hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    19 Oct 2012 Best
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Conway's Game of Life, using floating point values instead of integers jwz.org
677 points by icey  7 days ago   96 comments top 22
jashkenas 7 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone have a JavaScript implementation of the paper? It looks like it would be really fun to play with in <canvas>.

Edit Quoth YouTube: "74 minutes on an nVidia GeForce GTX 460" ... maybe not so fun.

tim_hutton 7 days ago 1 reply      
Original post:


Technical details on the YouTube page:


(Two lots of source code available: Stephan's and mine)

Other discussions about this:

Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/compsci/comments/118svz/smoothlife_a...

Metafilter: http://www.metafilter.com/120749/Smoothlife

tisme 7 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating, totally mesmerizing video. That's reminiscent of something that you could be observing under a microscope.
mmagin 7 days ago 0 replies      
Possibly of similar interest - Ready, a program for exploring continuous valued cellular automata: http://code.google.com/p/reaction-diffusion/
pav3l 7 days ago 1 reply      
Aren't cellular automata in continuous space just PDE's? If so, what is the equation being integrated?

EDIT: found the paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1111.1567v2.pdf

nickknw 7 days ago 1 reply      
That's awesome! My project inspired by the Game of Life is quite a bit less ambitious (and still incomplete) - http://nickknowlson.com/projects/conways-revenge/

It lets multiple cell colonies fight against each other using a modified ruleset.

DanBC 7 days ago 1 reply      
Pinchyfingers submitted this link:

(http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4642628) which goes to a Youtube video of a game of life in a single line of APL. It's a really nice description of the code too. (It's a sale pitch for dynalog - but the best kind where they're just using the tool to do something neat and not pushing their URLs at you.)

jcampbell1 7 days ago 2 replies      
Watching this video makes me wonder if Wolfram's "New Kind of Science" is more worthy of study. There was so much controversy about the book and Wolfram's claims, that I didn't bother with it.
jcromartie 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this is as cool as it looks. I guess it's yet to be seen what the larger-scale behavior might be, but it looks like it's just a lot of the same gliders, orbits, and strands between them.
wissler 7 days ago 0 replies      
Now to try it with complex numbers and/or 3D coordinates.
uvdiv 7 days ago 3 replies      
HTML5 implementation in 3, 2...
tomrod 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the most beautiful things I think I've ever seen simulated. Kudos!
kasra 7 days ago 1 reply      
Have you googled "conway's game of life" recently?
jonny_eh 7 days ago 2 replies      
I need this as a screensaver, asap!
jrl 7 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like cells under the microscope. Very interesting stuff.
dexter313 7 days ago 4 replies      
Awesome, but the results/behaviour (in the video) don't seem very complex like the original Conway's game of life.
jmpeax 7 days ago 1 reply      
Is it Turing complete?
jes5199 7 days ago 0 replies      
how close are the rules running here to the standard rules of Conway's Life? I know some of those are supposed to be "gliders" - is it possible to port other shapes from Life into SmoothLife?
kriro 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic both intellectually and from an artistic point of view.

I'm not a fan of electronic music but the music that was picked for the video was perfect.

Pitarou 7 days ago 0 replies      
Someone's gonna package this up and sell it as a product, for sure! A 21st century lava lamp.
jolohaga 7 days ago 0 replies      
Wish the music were as interesting.
teamls 7 days ago 1 reply      
Hey guys, check out the Conway's Game of Life Code Garage project on LearnStreet: http://www.learnstreet.com/cg/simple/project/conways
How cork is made wineanorak.com
453 points by shawndumas  1 day ago   120 comments top 25
soci 16 hours ago 2 replies      
My family owns a small forest of these trees so I have some verified information about the cork trees.

We harvest the cork out of the trees every ten years but it's absolutely false that the owners of these trees make lots of money like someone here has said in another comment. We just get enough to keep the forest clean of underbrushes. This is a real truth.

Moreover, because his area is very dry in summer we suffer fires that burn the forests every decade or two. Fortunately the burnt cork still works as an insulator, it's black on the outside and therefore can only be used as insulators in buildings. Amazingly, because cork it's such a great insulator burned cork trees survive the fires and develop very easily. You've mostly lost the cork production though...

We had a great fire at the beginning of the past summer that could be even smelt from Barcelona (180Km away from this forest). I have a couple of interesting pictures of the cork trees and how they develop.

This is a picture taken right after the great fire:

Three months later all trees are developing again, however cork needs to be peeled. We actually lost three years of bark growth because the last harvest was three years ago:

Gravityloss 1 day ago 3 replies      
Cork is quite a superb material and can be used as the middle sandwich layer with carbon fiber. It's also used in space launchers as heat and noise insulator inside nose fairings. It also has ablative properties and resists flame propagation. It's lighter than most other woods, though not as light as Balsa.

So I think it's a bit of a shame that it's used for wine bottle corks and usually thrown away after use!

sergiotapia 1 day ago 3 replies      
I come to hacker news for the tech and programming articles, but this is just too interesting! :)

Thank you for sharing!

kahirsch 1 day ago 2 replies      
> The planks are boiled to soften them, and also to clean them.

Ah, so it's true about the cork soakers.

fghh45sdfhr3 1 day ago 5 replies      
Screw tops are better. Tighter, less oxygen, easier to deal with, and they don't ever rot. If you ever get a glass of wine that smells intensely rotten it could be because the cork has started rotting.
arturventura 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unknown also to most of you Cork is such a lucrative buisness that cork removing is one of the most lucrative jobs you can find in rural areas. During the harvesting seasion, many removers can make money for the entire year in a month or two. however the job is excruciating because of dust and weight. Trees owners also make lots of money.
arturventura 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although off topic I have to share this. I actually came from coruche, that is a small village in the middle of Portugal and is so cool to find an article in hacker news about it! :D
jackalope 23 hours ago 2 replies      
These corks will be really expensive: over a Euro each.

I'm surprised that with top-quality corks being so valuable, there isn't an incentive to recycle the material. I also wonder if there is a collector's market for vintage corks.

kokey 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've driven around the Los Alcornocales Natural Park in Spain, it's one of the largest cork forests in the world. The road on the edge winds a lot and I had to stop along the way from feeling queasy from all the bends which is unusual for me. I've also driven around Southern Portugal and from time to time would see a couple of trees with bark looking like a harvested cork tree. It must be fairly intensive to use these. I've noticed most Spanish and Portuguese wine bottles have real cork, I suspect most wineries have a specific supply of cork in the area.
jt2190 21 hours ago 0 replies      
A few things to know:

  * The cork bark grows back every five to seven years.
* The initial bark strippings aren't of a high-enough
quality for bottles. IIRC, it takes four or five harvests
to get to that point.

lotsofpulp 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's also surprisingly difficult to harvest the cork bark from trees:


pav3l 1 day ago 3 replies      
I thought that the growing amount of twist-off's was due to cork tree going extinct, but it appears that the production of corks doesn't harm the tree. Any thoughts?
phatbyte 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In Portugal there's this a company that creates shoes using cork as well http://www.rutz.pt/
jelder 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Related documentary on how corks actually get inserted into wine bottles:


celalo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I think of, how in the world, somebody come up with the idea of harvesting bark of trees to cork them wine bottles.

I guess we are more or less poisoned day by day seeing yet another location-based-social-video-sharing-mobile-analytics -app.

gnosis 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else find it depressing that humans are still used for these jobs?
Cd00d 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I was doing some travelling back in 2002 or so, and spent several weeks in Naples. I was shocked at how inexpensive wine was, at around 2 euro per bottle (at the time, the euro and the dollar were very close). Then I learned that the cork cost about 1 euro to produce (supported by this article), which I found even more shocking.

Why don't more old world wineries go to the twist top?

yalogin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Intersting. Wonder why they aren't made from compressed wood pulp. In fact I assumed that is the case.
lewisflude 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing stuff! I've always wondered how corks are made.
francov88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really cool article - always loved that show "How It's Made" but I don't think they covered this....
camiller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Neat. As a tech geek that is also a home brewer/home winemaker I find it very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
jclem 1 day ago 1 reply      
Couldn't help but read this in the "How Its Made" voice.
cupcake_death 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"Got buck naked bit*hes counting corks", (Was what I was expecting after the 1 Euro + images).
induscreep 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't this be on reddit? Is HN the new reddit?
smlacy 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is this on HN? Flagging.
Show HN: We open sourced Lockitron's crowdfunding app selfstarter.us
448 points by ccamrobertson  7 days ago   74 comments top 31
noonespecial 7 days ago 3 replies      
Outstanding. I was going to try to contact you privately and beg for advice on how to run something similar.

My hats so far off to you guys, it's on the floor in front of me. Can't wait for my Lockitron to arrive.

andrewljohnson 7 days ago 2 replies      
A couple months ago, I had added "kickstarter widget for start-up websites" to my list of ideas that I never do, but think are cool. This is a really wonderful open-source contribution, so hat tip!

We also ordered a Lockitron for our office already. We have keypads on our house, and we love them, and imagine Lokcitron will be even more love.

ryanlchan 7 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious to see what happens to Amazon FPS if these product based crowd-funding apps take off. We may be in for a bit of a Paypal style crackdown debacle.

I actually spoke with the Kickstarter guys back in 2009 when I was considering branching off their idea specifically for product based ideas, thinking that it could be "Amazon for stuff that doesn't exist yet".

We all agreed that the idea should happen, but Kickstarter didn't want to do it for two reasons:

1. Their goal is to help artists succeed. They're artists themselves, and the guy who started the site's been working on this for years. It means a lot to them to help the little one-man filmmakers.

2. The risk in having products that aren't delivered on time, in the same form as envisioned, or aren't even completed was just too high. They were terrified of having a backlash of backers who thought they were purchasing a product when in fact the transaction is structured as a donation.

The second one is what makes me worried. What happens if, worst case scenario, Pebble goes bankrupt without producing any items? Who takes the hit there? Is it Amazon, Pebble, Kickstarter, or the backers? It isn't clear yet because we haven't had a high-profile failure yet. But it's only a matter of time.

rkaplan 7 days ago 6 replies      
This could start a trend towards moving away from Kickstarter. So far, the more famous projects that have pursued funding from a similar model without using Kickstarter itself (e.g. Lockitron, App.net) have done so out of necessity " they weren't allowed to use the Kickstarter platform.

But if people keep succeeding without being hosted on Kickstarter itself, that 5% fee might look more and more unattractive to people starting large projects. How much value does being on Kickstarter really add to your project, and how much is simply due to the brilliant fundraising model?

staunch 7 days ago 3 replies      
Looks like Kickstarter is going to end up being known as the company that (kick)started a phenomenon but didn't own it. They should have become a marketplace for projects, not an arbiter of what gets a shot and what doesn't.
daenz 7 days ago 1 reply      
Is the "Fork Now" button supposed to go to a Lockitron preorder page?

EDIT>> Apparently only the second fork button does this...the one I clicked after reading the page content :)

mmahemoff 7 days ago 0 replies      
Something funny happened when I tried to share this on G+ (screenshot - http://goo.gl/VK404). Suggest the creators remove that hidden Latin div.
freeslave 7 days ago 0 replies      
i'm guessing this is in response to this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4625371 in other words, OP delivered!
mttsn 7 days ago 3 replies      
Spent the better part of an afternoon cloning the lockitron site a few days ago... you guys are fucking awesome. And I'm impatient. I'll share a python version when I have a chance to clean it up.

Thanks for being awesome.

auston 7 days ago 2 replies      
Damn it! You just ruined my startup weekend idea!
gary4gar 7 days ago 1 reply      
Number of tests(Unit,Integration etc) is 0!
loceng 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for releasing this. The design works well for single-product offerings, though would need to be modified for pledge-reward setups.. not too hard to do though.
johnx123-up 7 days ago 0 replies      
Can anybody share how it is different from other crowdfunding scripts like Agriya?
erohead 7 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome work, guys! Thanks for sharing. I wish you went with my suggestion for bootstarter.js...
mck- 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome -- have the Kickstarter guys contacted you? I wonder how they take this, and what this means for the entire crowd-funding space for that matter, especially the smaller ones that don't have the network effects of Kickstarter.

I just did a project on Fundrazr last month. If only this was available then.. kudos!

dabit 7 days ago 0 replies      
Was working on something similar when this came out. https://github.com/crowdint/fundraiser

Great job by the Lockitron team.

obilgic 7 days ago 0 replies      
I am a hardcore rails guy, but for some reason using sinatra for this app, would be a better option.
viraj_shah 7 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you for this. This will be so helpful for my and many other startups. Interesting to note that Kickstarter has an Amazon FlexPay gem on their github.
outdooricon 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is really nice! If a project got accepted into Kickstarter, would it be better to stay with them or use this instead? The benefit of exposure to a large community as a Kickstarter project is pitted against the extra 5% that they take... How do you turn exposure into a monetary value for comparison? Pricing of ads maybe?
lelf 7 days ago 0 replies      
It looks this way without flash installed " http://imgur.com/zcPSG
ommunist 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic of you, guys to share an app like that. Most hardware makers cant make self-serving software like that, and you rock! I am sending the link to all of my engineering friends.
31reasons 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is how it should be. Most of the kickstarter projects get funded after doing lot of promotions and leveraging founders's own social network. Kickstarter taking % cut of the fund is completely unnecessary in many situations. They do provide some kind of project validation which is important in high-risk projects.
helen842000 7 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent! I was just about to look your site up again and see how you put your own crowdfunding project together.

This is perfect! Thanks!

francov88 7 days ago 0 replies      
Best idea ever! Great job to all involved - wonder how Kickstarter is going to take this?
jkeesh 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for open sourcing this. We are probably going to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, and I am excited to check this out as an option.
Finbarr 7 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job guys! This is pretty awesome stuff.
rohamg 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done guys. Someone fucked with the wrong hackers.
xfernandox 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this with the community!
keytovlad 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome thanks for making this open source.
propercoil 7 days ago 0 replies      
i'm loving it
orange123 7 days ago 0 replies      
Really admire it!
keep up sharing
Is the use of “utf8="” preferable to “utf8=true”? stackexchange.com
437 points by tomse  1 day ago   80 comments top 9
ollysb 1 day ago 4 replies      
Sorry to be so meta, but what on earth was the point of extracting programmers.stackexchange.com from stackoverflow.com? Is this why so many questions get closed as being "off topic" on stackoverflow now? </rant>
jerf 1 day ago 2 replies      
So, of course, the opposite of that is utf8="✘", right?

Hmmm... there's something wrong with that idea, but I can't quite put my finger on it....

grey-area 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've often wondered if they could get rid of this entirely in rails by enclosing it in conditional comments, so that it is only included in forms sent by older IE:

<!--[if lt IE 8]><input name="utf8" type="hidden" value="&#x2713;" /><![endif]-->

Has anyone experimented with doing that?

IgorPartola 1 day ago 3 replies      
Under what case would IE use Latin 1 when there are UTF-8 characters that should be encoded? I seem to be missing the actual effect it's having.
jasonlingx 1 day ago 2 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think forms in Rails do this by default.
aviraldg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Best way to detect a Ruby on Rails app ;)
gweinberg 18 hours ago 1 reply      
If the point of the field is just to make ie work correctly, wouldn't it be more appropriate to leave utf8 out of the name and write something like "ie='"?
tlrobinson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Does IE not respect the "accept-charset" attribute on form elements?
bitwize 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ummmm, false. I'm going to go with false.
Hacker News Data Analysis rjmetrics.com
414 points by robertjmoore  2 days ago   73 comments top 34
edw519 2 days ago 6 replies      
#1 Lesson from all of this: Instead of talking about your product to your prospect, talk about something your prospect cares deeply about to your prospect.

I had no idea what you did and didn't really care until you used it in context of something I did care about: Hacker News. Now I know what you do, understand how it applies to me, and best of all, I'm starting to visualize how else I could use it.

We should all approach our prospects like you just did here. Nice job!

pg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Actually the reason his posts stopped making it to the frontpage is that the last 3 before this all set off the voting ring detector.

I don't know how accurate his other conclusions are, but it seems unlikely that new signups are down, considering the trend in traffic: http://www.archub.org/hntraffic-17oct12.png

jgrahamc 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you look at my submission history of my blog then I think it's clear that HN likes things that are original and/or well thought out. My weaker blog posts go nowhere, but ones that are detailed make it. So, if there's a formula for appearing on HN, it's write something original and/or deep.
fusiongyro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another possibility: people have tired of your formula. Andrey Karpov used to submit blog posts with the results of running his fancy commercial static analyzer on various open source code to Reddit. The first several got a lot of upvotes; a while later it became clear that it was mostly hocking a product. The more your blog comes to resemble an infomercial the less you can expect to be on the front page.
Alex3917 2 days ago 2 replies      
"If anyone out there suspected that the 'old guard' had given up on HN, this chart proves them wrong."

Of the people here since the first year, probably only 25% still participate regularly. Occasionally I'll stumble across some discussion from the early years in Google, and it's crazy how different the site was back then. There are still good comments now, but back then there were entire conversations that were good. I don't even bother to write the kind of comments that I used to, because they wouldn't work at all on the site as it is today.

duck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very useful analysis. After running Hacker Newsletter for the past 2+ years I have seen basically this. However, the analysis seems to miss looking at things on a smaller scale like the day and time you post it which has proven to be a big factor [1]. I know even on a weekly basis (which is what I do for the newsletter), it seems some weeks have an abundance of high quality articles compared to others.

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3251877

larsberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
My takeaway --- from the fact that Matt Might's domain is second only to pg's --- is that you should write up easy to understand lecture notes on deep PL-related topics.
tokenadult 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Interestingly, if you look at the number of upvotes cast each day, the trend is similar. For the past two years, the same number of stories have been competing for about the same number of votes each day." This statement, backed up by the analysis in the submitted blog post, is interesting. I visit the new page


as many times per day as I visit the front page, looking for good new submissions to upvote. The limit on the number of users who cast upvotes on new stories appears now to set a limit on the number of new stories that have been submitted in the last two years. As the blog author points out, if HN largely stays on topic, there are only so many new stories each day that fit HN's topic.

nanijoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Granted, it is natural to want people to hear what you have to say, but I did not think the reason for posting on HN was so you could try to make it to the front page. The blog post could have been titled "How I'm trying to get my submissions to the front page of HN".
willvarfar 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once worked out there were 100:1 visitors to voters for a link.

Most of the people I know who peruse HN regularly are not registered users. They are happy to let others do the commenting (which they read).


It was super-surprising to see my own blog getting an average of 55pts on HN; I hadn't wondered about that before.

mjn 2 days ago 0 replies      
The retention rate actually seems relatively low as an absolute percentage, though the way it plateaus is interesting. I did an analysis of the retention of the oldest Slashdot users (http://www.kmjn.org/notes/early_slashdot_users.html), and it was much higher: about 70% after 2 years, rather than 30%. Took about 10 years to drop to 30%. Granted, that's for the earliest users, so retention rates are probably (much?) lower among later signups.
asdf333 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fascinating. However, one must be careful about jumping to conclusions from analysis like this. I see a few items where the author that might have come to the wrong conclusion.

- New user growth. I don't think its b/c a 'saturation point' has been hit for the HN community as the article hypothesizes. There was a period in the last few years where there was an conscious choice by HN to restrict user growth in order to maintain a higher signal to noise ratio. Newbies are now marked with green and there is no register link on the homepage. for a while there wasn't a way for new users to sign up.

- The NYT more favored compared to the WSJ? most likely not due to the quality of the writing but b/c WSJ articles are not available to non-subscribers by default.

waterlesscloud 2 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect the NYT/WSJ gap is more a result of WSJ's much more restrictive paywall.
fecak 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do think that the day/time an article was posted and also who posted are fairly large contributors to being on the front page. I've written a few articles that have made the front page this year.

In at least two instances, I posted the article myself with no upvotes. Then another HN user reposted my articles a few days later (my blog is republished by a couple tech sites), and the same exact content makes the front page. Same article content, same title, just posted by someone else and linking to the mirrored site.

Good post Robert. If you're looking for help growing the RJM team, look me up.

narag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm understanding it wrong. But the data seems to be saying that HN has succeeded defeating the eternal september effect. That'd be big news!
dmansen 2 days ago 0 replies      
My interpretation of how this one shot right to the top: Hacker News loves posts about itself. :)

Nice analysis - the user engagement stats were very different from what I was expecting (I think I would have agreed with Jake before I saw the data).

Adrock 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish that he had included the stats for titles containing the words "Hacker News".
dfc 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I chose to categorize content by the mention of things like big companies (i.e., Amazon, Google), Hot Startups (i.e. Pinterest, Instagram), Sensationalism (i.e. Best, Worst, First), Programming Languages (everything I could think of), and Profanity (which was fun)."

What happens to stories that use sensationalism and profanity? Or sensationalism and a new startup?

deltaqueue 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the basis for evaluating the quality of a community lies in the discourse and communication. Submissions are a part of that, but the discussion that follows (i.e. comments) is the most important indicator of change. Personally, there seems to be an influx of reddit-style comments (little substance, meme-oriented) this year, but that could be a general evolution of the English language given the heavy influence of the internet.

That said, evaluating change in the number of comments along with comment upvotes vs. sentiment analysis seems like the only logical way to demonstrate any sort of quality meta analysis. I'm not really versed in qualitative research, so here's my ASK HN: is this even possible?

sputknick 2 days ago 2 replies      
you say the two possible reasons you are not making the front page are: your content is weak, or people's taste's have changed. The fact that the number of submissions has not changed suggest to me a third and more plausible option: The quality of submissions, and therefore the competition for the "front page" has increased.
Camillo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a heads-up: your site works really poorly on mobile. The text column is too narrow, while the charts are too big, and their interactive features make it hard to scroll the page. They also don't work right (touching a chart seems to mess up the y axis labels), but the impediment to scrolling is more annoying. I only ever read HN on my iPhone, so this is an upvote you're not getting simply because of technical problems with your website.
kunle 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Also interesting is the enormous gap between the New York Times, whose content tops this list, and the Wall Street Journal, whose content performs among the worst.

I think this might actually be more related to the WSJ paywall. If you dont have a subscription, you can't view many WSJ articles, whereas the reverse is true for the NYT.

On an unrelated note - I wonder how the category of HN related posts do, relative to other (basically same analysis of the "Pinterest" category). Judging by the success of this post, I suspect HN + Data are a good mix. Are posts about "Data" just as successful?

rickdale 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think what you are doing is challenging in the sense that you have made your goal to write a post that will go viral on HN. Remember, every story here, pretty much, is content from somewhere else. You are right that you aren't hitting your audience, but your audience isn't HN, its those reading your blog. If someone in your audience is also on HN then maybe they will find it relevant to post.

Writing to be a big story on HN is like betting a number in roulette. You had beginners luck at first, now its time to find a new game...

capkutay 1 day ago 1 reply      
These are excellent visualizations, I'm glad they put this together, showed it to the hn community while also demonstrating one of rj metrics use cases.

A note about the product. How do they differentiate themselves from other DW analytics companies like datameer? (http://www.datameer.com/) I can tell they specialize in e-commerce, but couldn't any DW analytics service give you that AND more?

rickyconnolly 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've noticed that some submissions drop off the news feed like a rock, while other submissions of the same story posted just a few hours later can gather considerable discussion, with submission time being the only apparent variable.

This leads me to speculate that there may be an optimal submission time or times throughout the day. I'd like to see analytics that look at the variation in the average number of comments/upvotes for submissions (or some other metric) to see if this theory holds any weight.

pi18n 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks cool and now I want to mess around with it. I wish there was a torrent for that dataset.
javajosh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to shake my head in admiration. What a powerful story - to start with not one failure, but three failures, and then to use the same tool you were trying to hock in those failures to figure out why you failed...and then, remarkably (at least for me) succeed wildly.

At least in this case, your tool provided some very valuable insight.

nwienert 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who'se mildly colorblind, a few of your charts were near impossible to read. Especially the bottom three lines in Average Score by Category. Just a heads up.
ewest 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting analysis yet the information can be derived from using your site's analytics and your observational skills to come to the author's conclusion.

It's like a painting - the subject matter is important, yet the stuff around the main subject is what makes it stand out.

Analyze what your stats don't have, or seem to have 'less of', as compared to other content.

