Interesting:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kids make people hate each other

It’s funny, but it’s also serious, how many relationships go downhill once a couple has kids.

How Not to Hate Your Husband is a book for messy reality, but I can’t shake my frustration that its twin, written for men, isn’t out there somewhere: How to Keep Your Wife From Hating You After Kids. I’m disappointed that on top of doing far more housework and childcare than men, it also falls on women to patiently and strategically negotiate the terms ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The endless jargon wears me down

Microcanonical distribution? I find myself thinking I need to read something else before I read this. But then I find an article that is suppose to be more basic, and that too has jargon that makes me think I need to read something still more basic. I wonder where the starting point is?

Every time I try to get through an essay like this (almost every day) I find myself worn out dealing with the endless jargon:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Business

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Anti-human technology

This goes beyond bad design to being actively uncomfortable for humans. Even when such a device is operating normally, there is still the fear of it being hyper active – the lack of reliability becomes a stress factor for its users.

“No… it’s a magic potty,” my daughter used to lament, age 3 or so, before refusing to use a public restroom stall with an automatic-flush toilet. As a small person, she was accustomed to the infrared sensor detecting erratic ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Is NewSQL the next big thing?

I like the fact that Kinesis has an SQL interface:

I can see this being useful for Business Intelligence. But that seems like a niche to me. Both SQL and NoSQL solved big, universal problems.

But maybe the SQL is just window dressing? Maybe the real breakthrough is a distributed system with strong consistency guarantees? It would be a very big deal if someone found a way around the CAP Theorem. But otherwise, NewSQL is just more bad marketing for ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Designing a neural net is really hard

Interesting:

2bitencryption says:

Designing a neural network is a thousand times harder than I imagined.

After AlphaGo, I tasked myself with creating a neural network that would use Q-Learning to play Reversi (aka Othello).

At that point, I had already utilized Q-Learning (the tabular version, not using a neural network) for some very simple and mostly proof-of-concept projects, so I understood how it worked. I read up only perceptrons, relu, the benefits/disadvantages of having more/fewer layers, etc.

Then I actually started on the project, thinking ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Facebook activated my dormant account and it won’t let me deactivate it

I am angry. I will walk you through the steps of what has happened. Here is the historical background:

1.) In late 2008, I signed up for Facebook.

2.) In early 2012 I deactivated my account.

3.) On March 14th, 2017, Facebook suddenly reactivated my account. I received this email:

I have done nothing to reactivate my account. I do not want an account on Facebook. I have been happy to live without Facebook for the last 5 years. The ...

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March 26th, 2017

In Technology

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Training a neural net

A great intro:

Training

Training is how we teach a neural network what we want it to learn. It follows a simple five step process:

1.) Create a training data set, which we will call x and load its labels as targets y

2.) Feed the x data forward through the network with the result being predictions y’

3.) Figure out the “loss” of the network, which is the difference between the predictions y’ and the correct targets y

4.) Compute the “gradient” of the loss ...

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March 26th, 2017

In Technology

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Transform real data into a tensor, that is, tensor flow

A good introduction:

Source

March 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What happens when there is no agreement on the sources of facts?

Interesting:

But what happens when political participants step out of bounds and violate shared norms? Is it the press’s role to defend those norms, to push back, or merely to report on what has happened?

It’s a dilemma. For one thing, no clear line separates legitimate subjects of political dispute from what is off limits or out of bounds. As circumstances change, those lines shift and warp at the margins. Collective values are always in flux. Things that were subject of dispute ...

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March 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Government says: Don’t Be Afraid to Racially Profile Your Friends, Neighbors and Coworkers

Worrisome:

Peterson opened his remarks with an anecdote about the San Bernardino shooters, who you’ll recall were a married couple. He noted that a neighbor failed to call the cops on the pair before the shooting, despite seeing them in their garage doing something murky. She feared being thought of as “racist,” Peterson said.

Peterson described this as an example of “political correctness run amok.” He encouraged us not to let a distaste for treating people differently based on their race ...

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March 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why does anyone bother?

Interesting:

How Not to Hate Your Husband came about because Dunn and her husband Tom had fallen into a deep rut of arguments and resentment about their household distribution of labour. Tom, despite good intentions and a warm personality, left almost all of the household management and childcare to Dunn, and her resentment became explosive. (Sound familiar?) Their six-year-old daughter, Sylvie, was often witness to their conflicts, and Dunn began to worry about the negative impact that this repetitive dynamic ...

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March 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Maybe you should write fan fiction

This is great:

You know when professional writers say, “We’re not writing fan fiction”? My immediate reaction is almost always – well, maybe you should be.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who spends a lovingly long time getting into characters’ heads and making sure they’re internally consistent? Who cares more about interactions and dynamics than pulling the rug out from under audiences’ feet.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who chooses to show characters in love even ...

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March 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Telling your family that you’ve been laid off

This was from a fiction workshop I was part of. This was my effort.

Jeffery and Anthony pulled up to the curb in front of the house. Jeffery looked out the house, but he did not move.

Anthony, who was in the driver’s seat, watched his friend for a long moment, and then said, “You’ve got to tell them.”

There was no reaction from Jeffery. Perhaps he had not heard.

“You’ve got to tell them,” repeated Anthony.

Jeffery took a ...

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March 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The age of religion never ended

This does not strike me as new:

All this adds up to a depressing picture for those of us who aren’t ready to live in a post-truth world. Facts, it seems, are toothless. Trying to refute a bold, memorable lie with a fiddly set of facts can often serve to reinforce the myth. Important truths are often stale and dull, and it is easy to manufacture new, more engaging claims. And giving people more facts can backfire, as those facts provoke ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Life in the country

This person asserts we should leave the big cities and go where life is easy:

The “horribly stacked life” card is, in my experience, most often played by people trying to get by in the overly competitive environments of large cities. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear it, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere trying to work and live in a major city, do yourself a ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Business

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MSNBC surges ahead of CNN, what does Keith Olbermann say now?

Does anyone remember “Keith Olbermann Takes Swipe At Rachel Maddow Over Twitter“?

This is from 2013:

MSNBC has had some rough ratings months as of late, falling into third place in primetime viewers for the second quarter of 2013. In total viewers across daytime programming, MSNBC fell to fourth place behind Fox News, CNN and HLN.

When Olbermann responded to a tweet about the network’s ratings performance, another Twitter user asked if he was criticizing Maddow.

Olbermann responded, “It’s about the collapse of that ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Technology

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What if we had computer bits that allowed more than two values?

