hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    25 Nov 2012 Best
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
Suite of 300 icons for web and user interface design adamwhitcroft.com
765 points by pajju  1 day ago   95 comments top 37
neya 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you very much for this. The website is amazing, UX is perfect and the content (the icons) is top-notch. I will someday re-pay you for this wonderful favor you've done to the community of designers like us, especially considering the fact that it's difficult to find good stuff without having to attribute the creator.
digitalengineer 1 day ago 9 replies      
Thanks for the link. Here's 5 Gigabyte free ui/icons/psd interface. http://www.bypeople.com/
muratmutlu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Adam this is awesome, the fact that you refunded people who had already purchased is even more awesome


Really great work

why-el 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fantastic work. The website is wonderfully crafted, and the icons are awesome. I really needed this. Quick question, where would one place an attribution to this work? I was thinking at the end of the about page in my application(s).
FreshCode 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be awesome if someone made a vector font for these like FontAwesome: http://fortawesome.github.com/Font-Awesome/
richardlblair 1 day ago 1 reply      

As a developer with 0 design skills stuff like this makes me feel like I can fully complete my work.

I personally appreciate the fact that you did this out of love for your craft and respect for the industry. There are too few of you in this industry my friend.

Thank you

john-n 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks great, quick question someone may be able to answer: in the license he says "[free to use in] any personal or commercial work...Do not redistribute or sell", which is fair enough, but does that restrict use in paid-for apps (such as on mobile devices etc)?
radley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whitcroft is also responsible for Climacons (weather icons) which have become standard for many apps. #hatTip


tobych 1 day ago 0 replies      

Not to be picky about the punctuation or anything, but I would have thought a comma would be good here:

"Each icon is a single Photoshop shape layer, meaning ..."

Alternatively, replace "meaning" with "so"?

Thanks again!

ed209 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good on you for giving your hard work away.

I would make a suggestion though to tighten up those pixels in the demo png, the half pixels are making most icons look blurry http://cl.ly/image/093M0z0z3a2W

peterhost 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an amazing set of icons. I'll make sure I use them and credit you.

Your giving this for free reminds me of the biggest problem Freelance artists/developers have : if one's a dev at heart, it's creating that fuels one's achievements. It's the fact that people are using the results. Problem is : how do I keep creating if I can't make a living out of it ?

And it's a hard one. I read so many headlines on HN which revolve around "launch a startup!", but never really do more than read them because of one single fact : i'm bloody not, and never will be interested by selling anything, be it cakes, code or my secondhand ipad.

I totally suck at marketing cause I totally hate practicing this art (of which i do not doubt the usefulness).

It's taken me 40 years to realize that :
1) i'm not interested in sales/marketing
2) doing it takes me down a path of depression every single time i try and i'm better of doing other things like building my own house (took me 3 years) or working in mechanics (repairing engines)
3) most important : there's no shame in not caring about marketing/sales and (therefore) sucking at it.

I had the opportunity to team with a guy who excels at marketing, and am able to code for a living full time while still living in a small village on a secluded island with a good internet connection. I truly hope you'll meet one of these ! Cause your work is insanely good.

adamwhitcroft 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to thank all of you for such an incredible response to Batch. It has far exceeded anything I could have imagined.

While I was asleep, a complete web font was made, a second is in the works, 2 CSS sprite kits were made and someone sent me a Photoshop CSH file.

I am completely blown away.

I'll spend some time checking these additions thoroughly before adding them to the Batch site.

Thank you all,

javajosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was happily upvoting adam's new account, and then remembered that this is hacker news:

    var links = document.getElementsByTagName('a'); for (var i = links.length >>> 0; i--;) {if (links[i].innerHTML==='adamwhitcroft'){var j=i; while (!links[++j].id){}; console.log(links[j], links[j].click())}}

If you paste this into WebKit inspector and run it, it will click all of adam's upvote links.

Here's a little puzzle - there is one trivial change that will change upvotes to downvotes. Can you guess what it is?

davidwparker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks a ton Adam! Any chance you can upload a set that isn't in Photoshop format (for those of us without Photoshop)?
chrismarlow9 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope the creator of the icons is not upset by my forwardness, but I've converted these icons to bootstrap style icons for easy use. Visit https://github.com/chrismarlow9/Batch-Bootstrap-Plugin for the project.

