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1
USCIS Proposes Rule to Welcome International Entrepreneurs uscis.gov
331 points by jrbedard  8 ago   111 comments top 35
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yurisagalov 7 ago 1 reply      
A less "PR"-ey take (but still PR-ey non the less) on the White House Medium blog: https://medium.com/the-white-house/welcoming-international-e...

As an international founder who has had to suffer the stresses of dealing with US immigration while building a company based in the states, this is incredibly welcome news.

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beagle3 4 ago 2 replies      
Anyone here aware of tax implications of the parole status?

Usually, "us taxpayer" status is only triggered with a proper visa (H1B, L1, O1, etc.) or permanent resident status (green card). I've never met any mention of tax status on parole.

To someone who has any non-trivial financial life outside the US (which I expect to be true for most people who would apply for this), a us taxpayer status is a horrible curse:

You might get a call from your bank/broker/insurer back home, telling you that they have to close all of your accounts except perhaps a checking and 1 simple saving (and perhaps those too). If you accrued any benefits in your pension plan, you have to report them each year _and_ plan to pay yearly and/or dearly (because it is a PFIC[0]) for any profit made in that account, even though you cannot touch it for 30 years.

Also, if you own another business outside the US -- e.g. you had a previous startup, or operated through some kind of personal LLC providing services -- the "us taxpayer" status means that you have to start filing financial reports to the IRS as if those business were operated in the US (that is, according to US financial standards, regardless of where it operated - and that might mean double taxation despite any treaties in place).

Sure, you can just ignore it, and if your startup fails, no one will come after you. But of course, you plan to succeed, so be sure to read on PFICs, FATCAs, FBARs, and consult a US accountant that specializes in international taxation.

As a general rule, the US tax system assumes any financial dealings you have outside the US are an attempt to evade taxes, and penalizes that (whether by forms or by actual tax). Once it is assumed you plan to make the US the center of your life (green card, H1B, L1), those assumptions, through the "us taxpayer" status, affect you. If it is assumed you won't stay (e.g. F1 visa for studying), they don't.

So, what taxpayer status will parole put you in?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_foreign_investment_com...

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vmarsy 7 ago 3 replies      
It looks like this rule would provide the entrepreneur a 5 year stay (2+3 additional if the start-up is doing well), but I don't see any mention of granting a green card, so what would happen to that entrepreneur on year 6?

EDIT: from the medium link posted in another comment by yurisagalov:

> DHS will also publish guidance to clarify when entrepreneurs may self-petition for lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card).

EDIT2:

> That entrepreneur will have the confidence of knowing whether she is eligible for the temporary parole status pathway, allowing her to start growing her company here right away. Later, she will know under what circumstances she may qualify for the green card pathway, if she is successful in creating jobs for U.S. workers and attracting more capital from U.S. investors, allowing her to become an American over time. (Note that these pathways will likely also be open to "bootstrap" entrepreneurs who are successful in generating revenue from U.S. customers, without needing to rely on external financing.)

(From https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/11/26/entrepreneurs-wan... )

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runesoerensen 7 ago 1 reply      
It's pretty cool that they're proposing parole rather than an actual visa - I never thought of that possibility, but it seems to fix a lot of policy-related issues, such as visa caps, and allow qualifying entrepreneurs faster entry. Might short-circuit the process and we don't have to wait for politicians to agree that a founder visa makes sense.

Founders also wouldn't have to get a certified LCA or meet minimum wage requirements, which can be pretty costly for a startup and is less relevant in case of founders (who are not taking anyone else's jobs or lowering average wages). And generally founders would probably prefer (and have more to gain from) spending that money to grow the company.

I suspect there are downsides to paroles vs visa (like fewer rights or difficulty obtaining green card/other visa types later maybe?), but this seems like a surprisingly good proposal to fix an acute issue.

5
chx 2 ago 0 replies      
Who knows what happens. The Canadian startup visa in three years managed to bring in 100 people including dependents http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/start-up-program-disap...
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e15ctr0n 6 ago 0 replies      
For those looking to get a much more comprehensive look at this proposed rule from USCIS, read the advance version of the notice to be published in the Federal Register:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Article... (PDF, 649 KB, 155 pages)

The sections most relevant to those who wish to apply under this rule would be:

IV. Proposed Changes

A. Overview of Parole for Entrepreneurs (pages 30 - 32)

B. Criteria for Initial Parole (pages 32 - 52)

1. Recent Formation of a Start-Up Entity2. Applicant is an Entrepreneur Who is Well-Positioned to Advance the Entitys Business3. Capital Investment or Government Funding Criteria

C. Application Requirements for Initial Period of Parole (pages 53 - 61)

1. Filing the Application for Entrepreneur Parole (Form I-941)2. Requirement to Appear for Submission of Biometric Information3. Income-Related Condition on Parole4. Adjudication of Applications5. Limitation on Number of Entrepreneur Parolees Per Start-Up Entity6. Authorized Period for Initial Grant of Entrepreneur Parole

D. Employment Authorization (pages 61 - 66)

1. Employment Authorization Incident to Parole with a Specific Employer 2. Employment Authorization Eligibility for Spouses 3. Documentation for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)

F. Re-Parole (pages 67 - 84)

1. Criteria for Re-Parole 2. Application Requirements for Re-Parole3. Ensuring Continuous Employment Authorization 4. Technical Changes

G. Termination of Parole (pages 84 - 87)

1. Automatic Termination2. Termination on Notice

H. Automatic Adjustment of Investment and Revenue Amount Requirements (pages 87 - 88)

V. Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

C. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

3. Population of Entrepreneurs Potentially Eligible (pages 103 - 116)

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gorbachev 7 ago 0 replies      
What happens, if you get one of these paroles, but your business falls apart for whatever reason within the first two years?

There doesn't appear to be any specific language in the actual document outlining the rules changes, but it does say DHS would retain the right to terminate the parole at any time without prior notice and in DHS' discretion (pg. 84 in the PDF).

Looks like a little bit of gray area, unless there is some language in there about the parolees responsibilities to maintain the conditions under which the parole was granted and consequences if the parolee does not. I couldn't see anything like that during a quick read through the document.

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runesoerensen 6 ago 0 replies      
Relevant essay: http://paulgraham.com/foundervisa.html

In 3-5 years we'll probably hear founders tell stories about how this new rule allowed them to establish very successful companies in the US. That should help prove the value of a proper founder visa and (assuming the immigration system is still broken at that time) pass legislation to fix it.

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kirubakaran 7 ago 0 replies      
Although they mention funding and grants as the criteria and not revenue, I hope "Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entitys substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation." means that revenue will at least be considered to some extent.
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Animats 5 ago 3 replies      
There's already a visa deal for foreign investors, the EB-5 visa. You have to invest at least $1M ($0.5M if you're willing to invest in a bad area of the US) and create 10 jobs.

That's why downtown Palo Alto has all those rug stores.

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NhanH 7 ago 1 reply      
The number doesn't quite work out: you got two years, and if the business can demonstrate passing certain benchmarks (500k funding or (500k revenue and 20% annual growth) or 10 'murican jobs), you get another 3 years. 5 years is enough if your business fails fast, but otherwise it's unlikely to be sufficient for building one (on average).

This is a parole rather than a visa, so it still leaves the question on what's the follow up afterward.

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bozoUser 7 ago 1 reply      
Great news for all the non-US budding entrepreneurs. Founders have to satisfy either of 3 criteria stated -

1. $345K from private investors.

2. $100k from govt or Federal entities.

3. partially satisfying the above criteria(up for a toss with uscis).

Some nascent YC potential companies might still loose out but nevertheless theres some glimmer of hope. Hope the rule gets published.

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vadym909 1 ago 0 replies      
This is great for the US and many foreign entrepreneurs, but would suck for other country's startup efforts. Its like the Golden State Warriors getting Kevin Durant.
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graeme 1 ago 0 replies      
Can anyone see if this applies to bootstrappers or solo founders?

It doesn't look like it. Referring to the type of business that can have significant revenue, but doesn't need investment or even necessarily employees.

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rrecuero 1 ago 0 replies      
As another international founder, it is definitely a great step in the right direction. I am still missing an easier way to bridge the transition gap into a Green Card, maybe a different EB?
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randall 6 ago 0 replies      
Wow!!! So great. I have two international cofounders. So stoked.
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tostitos1979 6 ago 7 replies      
I wish having an advanced degree was a criteria here. A few years ago, I noticed that Britain would give a blanket visa to anyone with an MBA from a list of top international schools. How about something like that for people with Masters/PhDs (in STEM) from top-50 schools in the world.

That said, the proposed rule might mean if one gets into YC/techstars, etc. they would be able to get a visa for the US easily.

The limited term and renewals do raise some flags. But I guess if you are successful with your startup in the given time period, you can apply for a green card through other categories like Extraordinary Ability, etc.

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vesh 7 ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know where and how the public can provide their comments? I cannot find a link on the page. Bootstrapped startups with no outside investments wouldn't be eligible based on this criteria.
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vthallam 6 ago 2 replies      
A great start for sure.

>Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments

Not sure what does the qualified US investors mean though. Would seed funding/angel funding from individuals not be considered for this? I guess this has been added to avoid abuse by wealthy foreigners, but how do they determine the qualified individuals or companies?

20
titomc 6 ago 1 reply      
What will happen after the 5 years stay ? Should the entrepreneur pack up and leave ? Why should an entrepreneur startup something when he/she is not sure about their residency in US. This rule says 'parole' & self petition, the residency path is not clear. And when it comes to residency, US immigration for skilled immigrants is so broken that you will regret applying for one.
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benmarten 6 ago 1 reply      
Please note that this does not seem to be any improvement for citizens of "US treaty countries", e.g. most northern and western european countries. Where the needed capital investment is only needed to be substantial to get an E-2 investor/entrepreneur visa. E.g. 100-150k of initial investment needed as far as I know ;)
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yranadive 7 ago 0 replies      
" A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered only if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue or job creation."

How will they measure this? It's so subjective.

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nullcipher 7 ago 0 replies      
This is a great step forward. I actually like the idea of parole rather than a proper visa upfront. First, get entrepreneurs to US and let them show their skills. If they succeed, they can always apply for GC directly through the existing outstanding skills category or take an investor visa.
24
pyb 4 ago 2 replies      
This sounds like the holy grail for international founders, but how likely is it to pass ? Anyone here in the know ?
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AhtiK 7 ago 0 replies      
If entrepreneur can keep at least 50% of the company then already today L-1 could be a viable option.

Looks like the proposed parole is quite similar to L1 except instead of foreign company there's foreign private person direct relationship.

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sethbannon 6 ago 0 replies      
"Give me your tired, your overworked, your entrepreneurs yearning to innovate."
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patcheudor 7 ago 0 replies      
When I looked at that title I thought: "new rule in ____ . Leaves drivers furious!" and wondered how HN was infiltrated with click-bait advertising.

The Internet has ruined me.

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toodlebunions 7 ago 0 replies      
Seems like the necessary investment amounts are pretty low.
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ones_and_zeros 6 ago 1 reply      
My prediction: This too will be gamed just like the rest of the immigrant worker visa systems (H-1B, OPT, O-1, EB-5, etc). That big fat vague 3rd criteria will see to it. A whole cottage industry of immigration attorneys who specialize in this visa will crop up to prey on unsuspected foreigners and collude with the knowing and corrupted ones.

The fact of the matter is most foreigners complaining about not being able to start businesses in the US don't have profitable or well funded businesses. The ones that do have profitable and well funded business can easily set up shop on US soil and don't need to immigrate here and can use L1 visas when they do need to come state side.

To me the most interesting aspect to this visa is it takes away the talking point from the H-1B proponents that immigrant workers are job creators because immigrants start companies that employ citizens.

30
gjkood 7 ago 2 replies      
If you are a hardware entrepreneur there may be better options than trying to set up in the USA.

Try setting up shop in Shenzhen, China. Just spent a week over there. It is truly a Hacker's Paradise.

You can validate your ideas and get an MVP out in much faster time than the USA. You can be close to your eventual supply chain when you do make it big. It may sound a bit like premature optimization but the advantages are huge.

Of course, it will not hurt to learn a bit of Chinese (Mandarin) if you do decide to take that route. At least start with a few useful phrases to help break the ice. 'Ni Hao' (Hello); 'Xie Xie' (Thank You) and 'Duo Shuo Qian' (How much does it cost?). Learning the number system will also help know what the price is.

I spent a lot of time in the Huaqiang Bei and LoWu malls.

A special shoutout to Andrew "Bunnie" Huang for his 'The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen'[1]. It was invaluable.

Another shoutout to my Mandarin teacher Larry Xue and the San Jose Learning Center.[2] Attending his classes made me so much more confident that I could manage there even with the language barrier.

1. https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/the-essential-gui...

2. http://sanjoselearningcenter.com/mandarin.php

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drl42 7 ago 2 replies      
Summary: - New startup entity (< 3 years old) - Atleast 10% stake - No more than 3 applications per startup - Atleast $345,000(VC,Angel,Incubator) or $100,000(govt grants) or show public benefit if less funding available - Initial stay for 2 years - Employment authorization only from startup - Minimum salary at 400% poverty level - Spouse gets EAD, but minor children do not.

After 2 years, 3 years extension - Atleast 10% ownership and active role in startup - Atleast $500K additional funding OR $500K revenue with 20% growth OR 10 Full time Jobs

0

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gordon_freeman 7 ago 0 replies      
This would definitely help foreign founders but after they have founded the company in US since 3 years. That initial period of founding a startup is the most difficult part for immigrants in USA as their visas are tied to employer (like H1B).