The Red-Black tree is interesting because it can store the color using only bit, and one bit can have one of two values, often represented as either a 0 or a 1. That is the nature of our silicon hardware. But if we had hardware where the basic charge could be one of several values, then it would possible to do multi colored trees. If we had hardware that could hold one of 20 values, it would be possible to ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Authoritarianism: certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together

It’s interesting that certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together, even in different cultures, and in different centuries. The cult-of-personality goes with the authoritarianism, which goes with the desire to delegitimate all criticism, which goes with particular ideas about sex, and the relations between men and women. So again, in 2017, we see the revival of the same united set of personality attributes that are described from the 1930s:

His vainglorious sexual boasting (‘They say I’ve got the most ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The quiet damage of gaming addiction

Very interesting:

It is not always clear when gaming is the refuge of the trapped and when it is the trap. Ashley, aged 37, is certain that gaming is not the source of his problems. He played video games in his youth, but not obsessively; like other teenagers he made plenty of time for football and skateboarding. The games took on a different cast in his 20s, when he spent time abroad teaching English: he played heavily as a way to ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Technology

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An InputStream requires more memory as it has to buffer the whole file

This is exactly the opposite of what I’ve always understood, and what I’ve read elsewhere:

When opening a workbook, either a .xls HSSFWorkbook, or a .xlsx XSSFWorkbook, the Workbook can be loaded from either a File or an InputStream. Using a File object allows for lower memory consumption, while an InputStream requires more memory as it has to buffer the whole file.

The stream requires more memory? That is crazy. It’s a stream. And what is a File object if not ...

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March 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Computer programming is now treated as a career for the young

I wish I knew why this was. Unlike other white collar professions, computer programming is treated more like being an athlete, something that becomes increasingly untenable after the age of 40.

The problem is that our industry, unlike every other single industry except acting and modeling (and note neither are known for “intelligence”) worship at the altar of youth. I don’t know the number of people I’ve encountered who tell me that by being older, my experience is worthless since all ...

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March 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Compare and despair

Interesting:

When we scroll through our feed we want to see something that’s either aspirational or motivating. We go on Instagram to escape from our problems or worries and to upload the best parts of our lives so that when we look back on our feed we think, “Wow, what a great few months I’ve had.” I guess it’s like looking back at our own gratitude list and I love social media for that, for allowing us to curate a ...

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March 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Dealing with long-term illness

Interesting:

My experience of feeling unwell for years before I got a diagnosis turned out to be typical. According to aarda, it takes an average of nearly five years (and five doctors) for a sufferer to be given a diagnosis. Patients can end up consulting different specialists for different symptoms: a dermatologist, an endocrinologist, an immunologist, a neurologist, a rheumatologist. A lot of people with autoimmune diseases would like to see the establishment of clinical autoimmune centers, where a single doctor ...

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March 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to discover one’s voice as a writer

I also like this:

So I went back and was looking at some of your clips and thought, oh man, I remember these pieces, just not that you had written them. And what I think is interesting about that book is how much I can see how your voice and your style has changed. You can see the trajectory. When you look at that book—and that book is very much a product of where you were at then and the pieces ...

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March 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Nobody ever gets everything they want

I like this:

Yeah, or like… Now that I’m through the other end of the grief, I’m really happy with my life, and I’m really grateful for a lot of things that came out of that—like the humbling that losing most everything that mattered in a deep way, except for my friendships and my writing and my family. I think I have much less of the delusion of control now than I used to, and I’m grateful for that. I ...

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March 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Downvoted on Hacker News

I’ve been following Hacker News for 8 years now, and over the last 2 or 3 years I’ve noticed the commenters there have become more political and right-wing. I try not to post comments there, but when I do, more and more, I find myself getting downvoted for saying things that are obviously true. So, for instance, recently the actor Shia Labeouf had an art project to promote the anti-Trump message “He will not divide us” and some right-wingers were ...

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March 14th, 2017

In Business

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Creativity does not pay

Interesting:

For one thing, most new ideas are bad ones: the replication crisis in academia reminds us of this. Creativity doesn’t arise from a high or spark of genius, but from the dedication to keep going through the failures until you find the success. Thomas Edison, one of the most creative capitalists of all, said: “I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.” That was why he claimed that “genius is 1% inspiration and ...

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March 12th, 2017

In Business

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Business is dying out in the USA

Very interesting:

Startup rates, or the share of all companies formed within the past year, had exceeded closure rates every year since at least the 1970s — even during recessions. That all came to a halt in 2008 with the economic downturn. While it’s normal for growth to diminish somewhat during economic recoveries, it has been slower than usual: There were still 182,000 fewer businesses in 2014 than in 2007, according to the report.

Falling startup rates aren’t just confined to a ...

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March 12th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Having black children

One woman’s account:

My half-black son was born Sept 5th, here in Kansas City, while those protests raged across the state. Because the AA communities in StL and KC are so intertwined I actually am friends with one of Micheal Brown’s cousins, and not thru my husband.

I have been with my husband since 2009, and experienced firsthand racism and bigotry with him and without him, but I never lost that thread of stupid-suburbanite optimism until I was 37 weeks pregnant ...

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March 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Google’s Featured Snippets are often drawn from fringe sites peddling crazy ideas

Interesting:

Google needs to invest in human experts who can judge what type of queries should produce a direct answer like this, Shulman said. “Or, at least in this case, not send an algorithm in search of an answer that isn’t simply ‘There is no evidence any American president has been a member of the Klan.’ It’d be great if instead of highlighting a bogus answer, it provided links to accessible, peer-reviewed scholarship.”

…What about a system that thinks Barack Obama is ...

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March 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Truman was racist

Interesting:

Even his reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘nigger’; at least he always did when I talked to him.” He also often privately referred to Jews as “kikes.”

Truman’s racism and anti-Semitism may surprise many Americans because he has been sanctified in recent years by hagiographic biographers such as David McCullough and by Democrats and Republicans who admire his leadership during the Cold War. As the country ...

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March 9th, 2017

In Business

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The economy has been a disaster since 1973

Interesting:

The good times rolled on so long that people took them for granted. Between 1948 and 1973, Australia, Japan, Sweden and Italy had not a single year of recession. West Germany and Canada did almost as well. Governments and the economists who advised them happily claimed the credit. Careful economic management, they said, had put an end to cyclical ups and downs. Governments possessed more information about citizens and business than ever before, and computers could crunch the data to ...

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March 9th, 2017

In Business

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The economy still sucks

This is good:

How about US manufacturing? A friend who recently published a paper on manufacturing in a top 20 journal complained how hard it was to publish, despite being one of his better papers. For some reason, the topic seems to bring out the crazy in a lot of economists. Why? I’m not sure, but we economists like to think we know something about manufacturing, and now in the Age of Trump, many economists have a completely understandable desire to ...

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March 8th, 2017

In Technology

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Joe Armstrong: computer programming is the alteration of values in a key value database

An incredible assertion that would be dismissed if it was coming from someone less talented than Joe Armstrong. It is interesting to think that RAM is a key value store, and so anything that updates RAM is altering the values of a key value store.