I think the data analysis could have been more interesting to a broader audience by making it more 'newsworthy' rather than a raw analysis targeted at a relatively small community (compared to a more general audience).

By 'newsworthy' I mean something along the lines of 'NYTimes, WSJ used by technical users too' - or something like that - or something like - 'Hackers in controversy - observers and participants'.

sgdesign 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I'm number 10! I don't know if I should be happy that people like my stuff, or scared that I've spent so much time submitting and commenting on Hacker News this year...
DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does this article correct for increased thresholds to perform some actions? The down-vote used to be easier to get, for example.
drpgq 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it really surprising that Hacker News doesn't care about Pinterest?
andrewkkirk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks to these metrics, I've cracked the HN code:

We should always publish our content on paulgraham.com

That's the takeaway of these metrics, right?

apeace 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a suggestion, he should compare MongoDB and Riak on Hacker News. For laughs
A Very Unusual Camera That Emphasizes Time Over Space slate.com
398 points by spathak  3 days ago   58 comments top 26
artursapek 3 days ago 2 replies      
I built a camera like that out of wood a couple years ago. It uses gears on the inside to pull a regular roll of film through and expose it through a narrow vertical slit as you rotate the whole camera on its center axis. It's sort of a broad-stroke photo.

Here are a few shots that turned out decently: http://nnife.com/p/?dimension=20 These are just film scans. You can by the light bars see on the photos that it was very hard to rotate the camera at a constant rate.

You can also see that as I went with/against the traffic, cars were elongated or shortened. Really interesting phenomenon. I was working on this with a painting teacher at the school I go to, whose fascination with unconventional forms of photography got me interested as well. Unfortunately I was a woodworking noob when I made it so its success rate was too low for me to keep using it and I never took many more photos than that.

If I ever get around to building a better version I want to try an idea he had: mount the camera in a spot and expose it over the same piece of film at three different times of day using red, green, and blue filters. That would add another level to emphasizing time in a photograph.

The teacher I was working with is named Nicholas Evans-Cato. The experiment started off as just one to make a film panoramic camera. You can see why he'd be interested in that if you look at his work. http://www.georgebillis.com/artists/nicholas_evansCato.html

I'm sure it's been done before, but it was a really fun experiment. Changed the way I think a little bit.

numlocked 3 days ago 3 replies      
You don't need an $85,000 camera to play around with slit scan photography. As with just about everything these days, there's an app for that: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slit-scan-camera/id419292360...

Note that this is slit-SCAN, which is a bit different in that it moves the "slit" across the face off the sensor, rather than capturing from a static slit over time (the same technique was used in Star Trek:TNG to show the Enterprise going into warp). Nonetheless, you can play with time similarly.

bazzargh 3 days ago 3 replies      
Slit scan photography has been used artistically before:
http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/25/belden-adams.php the picture of the runner and the cyclist is nicely mindbending)

And pretty much everyone here would be familiar with a couple of artistic uses of slit-scan photography - the opening credits of Doctor Who ( http://h2g2.com/approved_entry/A907544 ) and the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

daniel_reetz 3 days ago 1 reply      
As many others have mentioned, this is a well-explored field. Golan Levin maintains a very extensive list of slit-scan camera experiments, check it out for some awesome examples:


recursive 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is how finish line cameras at races normally work. At least many of the bike races I've been in.
msisk6 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ward Cunningham and I built something similar with an old Mac mini and an external firewire iSight camera when we both worked at AboutUs a few years back. We pointed it at the train tracks behind the office and got some cool images of trains as they passed by. I don't think we saved any of the images, though -- it was just a quick after-hour hack project.

On a related note, the new Panorama function in iOS 6 seems to turn the iPhone's camera into a slit scanner using the phone's accelerometer for the rotation rate to stitch together a pretty good panorama on the fly.

mikecane 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looking at those photos, I wonder if a "time algorithm" could reconstruct them into a "normal" photo?
danboarder 3 days ago 0 replies      
A similar volumetric slitscanning technique can be done using XBOX Kinect using 3D data points, here is a video result from an experimenter:


"...this technique uses spatial + temporal data stored in a 4D Space-Time Continuum, and 3 dimensional temporal gradients (i.e. not just slitscanning on the depth/rgb images, but surface-scanning on the animated 3D point cloud)."

amaxwell 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like it would be simple enough to convert a video into an image like these by isolating a single column of pixels from each frame and putting them together chronologically.
jib 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is how goal line cameras work - there's one at every race course and sporting event around the world. I had a weekend job running one at a race course growing up.

Nowadays they are digital I guess, but the technology is the same - you record only a sliver (the goal line) - the analog version has the film running past the sliver on spools, with the speed being adjustable based on how fast objects you want to record.

mathewsanders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Daniel Crooks is an Australian artist who does similar work, but with video as well as still images.

Some of his work is projected onto huge displays which is am amazing immersive experience!

lurker14 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking for this recently! There is a photo, either form this artist or someone else, that was taken at some sort of festival, a photo of all the people walking by.

It was featured in some website that made the rounds on reddit or slashdot or somewhere.

You can get the same effect with a flatbed scanner, which operates on the same principles but assumes a fixed subject, so the camera moves while scanning. I can't find a link now, but there is a fad of rolling your face on a scanner and sharing the result on a website.

Also, this is basically how a CMOS camera works, which is why you get a distortion effect (not jsut blur) when photographinc moving objects: https://www.google.com/search?q=apple+cmos+distortion

soulwire 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hacked up a quick JavaScript implementation of this for anyone to play with: http://jsfiddle.net/soulwire/xKCt4/embedded/result/

It uses Web RTC so you'll need a capable browser (such as Chrome) and will have to allow webcam access when prompted!

ColinWright 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the kind of photo they use for getting a "photo-finish" shot - they have the vertical spacial dimension, and time running sideways.

I have a similar idea for one of the representations of where I'll be speaking:


seany 3 days ago 0 replies      
This technique was used in a slightly different way on NRO satellites. I think KH-7 was the first (GAMBIT http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1279/1 ). They would get the film moving at the same speed as the ground that they were covering. The constant momentum of the film moving was easier to counteract than the constant back and forth motion of a big shutter if they were capturing film "plates".
praptak 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look up "The Fourth Dimension" movie by Zbigniew Rybczynski - at first sight it is hard to believe it was made in 1988 because it looks like a product of some heavy digital 3D processing. In fact it is each of the 625 horizontal scan lines shifted a bit in time relative to the previous one, an idea very similar to the one described in the article.
ktizo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a lot of "Dancing on the Timeline", a slitscan version of a classic scene from "Singing in the Rain"


bsmith 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this remind anyone else of the Tralfamadorians analogy from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five? I can't find the relevant quote...
mcmire 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of something I saw a while back (it might have been on Boing Boing or something, and I'm sure it made its way across the web) of a guy who had a camera he'd made out of an old scanner. Basically, the scanner would move across the surface very slowly so it captured a slice of time. I wonder if that sort of technique is being used here.
yogsototh 3 days ago 0 replies      
It reminds me "One year in one image":


crucialfelix 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the first place I saw this in video form: http://www.mutek.org/en/tv/191-biosphere-genkai-1

Official video by Egbert Mittelstädt From the album N-Plants

It's performed in the cinechamber which is four huge video walls with I think an eight speaker array. The time distortion is amazing and you are totally immersed.

joering2 3 days ago 0 replies      
every time I see parts of human body like that, I have a flash backs from the very first time when I saw Aphex Twin's Rubber Johny. Worth watching, IMHO :)


mbrameld 3 days ago 0 replies      
I did something similar once with a flatbed scanner. Put my hand/face/whatever on the bed and moved it parallel to the scan head. Made for really long creepy fingers or a smushed up face.
logotype 3 days ago 0 replies      
kind of similar work of zbig rybczynski way way back (using analogue gear). on a side-note, discussed this with sean of autechre on how to achieve the same effect in maxmsp/jitter by delaying each horizontal line :
vph 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems excessive to invent a new type of cameras just to take pictures of taichi masters.


Googling for "conway's game of life" gives a simulation in the results page google.com
388 points by huskyr  6 days ago   78 comments top 15
jonmwords 6 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the interview I published with the creator! http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how-a-google-engineer-b...
RossM 6 days ago 2 replies      
There appears to be a semi-persistent "Google" text - when I cleared out the 'G' it was recreated within 20 steps by the neighbouring 'o'. Can't possibly be organic can it?

E: it seems to always appear like that; so probably not organic and I'm not up for searching minified sources to verify.

eranation 6 days ago 3 replies      
Predicting the next HN front page article in the near future: "Show HN: weekend project - open source Google's conway's game of life"
tsahyt 6 days ago 3 replies      
What is it with all the Game of Life posts lately? There seems to be a new one every other day. Not that it's a bad thing, I think the GOL is a marvellous thing and the SmoothLife video was mesmerizing. I'm just wondering why they all pop up at the same time?
doki_pen 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is it my imagination or does it spell out google at some point?

edit: I've realized that certain blocks are darker blue in the shape of the word Google.

huskyr 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny. I simply Googled for 'conway's game of life' after reading all the posts here and was pleasantly surprised to find this nice easter egg. I submitted it, and now it has been #1 for the past couple of hours :)
carlob 6 days ago 1 reply      
First the knowledge graph, now the game of life animation.

It really seems Google is trying to be more and more like Wolfram|Alpha!


alecr 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've implemented Langton's Ant, another example of cellular automata, using canvas aswell http://alecraeside.com.au/projects/langtons-ant/
nsxwolf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! A glider crawled all the way across my browser.
mck- 6 days ago 1 reply      
just spent 10 minutes staring at it full-screen.. beautiful.. my wife looked at my twinkly eyes and asked befuddled: "what is this?"

How would you explain it?

talfa 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am in Malaysia and it doesn't show up in FF or Chrome.
callil 6 days ago 0 replies      
I want this as a live-tile background for my phone. Beautiful
sdrgalvis 6 days ago 0 replies      
What a reminiscent moment :)
hashBlue 6 days ago 3 replies      
not for me
Is it OK to hold credit card numbers in cookies, Santander? seclists.org
357 points by Garbage  4 days ago   188 comments top 25
TomGullen 4 days ago  replies      
What sort of clowns stored the credit card number in a cookie? Seriously? What a breathtakingly stupid show of total incompetence.

Was considering switching my personal account to Santander, have been looking to move away from Natwest for a while now. Natwest are a dismal failure of a bank to the extent I'm always happy to go out my way and dissuade people from associating with them in any way. I'll be writing Santander off my list for sure now. How on earth can you trust them after seeing this?

For a business who HAS to take security seriously, for a business with a LOT of resources, for a business who hold YOUR cash this is utterly pathetic and inexcusable on their part.

Leaving them might be a good idea for your personal security, unfortunately the UK is a little short of good banks. Would love to see someone shake up banking like Stripe has shaken up online payments.

UnoriginalGuy 4 days ago 3 replies      
I actually quit Santander(UK) because of their security policies. They essentially changed online banking so you had to give them a mobile number and then had to get a code from a text message they sent you to login.

My question to them was "what happens if I don't have a mobile phone?" and "What do I do when I am on holiday abroad?" and their responses were (paraphrasing) "You won't be able to use online banking at all in either of those cases."

In order to just get this response I got transferred between like four or five different customer service reps. So I quit my bank of like ten years and when I quit they didn't even care enough to ask my WHY I was quitting.

stuff4ben 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember a bank I used to work at got bought out by Suntrust. After we had been migrated over, for some reason I had decided to check out the cookies they were using. Sure enough I saw my full SSN there. They don't do that now, but even as a junior developer at the time, I was pretty taken aback.
iaskwhy 4 days ago  replies      
Slightly on-topic. I have been trying with some banks in the UK trying to find the best online banking system and I am not happy with the results so far.

HSBC works quite well but the login system (with a RSA key) is annoying. I can accept it for actions like transfers but most times I just login to check my balance and transactions, requiring a token seems to much for me. Their design, even if not great, works.

MetroBank seems great from the outside but their system has some issues. First, to login you need your account number, a password and three digits from a 8 digits PIN. After logging in, you can do everything without any other measure. The systems fails to login most times unless you realise you can just click on the link in the error message and logged in you are. A friend told me to use the incognito mode in Chrome and it seems to fix this issue, probably with sessions. Their design is not the best. On the transactionspage you can only see 3 or 4 transactions on the screen at a time (without scrolling, that is).

I am waiting to try Santander (which I will avoid now) and Northern Rock.

Any good experiences?

chris_wot 4 days ago 2 replies      
Well someone has badly violated PCI-DSS 2.0.

This is bad in such an amazingly awful way on a "secure" banking website that I'm surprised that this bank even has an IT team, let alone a development team!

How did this not get picked up in QA testing, or even in a cursory audit?!?

Major_Grooves 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's really annoyed me about Santander's website is when you click 'log-out' you might think you have logged out - but no - you are taken to the 'are you sure you want to log-out' page.

With banking websites I just want to click that link and be sure I am logged out. I don't mind logging in again if I clicked by accident.

Lockyy 4 days ago 2 replies      
Can confirm that cookies on my laptop did (don't anymore, and I won't be using their online banking anymore) contain sensitive information about my santander account that I last logged into over 24 hours ago.

Going to go email them and tell them I'll be closing my account if they don't start taking their security seriously.

fmavituna 4 days ago 0 replies      
From a practical attack point of view:

1. As explained in the original email XSS attacks now lead CC exposure, very bad

2. If the cookies are not session cookies. It's horrible, then anyone who got access to that computer later can read the cookies and Credit Card. But also don't forget tons of websites still keeps auto-complete enabled!!!! in freaking CC fields.

3. If the cookies are not marked as "secure" (or issued over HTTPS) then it's totally messed up and invalidates PCI etc. directly. Now your credit card transmitted over HTTP.

4. Other than this even though it's rather pointless thing to do, there is not any more direct attack I can think of.

Put it this way, this is not worse than a XSS vulnerability in a website as an XSS can lead more serious issues directly.

gambiting 4 days ago 1 reply      
Santander ALSO stores your passwords in plaintext, or at least has access to them in that form.

My password used to include special characters, until a transfer to their new web interface year ago. After they did it,I could not log into my account - it kept telling me that my password was incorrect. So I rang them up,and a lady on the phone asked,if I had any special characters in my password. I said yes - and then she told me to try logging in without them,as the new system does not accept them and they were automatically stripped during the transition to new interface.

At first I was like - ok, at least now I can log into my account. But then it hit me - how the holy fuck could they remove special characters from my password???? The only way they could do that is if they had access to its plaintext, which is completely unacceptable.

I complained to Santander about it,only to receive a letter stating that they appreciate my concerns but their system is safe.

I've got all the correspondence with them if anybody wants to see.

joeconway 4 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, if you want to see the information it is storing then take the NewUniversalCookie and seperate it by the #'s then you can see two base64 strings which are easily decoded

The scary part is that the 'alias' id is actually one of the 2 passwords needed to log into the account. So in fact if someone had that and my card number all they would need is the 5 digit numerical code to log in

chubbard 4 days ago 2 replies      
These hacks better be glad this industry isn't regulated like other professions where the individual professional is liable for his work. If these developers were doctors or engineers they personally would be liable for damages. Right now we have laid blame at the feet of the company, but this company doesn't seem to understand they don't have the technical know how to be building websites for their customer base.
sw007 3 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic but I bank with Natwest.com and I have gone to their homepage today and am AMAZED as to what I saw.

If you navigate to their homepage - in prime view you'll see a section that says:

"Great ideas come from great conversations"

Under this is feedback from customer - 90% of the feedback is incredibly negative. For example:

""Tell your customers the truth how bad a silver account is. Premium numbers to contact and register, cannot register mobiles for ..."

"Natwest is an embarassment, you have lost a customer for life".

This just sums up how out of touch banks are today with the internet. Don't advertise this sort of feedback! Especially on a homepage! What are they thinking?

michaelfeathers 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't bank with Santander, but I was in Barcelona a few weeks ago and I passed by a Santander ATM that was rebooting IBM OS/2 Warp.
DanBC 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about responsible disclosure.

WhiteHat finds a security vulnerability. They tell the company. But, with banks, it's pretty hard to find the right person to tell. What steps should WhiteHat take to satisfy responsible disclosure? Just a printed letter to banks registered address is enough? (Banks, and everyone really, should have a "please use this address for responsible disclosure" - that would reassure me as a customer that they are taking security seriously).

But then, in England, we have a potential further step with the regulatory bodies. There's the ICO (information commissioner's office) who are overworked and will do nothing about this. And then there are the card companies who will, I'd have thought, be keen to protect their customers from fraud. Would responsible disclosure include a step to involve these third parties, if only to provide some clue pressure to the insecure site?

advisedwang 4 days ago 1 reply      
Confirmed for my santander account. I have not got a credit card, but the NewUniversalCookie cookie does contain my passcode (in all caps, just discovered it is case insensative!).

The data is not just one base64 chunk, but multiple space separated chunks that base64 -d chokes on after a bit. I am probably missing a step.

nathan_long 3 days ago 1 reply      
On top of all the other issues, add the fact that some browsers no longer delete sessions cookies when you close the browser. Notably, Chrome and Firefox.


Tloewald 3 days ago 0 replies      
Betteridge's law?

Given the recent IEEE clear text passwords stored on an FTP server fiasco we need to transition from shock and outrage and switch to resignation and ennui.

SeanDav 3 days ago 0 replies      
A huge irony in all this is that Santander pulled out of a deal to buy a large number of branch offices from a rival bank because apparently the computer systems of this rival bank weren't up to scratch and merging would have been an issue.

This bank probably didn't believe in storing sensitive information in publically accessible places clearly


andrewcooke 4 days ago 1 reply      
i guess no-one else here cares, but i had a quick look and santander.cl seems to not do this (but i just logged in and looked at cookies, which all seemed to be opaque).
_pferreir_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I bet they have a padlock icon somewhere?

No really, whenever I think there is no display of utter incompetence in software systems programming that will surprise me, here's another big name, ready to make standards sink to a new low.
I wonder who and how much they paid for such a nicely done job.

catshirt 4 days ago 2 replies      
for what it's worth, i use sovereign bank who was recently acquired by santander. the sovereign online banking contains the NewUniversalCookie, which contains an XML document (LOL) with 3 nodes: name, username, and userID. seemingly no intensely sensitive data in my cookies, but also seems to be some crossover with Santander's security system.
dreamdu5t 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see what's much different about this than Stripe giving you a token for the customer/card and storing it in a cookie.
phragg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here in the states, MA, I use Sovereign Bank who had just got acquired by Santander.

I was able to reproduce the NewUniversalCookie which showed my `username` and `userid`.

I'm a rather young adult (22) and had used Sovereign solely because my parents had used it, but now I'll be happily moving elsewhere.

victorantos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been today to Santander, and they told the only way for me to put money in my account is by using their online service. This is because I have an eSaving account type...
northband 4 days ago 0 replies      
Holy cow!
If You're Too Busy to Meditate, Read This hbr.org
350 points by bcrawl  6 days ago   216 comments top 30
up_and_up 6 days ago  replies      
In my opinion, Meditation and Mindfullness are not the same thing.

Meditation is a state, where the mind is completely silent, the breath slows waaaay down, the heartbeat slows waaaay down. Slowly ever so slowly, some bliss starts to bubble up from within. It is the climax of one pointed attention. Few people who say they "meditate" are reaching that point since it requires years of sincere effort. In Yoga, meditation is known as Dhyana, or the state resulting from the mind becoming one pointed for 100 seconds. Samadhi, which is considered a state of deep bliss is considered reached when the mind becomes completely still for 1000 seconds.

Mindfullness, is the act of being more aware during daily activities. Like watching actions and interactions. There is a gradual tendency to modify behavior to being more calm, collected and centered which helps to go deeper when attempting to meditate. The mind is still active during mindfullness, but it is being directed or corrected as needed throughout the day.

Meditation helps to develop deeper Mindfullness and vice versa. Meditation is like taking a shower, whereas Mindfullness is avoiding rolling in the mud and getting dirty. It is important to keep in mind that Meditation is literally a state where the mind is free from thought and that all the "meditation practices and techniques" are just different paths of reaching that same place.

KirinDave 6 days ago  replies      
Wait. Wait wait wait.

> Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance...

Great. Yes. Impulse control is key. Delayed gratification is part of how we define higher intelligence.

Meditation has what do with this, exactly?

> How [does meditation help]? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.

This entire article is predicated by this leap of faith, which as far as I can see has little to no justification besides, "Of course it does!"

> Meditation teaches us to resist the urge of that counterproductive follow through.

One cannot just say things over and over to make them true.

webwanderings 6 days ago  replies      
The misconception about meditation is that it requires one to give up everything and sit silently. This is not true in its entirety as it depends on how one interprets the word "meditation".

The meditation does not necessarily require you to give up one thing for the sake of another. The goal of the meditation is to "be in awareness" and you can achieve this same goal by being alert and aware with any activity your find yourself doing at any given moment. For example...

You are washing dishes but you are not really washing dishes because your mind is wandering with thoughts on what you need to do tonight at the place you need to visit. By the time your dishes are done, you have already planned for your future as your mind kept you busy with the thoughts of the future while you forgot what you were doing in the present (which is, washing dishes, which you really didn't).

The meditation is to be-in-present with whatever activity you do and love to do. If you had washed your dishes with full alertness and awareness, you would have achieved the same goal of meditation.

Let's go even further with another example.

You love to play music as your passion (or dance, or paint, or fill in the blank activity here) but you don't get enough opportunity in the day to do what you love to do more with passion. When you dance or sing or play music or run or exercise, you get the opportunity during that activity to forget yourself in the act (the subject merges into the object) and you become one with the reality, or you transcend that favorite activity by merging your self into it. That moment of transcendence is meditation, and you should find more opportunities to be in that meditation, in those moments.

Now, I am not suggesting that the type of meditation mentioned at the source is wrong or ineffective. What I am suggesting however is that people don't need to get stuck with one type of explanation of meditation because ultimately you can achieve the same goal by shifting the focus a bit.

javajosh 6 days ago 0 replies      
What the author calls "impulses" the Buddha called sankhara, or reactivity. The ones the OP is talking about are minor reactions.

These reactions do indeed impede our progress, as when our actions are driven by reaction we are not fully aware of what's going on around us. I first recognized the practical implications of this playing billiards - when I would strike a ball and miss, I would feel slightly dejected, and neglect to analyze what I just did to learn from it. When I would strike a ball and make it, I would feel slightly elated, and neglect to understand what I just did to learn from it.

My game got a lot better when I started playing the game, fascinated but detached from outcomes. There are a remarkable number of ways to strike a ball wrong - and it is interesting to consider why, having learned the game sufficiently, one would ever strike the ball wrong. Where does the variation creep in? Why, if I examine a table and decide to put the cue ball "just so", can I not do that? The answer, of course, is that there is countless non-verbal data that your body is sending you on each stroke - feedback from your bridge hand, the hand on the cue, even your stance and the feel of the felt all factor into this.

If you are attached to the outcome, all of this goes out the window. There is nervousness, fear, and excitement instead of systematic understanding.

dkokelley 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the author has an excellent point about training one's ability to resist urges. Urges are spontaneous. They don't necessarily fit with our work flow. In fact, they interrupt it. Maybe a good analogy is the Time Management Matrix by Eisenhower (and popularized in Steven Covey's '7 Habits' book). Urges almost always present themselves as urgent tasks, but they aren't always important.

I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion that meditation will make you more productive. The evidence presented reminds me of a scenario from The Office, where Michael defends Monday morning movies by claiming they are more productive the rest of the day. Of course the reason they are more productive is because they have to be in order to recover the time spent watching a movie!

Rather, I think people don't realize how much spare time there is that gets wasted. Tasks expand to fill the time allotted. It's possible that meditation can help you identify those wasteful activities (urges) and address them appropriately.

dschiptsov 6 days ago 4 replies      
Oh, come on. Meditation is not the way to "exercise willpower muscle" (running is the way to do so).

Meditation is the way to learn that your flow of thoughts is not you, it is mere side-effect, a smoke from an engine, a screen-saver, or just idle-running.

