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September 23rd, 2017

In Business

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Google is demonetizing YouTube sites

This has a lot of effects for LGBTQ content:

Not only was it not communicated when or why the videos were demonetized, but it also affects Dunn and Raskin’s respective bottom lines by removing an important revenue stream, she said.

“It paid my rent and went towards paying our crew, who obviously deserve to be compensated for their labor,” Dunn said.

A Sept. 18 article in Forbes magazine calls the situation the “Adpocalypse,” because several controversies have apparently made advertisers nervous, causing some ...

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September 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Shopkeepers normally refuse to say what she bought

This bit says a lot about the German emphasis on privacy:

Merkel’s home life with her second husband Joachim Sauer is also fiercely private—and has been presented as so humdrum it doesn’t merit any attention. Sauer, whom she married in 1998, is a professor of physical and theoretical chemistry who works at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Merkel likes to bake at home and is occasionally snapped in local Berlin supermarkets. Locals leave her in peace, shopkeepers normally refuse to ...

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September 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Games that can never be played

It’s an interesting take on what a culture produces, when it produces games that can not be played:

The thick, black-and-white rulebook packaged with every copy of the 1979 war-game The Campaign For North Africa is full of obtuse decrees, but the tabletop community always had a special appreciation for entry 52.6 – affectionately known as the “macaroni rule.” The Italian troops in World War II were outfitted with noodle rations, and in the name of historical dogma, the player responsible ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Business

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Helping kids from poor neighborhoods understand the world of tech

This is a great project:

Maurice doesn’t mind being different, and says he’s never cared about what people think. He tells a story about how he once cut off his eyebrows to see if he could withstand the inevitable ridicule he would face–a bold stand for any teenager to take. Maurice credits his parents for passing along these admirable qualities; his mother, who passed away earlier this year, was a strong role model for him, and he says she was ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Thoughts about worker democracy

I suspect that worker-owned businesses can be made to work well, if we can reject populist ideas about how a democratic organization should work. Basically, the workers need to reject the kind of rhetoric associated with Thomas Jefferson. Consider the cruelty of the world that Jefferson promoted, a world of slavery and wealthy slave owners. All of that needs to be rejected. Jefferson’s rhetoric is useful for defending the kind of freedom that allowed him to rape a 15 ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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In the third season of Gossip Girl, Chuck sells Blair to his uncle in exchange for ownership of a hotel

I used to date a woman who loved the early version of this show, when it was fun and when it had a heart. I watched most of the first season with her. Apparently after I stopped watching, the show took what I would describe as a dark turn, though many fans loved the new direction. What does it mean that for some people this darkness is a happy fantasy?

In the third season of Gossip Girl, Chuck sells Blair ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Business

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Monopoly power in Germany in the 1500s

An amazing bit about the politics of fighting monopoly in Germany in the 1500s. I can imagine the merchants did a lot to keep Germany fractured as it helped them. No united government to impose strict rules on them.

The end of the fifteenth century witnessed Germany’s high noon of prosperity. Old and insignificant towns like Augsburg Nuremberg and Ulm blossomed forth into wealthy and populous cities. The great merchants vied with princes and kings in magnificence and luxury. Their ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Sexual selection and novelty

There is a whole lot of good books coming out about Darwin. The Times gives the longest treatment to the one that focuses on sexual selection. Richard Dawkins apparently makes an idiot of himself again. He was on the cutting edge in 1976, when he wrote The Selfish Gene. Have you read it? It’s a great book. It’s really more about game theory than genes, or perhaps I should say it is about applying game theory to genes. He’s got ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Obviously pesticides are bad for the environment

My mom bought Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring as soon as it came out, and my mom has been an ardent environmentalist ever since, so perhaps I’ve been hearing about this issue longer than most, but still, I hope this is just common sense. We create chemicals whose specific purpose is to disrupt a part of the eco-system: kill bugs. That is not a side effect, that is the intended effect. Then we produce millions of tons of the ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The illness warping politics in the English speaking countries

Politics in the USA are crazy, and they are also crazy in Britain. Something terrible has happened in the English speaking countries, that the political system has broken down to this extent. The fact that the British government seems so uncertain about how to proceed with Brexit suggests a broken political coalition.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has issued a fresh warning that Britain must “settle the accounts” and speed up the pace of negotiations if it wants a free ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Business

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The USA government is struggling to figure out how to regulate Facebook

This is interesting:

Calls for more transparency and regulation governing the content and advertising on Facebook are suddenly coming from both the right and the left in Washington, and are likely to increase as more information emerges about how the company earns nearly all of its almost $30 billion in annual revenue. The attention has intensified since Facebook recently admitted that Russian buyers were able to purchase thousands of ads on its platform on hot-button issues like immigration and gay rights in ...

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September 20th, 2017

In Technology

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Where should a spec be defined relative to a function

This is an interesting conversation on the Clojure mailist, and this question is relevant for more than just Clojure. It touches on the main question of language design.

Didier feels it should be possible to define the spec with the function, and this functionality should be added to the Clojure core, so that this would become idiomatic Clojure:

Gary Trakhman argues that this would make the core “defn” macro too slow, and therefore everything about spec should be left to ...

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September 18th, 2017

In Business

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Is there over-investment in media simply because entrepreneurs lack knowledge of more interesting fields?

Vocativ is dead? The most recent post is from August 25th. For a news site, that is a long time ago.

In June they announced “Vocativ Announces Exclusive Focus On Video” which might have been a desperation play. Unless they post something else, I will assume they are dead.

I did a job interview there back in 2014. They were created by some guys who had just gotten their Ph.Ds in Machine Learning. That seemed like a very positive thing. ...