He starts by saying that he often ends up with miscellaneous code:

When I’m programming I often get to the point were I say there shoulda function foo/2 in lists.erl but their isn’t. There should be ...

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March 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Health care is complicated

Funny opening:

President Trump, long at the forefront of intellectual discovery, last week came up with a major finding: Health-care reform is hard. “Unbelievably complex,” in fact.

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” the president said.

Actually, we all knew. That’s why Republicans’ successor plan to Obamacare, “repeal and replace,” became repeal and delay. That’s why House Republicans kept their draft legislation under guard in a secret, GOP-only “reading room” in the Capitol, so copies wouldn’t leak. That’s why ...

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March 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Academic romance

Interesting:

Philosophy has long had a reputation as a work environment inhospitable to women, even though there have certainly been significant improvements on this front over the past few years. Did you face gender-specific obstacles as a woman trying to make a career in a male-dominated discipline?

Well of course in those days every discipline was inhospitable to women. There was only one tenured woman in the whole of Harvard when I arrived there, the classicist Emily Vermeule, and she was ...

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March 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility

Interesting:

The distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility, It is natural to suppose that as much as has been done today may be done tomorrow: but on the morrow some difficulty emerges, or some external impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, business, and pleasure, all take their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened by a thousand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be recounted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious performance was ever effected ...

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March 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The economics of intentional communities

Interesting:

But even with the best organisational acumen, intentional communities are often heavily criticised for the backward progress they tend to symbolise. Bronson Alcott (the father of Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women) was characterised by the essayist Thomas Carlyle as a ‘man bent on saving the world by a return to acorns’. In 1843, Alcott founded Fruitlands, an experimental community in Harvard, Massachusetts. An agrarian commune influenced by transcendentalist thought, and built on renouncing the ‘civilised’ world, Fruitlands ...

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March 2nd, 2017

In Business

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This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help

This is crazy. How is that leaders can be held to such low standards? How is that they can admit in public that they lack the skills to do their job, but then they will continue in that job? Why do we have such low standards for people in leadership positions, whereas we have such high standards for people in lower positions?

There’s a lot to say about the conversation. There’s the lack of empathy Kalanick clearly reveals for ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Has there ever been so great a gulf in USA politics?

One thing that seems unique about the current moment in USA politics is how decent most of the national Democrats are, and how loathsome the national Republicans are. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where one party was so full of honest and decent people, while the other party was so devoid of any.

This bit with Gabby Giffords is the extreme case:

According to the Washington Post, Louis Gohmert [R-Texas] released a statement earlier this week clarifying his decision ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Can you imagine having 2 duplexes in New York and not throwing a party every night?

I would throw a party every night, if I had that much space in New York. These two were definitely depressed.

After my success in Blue Denim I expected to be working again immediately, since my agent could now get me into most producers’ offices. I auditioned for every upcoming Broadway show, but to my great disappointment, I wasn’t cast in any of them. I longed to be given a chance to play high-strung, defiant young women. Instead I would appear ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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We never escape loneliness

This is wonderfully written:

Her son had recently died, and she said she did not know what to do now. She had so much time on her hands, she was so bored and weary and sorrowful that she was ready to die. She had brought him up with loving care and intelligence, and he had gone to one of the best schools and to college. She had not spoiled him, though he had had everything that was necessary. She had ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Business

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Uber is not doomed

Here is an article that offers a long laundry list of reasons why Uber is doomed. A lot of the article consists of silly stuff like “The employees don’t like it there.” But come on, there have been a million companies where the employees hate the place, and the place still does well. Just recently we learned of the extremely abusive and sexually predatory nature of Kay’s Jewelry. And yet that company has been doing great, for decades. Sad ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Business

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More dirt about Uber

I wonder if these have any effect? Another story about sexism at Uber:

However, one day last summer, long after joining Uber, things changed. This is where Mike#2 enters the story. Mike#2 is a man in his 40s who was pulled from another silicon valley tech giant just two years ago with a multiple six figure salary. Apparently, Travis personally interviewed him and liked his combative style. Married with two children, he is well known for being abusive towards anyone ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The increasingly forgotten class war of the 40s and 50s

What a bizarre thing to write:

Not surprisingly given McAdam’s long history in the social movements research field, McAdam and Kloos argue that social movements are commonly relevant to electoral and party politics; they suggest that the period of relatively high consensus around the moderate middle (1940s and 1950s) was exceptional precisely because of the absence of powerful social movements during these decades. But during more typical periods, national electoral politics are influenced by both political parties and diffuse social movements; ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Technology

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How to get Nginx to wait for your app

I’ve been struggling with a slow NodeJS app which is behind a reverse proxy handled by Nginx.

I found this bit useful:

Syntax: proxy_max_temp_file_size size; Default: proxy_max_temp_file_size 1024m; Context: http, server, location When buffering of responses from the proxied server is enabled, and the whole response does not fit into the buffers set by the proxy_buffer_size and proxy_buffers directives, a part of the response can be saved to a temporary file. This directive sets the maximum size of the temporary file. The size of data written to ...
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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Madeleine Davies talks to Jessa Crispin

Interesting:

Why do you think so many current self-proclaimed feminists feel the need to distance themselves from the second wave definition of feminism and, even more so, second wave radicals like Andrea Dworkin or Catharine McKinnon?

Once assimilation became a possibility—and I feel like this happens with pretty much every marginalized group that’s fighting for equality—once assimilation becomes a possibility, you kind of abandon your principles because it’s much easier to just enter the system than destroy it. The more radical thinkers ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Dangerous extensions to copyright

Interesting:

One dangerous idea that rightsholders continue to push for is a “notice and staydown” system. This sounds like a minor edit to notice and takedown, but in reality it would amount to mandatory filtering of the Internet for the purpose of policing copyright. Last summer we noted many of the general reasons why this idea is both dangerous and impractical. In our most recent comments, we focus more specifically on the direct threat such a system would pose to the ...

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March 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kellyanne Conway puts her feet on the couch while she’s wearing shoes

This seems like the pose of a child. I am not sure how to understand this level of informality at the White House:

Source

February 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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American politics has gotten really weird

What used to be the paranoid fringe is now elected to leadership positions in the government:

Source

February 28th, 2017

In Technology

No Comments

How do we teach self-driving cars to avoid hitting people on bicycles?

This is a good conversation:

ChuckMcM :

“Now Johnny, when you ride your bike you must wear your I-am-a-bike vest and follow these patterns or the cars are likely to kill you.” :-) Summary is that “people riding bikes” (PRB) is a much denser image set than “people in cars” (PIC) and “people walking or jogging” (PWJ), and the PRB objects have a much higher dynamic angular vector capability (they can change direction extremely quickly) combined with a wider dynamic velocity vector ...

