Reader's Corner for October 2016

October 31, 2016

Nearly 90,000 Indian soldiers laid down their lives for Britain in the second world war, yet the scale of that sacrifice – and the troubled history of the imperial project – is barely recognised

This is a must read. Honestly surprised the British curriculum doesn't discuss colonization

October 28, 2016

The Common Core should finally improve math education. The problem is that no one has taught the teachers how to teach it.

Really interesting article, touching upon math, education, and lots of random tidbits.

"The unschooled may have been more capable of complex math than people who were specifically taught it, but in the context of school, they were stymied by math they already knew. Studies of children in Brazil, who helped support their families by roaming the streets selling roasted peanuts and coconuts, showed that the children routinely solved complex problems in their heads to calculate a bill or make change. When cognitive scientists presented the children with the very same problem, however, this time with pen and paper, they stumbled. A 12-year-old boy who accurately computed the price of four coconuts at 35 cruzeiros each was later given the problem on paper. Incorrectly using the multiplication method he was taught in school, he came up with the wrong answer. Similarly, when Scribner gave her dairy workers tests using the language of math class, their scores averaged around 64 percent. The cognitive-science research suggested a startling cause of Americans’ innumeracy: school."

tl;dr: game is broken but still popular, my suggestion for fixing it and making more money in the process is to open source

Twenty-five years ago, Meier turned human history into a video game, and sold 33 million copies along the way. With the launch of Civilization VI, Kanishk Tharoor takes a closer look at its impact.

October 25, 2016

So it turns out that images of Apple's new MacBook Pro, set to be unveiled on Thursday, are actually hiding inside the latest macOS Sierra update. They confirm that Jony Ive and Apple's designers...

Apple taking a stand in the vim vs emacs holy wars

IG Frontier Corps says the terrorists were communicating with their handlers in Afghanistan.


October 24, 2016

Netflix’s expanded version of this sci-fi anthology explores digital cultures that are chillingly close to our own.

Looks like I need to watch this show

Hack the kernel! Learn operating systems online. Watch videos, complete assignments, and compete with other students.

Seems to be a great set of slides and materials

October 23, 2016

Note. I never wanted wanted to write something like this, or expose the people involved. However, I feel that’s it necessary for something…

This is pretty crazy

At the extremes, there are two ways to approach tenure. You can conform to the norms established for junior faculty. Or you can be yourself. I’m happy that I set my own course, and proud of the way that I divided by time between research, teaching, and service. Unfortunately, my approach did…

Shots fired, clearly. A harsh read on the tenure process

“Believe me, there are plenty of smart people behind the robots.”

October 22, 2016

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The Kabaddi World Cup final :P

Tl;dr India won for the 3rd time

Computer scientists can prove certain programs to be error-free with the same certainty that mathematicians prove theorems.

This is pretty cool. Program verification and static analysis for the win

New Zealand professor asked to present his work at US event on nuclear physics despite it containing gibberish all through the copy

Paper paper hai, iOS ho ya Android

October 21, 2016

How did an entire state price itself out of the market for entry-level home buyers?

Pakistan’s highest court has ruled that schizophrenia does not qualify as a “mental disorder” under the country's legal definition, paving the way for a mentally ill man’s execution. The United Nations warned it would be against international law to hang Imdad Ali, who was sentenced to death over th...

This is outrageous

October 20, 2016

Samsung apparently doesn't see much humor in a Grand Theft Auto V mod that turns the recalled, hazardous Galaxy Note 7 into an in-game weapon. In fact, the company is trying to erase it from the...

Yay Streisand effect.

October 19, 2016

Posted 10/17/16 12:52 PM

"Facebook engineers are crazy... in a good way. "

October 18, 2016

I'm going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.

Wait, when did Cracked start writing reasonable articles that make a lot of sense?

How to avoid heartbreak when submitting conference talks.

Diversity and inclusion are hard, especially in tech. Doing them right means agreeing on values, setting standards, calling out bad…

Left without comment

When it comes to benefits and child care, Patagonia thinks about what humans need, not how to fix a problem.

This is amazing, and what the norm should be like, really

The story of Bradley A. Birkenfeld, the first in our series of Unusual Millionaires

"A few months later, I went to the Justice Department. I thought they’d be thankful, but instead, they were hostile. Think of it this way: You have some civil-servant hack who’s uninterested in someone coming in and handing them an investigation they should’ve been able to crack themselves decades ago. All I asked for in return was a subpoena or immunity. They said no. And in an ironic, almost hilarious twist, they charged me with conspiracy to commit bank fraud for not giving up one of my clients. Meanwhile, all of my bosses got non-prosecution agreements."