So would this "startup visa" help in anyway in that initial stage of founding a startup?

33
xyzzy4 7 ago 2 replies      
How about a rule to welcome anyone who isn't a criminal?
34
xenosapien 6 ago 0 replies      
My startup will focus on building walls. I believe this is a burgeoning market.
35
lawnchair_larry 7 ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately wealthy foreigners are just going to abuse the hell out of this to drive up real estate prices.
2
Amazon is piloting teams with a 30-hour workweek washingtonpost.com
16 points by djacobs  1 ago   3 comments top
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krisdol 16 ago 1 reply      
The folks I know at Amazon may have been in the office for a normal amount of time, but they worked long night after long night from home. If they're approaching a 30 hour work week as a reduction from 40, it's bound to fail. They have to realize it would be q reduction from 60 or 80
3
Twitch could be a $20B company within Amazon backchannel.com
144 points by steven  6 ago   119 comments top 16
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dexwiz 5 ago 3 replies      
Amazon bought two things with Twitch: 1) A social community 2) a monetization model. The video service itself is secondary.

The past several years has shown the social communities grow organically. But its hard to make users adopt one. If you build it, they probably won't come. It's easier for a big company to buy one up than start one from scratch. (Think Instagram versus Google Plus).

Second, Twitch is one of the few monetization models on the internet that is not pure ad based. Twitch does have ads, but streamers see more money through direct donations and monthly subscriptions. Also I am willing to bet the rate of ad blockers on Twitch is higher than the average site. Twitch has shied away from dark patterns that lock out adblocking users. I don't see any big modals or disabled video if I run an adblocker on Twitch. This is no doubt on purpose. So Twitch has locked on an monetization model of direct payment for digital content, which is rare on the internet. And best of all, it's completely optional.

A video streaming service alone is nothing revolutionary. There are many Twitch clones that haven't reach near the same popularity. Its the community, and how its funded.

2
AndrewWarner 4 ago 4 replies      
Maybe the most useful interview I've ever done on Mixergy is with Twitch's cofounder about how he founded the company.

Do yourself a favor and get the transcript. He's super-methodical.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11Bcu32XwL4S0BHB2fybaqRRQ...

3
alexandre_m 3 ago 10 replies      
This whole industry of game streaming is operating in a gray zone.

It's a matter of time before we see some big lawsuits against the streamer and streaming platforms which make a lot of money by publishing the whole content, without any royalties to game developers /publishers.

For certain games. it doesn't spoil or ruin the fun factor for viewers, but some others it just removed the incentives to buy a copy of the game in the first place.

4
strictnein 3 ago 2 replies      
If you're interested in the backstory of Justin.tv (which became Twitch), StartUp has a two part podcast on it:

https://gimletmedia.com/episode/almost-famous-season-3-episo...

https://gimletmedia.com/episode/season-3-episode-2/

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Noseshine 4 ago 1 reply      
Funny enough, I'm watching a Starcraft II channel on Twitch just now, while reading HN. I don't play any games, not even the smallest, but I watch - although only caster streams, not player streams. Tastosis FTW :)

I have a cable subscription as part of my apartment package - but I don't use it. I don't even have a TV. Internet and streaming only. I find that if I had TV I'd be much more passive and watch too much, now I watch SC2 but not as much as if I had TV. I spend a lot more time with edX and Coursera and watch lecture videos instead. If I had a TV it would be much harder to turn it off than a game stream. I like the smaller communities, watching a TV production I am much more of a passive anonymous consumer than even a (very big) 50,000 viewer stream on Twitch, and even though Twitch chat is notorious, at least it exists. And a lot of streamers and casters react to what is going on in chat at least sometimes, in traditional media I am much farther removed from the makers.

Of various streaming services I tried watching Twitch in the end provided the consistently best experience, these days up to 1080p60. That alone is not sufficient to know how much data is flowing though, the data rate can be very different even for streams with the same resolution and frame rate, so with the same advertised resolution one channel can be much more crisp than another one, but some people may experience occasional buffering issues.

I just checked, currently there are about 650,000 viewers total on Twitch, rough estimate just to get an idea of order of magnitude. More stats: https://www.quantcast.com/twitch.tv#trafficCard

You can change the period on the right, the earliest to set "From" to is 23 March, 2012, to get a view of how Twitch's viewers develop(ed) over time. When I look at the last 365 days it looks pretty flat. I'm not sure about the data though, for some reason the "Rest of the world" (other than USA) is pretty much gone from one day to the next beginning of 2016. Does anyone have an explanation? I doubt that the "rest of the world" stopped watching Twitch overnight.

Looking at https://stats.twitchapps.com/ it's the same result though - no real growth any more for at least the last 12 months. Unless that's based on the same data, I don't know.

6
Analemma_ 4 ago 4 replies      
With all that growth opportunity, you'd think they could invest a little more in the engineering side. I mean, I like Twitch, but their platform is still a mess. Chat delay can be a minute or more, and the VOD situation still sucks (60 days? Seriously?). I mean, they're owned by the people who run AWS for crying out loud. They should be able to knock this out of the park.

I thought YouTube Gaming was going to muscle in to this space quickly just by virtue of technical superiority. It looks like that hasn't happened yet, but Twitch can't afford to get complacent.

7
rjvir 4 ago 5 replies      
It's worth noting that in the 2 year period since Amazon bought Twitch, their search interest via Google has been stagnant.

https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=2014-08-25%202016...

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Multiplayer 2 ago 1 reply      
My 9 year old son would rather watch people play minecraft than actually play it. I'm not talking about competitive or pro play (if that even exists for minecraft) - just people goofing around.

Potentially just an enormous new business for games.

I still can't get my head around it. It's like his version of cartoons.

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dfrey 4 ago 2 replies      
More and more people are dumping cable TV. The main reasons that I hear for people keeping it are sports and news. If live streaming sites like twitch can sign deals with sports leagues, then I think we will see even more people cancelling their cable.

The nice thing about streaming is that you aren't channel limited, so there is no reason why you can't follow some obscure minor league team on the other side of the planet.

10
thecolorblue 3 ago 4 replies      
What is a good example of a twitch stream to show how great live streaming can be?
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pkamb 1 ago 1 reply      
I wish Twitch had an Apple TV app.

I've found that the Apple TV is the only way I "get" YouTube in the same way the kids these days do. No way am I watching videos on my laptop/desktop/iPhone/iPad while multitasking, but video on the big TV is great when sitting on the couch or on in the background.

Twitch on the Apple TV would be similar, but it appears Amazon (as with Prime Video) is refusing to release an app.

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mandeepj 2 ago 0 replies      
and amazon could be a $3T (that is trillion) company.

Nothing wrong with these speculations. At least they are positive and much better than recession or bubble is coming like BS rumors.

source - http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chamath-palihapitiya-says-amaz...

13
hoodoof 3 ago 7 replies      
Game developers don't have any option except to restrict public display of their games in some way.

There are now plenty of people who enjoy watching but not playing games.

Game developers need revenue for this firstly because they deserve it, having made the entertainment, but secondly because former players are now just watchers and not paying money, reducing revenue.

My guess is that games developers will permit public display of a restricted part of the game, like level one only, and will require royalties for display of other sections of the game

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wehadfun 4 ago 10 replies      
Watching people play video games is something I still don't understand.
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hoodoof 4 ago 1 reply      
I wonder how the founders feel.
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Happpy 3 ago 2 replies      
Steam(Valve) could be next on Amazon's list.

Desktop application: Add- amazon shopping- streaming- viewing- social...

4
Last War in Western Hemisphere Ends: Colombias Milestone in World Peace nytimes.com
43 points by JBReefer  3 ago   19 comments top 9
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simonmd 5 ago 0 replies      
Read the final agreement (if you dare and don't vomit easily):- Those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity will NOT go to jail, in a blatant violation of the Rome statute.- Despite earning BILLIONS from drug trafficking, they will not issue any reparations to the victims, instead, ordinary colombians will be taxed for that purpose.- They will be GIVEN between 10-30% of control of the senate. No election necessary.- They will be GIVEN 26 regions where there will be no state presence. Coincidentally in every strategic drug corridor.- They will not return the recruited minors.- They will participate in the creation of a "super-tribunal" with absolute legal powers, even over cases that have been sentenced and closed.

This is not an agreement, it is the surrender of a state and should be an international disgrace. In a real country this would constitute high treason.

https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/...

2
cgriswald 54 ago 0 replies      
Official war is over, but there are still all kinds of violence; and where there is not violence there is the subjugation by threat of violence. Much of this has to do with US policy w.r.t. the Americas for the last ~200 years and more recently the War on Drugs.

Defining "peace" as a lack of official war is utter nonsense.

We only have to look south across a single border to see a country very much at war.

3
joyinsky 1 ago 0 replies      
The conflict in Colombia isn't ended yet, the ELN hasn't signed the cease-fire.
4
oblio 2 ago 3 replies      
The Cold War is the gift that keeps on giving. Many of our current worries (ISIS, for example) are things frozen in time by the appropriately called Cold War.

Maybe some day within my lifetime North Korea will stop being a dictatorship..

5
jedmeyers 2 ago 1 reply      
Yeah, last "war" ended since no one declare wars anymore. Just look at Russian annexation of Crimea with the armed forces of "noname" country.
6
afarrell 1 ago 3 replies      
Isn't El Salvador in the middle of a war?
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zpallin 1 ago 0 replies      
War on drugs hasn't ended.
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S_Daedalus 54 ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness, now it's just a bunch of "local conflicts" and "police actions".

But no "war".

Safe! /s

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Ericson2314 26 ago 0 replies      
5
New Virus Breaks the Rules of Infection npr.org
207 points by triplesec  8 ago   106 comments top 24
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AceJohnny2 2 ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of the story between a cable-box developer and crackers. I'll need to find the exact story, but it goes something like this:The developer would send an over-the-air update, the crackers would crack it within days and provide that to their userbase. Usually the crackers would just nop out the few instructions that branched into DRM code or something.

At some point, the crackers noticed that the OTAs seemed to include "dead" code, that wasn't being called by anything. Just in case it was used by the live code, they left it in. It didn't prevent their cracks.

Then, a little bit down the line, an OTA update made use of all those pieces of dead code to simultaneously harden legitimate boxes against cracking, and brick hacked boxes. The developer had, in effect, distributed his countermeasures piecemeal in order to pass the crackers guards and be included in the cracked network, and in one delayed action assembled and activated the countermeasure.

Edit: Ah, here was the story from 2001 about the "Black Sunday Kill", and it was DirectTV:https://slashdot.org/story/01/01/25/1343218/directvs-secret-...

And it looks like this was the guy who did it: http://www.wired.com/2008/05/tarnovsky/?currentPage=all

I got a bunch of the details wrong (hey, it's been 15 years!) but that's the gist of it. The Slashdot story has the meat of it!

2
jobu 8 ago 1 reply      
Surprisingly, sci-news.com has a better writeup on this than NPR - http://www.sci-news.com/biology/guaico-culex-virus-multicomp...

Although multicomponent genomes are relatively common among RNA viruses that infect plants and fungi, this method of genome organization has not previously been seen in animal viruses.

Edit: Thinking about this more, I wonder if this might be some sort of virus crossover vector from plants to animals? Mosquitos are in a somewhat unique position ecologically - they require nectar from plants to survive, and they may bite several different animals to acquire blood for reproduction (spreading viruses along the way).

3
otto_ortega 6 ago 8 replies      
Why if instead of spending money researching the diseases that mosquitos could transmit to humans on the future we spend all that money into figuring out a way to exterminate all mosquitos from the surface of earth once and for all?

As someone who lives on a tropical country and had have both Dengue and Chikungunya I can attest mosquitos are pure evil, and there are several researchs suggesting they serve no purpose on keeping the enviromental equilibrium (if they are gone, they won't be missed, the enviroment will be fine...)

On a side note, reading "U.S. Army Medical Research" , "Infectious Diseases", "new virus" and "mosquitos" in the same article makes no good to my paranoia...

4
mcherm 8 ago 4 replies      
I think an alien looking at life on earth might find it very peculiar that so many of our life forms split into 2 independent parts that are unable to reproduce unless they match up with a partner of the opposite "sex". This is no stranger than that -- but it's fascinating to us who haven't encountered it before.

The "sex" thing turns out to have big advantages: mostly that it allows for faster evolution by allowing mixing of genes between the two different genders so new advantageous traits can be spread through the population much faster than if each organism simply copied itself. I'll bet this scheme has advantages too -- the smaller size of the components (useful for getting through various membranes and other defenses) is an obvious one, there may be others that are less obvious.

5
jotux 8 ago 2 replies      
This would make for an interesting scifi plot. A global virus spreads that has multiple parts and people must limit their contact with specific people or risk acquiring components that activate the parts of the virus they carry.
6
bluejekyll 7 ago 3 replies      
All I can think about after reading that is how to create some set of logic gates for data transfer. What if different combinations of the parts of a virus could be formed into different actual viruses and produce a single new output variant.

For Example, you could combine 00, 01, 11, 10 and then the two part virus would output the result of a NAND operation. We could have naturally occurring computations in nature.

Each mosquito could be seen as a single "cpu" and it's output would be to infect another mosquito. Not sure how you'd collect all the results though, or how you'd not just have endless cycles... perhaps the life of each individual cell could be encoded in DNA/RNA where two virus parts can only come together if their DNA/RNA has the same "clock cycle" encoded (similar to lamport/vector clocks).