Yes, the practice of meditation is beneficial for will-power and self-control, but it is not the goal.) Goal is realization that what you think you are, is just a running total of all previous conditioning, and the ''real you'' could be "seen" is in an instant between two thoughts.

Any good ''eastern'' teacher will tell you that.

ricvg 6 days ago 1 reply      
I highly recommend to take a 10 days retreat in a Vipassana[1] meditation center. I know that 10 days is a lot to ask but in my opinion is well worth the effort.

I've been there twice in the past three years. I thought that I understood everything the first time. Boy, was I wrong.

[1] http://www.dhamma.org/

stephth 6 days ago 6 replies      
Focus on your breath going in and out. Every time you have a thought or an urge, notice it and bring yourself back to your breath.

From what I've heard so far, meditation is based on focusing on your body in order to quiet your mind. Are there other schools/techniques?

ta12121 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's nothing in this article that isn't said better elsewhere. I'd recommend the (free, online) Mindfulness in Plain English: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html also available as a "real" book).
tryitnow 6 days ago 1 reply      
What about comparative effectiveness? For example, if we did an experiment where we started subjects on the following regimes, which would have the greatest effects on impulse control:
1) Learning to program (assuming the subject is not already a coder
2) meditation
3) aerobic exercise

Then we would have to figure out ways to measure "impulse control."

Such a study would have a lot more credibility than the author's contention that "I control impulses while meditating; therefore, meditation makes me more productive."

One controls impulses during a wide variety of activities; the burden is on the pro-meditation crowd to provide evidence that meditation is an especially valuable form of practicing impulse control.

kevTheDev 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've been meditating pretty much every day for a few months now, and the thing that got me into it was getsomeheadspace.com

I've found it incredibly helpful - having a different guided meditation to do on the train every day makes the London commute, whilst not blissful, certainly better.

tylee78 6 days ago 1 reply      
Happens to me all the time. I am working on a piece of code in the afternoon, and can't move forward or looking to identify a bug or optimizing some algorithm - wasting hours. After a meditation session I walk back to the computer screen, take a seat, and my hand clicks around the tabs, my fingers scroll around, my eye catches one obscure line of code which is EXACTLY where the problem sits. I had this happen so many times, it's a given by now. The article (and I am sure all who do meditate) shares the same kind of experience.
ambler0 6 days ago 0 replies      
I took a mindfulness meditation class a year or two ago and I thought this was a pretty nice introduction to some of the ideas.

For anyone interested in the science, I have found lots of good articles by subscribing to this mailing list:

The ideas have been around forever, but scientists have really taken to testing them in recent decades.

edwinyzh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Some of you pointed out it's not easy to control/stop the mind, yes, that's very true, especially for some people. To solve that, I suggest to read Ekhart Tolle's The Power Of Now, I think it's the modern book that explains the orignal Zen in a easy-to-understand way.

I used to think/worry/imagine too much about the future, and thus missed every actual moment I was living in, and it made me unhappy. I was living like that since I was very young and until I read the book The Power Of Now. So I highly recommend it.

idoruby 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have been meditating for forty years. For thirty nine years I did transcendental meditation (TM)as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I sat for 20 minutes twice a day without fail.

Last year I switched to Vipassana not because I was displeased with TM but just for a change and because the Goenka community seems to be very professional. I have been sitting in this new way one hour a day for a year now. I am not as regular because Vipassana requires more arrangement than TM. I am satisfied with my practice and can see a path to grow in this community for the rest of my life.

I am not sorry that I have spent so much time meditating. It changed my life. Before I began meditating I was aware of a certain pervasive incompleteness. I am a programmer and I love programming and I have been married for forty seven years and love my wife. But these satisfactions were not enough. My meditation practice did not materially change my life but it has given me a sense of centeredness. I am in a quiet way more fulfilled.

My experience was that TM was a very practical choice. I paid $75 to be initiated and found the TM community meet my needs for companionship on my path. Community is important to support a meditative practice. The actual practice is practical to do in our busy lives. If you are too busy to take two twenty minute periods each day for your personal readjustment then you are too busy and you need to readjust your life pattern. If you do not realize the imbalance in your life, probably meditation is not for you. Don't waste your time. Perhaps later.

YMMV, nowadays it cost $2k+ to learn TM. It is a good deal at this cost at least the benefits in my life exceed almost any amount of money. But without my experience I would never understand that. It is a chicken and egg problem.

OTOH, the TM community has changed and I am not sure I would be served by the Post Mahrishi community. In my case, as a long term meditator the difficulties with the community don't really affect me. Although I did consider the quality of the Goenka to support me in future.

So the choice of TM is a possibility for a newby. One caution, I knew many poeple who started TM and did not continue. So you are risking $2k+.

Vipassana is different. The technique requires more training and a greater daily investment. I sit for an hour a day. But Goenka suggests a minimum of two hours a day. And most practioners do at least one ten day retreat a year. I find this a bit much. But given that I am retired it is easily feasable. It merely a matter of commitment for me. A midlife married programmer will find this a greater challenge.

The introduction to Goenka's technique is charming. You do a ten day retreat at no cost to you. Their story is that adopting this practice is a serious matter. You learn the technique and then practice ten hours a day for ten days. For this learning period you live on the charity of others like a Budhist monk. Since this technique is a way of living that extends beyond just sitting, you need time to get into it.

I don't know how to tell which is most appropriate for you. I can just say it works for me. But I can say one thing for certain. Meditation is a practice that must be done everyday. Don't bother if you are not ready to commit to a regular practice. The benefits of meditation can not be explained. It is an experience and all that a teacher can do is give the experience and show you how to protect it. The rest is up to you.

I will say that meditation and psychotherapy are not mutually exclusive. For more than twelve years during the last forty I have been in therapy.

My final thought is that if you have a sense that your experience of life seems not quite complete, meditation can work to give you greater experience of connection.

sandGorgon 5 days ago 0 replies      
For casual meditation, all that has been pointed out here is fair and good.

But if you want to delve deep into meditation, then I seriously suggest that you look up MCTB - it talks about several of the dangers that lie in that path.


qbit 6 days ago 0 replies      
"And you will have experience that proves to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control."

This is the most interesting part to me. Don't we always act on the urge that is strongest at the moment? If I decide to continue to meditate even though I have an urge to stop, doesn't that just mean that the urge to continue happened to be stronger than the urge to stop? Did I really get to choose which of those urges was strongest at that moment? Of course, this gets into questions of free will, which has been discussed on HN before. But when I meditate, it becomes very clear that I am definitely not in control of my thoughts, feelings, and urges. I see that I have multiple, competing urges at any given moment and that I don't control which urge emerges as the victor and compels me to act.

demigod 6 days ago 0 replies      
When I meditate concentrating on my breath,my mind interferes with my breathing and it becomes uncomfortable if I dont relax

I believe this acts as some negative feedback for the control freak self inside me. Every time I exert unnecessary control it becomes uncomfortable.

Meditating long enough may show me that the mind will wander in its own ways regardless of what I maybe doing at the moment, and its best for me to let it wander on its own ways and focus on what I am doing. Thus helping me understand that all the thoughts about ego, and judgements is just come process on the sidelines, and different from the core of me, the core that is focused on what I am doing.

This is the impression I have of where meditation is taking me.

tehayj 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm into the basic practice of mindfulness since years. I read research papers about it every month and also train people in mindfulness skills. Here is the essence of what I learned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sspY43lxqhE&list=UUh-TdJw...
gavanwoolery 6 days ago 2 replies      
I meditate while walking my dogs or taking a shower. Unless you are trying to achieve the title of Zen Grandmaster (which you probably are not) there is no need to sit still while doing so.
brianmcdonough 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jonathan Haidt, the author of one of my favorite books, "The Happiness Hypothesis," points out"based on extensive research"that there are only three ways to change "automatic reactions" to circumstances like a flooded kitchen...meditation, cognitive therapy, and Prozac. Meditation is an inexpensive and natural alternative to the other two, it's been around for thousands of years and there are no negative side effects.
001sky 5 days ago 0 replies      
(Yet) Another venue to for the competitive display of subtle nuances and arcane desiderata.
ericmoritz 6 days ago 1 reply      
Aw, I know the benefits. I hoped this would help me find a way to fit it in.
natex 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing quite an interest here for the principles and techniques of meditation. Here's a link for some talks given by a wonderful teacher, on mindfulness/meditation and other topics.


ricknew 6 days ago 0 replies      
This excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki might add another approach to the conversation.


yresnob 6 days ago 0 replies      
Read Pragmatic thinking and Learning for good explanation as well.. Meditation improves focus... this is not based on reports or data but from my own experience. That is always the best proof for me.. trying it myself.
vividmind 6 days ago 2 replies      
I use fishing for the same purposes. Helps me concentrate on just that activity and get my mind off work-related stuff. Every time after a fishing trip I feel really rested, although might be tired a bit physically.
palderson 6 days ago 0 replies      
For me, meditation is a way of separating myself from the issues I'm dealing with. The act of distancing my mind from the issue itself provides renewed vigor when returning to the problem.
rohun_ati 6 days ago 0 replies      
There was a study done by Sarah Lazar at Harvard Med a while back. They concluded that meditation can not only prevent age related cognitive decline, but it can actually physically reshape our brains, thickening our cortical structures. There's a TED video online, and the actual study is available online if anyone is interested (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16272874
lloyddobbler 6 days ago 0 replies      
If I'm too busy to medidate, why will I have time to read this article (presumably on meditation)?
My son is schizophrenic. The ‘reforms' that I worked for have worsened his life. washingtonpost.com
317 points by aaronbrethorst  2 days ago   197 comments top 32
cletus 2 days ago 9 replies      
Things like this are easy to say:

> If I were a legislator today, I'd mandate " and provide funding to ensure " that every teacher receive training in recognizing symptoms of mental illnesses.

but teachers aren't psychiatrists or clinical psychologists and can't really be expected to be.

I was recently watching a program talking about the somewhat controversial theory that schizophrenia (and other mental disorders) are either parasitic in origin or that parasites may simply contribute [1] [2].

The culprit in this case being toxoplasmosis. There's been research to show that there is correlation between the incidence of schizophrenia and the domestication of cats.

This kinda reminds me of how peptic ulcers were once thought to be caused by stress until they were found to caused by a virus [3].

At the same time the elimination of parasites is arguably related to the rise of autoimmune diseases in the developed world (the so-called "hygine hypothesis" [4]). For example, hookworms may combat asthma and other allergies [5].,

I wonder if the coming century will be a revolution in mental health as parasties, viruses and bacteria (or even the lack thereof) may be far more immportant than currently realized, possibly even causal in many cases.

[1]: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311085151.ht...

[2]: http://www.stanleyresearch.org/dnn/LaboratoryofDevelopmental...

[3]: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/peptic-ulcer...

[4]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis

[5]: http://www.gizmag.com/hookworms-prevent-asthma-allergies/129...

tokenadult 2 days ago  replies      
This is a tough story of a state legislator who became an adoptive father finding out that policies that he thought were humane reforms didn't end up helping people in this generation like his adoptive son. Some of my perspective on these issues comes from knowing Irving Gottesman,


who was credited as the main adviser on schizophrenia relied on by the author of the book A Beautiful Mind. Gottesman has spent much of his career researching schizophrenia and debunking former theories about the origin of schizophrenia. Twin studies, especially studies of the unusual cases of monozygotic twins reared apart, and adoption studies have consistently shown that schizophrenia develops from an underlying genetic vulnerability (probably varying greatly from patient to patient, according to the best evidence from genome-wide association studies) that makes a patient all too likely to develop full psychotic symptoms over the course of childhood without careful treatment. Gottesman's research goal is to define "endophenotypes" that can be reliably measured clinically to identify patients who need one kind of preventive or supportive treatment rather than another. But we are nowhere near identifying endophenotypes for any major mental illness.

"Self-medicating with marijuana, Tim's drug of choice for lowering the volume of the voices in his head, got him suspended from the first high school he attended " a public, vocational-technical school in Middletown, Conn. " and placed on court-ordered probation." We do know that young people whose family history suggests genetic risk for major mental illness (which might not be known for a particular adopted child) are playing with fire if they take schedule I drugs without medical supervision. Many of the worst outcomes found in families in which some relatives become mentally ill and some do not are among the persons who "self-medicate" (that is, abuse drugs) rather than reduce risk of perturbing their brain chemistry.

"If I were a legislator today, I'd mandate " and provide funding to ensure " that every teacher receive training in recognizing symptoms of mental illnesses."

Teacher who are credentialed to teach elementary school receive specific training in how to teach reading, and receive specific training in how to teach elementary mathematics, but mostly do a remarkably poor job in those important tasks anyway. There are not today any reliable lists of early symptoms of mental illnesses to guide an adult who sees young children as to who will develop severe mental illness in adulthood. Diagnostic criteria for psychology and psychiatry are not that well developed yet, and communicating criteria for best practice to future teachers in schools of education or to in-service teachers through in-service training programs is already a vexing problem in reading instruction and mathematics instruction.

"I'd see that pediatricians are trained to make screening for mental health concerns a regular part of well-child exams."

I think some of that is already done today. At least, my four children certainly seemed to be asked routine questions in well-child pediatrician visits that could raise red flags on the basis of certain answers to those questions. Again, there simply aren't that many effective early screening tools for mental illness today of any kind. One of the best tools for identifying people at highest risk for developing mental illness is to know the complete medical history of their nearest relatives--but that is the hardest tool to use for some adopted children.

"I'd require school administrators to incorporate recommendations from pediatricians and mental health professionals into students' IEPs."

What I hear from parents whose children have IEPs (individual education plans, under federal law about special education) is that it is often annoyingly difficult to get a school to follow an IEP, even though that is mandatory by law. It is the parents's responsibility, in the first instance, to make sure that all relevant information is provided to the professionals who work with the parents in drafting the IEP. The parents have to push back if the IEP isn't drafted helpfully at first, and they have to keep an eye on whether or not the school implements the IEP.

All in all, this sad story is a good reminder that EVERY parent, and maybe especially an adoptive parent, needs to be cautious about reducing risk of future harm for all children in the parent's care. The author's description of his situation makes his situation sound very rough. He surely hoped that his son would be living independently and thriving by the son's current adult age. What I've learned about parenting after two decades is that parenting never completely ends. Launching a child into self-sufficient adulthood is wonderful. (I have done that once so far.) But there will always be scary issues for parents to watch out for that they have to take care of themselves.

AFTER EDIT: Several comments below this comment talk about the risk of drug abuse for persons who have underlying vulnerabilities to mental illness. I agree with the suggestion that alcohol (legal for all adults) is surely dangerous in such cases and perhaps tobacco (also legal for all adults) is too. But I will remind all readers here that marijuana was specifically mentioned as the now homeless person's "drug of choice" in the submitted article, and marijuana alone, plus the genetic vulnerabilities, is enough to turn some formerly productive young people out on the street unable to support themselves. (It was probably observations of situations like this decades ago that helped convince legislators to change marijuana's legal status from permitted to largely banned. The article submitted here makes the correct point that sometimes legislation has unintended consequences, and perhaps the "drug war" is ineffective policy for reducing the harm that mind-altering drugs cause individuals and society.) Richard Branson has argued that Portugal's different pattern of regulating drugs has reduced drug use and has reduced various social harms from drugs that are Schedule I drugs here in the United States.

But that said, I will stand by my statement "We do know that young people whose family history suggests genetic risk for major mental illness (which might not be known for a particular adopted child) are playing with fire if they take schedule I drugs without medical supervision. Many of the worst outcomes found in families in which some relatives become mentally ill and some do not are among the persons who "self-medicate" (that is, abuse drugs) rather than reduce risk of perturbing their brain chemistry" because it is a factually correct statement. I don't know of any physician who regularly treats psychotic patients in emergency rooms who recommends that young people with family history medical risk for psychosis use marijuana. That is a distinctly bad idea.


I shared the article submitted here among my Facebook friends, and one thoughtful friend suggested the article, from the same newspaper in 2005, "Social Network's Healing Power Is Borne Out in Poorer Nations"


as an interesting contrast to the situation described in today's article. There is some good back and forth among experts on schizophrenia in different countries in the previous article. Diseases influencing human behavior often manifest differently in different cultures.

kyro 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just finished my Psychiatry rotation as part of my training and there are three things, of many, that I learned: First, America has a long way to go in developing the best screening and management tools for people with mental disabilities. Second, schizophrenia is an incredibly complicated illness that can take manifest in a whole host of unsuspecting symptoms, and is not easily treatable. And third, diagnosing and treating a mental disorder in children is really hard.

The last two points, I think, are very relevant to this article. While I sympathize with you, understand that child development is a very, very complicated thing. You have naturally hyper children, naturally withdrawn children, etc, and physicians are very wary to label any child with an illness, especially schizophrenia. When we're adults and have leveled out, it's easier to discern what is "normal" from "abnormal." But children are constantly changing, being molded by their environment, and so it's much harder to outline a symptomatic threshold of what's considered normal. Additionally, children exhibit mental disorders in very different ways than adult do; there are different sets of symptoms to look out for. And these symptoms can be anything from "pressured speech" (talking too fast. some kids are just naturally fast talkers, right?) to auditory hallucinations (but the child could have a vivid imagination, right?).

The treatment for schizophrenia is an entirely different beast. The goal is usually to just suppress the symptoms and to restore the patient to a functional baseline. In many cases, the disease progresses and the prognosis worsens. In your case, your child had early-onset schizophrenia, which is associated with a worse prognosis than late-onset cases.

Although there are studies that show that early detection and treatment of schizophrenia can improve the course of the disease, chances are your kid would have still developed much of the same symptoms and issues that he has now. It really sucks, and I sympathize with you, but that's the nature of the disorder. It's terrible, difficult to manage effectively, and can ruin lives. I've seen it.

debacle 2 days ago  replies      
You can blame the schools for misdiagnosing ADHD, and you can blame them for a poor IEP, but you can't blame them for a child not having a normal life due to one of the most tragic diseases known to man.

Schizophrenia is not the kind of disease you can treat with an IEP, and it sounds like the author's son fell out of the system from a very young age. Trying to blame anything but genetics and development for his son's state is disingenuous - treating schizophrenia is a complicated, involved, and ultimately very stressful process for everyone involved, and in the end it can only bring someone on the brink of homelessness or self-harm into a situation where they can be stable most of the time, but never all of the time, or even almost always.

> The word “disability,” for instance, should have covered Tim and children like him.

ADHD or blindness are not even in the same room a schizophrenia. It's like comparing having six toes on your left foot to being comatose.

> If I were a legislator today, I'd mandate " and provide funding to ensure " that every teacher receive training in recognizing symptoms of mental illnesses.

Teachers have enough on their plate, and more importantly, that's not what teachers are for. It sounds like the author took his son to plenty of mental health professionals, and he still wasn't properly diagnosed until he was nearly an adult.

> I'd see that pediatricians are trained to make screening for mental health concerns a regular part of well-child exams.

Many mental health diseases don't manifest to the levels for proper diagnosis until adulthood, and even then the process of diagnosis is not scientific.

> I'd put much more money into community mental health services...

All of that sounds great, but mental health services are one of the first things cut into in a down economy.

> Tim is where he is today because of a host of public policy decisions we've made in this country.

No, he isn't. The author is wrong, and I'm sorry for that, but it's very unlikely that his son would have ever been a contributing member of society. Schizophrenia is a severe mental disease that cannot be treated like a 'special need.'

tjic 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some problems just don't have good solutions.

We're so used to political debates where the Republicans say "less regulation will solve X", the Democrats say "more spending will solve X", the libertarians say "X is none of the government's business", and each suggests that things will go swimmingly under their preferred way of attacking the problem.

Some things, though, just suck.

Schizophrenia is one of those things. You can't cure it. You can't treat it very well. There's not much to be done.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and no amount of "training teachers" or "diagnosing diseases" or whatever will change that.

It's a tragedy.

jetti 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of the major problems that I've seen first hand with mental illness is that the diagnosis is so subjective and often times relies on accounts of the patient and family. If you have family who don't know what to look for or the patient doesn't know how to explain it or is under the duress of the illness at the time, you run the chance of misdiagnosis.

This happened to me. My senior year of high school I had a "breakdown" of sorts. I was suspended from school until I saw a mental health professional. After the first visit, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and given meds to treat it. After awhile, the diagnosis changed to Schizo-affective disorder and more drugs were added to help. Finally, I was diagnosed with epilepsy and told that the mental health diagnosis were wrong since epilepsy can cause both depression and hallucinations if untreated.

I shared my story for a few reasons. One the brain is complex and there can be many factors that causes symptoms. If mental health professionals can't get it right, there is no way to expect teachers or school administrators to get it right. I was lucky and had phenomenal insurance at the time that I went through that ordeal. Because of that, I was able to get tests and scans that I know others wouldn't not be able to afford. I fortunate enough to have a parent who could afford for me to get a SPECT scan which is (or was) considered cutting edge and would not be covered under insurance. That was what helped the neuro-psychiatrist realize that I have epilepsy and not a mental illness. Many people can't afford these things. Had I not had that scan, I would still probably be taking 20 pills a day and having to wake up early to take Adderall so that I'm able to physically wake up in time to be functional and the worst part is, that would be all for naught. It wouldn't help me since I don't have any problems.

There is so much wrong with the mental health system (at least in the US) that it really makes me sad. You start at the education level (such as the article talks about) but then when you move to insurance, so much isn't covered that it becomes either pay out of pocket or just let the individual suffer.

tzs 2 days ago 7 replies      
My old eyes cannot handle very very long lines of very small type, and after several tries I was not able to guess the URL for the story in human friendly form.

Please submit links for humans, not machines. Add the machine link in a comment if you wish.

PS: I'm aware of Readability and the ability to increase font sizes. There are other problems in general with print links that those do not address:

• Print links generally do not include extras like comments. This particular story had a large number of comments at the original site.

• Although not applicable in this particular case, stories often include sidebar links to related stories, and these are often omitted from print links.

• The non-print link usually includes a very easy way to get to the print version. Typically, you just click a print icon and you are there. The print link, on the other hand, usually does not include any link or other mechanism to get to the non-print version (other than the "back" button if you happened to have come from the non-print version).

Taking this all into account, particularly the last part about it being very easy to get to the print link from the non-print link, and not easy to go the other way, in almost all cases the link submitted should be the non-print link.

PPS: there are some sites that offer an "all on one page" link, which is distinct from the print link. The former simply does away with splitting the article into pages, keeping the comments and sidebar links and human-friendly formatting. Submitting "all on one page" links is great.

showerst 2 days ago 3 replies      
"Every year, one in every five children and one in every four adults has a diagnosable mental illness. A quarter of all mental illnesses are considered serious."

1/16 adults having a serious mental illness seemed awfully high to me, but I went and looked it up and that may actually be low-balling it: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-coun...

_delirium 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is often discussed among homeless advocates, because such a large percentage of homeless have mental illnesses of various kinds.

I do think reform had quite a bit arguing for it: old-style "insane asylums" were really not nice places, and involuntary commitment was used fairly widely, at times even producing involuntary surgeries (like the notorious period in which involuntary lobotomies were performed), which I think are serious problems for civil liberties and easily abused. But the problem is that we just closed the asylums and didn't replace them with much of anything at all, in most states not even voluntary facilities that people can check themselves in to.

jrockway 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty sad that the best way to get mental health treatment is to commit a crime and go to jail. What an epic failure.

It really goes to show how our society thinks of people: if we're punishing someone for a wrong, then spend as much money as necessary. But helping someone before they do something wrong: that's socialism.

brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
In a former job, I was confronted with a heartbreaking string of cases of individuals who are homeless, clearly suffering from mental illness, yet repeatedly breaking into local businesses, often not to steal anything of value.

The frustrating choice for those in the prosecutorial or defense systems, is how to best perform your duty to the public and these individuals.

If you simply release them, the business owners continue to face victimization. If you send them to jail, you put them in a completely inappropriate community, and damn them to poor or nonexistent care for complex problems.

It's not isolated cases, mental health issues took up a significant portion of our resources in the criminal justice system (a system that, when overburdened, suffers both Type I and Type II errors simultaneously, leading to higher rates of hasty convictions while also letting more guilty individuals walk free).

The best solution I heard, discussed only in chambers with heavy sighs as to its political infeasibility, was some sort of mental health court, analogous to a drug court.