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February 28th, 2017

In Business

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What we lose when economists ignore people’s lived experience

So true:

The IFS has said (pdf):

Much of the burden of business rates is passed on from the occupiers of non-domestic properties to the properties’ owners (if different), via reductions in the properties’ market rental values.

I believe this. But I sympathize with business owners who aren’t convinced. The question is: how is the burden passed on? One way is through rents being renegotiated – a process which favours bigger businesses against smaller landlords. Another way is by firms moving to ...

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February 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The dictatorship of the myths of intelligence

This essay is too long, but there are some bits that are good. Interesting:

Plato’s novel idea fell on the eager ears of the intellectuals, including those of his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy. In his book The Politics, he explains: ‘[T]hat some should rule and others be ruled is a ...

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February 28th, 2017

In Business

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Allocating robots to knowledge work only demotes humans to having to do more of the menial work

Such a great essay:

From a capital investment perspective that’s a message that asks: why invest in costly capital intensive equipment when it’s so much more cost effective to hire low-paid humans to do the same job? That business model is well exploited by technology companies like Amazon.

As argued on Wednesday, the idea society should fear the invention of robots which would displace humans from low-paid menial work is laughable. Schumpeterian logic dictates that as long as overall productivity goes up ...

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February 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Twitter’s lack of context keeps me away

The lack of context is exactly what keeps me away from Twitter. I want more context, not less.

Last week I had coffee with Hunter Walk who said he deleted his Twitter data and now auto-deletes Tweets regularly, so it becomes a transient outlet instead of permanent. As an experiment I downloaded my entire archive and randomly started poking through it. Without context, without the situation at hand, I wanted to punch the avatar of myself that came across in ...

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February 28th, 2017

In Business

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Uber is unfair to its workers

Interesting:

In practice, Uber’s values were codified by its internal ratings and performance reviews, a process employees simply referred to as “perf.” Uber uses stack ranking, a system popularized by GE legend Jack Welch that requires managers across a company to assign their employees numeric ratings along a bell curve. The system, alternatively termed forced ranking and “rank and yank,” is highly controversial as it demands that high performers within an organization be offset by a certain number of low ...

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February 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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It’s not self-care if someone else is doing your hair

This is obviously wrong, but it is a great reminder of the other issues involved:

It’s not self-care if someone else is doing your hair.

Obviously it is self-care. But right, there is someone there who also has needs.

Source

February 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Bad Wikipedia pages: French Romance Novels

I get used to information being found in Wikipedia, so I am surprised when I find a page an anemic as this:

You would expect them to list thousands of books, instead of 2 dozen. They don’t have the one I’m looking for, from the 1700s.

Source

February 20th, 2017

In Business

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Sports writing shifts to the Left?

Interesting:

Of course, labels like “liberal” and “conservative” don’t translate perfectly to sports. Do you have to be liberal to call Roger Goodell a tool? So maybe it’s better to put it like this: There was a time when filling your column with liberal ideas on race, class, gender, and labor policy got you dubbed a “sociologist.” These days, such views are more likely to get you a job.

Donald Trump’s election was merely an accelerant for a change that was already ...

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February 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Women without kids

I used to think that Vox was the most boring site on the Web, but lately I’ve been reading the site often.

This is from Sweden:

“I am an archaeologist,” I told the gynecologist with the relative calm of someone answering an emotionally loaded question with a rehearsed response. “I don’t know if I’ll be living in a country where abortion will be available to me should I become pregnant.”

This was no exaggeration. I still lived in Sweden, where I ...

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February 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Anyone know how to say that in German?

Interesting:

That morning, my boyfriend had to go to work, but a decision on what to do had to be made quickly. So he stuffed a wad of Euros into my hand and put me on a train to the Netherlands, the closest neighboring country where the pill can be bought over the counter.

The need for women to cross borders, and spend beyond their budget, just to receive reproductive health care is nothing new. Northern Ireland—which, let’s not forget, is in ...

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February 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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It’s never too late to become a computer programmer

Interesting:

BECOME A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER AT 35

Aimee Morgan, a former Stanford University Libraries archivist, enrolled in an online course to learn Python programming language at the age of 35. She fell in love with programming so much that she decided to start Hackbright Academy, a coding boot camp that teaches software development to women. Her skills led her to become a software engineer on the backend team at Flixster (an American community where users watch and rate movies, this company ...

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February 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The drift of the Republican party

Interesting:

The drift of the Republican party from being liberal to illiberal, from being secular to Christian, from being environmentally aware to climate change deniers, from supporting minorities to attacking ‘welfare queens’, did not happen all at once but has been a steady process. Of course there were key moments in that process, such as Nixon’s ‘southern strategy’, Reagan’s adoption of tax cuts for the rich that would ‘pay for themselves’ and neoliberalism more generally, to the Tea Party most recently. ...

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February 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Reasons to have beer with smart people

Funny:

This seems a good moment to revisit “He seems like he’d be a good guy to have a beer with,” the shorthand explanation for the rank anti-intellectualism that put George W. Bush in the White House 17 years ago and later flowered, in our somehow even dumber present, into “Uh actually stupid idiots are good” and made Donald Trump, a boiled bologna condom stuffed with Viagra, the most powerful person in the world. … Dolts are not good for having a beer ...

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February 15th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Insane work schedules and coffee

Interesting:

From nappy:

Balzac drove himself relentlessly as a writer, motivated by enormous literary ambition as well as a never-ending string of creditors and endless cups of coffee; as Herbert J. Hunt has written, he engaged in “orgies of work punctuated by orgies of relaxation and pleasure.” When Balzac was working, his working schedule was brutal: He ate a light dinner at 6:00 P.M., then went to bed. At 1:00 A.M. he rose and sat down at his writing table for ...

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February 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What is this woman thinking?

I love this photo, taken by my friend Natalie Sidner. I love the mystery of the situation. I find myself wondering what has this woman so intrigued.

Source

February 14th, 2017

In Technology

No Comments

Different NLP approaches

A nice summary:

With LSA, each document is transformed into a single vector that has the length of the vocabulary. The length of the vocabulary is the number of unique words across all documents. If a word is present in a document, it is represented as a 1 in the vector and 0 if it is not. So after this transformation, the text is transformed in an D by V matrix where D is the number of documents and V is ...

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February 11th, 2017

In Technology

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Tony Arcieri’s very good defense of Rails

I just had a project where I had to write an app that could fire several million requests against an API, with data pulled from a database. I wrote the whole thing in NodeJS and HapiJS, and it was an agony. The uncontrolled async of NodeJS tripped me up. If I need to fire 10 million HTTP requests, how do I do that without blowing the stack? As it was, the functions would pile up, and then I’d get a ...

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February 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Dan Nainan’s passive aggressive act

The worrisome thing is how aggressive Nainan behaves, even though he claims he is not being aggressive. His need to lie is enough to put everyone else on guard. The fact that he lies about his age, claiming to be 35 when he is 55, suggests he is fundamentally dishonest.