It allows you to add the icons with pure CSS style (using rowXcolumn) class name. The CSS file isn't exactly small but I did this for the purposes of people making friendly names for icons and expanding on the project (I tried myself but I hate coming up with semantics for technical things. Anyways, enjoy. I simply used GIMP to Greyscale the image and invert the color to white. Transparent the image on your own (or maybe I will later)...

mhd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks rather interesting. Does anyone have any experiences using tools like ImageMagick for batch compositing/coloring/modifying PSD layers?
tsahyt 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd like this to be an icon font.
Graham24 1 day ago 2 replies      
"If you use Batch in a Dribbble shot, the inclusion of a “Batch” tag would be appreciated so that I can keep a curated bucket."

I'm far, far too old to understand this, any clues?

olalonde 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kartificial 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great effort, definitely bookmarking this.
gergderkson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Would have paid for them. Donation coming your way!
heriC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very generous. I especially like the mit-ish license. I have this theory that permissive licensing will produce more goodwill and credibility. Hope I'm right!
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see someone provide a free alternative to Glyphicons.
bn097 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice work, but shame they're not in SVG format. Photoshop files are notoriously awkward to read for Open Source software.
Linford0 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Adam - If there was a way to share your address with me then I would be sending you some powerfully hopped IPA's!
isabre 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you. The Icons are amazing!
hayksaakian 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could see this replacing my bootstrap icons once this gets a CSS file.
grigy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for this gift!
TommyDANGerous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome, thanks for the sure. Looks great.
kamakazizuru 1 day ago 0 replies      
thanks this is amazing !
Ramp_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent work. Thank you.
earroway 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks Adam. Beautiful icons.
OniBait 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice! I'm a developer with zero illustration talent. Even if I never use these, I donated anyway. :)
chrisngonzales 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this Adam!
countessa 1 day ago 0 replies      
very nice - thank you for these
abeiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is amazing!
brianjimdar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ha, that's pretty cool.
You are committing a crime right now erratasec.blogspot.com
694 points by ssclafani  4 days ago   192 comments top 33
grellas 3 days ago 7 replies      
In April, 2012, the erudite Judge Kozinski wrote for the entire Ninth Circuit in an en banc decision addressing the very concerns raised in this piece (see decision here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/04/10/10...).

The opinion is not only compelling, it is a brilliant example of law at its best, for it shows how a wonderful legal mind wrestles with a knotty problem that can be summed up with the question, "Should courts apply a badly drafted piece of legislation to lead to the absurd result of criminalizing a whole host of minor misdeeds committed by individuals every day in using the web and their computers?" Judge Kozinski answered this question with a resounding "no."

He did so by applying the "rule of lenity," which requires "penal laws . . . to be construed strictly." (at p. 3872) "The rule of lenity not only ensures that citizens will have fair notice of the criminal laws, but also that Congress will have fair notice of what conduct its laws criminalize. We construe criminal statutes narrowly so that Congress will not unintentionally turn ordinary citizens into criminals." Applying this rule, he held as follows: "Therefore, we hold that 'exceeds authorized access' in the CFAA is limited to violations of restrictions on access to information, and not restrictions on its use." (emphasis in original)

In other words, though the CFAA is so badly worded that one might potentially give it an absurd and unconstitutional interpretation so as to criminalize things one would think shocking for Congress to have criminalized, the courts have the power to apply well-established rules of statutory construction so as to avoid such an absurdity. Here, the Ninth Circuit did so by construing the CFAA to criminalize violations of access restrictions (i.e., hacking) and not violations of use restrictions (terms of use on website and the like).

Now, there is a split in the federal circuits on this issue and it will either be resolved by an amendment to the statute or it will eventually find its way to the Supreme Court for resolution. But, even granting the split, the most extreme cases in which the CFAA has been applied criminally have involved things such as employees misappropriating trade secrets and other items that go far beyond innocuous things such as violating an employer's computer use policies by surfing the internet on company time.