Drug courts are designed to take a significant number of cases and prosecute them more efficiently, while focusing on what reduces recidivism most, and helps those "offenders" (treatment and monitoring is the general template, though individual cases can be highly customized, rather than one size fits all incarceration).

Drug courts don't always work, sometimes they can be systemically flawed. This American Life presented just such a case a few years ago, describing a judge who abused the process. But in most jurisdictions, drug courts lower costs to the system while putting a lot of people in a far better place.

A similar institution, a "mental health court," might feed people from courtrooms into community treatment facilities, with monitoring and care, while putting them on probation instead of placing them in jail.

This would, of course, work best with significantly increased funding for humane and competent mental treatment facilities. But at least some of those costs would be offset by lower burdens on the justice system and systems of incarceration.

Such a system would certainly help more people, and it deserves wider public discussion.

agwa 2 days ago 2 replies      
This says so much about what's broken in our legislative system:

> Six weeks into my legislative career, I was the legislature's reluctant new expert on mental health.

After six weeks, he was not an expert. In nearly all cases, our legislators are not experts in any of the things which they are legislating, yet that never stops them from forming strong opinions and trying to "reform" or "fix" things. On HN, we see this frequently with Internet and technology legislation, but this article shows it's a problem with other areas, too.

dgavey 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a timely article. Just today received a call from the school that my grade 3 son had thrown a girl to the ground threatening her. This was the second incident in a week. A team of councilors and mental health workers were called in as an emergency response team.

The similarities between the child in the article and my son are startling and scary.

Although we are still at the beginning of our story, I do believe that in my area in Canada, the system has gotten better. I can only hope that this continues and the system does not let him down like it did to the child in the article.

My son will be seeing a counselor and accessing services that were previously unavailable to us starting in 2 days. Thanks Hacker News, you are always so poignant.

emeraldd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I grew up around a situation similar to this. Thankfully, it hasn't turned out that badly. People with that kind and depth of mental illness have to have someone watching out for them. One little slip, one missed pill has the potential to send them down a road that they will not be able to recover from on their own. It can get bad fast and take a long time to bring back under control.
jnar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm out of words. Here everybody seem saying smart words about being mentally disable/ill, about politics and so on but you all miss the pivot.

This (young) adult was diagnosed with schizophrenia. If the US wouldn't have the health-care system it has, this guy would receive proper treatment without hassles. Being hospitalized and so on. But he wasn't, and now he's just the last of the leasts. Why he wasn't? Because he wasn't elegible according to the insurance. Obviously he wasn't i'd say. Companies exist to make profit, this is old story, no insurance want really to treat people who are going to require life-long medications and care.

So, try to learn something from this story and realize how the US system is broken when it comes to care about people who isn't Paris Hilton.

I heard Romney saying "nobody is dying in this country because of lacks in terms of health-care, they jsut go to the first aid". He said this because he's just evil. Anyone smart realizes that being stabilized and being treated are 2 different things.

zwieback 2 days ago 1 reply      
My cousin has (had?) schizophrenia. Despite the best efforts of his wealthy family and a willing mental health system in Germany he disappeared and we haven't heard anything in a very long time. He lived on the streets for a number of years but it's very hard to get schizophrenics on the needed medication and even harder to keep them on it.

I don't think there's a policy solution for this.

brackin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is quite a personal story and It's not near this level but I grew up with a parent with Schizophrenia and still am.

I'm 18 and currently live alone with this parent and am moving out soon as I work on my company. The situation is fine (for me) because there are few things to set them off these days and I've just had to learn how to deal with many of the disturbances. Like paranoia of me (What I talk about to others), using certain words in relation to illness like saying something is "mental" or even how are you. The illness only pops up at certain times. People wouldn't know they are ill from speaking to them, most of the time. It's 10X better than it was when I was much younger and lived with both of my parents.

I won't go into detail out of respect to my family but their illness has broke up their marriage (Although sometimes couples don't work) and now they refuse to take any medicine or see anyone. Because they aren't anymore at the level that they are forced into treatment there's nothing that can be done.

What I've learned from this is most policy on mental illness is under the assertion that if the person is at extreme harm to themselves or the public, they require treatment. If this isn't the case and the person refuses to believe they are ill or that they need treatment, little is done.

SoftwareMaven 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a very dear loved one who suffers from schizophrenia. I've seen firsthand how useless the system is. Before a diagnosis, everybody (schools, friends, etc) are judging the parents because their child doesn't fit into "norms". After a diagnosis, they have no idea how to handle it, so things don't get better.

We pushed everybody out of state hospitals (which were horrible places) but never really answered the question of where those people need to go.

Fortunately, my loved one's disease is being well treated at the moment. I constantly fear the day that a serious psychotic event occurs, especially if it occurs after she moves out of her parents house (which, like most teenagers, she really wants to do).

guylhem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Title "The ‘reforms' that I worked for have worsened his life" - That's interesting. Let's read further.

Extract : The 1980s was the decade when many of the state's large mental hospitals were emptied (...) I jumped at the opportunity to move people out of "those places" (...) to help manage the transition of people back into the community


When he was in jail, with its regular routines and meals, Tim usually stabilized. But when he was released (...) he destabilized right away

Ok, we get your point.

But they why giving in conclusion the idea that more money thrown at a problem that seems intractable could solve it??? [Extract: I'd require school administrators (..) I'd put much more money (...) I'd get rid of laws (...) ]

This begs the question : was it considered only once that maybe "humane reforms" had been pushed too far, and that the best outcome would have been reached in a place with " regular routines and meals" where stabilization could have been provided- in other words a good old hospital.

Maybe in the past there were many people in that shouldn't have been there, and the "humane reforms" were then a good idea. But maybe we overdid them and now we make people worse, based on our own idea that people suffering from schizophrenia would be better outside the hospital.

Extract again from the post : "His only furniture was a bare mattress on the floor; a rat and flies were his companions. Sadly, he seemed content. This is the mental health delivery system that I helped build".

Yes the author did, since he considered a patient own evaluation of his situation to be perfectly valid and not in any way damaged by his disease.

It is usually better to respect a person will, self evaluation, etc. But maybe, just like for suicide, when the best judgement seems to no longer work, it is a good thing to ignore it until it can be fixed - if it can.

cathar 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, had several bouts of psychosis, and settled into BiPolar disorder without the psychosis, I can speak on this subject a bit. As a kid I exhibited the typical, thinking fast and trying to talk just as fast. My first major manic episode I recall was while studying for a midterm, where instead I had inspiration and handwrote a 8 page business plan. After my my first psychotic break, a year later I spent all night down the rabbit hole of importing raincoats from China. I showed no Schizophrenic symptoms until a major psychotic break that triggered my underlying proclivity towards Schizophrenia, partially by roadtripping to a new place and excessively smoking marijuana. I ended up in an out-of-state hospital for several days before transferring to a local one. My family thankfully had insurance, but the profit-driven company battled with us to deny paying for that expensive out-of-state care and treatment, thankfully they paid. I couldn't get non-group insurance until insurance companies could not as easily deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Before that event I had genuinely enjoying smoking for nearly 2 years in college with no paranoia. Uncharacteristically, I got into minor legal trouble thanks to a dumb, drunken night. The day my probation ended I lit it up again, leading to a mild psychotic episode with friends who were freaked out. That was the end of marijuana for me. Never tempted to touch it again as I know that is seriously playing with fire given my tendencies. I've had one other paranoia-fueled episode where I went off my medications because I didn't like the side effects. I somehow got tangled with a local urban gang, after they broke into my house and stole my roommate's golf clubs and spotted my expensive studio equipment only to stake the place out for another burglary. I avoided hospitalization with the help of close family this time.

The biggest thing for people with BiPolar or Schizophrenics is to stay on their medication. It's a very tragic feedback loop, you feel good or normal so you go off your meds. Then you are OK for a while, then you are nearing a nervous breakdown, manic episodes (which are really fun for most people), paranoia, or deep depressive episode (which is why so very many BiPolar people commit suicide). Every time I went off my medication, a break down was near, and you had to basically hit the "reset button" on your life again. Start a new job, new location, try again. This time, you pledge to stay on your medication, your family reminds you as well. Things can stabilize when you get on the right medication with the lowest effective dosage, get regular sleep and exercise. I am stable now, with the help of family, friends, low dosage medication, and exercise. (In that order)

chernevik 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem isn't the particular reforms, it is the idea that any reform could evoke the needed individualization from centrally planned institutions.

My heart aches to think of the hell this man is in, and that his father is in watching him. I have worked with people in this condition, it is heartbreaking. I get the screaming urgency to do SOMETHING.

But if that something doesn't make sense it just isn't going to work.

lilsunnybee 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's really sad that this isn't a priority in the United States. Somehow we have so little money for the government to pay for anything, that any possible solutions are either underfunded or written off completely. Overloaded case workers, run-down facilities, lack of facilities, lack of integrated programs, are just a few of the consequences.

It's an odd sort of poverty where all sorts of gadgets and innovations are commonplace, but where the marginalized in society still suffer through neglect and lack of funding for any viable solutions.

acroyear 2 days ago 2 replies      
Author's first impulse is to look to the state for the care of his child. WRONG!!!! YOU and your family are the primary folks responsible for this kid. Your wife had about the same chance of success as any set of teachers or state gov't goons but with much more incentives. What the hell was she doing? (probably getting her 'career' on - woo hoo!)

Why are ppl so apt to think that state employees are miracle workers? Central command/control and one-size-fits-all solutions (or any approximation thereof) are bound to fail for most of us who have special needs.

pessimizer 2 days ago 0 replies      
The word "reforms" in this article, and in recent political parlance, is being used as a euphemism for "cuts."

It seems inevitable that euthanizing a long neglected mental health system could lead to further difficulty amongst the mentally ill and the people who have to live around them and/or love them. It must seem shocking that any bad outcomes could ever come out of "reforms."

As a person who was alive in the US when all of the crazies were thrown out into the street without a net in preparation for their future jail/homeless/jail/homeless/dead therapeutic cycle, I'd like to add that more than this guy's son was screwed by Reagan.

chris123 2 days ago 0 replies      
The path to hell is paged with good intentions, in this case by young, well-meaning, but unqualified and overly-ambitious people who like the sound of their own voices and think they know what is best for others, but come to realize 25 years later that they really fucked things up for a lot of people they were supposed to be helping (guys, you are supposed to be helping the 99%, not the 1%). Better late than never, but what's he going to do beyond write an article to make himself feel better. Nothing, probably (that's a challenge to the author, if he's even here).
woodchuck64 2 days ago 0 replies      
Timothy D. Wilson's "Redirect" is relevant here and shows that a significant number of treatments for all manner of childhood and young adult issues skip one crucial yet obvious step: simple scientific testing. Instead, "common sense" often ends up the preferred approach to treating problem children, usually making the problem worse.


cwisecarver 2 days ago 2 replies      
It was a very interesting article and I really enjoyed reading it but why is it on Hacker News?
zanny 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nobody brought this up (what?) but how is this relevant to.. hacker news? I get that someone on here might be schizophrenic, but is this really on topic with startups, software, etc? If I want to get sad over incurable mental illness I'll go read r/politics or atheism (oioioi).
stretchwithme 2 days ago 0 replies      
My sympathies. My brother has this condition. His is manageable, thank goodness, but he went through a lot early on.

Charlie Rose had an interesting program about this topic and its biological causes:


dennish00a 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't believe that the author thought he was doing the right thing as a legislator! I think he was trying to save the state some money, without thinking carefully about how those savings would impact people's lives. As you sow...
TeMPOraL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you OP for linking to print version, it's much better for reading.
frozenport 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why does he let his schizophrenic son lives as a homeless man on the street?
Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile leap usatoday.com
312 points by mittermayr  4 days ago   202 comments top 26
lordlarm 4 days ago  replies      
Two funny insights from Neil deGrasse Tysons twitter:

«The "Edge of Space" jump: A corresponding fall to a schoolroom globe begins 1 millimeter above its surface. I'm just saying.» [1]

«I'm told somebody's jumping out of a perfectly good balloon from 23-miles up. The theory of gravity no longer needs to be tested in this way»[2]

Congrats to Felix and his team anyways - great endurance and a great show.

[1]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/257591067833139200
[2]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/255691761341587456

KevinEldon 4 days ago 1 reply      
This was special for me. I wasn't alive when the moon landings or early space program happened. Space shuttles were exciting, but mechanized and somehow predictable; I was probably too young to appreciate them and by the time I was old enough to appreciate what was going on they were routine (even that disasters were disasters not because it was crazy to try an launch some massive machine with a bunch of people in it into space, but because some sort of process or engineering failed... we expected success).

This was different. A balloon, a capsule, and a single man with a suit supported by years of engineering and hard work. My whole family watched as Felix stepped out onto the little skateboard sized step; we held our breaths as he jumped. We watched the infrared camera as he started to tumble and I wondered how I would explain his death to my 4-year old who was watching too. I'm glad I didn't have to. I'm glad I get to explain how hard work, engineering, bravery, a very talented team and a little bit of individual craziness can do some amazing things.

For me this was special to watch. Thanks to everyone who participated in making this event happen.

Arjuna 4 days ago 3 replies      
Preliminary (i.e., non-record certified) telemetry:

Exit altitude:

  128,100 ft
39,045 m

Free-fall time:


Free-fall distance:

  119,846 ft
36,529 m

Maximum velocity:

  373 m/s
1,342.8 km/h
833.9 mph
Mach 1.24

InclinedPlane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Confirmation from the post-jump press conference: mach 1.24.
WalterBright 4 days ago 6 replies      
I'd like to see if this can be extended to re-entering from orbit. This could make space travel more practical, as there'd be less weight dedicated to re-entry vehicles.

(The only thing that needs to come back from orbit is the astronaut. The whole idea of reusable spacecraft is completely impractical, as weight is by far the biggest expense.)

mittermayr 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hey, who changed the title? I submitted this as "Austrian" Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile-leap? What happened, HN?
at-fates-hands 4 days ago 1 reply      
Incredible. This kind of stuff puts my faith back in humanity. With all the horrible stuff going in the world, you see something like this and its simply amazing.

I actually got teary eyed when he landed and fell to his knees. Such a huge leap for the space program.

flyinglizard 4 days ago 0 replies      
All the while this kept playing in my head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBZeWjGjl8
mittermayr 4 days ago 3 replies      
GIF of the first five seconds or so
Roritharr 4 days ago  replies      
He failed breaking the record for longest free fall duration.

If he will get a second chance to do that?

Laremere 4 days ago 1 reply      
One giant leap for man, one small step for mankind.
Jarihd 4 days ago 1 reply      
He was spinning like crazy for quite some time - that literally had my heart beating like crazy - i was like - what's going to happen - is he unconscious - is the automatic parachute ejection not working - then; later was happy to seem him gain control on his free fall. :-)
andyjohnson0 4 days ago 0 replies      
First Man in Space - Skydiving From The Edge Of The World
mittermayr 4 days ago 0 replies      
i'd love to see some stats on youtube for this. i noticed over 6 million concurrent viewers, flipped to HD and it worked instantly ... it's purely amazing to push out these amounts of video data.
ninetax 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know where I can see this video? I missed the live jump...
nazgulnarsil 4 days ago 3 replies      
This might be a silly question, but couldn't his suit have added a tail to help prevent spinning?
psychotik 4 days ago 1 reply      
Any idea what type of camera was used to track his descent? Satellite imagery?
Jarihd 4 days ago 0 replies      
LIVE: Press Conference RedBull Stratos


freshfey 4 days ago 1 reply      
I loved the view from the balloon when he jumped, just incredible.

Is there a video of his on-man camera view?

padraigm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting coincidence: I noticed that October 14 is also the date that Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 [1].

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

pirateking 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I drink Red Bull - seriously. Transcendent marketing.
thomasilk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Felix and Red Bull! Makes me and so many others proud to be Austrian.
mrtriangle 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was watching this live yesterday and my heart skipped a beat when he took that leap off of the capsule. The balls on that guy.
ezequiel-garzon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone shed some light on the natural limit for this record?
tripzilch 4 days ago 0 replies      
"A giant leap for me, a small step for mankind."
ezpassmac 4 days ago 0 replies      
The BBC is airing a documentary about the fall in 4 weeks. It was 5 years in the making. Should be good.
The Magazine marco.org
313 points by rkudeshi  8 days ago   231 comments top 36
JCB_K 7 days ago  replies      
On the one hand I'm very excited by this; I see Marco as an interesting writer/speaker, when it comes to iOS development or when he geeks out about whatever gear he's recently bought. I also expect him to be a great editor, so I'd gladly pay money for a magazine put together by him.

But on the other hand...I'm really wondering why this needs to be an iOS app. Written content is perfect for publishing on the web, I really don't think you'll be running into any speed issues when you release this as a web magazine. And even if you would, why not make the content available both native and on the web?

I'm aware that Marco is an iOS developer, and that a lot of his readers (myself included) will have iOS devices, but for the sake of the open web I'm still slightly disappointed.

crazygringo 7 days ago  replies      
I was very excited about this, so I tried installing it on my iPhone 4S, with iOS5, and it says:

    This app requires iOS 6.

Really?! Already?? :( I didn't upgrade because I want to keep my maps app. I hope Marco changes it to be iOS 5-compatible, since I know a lot of people who aren't upgrading to iOS 6 until it has decent maps.

aresant 7 days ago 1 reply      
Next months cover story "Defending my choice of iOS to launch this magazine"

I am amused that by appealing to the tech audience Marco set his release up to be nitpicked not for content or concept but by platform choice. Fitting but almost too meta.

incision 7 days ago 4 replies      
Sounds good, I'd love to give it a try, but it appears to be tied to iOS. Confining what appears be minimalist text content to an app on a single platform seems a bit silly.
inmygarage 7 days ago 1 reply      
Protip: If you're searching in the app store, don't type "The Magazine", it won't come up. Instead use "The Magazine Marco" if you want to download.
andyjohnson0 7 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like material that I'd really like to read. Unfortunately I have no way to access it, since I don't own an iOS device.

I wonder why Marco wants to limit his readership to relatively small intersection between iOS 6 device owners and people who are interested in the subject matter. Isn't this rather restricting for him?

(edit: iOS 6)

Goronmon 7 days ago 4 replies      
Hopefully platform exclusive stuff like this doesn't become popular.
zach 7 days ago 2 replies      
For those of you wondering why The Magazine is on iOS (first) and not a website, the answer is simple. Marco is just replicating the successful Instapaper business model:


guelo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously Marco's business plan will be to build up anticipation and demand on other platforms and announce them over time. But I don't see how that will work if the content stays invisible. He will probably need to periodically release sample articles on the web to generate buzz, notice he already did this for the Foreword article.
joeguilmette 7 days ago 4 replies      
I would be all over this if there was a Kindle option. I don't like reading on LCD screens, especially when I have a gadget that is 100% dedicated to reading.
stephengillie 7 days ago 1 reply      
It publishes four articles every two weeks for $1.99 per month with a 7-day free trial.

If I get a 7-day trial, how do I know that those 7 days will coincide with the 14 day article release cycle? This doesn't line up, as though it were designed to be confusing.

That sentence is worded strangely - talking about a future project you're organizing as though it's an object of someone else's which already exists. It sounds impersonal and odd. How about:

"The Magazine will publish eight articles per month at a price of $1.99, and we offer a one week free trial."

tstegart 7 days ago 3 replies      
Try searching for "The Magazine" in the App Store. Shows you how well Apple's search algorithms work. App Store SEO is a black box, and I'm not even sure how Marco would improve his ranking with a name like "The Magazine."
*Note - iPad 1 can see the app in the App Store, but can't use it as it requires iOS 6.
kevinflo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Am I completely crazy or is there no way to cancel a subscription? I subscribed, but only to give it a shot during the 7 day trial. Currently it is set to auto-renew and charge me $1.99 after 7 days.

edit: Found out how to do it http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4098

What a RIDICULOUS process. I shouldn't have to google to find out how to do it in the first place.

ghshephard 7 days ago 0 replies      
First - this is easily, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one the best online Magazine App for the iPad. It's ironic how Time, New Yorker, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic - all offer such horrible experiences that I've deleted them from my iPad. Only NYT and "The Economist" aren't totally crappy (Though neither of them download in that background on my iOS 6 iPad 3... Grrr - But I bet Marco's App supports background downloading.)

Second - The article on Volatiles and Stables was worth an entire years subscription by itself. Marco made it easy for us to copy/paste the text - didn't trap the content like all those crappy magazine systems normally do. I've been madly copying that article and forwarding it to everyone in the company, with a prominent link to "The Magazine".

I'm guessing that He'll get at least 10 direct new subscriptions through me alone. WHo knows how many indirect subscriptions...

superos 7 days ago 1 reply      
Why didn't he call his new magazine "The Echo Chamber"?
njharman 7 days ago 1 reply      
> a modern iOS Newsstand publication for geeks like us that's loosely about technology, but also gives tech writers a venue to explore other topics that like-minded geeks might find interesting.

Maybe there's a market for magazine type media. It seems so backwards and nostalgic. Print imposed restrictions on size, format, timelyness, access, single voice (no comments), among others. The description of "The Magazine" sounds like what HN or Reddit already is.

Also something so pretentious to call itself "The Magazine" is gonna be filled with poseur hacks. Wired already fills that role.

masto 7 days ago 0 replies      
I figured I'd try it out, but lost my enthusiasm after unsuccessfully attempting to search for the app for five minutes.

Next time pick a distinctive name.

jfb 7 days ago 0 replies      
This could be great. Most digital magazines are terrible; while this won't solve the biggest problem (the magazine itself is a superior technology for reading), it could go a long ways towards a better reading experience. NEW YORKER I'M LOOKING AT YOU.
Osmium 7 days ago 1 reply      
I've just been looking through the most popular Newsstand apps, and it suddenly occurred to me what's wrong with it: all the thumbnails are of print magazine covers, and they're all too small to read! If that doesn't scream "doing it wrong" I don't know what does.

The cover's meant to advertise the issue and make me want to buy it and I can't even read it. Why does Newsstand not have a "In this issue" tab when you preview the app? Why do I have to buy the whole issue instead of just an article? Why can't I have a central list of articles, that I can search, and favourite and share? The Newsstand API isn't aggressive enough. It needs to bring these publications into the future before we lose them.

Traditional print publications, which are producing quality journalism, need to adapt to new technology and release something like what Marco's doing here instead of trying to cram their paper format into an app with all the cruft that that entails.

msrpotus 7 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like Hacker News but on iOS and curated by Marco. While I'm sure he's a great guy, I get something pretty similar for free, right here.
RexRollman 7 days ago 1 reply      
Periodicals as applications is a silly idea, IMHO. I can't bring myself to support this, even though I am a happy Instapaper user.
CrankyPants 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be downvoted for saying it, but this may be where the bloom comes off Marco's rose.

And, this comment's relevant to the HN crowd: most (if not all) successful entrepreneurs owe something to outside factors, but can develop a sort of "survivorship bias," whereby they feel like they're unduly sierra hotel.

Marco made a great app in Instapaper. Is his business and tech sector acumen as good as Instapaper?

We'll see.

pkamb 7 days ago 1 reply      
> Read this, plus more, in The Magazine's app for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. Start your free, 1-week trial.


What's with the "®"s? Seems like something Marco would complain about on B&A. (Also, that entire button should be clickable.)

brackin 7 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that content should be written for a platform. Which is why putting magazines on newsstand by putting images in an application hasn't sold well. This content targets the iOS using audience and is written for the format.