7
kens 6 ago 0 replies      
How is this different from the hepatitis D virus? Hepatitis D isn't complete, and can only propagate if there is a hepatitis B infection. In other words, you can only get hepatitis D if you already have the hepatitis B virus, and then it makes things worse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatitis_D

8
diyseguy 1 ago 0 replies      
What's in it for the virus? Why 5 pieces? What's the evolutionary advantage? Does the virus have 5 sexes? Weird.
9
ChuckMcM 8 ago 2 replies      
Ok, off tangent a bit, but if you randomly sample mosquitoes, those mosquitos have limited flight range, and you find things about the blood meals they have eaten. Are you at risk of invading the privacy of people who live near the mosquitoes?
10
wimagguc 3 ago 0 replies      
In rather abstract evolution mechanics, this isn't much different from requiring male and female counterparts to procreate.All that happens here is that smaller entities are a better fit for the environment, while only a combination of them stores the full information required for another entity to be created. In simulations this has been seen quite often.
11
yarg 2 ago 0 replies      
This is very cool,It rather effectively simulates sexual reproduction in a virus.

Furthermore, the host could develop an immune response to one strain of a module, catch another strain and the other dormant modules once again become active.

One scary facet of the way that this works, if there exist module combinations that prove lethal to the hosts, there is a significantly reduced likelihood that the infection will burn itself out - the lethal version can exist spread out across the population randomly combining to strike down some poor innocent mosquito.

Disclaimer: I'm not a virologist, and there's a good chance I'm full of shit.

12
gall 8 ago 1 reply      
Hairspray won't do it alone, but hairspray mixed with lipstick and perfume will be toxic, and untraceable.
13
joshpadnick 6 ago 0 replies      
Shamir's Secret Sharing [1] for viruses.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamir%27s_Secret_Sharing

14
jacquesm 4 ago 0 replies      
It's funny how us humans tend to figure out laws and rules and forget that they are derived, not dictated and that nature will do it's own thing regardless of what we've so far figure out.

The virus is not breaking any rules, we messed up in figuring out what the rules were in the first place.

15
ggchappell 2 ago 0 replies      
Instead of thinking of this as a virus in pieces, might it be better to think of it as a symbiosis (with the "bio" part being deemphasized a bit)?
16
MollyR 8 ago 0 replies      
Wow that's crazy. It could explain why certain viruses affect people and not others. The afflicted could have latent viral compatible genes in their personal genomes. It'll be really interesting what this means for vaccines.
17
kusmi 6 ago 0 replies      
Having the genome separated between multiple coinfecting particles is actually quite common among plant viruses.
19
Severian 8 ago 2 replies      
Just a thought: I wonder if the virus uses some form of redundancy encoding like certain RAID or file XOR systems use. I wonder if RNA/DNA has a checksum or data correction code somewhere?

It would be really neat if this virus does something like that. It might be why the 5th viral component is not required.

20
orf 5 ago 0 replies      
Nature is fucking crazy.
21
whitehat2k9 7 ago 0 replies      
It's like nature's equivalent to Ubisoft's episodic release schedule of Hitman.
22
pai_dpiper 4 ago 0 replies      
This is like the Power Rangers of viruses - red, green, blue, pink, yellow UNITE!!!
23
xfactor973 5 ago 0 replies      
With our powers combined...
24
impostervt 7 ago 0 replies      
How is this not called the Voltron Virus?
6
New class of galaxy has been discovered, made almost entirely of dark matter washingtonpost.com
203 points by daegloe  9 ago   94 comments top 12
1
Florin_Andrei 7 ago 3 replies      
This is significant. Now astronomers can study dark matter with less interference from the regular matter background. So you have a more broad range of objects to study, from galaxies with lots of regular matter, to galaxies with almost none of it.

Hopefully this will accelerate DM research. It will certainly provide lots more data.

2
Exras 5 ago 0 replies      
"The researchers who found Dragonfly 44 weren't looking for a dark galaxy. Another surprise: They found it using a telescope built of camera parts. The Dragonfly Telephoto Array was built by a group of astronomers at Yale University and the University of Toronto who realized that telephoto lenses so often used for nature photography and sporting events were well-suited for spotting the kind of large, dim objects that pose problems for typical telescopes."

I like it, reminds me of the discovery of the Cosmic background radiation by Penzias and Wilson with the Holmdel Horn Antenna. Accept this time nobody had to shovel bird shit :-)

3
officialjunk 2 ago 0 replies      
came across this paper that investigates how the EM propulsion drives might generate thrust, and as a side effect, the theory explains certain phenomena that we attribute to dark matter and dark energy. i only have undergrad physics degree, but it sounds interesting. anyone with more experience have any thoughts about this?

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1604.03449v1.pdf>McCulloch (2007) has proposed a new model for inertia (MiHsC) that assumes that the inertia of an object is due to the Unruh radiation it sees when it accelerates, radiation which is also subject to a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. In this model only Unruh wavelengths that fit exactly into twice the Hubble diameter are allowed, so that a greater proportion of the waves are disallowed for low accelerations (which see longer Unruh waves) leading to a gradual new loss of inertia as accelerations become tiny. MiHsC modifies the standard inertial mass (m) to a modified one (m_i) as follows:

m_i = m (1-(2c^2)/(|a|))= m (1 - /4) (1)where c is the speed of light, is twice the Hubble distance, |a| is the mag- nitude of the relative acceleration of the object relative to surrounding matter and is the peak wavelength of the Unruh radiation it sees. Eq. 1 predicts that for terrestrial accelerations (eg: 9.8m/s2) the second term in the bracket is tiny and standard inertia is recovered, but in low acceleration environments, for example at the edges of galaxies (when a is small and is large) the sec- ond term in the bracket becomes larger and the inertial mass decreases in a new way so that MiHsC can explain galaxy rotation without the need for dark matter (McCulloch, 2012) and cosmic acceleration without the need for dark energy (McCulloch, 2007, 2010).

4
dghughes 4 ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I have to wonder maybe we are the weird ones and dark matter being more common is normal.

Maybe there are trillions of beings looking at us and our weird matter and are amazed we can survive.

5
semaphoreP 6 ago 0 replies      
Here is the pre-print version of the paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.06291
6
teh_klev 7 ago 0 replies      
Archive.is linkage for those who can't get past the paywall:

http://archive.is/b4e7X

7
hinkley 2 ago 0 replies      
From the article it seems to me that it's not the telephoto lenses that were the breakthrough here but the lens coating on the lenses. So is the next step to work with the manufacturer to get those coatings available on purpose-built astronomy equipment?

And is it only applicable to refractory telescopes?

8
pc2g4d 6 ago 2 replies      
I find myself wondering if the type of inference required to make this claim could be automated. Given the right observations, couldn't dark matter be detected (or at least hypothesized) algorithmically? Couldn't this be used to create a "dark matter scope" by which the dark matter in the universe can be "seen" and visualized?
9
geertj 1 ago 0 replies      
Would this mean that there's a lot more dark matter in the universe than we previously thought? And consequently that we may escape a terrible heat death but instead get some real action near the end?
10
SolarNet 5 ago 1 reply      
Is it possible that an alien race has simply covered that galaxy with dyson spheres? That life is more common than we thought - or perhaps more rapidly advancing once intelligence is hit - and most galaxies are "dark" from their interference?
11
JackFr 48 ago 0 replies      
It's Dyson spheres.
12
perseusprime11 4 ago 0 replies      
I always thought that dark matter is a trick played by gravity. I wish we can get to these things faster.
7
Apollo Global is buying Rackspace for $4.3B businessinsider.com
302 points by notmyname  11 ago   151 comments top 25
1
chollida1 11 ago 5 replies      
I guess it was only a matter of time before they got bought out.It's tough to compete against one of Google, Amazon or Microsoft, competing against all 3 at the same time in an area that all three consider to be core to their future must just be cut throat!

It's never great for a companies employee's to be taken over by a private equity firm, if you actually find someone whose had a good experience then please let me know, but given that this is a 38% premium over what RAX was trading at when the deal leaked on august 3rd, this is almost best case for rack space employee's and given that this is an all cash transaction they should get some liquidity out of the deal!!

Given that the RAX board unanimously approved the deal, I'm going to guess this is going through.

Often when a company is brought private by a PE firm they'll combine it with other portfolio companies before spinning it back out. I don't see any relevant companies in Apollo's portfolio that could be joined to RAX.

If you are wondering who in wall street makes money on these types of deal, its the usual suspects. Everyone wets their beak in take over transactions:)

- Financing provided by Citi, Deutsche, Barclays, RBC;

- Goldman advised RAX, Morgan Stanley also provided services in connection w/ deal; Citi, Deutsche, Barclays, RBC advised Apollo

2
colinbartlett 11 ago 1 reply      
> $32 per-share-offer represents a premium of 6 percent to Rackspace's Thursday closing price.

Quite a fall from almost $80 in 2013.

I was a satisfied Rackspace customer back around 2001 when I had a web hosting business, but it was truly a premium service - very expensive compared to competitors. We ended up going with our own bare metal eventually. Then, when everything moved to the cloud, Rackspace seemed a little behind the times and Heroku and AWS got my business.

3
colinramsay 11 ago 3 replies      
Over the past six months I've been battling with poor service from Rackspace, with hosts mysteriously dying and their agents are trying to upsell me (load balancers for a single server, for example). We're migrating away but this doesn't surprise me.
4
20years 10 ago 1 reply      
I still have a couple of dedicated servers with Rackspace. Been with them for over 10 years and am sad to see this. They truly did have the best support and were an amazing partner to my business in the earlier years.

I knew this was coming and have moved a lot of our stuff off in preparation. Partly because of the unknown but also partly because their support has diminished over the past 2 years.

I was kind of hoping Amazon would acquire them. I don't have much faith with the purchase being a PE firm. Time now to move the rest of our stuff off.

5
abakker 8 ago 1 reply      
Rackspace's problem is this: they are not really a hosting business. They are a Managed services business. They USED to be a hosting business, but it turned out that their real value add was in running clouds for companies that couldn't do it themselves. My guess is that the real reason they sought this is that the hosting business is not going to grow, and they don't want to invest in it. Instead, they are going to transition into becoming a managed services provider for Openstack private clouds (customer premises or equinix), Azure and AzureStack, and AWS.

Many enterprises are not making the transition to Cloud cleanly, and Rackspace is positioning themselves as the premier services provider to deploy, manage, and monitor cloud usage for many organizations.

6
akulbe 8 ago 1 reply      
I understand that publicly traded companies are one cornerstone of our economy.

That said, it's depressing to see companies get bought and sold just to move money around, and the people that work in those jobs completely ignored, or just seen as pawns to manipulate for nothing more than the bottom line.

To me, when a company goes from private to public, it's not something to celebrate in the long-term.

The company's focus inevitably seems to go from doing/creating something innovative, to maximizing shareholder value at any expense.

Rackspace was awesome. RIP Rackspace. (I don't know this for a fact, of course... but as others have surmised already, this will likely be just another pump and dump.)

7
jszymborski 9 ago 3 replies      
I'm praying that Mailgun doesn't get affected by this, they're absolutely awesome for the small shops like me (and easy to integrate).
8
rkrzr 11 ago 4 replies      
Rackspace has been looking for a buyer for a while. I suspect that their business is not in terribly good shape.

They even started consulting on AWS deployments a while back: "Need some help moving your servers over to AWS? We're here to help!"

9
gtrubetskoy 11 ago 1 reply      
Interesting. In contrast just about a year ago Verio's web hosting assets were sold to EIG for a mere $36 million. Both companies were founded around the same time ~ 1996, and at some point at the top of the dot-com boom were the two dominant dedicated server providers out there.
10
laveur 10 ago 0 replies      
I've been a loyal rackspace customer since 2011. I really hope that if this is indeed true, as I will wait until Rackspace officially announces it, that Appollo doesn't destroy the good things Rackspace has going for it. Mainly their wonderful customer support.
11
kolbe 10 ago 1 reply      
Nice. So in a few years, there will be one less competitor in this space.
12
thedlade 10 ago 3 replies      
Their service is very expensive compared to Google, AWS and the rest. I wonder how they've managed to survive on their own for so long
13
jdpedrie 11 ago 3 replies      
Has there been any analysis on the upswing in acquisitions of cloud computing and storage companies? First EMC gets bought by Dell, now Rackspace is getting picked up. Is it just in response to growth on the part of Google and Amazon?
14
spriggan3 10 ago 0 replies      
I'm sure Rackspace is a great service for established companies and startups but for the rest they were always too expensive. I never felt like the premium paid made a difference.
15
inputcoffee 10 ago 3 replies      
I like to look at comparisons like this:

That is about 1 Yahoo in 2016

Or about 3 youTubes in 2006

Or 1.5 Lucasfilms in 2012

Or 0.2 Whatsapps in 2014

EDIT: Whatsapps number corrected, thanks.

16
keenerd 8 ago 0 replies      
As someone who's first VPS was from Slicehost: Oh, not this again.
17
soperj 2 ago 0 replies      
Wonder what this means for mailgun. They have wonderful customer support.
18
pbarnes_1 2 ago 0 replies      
RIP.

SoftLayer has been growing substantially after the IBM acquisition. This space is pretty interesting.

19
nl 9 ago 0 replies      
So I think people are missing some points around this deal.

Investment firms like hosting companies for two reasons:

1) They give predictable revenue, which is a great thing. Even if the profit rate isn't amazing, the revenue gives a lot of cash-flow.

2) They (often) own large infrastructure asserts (data centers), which can be depreciated and used as a tax write-off.

Not saying that they won't want to take costs out of the business too, but the motivations for a purchase like this aren't as simple as one might think.