I just received the initial deposit for a corporate show in Dubai that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. The show pays $8000, yes, that’s right, EIGHT THOUSAND US ...

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February 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The end of sexual ambiguity

The era of trying to define one’s sexuality in exact terms is surely a temporary outcome of contemporary political struggles? Interesting:

All five of Edward and Minnie Benson’s adult offspring distinguished themselves in public life. Arthur Benson served as the master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University, wrote the lyrics to Edward Elgar’s hymn “Land of Hope and Glory,” and was entrusted with the delicate task of co-editing Queen Victoria’s letters for publication. His brother Fred was a best-selling writer, well ...

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February 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The world would be a better place if Nicholas Sparks had never been born

I’d be embarrassed if I made a living off of fictional dead women. But I do get how a young teen could find these stories intensely moving.

The skin tones don’t even match up! How could you possibly be upset by that? Of course, it gave Landon the opportunity to reveal himself as a “good guy.” It probably wasn’t great for my emotional and sexual development to believe that some asshole teen boy might come around and be nice ...

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February 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Immigration in the USA

The main benefit of the rule of law is suppose to be an absence of arbitrary enforcement, but that is not what is happening now:

“Almost everyone is a deportation priority,” William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told me of the guidelines, which are a strict departure from the Obama administration’s stated focus on removing criminals, undocumented immigrants in the country less than two years, and individuals caught while crossing the border. Trump’s order, by comparison, includes a ...

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February 9th, 2017

In Business

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Is Snap doomed?

Not a pretty picture:

One week after that filing, Twitter on Thursday announced fourth-quarter earnings for 2016. Twitter has been losing around $100 million a quarter for the past three years, and its user growth has been essentially flat. Snapchat’s IPO filings showed that its own growth has already started to taper off, and that it lost over $500 million in 2016. That leaves potential investors with a big question about what sort of trajectory Snap is setting out on: Will it ...

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February 9th, 2017

In Business

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Top leaders who let their personal prospects bias their world outview

Interesting:

Blankfein said in a video on the bank’s website that the market is shifting from a cycle of “pessimism about where we go” to “one in which it’s going to get growthier. More growth out there, more opportunity and one in which we are getting a bit more optimistic.”

If only Goldman’s own experts shared that view. As Trump has focused on restricting immigration and trade, the bank’s economists told clients last month that “the balance of risks is somewhat ...

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February 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The purity test

“He also shamefully ignored the interests of African Americans and interned Japanese Americans during WWII.”

This sounds exactly like a purity test based on race, so these 2 paragraphs make no coherent sense together:

The reformist left was a big tent. It included people who thought of themselves as communists and socialist as well as moderate left-of-center Democrats. What united them was a devotion to pragmatic reform; there were no purity tests, no totalizing calls for revolution, as was common among ...

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February 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The confidence, or overconfidence, of the rich

Interesting:

Many of us, though, wouldn’t even have tried the hurdle. If I’d had Ms Sands otherwise decent CV, I’d have looked at that job spec and ruled myself out as unqualified. Ms Sands, obviously, did not.

In this, she’s following many others. Tristram Hunt has become head of the V&A despite no experience of curating or of running large organizations. David Cameron wanted to become PM because he thought he’d be “rather good” at it – a judgment which now looks ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Uncategorized

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Is Trump plotting a coup?

I agree that pushing the legal boundaries could have been a blunder, but was more likely an attempt to get other people to show their hands.

I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to message on Tinder

Interesting:

Before I met my current girlfriend, I decided to master Tinder. I know Tinder is not a game. I didn’t necessarily want to win Tinder, but I did want to be good at it. And the reason was simple: I was terrible at dating. And the reason for that was simple, too: at the age when everyone else was learning how to date, I was extremely closeted.

I came out at the very end of college, and I struggled. I didn’t ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Business

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Marginalized groups depend on comics

Interesting:

One of my favorite things to do is to laugh at men who say that women don’t care about comics and then point them to the New York Times graphic novels bestseller list where Raina Telgemeier always has at least half of the top ten books (if not all ten) and many other women, including queer women and women of color, regularly appear. It brings me so much joy to see them have to scroll down past Sisters, Smile, Ghosts ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz to head Vogue Arabia

Interesting:

So it’s no surprise that she’d already appeared in New York’s fashion-on-the-streets Look Book section prior to this profile (there, she copped to loving Jessica Simpson’s lip gloss). The writer, Larocca, describes meeting Abdulaziz in front of Barneys New York in 2004: She was well dressed but normally so for the neighborhood, an uptown woman out for a stroll in expensive but quiet versions of things: a Prada T-shirt, Miu Miu shoes, an Hermès bag. I was scouting for a photo ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The strength of conservative grassroots

Interesting:

I grew up in the far-right evangelical conservative (Christofascist) movement; specifically, I was homeschooled and my parents were part of a subculture called Quiverfull, whose aim is to outbreed everyone for Jesus. I spent my teen years being a political activist. I was taught by every pastor I encountered that it was our job as Christians to outbreed the secularists (anyone not a far-right evangelical Protestant) and take over the government through sheer numbers. I was part of TeenPact, Generation ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Gayzing

Funny:

This year, like many years before it, we as a human race have continued evolving, getting ever-so-much-closer to a utopia in which everybody is gay. 2016 was a banner year for Coming Out, in which a multitude of folks all across the fame spectrum proudly declared their allegiance to my favorite lifestyle choice and Kristen Stewart publicly admitted that she had a girlfriend. (Kristen Stewart was on last year’s list though, not this year’s, because she has been coming out ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Business

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Gigster refuses to answer questions about its own contract

Frustrating:

Andy Chase writes to Gigster with a question about their contract:

Some questions I have about with this contract: (allowed for by section 11.5):

“including source code developed by Contractor … generally applicable to other Customer projects”

I’m more then willing to sign over code that applies to projects I do for gigster, but not stuff that might possibly apply in general to gigster projects, since that would be literally everything else.

Particularly since this clause survives forever according to 4.2 and confirmed no ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Charles Erwin Wilson hated research?

I am puzzled by this Wilson character, who seems to hate research:

The term dynamic programming was originally used in the 1940s by Richard Bellman to describe the process of solving problems where one needs to find the best decisions one after another. By 1953, he refined this to the modern meaning, referring specifically to nesting smaller decision problems inside larger decisions,[15] and the field was thereafter recognized by the IEEE as a systems analysis and engineering topic. Bellman’s contribution is ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The end of reassuring stories

Interesting:

The final story, which continues on both the left and right, is that Trump and his team are inexperienced buffoons who will quickly make fools of themselves, and will be brought to heel by the checks and balances of the US constitutional system. Its too early to tell, but the signs so far do not look good. Take the holocaust statement. According to this story, leaving out any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism from the Holocaust Day statement was perhaps ...