In other words, no court has gone so far as to adopt anything close to the absurd outcomes suggested in this piece. Even the government in its arguments to Judge Kozinski strongly stated that it would never consider prosecuting such items as crimes. ("The government assures us that, whatever the scope of the CFAA, it won't prosecute minor violations. But we shouldn't have to live at the mercy of the local prosecutor." at p. 3870)

Thus, it is fit and proper to call out the alarmist tone of this piece as being wildly outside the mainstream of where the courts have gone with the CFAA and of where they are likely to go. Is it badly drafted legislation? Yes, it is a mess (if you want to lose your mind, try reading through the text of the statute here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1030). Can it be interpreted to criminalize things that Congress might not have intended to criminalize? Yes, including acts by employees that, though wrongful, may not have been within the contemplation of Congress when it passed the statute. But, that said, is there a risk that the CFAA can be applied to criminalize our daily interaction with computers and the web? No, not unless normal, sound principles of law are wholly disregarded by the courts, which they won't be.

jellicle 4 days ago 5 replies      
Despite the assertions of tptacek, there is no requirement for any fraud to occur for a crime to have occurred. This is a pretty important thing for computer people to understand, and it's really unfortunate that one knucklehead vehemently asserting false facts has ruined this whole thread.


Essentially, anything you do exceeding authorization to a computer connected to the internet is potentially a U.S. federal crime. Anywhere in the world. No fraud need be proved. For example, here are the elements of a crime under 1030(a)(2):

1030(a)(2) Summary (Misd.)
1. Intentionally access a computer
2. without or in excess of authorization
3. obtain information
4. from
financial records of financial institution
or consumer reporting agency
the U.S. government
a protected computer

So if the government can prove these things: you intentionally accessed a computer; without or in excess of authorization; obtained any information at all; and it was a computer connected to the internet, then they have successfully proved that you violated 1030(a)(2). Numerous whistleblowers have been charged with violating this law, including Bradley Manning; at least one "cyberbullying" case has been charged under it, etc.

NO FRAUD IS REQUIRED. You can shouldersurf someone's password, log in as them, type "ls", log out and never use that password again - you've violated that law.

Every person working with computers in the U.S. or anywhere the U.S. can reach with its laws should have this engraved along the top of their keyboard.

tptacek 4 days ago 5 replies      
Are you reading this blog? If so, you are committing a crime under 18 USC 1030(a) (better known as the “Computer Fraud & Abuse Act” or “CFAA”). That's because I did not explicitly authorize you to access this site, but you accessed it anyway. Your screen has a resolution of 1280x800. I know this, because (with malice aforethought) I clearly violated 18 USC 1030(a)(5)(A) by knowingly causing the transmission of JavaScript code to your browser to discover this information.

Jesus, Rob. You know this isn't true. Under the CFAA, you can't simply declare your blog "off limits" and then press charges. I have to access the site with the intent to commit fraud. And my access to your site has to further that fraud.

crazygringo 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's always bothered me that laws can be so vague such that, in advance, there's no way for you to know if a particular action of yours would break the law or not. You literally have to do it, wait to see if you're charged, and then wait for a judge/jury to decide which side of the law you fall on. It seems so unfair that law should ever be a gamble.

I've always wished there could be some kind of government agency you could go to, where you would lay out exactly what you would like to do, and they will explicitly decide in advance, and it would even set judicial precedent. Maybe you would have to pay the fees for lawyers on both sides and judge (so it wouldn't be cheap) no matter what the outcome, but if your actions were found to be legal in advance, then that would be binding, and there would be zero risk to your actions.

coffeemug 4 days ago 1 reply      
The entire U.S. legal system is based on a principle of "acting in good faith" and interpreting laws from the point of view of a "reasonable observer." If you choose to ignore these two principles, every single sentence of every single law can be convoluted to have an enormous range of meanings. That's not what the law is about -- it's not just about the letter, it's also about the spirit.

Sometimes judges and juries screw up -- maliciously, or otherwise. Most of the time they don't. It sucks, but it's the best system we've got.

That's not to say that the legislators shouldn't try to make laws clear and unambiguous, but they have a lot on their plates and patching a hole in a 1986 legislation that doesn't seem to actually harm anyone isn't high on their priority list.

fierarul 4 days ago 4 replies      
It's hard for an analytical mind to understand that law is mostly a socio-political game with some vague rules. It's not a verifiable axiomatic system (although, I think it should be quite close).