The tools iOS provide will at least allow them to test if selling an iOS only publication works.

pinder 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm assuming most people on this thread have the Newsstand app buried on the last page and have explored how to remove it completely.
chj 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see why this could not be released as a web app:

1. Access from any device;
2. Charging via PayPal isn't worse if not better than the App Store.

quinndupont 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any chance the writing will be any good, compared to the long-standing, excellent journalism that already exists? I'll keep getting my quality journalism from New Yorker, The Nation, The Guardian, etc.
dr_ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully he can succeed where The Daily has failed.
bconway 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would be interested in a paid RSS option.
tlrobinson 7 days ago 0 replies      
I can't see to get the App Store URL to work.
arjn 7 days ago 1 reply      
if its for IOS only then I cant access it. Also, I question the "geeks like us" part. Why not just publish it as a downloadable PDF or EPUB or something along those lines ?
techpeace 7 days ago 1 reply      
I can't seem to get the "start your free trial" link to function from the "Introduction" article.
abacus 7 days ago 0 replies      
The content is basically long-form hacker news, only made worse because now it's 'curated' with whatever lofty theoretical mission 'The Magazine' espouses. Nice looking app but those four articles bored me to the point of canceling my 7 day trial.
Chico75 7 days ago 0 replies      
We want a kindle version !
protomyth 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is the content good?
dmorgan 7 days ago 0 replies      
>Introducing The Magazine: a modern iOS Newsstand publication for geeks like us that's loosely about technology, but also gives tech writers a venue to explore other topics that like-minded geeks might find interesting.

So, also boring stuff about brewing coffee and typefaces?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos calls for governments to end patent wars metro.co.uk
308 points by mtgx  1 day ago   107 comments top 22
theevocater 1 day ago  replies      
People have already been making this mistake: calling out Jeff Bezos over Amazon's one-click patent is a strawman by the name of tu quoque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque). This is a non-argument. Being a hypocrite doesn't make you less correct.

Regardless of past transgressions, Jeff Bezos is right. Governments and their people need to examine their patent laws (I would argue all IP laws) and figure out what the right amount of protection is necessary given our modern world.

TeMPOraL 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes, maybe Bezos is a hypocrite. His company has a history of abusing the patent system and he's now realizing that software patents are a Bad Thing because he's just about to get on the receiving side of them [0]. So what?

Even if he doesn't have the moral high ground, it doesn't change that he's right. And that's a good thing; it's better to have one hypocrite in power with ability to change things for good, even if he does it for selfish reasons, than to have one hundred morally pure [1] people who don't have the power or means to do anything else than whine. Google, Amazon, and others may not be white like snow, but they would serve good as temporary allies in fixing things for everyone.


(In general, I hate when people throw around the label of 'hypocrite'; quite often it's just an distracting ad hominem.)

[0] - but hey, "it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair)

[1] - then again, how many of us are really so innocent? How many would stand to principle if offered a chance to patent some silly software "invention" and thus speed up career development?

SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
How ironic given the first ridiculous software patent I remember was Amazon's one-click purchase patent that it use as a cudgel against many e-tailers in the late nineties (and may still, for all I know).

EDIT: Not saying there weren't other ridiculous software patents; just that this one got a lot of press at the time and brought software patents to developers attention in a way that hadn't happened before.

adastra 1 day ago 1 reply      
I look forward to Bezos matching his words with actions.

It's pretty well known that Amazon's lobbying in DC is entirely focused on preventing Amazon from having to pay state sales taxes. Bezos has never lifted a finger to help any other tech cause -- note that Bezos didn't co-sign the open letter on SOPA from tech CEO's[1], and that Amazon didn't co-sign the company letter[2], for example.

If he does become active on this, that's great. But given his history I'd be shocked if he put real resources behind it. And until he does it will just be empty words.

[1] http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/14/tech-execs-anti-sopa-lette...

[2] http://www.protectinnovation.com/downloads/letter.pdf

OldSchool 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think we all would love to see an end to patent threats in software not so much for the sake of the big players but for the sake of small businesses attempting to bring a product to life. If it took Amazon to make it happen then great. Heck, if Steve Ballmer brought an end to software patents I'd be thrilled.

Whatever ill will Amazon created amongst the technorati more than a decade ago pales now in comparison to Ballmer's inept continuation of Microsoft and the post-iPhone Apple walled garden and patent actions. Less obvious but significant are the erosions to privacy brought on with the help of Google. I vote Jeff Bezos "least evil" at this moment. Someone I know even said he was a "nice guy." Small sample, yes.

I'm not particularly hopeful that we'll see meaningful legal reform in software patents. There is too much money to be made by lawyers in filing and litigation. Their brethren in government making the laws are't going to one day just shut down this little parasitic industry that feeds many of their friends and likely contributors.

Until then, where's the most troll-free place from which to conduct a software business? Black and white immunity is not necessary, just a not-worth-the-effort situation for trolls??

suresk 1 day ago 4 replies      
This rings about as hollow as if it were Tim Cook complaining about closed ecosystems. Bezos likely realizes that as Amazon moves into making and selling mobile devices and tablets, they too will be targets for patent litigation.
DannyBee 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should just retitle this article "Jeff Bezos finally realizes he's next"
sehugg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Bezos's 2000 open letter on patents: http://oreilly.com/news/amazon_patents.html

Good sentiment, but it's twelve years later and the only positive action we've seen from Amazon concerning patent reform is an offhand comment to a reporter. How's that prior art database coming along, for example? Forgive me for not getting too excited.

Klinky 1 day ago 0 replies      
I completely agree with Bezos as it's absurd that companies can patent things like rounded corners or 1-Click shopping, oh, oh wait...
cloverich 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is he a hypocrite?

To exist as a tech company today, you'd be insane to NOT patent as much as possible. Seriously, if you're developing tech to compete with Apple (or any large tech co), but have no IP of your own, you're defenseless. Thats the impression I get, anyways - that you're best bet is to patent as much as possible. The more vague, the more absurd, the better. It offers more bargaining chips. Because lets face it - can a non multi-million dollar company survive a couple of lawsuits by one of the tech giants? I doubt it.

Patent warfare is a systematic issue; its not unreasonable to attack the system (Gov't sponsored patents). That's what I take from this message. I'm sure there's a Game Theory term for this, but its clearly not something that can be resolved outside of the system. Anyone who stops the lawsuits (or threat of) quickly disappears.

stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sort of like 1973, when the largest stockpilers of nuclear weapons started to talk about limiting them. The weapons holder is in a unique position to know how bad the use of weapons can be.
antidoh 1 day ago 0 replies      
If anyone has credibility here, it's Bezos (for reasons listed in other posts). Not sarcasm.
waterlesscloud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Geez guys, when someone hands you a victory, take it.
conanite 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article ends with

  Mr Bezos would not be drawn on whether Amazon plans to
release a smartphone of its own.

Amazon's plans in the smartphone market may be influencing Jeff's argument.

lh7777 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Jeff Bezos calls for governments to end patent wars" seems a bit dramatic when you consider his actual statements.
From the article, he actually said (emphasis mine):

"...we're _starting_ to be in a world where [patents] might start to stifle innovation...Governments _may_ need to look at the patent system and _see_ if those laws need to be modified..."

If he truly believes that the patent system needs to change (and I really think he does), couldn't he have left those qualifiers out? As it is these just seem like timid observations, far from a call for governments to step in and do something.

krrrh 1 day ago 1 reply      
What a weak article. The interviewer had Jeff Bezos complaining about patents, and never brought up one-click? He never asked about consistency of position, or if it the uncertainty of being a new entrant into an established market had given him a new perspective on the factors that encourage innovation. The paucity of actual quotes or dialogue in the piece make it seem like the full interview (linked to from the OA) was conducted by sitting behind Bezos in business class and scribbling down what was overheard.
WalterBright 1 day ago 1 reply      
Realistically, the only way the patent wars can end is if Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft all get behind ending it.
chj 1 day ago 0 replies      
He had very good reasons, Amazon is going to sell a lot of kindle fire and people are going to come after them.
CrankyBear 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd respect this more if he hadn't patented 1-click shopping. Oh yeah, that was innovative. Now that he has "his," he wants to change the rules. Love your company Jeff, hate your IP policy and not impressed by your flip-flopping.
duxup 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't say exactly what change he wants.

The devil is in the details.

merwill 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think more important than the level of protection at this point is public knowledge and awareness of just what patents are out there. One project that might galvanize federal action just launched and is seeking crowdfunding to shed light in this arena.

Specifically, IP Checkups aims to map out the patents and shell companies of Intellectual Ventures, and potentially other mass aggregators, to foster public knowledge and the original purposes of the patent system. For more information, see: news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57532492-38/patent-activists-lets-light-up-intellectual-ventures-ip-portfolio/

milesli 1 day ago 0 replies      
The government has been pretty busy with the debates, I don't think they have attention to patent wars.
How I'm Making Five-Figures A Month Off Bootstrapped Products planscope.io
307 points by bdunn  6 days ago   209 comments top 26
patio11 5 days ago 3 replies      
I had an experience very similar to Brennan's recently. Appointment Reminder, the SaaS which I wish was the center of gravity of my business at the moment, is profitable but not profitable enough to hire the folks and buy the things that I want to accelerate growth of it.

So I have been supporting it by consulting, but when I'm consulting I'm not selling Appointment Reminder accounts, and consulting is always more distracting than I expect it to be. (You think I would realize this after two years of it, but I persistently underestimate how much time it takes to e.g. prospect for new clients, negotiate/schedule engagements, travel to them, and deal with follow-up stuff like invoices.)

The traditional option for scaling a software business with a working product and actual customers is to take investment, but that's another ball of wax. There's fairly attractive options in angel investing these days, but taking any outside money would have an outsized effect on the character of my business at the moment, and I'm not ready to pull that trigger yet. Also, like consulting, raising an investment round is a very distracting event -- it basically commits you to months of doing near no productive work. (And unlike consulting, taking investment causes time debt which is impossible to discharge until you exit your business: you're now committed to keeping those investors happy and in the loop for, well, forever in business terms.)

But, having seen a lot of smart software companies do side projects (37signals was a big fan of it, and Amy Hoy and company have quite a bit of success) I decided to try my hand at it once and see how it went. So I started packaging one of my most-commonly-a-win consulting offerings as an online course, and decided to experiment with it once. (And, like Brennan says and like everybody in the space will tell you, I started by making an email list and sending them lots of free stuff they enjoyed which further burnished my credibility on the subject.)

The experiment was very successful: my customers seem to have liked what I produced, many of them have actually used it to positive effect in their business, and it raised a significant amount of money. (I'll probably blog in detail about it later).

An unanticipated side effect was, because of the topic I picked for my video course, I actually sat down and took all my own advice for a change (AR had an email strategy which I would have never let fly at a consulting client simply because I shipped the minimum necessary and never revisited that decision), and that ended up working out very well.

So, basically, yes: confirmation from someone else, this does work and it is perfectly compatible with running a software business.

amix 5 days ago  replies      
Let me present another view why I dislike this kind of selling. I think this author sells a story of how they got rich and how you also can get rich (and how you can do this easily) It's a common scheme and I think the only people that are getting rich by this are the people that are selling this kind of knowledge.

The problem (at least based on my experience) is that building anything successful takes a huge amounts of dedication and effort -- there's also a large margin for failure. It's simply not something that's easy to reproduce and you probably won't make five-figures a month by selling things to a mailing list. Or create a 30x500 product and instantly be your own boss. And sure, there are some that are going to succeed at this (and great for them!), but presenting this like anybody will get rich by just following a scheme rings off alarm clocks, especially when this kind of knowledge is sold at a high cost.

johnrob 5 days ago  replies      
The depressing truth about the software business is that most of the success stories take the form "and then I started spending all my time on marketing, and my business took off!".

I say depressing because most software developers didn't choose their profession out of a burning desire to become a marketer.

qeorge 5 days ago 0 replies      
Brennan also just did a really good podcast with Patrick (patio11) and Keith Perhac on how freelancers should double their rates (with transcription!). Definitely recommend it to anyone who sells services.


nhangen 5 days ago 1 reply      

We met at LessConf, and talked quite a bit. I think you're a great guy and you are obviously very talented and very smart.

But...I got into this business because I got tired of the get rich blogging circle jerk I was part of in the past, and I'm very disappointed to see it coming into the tech world too.

I don't take issue with what you are doing, but between the turn Andrew took at Mixergy (pumping out a bunch of subpar marketing courses), the #leanstartup hysteria, and Frank Kern's IM marketing buddies infiltrating the space, I'm grossed out by the pitching and the polish.

Please let there be solace from this stuff somewhere...

scorpioxy 5 days ago 3 replies      
I've been thinking about trying one of the mentioned courses because I am trying to transition from side projects just to scratch an itch to services that people would actually use. So figured that learning from the experience of people who've done it before (Amy, Patrick, Brennan...) would cut down on the trial and error phase.

But how would I shake the feeling that these exist as part of the marketing scheme that the entrepreneurs engage in. These courses are not exactly cheap, but you know... "How do you make $10,000 selling an ebook online? Write an ebook that promises to teach people how to make $10,000 selling an ebook online"

abootstrapper 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't mean to pick on OP, but I'm always a little surprised at how some authors can make money, by writing about how to make money. When in fact, the way they made money was selling books about it, not necessarily by the advice found in their books.

I personally don't feel qualified to write about how to build a successful business, because I feel my business isn't satisfactorily large or successful enough. Though I'm pretty sure I could write about it. I guess I'm surprised to see peers doing this as a means to become successful and raise money. It's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy.

ricardobeat 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see how riting and workshops are "bootstrapped products". They won't be bringing nearly as much revenue in six months. A better title would be "How I'm financing my startup by selling books/courses" but I guess that doesn't fit the sales pitch so well.
bdunn 6 days ago 4 replies      
As always, available to answer any questions or share any metrics.
atomical 5 days ago 1 reply      
How much time do you spend on SEO for Planscope? What percentage of paid customers sign up through organic search?
hristov 5 days ago 0 replies      
So what you are saying is that the successful business model is shifting to selling shovels to the poor hopeful fools coming off the boat. I do hope that is not the case. I hope there is still gold in the mountains.
stevewilhelm 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a bit misleading to say "Five-Figures A Month" when you only have one month's of data.

Let's see that graph in a year's time.

ryanwaggoner 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post. I'm a huge fan of Brennan's ebook (we're about to do a discounted promotion of it to our 7500-developer-strong mailing list at http://21times.org) and it's already paid for itself hundreds of times over for me.

That said, the most exciting thing out of all the items he's making money from (consulting, ebook, workshop, and planscope) is planscope, because of that steady climb in monthly recurring revenue. Give it a couple years and that will dwarf everything else he's doing, and give him a nice platform from which to still bring in spikes of cash from info-products or workshops.

I'm starting to wonder if I should have ponied up the cash for Amy Hoy's 30x500 course (I believe Brennan is a graduate). Speaking of which, Amy is another poster child for this approach of SaaS + info products.

nathanbarry 5 days ago 1 reply      
Brennan, congratulations! It is well deserved. I've had a lot of success selling a book, but now it is time to make the switch to recurring revenue.
joshcrews 5 days ago 1 reply      
on getting out of consulting-- wouldn't that slowly age your relevance on marketing products/workshops/ebooks as an expert on running a consulting company? Why not keep some consulting business to stay 'in the game'?
tuxidomasx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Selling products to people who have subscribed to an email list may be a great way to get customers. But part of the secret sauce is getting people to be on your list in the first place. I was hoping the article would touch on that a bit more.

Where do you find people who are potential customers who willingly want you to market to them? If I could master that, the sky is the limit.

peterjancelis 5 days ago 1 reply      
Edit: Problem solved. Thanks Brennan!
sown 5 days ago 1 reply      
How does one come up with something to sell? I don't know anything about PM so I could never write something like that.
kordless 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a database connection error.
mandeepj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Guys, I am sorry if you think this is a bad comment but I had this question in my mind so I thought of putting it up here.

Now most of life runs off of smart phones which basically comes off with softwares like Appointment Reminder, time scheduling, notes etc (basically productivity suites) so I am not sure investing in this type of software will even let you break even. Although I see these pre-installed softwares are missing features like synchronization across phones. We are talking about SAAS software so I will not talk about inside office premises hosted software.

So again I am not sure how one see Appointment Reminder software business as a profitable one.

brador 5 days ago 4 replies      
You don't have a business until you hire your first employee. Until then, you're just a dude trying to make a living.
munyukim 6 days ago 1 reply      
Quite an innovative way of making runway money
JimWestergren 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very interesting, just bought your book.
laurentoget 5 days ago 1 reply      
cool...more get rich quick schemes!
bdunn 5 days ago 2 replies      
Because when I took that screenshot (last week), we we're only 1/3 of the way through October :-)
Things I wish I knew about MongoDB a year ago snmaynard.com
295 points by beastmcbeast  1 day ago   99 comments top 8
dia80 1 day ago  replies      
Genuine question:

In what use cases does mongo kick mysql's ass?

I've used it a couple of times in hobby projects and enjoyed not maintaining a schema. I read so many of these 'gotcha' style articles and for example one commenter here wants to have a manual "recently dirty" flag to combat the master / slave lag mentioned in the article. I know it's faster (tm) but once you have to take in to account all this low level stuff you have to worry about yourself wouldn't it just be better to rent/buy another rack of mysql servers and not worry about it?

Look forward to learning something...

lars512 1 day ago 2 replies      
The inconsistent reads in replica sets is something we've come across with MySQL read slaves as well. I think it's a gotcha of that whole model of replication, rather than a MongoDB-specific issue.
tomschlick 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm so glad this wasn't another case of someone just ranting about using mongo for the wrong purpose and being mad about it a year later.
nevinera 1 day ago 1 reply      
>Range queries are indexed differently

If I'm reading your description right, this is hardly mongo-specific. Try it in mysql, for example:

(index is [:last, :first])

  select first from names 
where last in ('gordon','holmes','watson')
order by first;

An index is an ordering by which a search may be performed -
to illustrate, the index for my small table looks pretty much like this:

  gordon, jeff
holmes, mycroft
holmes, sherlock
watson, john

Unless the first key is restricted to a single value, it can't order by the second key without performing at least a merge-sort. They aren't in that order in the index.

nickzoic 1 day ago 0 replies      
The count({condition}) one is a worry. I'm guessing it is slow in the case where it has to page the index in in order to count it. I wonder if it is still a problem where the index is used a lot anyway. A fix in MongoDB would seem a lot better solution than having everyone implement their own hacky count-caching solution.

EDIT: Actually, looking at the bug reports, sounds like maybe lock contention on the index?

The master/slave replication problem seems bad but I think it can be worked around (for my particular project) with a flag on the user session ... if they've performed a write in the last 30 seconds, set slaveOkay = false. Users who are just browsing may experience a slight delay in seeing new documents but users who are editing stuff will see their edits immediately.

jameswyse 1 day ago 2 replies      
One thing I love MongoDB for is it's geospatial indexing abilities: http://www.mongodb.org/display/DOCS/Geospatial+Indexing

Was a really nice surprise when I was building a location based web app.

chris123 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is MongoDB more marketing hype than quality product? I've heard it before and this article seems to point in that direction as well.
bengaoir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish I knew that it sucked.
The game of life emulated in the game of life jwz.org
294 points by koide  7 days ago   79 comments top 23
huskyr 7 days ago  replies      
The presence or absence of the eater indicates whether the cell should be on in the next meta-generation. The state of the eater is read by the collision of two antiparallel LWSSes, which radiates two antiparallel gliders (not unlike an electron-positron reaction in a PET scanner). These gliders then collide into beehives, which are restored by a passing LWSS in Brice's elegant honeybit reaction.

Reading Game of Life descriptions feels like reading papers about quantum physics :)

jamesrcole 6 days ago 2 replies      
I think GoL unit cells http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/Unit_cell like this demonstrate an important point. That there's certain limitations to our knowledge of reality.

Imagine an intelligent being in a GoL board, made of a huge pattern of cells (just like we're made of a huge number of atoms).

Even though when we look at a GoL board, we know it's made up of cells and that everything operates according to a fixed number of rules, this intelligent being wouldn't just be able to know this. It's perceptual system would be made of these elements (perhaps it somehow uses spaceships to find out about what is out there). Remember that you can't just "see" reality - you need inputs and to infer what's out there on the basis of them. The sort of view of its reality it could infer would be much more coarsely grained than at the level of individual cells, just as our unaided view of reality is much more coarsely grained than the level of individual atoms.

That intelligent GoL being could observe the way things behave and, on the basis of this, theorise the GoL rules - that everything was a bunch of cells, and that if there's an empty cell and it has three neighbours then that cell will be 'on' in the next moment, and so forth.

And if it existed in a 'standard' Game of Life board, it would have theorised correctly. But if it lived in a Game of Life board where each of the cells it has posited is actually one of these unit cells like in the linked page, then there would be a deeper reality than it realises (and of course there could be 'deeper levels' within that).

There's no way that GoL being could tell.

rubidium 7 days ago 0 replies      
Simply amazing. I hadn't heard about "Life enthusiasts" until reading the linked articles in the post. The OTCA metapixel (http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/OTCA_metapixel) is what allows this to work.

I bet Dwarf Fortress and Life enthusiasts would get along.

dexen 7 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the movie -- to show the 3rd level just as well, camera should pan out to include the programmer ;-)
espinchi 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'll go get the mop to clean up the pieces of my brain that are now all over the floor.

After spending some time before reading up on the Game of Life, I'm amazed by this meta implementation.

By the way, why not go on and on recursively?

dllthomas 6 days ago 0 replies      
It is completely unsurprising that this is possible - GoL is turing complete and obviously we can run GoL on turing equivalent systems.

It is really awesome that someone was able to do the attendant engineering work.

TheEzEzz 6 days ago 0 replies      
It should be possible to make a closed loop video. When you zoom out to the full meta level it is exactly the same as the initial frame of the movie. Then the whole thing can be looped seamless forever, as you zoom out to meta-meta-meta levels.
po 6 days ago 0 replies      
Also interesting to nerds like me is that the annoying audio in the video is a seemingly always-increasing tone called a Shepard Tone:


edit: …and now reading that I've stumbled across the Tritone paradox which I wasn't familiar with and is equally cool.


leeoniya 7 days ago 1 reply      
Yo Dawg! But more seriously, is that carefully arranged structure required for it to work as shown? It seems a slight variation would cause it to evolve into disarray.
dchichkov 6 days ago 0 replies      
The size of the field, is it fixed or growing? I guess, if it is fixed, this implementation still needs some work...

Either way, I think that Turing Machine with infinitely growing stacks [see http://rendell-attic.org/gol/fullutm/index.htm] is a way cooler.

sakai 6 days ago 2 replies      
Bizarre / incredible timing. I just created an interactive D3.js implementation of Conway's Game of Life yesterday: http://boydgreenfield.com/conwayjs/

Would love to hear peoples' thoughts...

(And sorry for the promotion)

unabridged 6 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite thing to do with metacells is to destroy a small part of one of them and watch the chaos. Digital cancer.
joezydeco 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm gonna wake up and get flushed out a sewer pipe, aren't I?
danielatc 7 days ago 1 reply      
There even is a 3D version of the SmoothLife algorithm out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxaOnOVGepI

Very very cool stuff!

vastinfest 7 days ago 1 reply      
I better wait for the game of life emulated in the game of life emulated in the game of life..

Sorry.. I was forced at a gunpoint to do that..

shocks 6 days ago 0 replies      
Save yourself and mute the video.
lelf 6 days ago 0 replies      
jared314 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you also implemented it on other GOL variants (pentagonal, hexagonal, multicolored) it would be a virtual machine.

Makes me want to build a compiler back-end for one of the GOL turing machines.

k00pa 7 days ago 2 replies      
That background sound is annoying...
eranation 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the video that inspired this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtJ77qsLrpw
Cbasedlifeform 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm old enough (sigh) to remember reading about Life in a Martin Gardner column 40 years ago and playing it on a piece of graph paper.
digeridoo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I never quite get the excitement over game of life (is emergent behaviour really that surprising?), but this is extremely impressive.
Surprisingly undervalued books nabeelqu.com
276 points by nqureshi  5 days ago   95 comments top 25
gruseom 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'll pipe up for Impro. One of my favorite books. Well, the first half is " it's a meditation on life and the universe as much as it is about theater, and it changed my mind in some cool ways. It's useful for anyone doing creative work, especially collaborative creative work, definitely including programmers. It's also very funny. The second half is about mask work and trance, which I was expecting to be fascinating, but it fell short of the sparkling magic of the first half. The material isn't as generally accessible and probably depends more on knowing how they use masks in production. Johnstone says that the masks have their own personalities, which actors take on when they wear them, and that's probably why he relies on them so much. His tastes in theater run away from personal expression toward simple universals. He's always telling actors to be more boring, and that the worst thing you can do is try to be interesting or clever.