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February 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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India is run by criminals

There was the old saying, in places like Italy, “When the state is weak, the mafia takes over.” This is now happening in India, with the formal endorsement of the electoral system. Very worrisome:

Sadly, this is not a book about some small, shady corner of Indian politics: 34% of the members of parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha (lower house) have criminal charges filed against them; and the figure is rising (see chart). Some of the raps are peccadillos, such ...

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February 7th, 2017

In Technology

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systemd is no longer interested in the grubby details of reality

Interesting:

Unfortunately, since then systemd developers have shown an unfortunate and increasing streak of idealism. More and more, systemd seems not to be interested in dealing with the world as it actually is, with all of its grubby inconvenient mess; instead it simply assumes some pure and ideal version of things. If the world does not measure up to how it is supposed to be, well, that is not systemd’s problem. Systemd will do the nominally right thing no matter how ...

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February 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Syrian family deported

Nothing ever changes. No matter how many books get written about fascism, the same kinds of people keep voting for it (in particular, those with doctors, lawyers and engineers, who seem to reliably back authoritarian governments on the assumption that the authoritarian government won’t come after them).

Source

February 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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End of the neoliberal consensus

Interesting:

For a few decades we thought the end of history had arrived and political battles in most OECD countries were between centre-right and centre-left parties arguing in a narrow political spectrum, but largely agreeing on issues such as free trade, the benefits of immigration, the need for flexible efficient markets, and the positive role of global finance. This consensus was reinforced by international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and OECD, and the Davos political and business elite.

In ...

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January 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Bibi Bourelly – “Sally”

It’s the right attitude for everyone trying to keep our fighting spirits and remember the good people.

Source

January 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What will happen to the USA?

It’s hard to know how we bounce back from here.

Source

January 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Imagine two countries

Imagine these two countries:

In the first, the government has a tradition of due process and liberal rights for most adults, all adults have right to vote, and elections are free and fair, yet the country has been stripped of all of its labor unions.

In the second, the government is authoritarian, there are no free elections, but the people have managed to organize a vast labor union, noted for its militancy and enjoying great popular support.

What happens next?

We know ...

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January 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The kind of testimonial that a social media site should dream of

Back in 1968 Joan Didion wrote an essay about why she left New York. Maybe that was the first of the “Why I am leaving the city” genre. Or maybe the genre existed earlier, but she is certainly the most famous representative. These essays are typically written by women between the ages of 27 and 40 who have decided it’s time to stop partying and start having children.

In our more recent era, over the last 20 years, there has ...

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January 28th, 2017

In Technology

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NLP as a simple four-step formula: embed, encode, attend, predict

Interesting:

Let’s say you have a great technique for predicting a class ID from a dense vector of real values. You’re convinced you can solve any problem that has that particular input/output “shape”. Separately, you also have a great technique for predicting a single vector from a vector and a matrix. Now you have the solutions to three problems, not two. If you start with a matrix and a vector, and you need a class ID, you can obviously compose the ...

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January 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Children are scientists

Interesting:

There is a theory in psychology called the theory theory. It’s a theory about theories. While this might sound obvious, the theory theory leads to counterintuitive conclusions. A quarter-century ago, psychologists began to point out important links between the development of scientific theories and how everyday thinking, including children’s thinking, works. According to theory theorists, a child learns by constructing a theory of the world and testing it against experience. In this sense, children are little scientists – they ...

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January 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Actually understanding the problem you face is better than vague statistics about the problem

This is a very long metaphor about bad business reasoning versus situational awareness, but I like the point being made:

The battle of Thermopylae (the tale of the three hundred) and the clash between the Greeks and the mighty army of Xerxes has echoed throughout history as a lesson in the force multiplier effect of landscape. Themistocles devised a strategy whereby the Athenian navy would block the straits of Artemisium forcing the Persians along the coastal road into the narrow ...

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January 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Tribal indentity in politics is stronger than people realize

This bit is interesting:

It is little appreciated how much liberal democracy depends on strong parties, and a revitalized, re-understood liberalism adequate to the moment will have to overcome a traditional distaste for partisan politics.

…I suggested in my previous essay that “voting patterns didn’t change enough between 2012 and 2016 to justify big claims about new national moods or about Trump’s distinctive appeal. I believe the consequences of this election will be deeply abnormal. But the voting behavior that brought ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Birtherism from Melania

Sad:

If the past is any indication, Melania is no passive victim. Recently a 2011 interview with Melania on the Joy Behar Show went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Melania defends her husband’s adamant commitment to the birther conspiracy born of the Tea Party—his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya and that his Hawaii-issued birth certificate was, in fact, a forgery. “Do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Is this appropriate for a psychologist?

Very worrisome that this would come from a psychologist who works with families:

Dathan Paterno, a school board member in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, called the marchers “vagina screechers,” as the Chicago Tribune reports, part of a string of good tweets about women:

The tweet read: “Most of these vagina screechers didn’t vote, but they mean business. Riiiiiiiight. What a farce.” The remark followed a few other provocative posts last week about the march, including one that referred to it ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A bias that never fades is best thought of as a religious conviction

I’ve largely given up having conversations with people on the political right, mostly on the same grounds that I no longer try to debate religion with people. We all must take certain assumptions about reality as a starting point for our understanding of the world, and if someone’s most fundamental assumptions are sufficiently different from mine, we simply don’t have enough common ground to have a meaningful conversation. If someone believes that Jesus is their personal Savior, I won’t try ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jason Brennan has no respect for ignorant voters

Interesting and funny:

I think this illustrates what gets Lehmann’s goat. Perhaps Lehmann views the right to vote as a kind of honorific. And she’s right that it is. In most modern societies, people use the right to vote as a kind of public affirmation of who matters and who doesn’t. We load suffrage with all sorts of expressive value. Getting the right to vote is like getting a gold star and a pat on the back. Being denied suffrage is ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Paul Phillips denounces Scala

Pacific Northwest Scala 2013 We’re Doing It All Wrong by Paul Phillips For a computer programming tech conference, this talk has a surprising amount of emotional rawness. Phillips is denouncing Scala both on a personal level and on a technical level.

Source

January 27th, 2017

In Technology

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One team that gave up on Scala

It’s interesting how Scala was initially seen as “A Better Java” but now is seen as having been to experimental in its approach.