I'm coming to grips with the idea that law is mostly empirical and can only be falsified. Which means that, by design, you can't know if you are following the law or not.

monochromatic 4 days ago 2 replies      
> That's silly, you say, because that's not what the law means. Well, how do you know what the law means? The law is so vague that it's impossible to tell.

No, it's not that this isn't what the law means. It's that this isn't what the law says. There are vague laws, and there are ambiguous laws, but you are way overstating your case here. Either that, or you have never read § 1030.

j_baker 4 days ago 1 reply      
You know, I think we as programmers have a tendency to want everything to be well-defined, and that can sometimes turn tedious. In this particular case, that's what the OP is doing. Congress simply isn't capable of writing these laws fast enough to keep up with the technology, nor do I think it's preferable ("The citizens of Utah will not stand for oauth2-based authentication! Only SOAP will do!").

This is what we have courts and an executive branch for: the law can really only provide broad guidelines. It's up to the other branches to apply these principles in practice.

iuguy 4 days ago 1 reply      
What Rob Graham is saying is very similar to the situation for many years with the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the UK. It took the conviction of someone for not hacking for the establishment to realise that the law indeed was an ass and needed to be changed, and several years for the amendments in the Police and Justice act to kick in that provided much needed background, sadly at the cost of what are referred to as "dual use tools", such as your web browser.
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
This would be a more effective rant if it had a suggested fix and maybe a copy of the letter this guy who is clearly an expert in the field sent to all of the members of Congress on the Science and Technology committee that would have to consider changes to CFAA. Or maybe just to Ben Quayle (R AZ) who chairs the subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

EDIT: Obligatory shout out for https://postcongress.io/

harryh 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with this post is that it isn't going to convince anyone that doesn't already agree with you. I swear to god that I am on your side. I'm a nerd. I'm pretty confident that what's being done to Weev is awful. You & I probably have mutual colleagues.

But this post made me less supportive of your cause not more.

You wont improve the standing of your argument in this manner. You'll only make regular people think you're crazy.

wisty 3 days ago 1 reply      
> A well-known legal phrase is “ignorance of the law is no defense”. But that doesn't really apply here. You know the law exists. You may have read it in detail. You may have even consulted your lawyer. It's just that nobody can tell precisely whether this act as crossed the line between “authorized” and “unauthorized” access. We won't know until if and when somebody tries to prosecute you.

This is a GOOD thing. The whole point is, there's no clear line between reasonable access and hacking. It's something which the courts have to figure out.

The Common Law is largely based on common sense, and precedent; and precedent is based on a previous judge's common sense. The three big rules for interpreting laws are the plain meaning rule (use the literal meaning), the "golden rule" (ignore the plain meaning rule if it's obviously stupid), and the mischief rule (figure out what mischief the lawmakers were trying to prevent).

A vaguely written law lets judges use their common sense. While I'm sure there'll be people who disagree with their interpretations, it's either that or black and white statues which simply won't work.

gort 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel I'm given explicit authorisation to read the page when the server sends a "200 OK" response to my request to read it.
frobozz 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is hosted on Blogspot, so I don't think the author has the authority to permit or deny people access to that computer.

Surely it's entirely within Google's gift.


That said, I can't actually see where they authorise access, only that they tell us not to misuse. Though they do give an example: "don't interfere with our Services or try to access them using a method other than the interface and the instructions that we provide." which might imply that accessing them through the provided interface, and not interfering is OK.

46Bit 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting argument towards the end, although my answer to about half the questions is caselaw.
smsm42 3 days ago 1 reply      
That sounds like bullshit. Posting link to Hacker News is not exactly how one protects access to his private information. Obviously, whatever is written on that page, the real intent of the author was to publicize the article, and his words in the blog that he is denying access is a lie.

Also, this is placed on a well known public blog, also submitted to search engines and other public catalogues, means that nobody in his sane mind would consider this a private place not intended for public visitors.