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September 18th, 2017

In Technology

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How to use Zach Tellman’s Clojure library Manifold

These examples are great, and I wish this was more highly ranked in Google, so I’m linking to it.

Source

September 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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29 October 1613: the invention of white people

Interesting:

The Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton invented the concept of ‘white people’ on 29 October 1613, the date that his play The Triumphs of Truth was first performed. The phrase was first uttered by the character of an African king who looks out upon an English audience and declares: ‘I see amazement set upon the faces/Of these white people, wond’rings and strange gazes.’ As far as I, and others, have been able to tell, Middleton’s play is the earliest printed example ...

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September 17th, 2017

In Business

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Pixable, the life and death of a New York startup

I was reading “Is The Varick Street NYU Poly Incubator The Best In NYC?” by Jay Bhatti, written on Oct. 10, 2011. I stumbled across this mention of Pixable, which I had never heard of before (an interview with Micah Kotch):

In terms of highlights, we love the story of Pixable. The Varick Street Incubator’s first graduate company, Pixable, is a great group of immigrant entrepreneurs and MIT grads who create tools to share and categorize photography within social media. ...

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September 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The true history of Eastern Europe does not get told

Perhaps because I dated a woman from Poland, this jumped out at me as very true. In place like Poland, what would explain people’s nostalgia for Communism, except that they have a lot of happy memories of those times?

This writer is recalling Yugoslavia:

But reading other books, and especially the highly acclaimed Tony Judt, I realized that the discomfort went further. In a deluge of literature that was written or published after the end of the Cold War, I ...

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September 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Human misery in adulthood

People are increasingly miserable in adulthood. Presumably this is partly the stress of raising children? It would be interesting to see the chart of people who do not want, and don’t have, children.

Overall, we think there is a great deal of evidence – though we have critics, especially among a small group of social psychologists – that humans experience a midlife psychological ‘low’. The midlife decline in wellbeing is apparently substantial and not minor (see the notes below each figure, ...

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September 17th, 2017

In Business

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Companies have replaced individuals in the area of design

Interesting. All of the old designs are attributed to an individual. All the new designs are attributed to a corporation, or the source is unknown.

Source

September 17th, 2017

In Business

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Google bias about reporting bias

How to lie with statistics which are true:

On the surface, this seems to suggest that significant gender discrimination just doesn’t show up in the data. BUT…and this is important…this example highlights the difference between doing math and doing data analysis (or, more charitably, data science)- while this conclusion may be mathematically correct, it’s basically a “garbage in, garbage out” use of econometric tools. Simply put, if you’re trying to isolate gender discrimination, you can’t just blindly control for things that ...

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September 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Artificial Intelligence at the NYU incubator at Varick Street

Interesting:

NYU Tandon School of Engineering is making a power play into the artificial intelligence space by doing something that no university has done before, according to dean Katepalli Sreenivasan: partner with a venture capital firm to launch an accelerator.

On Wednesday morning, at NYU Tandon’s Data Future Lab incubator on Varick Street in SoHo, Sreenivasan announced the launch of the AI NexusLab, a four-month program for AI startups. The accelerator will be jointly run by the Downtown Brooklyn-based engineering school, though ...

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September 11th, 2017

In Technology

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Niche facts that Google can’t find

Google works so well that I’m shocked when it doesn’t work. I recall reading an early RFC, from the early 1970s, when someone proposed allowing variable length bytes. I tried searching Google for this. No luck. Google only shows me the famous RFCs, not the failed experiments.

Source

September 11th, 2017

In Technology

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Why can’t modern tools match Smalltalk?

I often have the impression that Smalltalk in the late 80s and early 90s hit a peak that has yet to be matched. Great effort was instead put toward languages that are less intelligent, and which limit the computer programmer. Does this have something to do with the deskilling of computer programming, as Stanislav says?

“It amazes me just how blindly complacent programmers have been in the face of the ongoing and very successful deskilling of their profession. ...

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September 11th, 2017

In Business

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If a programmer confuses the average for the 1% they deserve to be fired

A guy at Google wrote a long rant about how there were too many diversity initiatives at Google, and it was all a waste of time, because women don’t like computers. Google fired him. Some people think Google should not have fired them, but I would ask you, do you know what business Google is in? They are in the business of fine-grained market segmentation. That’s what advertising is all about.

The guy deserved to be fired for calling his ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Escaping the cool girl stereotype

Interesting:

Gone Girl (the book at least, not so much the movie), brought the “cool girl” character into the public conversation with its spot-on monologue rant of a description:

Gillian Flynn wrote, from the voice of Amy Dunn, “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The unrealism of shows about the media

Interesting:

Initially, The Bold Type fell into this same trap of depicting what those working at Hearst would probably like people to think such an environment is like rather than what it truly is like. “When she took over the magazine, she shifted the focus,” social media editor Kat explains of Jacqueline to a skeptical potential interview subject in the magazine. It’s a set of lines that sounds like it was directly pulled from any one of the profiles published about ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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I was surprised at how slow much of Game Of Thrones is

I was sick for a week, so I finally got around to watching Game Of Thrones. I was surprised by several things.

1.) The show is very boring for a long time. Nothing of interest happens during the first 3 episodes. In episode 4, Mrs. Stark arrests Tyrion Lannister, setting off a war between the Starks and the Lannisters.

2.) The first two seasons are fairly boring. If I hadn’t been sick, I would not have stuck with the show. ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Not fair to the wife?