This is pretty crazy

I was raised by a mom and dad who did not want me to worry about getting C’s as long as I was happy in college and beyond.

"This academic edge, however, comes at a hefty cost. Asian-American students have higher rates of suicidal ideation than white college students, and these pernicious thoughts translate into behavior. At Cornell University, there were 21 on-campus suicides from 1999 to 2006, 13 of which were Asian students. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where 16 percent of students are Asian, Asians accounted for 42 percent of student suicides in the last 15 years."

James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley writes that colleges that hoard cash—endowments of $2 million per student—should be encouraged to spend it.

Interesting read

October 17, 2016

You are invited to apply for an invite only full-day workshop from Facebook, designed for our priority partners. During the workshop, you'll hear from Facebook Product, Partnerships, and Engineering teams, who will be providing exclusive, hands-on instruction via code-labs, tech-talks, and updates o...

Folks in Lahore: If you're working in tech and building software using the Facebook platform (AccountKit, Messenger bots, React Native); you may be interested in attending this workshop.

The application deadline is October 23, workshop is on Nov 3.

October 16, 2016

Programming Game AI by Example provides a comprehensive and practical introduction to the “bread and butter” AI techniques used by the game development industry, leading the reader through the process of designing, programming, and implementing intelligent agents for action games us...

Just skimmed this book. Chapter 4 is gold.

Earlier this morning, Rockstar Games went red, with new versions of its logo appearing on social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the loading screen for the company’s official website. The studio didn’t actually mention the words red, dead or redemption. Instead, it simply tweete...

Can't wait for RDR2

One Friday afternoon, early in my career, I was wrapping up some new features for the back-end of a client’s Rails app. Simple stuff. Confident in my work, I deployed the changes, closed my laptop, and drove out of town for a weekend of camping with friends. I had just arrived when my phone rang. It...

This Monday afternoon, as the sun hits its peak over Mandan, North Dakota, the award-winning journalist, and host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman will walk into the Morton County–Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center and turn herself in to the local authorities.

This is scary. Journalism, albeit not perfect, is a great way to keep people informed and prevent horrible things from happening. Silencing journalists will have chilling effects

October 15, 2016

Samsung’s recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone will be banned from US airline flights. The order comes from the FAA and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety...


"The devices will not be allowed on planes even if they are turned off, a dramatic escalation of the current restrictions which only require that the phones be turned off and not charged or stored in checked luggage."

October 14, 2016

by Keith Adams, Slack Engineering

Great post

The government has launched online passport renewal service for the overseas Pakistanis. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Interior

They seriously couldn't have done this a week ago?

We had to book flights and take a day off, and couldn't get the extra pages in our passport (that this allows).

Looks great for the future though, seems as convenient as the online NICOP system (albeit probably as annoying to get the DPI right on the scans)

October 13, 2016

India is hosting the first Kabaddi World Cup for nine years, and a once quaint pastime – a mix of red rover, wrestling and tag – is getting a makeover

I had no idea Kabaddi had a world cup and that apparently 200M people watch it.

The list of competing countries is also surprising:

"Teams from 12 countries – India, Iran, Bangladesh, Thailand, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, England, Poland, Kenya, and Argentina – are competing in the first edition of the Kabaddi World Cup in nine years, and the first since its revolution into a modern sporting enterprise."

October 12, 2016

Oh and by the way, his dad fights terrorism for a living.

This is pretty sad

Starting Thursday, we will enter a period of extraordinarily active weather with the potential for heavy rain, flooding, and a highly danger...

I was worried about the rain this week(end) in CA, but it looks like the folks up in Seattle will have it much worse

Mr.President! Can you take a bullet for the soon to be President of the United States of America?! You play as Dick “Rock-Hard” Johnson a bulletproof man, the best bodyguard money can buy. He is sworn to protect the most hated presidential candidate of all time Ronald Rump.

Shared without comment, trending on steam

October 11, 2016

"We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space," writes the President, "sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth."

"Editor's note: Barack Obama is President of the United States."

... I'll take "pointless editor's notes" for $100, [Alice].

Samsung said it would permanently discontinue production and sales of its embattled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Potential losses to Samsung could wipe out the mobile division’s operating profits for the fourth quarter, according to one estimate.

Would love to see the incident report / postmortem on this

"As a final knife-twist, Buffett notes that he is currently being audited — but releasing information from his return anyway, since that is totally allowed, despite Trump's protests to the contrary."