Johnstone lives in my town in Western Canada. I ran into him in Safeway once. He's very tall and his eyes go in two different directions so he looks down at you rather quizzically from two different angles with his head tilted like a bird. I told him I loved his book, and he grunted "Good" and turned around and walked away. A few paces later he yelled "I'm glad it's useful!" and then went out of sight.

He's probably a genius. He was well-known in the celebrated London theatre scene of the 1950s, but came to find it stifling because he couldn't try whatever ideas he wanted without worrying what somebody famous would think. Then he went to teach at some remote place on Vancouver Island and discovered that he could think and do whatever he wanted. He liked that so much that he got a position in my town and stayed there permanently, presumably because there was nobody there who mattered!

mjn 5 days ago 5 replies      
Undervaluing Wittgenstein isn't really consistent with what I've read in American philosophy at least. If you go by objective metrics (which would be the Moneyball approach), he consistently tops the citation counts, and beyond that, is considered central to many areas. Probably only Heidegger gives him a run for most broadly influential 20th-century philosopher (though it's hard to compare directly, because they've been influential on quite different groups).

He's been particularly influential on analytic philosophy via Saul Kripke, among other interpreters. In popularity contests, he routinely gets voted #1 most influential philosopher in polls of academic philosophers as well, e.g. in a 1999 poll of mostly UK/US academic philosophers (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Lac...) and in a Brian Leiter straw poll (http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/so-who-is-the-...). The former one concludes that Philosophical Investigations is "the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations".

An interesting question might be who is undervalued on those lists: is there someone halfway down, or not on the list at all, who should be near the top?

nkoren 5 days ago 2 replies      
+1 for Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It's superb.

I'd add A Pattern Language to the list. It's actually been very appropriately valued by the programming community, but massively undervalued by its intended audience of architects and urban planners. Should've been the architecture and planning book of the 20th century; instead most design professionals have never heard of it. Their loss!

msluyter 4 days ago 2 replies      
A lot of great books, but it's unclear to me that most of these are actually "undervalued." Check out the blurb on the back cover of Philosophical Investigations, for example:

Immediately upon its posthumous publication in 1953, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations was hailed as a masterpiece, and the ensuing years have confirmed this initial assessment. Today it is widely acknowledged to be the single most important philosophical work of the twentieth century.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has had a huge impact. From Amazon: "Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book."

Same with The Inner Game of Tennis -- it was groundbreaking when it came out in 1972 and had a huge impact not just on tennis, or even sports generally, but on musicians, artists, performers, or anything with a critical mental game. Back when I was working on my music degree it was required reading.

Is it possible that the author thinks these books are undervalued simply because many of them were released a while ago (when he was young or not yet born) and thus they aren't currently being hyped and/or in the limelight? That, or perhaps they're simply not that popular within the author's social circle?

wickedchicken 4 days ago 0 replies      
Operators and Things, a (supposed) first-person account of a schizophrenic who recovered from the condition and wrote about her experience. The second half of the book is where it really shines, since the author attempts to analyze her experience as a window into the inner workings of her cognition: how it broke down, what she experienced when it did, how it recovered itself, and what led to it. Since the author is anonymous, and talking about one's mind is very introspective, it's hard to take away real science from the book but I found it fascinating nonetheless. While I really dislike pseudoscientific explanations of brain functioning, after reading this I took up the idea that the conscious mind is more of a time-slice scheduler and message-passer than where the actual computation is done. So concentration is about controlling your unconscious indirectly, like training a puppy how to play fetch: you give it suggestions of what to do, and ignore it when it doesn't do that :).

I'm linking to the Amazon page, but IIRC the book is old enough to be in the public domain and there is a free text version somewhere.


ubershmekel 4 days ago 2 replies      
The interesting thing about Money Ball was that Billy Beane pioneered an analytic model for evaluating the true value vs subjectively perceived value of players.

This list was purely an opinion piece. It was the result of a subjective appraisal of both books, and the public opinion of them.

I'm quite disappointed.

blindhippo 5 days ago 2 replies      
"Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them."

I find this illuminating - philosopher's aren't concerned with answers. They are concerned with the questions. An interesting contrast between the scientific/engineering mindset and the philosophical mindset.

mck- 4 days ago 2 replies      
For me, the most undervalued book is The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian y Morales.

It's a small book of very condensed and timeless wisdom in the form of maxims, written very poetically. It's not a self-help book, the kind you might picture. (any book is self-help in some way).

Perusing 5-10 maxims a day about 5 years ago heavily influenced the way I live my life, and still defines my character today.

gnosis 5 days ago 1 reply      
Also see:

"Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?"


Slashdot has many problems, but this was actually a pretty interesting and informative thread.

codewright 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's a good list for cherry-picking a couple reading ideas, but the amateur comments about philosophy weren't well-received by this individual.

> I find that it's thoroughly undervalued by philosophers

Doing okay so far...

>though, who see it as an arcane and eccentric work of little value

Not so sure about that...the timing for Wittgenstein's work might've been unfortunate, given that people were starting to become infatuated with existentialism around the same time. That was as more of a pop-culture phenomenon than an academic fad though.

>it's a difficult thing to read

Okay again...

>Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

Hrm, no. A lot of the questions concerning philosophy and the method for answering all of them?

I sincerely doubt any work that could described in such terms would be as obscure as he proposes. This borders on the illogic of conspiracy theorists believing they've found some secret truth.

A bizarre flash of irrationality in an otherwise great post.

JoeAltmaier 5 days ago 4 replies      
6. ‘Principles‘ (pdf) by Ray Dalio.

Tried reading it. His life storey reads like an entrepreneur who started by trying to fit in (held several corporate jobs), failed (fired for insubordination) then started his own company.

The rest reads like a self-help book written by an amateur. Some gushing about physics and natural history (which a HBS graduate probably finds unfathomable and mysterious). Then some deep discussion of his own inner psyche; why do successful people assume its their own uniquness that made them succeed and not, for instance, market conditions or good advice?

Then I gave up. Is very wordy, very very wordy, and not many of the words worth slogging through. At least the part I saw.

endymi0n 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had a very similar thought one year ago - for me one of the undervalued books back then was "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie. The title was so smarmy and offputting for me (yeah, it's 70 years old...) that I skipped this gem for way too long, when it's basically everything you will ever need to deal with and manage people in a few hundred pages...
lhnz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've read Impro and it's a great book.

There is another book that I want to recommend to other Hacker News readers and that is 'Language in Thought and Action' by S.I. Hiyakawa[0]. Honestly, reading that changed my life.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Language-Thought-Action-Fifth-Edition/...

graeme 4 days ago 1 reply      
This post made me happily spend ~$100.

Quick tip for anyone trying to get older editions of some of these books: use Abebooks

For example, some of the drawing on the right reviews mention that the 1989 edition is better. I find this happens with many new editions of older books.

You can find near good as new editions of older books on Abebooks, at very reasonable prices. I used it to get a great copy of SICP, and just now ordered a version of How To Win Friends And Influence People published during Dale Carnegie's life, as Paul Graham recommended.

cvursache 5 days ago 1 reply      
Happily read your blog post but the assertions about Wittgenstein rang alarm bells. It may be that his works are ignored in the UK right now, but paraphrasing Brian Magee: "Philosophy is subject to fashion". So it may just be a question of trend in philosophy.

> it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

For me that sounds like "Node.js contains the method to solving all programming problems.".

dlevine 4 days ago 0 replies      
The book "Mastery" by George Leonard is a distilled version of "The Inner Game of Tennis." Highly recommended, and it can be had for a few bucks shipped on Amazon.
jberryman 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Inner Game of Tennis is very widely read among classical musicians. Probably other types of performers as well.
ivankirigin 4 days ago 1 reply      
Baseball is largely zero sum. Reading isn't. Finding good books regardless of reputation is the way to go. But knowing what is good is hard, so you should trust persona recommendations first and ten reputation.
acmiller 5 days ago 1 reply      
+1 for Stephen Booth. I was fortunate enough to take his 17th century English poetry class at Cal. He's the only lecturer who could make poetry resonate with my geek brain.

It's funny how some classes stay with you over the years.

_feda_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think a typical sampling of the HN crowd would be familiar with the work of J.D Salinger outside of Catcher and the Rye, but as someone who's loved these stories intensely since my mid-teens, I can't recommend them enough. In fact the mere mention of Seymour: An Introduction in the article sent shivers down my spine, reminding me of the amazing originality and artistry of this writer that I haven't experienced for several years now (I very rarely read fiction now). I won't bother summarizing the stories here, but if you have even a passing interest in zen, religion, literature or (at the risk of sounding pretentious) life itself then this is required reading in my book.
andreyon 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have read Impro and found it quite good yet can't remember anything related to newtonian mechanics... but I wanted to read it again anyway :)
Codhisattva 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 thoughts - "under appreciated" is a better way of thinking of it. And, there's no accounting for taste.
atas 4 days ago 0 replies      
'The Olduvai imperative'. Especially the introduction and the first couple of chapters.
lr--rw-rwx 5 days ago 1 reply      
I will add:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

windu 5 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for Wittgenstein
Building websites in Python with Flask maximebf.com
272 points by dabent  7 days ago   56 comments top 21
whalesalad 7 days ago 5 replies      
I wish more people would contribute information on using Flask at a larger scale. Everyone and their brother has written a basic tutorial outlining how to get up and running with Flask. This is a GREAT post and I do not want to demean it ... however I think that a lot of this can be gleaned from following along with the docs and experimenting with Flask in general.

I'd really love to see/hear some stories of others using Flask at a slightly larger scale. For example ... did your startup build their REST API in Flask? Sure, people say it's possible and outline a basic hello-world style REST app ... but in my experience it became a pain in the ass very quick. Primarily because no structure is enforced.

After being a Python dev for a long time, building quite a few big Django apps and a handful of tiny Flask apps I have finally jumped ship to Rails. I spent a week experimenting with various Pythonic combinations. Ultimately I had to ask myself ... "Why am I doing this? What the hell am I wasting my time with this lightweight framework?" I've built my current REST API in Rails and would not have it any other way. It's been tremendously efficient and performs great on my little Linode in London + PostgreSQL.

3amOpsGuy 7 days ago 1 reply      
Great tutorial, a good level of detail too.

The only other thing i'd mention for Flask newbies would be the excellent debugger facility in Werkzeug (effectively a part of Flask).

I lied, one more reference - the guy that wrote flask (bit of a genius, also has a bunch of other excellent libraries) has shared slides from some talks he's given, they're really worth a read too: http://lucumr.pocoo.org/talks/

Bucket list 2013, attend a talk by Armin Ronacher.

joeshaw 7 days ago 1 reply      
A good tutorial, but it was missing any mention of blueprints, which are essential to building a Flask site larger than a few endpoints. Blueprints also allow you to reuse components across multiple apps, or as releasing a set of endpoints as open source libraries that can be easily plugged into other apps.

Edit: adding a link to Blueprints in the Flask docs: http://flask.pocoo.org/docs/blueprints/

RegEx 7 days ago 0 replies      
Good read. I wrote a similar Flask introductory article[0] on how I moved my Wordpress site/blog over to Flask. The source code of my site can be viewed on github[1].

[0]: http://vertstudios.com/blog/new-flask-site/
[1]: https://github.com/joequery/Vert-Flask

corford 7 days ago 1 reply      
Flask is awesome and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone curious about doing webdev in python.

When I was starting out, I found the source code to the Flask website itself really helpful for getting to grips with the basics: https://github.com/mitsuhiko/flask/tree/website/flask_websit...

mumphster 7 days ago 1 reply      
Great little tutorial but I'd also like to mention that if you're creating websites using flask make sure to check out blueprints (http://flask.pocoo.org/docs/blueprints/) it lets you modualize your website and make it a lot more manageable once your code gets a little bit larger.
jpadilla_ 7 days ago 2 replies      
Flask is so damn awesome! For all those other projects Django seems too big, I use Flask. The hardest thing for me was finding a project structure that worked for me. I still haven't landed one that was "perfect". What project structure/skeletons for Flask apps work for you?
welder 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great tutorial.

Since you're already using backbone.js why not plug in CSRF protection with Flask-SeaSurf?

If you use this backbone.js change then CSRF is practically invisible:

Also, if building an api with Flask make sure you use blueprints with a url prefix so your api routes become relative, which means less typing:

minikomi 7 days ago 1 reply      
Good stuff! Just a question, in the first session example, should the url_for('say_hello') be url_for('message')? And in the message template, 'index' maybe should be 'home'.
lazydon 7 days ago 1 reply      
I just cannot thank you enough - you are a life saver. Coming from Java world I was looking for exactly like this. Maybe I'm new to Python, I was just about to give up. Setting Nginx/Apache for Flask was giving me nightmares -just could not get it right to play with gunicorn, uwsgi and so on.

I know Java is verbose but the tooling is good. Just put you war(a pre-defined structure) in Tomcat webapps dir and your good to go with a fairly scalable web site. I was so surprised it wasn't that easy for Python. I think it stems out that Python is more of systemish kinda ecosystem.

jrvarela56 7 days ago 7 replies      
I've always wondered why people who like using these python micro frameworks don't use App Engine. Have any of you guys tried out GAE and decided it wasn't worth it?
codegeek 7 days ago 0 replies      
good read. I am working on something built in scratch using Flask and so far, it has been a breeze in understanding the document, source code and samples provided on the pocoo site.
d_luaz 7 days ago 0 replies      
For those working on GAE, try this handy template: https://github.com/kamalgill/flask-appengine-template
cake 7 days ago 3 replies      
See also bottle http://bottlepy.org/docs/dev/

Both are great but I find them very slow.

paulsutter 7 days ago 1 reply      
Any opinions about Flask vs Bottle?
countessa 7 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done. I'm a Ruby/Sintra bod myself, but now I'm keen to play with Flask a bit - thanks!
d0m 7 days ago 1 reply      
Good tutorial. You should check out Django. It comes with most of the script you have written plus a lot more and a really active community.
bcambel 7 days ago 0 replies      
what an amazing tutorial!
chuppo 7 days ago 1 reply      
So you took flask documentation, some other sources and made it into a blog post about it?
nyddle 7 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the tutorial. Can't wait for the next part about blueprints!
liamchzh 7 days ago 2 replies      
what's the difference between Flask and Django?
Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech washingtonpost.com
271 points by vonmoltke  4 days ago   271 comments top 37
droithomme 4 days ago 3 replies      
> The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority.

This is very incorrect to say it is misconstrued. In Schenck vs US, the Court was prosecuting a pacifist who distributed pamphlets protesting the involuntary draft in World War I, arguing that forced drafts constituted involuntary servitude and were therefore prohibited by the constitution.

The decision was an extremely bad one and the passage by Holmes was inflammatory rhetoric since the case was clearly never about shouting fire in a theatre, it was about peacefully and reasonably protesting unconstitutional action by the government.

The clear and present danger test was eliminated in 1969 when the Court established instead a "imminent lawless action" test as the line that speech must cross. Again though, interpretation of what speech will lead to "imminent lawless action" is not defined so this is a poor test as well. Clearly in some cases peaceful criticism of violent religious practices, as well as harmless cartoons that are not even disparaging have lead to imminent lawless action. A more reasonable view would be to note that those who engage in lawless action should be responsible for their own actions, regardless of whatever speech or opinions they claim made them engage in criminal behavior. No one makes you engage in criminality. It is something you choose to do.

DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 4 replies      
99.99% of disgusting hateful speech is just that: disgusting hateful speech.

The other .01% is the only hope we have as a species of honestly addressing our situation and problems and adapting and moving forward. The mob cannot tell the difference between these two groups. In fact, unless you are from the future looking back, nobody can. People who change society for the better through their speech are almost universally hated. At first.

This isn't a nice-to-have feature of modern life. This is critical stuff. To see Ban Ki-moon say “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”? A little bit of us all die.

We as a secular free society must protect people humiliating others, their beliefs and values, through speech. It's the price we paid to get to where we are -- thousands of unpopular folks yelling in the wilderness about how we are stupid, wrong, immoral and how we should improve ourselves. It's much to steep of a price, too much depends on it, for us to abandon it now.

bobsy 4 days ago 9 replies      
What concerns me especially in Britain is the amount of times the police are getting involved in what appear to be free speech cases.

In Britain 2 police officers were killed. The same day a guy wrote on his t-shirt something to the effect of "kill pigs for fun hahahaah." This is a stupid thing to do. I would have thought the police might confiscate his t-shirt. Nope, that wouldn't have been sufficient. He got 4 months in prison.

After any major crime you hear that someone has been arrested because they have set up a fan page or wrote some stupid comments online praising the person who did it. I would have thought Facebook moderation would be sufficient.

Most recently.. a girl went missing. Some muppet on Facebook wrote how he "woke up" next to her. Not all of his comments were posted but these appear to be on his Facebook wall. He wasn't trolling the family or abusing memorial pages. He is now spending 3 months in prison...

You then have the frustrated traveler who said he would blow an air port "sky high". He was arrested, found guilty and fined. It took a year or two to finally win an appeal.

I am not defending these people. They have done stupid things. Some should be warned by police. However, there appears to be a crackdown going on quietly if you cause even the slightest offense. As a citizen of a western country this worries my greatly.

javajosh 4 days ago  replies      
Why can't the article just come out and say what it means? Militant Islam scares the crap out of the West, and we're willing to pass laws and endure a certain level of self-censorship to avoid provoking violence out of these people.

The simple lesson here is that if you want to stop non-believers from doing blasphemy, violent reprisals work.

And really, self-censorship is a practical stance, if not a principled one. There is a terrible slippery slope here, not only in encouraging islamists to demand more from us (what's next? threatening farmers who sell pork?) but also to send a message to other put-upon groups that they can demand the same thing - if they want it badly enough.

Yes, I wish that people would grow a spine and stop worrying about getting killed for hurting someone's feelings. But when I wonder whether I'd be willing to take that risk, the answer is no.

tokenadult 4 days ago 1 reply      
Given the set of tradeoffs described in the article, I'm on record supporting free speech, period. As I wrote earlier here on HN, "The basic issue is whether people in free countries, like most readers of Hacker News, are going to be able to enjoy the right of free speech throughout their country, on any subject, or whether any American or Dutch or Danish person or other person accustomed to free speech who happens to be within reach of attack by a crazy foreign person has to prepare for war just to continue to exercise free speech. On my part, I'm going to continue to comment on public policy based on verifiable facts and reason and logic, even if that seems offensive. I am not going to shrink from saying that people in backward, poorly governed countries that could never have invented the Internet have no right to kill and destroy just because someone in a free country laughs or scorns at their delusions. The people who are destroying diplomatic buildings and killing diplomats are declining to use thoughtful discussion to show that they are anything other than blights on humankind.

"Allow me to reemphasize this point. The many participants on HN who criticize Transportation Security Agency 'security theater' as a meaningless reduction in the freedom of people who travel to the United States are right on the basic point. If free citizens of free countries can't live in freedom because of fear of terrorists, the terrorists have already won. You and I should be able to speak our minds and express our opinions in the manner of all people in free countries--sometimes agreeing with one another, sometimes disagreeing, but always letting the other guy have his say. To engage in self-censorship because of fear of violent thugs is to be defeated by the thugs."

As before, I think jerf correctly responded to this issue when he made his comment on it last month:


If I organize a riot involving thousands of people that I manage to incite into killing people, and I claim my reason is that I heard that some guy is Glasgow made fun of the American soccer team over beer... that guy is Glasgow is not the real reason. It doesn't even qualify as a metaphorical fig leaf, it's just a lie. When the excuse is this tiny, you shouldn't even give it the time of day.

I have to agree with the submitted article that the correct policy is making sure to protect the right of free people in free countries to speak freely about all the issues of the day, including the harm caused to the whole world by fanatics who burn and destroy and kill because their delusional beliefs are offended.

guylhem 4 days ago 0 replies      
History is interesting sometimes.

As Chamberlain and Dalladier brilliantly showed with the Munich Agreement, it can be a good thing to appease a potential adversary which feels wronged for some reason by giving in to their demands and forgetting for a while about one's law or best interests - for a "greater cause". They did in fact avoid a war.


But since the agreement was made possible by the fear of the potential alternative outcome (failed negotiations -> risk war), which was of different significance to the opponents (one could say, with hindsight, that one of the negotiating parties wanted an opportunity to go to war), an advantage could be gained by the party with attached less significance to the bad outcome.

The result was in fact positive for all the negotiators : they all got what they wanted. But the ones with an interest in a war were given the zone where the border defenses and the banks were - even if the result was positive for all, some gained more - and not just "more", but strategically more.

In other words, reaching an agreement failed to consider the strategic significance of the advantage that was given away.

Slippery slope? Maybe. The real problem is not just incentivizing a very destructive conduct, but it seems very similar - giving away one's best defenses in exchange of a short-lived peace.

Why ? Just like a pen is mightier than a sword, free speech is the best defense of democracy.

Why is no one interested in free speech? (in one of the posts: "I'd be willing to take that risk, the answer is no")

It looks like a public good - one which utility is the sum of marginal utility, with individual marginal utilities not enough to offset the cost of this good.

That's bad.

But there's something to learn - any group that can manage to make its adversary give them their best defense is applying a good strategy - so threatening violence works, while giving in to the demand of bullies with diverging interest doesn't.

(Please do not interpret this post as an endorsement of any party, faith, or country - the strategy here is just very interesting)

linuxhansl 4 days ago 5 replies      
"Blasphemy" is one of those things I do not get. Religious criticism seems to unearth the general insecurity that people have about their religion (whatever is might be).

If people would be sufficiently secure about their religious views any criticism would just be ignored and people would go on about their business.

(Well, the truth is that people are angry to begin with, and religion is just a nice excuse to vent this anger).

The other part that baffles me are "hate crimes". That word makes no sense. What the heck is a "hate crime"? Are there violent non-hate crimes?

yew 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm always amused by the "fire in a crowded theatre" argument, mostly because most of the people who use it don't seem to know that it originated as an analogy justifying the prosecution of protesting the draft during World War I.

War protests obvious aren't of any real value, after all. They just endanger the public . . .

snogglethorpe 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this stuff actually anything new? It seems like free-speech has been under constant assault as long as such rights have been recognized.

The precise details shift around a bit, but free speech has always been something that has to be actively maintained: formal guarantees aren't"and I think have never been"sufficient. I don't think there's ever been a time when you could just sit back and enjoy it...

[The reason I ask is because the article seems to written to give the impression that is some sort of worrying new development...]

tryitnow 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article displays a rather poor understanding of free speech.

First, it sets up a false dichotomy between an idealized "free speech" past and a present where free speech is in danger. Where's the evidence for this? The US has always had an uneasy relationship with "free speech." I don't believe that the First Amendment was ever interpreted as liberally as this author seems to think.

Any article talking about free speech's decline in the US should refer to the two key Supreme Court cases:
Schenck v. United States and Brandenburg v. Ohio. Seriously, it takes like less than 5 minutes to look these up on wikipedia and you can already see that the First Amendment has always been interpreted pretty conservatively.
Facts are our friends, I wish this author would have provided some citations and historical context.

As for countries other than the US? Are you kidding me? Europe has always had restrictions even on political speech. There's no limiting of free speech that is new here. Sure the author cites some "new" laws but these laws reflect the spirit of the old laws. No news here people.

Now I'll address the author's subcategories where he believe free speech is being eroded:

Blasphemy: This is the only area in the article where the author has a bit of a point. The presence of relatively large populations willing to riot over perceived insults to their religion (i.e. Muslims) is sort of new in Western Europe and leaders are figuring out how to deal with it. However, I don't see anybody rushing out to ban the Satanic Verses. Most leaders are concerned about people doing silly things like dressing up as zombie Muhammed in public. A key criterion here is the possibility of inciting public violence. Rarely do works of literary or artistic merit have this effect, so restrictions are mostly directed towards people doing insulting things in public. Think of going into a bar and insulting the biggest, dumbest looking guy there. Yes, you should have the right to do that, but ask any prosecutor how much sympathy a judge is going to have for your case. There's nothing new here. Personally, I wish our laws allowed more expressions of insulting speech. I actually agree with the author on that point - but the author undermines his case by pretending that we're somehow backsliding. We're not, this has always been the standard.