John Washam seems like a good person and I wish him every happiness in the world. Certainly we can all hope that he has an excellent career at a job he enjoys, while also enjoying the love of those who are most dear to him. All the same, I read his blog and I am a bit amazed at the things he writes. We are of a similar age, and we’ve had similar careers, and he seems of a similar ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Technology

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The limitations of decision trees

This article has some nice setups with the visuals:

If you are going to buy a house, you will make a list of pros/cons. That much is common sense. It is also an implicit decision tree. Most of these concepts are common sense. But I am struck, yet again, and how quickly this can seem to be unimaginably complex, once you involve the abstract jargon of math:

And once again, I note the sheer awfulness of math notation. How much faster ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Passport control when a child’s last name is different from a parent

An interesting story:

Siddiq was returning from a family holiday in France with her husband, Chris Percy, and their 18-month-old daughter, Azalea, when she was separated from Percy and permitted to go through the fast-track queue to board the Eurostar with her pushchair.

Though she exited French border control without any issue, Siddiq was stopped at the UK border immediately before boarding the train.

“My daughter looks quite different to me, she looks like her dad,” she said. “At the UK border the ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Technology

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Gini Impurity is quick to measure and easy to adapt to

I’m trying to convince a client that we need to match records using a Random Forest approach. They have hit the limits of what can be done with simple string matching. I like basic articles like this, for explaining things clearly, and making it obvious how easy Random Forests can be (especially compared to Neural Nets).

Which is the better split? This is a subjective question. In practice, people use different metrics for evaluating splits. The most commonly used metric ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Business

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The limit on open offices

I like this comment:

That’s the theory of why open plan is good. In practice it doesn’t pan out that way, because most 5 minute questions don’t save that much time (answer was a 2 minute search away), don’t take that much time (take much longer), and overall cost much more time (due to loss of flow). Most (if not all) programmers need a state of flow to write quality code. Achieving flow after an interruption can easily take 15 minutes or more. ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Business

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Danielle Morrill’s fascinating growth of Mattermark

This is a great story from and about Danielle Morrill, and the way she moved from one idea to the next until finally she was building Mattermark and the growth of the company was explosive.

The Research Lab Byproducts of work are a gold mine. In the process of writing articles I created hundreds of spreadsheets to research markets, compare companies, and come up with unique angles. I published raw spreadsheets in many of my posts, and received a lot of ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Technology

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Logs are the future of software

Not sure why it has taken so many decades to become obvious, but clearly a history of all events is better than a relational database for keeping track of data. There is no reason why any company should ever use a relational SQL database. The source of truth should be the log, and one’s consumers should build their own denormalized datasets — and these will often work best in a document store, rather than a relational database.

I am very ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Business

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FontForge was an evolution

I like this history of what became FontForge. It sounds like a very slow process; a side project which got out of control.

In the early ’90s I was working at a little web start-up company, called NaviSoft, which was almost immediately bought by AOL. My product was an html-editor (best known as AOLpress). As I was working to convert it to handle Unicode I became concerned about the lack of Unicode fonts. I began working on my own Unicode ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Technology

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Peter Williams on Humane Interfaces

Still caught by the nostalgia I mentioned in the 2nd previous post, I re-read Peter Williams post, linked via the same debate. I recall reading this in 2005.

Martin Fowler has posted a nice article on humane interface design (as opposed to minimal interface design). I am definitely on the side of right and good (read: humane interfaces) in this debate. Nothing takes the fun out of programming faster than having to write a bit of code that you know ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Business

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I wish there was a company that allowed me to watch all the movies that I want to watch

The movie industry is one of those markets where the interests of customers are the exact opposite of the interests of the corporations. Whereas every person would like a service that would let them watch all the good movies, in exchange for some appropriate fee, that would, by definition, mean treating movies as if they were a commodity, and this is exactly what the creators of movies hope to avoid. So we get an increasing number of streaming services.

The ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Technology

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The failure of the X Window system paved the road for the rise of the Web

This is an amazing article about the absolute failure of the X Window system. Copyright (C) 1994, so this was written just as the Web was gaining momentum, but before it was obvious that the Web would become the main way that different devices could establish a single interface. Among the many good bits, there is this:

Figuring out where a particular resource value is for a running application is much fun, as resource can have come from any of ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Business

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The rich get richer

Interesting:

This is not just another chart. The data it uses directly answers conservative attempts to claim that middle-class incomes really have grown substantially, and that the rich aren’t taking all the economic gains. The conservatives argued that the standard data used to illustrate inequality is incomplete; Saez, Piketty, and Zucman have completed it, and demonstrated that income growth has been quite low for the middle class and very unequally distributed between them and the wealthy.

The background context for the new ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Technology

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The loneliness of advanced skills

I decided to re-read The departure of the hyper-enthusiasts. I’ve linked to that essay many times before. It was formative for me, at a formative moment for the Web, so it was formative in many ways, and it captured something important about that moment, and how things were changing.

I find myself getting nostalgic. That is not interesting in and of itself. To be nostalgic for a formative time, about a formative essay, is ordinary enough.

But I had an ...

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September 7th, 2017

In Technology

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Blue or Not Blue decision trees

This is a point worth remembering:

“Before we get started I need to clarify something. Theoretical decision trees can have two or more branches protruding from a single node. However, this can be computationally expensive so most implementations of decision trees only allow binary splits.”

Source

September 7th, 2017

In Technology

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If NodeJS is so great, why are the problems so common?