20
clavalle 8 ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this will mean an influx of capital in the Austin/SA area.
21
mathattack 8 ago 0 replies      
Is the playbook "Financial engineering, and decrease support for existing customers"? (Financial engineering meaning load up on debt, where interest payments can be written down)
22
mbesto 10 ago 1 reply      
Interesting year so far for PE M&A in SaaS companies

Vista - Cvent $1.65B

Vista - Marketo $1.80B

Vista - Ping $600M

Apollo - Rackspace $4.3B (moreso IaaS)

Thoma Bravo - Qlik $3.0B (debatable SaaS)

23
ramaro 5 ago 0 replies      
Is it too late to sell it to Yahoo instead?
24
mkj 10 ago 1 reply      
Are Apollo likely to make money from it?
25
joering2 8 ago 1 reply      
I'm only missing one thing out of your comments -- what will change for someone who spends over $10,000 per month across US, UK and HK on servers and hosting.

Is it time to move forward?? Will my hosting be affected??

8
Multi-byte NOP opcode made official intel.com
40 points by based2  3 ago   7 comments top 3
1
yuhong 2 ago 0 replies      
I wrote about long nops in http://www.agner.org/optimize/blog/read.php?i=25#82

I had a private email thread with H. Peter Anvin (formerly of Transmeta) about this.

I think there was an Intel patent about them.

2
robert_tweed 2 ago 1 reply      
Intriguing, but the original posts are from 2006 with a bump from 2008 and definitive answers are never given, just "this may require an NDA to discuss."

If you care about optimising NOPs, you're probably wrting a compiler, so I am curious if these instructions have found their way into any mainstream compiler such as GCC or Clang. Does this post explain some odd compiler behaviour?

Has newer information been published making this anything other than abuse of an undocumented quirk? I.e., liable to blow up on new processors, as it does on the Pentium MMX, according to the second post.

I mean, it's interesting but I'm not sure why it's here.

3
revelation 2 ago 2 replies      
The thread seems to say nothing about them being faster. I guess if they were faster they would be quite useful for trampolines.

Not sure you should ever use a multi-byte instruction for alignment, but then you shouldn't use NOP for alignment in general. That's what 0xCC is for.

9
Itsy Bitsy Data Structures Simplified examples of many common data structures github.com
107 points by thejameskyle  6 ago   31 comments top 8
1
marvy 1 ago 2 replies      
Most languages have a built in type for a dynamic array, but many of them lack a built-in queue. I have a favorite trick for a quick-and dirty queue in those languages. You need an array (initially empty) and an integer (initially zero). To add to the queue, add to the array. To get the front of the queue, just do array[int]. And finally, to remove from the queue, simply increment the integer. The advantages of this approach are simplicity and speed: each operation takes amortized constant time. The obvious disadvantage is that it's potentially a major memory leak. For instance, if you try to do breadth-first search of a tree using this queue, your memory usage will be proportional to the size of the tree. How much worse than optimal is this? It depends on the tree. If it's a complete binary tree, you've doubled your memory usage, which might not be too bad. But if the tree is a path, then you use linear memory, whereas a proper queue would only use O(1) memory.
2
jscheel 3 ago 0 replies      
Seems to be a lot of snark in this thread already. If you see a problem, create an issue or submit a pull request. It's great that OP is trying to help spread knowledge.
3
notsorandomname 5 ago 3 replies      
Hash table realization seems to be harmful with the "no collisions" assumption. That's like writing a red black tree and assuming that insert/delete operations will keep tree balanced so we don't need rotations.
4
noobermin 3 ago 0 replies      
One thing's for sure, it caught my attention. Humungo text that made me chuckle. Then, I clicked on the text, and it was the example. Pretty clever.
5
kylehotchkiss 2 ago 1 reply      
Question: for the hashtables example, it looks like it's setting arbitrary indexes inside a JS array, instead of incrementing ones. IIRC, Javascript stringifys arrays with gaps like this:

[ 1,2,3,undefined/null,undefined/null,undefined/null,undefined/null,undefined/null,4,5,6,undefined/null,undefined/null,undefined/null] - With the hashtables function, if you accidentally generate an index that is say 100,000, wouldn't you end up with an unwieldy-sized array that would be more difficult to search than one like this:

[{ value: 1, index: 103405}, { value: 2, index: 14550 }]

Or does JS store the arrays as an object internally and just stringify them with all the blanks?

6
mthoms 4 ago 0 replies      
At first glance, this looks like it could be a useful reference. Regardless it's worth a visit for the ASCII art alone. My favorite: the literal interpretation of "hash tables".
7
zeusk 3 ago 1 reply      
This is too dumbed down, imo.

Also, the part where it explains why memory is zero-addressed is so wrong, it rustled my jimmies.

8
vonmoltke 3 ago 2 replies      
> algorithms are implemented with data structures

Eh, for a certain definition of "algorithm". Plenty of signal processing algorithms, for instance, have nothing to do with data structures.

10
Show HN: Poetically simple code review on GitHub sourcegraph.com
21 points by beliu  2 ago   12 comments top 3
1
brian-armstrong 1 ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately Github's code review is still a far cry from mature review tools like Phab or Gerrit. The code folding in the latter reviewers is always better and leaving inline notes does not apply as individual messages. The reviewee can also more easily reply to each line individually and it is much easier to compare previous diffs.

GH's code review tool doesn't seem useful for diffs longer than 20 lines or so. I'm curious why they've never bothered to address this shortcoming.

2
barakm 44 ago 1 reply      
So, pet peeve time. Every once and a while Sourcegraph comes up again, and I check to see if they've moved away from trying to do their (completely non-free) Fair Source thing. (https://fair.io/)

This time it seems they have, mostly! None of their code on Github uses it, and the sourcegraph/sourcegraph project itself has gone private. Leading to a broken link on some of their repos (eg, https://github.com/sourcegraph/sourcegraph-browser-extension...) -- but, hey, it's not like it was required to stay open, so, fair enough.

Now if they can just update their terms of service to remove any question of it (it's still there), and I'm on board. Because I really want to use this!

3
beliu 1 ago 2 replies      
I'm the author of the post and contributed to the CR extension -- I'd love to hear people's feedback! (on the extension, please not the poetry)
11
Keep a Changelog keepachangelog.com
26 points by vdfs  1 ago   5 comments top 5
1
necessity 20 ago 0 replies      
Org-mode is specially useful for this task. It is plain-text, has built-in support for sections, dates, arbitrary tags, and can even export to Markdown (or HTML, or Latex) if you really want that. Besides other wonderful features such as Babel.
2
skybrian 13 ago 0 replies      
This is fine for smaller, low-velocity projects, but tends to result in merge conflicts in high-velocity projects.

An alternative I've seen work well is to put changelog= comments in the patch descriptions and automatically gather them at release time.

3
mcescalante 20 ago 0 replies      
This has cropped up once or twice before. Previous discussion from February 2015: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9054627
4
mianos 15 ago 0 replies      
Someone should send this to the guys who maintain the google internal apps like gmail and google now.
5
exratione 14 ago 0 replies      
I'd argue that the goal of creating a good, useful changelog can be one of the forcing motivations to establish a working process for commit documentation and great, informative, useful commit messages. If that means git log gardening after the fact, then so be it, but good documentation (of history here) is always worth the work.

The activities of programmer-archaeology are always made so much easier if you have a screed of history for each area of interest in the codebase. Sadly that's still rare, even in groups that do the necessary work to maintain their documentation for the current state of HEAD. There are many times when history matters, is relevant, and those who do not learn it are doomed to repeat it - or at the very least build elaborate theories to explain what happened in the past in order to understand how the present came to be where it is.

The great changelog built on great commit history is probably hard to do outside of a small, focused group. On the other hand, the pull request process has emerged and developers have embraced that level of work, so it feels like it should be achievable.

12
Bunnie Huang and Edward Snowdens Malware-Detecting Smartphone Case pubpub.org
149 points by elijahparker  10 ago   56 comments top 8
1
jeron 8 ago 1 reply      
I'm glad this title mentioned Bunnie, when the smartphone case was first announced most news outlets reported it as "a smartphone case that prevents spying by Edward Snowden and some hacker"
2
empath75 8 ago 2 replies      
I don't understand what kind of malware this is supposed to detect? This only seems relevant when you're using airplane mode, and why wouldn't malware just wait until you went back online before transmitting the data?
3
jbb555 8 ago 4 replies      
"For the iPhone, there are four different radio interfaces that could potentially be used for malicious purposes: the cellular modem, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC"

Well, GPS only receives... so how is it going to detect that?

4
kchoudhu 6 ago 1 reply      
Journalist enters country, has bags searched. Customs officer: "This smartphone case is not allowed in the country."

Oh well, we tried.

5
supernintendo 7 ago 1 reply      
So it's a sort of hardware-based Little Snitch without the ability to block connections. Neat. Perhaps a useful tool for the security-minded but not a true safeguard. Remote code execution exploits are very real. All an attacker needs to do is modify your network configuration (DNS, proxy, hosts file, etc.) to disguise network traffic over a specific address that looks real enough so as to not warrant suspicion. This exploit could also be designed to sit idly while the device is in airplane mode, avoiding the case's primary detection feature.
6
tablehampton 7 ago 0 replies      
Better hope that the factory manufacturing this device, and the technicians installing it within the phone, are trustworthy enough not to leave their own backdoors.

A supposedly trusted device that taps into the hardware buses by design is an excellent target for malfeasance.

7
PhantomGremlin 6 ago 1 reply      
Articles like this make me wonder how journalists were able to do their jobs before the ubiquity of cellphones.

Here's an analogy to what's happening:

Since you're a high value journalist, a state actor has helpfully assigned an FBI-type agent as your minder. And now you're debating whether you should put a blindfold and earplugs on your minder before attending an important meeting with him in tow. Or, alternately, you're debating on whether you should add a gag to him to keep him from reporting back to his superiors.

But, the minder is resourceful. He has trained for the possibility of a blindfold. So he might remove it at opportune times and take a peek at what's happening. Or, when gagged, he is prepared to report back by tapping out a message with his fingers, using Morse code.

In short, I think it's a Sisyphean struggle to try to keep the minder from reporting back. Instead, just leave the minder elsewhere, far away from important discussions.

There is no way a few amateurs with soldering irons will be able to successfully and continually thwart state actors. Don't play their game!

8
Luc 8 ago 1 reply      
Much better link straight to the source: https://www.pubpub.org/pub/direct-radio-introspection/
13
Plasma wings could change the way airplanes are designed and flown pbs.org
212 points by mrfusion  11 ago   121 comments top 19
1
nhallsny 7 ago 2 replies      
This article was in need of a windtunnel video showing the effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVJjn1pt08g . The right type of plasma can reattach separated flow. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_separation).
2
fmp 4 ago 3 replies      
>A scaled-down gale blows over a flat plate set inside the tabletop wind tunnel. Despite the low lighting and hazy Plexiglas view portals, we can clearly see the frenzied fluttering of streamer ribbons, called telltales, in the field of little wind vanes that carpets the exposed test surface inside.

I'm really bothered by this style of journalism which feels the need to start off every story with an in media res narrative instead of just telling you the most important points and working its way down like a traditional newspaper article should.

I don't care about the scene at the wind tunnel you visited while researching this story. Tell me about the plasma wings.

3
Feneric 10 ago 2 replies      
It's surprising that even with the energy it takes to generate a plasma strong enough and in enough quantity to achieve the desired effects, it can still result in an estimated 25% energy savings. It goes to show how much energy just deals with drag in the current system.
4
ep103 10 ago 6 replies      
I can't seem to find anything in google, but I remember reading about something similar some ~10 years ago for military aircraft. Apparently there were experimental fighter jets that had large ionizing beams of some sort shooting in front of the aircraft? The claim was along the lines of by ionizing the air in front of the craft, it significantly reduced the drag the plane experienced flying through that pocket of air moments later.

I'm having a hard time finding articles on it, but it sounds so similar to this article.

5
sevenless 25 ago 0 replies      
So much for billions of years of blind evolution. Take that, Mother Nature! Don't see birds flying around with goddamn plasma wings, do you?
6
paulftw 9 ago 1 reply      
Helicopters use complex and expensive mechanisms to articulate rotor blades.If plasma can eliminate hinges on wings hopefully it can also be used to dramatically simplify the helicopter design.That'll be a real breakthrough.
7
JoeAltmaier 10 ago 3 replies      
Its one thing to reduce vibration and fatigue. But increasing stability is a two-edged sword. If the plasma actuator fails, suddenly at 500MPH you're less stable. And no device is foolproof, especially one that requires high voltage. A lightening strike, an engine failure and the plane won't fly?
8
sp0ck 10 ago 2 replies      
Now we know why most of UFO's always have eerie glow. It's just actuators :)
9
Noseshine 10 ago 3 replies      
Question: Would that lead to some unfavorable chemical reactions that create undesirable molecules that we don't want to have in the atmosphere? It's an incredibly tiny effect per plane, but over time and given the amount of planes... so obviously only a problem for stable molecules that remain up there for a long time. I had the subject in a chemistry lecture, but it's been quite a while so I don't remember any details.
10
sametmax 7 ago 0 replies      
Jean-Pierre Petit have been talking about this for many years, but has been considered a sweet lunatic. The fact he is a UFO believer didn't help, but it's too bad they discarded all his ideas because of it.
11
Rooster61 10 ago 1 reply      
300% range increase on a drone size vehicle, huh? Imagine the application to conventional jet travel. This would revolutionize the industry, letting jets fly far further than they currently can.
12
strongai 8 ago 0 replies      
Hats off to all those sci-fi stories that described future aircraft as enclosed by glowing silhouettes of various colors. We're living in the future :0)
13
iaw 6 ago 0 replies      
Serious question: ignoring issues with O3 toxicity, could you strap a plasma wind generator to the front of a car to create downforce and reduce air resistance?