I remember when I first saw the potential issues of scaling Scala at Gravity back in 2009/10ish. It was close to the end of the day when we had a major issue reported in production that was affecting our large customers. Several of us started investigating and were able to track the source of the issue. The ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The sun is much bigger than the planets

This is a great story about the moment when we humans first learned that the planets were small, and the sun was very big:

Gassendi’s most important observation was made when Mercury passed in front of the sun on November 7, 1631. Only Mercury and Venus can be observed from the earth during their solar transit. Similar passages took place in the months of May and November, around the 7th and the 9th of the month. For Mercury, one could expect ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Scale programmers do not trust Martin Odersky

This whole conversation is incredible. Here is a forum full of Scala programmers, and they seem to be talking against Odersky’s proposal. And with some anger. I’ve never seen a Rubyist talk about Matz like that. I’ve never heard a Clojurist talk about Rich Hickey that way. Java programmers are, at most, muted in their criticism of Gosling, with the overall recognition that “mistakes were made” but made in good faith. I suppose you could argue that Pythonists are split ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Who supports a policy can sometimes tell you whether you should support it

This is good:

I’m prompted to say this by the fact that at least one decent Leaver thinks May’s Brexit strategy is wrong. Pete North calls it “unhinged lunacy” and a “clueless gamble.”

Some of us, though, had an inkling of this months ago. This wasn’t because we had greater powers of foresight. Instead, what strengthened my antipathy to Brexit was simply that many of the people who supported it were racists and charlatans. Of course, not all Leavers were by any ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Technology

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The failure of hierarchy based on category

This is good:

The Hierarchy Problem

Every time I start at a new company, I struggle with the problem when I’m creating a place to put my Company Documents, e.g. the Employee Handbook.

Do I create a folder called Documents and then create a folder called Company in that?

Or do I create a folder called Company and then create a folder called Documents in that?

Both work. But which is right? Which is best?

The idea of Categorical Hierarchies was that there were Base Classes ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Where does reality come from?

Interesting:

The best-known and most thoroughgoing exponent of active mechanisms was Gottfried Leibniz. Convinced that the closed mechanical systems described by Boyle and Newton could not explain motion or change, Leibniz posited a vis viva, a living or vital force. It was a “principle underlying all material events.” Instead of impenetrable, indivisible, insentient atoms, Leibniz proposed that the fundamental units of matter were a species of metaphysical points, with, as Riskin remarks, “something vital” about them.17 These were the monads, elementary ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Business

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The decline of Delicious and the rise of Pinboard

This is a great story about the crisis when thousands of people moved to Pinboard, when Yahoo announced they were closing Delicious.

We charged money for a good or service

I know this one is controversial, but there are enormous benefits and you can immediately reinvest a whole bunch of it in your project *sips daiquiri*. Your customers will appreciate that you have a long-term plan that doesn’t involve repackaging them as a product.

If Pinboard were not a paid service, we ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Technology

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Logicians hate randomness

My strongest subject was always logic, even though I was terrible at most other forms of math. And though I have doubts about randomness, I certainly love inconsistency, which can be approached in a logical way. Every computer programmer who writes concurrent code has to deal with inconsistent data, and it would be great if logicians thought more deeply about how to formalize this.

With Gödel, at first there was a lot of shock. As a student in the late ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Stanislav Datskovskiy: Employers much prefer that workers be fungible, rather than maximally productive

I’ve linked this before, but it is worth linking again:

Where Lisp Fails: at Turning People into Fungible Cogs.

A favorite conundrum of many Lisp aficionados is why the language appears to languish in disuse. Talk of cultural problems, “the library question” (which usually boils down to nonsensical circular reasoning), too many parentheses, and other absurdities simply dances around the blindingly obvious explanation – one which is able to make sense not only of the obscurity of Lisp, but of ...

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January 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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God, computers, and complexity theory

How do we measure complexity? Is Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem just another way of stating Turing’s Halting Problem? A very interesting combination of ideas:

For Leibniz, a law must be expressed by a simple equation. An equation that is forte composée is meaningless. There is always one loitering about. This kind of theoretical criterion does not apply to individual cases. We are trying to understand what it means to say there is a law governing these points. That does not mean we ...

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January 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Security at the White House

Funny and also pathetic:

Source

January 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Six days with a new President

Worrisome:

As of this very moment—and this is an incomplete list—the Trump administration has ordered a freeze on most federal hiring, reinstated the Global Gag Rule, helped kick off an Obamacare repeal, invented a universe of “alternative facts,” moved forward on the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, manifested a voter fraud crisis and promised a “major investigation” into it, appeared to plagiarize a Batman villain, prepared an order that would enact “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in U.S. ...

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January 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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1962 was not 1955

I disagree with this:

Once upon a time, way back in the middle of the twentieth century, America was all about tomorrow. Consider the Jetsons, which premiered in 1962, just a few years after the launch of Sputnik opened the Space Age. Matt Novak positions the television cartoon within the golden age of American Futurism: “The Jetsons” was the distillation of every Space Age promise Americans could muster,” he says. “It had everything our hearts could desire: jetpacks, flying cars, ...

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January 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Constance Wu goes after Casey Affleck

It’s interesting how often this is happening now, with people in Hollywood calling out other people in Hollywood:

In a series of tweets (that she has not deleted, by the way) she sounded off on allegations that the actor sexually harassed and physically intimidated women several years ago, writing:

Men who sexually harass women 4 OSCAR! Bc good acting performance matters more than humanity, human integrity! Bc poor kid rly needs the help! Boys! BUY ur way out of trouble by settling ...

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January 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Hollywood gives a lot of second chances to certain stars

Worrisome:

Affleck’s turn has already garnered rave reviews, as well as magazine profiles that are usually reserved for Oscar favorites. A few of these stories—like October’s Variety cover story on Affleck—feature an aberrant footnote. Nearly 2,000 words into the profile, there’s a brief mention of sexual harassment. Asked to comment on two sexual-harassment suits (here and here) that were brought against him by women who worked on I’m Still Here, Affleck responds, “People say whatever they want. Sometimes it doesn’t matter ...

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January 24th, 2017

In Technology

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Movio.co decides to switch from Scala to Go, and they reference my essay

Since they cite me (and my essay from 2014) as part of their decision making process, I want to throw in 2 cents here. They ended up deciding on Go, whereas I have ended up preferring Clojure, yet I agree with a lot of what they say, so I’ll try to clarify why I ended up with a different decision than what they made.

I understand what they mean when they write:

I think the first time I appreciated the positive ...

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January 19th, 2017

In Business

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Safeguards against Chinese imports were never used

Interesting:

Mark Wu argues, correctly, that the WTO accession agreement provided a set of provisions that were designed to help manage the risks associated with China’s integration: the “non-market economy” provision, which made it easier for U.S. firms to bring dumping cases against China; and the “special safeguards” provision, which lowered the standard required for imposing temporary tariffs against a surge in imports from China for the twelve years after China’s WTO accession.

The non-market economy provision was certainly used, notably by ...

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January 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Olympia Snowe speaks about the Senate

From 2012. Interesting:

Some people were surprised by my conclusion, yet I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about the dysfunction and political polarization in the institution. Simply put, the Senate is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

During the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison wrote in his Notes of Debates that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceedings with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, ...