Callback hell. Take a deep breath and ask yourself why this website needs to exist:

Source

August 12th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An incredibly sad day

I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia for most of the stretch from 2000 to 2009. Most of the my friends still live there. I’ve reached out to all of them hoping they are safe. It’s been a rough day for all of them. One was on the Downtown Mall and saw the Nazi terrorist when he drove his car into the crowd, murdering one person and injuring a dozen more. Another friend started the day at Church, praying for peace, then ...

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August 12th, 2017

In Technology

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Supervisord has spent 5 years discussing whether or not it should support a timing mechanism?

I’m not sure what to make of this incredible thread in the issue tracker on Github for the Supervisord repo. Someone asked, in 2012, for a way to time when various apps start, so that they could start app A, B and C in order. On April 16 of this year, 2017, someone wrote:

This issue has been open since 2012, does anyone have ownership over it? It’s clearly important to many users; is there any consensus amongst supervisor contributors?

I ...

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August 12th, 2017

In Business

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Extremely engaged readers will make or break careers

Worrisome. I suspect this will be most intense for authors of Young Adult novels, since the target demographic is just figuring out its identity, and tends to define the boundaries of that identity in vivid terms. The authors should, of course, ignore the momentary furor, and keep doing good work.

But a growing number of critics say the draggings, well-intended though they may be, are evidence of a growing dysfunction in the world of YA publishing. One author and former ...

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August 12th, 2017

In Business

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Parsely says no to $40 million, yes to $6 million, why not just get a bank loan?

It’s interesting that Parsely said yes to $6 million. They are basically profitable, but they need some money for expansion. In all previous eras, they would have applied for a bank loan. That is what profitable companies do when they want to expand. But somehow, we now have a business culture where it seems to make sense to sell equity to finance expansion, even when profitable.

I am not for or against this, I’m simply noting how much this is ...

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August 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Another reason I like working at small startups

Some days it is great to go to the office and talk things over, in person, with my co-workers. Other days it is important that I can be alone, focused on the computer code, the algorithm, talking to no one. On these days, it is best if I work from home.

What is the correct balance of working from home versus working from the office? It varies.

How much do medium-sized, and large-sized, corporations allow variance in attitudes towards working ...

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August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The simplicity of Japanese grammar

This looks great. I’ll buy this soon.

Source

August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Modern dating problems

A list of dating problems that nobody had 25 years ago. Some of these were stupid but I liked these 3:

1. Accidentally swiping left on “the one”. Your mom has probably never experienced that moment of intense regret after an unintentional slip of the finger on a photo of a guy who may or may not be Zac Efron’s secret clone. (She’s probably never accidentally matched with a total creep either, and eternally wondered whether he saw her before she ...

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August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to find the worst people in your company

Al Capone stole, bribed, tortured and killed, but was sent to prison for tax evasion. Likewise, sexual harrassement might be a clue that teaches you something about a person — they might be engaging in other criminal behavior. This is interesting:

Organizations that understand the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment have an advantage: they know that reports or rumors of sexual misconduct are a sign they need to investigate for other incidents of misconduct, sexual or otherwise. Sometimes sexual misconduct ...

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August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Creativity, Psychopathology, and Emotion Processing: A Liberal Response Bias for Remembering Negative Information is Associated with Higher Creativity

Interesting:

The results of the study found that self-reported high creative achievement levels and better performance on divergent thinking tasks (indicators of a creative individual) were associated with greater sensitivity to positive words and a more liberal response bias for negative words (which indicates an even greater sensitivity to negative words). So in conclusion, more creative individuals were shown to be more sensitive to positive information and especially sensitive to negative information in comparison to less creative individuals. These results indicate ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to greet people? Handshakes versus hugs versus kisses

A long and interesting bit about gendered professional etiquette in the USA. It is curious that this should seem so hard in the USA. In Europe there is a cacophony of rules regarding kissing — in Poland they kiss twice, in France they kiss three times, in Germany people just shake hands, and everyone feels the culture of California, which encourages hugging — yet Europe seems to have muddled through to some rough consensus about how people should great ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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USA feminists who went to the Soviet Union

Interesting:

Julia L. Mickenberg: But the particular appeal to women is something that nobody had talked about. And the fact that all these things that were happening right after the revolution that put women on equal footing with men were something that American women—particularly American women who were interested in everything from equal rights to better employment job opportunities to more relationships based on women being on equal footing with men in relationships—were interested in. Right after the revolution, within the first ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Technology

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A pure GUI for IP/TCP, a technology with a single mandate, with no burden of also offering semantics or structure or hierarchy

Someone on Hacker News said most developers don’t “get” the Web, and I posted this in response:

My history is surprisingly similar to yours, I started in 1999, I used Notepad as my first text editor, and by 2003 I got caught up in the movement towards making markup strict, which I felt was the mark of professionalism. However, by 2006 I had mostly rejected the notion of “strictness”. There were several things that turned me against strictness. One of ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The end of the era of free-market rhetoric

All of the Western nations began to shift to the right during the mid 1960s, and they’ve been shifting further and further to the right ever since. But perhaps that trend has come to an end? With the rise of Trump, and Labour again having a real Leftist for a leader, there are fewer voices arguing for free markets.

In the early years of the 21st century, the inevitability of an ever more competitive, deregulated, internationally orientated market economy, to ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Business

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The initial act of founding a company is an expression of nonconformity

I like this:

The initial act of founding a company is an expression of nonconformity. They must eventually convince others to join them, internalize that vision and will it into reality. But isn’t it counterintuitive to bring other originals—who may buck their ideas—into the fold?