It is also a common practice, accepted by vast majority of users, that sites run Javascript in user's browser, and that some data - such as cookies, display resolution, etc. - is available to these scripts. If the site took some liberties outside of accepted practices common for Internet browsing - such as using a hole in the browser to read documents on my hard disk that I did not specifically upload to the site - then yes, the site author would be liable. But to scare me into believing what author intends me to believe, he better would find any court insane enough to interpret it this way.

gggggggg 4 days ago 1 reply      
Could these be let in to allow people prosecuting to selectivally target those they can not get for other reasons.

Like Al Capone for Tax. Cant get someone for real hacking, so these vague laws help along the way?

TheCapn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone care to fill me in why creating a web server, opening access publicly through the creation of an authorized user account and publishing information on said access does not constitute explicit permission to access? There's a lot of flipflopping legal discussion happening in this thread but to me there were explicit actions taken by the web host in order to allow anonymous individuals access to the information published.
b3n 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm committing a crime by (supposedly) breaking a law from a country I've never been to? I guess I should start wearing a hijab so I don't break Saudi Arabia's laws too.
Nursie 3 days ago 0 replies      
From the title I assumed this was going to be about how we have such a volume of law that it's pretty inevitable that you're already breaking several, if not several hundred.
geon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Webservers usually have a very explicit authorization setting. Apache often has the lines

    Order allow,deny
Allow from all

in a config file somewhere.

jnazario 3 days ago 1 reply      
bear in mind that weev's an awful poster child for this. he's a known internet professional troll and has made a lot of enemies in the past few years through his actions. ISTR he'd probably been under investigation for a while and this is what stuck.

as noted elsewhere in comments in an article about the event he laughed that what he was doing was probably illegal, suggesting knowledge of a likely crime.

i'm no fan of an absurd application of laws, but there have got to be better poster children for this sort of thing.

budchrislee 3 days ago 0 replies      
As Kyrgizio mentions, You can do whatever you want, probably even illegally, but you DON'T embarrass your "betters". You don't bite the hand that feeds you, and you DON'T stick your head up out of the herd.
mercurialshark 3 days ago 0 replies      
The posting of corporate earnings is a rather poor example. The law doesn't require you to personally trade on inside information, as an attempt to manipulate trading by furthering actual or false inside information is sufficient. A reasonable person, which is what I presume the standard is, could expect trades to be conducted based off early release of corporate earnings. Therefore, this example isn't really applicable to the authors primary point.
neilmiddleton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Trust no man who writes web content in MS Word.
wooptoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
genuine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't encourage the government to try to update legislation for the world as we currently know it, because that will be woefully out of date in just a few years, and same for something enacted a few years from now, etc. By pointing out what needs to change, they won't remove the law- they will try to update it. The best thing to do is to know how to defend yourself against the existing law so that you can fight it if and when you it affects you. It seems currently that the most obvious defense is that it is unclear. I'm not sure how well that would work, but odds are good that you won't have to defend yourself anyway.
mannjani 2 days ago 0 replies      
We are a democratic country they said. We believe in fundamental rights they said.
xyandnoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am assuming that most or all of those who are defending Weev have never experienced life after he "drops docs" on you (which he has of course done for years, and as casually as one swats a fly)
spiritplumber 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you break the law, make sure it's not worth fixing.
guard-of-terra 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think Anonymous should be trashing AT&T right now.
kailuowang 4 days ago 3 replies      
not if I don't click this link.
Hacking my Vagina scanlime.org
486 points by kogir  7 hours ago   125 comments top 29
jtchang 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Really cool!

Is reverse engineering the wireless protocol easy? I imagine hacking hardware involves a lot more work than software.

I also love how she 3d printed out some plastic cases for her toy. I see cheap 3d printers eventually being so ubiquitous that a quick prototype may be just as easy to hack up as a working software program.

qdot76367 5 hours ago 3 replies      
For anyone interested in more stuff like this, I run a site about sex and technology and track open source sex projects:


zeteo 6 hours ago 9 replies      
I wonder if an article called "Hacking my Penis" would ever last long the HN front page.
swalsh 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I love the breadth of skill that went into this project. It shows good knowledge of software, hardware, reverse engineering, and its even tied together in a really neat package.
lifeisstillgood 6 hours ago 3 replies      
She is inventing an industry for something every human on the planet does pretty much every day. Big market, disruptive technology. Yet somehow I don't see it on techcrunch.