October 9, 2016

Joel Spolsky has a classic blog post on “Finding Great Developers” where he popularized the meme that great developers are impossible to find, a corollary of which is that if you can find someone, they’re not great. Joel writes,

This article is a great read on how to hire developers, and the hiring market in general.

This footnote, unrelated to the article, is an amazing story about Microsoft:

"Well, I’ll tell one story, in remembrance of someone who recently left for Google. Shortly after that guy joined, he was in the office on a weekend (a common occurrence on his team). A manager from another team pinged him on chat and asked him to sign off on some code from the other team. The new guy, wanting to be helpful, signed off on the code. On Monday, the new guy talked to his mentor and his mentor suggested that he not help out other teams like that. Later, there was an outage related to the code. In classic Microsoft style, the manager from the other team successfully pushed the blame for the outage from his team to the new guy."

October 8, 2016

LSE receives email saying contributions from foreign experts on EU referendum matters will no longer be accepted

So... It has come to this.

After 15 hours and several hundred turns, Civ VI is clearly something special.

Only thirteen days left

Seems to be a really addictive electronics programming game. Yay or nay?

October 7, 2016

Exclusive Government leak from Natt Tapley.


Posted by Xiangye Xiao and Bob Jung, Internationalization A big challenge in sharing digital information around the world is “tofu”—the bl...

This is great

October 6, 2016

Programming sucks. This fairytale comic shows the different ways in which programming languages could fail you in the fantasy kingdom.

This is amazing

‘AT least ten’ people have been injured after a bomb exploded near Istanbul airport. Emergency services rushed to the scene after the explosion rocked the area close to the transport hu…

Uh oh.

October 5, 2016

They should instead focus on the jobs Americans actually have: service work.

"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 64,000 steelworkers in America last year, and 820,000 home health aides — more than double the population of Pittsburgh. Next year, there will be fewer steelworkers and still more home health aides, as baby boomers fade into old age. Soon, we will be living in the United States of Home Health Aides, yet the candidates keep talking about steelworkers. Many home health aides live close to the poverty line: Average annual wages were just $22,870 last year. If both parties are willing to meddle with the marketplace in order to help one sector, why not do the same for jobs that currently exist?"

I can’t think of a single large software company that doesn’t regularly draw internet comments of the form “What do all the employees do? I could build their product myself.” Benjamin Pollack and Jeff Atwood called out people who do that with Stack Overflow. But Stack Overflow is relatively obviousl...

Love the discussion on this too.

Bonus points for when you interview a candidate and they're surprised how big the company is

October 4, 2016

“So, yeah, it’s cancer.”

Big companies have a way of accidentally stepping on little companies sometimes. But every once in awhile, they leave us better off.

Is the head of Y Combinator fixing the world, or trying to take over Silicon Valley?

Great profile. Long but very interesting

Report: Pentagon paid company founded by Maggie Thatcher's P.R. guru half a billion for secret war propaganda

Wait WTF?!

(File dated November 9, 1998) PREFACE: Another file from the same disk with the Nihilanth sketches, this one, if it is to believed, written the day after we shipped Half-Life. I do believe it because the file’s creation date is indeed November 9, 1998, and I am not l33t enough to know how to fake …

Some gems on writing the story for half life

October 3, 2016

This is pretty much what engineering is. Software is very similar.

What do the TV shows Firefly, Twin Peaks, and Freaks and Geeks all have in common?

Interesting data. Definitely want to see more flashforward

October 2, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Following a swarm of recent small magnitude earthquakes that began on Monday near the Salton Sea in Southern California, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services reminded local emergency managers and the public to be prepared for the potential of similar or la...

Uh oh

WaveFunctionCollapse - Bitmap & tilemap generation from a single example with the help of ideas from quantum mechanics.

This is really cool

October 1, 2016

Now she watched as her ruin seemed to unfold before her. It was enough to send her to jail, and more than enough to destroy her name.

Finally got around to reading this. So intriguing. One bit stood out that I'd wish they had addressed more:

"Duff considered the possibilities. In so many places, he thought, it would have gone differently. If the attempted frame-up had happened in one of the gang neighborhoods of Los Angeles where he used to prosecute shootings, rather than in a rich, placid city in Orange County ... if the cop who found the stash of drugs in Kelli Peters’ car had been a rookie, rather than a sharp-eyed veteran ... if she had been slightly less believable ..."

Introducing our most advanced trading platform ever At Robinhood, the products we build start and finish with listening to our customers. That’s why today, we are excited to unveil Robinhood Gold, our most ambitious product since we first released free trading. Robinhood Gold is more than an advance...

Exciting, but it's basically a margin account, not sure why they don't call it that.