“It’s true that every leader needs followers. We can’t all be nonconformists at every moment, but conformity is dangerous—especially for an entity in formation,” says Grant. “If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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First desire as a betrayal

Dan Savage, talking about our first desires. Interesting:

I think that a certain sex negativity is hard-wired into the human experience. When you’re told about sex before puberty you’re just appalled: Why would anyone do such a thing? And along comes puberty and the thing that you swore when you were 7 years old you would never do, ’cause that’s so gross, and before long, you’re drafted into this army that you never wanted to serve in. And I think that ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Peer review is strong

The title of this essay is “the collapse of peer review” which is a bit of an exaggeration. In the moder era, peer review is very strong.

I would argue the opposite, we live in a world where specialization continues to advance, and that specialization should open the door to polyglot behavior in creating new knowledge. There needs to be more space for researchers to publish half-done research. Personal blogs can be good for this. There needs to be a ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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PACZKI or PĄCZKI?

I’m struggling to learn Polish. I love this story:

This weekend my family was doing a bookstore event related to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. One of the movie’s characters, Jacob Kowalski, dreams of becoming a baker, and arrives to a bank appointment with a suitcase full of Polish confections, including pączki, a sort of Polish jelly donut. My wife wanted to serve these at the event.

The little tail on the ą in pączki is a diacritical mark called ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Business

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StackOverflow retreats from its over-ambitious Documentation project

Anyone’s who has tried to write a book about computer programming (as I have attempted and failed) can tell you that writing good code examples is very hard work. But this is interesting:

Will anything come out of this experiment?

Yes! As Shog pointed out, we’ve already learned quite a bit from doing things we couldn’t do otherwise. It’s too soon to know exactly what we’ll be able to port over to Q&A, but I’m excited about the possibilities of CommonMark, ...

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August 2nd, 2017

In Technology

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Cultural differences between Clojure and NodeJS

Right now I have to work with NodeJS, because I have a client who uses NodeJS. I am getting used to the asynchronous style of NodeJS. I notice a subtle cultural difference between Clojure and NodeJS. Most of the tutorials for NodeJS assume the person reading is a beginner, someone who may not understand big complex words like “asynchronous”. In the world of Clojure, there is the assumption that the person reading the article has some experience. With Clojure, there ...

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July 24th, 2017

In Technology

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NodeJS remains single threaded

This is a good example of the limits of NodeJS:

async.parallel([ function(callback){ setTimeout(function(){ callback(null, 'one'); }, 200); }, function(callback){ setTimeout(function(){ callback(null, 'two'); ...
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July 22nd, 2017

In Business

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The ReThink post-mortem is among the best post-mortems ever

Such an insightful post-mortem:

There is one more level of root cause analysis that we can do. Why did we pick a bad market and optimize the product for the wrong metrics?

When I was a little kid I wanted to build my own radio. I made a box out of plywood, threw some metal junk inside, and connected the box to a power cord. I had books on electronics at home, but didn’t think I needed them – I had unwavering ...

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July 19th, 2017

In Technology

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No one should ever use NodeJS, part MMCVXII

I previously wrote about a very surprising bug I discovered in NodeJS/HapiJS.

But today I face a new issue: How to parallelize work in NodeJs? I discovered this fantastic library called paralleljs. It assigns work to child processes. Fantastic idea, very similar to Python. And how do I get required libs into the child process? That is very difficult. From the issues on Github:

to make things a bit more concrete, this snippet would be representative of what I want ...

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July 18th, 2017

In Technology

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Do people love DigitalOne servers?

I’m looking to host my next web site at DigitalOne. If you have experience with them, please let me know.

Source

July 18th, 2017

In Technology

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When Nginx becomes the bottleneck

This makes me sad. I love Nginx as a reverse proxy, so long as it is invisible and I never have to think about. Realizing that it, too, can be a source of problems really is discouraging.

47,135 connections in TIME_WAIT! Moreover, ss indicates that they are all closed connections. This suggests the server is burning through a large portion of the available port range, which implies that it is allocating a new port for each connection it’s handling. Tweaking ...

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July 18th, 2017

In Technology

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Trying to explicitly enumerate everything that is true is hopeless

This is good:

Let’s take a look at some existing representations. The most famous representation is WordNet. In WordNet, the symbols are groups of words that have the same meaning, called synsets. One synset could be the set consisting of “car” and “automobile.” Each word can be in multiple synsets. For example, “bank” could be in the synset that means river bank and also in the synset that means a place where money is deposited. There are a few kinds ...

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July 18th, 2017

In Business

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More chaos in the world of Bitcoin

Apparently having a currency that is outside of the control of the government means dealing with endless bickering and petty politics. Some of these comments are very informative:

This is a fight for control of Bitcoin. It is business interests on both sides fighting for a position of authority. SegWit2x is an attempt to remove control from the core dev team, which while technically strong is full of zealots with questionable motives and terrible management skills. Bitcoin ABC and Unlimited have ...

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July 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An absolute regression for women in the public eye

Interesting:

This does not get round the central point of what Cooper was saying, though. She was talking about the misogyny that is aimed at women of all political persuasions. She did not, she said, want to see the severed head of Theresa May carried at demonstrations. The linking of social media abuse to actual violence is pertinent, and after the murder of Jo Cox, it’s all too real.

The online surveillance of women’s images alongside the silencing of their voices is ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Venture Capitalist resigns after confessing to be creep and being accused of assault

I have to think that men who do this well don’t realize how lucky they are, and they don’t realize how much they are throwing something very important. They were trusted and admired, and they threw that away. And they had the power to do good, and yet they decided to perpetuate many of the problems that the industry has been suffering for several decades.

Dave has done a lot for many founders, and people (including me) are grateful for ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A joke versus physical assault

Thinking about this more, this is really something. A joke provokes nation wide outrage, but actually beating up a woman and kicking her merely brings shrugs.