Thinking through it I suspect the numbers don't line up for it to be feasible/economic but I've often wondered how we could displace the air in front of a vehicle without impeding the vehicles travel in doing so.

14
woliveirajr 7 ago 0 replies      
The article mentions airplanes and trucks, but what about trains? So much of the design is made to reduce air drag (look at ICE and TGV) and friction.

I bet plasma could find some uses there, too, even as an upgrade to those old and slow models that are still in use.

Would love to have a company selling upgrade to freight trains.

15
byebyetech 7 ago 0 replies      
>>A tiny push at the right place and time can excite a much larger, and often positive, result.

I have to agree with that.

16
ape4 10 ago 2 replies      
It would make me nervous to fly in a plane without physical actuators. But maybe I'm old fashioned.
17
sandworm101 8 ago 1 reply      
What happens when it rains? Wouldn't moisture increase the electrical conductivity of air to the point of defeating such devices, or at least radically increasing the energy required? And if that is true, wouldn't random differences in local moisture at various actuators on different parts of the plane, say while approaching a wet runway, result in randomized effects?
18
Shivetya 5 ago 0 replies      
Okay, so how does it fair in rain, ice, and snow, laden weather?
19
mrfusion 7 ago 0 replies      
Guys lets patent putting this on golf balls!
14
WebDriver Support in Safari 10 webkit.org
126 points by okket  8 ago   32 comments top 6
1
maspwr 6 ago 3 replies      
This looks really great. Baking in support for test automation seems like a no-brainer and a welcome step forward for web development.

Are any other major browsers taking a similar approach to Safari in terms of native WebDriver support? I saw this Microsoft blog [1] on Edge support of WebDriver, but it's not clear to me what approach they have taken (you still need to download a separate server for instance).

Only one Safari browser instance can be running at any given time, and only one WebDriver session can be attached to the browser instance at a time.

One downside to this approach is that it limits the ability to parallelize tests on a single machine for efficiency purposes.

1. https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2015/07/23/bringing-auto...

2
ams6110 54 ago 1 reply      
ensuring a good user experience across multiple platforms and browsers is a huge challenge for web developers and QA organizations

It's a shame we've been fighting this battle since the 1990s and are still fighting it.

3
dfabulich 6 ago 2 replies      
This is fantastic news!

The blog post doesn't mention iOS. Does anybody here know whether iOS Safari 10 will also support Webdriver?

4
oldmanjay 6 ago 2 replies      
Part of me is thrilled by anything that makes validation easier. Part of me is frightened by the expansion of the attack surface of the browser, particularly given how Apple has been losing their quality edge of late.
5
dmritard96 3 ago 0 replies      
welp, scrapers rejoice
6
overcast 5 ago 3 replies      
Now if we can only get tabs to suspend themselves to free up RAM. Safari is awesome to work with, for the first hour.
15
Are Index Funds Eating the World? wsj.com
102 points by petethomas  6 ago   89 comments top 25
1
Analemma_ 5 ago 4 replies      
As always when articles like this come up, I want to issue the usual reminder to HN to beware of what pg called "submarine stories" (http://paulgraham.com/submarine.html). There are a lot of people who stand to lose a lot of money in fees if "just park it in index funds" becomes more popular advice than it is already. Not to say the analysis above is wrong, but just keep in mind (especially at the WSJ) that it may not be coming from sources with your best interest in mind.
2
ttcbj 4 ago 1 reply      
When people wonder what would happen if index funds become too popular, I usually refer them to Warren Buffet's 2005 essay, 'How to minimize investment returns':

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/how-to-minimize-investment-return...

It is essentially a thought experiment about what would happen if everyone switched to one big index fund.

But, it glosses over the issue of individual security pricing and corporate management, which would become issues in a 100% pure index environment.

Of course, we won't ever get a 100% pure index environment, because the closer you approach it, the more incentive there is for active managers to exist.

I think what is really happening is that as more people use indexing, the less talented active managers are driven out of business. A small number of very talented active managers may eventually find themselves in a highly competitive market to exploit pricing inefficiencies, and they will end up incidentally providing management oversight and marginal pricing services to the indexers. These active managers will probably look more and more like private equity firms (taking an active hand in management), and less and less like traditional arms-length traders.

As long as this small number of talented firms isn't allowed to collude with each other, or self-deal unethically by controlling management, everything should be fine. In fact, having met some less talented active traders in person, I suspect that the quality of marginal pricing and managerial oversight may go _up_ as the number of active managers decreases, and the less informed and talented among them are eliminated.

3
cesarbs 6 ago 3 replies      
One thing I like to point out whenever this kind of discussion comes up, is that there is no single index. Articles like this always seem to assume that everyone will buy the same index, namely the S&P 500 or total US market.

But that's not what a lot of index investors do. Indexers enjoy adding tilts to their portfolios. So some people will buy value funds, others will buy small cap funds, and yet others will buy small value funds. There are people who overweight certain sectors, like REITs or utilities. There are those who invest in international index funds (with all their variations) and those who don't. So there's a huge number of combinations you can think of when it comes to indexing.

Now, with people indexing like that, there would still be market liquidity. Maybe not as much as when there are single stocks being actively traded, but on any given day there will be people buying into different indexes, selling shares, or rebalancing.

Valuation would become troublesome though, but at least people would still get some return from dividends.

4
kldaace 5 ago 1 reply      
"Yet Mr. Fraser-Jenkins has a point. Index funds dont set prices; they only accept the prices that active investors have already set. If everyone owned index funds, he says, no one would be doing the job of figuring out what securities are worth."

The situation described is clearly not a Nash equilibrium. If you have special, accurate information on the price of a security, then you're going to act on it. Why would no one be doing the work of pricing something if it's profitable? Sounds like actively managed mutual funds are getting antsy because people are starting to realize that they're getting screwed not going with index funds.

5
Animats 6 ago 5 replies      
From the article: "Funds run by Vanguard hold roughly 6% of total U.S. stock-market value."

So index funds are not eating the world.

Most Wall Street traders underperform the market. Even the hedge fund crowd mostly underperforms the market. "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" is real.

6
empath75 5 ago 3 replies      
Doesn't it seem self-limiting? At some point, if prices become totally irrational, wouldn't active investors profit by taking advantage of predictable index fund transactions?
7
turc1656 4 ago 0 replies      
FULL DISCLOSURE up front - I work in the index/ETF business. I help maintain ~75 indices, many of which have ETFs linked directly to them.

That being said, I fully believe there will always be active investors. As others have mentioned, if there is an opportunity to make money in the market due to something like passive index funds being slower on the uptake, it will be made.

If I had to interpret the core argument being made here, it is basically that there is a fear of a positive feedback type scenario where money keeps getting dumped into companies simply because it always has. But it can be highly profitable to beat out the slow, passive money by doing your due diligence. For this reason, active management will always exist.

Also, I am fortunate enough to work on some of the more complex and interesting products in the industry (at least I believe so, haha). I can tell you that there are definitely sanity checks put in place for this kind of scenario. Most of it revolves around fundamental ratios built into these product methodologies (i.e. P/E ratio must be within a rational range, company must produce stable income for the past 5 years, etc.). More importantly, securities in these portfolios are frequently weighted (at least in part) upon those fundamental ratios. So if a company starts to deteriorate, the size of the position in the fund will be decreased. Much of what the article talks about seems to be negated by this and becomes a non-issue. I think those arguments would apply more to benchmark products which don't have those kinds of requirements. Then again, many benchmarks are used for exactly that - benchmarking - and aren't directly invested in. There are, of course, indices like the S&P 500 that have significant sums of money attached to them, but they are the exception, not the rule. Most index products deemed "investment-grade" are STRATEGY based, not benchmark based.

Basically, there is room in the market for both. I think we are simply seeing the progression towards a new equilibrium, nothing more. That equilibrium is where the new balance of those willing to take a higher risk meet those that want the less risky, low cost products that we provide. There is simply a much smaller portion of the population willing to pay higher fees and have a larger risk (but with possibly greater reward). And that is due in part to the fact that many money managers don't have the returns to keep people coming back. It's also due in part to people's mistrust of the market (and financial industry in general). They are simply allocating their money in accordance with their risk appetite.

8
twblalock 5 ago 0 replies      
There will always be active investors. People will always think they know a way to succeed in the market that nobody else does. It's human nature. Plus, there will always be VCs, hedge funds, and other high-risk, high-reward investment vehicles used by the wealthy to add some spice to their otherwise conservative portfolios.

There may be fewer active investors than before, but that doesn't mean the market won't function.

9
ramblenode 1 ago 0 replies      
> A report this past week from investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein, titled The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing Is Worse than Marxism, warned that index funds might grow to the point at which new investments could be massively mispriced.

In which case the actively managed funds which identify the mispriced assets would start making money and attract investors again. You know there's trouble brewing in the industry when mutual funds are trying to sell investors on "it's good for the economy!"

10
nabla9 4 ago 0 replies      
>warned that index funds might grow to the point at which new investments could be massively mispriced.

This situation will be easy to spot from indicators like P/E ratio. P/E limited index funds will be new hotness and active investors should get better returns.

There is bigger problem than index funds and it's closet indexing. Many portfolio managers that claim to be active investors secretly follow their benchmark index without exactly replicating it. This is fraudulent behavior.

11
princetontiger 1 ago 0 replies      
Active investing serves a valuable purpose.

10 years ago, everyone wanted to be in the hedge fund industry. Today, it's tech startups. Having worked in both fields, you encounter the same folks running from funds to startups.

Hedge fund fees probably move to 1 and 10 over the coming decade, but active investing and price discovery are very valuable. For those willing to do the work, small and midcaps still can generate alpha. However, it will require spending many hours traveling and meeting with management and being engaged in the sector virtually nonstop (trade shows, conferences, reading articles/news).

I think generalist active investing will go away, but sector focused active investing will remain.

12
ergest 5 ago 0 replies      
This article incorrectly assumes that smart investors would sit around and do nothing if most people invest in index funds.
13
tedmiston 5 ago 0 replies      
> If businesses are to be able to raise capital by selling shares to outsiders, you need a deep market of active investors willing to take a view on the valuation of the company, Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, head of quantitative strategy at Bernstein in London and lead author of the Worse than Marxism report, told me this week.

And that's a terrible investment strategy to ask of the average layman, the people who are concentrating on index investing.

14
BjoernKW 4 ago 0 replies      
> But, he adds, that would require indexing to grow immensely from todays levels. Probably not until passive funds are at least 90% of the market could such chaos arise, he argues.

That's a pretty hypothetical scenario, isn't it? Index funds, ETFs in particular, are a brilliant idea that allows ordinary people to participate in the success of market trailblazers.

If it wasn't for index funds most people wouldn't be able to make reasonable investment decisions because they're not investment bankers who deal with that sort of business on a daily basis. Even investment bankers fail with their investments most of the time. It's usually just the few successful investments or things like arbitrage that balance out the odds.

Ordinary people usually neither have the knowledge nor the resources to do investments this way, so index funds probably are the best option for accumulating wealth over a period of time.

15
tedmiston 5 ago 2 replies      
> Thats largely because index funds trade so much less often than active managers. On a typical day, only 5% to 10% of total trading volume comes from index funds, says a Vanguard spokesman.

I'm surprised the author omitted it, but can anyone comment whether this is different for robo investors (Wealthfront, Betterment) vs a traditional index fund like Vanguard?

16
bendbro 2 ago 0 replies      
So people won't be able to make money selling their stocks to other people. Maybe corporations will simply adapt and provide dividends that appropriately compensate for the price of the stock?
17
lazyevaluate 4 ago 2 replies      
Besides the issue of corporate ownership / concentration, index funds are also increasing the risk of a market crash. One of the selling points for index funds is that they supposedly offer great diversification and this might be true in normal times but in a financial panic people will pull out of index funds and drive correlations to 1. E.g. if there's a crash in health care, panicked investors won't just be pulling out of health care they'll be pulling out of the market as a whole.
18
BlickSilly 4 ago 0 replies      
Not an expert but seeing the quick rise in popularity in anything makes me nervous. eg. Index funds and ETFs. When Apple is the Number 1 holding of all index funds, and investors are blindly driving up aapl stock becuase they continue to want 'index' funds.. how do we protect ourselves and our economy from a major reset/correction?
19
joncp 2 ago 0 replies      
When a headline is a question the answer is almost always no. This is no exception.
20
blazespin 4 ago 0 replies      
Not a big deal. As Index funds trade more, than more opportunity for traders. It'll balance itself out.
21
ceejayoz 4 ago 0 replies      
> Because corporations know that, says Prof. Heemskerk, coziness and complacency may arise. If you have only long-term investors, how do you keep management on their toes?

We've a ways to go before the pendulum has swung enough in that direction. I'm more concerned about the tendency to seek short-term profits at the expensive of long-term investment in today's Wall Street CEOs.

22
davidgerard 4 ago 0 replies      
The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing Is Worse than Marxism

good Lord

23
alaaibrahim 6 ago 1 reply      
no

-- Betteridge's law

24
cloudjacker 4 ago 0 replies      
"warned that index funds might grow to the point at which new investments could be massively mispriced"

Could, he says. lol.

