Reader's Corner for November 2015

November 30, 2015

As a developer, I never managed to stick to the same job for more than two years.

This is a pretty good read on culture

The envelope paradox This is on my mind because someone asked about it in IRC yesterday and I was surprised at how coherently I was able to explain it on the spur of the moment. There are several versions of this paradox. My favorite version goes like this: you're going to play a game with an advers…

This is what W.V.O. Quine calls a "veridical paradox": it's something that seems impossible, but is nevertheless true.

Enough is enough. We've gone from labor being an equitable contract to the beggar CEO asking for more and more labor for nothing. Time to stop it.

"We wear our unpaid, uncompensated overtime as a badge of honor. We sleep less, brag about our caffeine intake, and are available for calls and emails 18 hours per day. We measure our importance by how many half hour slots during the day are double or triple booked, and we perversely consider it honorable to do this for free."

November 28, 2015

Based on historic data, Black Friday and Cyber Monday flight deals from airlines in general are lackluster. Emirates sent us their Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There's a deal running now for $625 per head round trip (but you have to book 2 tickets) from anywhere in the US to Dubai. I checked dates till Feb and it seemed to work; but it might sell out.

I watched a little drama unfold over the last few days involving Troy Hunt, a security specialist and a “tall, fine-look…

So they're letting people downright steal courses because they make a profit off it?

Federal law allows for criminal charges against abusive judges and district attorneys.

"There are many words to describe the judge’s blunt disregard of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Callous. Appalling. Cruel. Here’s another possibility: criminal — liable to prosecution and, if found guilty, prison time."

Horrifying. Sometimes people don't realize that judges, and prosecutors, are human after all, and subject to biases (e.g. that study which showed judges gave much more lenient decisions right after eating)

Goal of this post I want to give Udemy some constructive criticism in the open while also warning potential course creators of the pitfalls I’ve encountered while using Udemy to sell a course. All of...

November 27, 2015

The Yale Problem Begins in High School by Jonathan Haidt | Nov 24, 2015 | campus turmoil, free speech | 7 comments A month before the Yale Halloween meltdown, I had a bizarre and illuminating experience at an elite private high school on the West Coast. I’ll call it Centerville High. I gave a versio…

"The Yale problem refers to an unfortunate feedback loop: Once you allow victimhood culture to spread on your campus, you can expect ever more anger from students representing victim groups, coupled with demands for a deeper institutional commitment to victimhood culture, which leads inexorably to more anger, more demands, and more commitment. But the Yale problem didn’t start at Yale. It started in high school. As long as many of our elite prep schools are turning out students who have only known eggshells and anger, whose social cognition is limited to a single dimension of victims and victimizers, and who demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, it’s hard to imagine how any university can open students’ minds and prepare them to converse respectfully with people who don’t share their values. Especially when there are no adults around who don’t share their values.:

Three computer scientists have solved a problem central to a dozen far-flung mathematical fields.

"Mathematicians in these disciplines greeted the news with a combination of delight and hand-wringing. The solution, which Casazza and Tremain called “a major achievement of our time,” defied expectations about how the problem would be solved and seemed bafflingly foreign. Over the past two years, the experts in the Kadison-Singer problem have had to work hard to assimilate the ideas of the proof. Spielman, Marcus and Srivastava “brought a bunch of tools into this problem that none of us had ever heard of,” Casazza said. “A lot of us loved this problem and were dying to see it solved, and we had a lot of trouble understanding how they solved it.”"

November 22, 2015

In the winter of 2009, Eric Churchill was called to a patient’s bedside at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, to help out with a medica

"This is exactly Churchill’s point: Something that is this easy to treat should be among the first solutions doctors seek, not the last."

November 20, 2015

The place I call home no longer feels safe.

19 cops for a break in with no reported violence? Wow

A customer reported an unusual problem with our CloudFlare CDN: our servers were responding to some HTTP requests slowly. Extremely slowly. 30 seconds slowly. This happened very rarely and wasn't easily reproducible. To make things worse all our usual monitoring...

The media reflects the bias of its readers; not the other way round

Bias, by the numbers

November 19, 2015

These are the words Mehreen used a lot this year! Share now to see how your friends feel about them :D

Omg Hasnain :P

What The Atlantic magazine got wrong about ISIS.

From March this year, but a great read.

"Three years earlier, in 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was obtained by the Guardian. It revealed: “Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The MI5 analysts noted the disproportionate number of converts and the high propensity for “drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes”. The newspaper claimed they concluded, “A well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation.”"