Our attitude toward Depp’s two crimes — a documented history of abuse that’s met with a shrug on one side, and a tasteless joke about assassination met with mass outrage on the other — mimics our larger cultural attitude toward domestic violence. We generally don’t consider violence against women to be a big deal until ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Woman very hurt by her son’s tattoo

Interesting, as a document recording very strong emotions over something I would think of as minor:

She says, “Tell him how you feel.”

But I can’t. For a start, I know I’m being completely unreasonable. This level of grief is absurd. He’s not dying, he hasn’t killed anyone, he hasn’t volunteered to fight on behalf of a military dictatorship. But I feel as though a knife is twisting in my guts.

I get angry with myself. This is nothing but snobbery, I think ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Word2Vec Evaluating Embeddings: Analogical Reasoning

The math in this article is difficult for me, but after reading it a few times I think I get the gist of how Word2Vec works:

Evaluating Embeddings: Analogical Reasoning

Embeddings are useful for a wide variety of prediction tasks in NLP. Short of training a full-blown part-of-speech model or named-entity model, one simple way to evaluate embeddings is to directly use them to predict syntactic and semantic relationships like king is to queen as father is to ?. This is ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Business

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China is investing in the USA

I don’t think this article says much more than “China is investing in the USA”. That’s about what I’d expect as growth in China slows down. Still, there hasn’t been a big surge of investment, like when Japan began buying up the USA in the 1980s.

Wages aren’t the only costs in China that are rising. The price of electricity has increased 15 percent since 2010, and industrial land is becoming more expensive too. Taxes are high as well: Dewang, ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Meritocracy hasn’t helped Britain

Interesting:

Decades later, he expressed dismay that Tony Blair had adopted meritocracy as a defining philosophy of the New Labour project, writing in the Guardian: “It is good sense to appoint individual people to jobs on their merit. It is the opposite when those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others.”

In 2017, meritocracy is still central to political conceptions of fairness and social justice. While ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Is a declining birth rate a bad thing?

My mom’s mom’s mom (my great grandmother) had 16 children, mostly during the late 1800s. Nowadays women have fewer children. Is this a bad thing? I know a great many women who did not want to have kids but were pressured into it. At the same time, the government could do more to get money to those women who want to have more kids. I can’t see how the downward trend is worrisome, except where it represents a woman who ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An honest novel about the fantasy life of a shy introvert

Interesting:

The novel’s “plot” goes like this: wryly observant, unconventional Selin has a deep, abiding crush on Ivan, her email pen pal and partner in philosophical and linguistic ruminations. He seems not uninterested, either: they meet in class, they write long emails soliloquizing about their own concerns, and they walk around Cambridge, and walk, and talk. He introduces her to beer, which she doesn’t like at all. Though she grows to love him deeply, he never seduces her—not at Harvard and ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kara Brown is leaving Jezebel

I also write to try to put meaning into my experiences, and to be paid to do so sounds wonderful. This sounds like a charmed life:

Like many obnoxious teenagers who will go on to procrastinate through English degrees in college, I suffered a heavy Albert Camus phase in high school after reading The Stranger. During times of upheaval and significantly less traumatic change in my life, I find myself returning to the pattern of thought found in his work. Most ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Business

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A novice can not be blamed for serious mistakes in your companies technology

Another write up of this story:

As subRedditors saw it, cscareerthrowaway567 made one mistake. The company made several. It didn’t back up the database. It had poor security procedures and a sloppily-organized system that encouraged the very error cscareerthrowaway567 made. Then, rather than taking accountability for those problems, the CTO fired the rookie who revealed them. Of all the errors this company made, that last might be the most destructive to their future success. An extensive review of employee teams at ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Technology

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A simple intro to tokenizing with OpenNLP in Clojure

A nice intro:

Finding sentences

Words (tokens) aren’t the only structures that we’re interested in, however. Another interesting and useful grammatical structure is the sentence. In this recipe, we’ll use a process similar to the one we used in the previous recipe, Tokenizing text, in order to create a function that will pull sentences from a string in the same way that tokenize pulled tokens from a string in the last recipe.

Getting ready

We’ll need to include clojure-opennlp in our project.clj file:

(defproject com.ericrochester/text-data ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Women in tech in the early days of tech

My mom studied computer programming during the 1970s and her professor was female. And women getting advanced degree in computer science peaked in the USA in the late 1980s. So I’m under the impression that the industry was more open to women in its early days than it is now, especially relative to other professions such as medicine (almost 50% of new doctors are female in the USA).

Interesting:

What was it like being on campus with so few other women ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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President Trump is having a negative effect on children

Worrisome:

BuzzFeed has an extensively reported piece on more than 50 incidents across the country of children and teens from kindergarten through 12th grade hurling racist invective at their classmates of color—an occurrence not unique to the Trump era but increased because of it—as reported by school districts to ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project. In each of those incidents, Trump’s name was invoked, whether in the context of how his presidency will change the circumstance of the student of color—“You’re going ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Technology

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Neural Networks beat Support Vector Machine beat Random Forests

I’ve written about my experience at a startup that used NLP to translate a salesperson’s text message into an entry in Salesforce. At the time, our NLP developer used the Stanford NLP library to try to build a model, but mostly they used a lot of regex and string matching.