BTW, I write this as an atheist who plenty of Muslims would love to see butchered. However, we need to remember that much of the censorship going on around this issue is self-censorship. The state censorship he cites is really nothing new - in France it's just an extension of how they deal with Nazis and others. I disagree with French laws on this, but again, there's nothing new here. The author is being alarmist.

Hate crimes
The reason for hate crime laws is that a hate crime is more than just a crime between two people. It's something that has the potential to incite group versus group violence. There's a qualitative difference in an act that's meant to intimidate a a single individual and one meant to intimidate a specific group. When acts directed specifically at a group are committed everyone in that group feels a bit of the effect of the act, hence the punishment should be greater. Additionally, there are some hate criminals who don't mind getting punished just for committing an act against an individual because their real goal is intimidating an entire group.

Speech is discriminatory
Ummm, discrimination on the basis of suspect and quasi-suspect categories has been illegal in many circumstances for some time now. Putting up a sign that says "Coloreds not welcome" at your establishment is pretty much illegal and has been even though it's a restriction on "speech." This is based on the fact that you're operating a public establishment and therefore derive gains from being part of the broader society. With those gains come responsibilities. If you and your buddies don't want to hang around blacks when you BBQ in your backyard you're still free to discriminate because you're not running a public establishment in that context. The example cited in the article comes from a comedy club, a public establishment. Again, nothing new here.

Speech is Deceitful
If you lie and get a benefit from it, then yes, you should be prosecuted. I don't know why the author views this as a problem. The example he cites from France is not an outlier in French history - it's an extension of France's rather stringent anti-hate laws. Laws I disagree with just like the author does, but again, there's nothing new here.

One of the reasons I really don't like this article is because I kind of agree with the author around loosening free speech standards, but he just does an awful and alarmist job of conveying his point. He is bound to turn off anyone who has any grasp of the history and nuance around the subject. I feel like a cause I support has been set back by this author's very poor argumentation skills.

This article reminds us that opinion column writers were the original trolls long before the Internet ever existed.

tl:dr: The author does not provide any convincing evidence that the "West is limiting Free Speech" in any new way.

cup 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really interesting in light of the recent reddit fiasco involving violentacrez and voyeuristic photos being published. I mean people were clearly up in arms about the invasion of privacy and supported subreddits like creepshots being banned despite the fact that they're perfectly legal. I wonder whether these same people see the similiarity between themselves and Muslims who want the blasphemous publication of prophets banned.
mcantelon 4 days ago 0 replies      
The "Muslim Menace" us being used as an excuse to attack free speech just like child porn has been used to attack privacy. News at 11.
mhartl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hereby propose that the term "hate speech" be written as one word: hatespeech. It's Newspeak, and we should spell it as such.
camus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Except free speech only exists in US, doesnt exist in any Europe country for instance. In US you can say almost anything you want about anything. Not the case in Uk or France. If you deny holocaust in France for instance , you're going to be prosecuted.
So while the article is interesting it only applies to USA.
dhughes 4 days ago 3 replies      
What I find chilling is in the age of the internet the comment sections on news sites are heavily censored (e.g. CBC). Which seems to allow a strange mix of viewpoints but what you don't see is what worries me.

As for insulting religions it's funny that most times it's religion against religion more than non-religious again religious.

bhangi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel compelled to point out that most of the examples in the article are free speech that happens to (gratuitously in most cases) piss off the minorities. Notable for their absence are transgressions against authorities -- e.g. the sort of vicious recriminations against whistleblowers whose free speech rights are for naught when they hurt the powers that be. Assange nailed it -- free speech is tolerated only so long as it does not interfere with the interests of the power structure. The moment it does, it will be swiftly dealt with -- under one guise or the other.

Somewhat disappointed in this piece from Turley, who's otherwise quite nuanced.

strictfp 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is not rooted in governments. It is rooted in the Fatwa culture, which streches across national borders. Many goverments try to protect targeted people, with limited success and high consequences for the target individual. I find it offending that we let ourselves be supressed like this. But it is a sort of terrorist scare tactic which we sadly seem to be very vulnerable to.
niels_olson 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article reads like the middle of a European history textbook:

> such as Ireland, which in <year> criminalized the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” deemed “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” The Russian Duma ... proposed a law against “insulting religious beliefs.” Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years <before> for burning a Koran.

netcan 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is another aspect to this. A ban on blasphemy, in a wide sense of the world is very natural to us. We are used to living under these restrictions. They are imposed by religion, law & taboo/culture almost everywhere including the west.

The blatant simple versions are religious laws often absorbed into law about denying the truth of a religion, worshiping other gods, etc. There are often also similar restrictions on criticism/denial of monarchs. When these get stronger and more elaborate, we tend to call these "State Religions" (eg north korea) hinting at how closely we associate religions with blasphemy/heresy laws.

A more modern "light" varient has cultural pressures at the core. It is considered bad form almost everywhere to openly criticize someone's "beliefs." Beliefs must be mutually respected. They cannot be held against someone. They are treated as a part of one's ethnicity. As far as I can tell this has two sources. The original religious law one (Dawkins has fascinating memetic explanation for this) and a sort of cultural compromise reached enough times following religious wars that it has become deeply ingrained in cultures.

We are predisposed to respecting blasphemy and heresy laws.

smutticus 4 days ago 0 replies      
The author fails to mention that different countries in the west have vastly different free speech laws. He then goes on to use examples from multiple countries to prove his 4 main points.

Am I expected to believe that the UK and the USA have the same free speech laws? UK libel law, which he doesn't even bring up, is regularly used to restrict free speech. German laws against denying the holocaust, which he never brings up, restrict free speech.

I fail to see this imminent common threat facing western free speech through his omissions and forced equating of examples from multiple jurisdictions.

capex 4 days ago 0 replies      
"It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance" Sounds like a self defeating argument.
PaulHoule 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'd say that one of the reasons why muslims get along so well in in the U.S. is we have separation of church and state (which plays into free speech)

Christians can't use the state in the U.S. to harass agnostics, athiests, pagans, jews, muslims, buddists, whatever. If our government could stop people from spreading hateful lies about islam, we'd have Christians saying that you can't have a Koran or atheists saying that it's blasphemy to even say there is a God.

You can't say our American Way is the best of all possible worlds, but you can say that it's the least worst.

mad44 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here, another perspective (from the muslim world) on free speech. Appeared in Foreign Policy magazine. Makes good points.


tomjen3 4 days ago 0 replies      
>I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'"
--Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

I never though I would see the day when the West gave its freedom away just to please a religious group.

poli_throwaway 4 days ago 0 replies      
The examples in the piece seem to me to be so colored so as to confuse the whole issue. Actual limiting of rights occurs due to a power structure. The right to offend an unpopular minority or foreign group is usually easy to exercise and it doesn't take much guts to defend it. Rights are usually curtailed by the powers that be.

The article seems to imply that a monolithic "Western World" has been a fountain head of free expression until the problematic Muslims and a few left-liberals came along. So Jews in the last few centuries, or blacks during Jim Crow had wonderful free expression rights that an un-sullied European civilization had always cherished?

Fast forwarding to this time, quite a few people are in jail within the Western world for espousing extremely un-popular political views.

danielweber 3 days ago 0 replies      
Point of order: Nakoula, the filmmaker, was arrested for parole violations. His previous crimes included using fraud and multiple identities to raise money over the Internet, so it's not unreasonable that he should be arrested when he's released a video on the Internet under an alias and asking for money to continue his work.
Tycho 4 days ago 0 replies      
Of course it is. The political systems of the West lack integrity: they're not going to uphold general principles in the face of emotionally charged specifics. They merely react on a pragmatic basis depending on how various rights groups and media commentators and public opinions change.

Btw, an easy way to overcome these sorts of laws would be if everyone just started posting the supposedly forbidden statement on twitter (and elsewhere). They only have the resources to suppress a few disparate voices.

netfire 4 days ago 1 reply      
We should be careful to not limit other rights in protecting the right of free speech. I defend the right of people to express their opinions, views, thoughts, etc in society, but I also believe you must have balance and allow people to choose whether they want to listen to someone's opinion or thoughts.

It is one thing to go listen to someone from the KKK speak about their thoughts or to read their opinions in a pamphlet or book (this type of free speech I support), it is another to force the public to be exposed to their hateful messaging by forcing billboard/television companies to allow their messaging be shown in a public place.

We should support the rights of companies or individuals to censor content they don't agree with or want to be affiliated with. Government should (at least in some cases) be able to limit certain types of speech where the public would be forced to see something they don't want themselves (or their children) to be subjected to. Government should be less involved with censoring types of speech that someone chooses to be exposed to.

What are your thoughts? How do we find the right balance with free speech and other rights?

mmariani 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd better say this while I still can.

Government is broken.

ommunist 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is not real limitation per se. OK, there are real limitations, like the BBC censorship of comments on their website (they call it moderation). But mostly it is orwellian double-thinking occupying the mind of the average Westerner. Examples? Even after this photo - http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00065/mhli/0065... a rare Westerner will allow himself to think there is no rover on Mars. It is self-censorship at almost pre-conscious level what horrifies me in the Western world.
nnq 4 days ago 1 reply      
..."zombie Muhammed"! ...I REALLY wanna see a photo of that, so if anyone has it PLEASE post it anywhere online!

(though, to be fair, resurrection was Jesus' thing, so he would go better with the zombie thing, and maybe the costumed guy got what he deserved for mixing things up...)

ominds 4 days ago 2 replies      
Many sites speak against Islam and its prophet, many of them speak against the Koran and its teachings. No demonstrations have gone all out against them. They hold a POV that is not acceptable to Muslims, but that's fine. Many of them even attempt to do research about the topic they talk about to prove their POVs. The question is, would you consider someone who creates a film portraying Jesus or Mohammad as a child molester or as a fraud as someone practicing free speech? I think there is quite a difference between the two.
duedl0r 4 days ago 1 reply      
this would be true if "western world" == USA. But it isn't. It's a subset of it, and certainly not true for all the western countries.
beaker52 4 days ago 1 reply      
The solution is quite simple to achieve individually, but near impossible to get everyone to achieve at once.

Stop being insulted.
Stop being offended.
Let things go.
Life is too short for it.

If you're not offended, it doesn't matter what people say. Then we can all say what we like and no-one has to worry.

janeesah 3 days ago 0 replies      
The thing is, violence is not the correct response to hateful or derogatory speech. It's much more effective to use positive actions to prove the speech wrong; people don't respond well to losing verbal arguments, but no one can argue with results from positive actions.
ommunist 4 days ago 0 replies      
What the author forgot to say is that censorship in mainstream media is not a cage. Its a skeleton.
guard-of-terra 4 days ago 1 reply      
In any war between the religious man and the atheist, support the atheist.
The Pirate Bay in the cloud thepiratebay.se
270 points by ponyous  2 days ago   68 comments top 21
morsch 2 days ago 2 replies      
The announcement is rather nebulous, as is their way. TorrentFreak has a more detailed explanation: http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-moves-to-the-cloud-become...

It's pretty much what you'd expect, though: The web site is now running on VMs on two unnamed cloud providers, accessed through a load balancer. All traffic is still routed through servers they control. The cloud providers apparently don't know that they're hosting the pirate bay, or pirate cloud as it were. If a cloud provider goes away, they can move to the VMs to another one. If their own transit routers go down, no data is lost and it's easy to get back and running.

charlieirish 2 days ago 1 reply      
For UK Visitors:

The Pirate Cloud

So, first we ditched the trackers.

Then we got rid of the torrents.

Now? Now we've gotten rid of the servers. Slowly and steadily we are getting rid of our earthly form and ascending into the next stage, the cloud.

The cloud, or Brahman as the hindus call it, is the All, surrounding everything. It is everywhere; immaterial, yet very real.

If there is data, there is The Pirate Bay.

Our data flows around in thousands of clouds, in deeply encrypted forms, ready to be used when necessary. Earth bound nodes that transform the data are as deeply encrypted and reboot into a deadlock if not used for 8 hours.

All attempts to attack The Pirate Bay from now on is an attack on everything and nothing. The site that you're at will still be here, for as long as we want it to. Only in a higher form of being. A reality to us. A ghost to those who wish to harm us.

Adapt or be forever forgotten beneath the veils of maya.

unreal37 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this all goes to underscore the fact that TPB doesn't actually HOST anything anymore. Not .torrent files, and not trackers. Not sure on what grounds authorities would have to raid them in 2012. There are no files there any more, just HTML web pages containing magnet links (which are specially coded URLs). The entire site can be downloaded in a few hundred MB...

It's like TPB has achieved Nirvana. It no longer has a physical presence...

andr 2 days ago 2 replies      
In practice this probably means several replicas of the site dormant in different cloud providers. The providers won't have a clue until they go live.

In effect, they are replacing their current legal protections with a game of cat and mouse as they switch between clouds.

shadowmint 2 days ago 2 replies      
obscure announcement is obscure.

basically seems like they've got a virtual setup now that lets them essentially deploy "the pirate bay" on anything that runs virtual machines.

Now if they had distributed user run VMs running this private server VPN they might have something to talk about, but is basically just a hosting change. Makes it easier for them to move around as hosting get wise and shuts them off (as it will inevitably do).

The real question is, are they doing something sneaky like having VMs running on known clouds using encrypted vpn traffic to hide the fact that those machines are pirate bay VMs, and relays to feed info in and out. ;) Just speculating...

mbq 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aren't the cloud providers capable of simply hibernating a VM on their machine to get VM's RAM contents and salvage all the config and keys/passwords/network topology info they want from this dump?
belorn 2 days ago 2 replies      
In the end, I think it will fall on the dns system to decide if the site will survive or not. Currently, most TLD's just redirect any request of censoring by saying "go where the server is and solve the issue at the source". When that is no longer an option, the political pressure will increase.

Hopefully, TLD's like .se will stand fast and refuse to use the DNS system for censoring.

ericcholis 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm sorry, am I the only one that isn't impressed by this? I'm actually quite stunned that they are treating this like some new discovery. Pop onto HN any day and see thousands of people talking about cloud. Hell, some local IT staffing agency in my area has a billboard about cloud servers.

Cloud is mainstream now, why did it take TPB so long to catch up?

//Sorry if it sounds like trolling

daemon13 2 days ago 2 replies      
Step 1 - What if their domain is shut down through registry?

This will cut short most of the users who do not remeber IP by heart.

Step 2 - go after static IP and shut it down through ISP.

This will cut the remaining users who remeber old IP by heart.

If executed simultaneously...

Sami_Lehtinen 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would have preferred fully distributed solution. This one is easy to take down. Also memory snapshots can be take from servers, so disk encryption doesn't help. Not best possible solution afaik.
daurnimator 2 days ago 2 replies      
sure "thepiratebay" as we can define it is linked to wherever the DNS entry points to?

That is the single point of failure, even in a move to the cloud.

eloisant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, DNS is still a single point of failure. You gotta hope The Internet Infrastructure Foundation is supporting them.
sergiotapia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad their search feature is absolutely horrendous. Searching for a simple term like "The Matrix" doesn't return any results at all.
oneandoneis2 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a nice advance and all, but I still think it was cooler when they were talking about putting masses of micro-servers into orbit to make their hosting truly impossible to take down :)
mansoor-s 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love technical details. Anyone know if they have published them anywhere?
alz 2 days ago 0 replies      
how do they manage their databases, this would be interesting if the system is truely distributed
frozenport 2 days ago 1 reply      
"reboot into a deadlock if not used for 8 hours"

Sounds like a bug to me!

andrewmunsell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Couldn't TPB do something like Silk Road with Tor and a .onion domain? I'm not exactly sure how that works, but from the limited knowledge I do have, it seems like that sort of approach would be slightly more difficult to access but also more difficult to take down...
gleen 2 days ago 0 replies      
d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
benologist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Silly article, silly rhetoric.
Sol " a sunny little homemade virtual machine rsms.me
267 points by whalesalad  3 days ago   54 comments top 11
simplekoala 3 days ago 4 replies      
I didn't realize the author is a designer till I went to his about me page. Pretty awesome that he can write some serious code. Respect.

<edits to correct grammar>

flashingpumpkin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's also worth linking to David Beazley's Curious Course on Coroutines and Concurrency [1]. It's exploring the ideas of a task scheduler implemented in Python. This article reminded me of it. It's not a full VM, but about half way into the PDF he goes into quite some detail on how to build a task scheduler modelled after an OS and how it works in an actual OS. Give it a read.

[1] http://www.dabeaz.com/coroutines/

ojiikun 3 days ago 9 replies      
Serious (non-snarky) question: are projects like this no longer standard fare for undergraduate CS majors? This example is rather comprehensive and well-documented, but is almost spot on what all 50-75 of us had to do for a Junior-level class at Georgia Tech back in 2003 or so.
s_tec 3 days ago 2 replies      
This warms my heart; It's wonderful to see people doing crazy stuff like this for fun.
chubot 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is cool, especially the coroutines. BTW the predecessor to Lua was called "Sol" -- moon and sun in Spanish/Portuguese.

(It was described in one of the Lua papers, but Google for "lua language predecessor sol")

daurnimator 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bad choice of name >.<

SOL (meaning Sun in Portuguese) was a VM built a PUC-Rio.
It was the predecessor to Lua (meaning Moon in Portuguese).

brianjolney 3 days ago 3 replies      
Somewhat offtopic - I really liked the digitized whiteboard looking drawings. Is that off a tablet, or a photographed whiteboard?
vhf 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is like Minix, but for VM ! :)
kiallmacinnes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting - handlebars.js's internals suddenly makes so much more sense!
donteatbark 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the creativity!
webmonkeyuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me that read "Bum queue" instead of "Run queue" in the first diagram
Raspberry Pi now with 512MB RAM raspberrypi.org
267 points by tiernano  4 days ago   112 comments top 25
coob 4 days ago 4 replies      
Awesome, mine is supposed to be delivered today!

We're planning on using it to control an entire room… AC via the GPIO, lighting via a USB power relay and TV/Soundbar via HDMI-CEC. Tying all of this into an API to be controlled by iOS apps. Excited!

i386 4 days ago 2 replies      
> If you have an outstanding order with either distributor, you will receive the upgraded device in place of the 256MB version you ordered.

Awesome news since I've been waiting a very long time for mine to ship!

janus 3 days ago 1 reply      
This just arrived at my email inbox:

Your Raspberry Pi order was despatched today.

If you ordered a Raspberry Pi board as part of your order we are pleased to inform you that we have sent you the upgraded 512MB Revision 2 board to thank you for your continued patience.

We hope this upgrade is acceptable to you.

CrazedGeek 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love/hate that, in the three months since I placed my order for an RPi, it keeps getting upgraded before I can even get my hands on the dang thing. Ah well...
Roritharr 4 days ago 2 replies      
They should work on the availability. A friends Startup isn't progressing as fast as he'd like to because he can't buy enough Raspberrys...
MartinMond 4 days ago 4 replies      
Really awesome that they could do that!

But I have no idea what I'd use the additional 256 MB for, in my experience the bottleneck so far has always been the CPU.

patrickgzill 3 days ago 1 reply      
I got a CubieBoard from CubieBoard.org specifically because it came with more RAM and had a faster CPU. So seems RPi is responding well and trying to grow their market.
djhworld 4 days ago 5 replies      
That's annoying for us early adopters but oh well. Good news for people still waiting to receive theirs
pjmlp 4 days ago 2 replies      

Can we now turn the Pi into a new version of the Amiga 500?

nvr219 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great news for the people who are building the raspberry pi-powered vaporizer - http://raspberryhigh.wikia.com/wiki/Raspberryhigh_Wiki
compilercreator 3 days ago 0 replies      
People interested in the Pi may also be interested in the Parallela board kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adapteva/parallella-a-su...

$99 board with dual-core ARM Cortex A9 and a 16-core accelerator chip

IgorPartola 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what they are doing with all the 256MBhard boards they have left. It would be pretty tight timing for them to get all the old units sold at the exact same time.
nitrogen 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Pi would be perfect if only they can fix the problems with USB and isochronous transfers that prevent the Kinect from working. There was mention of work being done on this in the comments, so here's hoping a kernel update solves the USB issues.
Zenst 4 days ago 1 reply      
Been waiting until my local Maplins get them in (there doing that) and as I prefer to walk into a shop then this might explain why they never got any in end of September. Good news and good move.
precisioncoder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Makes me really glad I delayed ordering mine. I kept putting it off due to site crashes in the beginning, then the wait times. Mine will probably just be a toy so I'm happy letting other people enjoy theirs first. Plus that means they will generate some cool online projects and support I can look at when I start playing with mine.
SeanDav 4 days ago 2 replies      
Love this idea but really it would be great if they could offer a more expensive and powerful version as an option.
Zenst 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great news though I personaly would prefer to see another ethernet port (yes can add one via USB but not at full ethernet speeds). Would make a brilliant firewall box then and one area I'd love to have one in place.
tominated 4 days ago 0 replies      
Of course this happens on the day I finally receive mine...
program 4 days ago 2 replies      
RS specs page has been updated:


I'm very happy that my order has been delayed.

lobster45 3 days ago 1 reply      
Even though the price is $35, you can not get it anywhere for $35. Most of the places sell them for $40 and over.
simarpreet007 3 days ago 0 replies      
OMG, Canada Newark got 100+ of them and they're all gone! I feel so lucky that I got one!
vindicated 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just got mine 3 days ago with 256 MB RAM.. now I'm wishing it had been delayed.
cheema33 3 days ago 0 replies      
I ordered 4 today from Element 14, for a project I am working on. I was joking with a friend that I expected that they would ship them in 2013 sometime. And then I got a UPS tracking number in the email later the same day. My jaw is dropped.
umrashrf 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's some news!
tonyblundell 4 days ago 0 replies      
So there are people using them to do something other than watch rip-off movies on their TV :-)
Surviving in-flight breakup of an SR-71 Blackbird at Mach 3.18 books.google.com
264 points by mike_esspe  4 days ago   27 comments top 14
Wingman4l7 4 days ago 0 replies      
Non-Google-Books versions:

Test pilot Bill Weaver's personal account (exact same text) -- http://www.barthworks.com/aviation/sr71breakup.htm

Very similar 3rd-person account -- http://www.thexhunters.com/xpeditions/sr-71a_952_accident.ht...

InclinedPlane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some other interesting moments of aeronautical derring-do:

Imagine piloting an unpowered aircraft with no wings which could best be described as a "flying bathtub" and by "flying" what is meant is "falling". This is the M2-F{1,2,3}, designed to test lifting body aerodynamics and unpowered landings, much of this research helped in the design of the shuttle orbiter. But in 1967 pilot Bruce Peterson was involved in a spectacular crash that was later used in the opening of the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, he survived: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jvGJhJINlc

Also consider the X-15. Unlike the SR-71 the X-15 didn't cruise around at high speeds it just accelerated to very high speeds using a rocket engine and then glided. These aircraft, dropped off the wing of a B-52, these aircraft would eventually travel up to nearly mach 7 and over 100 km altitude. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_X-15

Also it's worth considering that the Space Ship One rocket powered sub-orbital space plane gets up to around mach 3 on ascent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceShipOne

Or, consider the Apollo 10 spacecraft, which reentered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of nearly 40,000 kph after returning from the moon (over ten times the highest recorded speed of the SR-71).

fleitz 4 days ago 3 replies      
A little more mundane and uplifting SR-71 story about a ground speed check.


johndbritton 4 days ago 1 reply      
"As an outgrowth of Bill Weaver's inability to see out of his faceplate from the ice buildup, futre SR-71 ejection seats incorporated a battery pack that continued to keep the glass faceplate heated during the frigid descent."

The amount of engineering and refinement that goes into these safety systems really amazes me. They learn from everything in aviation and put it to good use.

incision 4 days ago 1 reply      
I own a print copy of this book, it's good stuff.

I picked it up soon after reading Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed [1], an incredible book which recounts development of the U2, SR-71 and F-117A.