25
drauh 6 ago 4 replies      
From the article: A report this past week from investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein, titled The Silent Road to Serfdom: Why Passive Investing Is Worse than Marxism,

"serfdom", "Marxism"... Let me guess: Libertarian Party propagandist.

16
How to Build Your Own Discrete 4-Bit ALU allaboutcircuits.com
25 points by elijahparker  4 ago   3 comments top 2
1
ChuckMcM 2 ago 0 replies      
Seriously? A 1 bit "full adder" is too complicated to build with discrete gates? If you are going to show people how to build a discrete 4 bit ALU then you really need to own it and at least build it with simple gates, if not transistors if you want to seriously own the discrete bit. As you can see in this reference (https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Microprocessor_Design/Add_and_...) a single bit full adder is 2 xor, 2 and, and an or gate. For for a four bit addr, that is 8 XOR (2 chips), 8 AND (2 chips), and 4 OR (1 chip), so 5 chips instead of one MSI 4 bit adder.
2
SloopJon 2 ago 1 reply      
I like projects like this. I started reading Code a while back, and thought it would be fun to make a computer out of relays, light bulbs, tinker toys, or whatnot. Then I started reading The Elements of Computing Systems, and thought about building something in a FPGA. One of these days.
17
Text to Image Synthesis Using Thought Vectors github.com
107 points by piyush8311  10 ago   14 comments top 6
1
gwern 8 ago 1 reply      
It's a little tricky getting this to work because you need two separate models working together, but I tried it out. Here's some of the samples I generated:

https://imgur.com/Uwp1wfu

https://imgur.com/yuW9Yre

https://imgur.com/oZ4wzdC some definite weaknesses in the natural language embedding

https://imgur.com/MAupphr roses in general don't seem to work well. must not have been many in the dataset

You can see that it works better than one would expect, but there are definitely limits to the understanding. The flower and COCO datasets are, ultimately, not that big. What would be exciting is if you could train it on some extremely large and well-annotated dataset like Danbooru.

2
radarsat1 4 ago 0 replies      
I think the idea is interesting but I'm not convinced it really "synthesizes ideas" so much as treats the neural network like a database of images that it mixes.

Now, I could be wrong, but because of the way the results are presented it doesn't tell me that it's any good at picking up the meaning of the phrase. The results show a single phrase and a set of images it generates. White flower with yellow center, and a bunch of images of white flowers.

But if it can synthesize the idea properly, one should be able to generate a flower of a variety of descriptions. Yellow flower with blue center. Red flower with yellow center. Blue flower with black edges and black center. etc..

From the way they describe the functionality it should be able to do these things so in a way I don't doubt it, but I want to see how it performs on phrases that induce combinations of ideas that are well outside of the training set yet refer to individual ideas within the training set.

3
failrate 9 ago 1 reply      
This is lovely. As a lazy programmer, I would appreciate this as a web service. Instead of googling for an image to steal as placeholder art, I could request a uniquely generated image.
4
Y_Y 9 ago 4 replies      
I can see this being useful for police sketch artists.
5
viach 8 ago 0 replies      
It would be cool to implement text to pizza image synthesis.
6
ash9r 7 ago 1 reply      
What GPU was used to train this model?
18
Contributing os.scandir() to Python benhoyt.com
152 points by benhoyt  10 ago   16 comments top 8
1
raymondh 6 ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the write-up. It does a good job of communicating:

* the joys of contributing to Python

* how time and labor intensive the process can be

* the complexities of dealing with multiple operating systems

* what it is like to be alternately helped or hindered by other developers

2
int_19h 4 ago 0 replies      
I think that sort of thing is an often-underappreciated benefit of Python as an ecosystem - it has a well-defined procedure for adding and changing things to core language and library, that strikes a pretty good balance between agility and prudence, and generally yields great results.
3
danso 6 ago 0 replies      
That was a great write-up. I liked how you not only covered the technical details, but the human details, too -- how to get your idea noticed by python-dev, how to gain early adoption.
4
AdamJacobMuller 1 ago 1 reply      
Very interesting. I just benchmarked this (the python2.7 module only) with an internal application that walks over filesystems and found scandir.walk() to, inexplicably, be slightly slower than the os.walk().

I think part of the issue (though I've not tested this yet) is that we're stat()-ing every single file anyway so with os cache considered, it really ends up not mattering anyway.

I thought the additional cost of the extra system calls (even if they were entirely cached in memory) would add up, but, it seems like something the scandir module is doing is just less efficient in general.

Devising some much simpler and more controllable tests (but still with our exact workload) and testing more though.

5
billiob 2 ago 0 replies      
This issue has been looked into decades ago.

NFSv3 introduced READDIRPLUS in 1995: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1813#section-3.3.17

FUSEv3 (the library) will have support for such a call. It is already in the git repository ( https://github.com/libfuse/libfuse/blob/master/include/fuse_... ) .

Sadly, there is still no syscall on linux to do a "readdirplus" (usually called xgetdents()).

6
phillberson 5 ago 1 reply      
I think the additional windows attributes initiated here:

https://github.com/benhoyt/scandir/issues/22

(Source: It was my issue :) )

I was long using the project since it was named betterwalk and was very glad to see PEP 471 approved. Great work Ben.

(Now I just need to upgrade the project I use it in to 3.5)

7
rajathagasthya 8 ago 1 reply      
Great work! To contribute to Python, would you say it's necessary to be comfortable with writing C code?
8
cmdrfred 8 ago 0 replies      
Nice work, I'll keep it in mind next time.
19
How Nextdoor reduced racist posts fusion.net
133 points by pavel_lishin  10 ago   116 comments top 16
1
pilom 7 ago 7 replies      
Finally! This was one of the reasons I stopped actively using Nextdoor. My neighborhood in Denver is composed of a large group of elderly white people (who all seem to use Nextdoor somehow) and then a diverse group of people who have moved into this lower income neighborhood as the old people have passed away. The amount of profiling was painful. We had a black mentally handicapped man get picked up by the police because he asked a neighbor to borrow a ladder and she posted to nextdoor that she thought her house was getting cased to be robbed (and the police and Nextdoor have a partnership in our area). Hopefully this helps some.
2
lagadu 7 ago 4 replies      
I didn't know what nextdoor was (nor do I live where it exists) but I see what seems to be a fundamental error:

- They claim to have reduced "racist posts" by 75%.

- They say they accomplished this by asking extra questions whenever a racial descriptor was used.

In other words they simply made it harder to post when using a racial descriptor than not and claim this is a great reduction in racist posting. As a software developer I'm well aware of one thing: the more complicated I make a feature's interface be, the fewer people are going to use it. Without them having enabled the extra difficulty for all posting regardless of having used the racial descriptor or not, they're simply looking at people who don't post more using race not because they're racist but because they're placing an artificial hurdle associated with that.

Now, if they simply wanted for people not to describe race they should've simply removed it from the options; they seem to be so proud of effectively doing that but in a (thinly) veiled way, as I understand it they're saying that any posts that include race of the individual are racist.

Am I missing something obvious here?

3
karma_vaccum123 5 ago 2 replies      
I had to quit Nextdoor. The same small cabal of loudmouths was overwhelming the forums with strong (yet uninformed) opinions, reflex hatred of anything signalling change, and a general seething that bordered on xenophobia. I expect some NIMBYism, but this was outrageously militant hatred of the future masquerading as quaint pride.

Nextdoor also seems to give people strange priorities for civic engagement. Winning an argument on Nextdoor doesn't change policy...speaking at Council/School Board meetings does, or better yet, running in an election.

Lots of people on our local Nextdoor seemed frustrated that the Council were voting contrary to some conclusion that was reached on the site. They failed to realize they needed to be making arguments where it mattered - at Council meetings, not online in some private forum.

4
TheGRS 8 ago 5 replies      
Our company recently did a trial of looking for unconscious bias when we are making decisions, especially in terms of hiring practices. We all took a test to see if we had any unconscious bias toward gender and then discussed our results as a group. What really stuck with me is not that we have these sort of tendencies, but how shocked most people were at their own results. Most men in the room trended toward a bias toward men and women toward women. That shouldn't be that surprising really, but many were very disappointed in their results.

I've been thinking it would be good to do another round of that with the race test, especially considering how predominately white our workplace is. I don't believe everyone is actively trying to be racist or sexist (though some certainly are), but we might not realize that we're doing that on an unconscious level.

The tests are available here if you'd like to give it a try yourself, doesn't take very long. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

5
randomanybody 7 ago 1 reply      
It's interesting how different neighborhoods can be in the same city. In Seattle, my old neighborhood's board (First Hill) was vastly different than that of Ballard, to the point where I wasn't sure my friends who lived there were talking about the same site. The latter sounded like it was filled entirely with militant, yet simultaneously skittish NIMBYers, while mine was filled with park get-togethers and lost puppies. And since you could only see one neighborhood, the other experience was invisible to me.
6
hackuser 2 ago 0 replies      
The Washington Post covering the same story:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/08/26...

----

And also the WP covering a similar problem in Georgetown (a wealthy district in Washington):

* The secret surveillance of suspicious blacks in one of the nations poshest neighborhoods

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/the-secre...

* The black man arrested in Georgetown because he looked like a shoplifter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/the-black...

* Georgetown social network accused of racial profiling is suspended

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/georgetown-social-netwo...

(Wow. What is the shortest possible Washington Post URL?)

7
pavlov 6 ago 1 reply      
This could work on HN too. A simple list of combinations of keywords (such as "Node.js" and "shit") detected in a comment submission could trigger a confirmation dialog: "Are you sure this is a meaningful contribution?"
8
daenz 6 ago 2 replies      
Side note, brilliant marketing. This is such a hot-button topic, that although I disagree fundamentally with their solution, it will definitely have a lot of people talking about it.

I wish he had gone into more details about what counts as a "racist post." He seems to imply that people were just saying "black dude walking around." But would "black man peering into parked cars" also be flagged? And do those extra barriers, existing solely because of the word "black", lower the reporting rate of those kinds of posts?

9
eknight15 8 ago 0 replies      
Great to see design changes that have a positive social impact.

I really like Nextdoor, it's one of the few social networks I feel good using.

10
tptacek 48 ago 1 reply      
I didn't even know Nextdoor was a thing until I saw this post. Where, once logged in, would I look to see random people being reported as suspicious by my neighbors?
11
oldmanjay 7 ago 6 replies      
While I laud the goals, it's sort of disappointing to see such adherence to the idea that suppressing the expression of racism is going to fix it.
12
thescribe 29 ago 1 reply      
I'm curious if the reduction is just people not reporting things because there are more steps now.
13
smsm42 6 ago 0 replies      
Well, it looks like they define racist post as:

The company decided to define it as descriptions of criminal behavior that dont have sufficient description, i.e. dark-skinned man broke into a car or a detailed description of someone, including race, that fails to describe them doing something sufficiently criminal.

I.e. it is a description that mentions race and lacks either: a) specific criminal behavior or b) other non-race details.

In this case, no wonder that forcing people to provide these details reduces number of such posts - it's practically guaranteed by the very definition!

I also wonder about this:

Nextdoor is aware of two instances of racial profiling that had slipped through its algorithms in the last few months.

Nextdoor is a pretty large network. And they have quite a lot of people there, tens if not hundreds of thousands at least. And only two cases of profiling in several months, less then one case per month over whole network? It's either nextdoor users actually are nearly saints in this regard, at least compared to regular population, or they are humblebragging, or the problem itself is really minuscule, or they are blind to it.

14
MustardTiger 6 ago 3 replies      
It is interesting the extent to which leftists seem to believe they can control people's thinking by controlling their expression. As though I will cease to be racist if you don't let me post racist comments on your website. Doesn't it actually work the other way around? Changing people's thinking changes their behavior.
15
walrus01 7 ago 1 reply      
16
ebfe 2 ago 3 replies      
20
The Death of Flair collectorsweekly.com
49 points by samclemens  6 ago   37 comments top 11
1
rdtsc 4 ago 5 replies      
Establishments want to project an image of class. It used to be class was associated with flair. The more intricate and multi-colored flower patterns you had, the more wealthy you were. The more gold foil and ornate columns the better.

Then at some point tables have flipped (furniture pun intended) and mid-century modern, minimalist design became a sign of wealth. Which, funny enough had started with "let's make things functional and simple", stuff regular folk can use. So it got inverted a bit, the poor people like kitsch and flair, but the rich to differentiate themselves, end up with blank white walls and dining room furniture made from unfinished birch.

This in part accounts for why IKEA is so popular today. Now everyone can look like they live in Palm Springs, CA, but it is also cheap.

> The biggest trend right now is industrial design, which creates the feeling of being in a warehouse or unfinished buildingand that requires hunting down turn-of-the-century factory

At some point someone decided that unfinished walls, exposed wiring and air conditioning pipes in the ceiling means "youthful" and "cool". Probably because those warehouse-like places in abandoned industrial parts of town were places artists would congregate, sometimes to have shows or performances.

Wonder if people will get tired of that eventually, and it will become the epitome of what office open spaces are with associated implications: hard to focus, noisy, ugly decor, loud. At some point we made fun of cubicles, and now we'll make fun of industrial-looking open spaces.

2
simulate 3 ago 2 replies      
During the 2008 financial crisis, I got a great deal on some lovely and interesting commercial rental space for my 20 person software and consulting company in the financial district of San Francisco. It was an old bank building with lots of marble in the entrance and a nice view of the Transamerica building.

The developers we hired from outside of San Francisco did not like the space because a commercial bank building did not match their expectations of what a Bay Area tech company should look like. After our lease was up, I let the developers decide what space we would move to. We ended up in a minimalist SOMA warehouse with unfinished walls and ceiling and sealed concrete floors.