I’ve been thinking about how we might have done that project faster and better. I’ve recently been thinking the right approach would have been Random Forests. We were lucky ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Technology

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The struggle to find meaning in words, via word counts in matrixes

Interesting comment:

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 the ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Technology

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The problems with DynamoDB

Everything I’ve read suggests to me that companies are drifting towards Cassandra as the best of the NoSQL databases. But some of my clients give me directives such as “Please restrict yourself to AWS technologies”. So I was considering using DynamoDB. And then I read this.

Interesting:

When a customer does an action, it is reasonable to think that this kicks off a number of actions in your system. One action might spawn a number of events to be sent into ...

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July 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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We ate at Khe Yo and we loved it

It’s an unusual place. The food is from Laos. It’s an Asian cuisine, but a bit different. We loved it.

Source

July 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The backlash against gay rights

Interesting:

The problem with many Christians in politics is that they seem to be interested only in sex: gay sex, adulterous sex, sex that results in unwanted pregnancy. If they could spend even a proportion of their time thinking about anything else in the Bible – crops, markets, usury, justice, fish – they’d be so much easier to live with.

In our own parliament, however much we might abhor the self-satisfied bigotry of the DUP, we’re far more exercised about the ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Far right extremists show a surprising degree of international cooperation

Considering how much hate was directed at the Poles during the debate over Brexit, it is a bit odd that a Polish nationalist would come to Britain to work in harmony with other right wing extremists, who, in theory, hate his guts. But apparently they hate other people (muslims, non-whites, women) even more, so they work together in harmony.

Międlar was accused last year of calling Jews a “cancer” that had “swept Poland” during an address to a rally in ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have limits that few have yet appreciated

This is very good:

Now consider my most viral tweet so far:

Good CS expert says: Most firms that think they want advanced AI/ML really just need linear regression on cleaned-up data.

This got almost universal agreement from those who see such issues play out behind the scenes. And by analogy with the pipe innovation case, this fact tells us something about the potential near-term economic impact of recent innovations in Machine Learning. Let me explain.

Most firms have piles of data they ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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The unwillingness to acknowledge the end of “learn a new skill” as a path to growth

Probably written by someone with no experience in business, or a very large reason to distort the truth. This is very stupid and detached from reality:

It won’t be long before “skilled in machine learning” becomes the new “proficient in Excel” as a standard bullet point on your resume. The only difference? What you bring to table will be more valuable than a pivot tables or color-coded pie charts.

The day when any average Joe can train an algorithm along with ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The politics of Bruce Springsteen

What sort of insane right-wing extremist do you need to be that when you listen to Bruce Springsteen sing about the working class, you decide that he is anti-American?

Like so many baby boomers drifting along as the culture has moved further and further Left in recent decades, Springsteen has become more and more liberal. The tough yet sensitive poet who played the rock and roll clubs of Asbury Park in the 1960s and 1970s, sleeping with women and dealing with ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Defending people whom you dislike

Source

June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Grace is the face of death

Interesting:

The people actually approaching death used more positive terms and fewer negative ones to describe their emotions than those imagining the experience. In the blog posts—all from real people who eventually died from their disease—emotions grew more positive as death approached. It’s not a perfect study—people with unspeakable regrets or fears may be less inclined to publicly chronicle their final days than those who do not. But there are a few reasons why death may be more terrifying as a ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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Open Source is poorly funded

With a few exceptions, Open Source is starved for resources:

Why should open source software development require “huge sacrifices?” But why have “huge sacrifices” been necessary to produce and maintain these projects? And why are sustainable funding and resources so difficult to come by?

The answers to these questions touch upon a host of challenges related to open source software development in general: burnout, overwork generated by the tragedy of the commons, and the mistaken notion that critical open source work can be ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What we think of as pirates is a reality that last maybe 20 years

When thinking of pirates, most people will think of movies like Pirates Of The Caribbean or Black Sails, which portray the Atlantic during the early 1700s. But the world has always had pirates, and even in the early modern period, pirates were a varied experience.

One reason piracy was often an act or a phase, and not a way of life, was simply because humans have not evolved to live on the sea. The sea is a hostile place, offering ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Letting women speak

What does it mean that this kind of thing is still happening?

So at this point, after seeing very clearly that she was not going to be given space to speak and in fact having her own theories described to the audience by the moderator, I am in full outrage. My body is actually beginning to shake. The sexism is beyond blatant. It is happening on stage and NO ONE, not a single other physicist or panelist is stepping in to ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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When a leader says “I hope you can do this”

This level of dishonesty puts a strain on the liberal checks and balances of USA politics:

James Comey’s testimony before the Senate on June 8 hinged on one key phrase: “I hope you can let this go.” According to the former FBI director, US president Donald Trump used these words to request that he back off a federal investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey interpreted this as a directive, while Trump’s defenders argue that the president was simply expressing ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Punishments for Labour MPs who keep supporting the Remain cause

It seems likely that Labour, being inclusive, will emerge as the party of Remain. But for now, they can not be too obvious about it.

The amendment attracted the support of 101 MPs across different parties, including 49 Labour politicians who defied the leadership. It called for the government not to leave the EU without a deal, to guarantee a parliamentary vote on the final outcome of negotiations, to set in place transitional arrangements, and to “set out proposals to ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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The changing demographics of the USA

Since white people are old, and non-whites are young, we can expect the next wave of babies will bring a rapid end to the white majority in the USA.

Source

June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Thought leaders are stupid

I love this comment:

I was recently at a conference run by a progressive political think tank. I was surprised and confused by the way some of the speakers discussed AI, “innovation”, entrepreneurship, and technology.

They basically all repeated a number of the same points.

1. AI will be amazing, and will utterly decimate jobs in the future, though it was never clear whether they understood AI technologies or even the economics of automation.