1: http://amzn.com/0316743003

001sky 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing reading this. Especially his thought process. After he comes out of "blackout", he goes right to work running a checklist and taking inventory of his assets. The part about the seatbelts, in this context, is a priceless example of how to keep your cool. Sometimes you don't want to know or need to know everything.
sylvinus 4 days ago 2 replies      
He mentions that it was his "first ever parachute landing", but I can't imagine a SR-71 test pilot wouldn't have been trained in parachute landings. Any idea why?
Gravityloss 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a video of another high speed Blackbird breakup, from a D-21 drone release:


The debris just keeps on going because of the huge momentum and thin air at those speeds and altitudes.

wazoox 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you like this sort of books, don't forget to check "X-15; extending the frontier of flight":
DiabloD3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone who has flown in a SR-71 is certified to have brass balls.
sondh 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting for so many reasons, very good book (both in stories and writing). The most useful bit probably when he explained why the suit inflated, exactly like the way Baumgartner's balloon inflated earlier today when it reached the upper atmosphere.
snogglethorpe 4 days ago 0 replies      
This appears to be the best book ever written. oO;
bigthingnext 4 days ago 0 replies      
The "skunkworks" is one of my favorite concepts. Look at what they were able to achieve. Truly amazing.
electic 4 days ago 0 replies      
An amazing story.
Google throws open doors to its top-secret data center wired.com
263 points by Hurdy  2 days ago   95 comments top 19
fourspace 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had the pleasure of helping to build and manage these facilities, both hardware and software, for 5 years. It's nice to see some of Google's real innovations reach the public eye. Some of the smartest folks I ever worked with at the company build absolutely mind blowing tech that the outside never has the opportunity to see or appreciate.

In fact, while much of the content in the article has been written about before, it's still probably 2-3 years or more behind where Google is actually at. I left in 2010 and did't read about anything I had not experienced.

sounds 2 days ago 1 reply      
Single page article: (note: HN guidelines suggest always submitting the single-page article)


rpearl 1 day ago 2 replies      
There are some photos, such as https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/images/_300...

I wonder why they've mirrored the image (the left side is quite clearly the right side flipped--take a look at the machine identifier labels). What's being hidden?

DanBC 2 days ago 7 replies      
It's a shame that heat is just dumped outside most of the time.


The article talks about Google's impressive technical achievements. But there's a lot of energy that's wasted in industry. I don't mean "used inefficiently" (although that's bad too); I mean actually wasted.

I used to work at a tiny electronic sub-contracting factory. The morning shift would arrive, turn on the air compressor (2 KW), the reflow ovens (10 KW and 12 KW); and the other machines (about 7 KW).

But they'd do that even if the machines were not going to be running. All these KW were being used for no reason at all. And the machines are pretty inefficient anyway. (One of the owners thought powered machines looked more impressive. Energy costs were included in the rent so there was no incentive to think about when the machines were on or off. )

Counting that waste across all the tiny factories in the world, and including all the waste in offices - it's quite a lot.

javajosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hi Google Platform people. Very nice work. As you may know, Randall Monroe (of xkcd fame) has recently started a feature called "what if" on their site. I would like to post a question to you along those lines:

What if Google was tasked with building an orbiting datacenter? How about a Dyson ring, or sphere? How would you do it?

If we were to use all matter in the solar system for commodity linux hardware, how much gmail storage would I get? How many flops? And what sorts of computation could you do on this monster?

Please answer! This should be fun...

mseebach 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's a nice piece, but nothing new in it, and most certainly no doors were thrown anywhere.
seiji 2 days ago 2 replies      
Google should one-up Amazon and get into the Datacenter As A Service market. Service segments: normal cages (I'd rather lease cages from Colorful Pipes, Inc than Equinix), pay-n-go turnkey same-hardware in 3 georedundant locations, and lease-by-rack in multiples of 10 pre-populated racks (racks specified as compute-only or storage-only with 10G interconnects between racks).
brown9-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
In regards to the disaster testing:

How did Google do this time? Pretty well. Despite the outages in the corporate network, executive chair Eric Schmidt was able to run a scheduled global all-hands meeting. The imaginary demonstrators were placated by imaginary pizza.

How does one decide what will placate imaginary demonstrators? Who calls them off?

Tipzntrix 2 days ago 1 reply      
They have a team causing water leaks and stealing hardware to test their disaster recovery. That is some serious penetration testing.
Loic 1 day ago 2 replies      
I start to be annoyed with the "a power efficiency of 2 is the standard in datacenters". My servers are hosted in a datacenter with a global efficiency of 1.15, proved after more than a year in operation. Announcing that Google is doing 1.2 is simply announcing something wrong and I suppose Google is very happy with this number being provided to the press. It means that some competitor will use it as "Google is the best, they do 1.2, we are at 1.3 we are not too bad", where I bet Google is now near 1.1 or less (they operate without cooling in Belgium for example).
stock_toaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is unfortunate (for the rest of us) that datacenter tech is such a competitive advantage for Google. If they were able to share their breakthroughs more readily with others, imagine how much less of the "1.5% of all power globally" datacenters could be using.
dredmorbius 1 day ago 0 replies      
When they say that supercomputing is essentially a plumbing problem ... looking at these photos, no kidding.
francov88 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool article - would be amazing to walk through that facility.... love the Google coloured pipes from the pictures
wilfra 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good read but most of that is not new information. I read a lot of that in a book about Google over two years ago. The last ~ 1 page was new though.
bhauer 1 day ago 0 replies      
All caveats about chrome-dev aside, I find it amusing that this site's navigation does not work in Chrome v24.0.1297.0. Had to use Aurora to view it.

Maybe Google really is Sun v2 ("We are the dot in dot-com" == "Where the Internet lives").

Fando 1 day ago 0 replies      
An incredible article!
no_script 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seriously. I can't believe they require JavaScript to view this all this eye-candy and server porn.


I thought GWT was designed to "compile" rendered pages for a wide variety of browsers and permutations of configurations?

The pictures are very pretty, but that's really awful of them to release a PR site like this, and force users into using JavaScript.


Meteor releases authentication, accounts system, and new screencast meteor.com
258 points by debergalis  1 day ago   65 comments top 17
amix 1 day ago 1 reply      
Basing this on the screencast I think this looks amazing and they seem to be very productive. This said, I am unsure if this would produce codebases that are easier to maintain, since there is not a clear separation of concerns and everything seems to be connected. I think doing client-side JavaScript is hard and messy (even with Backbone or Ember) I could not imagine this would be any easier if I had to handle the backend on the client-side as well (especially a backend that's updated in realtime).

This said, maybe the current struggle of the client side is because the data is on the backend and needs to be fetched, updated and handled using a client-server model. With Meteror the data seems to live on the client-side which maybe makes things easier.

hbbio 1 day ago 12 replies      
"Meteor 0.5.0, available today, allows you to write secure realtime client-server applications in pure JavaScript. It's the only system of its kind in the world."

That's an outright lie.
cf. http://opalang.org

vikstrous4 1 day ago 2 replies      
I know these guys have good intentions, but they seem confused about the guarantees that SRP provides. It does allow the server to verify the user's password without receiving it, but it doesn't help in any was against offline attacks. If the "password" (in this case verifier) database is compromised, the attackers will still be able to brute force the passwords. If they implemented it correctly, they will be salted, but this only makes the attack slower. Furthermore, nothing can protect you if your password is password.

Also, I hope that they don't think this removes the need for SSL. It does not. In a web application the server sends the client the javascript to run. A man in the middle can modify it and defeat the whole point of SRP.

ehutch79 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm really glad auth finally got in this. With the biggest obvious stumbling block knocked off the list, I have some questions;

Is this production ready? Should I be using this for a greenfield project?

What is database access like? Postres, Mysql? SSL connections to mysql?

what's a typical setup/deployment look like?

jemeshsu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are Meteor or Derby frameworks to be used on the premise that you have only browser clients? If my Meteor/Derby web app has server component, how easy it is to build native iOS and Android clients to access the same data on the server?
davidlumley 1 day ago 1 reply      
While I'm not confident that being this tightly coupled to MongoDB is a great (or even a good) idea, I'm really glad to see Meteor get closer to 1.0 especially seeing as it's not another Rails clone.

The other concern I have is how testable is a meteor/derby codebase? I don't think I could commit to using something in a team environment without being able to _easily_ test things.

eranation 1 day ago 0 replies      
The other top HN page article today doesn't add to my confidence in MongoDB so more persistence options will be interesting. But still, production ready or not, this can be an excellent MVP creator.
ajays 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks very interesting, but can anyone tell me how scalable is this? All the examples I've seen are small scale; but can it support, say, 1000 clients? 10_000 ? Higher?
chrisweekly 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a huge milestone for a very, very interesting and ambitious project. I wish instead of nit-picking about the marketing language in a release announcement, people would take a minute to appreciate just how amazing this platform is becoming. Yes, ok, derby.js and socketstream and nowjs and opa and realtime-project-foo and etc, sure, maybe they are awesome too, but so what? Meteor is incredible, and contributing to this rising tide floating all the realtime framework boats. And that is something to celebrate imho.

To the meteor team: high five, keep it coming, and thank you!

prawn 1 day ago 2 replies      
I saw the following tweet from PG within the last hour and wondered if it was a reference to some tech company launch. Then I came here and saw this story. Still not sure...

@paulg: "Did anyone else see a fireball heading east over Silicon Valley at 7:44? (Meteor?)"

rbn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've used the Auth Branch for a few month now. You can see it in action at http://www.classfy.com P.S: make sure you have the "www", or else you wont be able to access the page
zobzu 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the auth is top of the art, why doesn't it have persona? :)
leke 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm still trying to figure out the difference and advantage to learning this over node.js.
norviller 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if the server code is being exposed to the client?
myhf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks like they finally took the suicide joke off their homepage.
talleyrand 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just like the Velvet Underground reference on the new party app demo.
propercoil 1 day ago 0 replies      
always when i see meteor i think it's the reverse polling comet server i used 2 years ago
Hacker News supports browsing with a points threshold ycombinator.com
256 points by martincmartin  3 days ago   81 comments top 22
jsdalton 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'll be the grouchy contrarian and observe that I frequently don't like the more highly voted submissions.

Seems the high point submissions are frequently pop science or culture articles (e.g., "Amateur astronomers discover a planet with four suns" or "A Very Unusual Camera That Emphasizes Time Over Space"), while the lower point submissions are articles I actually learn from (e.g. "Exploring the Virtual Database Engine inside SQLite" or "How to do a great product promo video for less than $200").

I get enough of the former on Reddit; I come to Hacker News for the latter.

Arjuna 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here are some fun points-related search queries:

Comments with the highest number of points:


Stories with the highest number of points:


Users with the highest karma:


"Ask HN:" stories with the highest number of points:


"Show HN:" stories with the highest number of points:


espinchi 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the recent top ten submissions into Hacker News (all above 440 points). I'm happy to see the top ten has a pretty good variety of topics.

    * Conway's Game of Life, using floating point values instead of integers (jwz.org)
* Show HN: We open sourced Lockitron's crowdfunding app (selfstarter.us)
* 37signals Earns Millions Each Year. Its CEO's Model? His Cleaning Lady (fastcompany.com)
* Why is processing a sorted array faster than an unsorted array? (stackoverflow.com)
* I Have 50 Dollars (ihave50dollars.com)
* Why was a scam company able to raise $76 Million Series B?
* The Five Stages of Hosting (blog.pinboard.in)
* Where has all the money in the world gone? (reddit.com)
* If Software Is Eating The World, Why Don't Coders Get Any Respect?
* Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool (realdanlyons.com)

EDIT: As rwos as pooriaazimi point out, these are not the absolute top ten, but only the top ten among the recent submissions. My bad!

speleding 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shht, don't tell anyone! I always user Hacker News with a threshold of 100, but the more people start doing that the fewer there will be left to upvote new articles.

And then there will be nothing to read or I will need to lower my threshold or wait for other people to do that. Prisoners dilemma.

no_more_death 3 days ago 2 replies      
Really saves time.

I used a threshhold of 35 at first, then I upped it to 50. These days you probably want 75 or 100 if you really want to sift through the less important items.

Or you can just subscribe to daemonology's RSS: http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/index.rss. This summarizes the top ten every day. These are most of the important articles; of course you will miss some important things.

On the other side of the scale, you should try http://news.ycombinator.com/newest every once in a while as well. The fact is, the HN point system ends up filtering a lot of things by whatever's popular or in sync with the groupthink at the moment. Newest can help you avoid this "filter."

sjs382 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are also independent RSS feeds that only post feeds over a certain threshold.

I wish there was a browser extension that only showed highly-ranked (or sufficiently new, maybe) comments, too. It would be useful on the comment threads I find most interesting, but probably be too much of a detriment on others to actually be implemented.

Wait... did I just advocate turning HN into Slashdot?

joshuahedlund 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool, and I will probably use it sometimes to help force myself to waste less time, but isn't there some risk of a 'tragedy of the commons' (maybe not the right game theory term, but one of those) where too many people want to see only high point submissions so fewer people are around to vote low point submissions into higher ones? Maybe even some adverse selection where now the people viewing lower point posts are the ones who care less about discovering high quality posts, thereby making it harder for those posts to get high points?
ishkur101 3 days ago 1 reply      
I also like browsing the site in classic mode http://news.ycombinator.com/classic for submissions upvoted by long term members
arbuge 3 days ago 4 replies      
Only one post crosses into 4 digit territory...


...it's an interesting one though. Justifies sticking with HN as your news outlet.

bhavin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great feature!

I had a suggestion: This feature gives you stories 'above' a certain threshold. I think it would help a lot if there was an option for stories 'below' certain threshold.

Rationale behind it is that lots of folks here (like me) don't check the New Submissions section regularly and lots of good stuff never gets much love. If there was an option for generating a front page for stories below certain points, a user can review them and upvote worthy ones, which eventually can feature on normal front page. Any opinions?

danielhughes 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'd love for there to be a "Show HN" filter as well. My favorite part of Hacker News is seeing what others have built.
fredley 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just out of interest, how did you discover this?
chmike 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great option. I was waiting for such an option.

Another problem I have is that I keep scanning the front page list of references to see if a new article popped in somewhere in the list between the last time I checked.

This is inefficient. My impression is that providing a list of references sorted by the time they reached the threshold would do the trick. Though, this would require a significant amount of work to produce. Being able to precompute the sorted list and share it with many users would allow to cache it.

So I raise the question if it is not preferable to propose predefined threshold values. How much difference would it make to have a threshold at 55 and 54 anyway.

Let say you propose a treshold at 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100 for example, the pages could be precomputed and cached.

A script on the browser side could keep track of the last references seen and show older articles in gray for instance.

niels_olson 2 days ago 0 replies      
could we also get under? Or a range? Instead of just new and top, (and now "over"), we could hang out in the 5-10 land and see what's just above "new". Other people might want to hang out in 15-30 land and see what's decent, but potentially getting untoward social effects.
spullara 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot actually got the deep filtering right. Mainly because that was the only way a sane person could consume it.
smiddereens 2 days ago 0 replies      
Still not implemented: Next page that doesn't expire.
Dramatize 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it time for Hacker News sub-categories?

ie /h/something

AznHisoka 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I click on that link.. it goes back to the main homepage, not the article. What gives?
dahumpty 3 days ago 0 replies      
On a related note, here's a search tool (though not perfect) I wrote some time ago that helps filter out stories by points, age & #comments:


charlieok 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can this be used to get filtered RSS feeds?
tomrod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fascinating. Only 2 articles above 3000.
hackerpolicy 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's no way to get a filtered feed (I couldn't find one), so I suggest: http://feedhint.com/
Red Bull Stratos Skydive Rescheduled for today redbullstratos.com
256 points by thehodge  5 days ago   137 comments top 36
molmalo 4 days ago 1 reply      
People, I've just made this little hack to show the location in a map:

Go to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

and open the console to run:

  $("body").append('<script src="http://www.openlayers.org/api/OpenLayers.js"></script>')
$("body").append("<div id='Map' style='width: 500px; height: 500px; position: absolute; left: 100px; top: 800px;'></div>")

then (once openlayers.js is loaded), run this:

  CreateMap = function ()
var lat = 33.3405;
var lon = -103.7601;
var zoom = 14;
var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection
var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);

map = new OpenLayers.Map({
div: "Map",
projection: "EPSG:900913",
layers: [
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Data, imagery and map information provided by <a href='http://www.mapquest.com/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>, <a href='http://www.openstreetmap.org/' target='_blank'>Open Street Map</a> and contributors, <a href='http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/' target='_blank'>CC-BY-SA</a> <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Tiles Courtesy of <a href='http://open.mapquest.co.uk/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>. Portions Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech and U.S. Depart. of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
center: [0, 0],
zoom: 1
map.addControl(new OpenLayers.Control.LayerSwitcher());

// map = new OpenLayers.Map("Map");
// var mapnik = new OpenLayers.Layer.OSM();
// map.addLayer(mapnik);

markers = new OpenLayers.Layer.Markers( "Markers" );

marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);


map.setCenter(position, zoom);


var lat = parseFloat( $("#latitude").html());
var lon = parseFloat( $("#longitude").html());

var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection

var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);
marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);
map.setCenter(position, map.zoom);


Now, at the bottom of the page, you have a map with a marker showing the current location.

Update: [Added] Go first to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

Update 2: Replaced tiles, with the ones from MapQuest, code for mapquest extracted from: http://openlayers.org/dev/examples/mapquest.html

Update 3: fixed little bug introduced ;) Sorry! And placed the map below the video now, so it's easier to view.

raganwald 4 days ago 1 reply      
FYI, this is the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 in 1947:


arrrg 4 days ago 7 replies      
Could someone explain to me whether this is a marketing stunt and nothing more or whether there is some substance behind this? Put another way: Will any scientists or engineers (at least potentially) learn something interesting from this?

It's cool no matter what, but it would be even cooler if there were some substance behind it.

Arjuna 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those that are curious, the stream is being narrated by Robert Hager [1][2].

[1] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3688609/ns/nbcnightlynews/t/robe...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hager

Mithrandir 4 days ago 0 replies      
His parachute deployed! :D

And he landed! http://i.imgur.com/l8z0k.png

There was some issue with his heat visor, but that was resolved.

Edit: More images I screen-snapped (sorry about the low-quality, I'm sure HQ images will be out soon):





uptown 4 days ago 0 replies      
raganwald 5 days ago 1 reply      
Joseph Kittenger's Project Excelsior jump: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior
kloncks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Delayed by 20s in case a tragic accident occurs.
bmac27 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just incredible to watch something like that live. Held my breath the whole time, particular through free fall. When you see him sitting up there from 120,000 feet like he's on a rocking chair, it sort of puts into perspective any time you think you were brave in your life!
TomGullen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the live video feed:
aparadja 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does someone know the reason behind the poor quality of audio coming from Felix? You'd think they had the resources to put in a decent microphone, and data transfer -- judging by the high quality video -- shouldn't be a problem.
codesuela 4 days ago 2 replies      
How much bandwidth do 5.4 mio viewers consume? Can someone give me a number?
lifeformed 4 days ago 1 reply      
At first glance, skydiving from 10k feet and 100k feet seem like they wouldn't be any different. I'm sure there are intricacies that make the jump very difficult, but it seems like you just let gravity do the work, and the chute automatically deploys for you. Can anyone help me understand what the intricacies are?

EDIT: nevermind, seeing him spin but regain control removed my doubt of the difficulty.

dexter313 4 days ago 2 replies      
Felix's helmet heating apears to be broken. They've also cut the radio talk between Felix and Joseph.
ubershmekel 4 days ago 0 replies      
The original scheduled launch on the morning of 9 October 2012 was delayed and cancelled because of a 25-mile-per-hour (40 km/h) gust of wind at the launch site. Technicians at the launch site also found that one of the capsule's communications radio was faulty.


dropshop 4 days ago 1 reply      
3,749,231 watching now popele watching live on youtube, this must be a record?

Update: 4,924,693 watching now
Update: 5,056,344 watching now

kristopher 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like some of YouTube's region-based relay stations are down. Temporarily changing DNS to a US-based ISP is advisable. (Viewing from Japan)
dennyferra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately I barely missed the live jump. Will a recorded video be posted, or is there one already available?
molmalo 4 days ago 5 replies      
IS someone else having trouble with youtube, showing "static" ? (can't connect to live stream)
benmanns 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the JSON endpoint with the data from the launch: http://services.redbullstratos.com/LiveData/Get
LinaLauneBaer 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am having terrible problems using youtube to view the live stream. I am getting "stops" for about 5-10 seconds constantly. Sometimes I have to refresh the whole youtube page to get it working again. Earlier they said that over 100 sites are streaming the event... does anybody know about the best working site?
thesis 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain why they say it will take 2 hours for him to reach his altitude? Right now he's 12.5 miles up after 35:26 minutes.

Will he slow down as his altitude increases?

I keep hearing them talk about dropping ballast -- is there a danger in ascending too fast?

sbarre 5 days ago 2 replies      
11AM EST is the current estimated launch time..

Anyone know how long the ascent is going to last before he actually jumps?

chasing 4 days ago 4 replies      
All in the name of selling sugary sodas. Noble.
dsr12 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked the mission timeline page: http://www.redbullstratos.com/the-mission/mission-timeline
brown9-2 4 days ago 0 replies      
In the US at least, you can also watch live on TV on The Discovery Channel.
mckoss 4 days ago 1 reply      
Almost 5 million people watching live now. Compare to presidential debate with 67 million viewers - not bad!
ccarpenterg 4 days ago 0 replies      
dhughes 4 days ago 2 replies      
He has a lot of external stuff on his suit I'm worried at Mach 1 it will be torn off.
bestest 4 days ago 0 replies      
Once again, title creators succumb to the power of relativity. My eyes keep on skimming on this topic, and it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. "Today" is awesome.
Shtirlic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the outside camera located?
tisme 4 days ago 0 replies      
The guy commenting on the video seems absolutely clueless.
Heliosmaster 4 days ago 0 replies      
roughly in 1hr from now he will get to the desired altitude.
nphrk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just landed!
morequestions 4 days ago 1 reply      
Question - is he going to land in the same country he took from?
nodata 4 days ago 3 replies      
To Red Bull: fix your coverage next time! Your website and Twitter feeds weren't really ever carrying the latest information pre-launch, and your blog was 24 hours out-of-date whenever I checked. (Also YouTube was buffering, it wasn't my connection). Bit of a mess from the PR-masters imo.
XKCD-style charts with D3 iel.fm
253 points by idan  15 hours ago   30 comments top 14
danso 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It draws a nice sine wave
jamesaguilar 15 hours ago 3 replies      
If I'm honest, the most impressive thing about this is how much less concise this is than the mathematica version that came out earlier. I wonder if the difference is more a matter of the library quality or the syntax.
nigma 14 hours ago 1 reply      
For comparison a version in Python/Matplotlib is at http://jakevdp.github.com/blog/2012/10/07/xkcd-style-plots-i...
prezjordan 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Nicely presented! And bl.ocks.org is also very clean (never heard of it before).

I would say this is the nicest result I've seen compared to Python, Mathematica, MATLAB.

mark_integerdsv 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I still need to see a thorough rationalization for the use of this chart style.

Bonus points for using the Tufte 'lie factor' formula.

eric_bullington 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well done! I actually was planning on tacking this one myself using svg filters but I've been too busy. I didn't see Mike Bostock's comment suggesting the custom line interpolator and wasn't aware of it -- d3 is gaining some cool new functionalities!

Thanks also for the great references. In spite of being a big proponent of d3, I somehow missed the "Toward Reusable Charts" piece Mike wrote earlier this year, which succeeds where I have struggled. I've been using the standard prototypal approach to creating reusable and easily configurable charts, which can be cumbersome for the caller. This functional approach with closures is so much cleaner and more reusable. It's the only way I'll make my d3 charts from now on!

suprememoocow 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to play around with the example, I've stuck it on jsfiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/KndsL/2/
DanWaterworth 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The graph is good, but I think I like the font more.
joeblau 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This thing looks amazing. I didn't want to fire up Mathematica to render these charts but I love D3. Thanks!
sturmeh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Took be a bit to realise this wasn't a Diablo 3 reference.
gubatron 14 hours ago 0 replies      
" // Compute the distance along the path using a map-reduce."
vangar 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Can't you just use a tablet and DRAW the graph like it was hand-made?

I don't understand...

heeton 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Negative awesomeness?? Uh-oh!
languagehacker 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Okay, guys. We get it. Enough.
       cached 19 October 2012 15:11:01 GMT