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January 18th, 2017

In Technology

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Modern programming depends on DSLs, and Lisp is the best as DSLs

Anders Hovmöller seems to be stuck with a mentality shaped by the C++ language, and so he doesn’t get the important of DSLs.

In C++ land it’s well known that you must keep to a subset of the language in a code base to keep sane. It’s also known that every time you increase the size of the subset you are making the situation worse even if it solves a small problem at hand.

In Lisp land on the other hand, all ...

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January 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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President Tyler has grand-children who are still alive

Interesting:

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

Here’s how that works:

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

A mere six ...

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January 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The advantage of centralized government

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

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

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January 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to solve the problem of gerrymandering

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The zeta function

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

This builds up to an explanation of the Riemann Hypothesis

Source

January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Publish only mode as the cure for burnout

This is an interesting idea:

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The collision of modern dating and traditional Islam

Interesting:

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An anti-natalist quote from Schopenhauer

Interesting.

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Crazy times in Western democracies

Interesting:

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Gender confusion and abuse

This is a tough story to read:

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Conflict between mother and daughter

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

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The new political religion

I like his metaphor comparing this to a religion:

Sean Illing

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why was stagnation so normal?

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Business

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The big pivot at Medium

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An aggressive, unpopular government

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

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

Which is what ...

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January 8th, 2017

In Technology

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This year’s goal: move away from WordPress

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

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

For a while I ...

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January 8th, 2017

In Technology

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Different people have different strengths

I love this :

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The nostalgia of the Star Wars saga

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

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Where is there misogyny on Hacker News?

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

Source

January 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The injustice of the market

Interesting: Compare with Hayek’s Law, Legislation

and Liberty volume 2, pp. 73-74

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

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January 8th, 2017

In Technology

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

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

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

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

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January 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The One Book religions

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

—————————–

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

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January 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Flashback to 2006: Stefan Esser quits the PHP security team

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

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

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

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January 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Things I worry about

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

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

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

Source

December 30th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Jia Tolentino talks to Rebecca Traister

Interesting:

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

I’m ...

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December 30th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Madeleine Davies is angry

Interesting:

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

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December 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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We have learned something crucial about how humans learn

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

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

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

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December 29th, 2016

In Business

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The decline of USA investment since 1964

It’s all been downhill

Source

December 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Gatekeeper moms

This is an interesting German magazine that I just discovered:

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

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

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December 29th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

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

Interesting, but problematic:

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

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December 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The weakness of the technocrats

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

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

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

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December 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The last romantic battle

Interesting bit from 1914:

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

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December 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Rising expectations versus Trump

This is well said:

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

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December 28th, 2016

In Business

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The lunacy of the Artificial Intelligence fanatics

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

I wrote on Hacker News:

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

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

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December 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Scientists on gender versus objectivity

Interesting:

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

Source

December 28th, 2016

In Business

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No improvement in women in economics since 1986

Sad and interesting:

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

Source

December 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Intelligence is a trade-off

Funny, and I also think this is true:

The Argument From Wooly Definitions

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

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

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December 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The insanity of utopian thinking about Artificial Intelligence

Interesting:

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

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

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

In many cases they used modern ...

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December 25th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Charles Dickens reports on poverty in 1856

Interesting:

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

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December 24th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Adam Smith on the division of labor

Interesting:

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

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December 22nd, 2016

In Philosophy

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But as writer qua writer

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

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

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December 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Management theory is increasingly obsolete

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

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

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December 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Paul Krugman: American democracy is very much on the edge

Paul Krugman on how democracy might end in America:

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

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

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December 20th, 2016

In Philosophy

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One family’s struggle with unemployment

This is a sad story:

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

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December 17th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Tracy Chou on discrimination in tech

This is an interesting essay, from Tracy Chou:

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

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

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December 16th, 2016

In Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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December 16th, 2016

In Business

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More researchers? Less researchers?

Compare these two.

First this:

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

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December 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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The legacy of Obama

This article is interesting:

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

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December 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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President Lyndon Johnson on race relations

This is an interesting story:

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

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

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December 16th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What happens if linkrot takes away John Rogers?

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

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

What happens when John Rogers dies and this disappears?

And what happens, generally, ...

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December 15th, 2016

In Technology

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

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

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

Source

December 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

Interesting:

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

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December 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What does astrology teach us about President Trump?

This is good:

Tr

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

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December 14th, 2016

In Business

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Trump supporters who rely on Obamacare

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

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December 14th, 2016

In Business

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The odd language of economists

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

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

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December 14th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

I really laughed when I saw this one.

Source

December 14th, 2016

In Technology

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Ugly engineering

This sounds hideous:

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

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

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December 13th, 2016

In Technology

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Beautiful engineering

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

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

That ...

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December 10th, 2016

In Business

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Gender wage gap in tech versus other professional fields

Apparently the tech field is uniquely resistant to women:

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

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December 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Sneering at the white working class

This article is interesting:

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

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December 10th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

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

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Kathryn Jezer-Morton shares the national disaster with her kids

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

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

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Business

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

Interesting:

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

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Hacking online dating

I got a laugh out of this article:

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

Following are a few items from my checklist:

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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What is politics?

I am astonished at how naive this is:

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

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Hacker News commenters ranting about gender

This thread has some darkly reactionary comments:

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

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December 9th, 2016

In Business

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The average age of workers

Interesting:

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

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December 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Matrix multiplication example

I love this

Source

December 7th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Beautiful poses for those with ugly politics

This is so good:

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

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December 7th, 2016

In Technology

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The crazy process of trying to release a Salesforce app

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

1) Create a Dev Org

2) Become a Salesforce.com Partner

3) Create Test ...

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December 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Sampling versus Provenance

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

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

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

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December 6th, 2016

In Philosophy

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There are no facts?

This is where we are right now:

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

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

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December 6th, 2016

In Business

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Engage with users?

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

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

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December 6th, 2016

In Business

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Listen to the Gentiles

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

For all that, there is ...

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December 4th, 2016

In Business

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Simon Wren-Lewis is angry

He has a right to be angry

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

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December 4th, 2016

In Philosophy

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Did the Stoics want us to be happy?

Interesting:

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

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December 4th, 2016

In Business

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How much should a President personalize the management of the economy

Interesting:

Peggny Noonan offers a bit of history:

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

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

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November 28th, 2016

In Philosophy

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A fictional Thanksgiving

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

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

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November 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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If Sanders had been the candidate

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

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

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

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November 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

This is an impressive dedication to one’s art:

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

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November 27th, 2016

In Philosophy

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

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

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

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November 26th, 2016

In Technology

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Clojure for XML

This is a fantastic overview of different approaches:

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

Zippers are a strange beast. Wikipedia describes them as:

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

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

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