2. Everyone should be trying to become an entrepreneur. ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The frailty of the British Conservative government

It is odd to watch things shake out over the last year. David Cameron called for the Brexit vote, then opposed it, then lost, then resigned. May became Prime Minister and saw Labour fall into disarray. Thinking she had a strong hand she called snap elections. She lost her majority. Desperate to stay in power she seeks a deal with the DUP, whose conservative views on abortion are detested by most political parties. This brings a strong response from the ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The destructive nostalgia for a world without red tape

It’s wonderful to have efficient systems that keep process to the minimum necessary to ensure one’s goals. But much of modern talk about “red tape” is simply nostalgia for a time with less process, even when lack of process lead to outcomes that were unfair:

But red tape is also used to mean the regulation of companies, which may lead to unhelpful confusion. “Red tape is indeed used as a catch-all phrase in a sometimes unthinking manner,” agrees Gillian Tett, ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Another dead Nobel Peace Prize winner

The lack of domestic and international rage is worrisome:

Beijing’s position is clear: China has no dissidents and Liu Xiaobo is a criminal. His offence was to co-author and gather signatures for a landmark call for reforms, though he did not initiate it and was seized before it was released. Though Charter 08 mostly called for the Communist party to uphold commitments made in its own constitution it was a coherent and forthright challenge to the party’s rule, calling for peaceful ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Technology

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The curse of too many dimensions

Damn, this is interesting:

The curse of dimensionality refers to various phenomena that arise when analyzing and organizing data in high-dimensional spaces (often with hundreds or thousands of dimensions) that do not occur in low-dimensional settings such as the three-dimensional physical space of everyday experience. The expression was coined by Richard E. Bellman when considering problems in dynamic optimization.

There are multiple phenomena referred to by this name in domains such as numerical analysis, sampling, combinatorics, machine learning, data mining, and ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Technology

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Morphism is the starting point of category theory

I guess I knew this, but still it is interesting to read:

In algebra, a homomorphism is a structure-preserving map between two algebraic structures of the same type (such as two groups, two rings, or two vector spaces). The word homomorphism comes from the ancient Greek language: ὁμός (homos) meaning “same” and μορφή (morphe) meaning “form” or “shape”.

Homomorphisms of vector spaces are also called linear maps, and their study is the object of linear algebra.

The concept of homomorphism has been ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Police kill 17 year old when they try to shoot a dog

Another case where the police seem far too casual about using guns even when civilians are near:

Genevie Escobar, a 17-year-old best friend of Garcia-Muro, said he was at a friend’s house during the incident. She said she struggled to understand why police decided to fire at the dog.

“Why couldn’t they tase the dog? Why did they have to shoot him?” said Escobar, Barron’s daughter. “The cops should have handled this in a totally different way.”

Garcia-Muro was looking forward to graduating ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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Can the leadership simply order a group to be entrepreneurs, and then expect good results?

Chris Lord on his time at Mozilla:

Unfortunately, as soon as it started to show some promise and as soon as we had freedom from carriers to actually do what we set out to do in the first place, the project was cancelled, in favour of the whole Connected Devices IoT debacle.

If there was anything that killed morale for me more than my unfortunate time on the graphics team, and more than having FirefoxOS prematurely cancelled, it would have ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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WalMart bought Jet and then immediately went to war against the culture of Jet

This suggests that the WalMart leadership team did not understand what they were buying when they bought Jet, or they think they can break the culture without breaking the company. I like this comment:

I’m not going to even address whether drinking and swearing in the office should or shouldn’t be allowed – it’s irrelevant. Walmart basically decided that they wanted to buy Jet because Jet had capabilities and talent that they wanted in order to compete with companies like ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Business

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Mistakes are the currency of success

The people most comfortable making mistakes and learning from them are the ones who do the best in life:

Here’s an excerpt from Principles, a brilliant (and freely available) manifesto of Dalio’s rules for life and business:

…the popular picture of success—which is like a glossy photo of an ideal man or woman out of a Ralph Lauren catalog, with a bio attached listing all of their accomplishments like going to the best prep schools and an Ivy League college, and ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What does it mean to have a President who engages in such open gender based stereotyping?

Worrisome:

On the phone with Ireland’s newly elected prime minister, Caitriona Perry caught his eye, among the Irish press corp standing by. “We have all this beautiful Irish press. Where are you from?” said the president from his seat in the oval office, pointing at Perry, Washington correspondent for Ireland’s RTE. Curling his finger with a beckoning look, he told Perry to “come on over” to his desk, and asked where she’s from. She answered respectfully, if meekly. Then, in ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Technology

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All the weird characters in Clojure explained

This is a very useful guide.

Source

June 29th, 2017

In Business

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Marissa Mayer fails upwards, and wants her friends to fail upwards

Pathetic. What justifies the regard that people have for Marissa Mayer? She was an utter failure at Yahoo. No one should take her seriously.

So it is telling that Marissa Mayer, the CEO who failed to fix Yahoo, has stepped out to defend Kalanick, telling attendees of a conference at Stanford Law School June 27 that the Uber founder probably didn’t know about the toxic culture he created. Mayer was not only forced to sell Yahoo after failing to create ...

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Sowmya Shriraghavan on discrimination in tech

Nicole Nguyen has a piece at Recode that touches on this subject.

In this graph, female enrollment in medical school, law school, and physical sciences goes up and up, while the number of women in computer science flatlines at 1984 and continues to decrease into the 2000s. There was a serious cultural change in the ’80s that pushed women out and set the precedent for the future of engineering.

What’s bizarre about this shift is that many of computer science’s foremost pioneers ...

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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