I am reminded of pg's discussion on finding the taboo's in society.

We still have plenty.

DanBC 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm so pleased there's no use of the word "dildonics" on that article.

And I'm sad there's no awesome open source version of Rez to go with her device. Probably NSFW for language and underwear photo (http://www.gamegirladvance.com/2002/10/sex-in-games-rezvibra...)

jiggy2011 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In all seriousness, somebody needs to disrupt internet porn again.

If you trying and look for it on google all you get is shitty "tube" websites full of autoplaying livejasmin ads and links that go round in circles.

The content is terrible too, either staged "reality" BS , stuff designed to shock more than titilate, unwatchable crap made with a smartphone or weird softcore stuff that tries to be "arty" or "feminist".

jiggy2011 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone want to fund my kickstarter for a vibrating fleshlight that runs nodejs?
guylhem 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The title is misleading. But the idea of haptic sex toys, and the approach of the hack - especially identifying that the remote was the problem- is great.

We will see if haptic sex toys become mainstream. I didn't even know they existed in the first place!

It seems like a real innovation!

georgeorwell 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Warning: this is not a politically correct viewpoint, but nevertheless it's my perspective.

The actual best thing about this post being in first place on Hacker News is not that it's a woman posting but that she has a Y chromosome and most people don't realize it.

It's like her recently-acquired vagina is a new laptop to be hacked. It's still objectification of women if you try to turn into one and then objectify yourself.

The real goal of this post is to get a bunch of men to fantasize about "her" and glorify how cool "she" is for being a geeky hacker.

Not all trans(vestite|gender|sexual) people are like this.

victorhn 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This is not meant to be a troll post, but just sincere curiosity.

From the site "My full name is Micah Elizabeth Scott, but I used to be Micah Dowty prior to Fall 2010. My friends call me Beth."

How can a woman who used to be a man can have a vagina? is there some kind of surgery? do you keep your sensitivity to be able to use vibrators?

dmschulman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool hack! And maybe I don't read enough, but I thought it was especially interesting since it was one of the first builds where I saw someone create a custom circuit AND a custom enclosure using a 3D printer.

Though it involves a sex toy, I think the build was straightforward, technical, and decidedly un-sexy. I don't know where the feather ruffling is coming from besides the discussion of the link's title.

robbles 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Really cool project, and looks like it was executed really well in many ways.

However, I couldn't help being reminded of this comic: http://xkcd.com/196/
I feel like there's a lot of social factors that would make using an invention like this a little awkward. Maybe that's just me?

ghjm 6 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a really cool hack, but my problem is that I don't understand the sex part. What's better about waving your hands around to control the motor speed, vs. using a dial?

This is not out of prurient interest. I just can't understand the engineering without understanding the use case. Maybe you have to be female to get this?

stcredzero 4 hours ago 0 replies      
After everyone was feeling stuffed and mellow in the house, I brought out the old PS2 and hooked it up to the projector and the stereo, then put in Rez. (Has been called "Tron on Ecstasy.")


I think there's a lot of hacking potential. I think it would be cool to have a back room in a club where you have Rez on a game console on a big HD screen with a nice sound system. One could also implement a wireless protocol for the trance vibe info and publish the protocol, so spectators would casually walk in and wirelessly experience the "synaesthesia."

lobotryas 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Fun article and an excellent hack!

Any takers to found a startup in order to dive in and disrupt the sex toy industry with some cutting edge innovation? Imagine the millions you'd rake in if you re-invent sex.

I'm looking forward to at least one ero-toy applicant in the next round of YC apps.

ciriarte 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I cannot express how much I admire this post. This is how I think women should address gender equality: not by antagonizing men, but through sound and assertive work like this.
personlurking 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Power Exchange" section title. Must be a resident of SF.
polarcuke 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is easily the strangest top post I have ever seen on hacker news. I actually can't stop laughing. I guess it's because most people just don't think about technology and sex in the same thought unless you are thinking about internet porn. An interesting read no less.
brennenHN 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Super clever title and article for getting HN attention, but also pretty interesting.
Empro 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm amused this is the top story.
hcarvalhoalves 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Sex in the future. It's going to be weird.
askothecoder 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is weird. Or not. I have hard time even making a difference between weird and not weird these days. Either way, carry on.
agumonkey 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonderful website full of gem.
felipelalli 4 hours ago 0 replies      
marktronic 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What's a vagina?