3
GuiA 3 ago 1 reply      
The old style is kitschy, but at least it's coherent.

The picture showing off the prototype location is just terrrible though - it succeeds in mimicking the modern minimalistic aesthetic, but the result falls completely flat. Weird colors, mismatched chairs and tables, it's just a clutter of furniture... ugh. The booths, propped up menus, and haphazardly placed pillars are all out of place here.

Some European McDonald's look better than that. I wonder how much they paid for this concept, because a group of interior design senior students could do better in a month.

4
sizzzzlerz 4 ago 5 replies      
Office Space came out in 1999. Fridays started removing the junk from their walls in 2005 followed by Ruby Tuesday in 2007 because they were supposedly embarrassed with the depiction of restaurants like theirs in a 6- or 8-year old movie? Not a real strong temporal correlation there.
5
RichardCA 2 ago 1 reply      
Thanks, I can't tell you what a breath of fresh air it is to read such a well-written long-form article, free from pop-ups, requests to sign up with my email address for updates, or getting scolded for using Adblock. This made my day.
6
coredog64 4 ago 1 reply      
I work with a restaurant franchisee, and if you ever want to generate a long and creative stream of expletives, ask him about corporate mandates to remodel. I expect this type of remodelling will be the end of a bunch of marginally profitable TGIF locations.
7
Animats 4 ago 1 reply      
Summary: Chain restaurants drop the cluttered old junk look. Fear in the collectables market as the chains sell off all that junk.
8
jccalhoun 4 ago 0 replies      
Whoever wrote that headline should be ashamed. The article is basically really a history of TGIFridays and what happens to the antiques is basically only a paragraph or two.

If you want that, fine. I was there to find out what happened to the antiques and they don't even give a specific answer:

As old Fridays closed or remodeled, what happened to all the unwanted antiques? "The woman who was in charge of purchasing had to figure out what to do with everything"

9
bigtunacan 3 ago 0 replies      
Now Friday's looks just like the inside of a Perkins or IHOP... I don't see how this is more appealing to millennials.
10
mc32 4 ago 0 replies      
Both pictures look good but present a different atmosphere.

I think the main issue with restaurant dcor is that they allow the furniture etc to become apparently old and creaky. It becomes obvious someone is skimping on maintenance. So, give that Corpus Christi location ten years without proper maintenance and it too will look like a has been location.

11
agentgt 4 ago 2 replies      
It reminds of of Seinfeld:

 PETERMAN: Morty. My stories are what sell these clothes. MORTY: Cheap fabric, and dim lighting. That's how you move merchandise.
Now the problem is TGIF will no longer have dim lighting (because apparently modern is bright lighting). What a shame.

21
Typelevel Scala github.com
53 points by milessabin  8 ago   27 comments top 4
1
atemerev 5 ago 6 replies      
I am not happy about it. Typelevel projects are just porting the style familiar to Haskell programmers to Scala, and a full fork to accomodate this style seems to be an overkill.

I know, many people are happy to go full throttle on Cats/Scalaz/whatever, but there's already Haskell for that. Official Scala documentation never even mentions the word "monad" (not even once!), and I think this is a good thing.

2
noelwelsh 6 ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic. It's already fixing many of the issues I run into in my day-to-day Scala programming. I hope it serves as a good test-bed for features to make their way into the "official" compiler.
3
srparish 4 ago 1 reply      
Are future versions of cats going to require the typelevel scala?
4
partycoder 3 ago 1 reply      
Well, it's not the first time people try to steer Scala to a different direction. Paul Phillips for instance, after many complaints on the direction the language was going, forked Scala (but now his fork is largely abandoned). https://github.com/paulp/policy
22
Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood (2009) nybooks.com
52 points by taylorbuley  7 ago   26 comments top 6
1
slv77 5 ago 0 replies      
When my grandfather was a child (age 11) he took his 10 year old brother to the state fair by train a distance of about 40 miles. They spent their remaining funds on ice cream and then hitchhiked back home.

The trains were gone by the time my father was a child and he wandered as far as a bike could take him and back in a day. He would play at Army Dumps that dotted the landscape in the 50's.

When I was a kid the freeways and major thoroughfares created islands that couldn't be crossed by a kid on a bike. The farmland and riparian areas around creeks created walking corridors and I would spend time watching tadpoles and building forts.

For my kids the farmland was developed and the creeks tightly fenced off by an interlocking thicket of HOAs. They wandered virtual worlds.

2
macandcheese 5 ago 2 replies      
An even more relevant and striking article 7 years later. I truly worry for the kind of world my children may grow up in, filled with manufactured fears and helicopter parents buzzing about trying to prevent the world from getting in.

At 25, I grew up in one of the last unadulterated times to be young in our history. No cell phone, not much supervision, just a couple of friends and a forest that felt the size of the world. I wonder how long until true childhood adventure is lost for good - marginalized to after-school curriculums and playdates planned on "Tinder for Tots".

Go outside, get cuts and scrapes, and you'll turn out all the stronger and more knowledgable from it.

3
RcouF1uZ4gsC 3 ago 1 reply      
There has been a lot of commentary about us being more paranoid about children's safety.

I think there are couple of factors that are responsible for this.

1) Couples in general have fewer children than we had in the past. If you have 1 child - a loss leaves you completely childless. If you have 5 children - a loss leaves with with 4 children.

2) There has been a remarkable drop in childhood disease mortality. In the past, when it was very likely that one or more of your children would die with a childhood disease, the 1 in a million chance of abduction is not that big of a deal. Now, we generally don't expect any of our children to die of infection or disease in childhood, and so the chance of abduction (while still the same or smaller than before) becomes comparatively larger.

4
panglott 4 ago 2 replies      
The essential question at the end, for parents caught in the bind: "Even if I do send them out, will there be anyone to play with?"

Free-range children are just rare these days.

5
sauldcosta 4 ago 1 reply      
At 24, kids are a long way off for me. But when they do come to pass, my hope is that I can give them a childhood like the one I had: full of rocks, sticks, mud, and band-aids. Thank you for the reminder of how important that is to strive for.
6
carsongross 5 ago 2 replies      
It's also worth mentioning the unmentionable[1]: the authors childhood was in a much more culturally homogenous environment.

[1] https://books.google.com/books/about/E_Pluribus_Unum.html?id...

23
How to allocate memory sdf1.org
138 points by ksherlock  12 ago   36 comments top 5
1
obi1kenobi 11 ago 6 replies      
If you'd like to learn more, here's an MIT research paper on fast memory allocation that has some really clever ideas:http://supertech.csail.mit.edu/papers/Kuszmaul15.pdf

Abstract:

SuperMalloc is an implementation of malloc(3) originallydesigned for X86 Hardware Transactional Memory(HTM). It turns out that the same design decisions also makeit fast even without HTM. For the malloc-test benchmark,which is one of the most difficult workloads for an allocator,with one thread SuperMalloc is about 2.1 times faster thanthe best of DLmalloc, JEmalloc, Hoard, and TBBmalloc;with 8 threads and HTM, SuperMalloc is 2.75 times faster;and on 32 threads without HTM SuperMalloc is 3.4 timesfaster. SuperMalloc generally compares favorably with theother allocators on speed, scalability, speed variance, memoryfootprint, and code size.

SuperMalloc achieves these performance advantages usingless than half as much code as the alternatives. SuperMallocexploits the fact that although physical memory isalways precious, virtual address space on a 64-bit machineis relatively cheap. It allocates 2 MiB chunks which containobjects all the same size. To translate chunk numbersto chunk metadata, SuperMalloc uses a simple array (mostof which is uncommitted to physical memory). SuperMalloctakes care to avoid associativity conflicts in the cache:most of the size classes are a prime number of cache lines,and nonaligned huge accesses are randomly aligned within apage. Objects are allocated from the fullest non-full page inthe appropriate size class. For each size class, SuperMallocemploys a 10-object per-thread cache, a per-CPU cache thatholds about a level-2-cache worth of objects per size class,and a global cache that is organized to allow the movementof many objects between a per-CPU cache and the globalcache using O(1) instructions. SuperMalloc prefetches everythingit can before starting a critical section, which makes the critical sections run fast, and for HTM improves the oddsthat the transaction will commit.

2
colanderman 7 ago 0 replies      
Not to be a downer, but this is poor and outdated C programming style.

Don't use sbrk(2) unless you're completely reimplementing the standard library.

Don't use alloca(3) unless you want weird headaches. Just use dynamically-sized arrays, which have been present in C for nearly two decades. They are block-scoped and easier to reason about.

None of the magic numbers are explained. `(p->si_addr + (16LL<<22)) & ~4095`, where do those come from? I'm guessing 4095 is the page size less one, but DON'T hardcode that!

Don't assign to lvalues in conditionals! (e.g. `while(j<31 && !(h=free_table[j]))`) It's hard to read and bug-prone.

Don't use `&h[1]` to refer to the space after a structure. I'm pretty sure that's undefined behavior, and it often gives the wrong alignment for whatever you want to put after h. Rather, add a final element to the structure of flexible array type (say `int data[]` if you're storing ints after the structure). That is guaranteed to have the semantics you're looking for.

Here's my advice:

1) Just use malloc(3). It's already fast and tuned to many allocation scenarios (including all four in this article!), and your application will continue to reap whatever performance improvements its maintainers make. Use aligned_alloc(3) if you need pages.

2) When working in the embedded world, it's often preferable to preallocate pools as large as your app will ever need for each kind of object you have collections of, and pin them to RAM (not necessarily for performance, but so you know you have the space). If you do so, you can reference the objects by index rather than pointer. It's much faster and more space-efficient, especially on 64-bit architectures.

3) Don't be afraid to realloc(3) to grow arrays. It incurs no asymptotic penalty.

4) Pay attention to data layout, to make sure that commonly-accessed stuff is not interspersed with rarely-accessed stuff. E.g. separate indexes from data where possible, if you tend to traverse the index rather than the data.

(Caveat: all my comments above apply to glibc. YMWV on other systems.)

3
mallaco 9 ago 2 replies      
> One major limitation of malloc (and even the best implementations like jemalloc and dlmalloc) is that they try to use a single allocator for each data structure. This is a mistake: A huge performance gain can be had by using a separate allocator for each of your data structures or rather, for each of your data usage patterns.

I stopped reading the article at this point. This statement has been disproven repeatedly over the years with Hoard and jemalloc. It is counter-intuitive but the data backs it up.

Custom per-data-structure allocators can fragment the global memory arena and cause more CPU cache misses as result of the extra code involved. The latest/greatest malloc/free implementations use a myriad of optimizations to achieve speed improvements that a custom allocator implementation would rarely use.

It's not an accident that jemalloc is so widely used in major applications - it works extremely well.

https://github.com/jemalloc/jemalloc/wiki/History

https://github.com/jemalloc/jemalloc/wiki/Adoption

4
FroshKiller 8 ago 0 replies      
I don't mean to be spammy about this, but I feel like I should repeat it. If you like this kind of content, consider joining the SDF. It's a free public access computing community with lots of artists, hackers, and grognards of all stripes. Your support is appreciated: https://sdf.org/
5
_RPM 7 ago 0 replies      
sizeof returns size_t, not sure why he's using `long long`, but to be precise it isn't a function, so it doesn't "return" anything. I guess it "yields" size_t.
24
Real Estate Strikes Out on Its Own in the Stock Indexes nytimes.com
39 points by chollida1  7 ago   21 comments top 4
1
baccredited 6 ago 0 replies      
FYI - You can already buy this sector with the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
2
haney 7 ago 1 reply      
> Seeing real estate as a stand-alone sector in an index could also drive more money to REITs.

I'm going to be very interested to see how this reclassification impacts the price of REITs. I'd imagine that capital inflows are going to cause a spike in prices.

3
chollida1 7 ago 3 replies      
In a world where so many people do passive ETF index based investing this has the ability to move markets.

With Reits becoming their own asset class, suddenly a lot of money is going to be funneled int this space, mostly without investors even knowing about it.

And of course since Reits will suddenly pull in more money, there are other area's of the market that will have that money pulled from them.

I think the article mentions it, but Reits tend to be counter cyclical to Finance, an area that is a large part of the broad market, as low interest rates help real estate while high interest rates help banks. So people have been watching financial ETF's as one area that may be hit by this change.

Lot's of funds have spent the past 6 months positioning themselves to try and gain from this. Fortunately for most people, this won't be a one time event like an ETF re balancing but it will happen gradually.

4
oxryly1 5 ago 3 replies      
"X Strikes Out ..." is a terrible headline format, since "strikes out" means either to soundly fail or to optimistically begin a venture. Boo.
25
Why cities keep growing, corporations and people die, and life gets faster edge.org
98 points by triplesec  7 ago   33 comments top 13
1
et-al 4 ago 1 reply      
> The picture emerges. Companies are more like organisms. They grow and asymptote. Cities are open ended.

Geoffrey West's point about growth doesn't seem to mention the competition for resources. That's one of the reasons why corporations and organisms slow down. Companies evolve to gain market share, but so are their competitors. In addition, we have anti-trust laws that do limit these companies. And what is his definition of a corporation? Where do holding companies and conglomerates fit into this model?

With regards to cities, they also deal with constrained resources, both financial and natural. At some point, the megalopolis of LA won't be able get enough water or power to it. We haven't felt it yet due to engineering and the Water Wars, but I question whether sprawl of that scale is sustainable.

And its easy to make this assumption of cities with unlimited growth if you happen to live in a thriving one, but let's not forget White Flight and dystopias of the 80s. Cities grow because people need/want to live in them, so they can easily die when they become inhospitable. As San Francisco becomes more like Manhattan, would people want to stay?