A recent article in the NY Times exposed how flawed the H-1B lottery process is. A handful of giant outsourcing companies flood the system with applications, making it near impossible for startups...

This is ... interesting

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: KBIO) is a monoclonal antibody therapeutics company that traded as a penny stock as recently as this Monday. The company now trades above the...

"According to a Form 4 filing with the SEC, Shkreli bought 500,169 shares at $0.61 apiece, with the remaining stakes purchased between $1.43 and $2.43"

Given that the stock is now trading at $19, that's a nice tidy profit

November 18, 2015

Earlier this year, Google and ASUS announced the Chromebit -- a full Chrome OS-based computer on an HDMI stick. Today, the two companies are officially..

This looks really cool

dockercraft - Docker + Minecraft = Dockercraft

This is amazing!

[Alice], Hasnain [Bob]

November 17, 2015

Imagine simultaneously devoting all your efforts to depicting ISIS as the Greatest and Most Evil Threat Ever, while knowing the vital role you played in its genesis and growth. That's the predicament in which former and current U.S. officials find themselves.

"One key premise here seems to be that prior to the Snowden reporting, The Terrorists helpfully and stupidly used telephones and unencrypted emails to plot, so Western governments were able to track their plotting and disrupt at least large-scale attacks. That would come as a massive surprise to the victims of the attacks of 2002 in Bali, 2004 in Madrid, 2005 in London, 2008 in Mumbai, and April 2013 at the Boston Marathon. How did the multiple perpetrators of those well-coordinated attacks — all of which were carried out prior to Snowden’s June 2013 revelations — hide their communications from detection?"

The past couple of weeks have seen a spate of confrontations among air travelers over reclining seats. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as flying has become a somewhat stressful under…

A battle between retailers and the banking industry over credit card technology adds fuel to a feud over what merchants pay for the processing of credit and debit transactions.

November 16, 2015

Twenty-four hours after an attack by Da'esh (the organization formerly known as ISIS [1]) on Paris left 129 dead and 352 wounded, the Internet and the… - Yonatan Zunger - Google+

A wonderful read. I can't cherry pick any quote; the whole thing needs to be read.

November 15, 2015

Luke Plant's blog

Brings up some good points

November 14, 2015

You surely know this: You're looking at some website with some useful shell commands. However, those commands are long as hell and you know you're probably not gonna need them for a few years or so (so there's no need to memorize them). So, what do you do? You copy-paste them. Here's an example:

You're never safe

Another reason for people to lose trust in law enforcement.

Let's make an omelette

I blog mostly about my own programming projects.

Awesome code, awesome algorithms, awesome explanation. A great read

November 13, 2015

According to Liisa Hyssäalä and Olli Kangas, all Finnish citizens would in some years receive 800 euros from the governement without condition.

This will be exciting

Instagration Pt. 2: Scaling our infrastructure to multiple data centers

In Xcode 7, you can install apps directly to your iOS device with a free account from Apple. So we decided to make a beta version of f.lux for people to try.

I love using a similar app on android. This sucks for iOS users

Lahore (Staff Report) - According to sources close to the incident, 500 grams of heroin were found and confiscated from LUMS boys

[Bob] [Eve] Hasnain [Alice]

Lahore (Staff Report) - According to sources close to the incident, 500 grams of heroin were found and confiscated from LUMS boys

[Bob] [Eve] Hasnain [Alice]

November 11, 2015

Critics say a program meant to help American firms hire foreigners with special skills is instead being dominated by outsourcing companies that move jobs offshore.

A small perk that can be trouble to take away.

November 10, 2015

A fight over Halloween costumes at Yale devolves into an effort to censor dissenting views.

If this is what's happening in colleges nowadays (Yale in this case); is there any point having hope in the future?

"“In your position as master,” one student says, “it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students who live in Silliman. You have not done that. By sending out that email, that goes against your position as master. Do you understand that?!”

“No,” he said, “I don’t agree with that.”

The student explodes, “Then why the fuck did you accept the position?! Who the fuck hired you?! You should step down! If that is what you think about being a master you should step down! It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here. You are not doing that!”"

Services capitalize on the courses' anonymity and impersonate students.

November 9, 2015

Manju Das stood over a pot in her nephew’s food stall, which spilled onto the pavement of a busy, dust-choked thoroughfare in interior West Bengal. She poured in some oil, and when it was smoking hot, threw in a handful of dried chilies and mustard seeds.

This is infuriating and depressing.