Never Touched A Boob

iframe 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why this? aren't there thousands of virgin nerds ... ?
the1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have smart enough AI, do you get pregnant by it? That's how babes born, right?
cwb71 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
500 Internal Server Error

Best linkbait title ever?

Ask HN: Are you alone in San Francisco on Thanksgiving?
464 points by MediaSquirrel  2 days ago   94 comments top 53
MediaSquirrel 2 days ago 2 replies      
Amazed by the turnout. What an awesome thanksgiving!


kloncks 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is beautiful and shows one of the coolest parts of a great community like Silicon Valley. Thanks for giving back, Matt.

I sincerely hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving!

blhack 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's only a 12 hour drive from Phoenix! I can make it!

(I'm kidding, that would put me in SF around 1:00am -- hanging out in the hackerspace with my girlfriend making stuff instead :) )

rgrieselhuber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Matt is one of the coolest people in the Bay Area and it is definitely worth spending the day with him if you're on your own today.
malandrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bummer. I kind of wish I hadn't agree to go to my gf's family's house. I would rather be nerding out.
louwhopley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not in America, but would really like to know how many people actually asked to join you?

Happy Thanksgiving!

sixQuarks 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very nice of you! on a related note, I'm curious. SwigMe.com seems very interesting, but I would think there are a lot of legal loopholes you need to jump through, no? What happens when teenagers try to order and present a good fake ID at the door?
mladenkovacevic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happy thanksgiving to you Yanks from the south. What I find cool is that you say you started your entrepreneurial jaunt at 29. I'm 30 and just taking step 0.23 in my self-employment scheme but I often feel like I'm maybe too old to be trying out for this particular team. It's encouraging that it seems it's never too late to just try building something. So thanks for that :)
vlokshin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Kudos to you for posting, Matt.

I just moved to the city (it'll be 1 month tomorrow), but luckily I had great friends waiting for me who I'll be enjoying the evening with.

But the awesomeness of this post almost makes me want to join you regardless haha

zensavona 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is truly awesome, it's so nice to see that (although there is at times bickering) the HN community still is alive at heart.
chrisyeh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Matt is a mensch! Great to see you're continuing to fly the entrepreneurial flag.
bravura 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well done, Matt.

We haven't hung out in a while. Let's get together when I come to SF in January.

hakaaak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Way to go! Good turnout, too!

It makes me sad that all the HN stuff typically appears to revolve around SF and SV area, though. I feel left out. I think the problem is that PG and YC are on that side of the world, and the rest of us get screwed. I'd like to see a map of IPs geoplotted for the last hour, last day, last week, month, year, all time for those hitting HN, those commenting, those with the most karma points, etc. I'd like to feel like it isn't all west coast U.S., NYC, and India.

shanelja 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame this isn't the UK - I'm going to be alone for christmas this year and it would have been cool to spend it with like minded, kind people such as yourself and Gautam.
dmor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awww Matt, happy thanksgiving - hope get to celebrate with you sometime!
macey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! That's really cool, Matt. Cheers to helping everyone get a little higher on Maslow's pyramid today.

On that note... Here's a link to donate to the SF food bank's holiday food drive.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

maxwin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am alone but not in SF. It is really nice of you. You are truly having a great Thanksgiving day.
axyjo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm in Santa Clara, (so I won't be able to come up) but I'd like to help out. Any way I can chip in to the meal?
acoyfellow 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are awesome. Cheers from Pennsylvania!
onedev 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much for being an awesome human being. People like you are my motivation.
richo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is such an outrageously awesome thing that you have done.


SiVal 1 day ago 0 replies      
One more thing to give thanks for is people like you, Matt.
jeremy_k 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was an awesome event! Just wanted to give a shutout to Matt for hosting all of us. It was great to meet tons of people from around the world who were all in the same position. It really made my day to know this community supports each other so much.
simonebrunozzi 2 days ago 0 replies      
You're so nice Matt. Big hugs to you!

Sometimes I see random acts of kindness (like yours), and they still surprise me.