2
scrumper 5 ago 1 reply      
This was interesting. I'm glad someone is applying some rigorous thought to an observation many of us have made, namely that organizations (broadly defined, civilizations to companies to ideas) appear to have similar lifecycles to organisms.

I think there's a lot of gold to be mined in the seams between disciplines.

3
macandcheese 5 ago 0 replies      
Brings to mind Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place and their idea of the "Growth Machine", from my public policy and planning classes in college:

https://books.google.com/books?id=XtIMclQwMY4C&printsec=fron...

https://www.amazon.com/Urban-Fortunes-Political-Economy-Plac...

Would recommend to anyone remotely interested in the growth, creation, and destruction of cities.

4
tmptmp 54 ago 0 replies      
Let's not forget: Mohenjo-Daro [1]

I wonder, do we call it a city that kept growing?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohenjo-Daro

5
makmanalp 4 ago 0 replies      
Those looking for meatier content should check this out:

http://www.santafe.edu/research/cities-scaling-and-sustainab...

Also look at the "Key Papers" section.

6
Etheryte 5 ago 0 replies      
While the read started off in a very interesting manner, it got too general for my taste quite quickly. You can only brush away so many details before I start to question where your facts are coming from.
7
kurthr 5 ago 0 replies      
I wish there was more content here than a few mentions of different scaling laws. It's interesting that cities and organisms have similar infrastructure scaling, while corporations and cities are different. However, I think there are some real outliers... SiliValley is an outlier as low density, high growth, high invention. If you asked me why, I'd say the tech focus: Moore's Law, Nielsons's Law, and Social Networks.

In particular, what I found missing and he doesn't talk about is the Internet and what it means for the effective distance between, people, companies, employees, etc. Because that is overlaid on our physical structure (like phone lines for pizza delivery), it will change the power laws. Depending on the uptake, it may change them more locally than the global average.

8
mpolichette 5 ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to find larger underlying principles of these systems.

I wonder if anything could be said about leadership... I don't want to delve too deep into politics, but there are many people who think running a country/city is like running a company and that electing a leader with business skills would be a boon for the country. However if these systems have fundamentally different underlying behaviors, maybe it wouldn't necessarily work the same...

9
rer 5 ago 1 reply      
From the article:

One of the bad things about open-ended growth, growing faster than exponentially, is that open-ended growth eventually leads to collapse.

How do you avoid that? Well, how have we avoided it? We've avoided it by innovation.

There's a theorem you can prove that says that if you demand continuous open growth, you have to have continuous cycles of innovation.

Theory says, sure, you can get out of collapse by innovating, but you have to innovate faster and faster.

The question then is, is this sustainable?

10
orf 5 ago 3 replies      
So why is GM still dominating the market?
11
astazangasta 3 ago 1 reply      
Standard physicist bullshit, wandering over to "fix" another field. "Oh, we can just treat any complex system as a parametric model. These idiots don't know how to do parametric modeling like we do!" Noodles around a bit, encounters insurmountable complexity of system, grows bored and wanders off...

At the end of the day this is someone forcing his bad analogy down our throats while wearing a cloak made of mathematics.

12
thomasmarriott 3 ago 0 replies      
Scale is underrated.
13
wcummings 6 ago 3 replies      
Why should I care what a physicist reckons about cities?
27
Mailbox.org Privacy made in Germany mailbox.org
73 points by galaktor  7 ago   68 comments top 16
1
kyledrake 5 ago 3 replies      
"Privacy oriented" is something I strive for in my own dealings, but centralized service privacy is and always will be lip service. What does "privacy oriented" actually mean? It must be very clearly defined.

Let me give an example. A government entity sends a subpoena to receive all data on an email account. If the service provider is legally mandated to respond with data or face prosecution, what happens? In this case, Google might actually be better for "privacy" because they at least have the economic capability to push back against Doe subpoenas. A small provider won't have the resources to defend against a frivolous subpoena and will hand over everything.

Something to keep in mind when considering this stuff. I really think the only way to at least control the option to defend your privacy is to run your own servers.

2
sternenseemann 6 ago 5 replies      
I really hate the kind of Privacy made in Germany way of marketing, especially since I am german.

Mailbox.org seems decent from what I've heard but products advertised like this are mostly sheer bullshit. I don't know why transferring a quality label from (oldschool) engineering products to IT even works.

3
0XAFFE 6 ago 0 replies      
A month or two ago I sent them an encrypted (gpg) mail to their support address but they replied in plaintext and even citing my original request in full.
4
paste0x78 6 ago 2 replies      
Don't France and Germany want to put backdoors in encryption? > http://www.wsj.com/articles/france-germany-push-for-access-t...
5
terraforming 4 ago 5 replies      
After the fastmail fiasco (they increased prices, and now old packages no longer have access to the newest features), I started looking for an alternative and came across mailbox.org... I've been trialing for a few days and they do seem interesting.

I just wish we could use an unlimited number of aliases in our own domain, it doesn't make sense to me otherwise..

They do have some interesting features, such as mailbox encryption as well as calendar/contacts encryption. It's client-side encryption, though it's in the browser.

An alternative to mailbox.org is mailfence.com.

6
HugoDaniel 4 ago 0 replies      
E-Mail privacy in a 14 eyes country ?
7
binaryanomaly 3 ago 0 replies      
I'm a mailbox.org user since a few months.

I like the product it supports open standards, imap, caldav, carddav.If you want you can lock down pretty much everything with pgp.Data is in Germany/EU and the pricing is really fair stars with 1/month with 3 mail aliases and 2 GB.

The guys behind it seem to be IT people with Linux/open source mindset and good ethics as far as I can judge.

I feel very comfortable with mailbox.org

8
mxuribe 6 ago 1 reply      
I think we need more of these types of companies, or at least more competitors in this realm. I've also heard so many good things about FastMail too. We need more mail providers who are: * trustworthy * secure * reasonably priced * etc.

If running my own mail server was not so laborious and headache-inducing, i'd love to move away from google for apps/domain. I have no functional complaints of google; i am happy with their performance without a doubt. Its just that, as every day passes, I keep getting creeped out; its the "ick" factor. And for me it started well before the Snowden disclosures.

9
hiq 6 ago 4 replies      
How is it any better than ProtonMail? [0]

[0]: https://protonmail.com

10
hypercluster 3 ago 0 replies      
I've been using mailbox for about two years and am now switching to fastmail. The UI is vastly better and works great on mobile. It's also the base for the mobile app which mailbox doesn't have (well, the OX one). And that's the other thing. Having a dedicated app with search integrated and push notifications on iOS is awesome.
11
mk89 5 ago 5 replies      
Some weeks ago, I was looking (again) for a privacy-oriented alternative email provider. I stumbled upon mailbox.org and some others (like protonmail, and startmail).

I decided to go for mailbox because 1) I know that Germany at the moment has still one of the best regulations about data protection (although I fear this is going to change in the next few years), 2) it provides some features others don't (like protonmail, and startmail). It was worth a try at least, so I decided to use the 30 days trial account.

It looked really good and promising: nice UI, clear documentation, cool domain name if you don't want to use your own. It provides also Office-like, calendar, and storage features. Therefore, I made up my mind, and I was determined to become one of their paying customers. So, I put 12 EUR(1 EUR/month) on the account. A few hours later I found out[0] that mailbox.org is offered by a politically motivated provider called JPBerlin [1]. I sent the cancellation request, and so far my account is still on hold - I could revoke the cancellation, though. An email received after the cancellation request says "please allow us a couple of days". Sure. It's just they took 1 EUR from the account, although I had the cancellation request sent like 10 days before the end of the trial period.

In the end, I would like to say that as a service it looks promising. However, until they stop with their political involvement, I think, not many people will use it.

[0]: http://www.emaildiscussions.com/showthread.php?t=68527[1]: https://www.jpberlin.de

12
galaktor 6 ago 0 replies      
Full disclosure: I'm a new user of mailbox.org, but not otherwise affiliated.

I find its approach to useable security features interesting, especially considering the entry-level price points.

edit: typo

13
msh 5 ago 1 reply      
I have been using them for about a year and have been quite satisfied. They also support using your own domain at no extra cost.
14
civil534 1 ago 0 replies      
People in this discussion are mentioning subpoenas and compliance with same. Are we talking civil as well or just criminal? If I'm sued in Nevada civil court for defamation or something does a German company give a shit?
15
Bino 3 ago 2 replies      
If so, and german data protection laws apply, why isn't the TLD .de?
16
nullcipher 3 ago 0 replies      
I am not sure if having my data in mailbox.org is any more private that Microsoft or Google. My gmail doesn't even show any ads.
28
Spreadsheet technology (2011) [pdf] itu.dk
21 points by Tomte  5 ago   1 comment top
1
Someone 2 ago 0 replies      
Source code (C#) at http://www.itu.dk/people/sestoft/corecalc/. Doesn't look actively maintained ("A dump of the Funcalc 0.14.0.0 source code as of 27 September 2014, as a Visual Studio 2012 solution. Binaries and examples are in SDFCalc/CoreCalc/bin/Release/. You will need NET 4.5 or later to run Funcalc.exe. When I find the time, I will further clean up the source code, add more method documentation, and move the source to Github to facilitate sharing and branching.")
29
Causal Nets Cause Common Confounding gwern.net
39 points by colinprince  7 ago   4 comments top 3
1
nabla9 6 ago 1 reply      
This problem is called causal discovery.

Learning causality from observational data is hard, but there are statistical methods to help with that. Of course, you want to verify statistical findings with experiments, but first you want to find most likely causal relations from large number of correlations.

Causal direction between the two variables can sometimes be identified by observation because there is more information in the data than correlation coefficient and it can be asymmetrical.

Here is nice intro:

Causal discovery and inference: concepts and recent methodological advancesPeter Spirtes and Kun Zhanghttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4841209/

Nice paper and method:

Distinguishing Causes from Effects usingNonlinear Acyclic Causal Models https://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/ahyvarin/papers/Zhang09NIPSwork...

2
dj-wonk 4 ago 0 replies      
> Wed expect that the a priori odds are good, by the principle of indifference: After all, you can divvy up the possibilities as: 1) A causes B 2) B causes A 3) both A and B are caused by a C

> If its either #1 or #2, were good and weve found a causal relationship; its only outcome #3 which leaves us baffled & frustrated. If we were guessing at random, youd expect us to still be right at least 33% of the time. And we can draw on all sorts of knowledge to do better

Generally, I'm not a fan of argumentation or logic that references the principle of indifference. Sure, if you insist on making an assumption without any prior information, there is an argument for choosing P = 1 / N. But I don't think the article needs to make sure an assumption about the prior -- it does not seem to be essential to the article's point.

In statistics (and perhaps in life), it is often better to be honest about your ignorance.

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dharma1 2 ago 0 replies      
I was reading this today -somewhat related and quite interesting

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03580.pdf

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C++ IDEs a rant gamedev.net
12 points by douche  2 ago   29 comments top 10
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viraptor 44 ago 2 replies      
This article was interesting, showing a completely different world-view than the one I experience. Compiler from vc++6? That's ancient! Misses loads of fun C/C++ features (and I'm not even talking about the massive shift in new C++ versions). Sure, you can be productive even in c89, but why... These days I don't trust code which doesn't pass modern compiler's all-warnings run, and tools like clang-analyzer.

Author also has an interesting view of QT Creator development / doesn't seem to be familiar with OS projects. "Or perhaps the guy who wrote it (denis mingulov I think?) will improve it, but I think he developed it in 2010." - meanwhile 6 different people committed new code to the QT Creator in the last 24h.

There's a few more fun things to spot if you read carefully. But what I'm saying is: it's worth remembering developers work in very different groups / environments.

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necessity 26 ago 2 replies      
Why use an IDE, specially for C++? What's to gain from Emacs/Vim + Makefiles (or CMake)? I used Eclipse for a while several years ago when I didn't understand linking and it compiled and linked everything for me (same for VS under Windows). I did not understand how Qt worked when I started using it, but I could build semi working stuff with the Dreamweaver-like tools of Qt Creator. Eventually I learned how to use it and dropped Qt Creator. CodeBlocks is closer to Notepad++ than to an IDE for me. So... Why? But then again I don't understand why people use C++ in the first place, my only use for it was when working on projects built with it.
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rhodysurf 1 ago 2 replies      
Clion is decent, especially if you work with cmake. Kinda sucks you cant get the functionality as a plugin with IntelliJ.
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brian-armstrong 32 ago 0 replies      
If you really care about the process and how everything works, I don't see how you can beat vim/emacs + command-line. Ultimately text interfaces will always be easier to manage and give the lowest resource utilization
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jackmott 53 ago 1 reply      
Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 has some performance improvements and some big C++ compiler improvements.

You can also make it less visually 'noisy' with some of these settings:https://jackmott.github.io/programming/tools/editor/ide/visu...

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ausjke 33 ago 0 replies      
https://www.cevelop.com/ this one works well for me.
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curiousDog 22 ago 0 replies      
Source insight is pretty good although it's more an editor than IDE
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AdeptusAquinas 54 ago 4 replies      
I wonder if with the new ref improvements in C# 7.0, there will be more adoption of it for game development (even amongst these sort of C++ people, who think C# is 'tacked on' to VS, rather than it being the other way round).
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michaelvoz 1 ago 4 replies      
Xcode is an absolutely amazing C++ IDE! I wonder why the article did not mention it?
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atemerev 1 ago 0 replies      
There is also CLion an excellent C++ IDE from always brilliant JetBrains.
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