This is huge, Google open sourcing their machine learning computational framework

The Hollywood Sign might be one of the most recognizable things on Earth. In Los Angeles, it’s also one of the most visible. You can see it from a plane as you glide into LAX. You can see it from a car as you drive up the 101 freeway. But a group of people who live near the sign are trying to hide i…

November 8, 2015

Miley says the company keeps an internal list of colleges and universities it wants to hire from — Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon — and says messaging like that is part of the problem.

Life in a Studio Apartment with my Wife and Two Sons Between July 2011 and August 2015 I lived in a ~400sqft studio apartment in San Francisco. I moved in a bachelor but by the time I moved out, I was one member of a four person family. Here are some things I learned along the way. Lesson 1) Rent co…


Back in 2012, during the early days of KeepSafe, we sought to implement an encryption scheme for our Android App. Throug…

Definitely had issues with loading native libraries before

November 7, 2015

How raising money for personal causes has spun out of control.

"Here’s the question I can’t stop asking myself: Has social media made our craving for attention and validation overwhelm all other considerations? There is nothing new about asking your friends for help (remember rent parties?), but that help was confined to a small group of people you actually knew."

November 6, 2015

Jumping GI down from the nearly-exponential neighborhood to the nearly-polynomial one László Babai is one of the world experts on complexity theory, especially related to groups and g...

Law student and blogger Diana Kim photographed her father's struggle with mental illness when he was living rough on the streets of Hawaii.


In the 2015 Presidential Lecture in the Arts and Humanities, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson argued that if the American higher education system continues to shift priorities towards training instead of educating, students will be ill-equipped to participate as citizens of a democra…

"The original rationale behind an American liberal arts education – to play a vital role in democratizing privilege – "is under attack, or is being forgotten," Robinson said. Now, universities by and large do not attempt to "prepare people for citizenship and democracy." Instead, they educate them to be members of a "docile, most skilled, working class.""

It's not easy being a human financial planner.

CodePush Blog

Awesome stuff from Microsoft

About 12 years ago, I co-founded a startup called Basecamp: A simple project collaboration tool that helps people make p…

"The web is the greatest entrepreneurial platform ever invented. Lowest barriers of entry, greatest human reach ever. I love the web. Permission-less, grand reach, diversity of implementation. Don’t believe this imaginary wall of access of money. It isn’t there.
Examine and interrogate your motivations, reject the money if you dare, and startup something useful. A dent in the universe is plenty.
Curb your ambition.
Live happily ever after."

To have a successful startup, you need: a great idea, a great market, a great team, a great product, and great execution.

This is absolutely amazing

November 5, 2015

Growing, possession, and smoking the drug deemed acceptable in decision that applies only to plaintiffs and does not approve sale of the substance

November 4, 2015

Ireland will move towards decriminalising substances including heroin, cocaine and cannabis as part of a “radical cultural shift”, the country's drugs minister has said. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the chief of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy, told a lecture at the London School of Economics on Monday that…

November 3, 2015

A great tract of Earth is on fire and threatened species are being driven out of their habitats. This is a crime against humanity and nature

"Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening."

They're part-puzzle, part-team building exercise, part-fantasy — and they have friends paying to get trapped in a room together. They have been popping up in cities around the country.

Hardware performance “obviously” affects software performance and affects how software is optimized. For example, the fact that caches are multiple …

The Grand Theft Auto series has come a long way since the first opus came out back in 1997. About 2 years ago, Rockstar released GTA V. The …

Awesome stuff

The Environmental Protection Agency also said it found the software, designed to cheat on emissions tests, on more Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars than previously disclosed.

The Tech Bust of 2015 Maybe instead of a tech bubble, we’re in a tech bust.  No one seems to fervently believe tech valuations are cheap, so it’d be somewhat surprising if we...

Activision Bizzard Inc. agreed to buy King Digital Entertainment Plc for $5.9 billion, unifying major console games like Call of Duty with the leading mobile title Candy Crush Saga.

Hot dang

November 2, 2015

Powered by radios in trees, homegrown network serves 50 houses on Orcas Island.

Pretty simple, powerful technique

Failure is part of engineering any large-scale system. One of Facebook's cultural values is embracing failure. This can be seen in the posters hung around the walls of our Menlo Park headquarters: "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?" and "Fortune Favors the Bold."

This is a great read

Random rants on politics and discussions on tech.

Steven Hill writes how Airbnb is used by professional landlords to evade rules meant to regulate the hotel industry, and how Airbnb could stop them.

Thanks to gaping loopholes implicitly endorsed by the Supreme Court, hedge funds now essentially have a license to cheat.

"But the truth is that if you operate a hedge fund and care to structure your business around the gaping loopholes that the Supreme Court has implicitly endorsed, insider trading is now effectively legal in the United States."