I bet every one of us did a few, and received a few.

joshaidan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let us know how many people show up!
sown 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad it takes caltrain 1.5 hours to get up there from SJ. oh well. Thanksfor the offer and happy thanksgiving
dcope 2 days ago 0 replies      
This doesn't apply to me but this is absolutely fantastic. It's great to see people with kind souls doing nice things.

Happy Thanksgiving.

leemor13 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would take you up if I were down there! All the way up in Vancouver, BC but I'll take a raincheck :).
codex_irl 2 days ago 2 replies      
An especially happy Thanksgiving to anyone here from out of town or away from friends & family!
Credit_Swarm 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is super cool. Matt Mireles you have a big heart. You just earned a new customer for Swig
flyingFlyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hope someday, when I visit Silicon Valley, you would host Thanksgiving too. Would love to join you then.

For Now, Happy Thanksgiving from Nepal :)

jmedwards 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is just plain nice. It's not often you get to say than on HN :)
jeduan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is beautiful.

I had a short gig in SF earlier this year and finding this kindness would have definitely helped me make my stay there a more enjoyable experience.

Abrazos from Mexico City.

betadreamer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow how nice of you. This is why I like HN especially after being pushed around in Walmart :P I would've ping if I was around SF.
anandkulkarni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classy move, Matt! Happy Thanksgiving.
freshbrewedmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Matt-

I just shot you an email- I'm staying near Height and Clayton, and this is my first Thanksgiving alone- How far is it to North Beach ?

schrodinger 2 days ago 0 replies      
You've gotta bring swig me to NYC! I'd use it!
gabriels 1 day ago 0 replies      
Matt, thanks for the invite! Although I wasn't there this is really heartwarming :)
mistrQ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! I wish I was in SF. Hopefully someone as friendly as you will be doing this in London (UK) next year.
hjay 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's very nice of you, Matt. Wish I was near San Fran!
Have a great time nevertheless.
Xorlev 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible. Great thing you're doing! How about that hospitality. :)
cicloid 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is by far a great gesture!

Kudos Matt!

jmd_akbar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's people like you who give me hope about the future of humanity! :)

Thanks and Happy thanksgiving.

PS: I would totally drop by, if i wasn't living about 8000miles away! :D

imran 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although im not in san fransisco this post alone made my day!
mailshanx 2 days ago 0 replies      
An awesome gesture. Happy thanksgiving from Singapore!:)
inspiredworlds 1 day ago 0 replies      
awesome idea! wish i could have made it (even though i'm in another part of the world)
messel 1 day ago 0 replies      
good show Matt, way to celebrate the holiday
prohan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't be lazzy make a language like Guido did
arschles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great gesture dude. Thanks for giving back.
viraj_shah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Super cool man. Have a great holiday!
isacult 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. Kudos to you kind sir.
Jngai1297 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only I am in San Francisco..... Have a great thanksgiving!
Goranek 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice marketing..but still remarkable offer
one big PLUS
Police Raid 9-Year-Old Pirate Bay Girl torrentfreak.com
459 points by Sami_Lehtinen  2 days ago   157 comments top 26
pg 2 days ago 13 replies      
This is the reductio ad absurdum of current law.

We need to work more actively to make this sort of thing stop. There are a range of solutions. We could try to change the laws. We could develop technology that would make it harder to catch file-sharers. We could attack the labels directly by trying to pinch off the sources of their revenue. I'm not sure which would work the best. My guess is that they're better at manipulating legislators, and the way to beat them is technology.

So here's a question for everyone: What new technology would harm the labels most?

ashray 2 days ago 5 replies      
Clicked through to the article hoping to see a picture of the laptop. Was not disappointed! :)

On topic though, this just shows how ridiculous the MAFIAA is getting these days. Unfortunately, this episode played out negatively on the artist as well - who probably had nothing to do with the event. So piracy harms the artist, but in this case the MAFIAA hurt the artist even more by prosecuting someone for it [1] ? Not sure if that's justice, but it feels quite strange to think about it.

[1] - The article says that the artist experienced a serious backlash on her facebook page from enraged fans.

antidoh 2 days ago 4 replies      
Don't buy music controlled by the RIAA. Just don't. The only way to stop them is to starve them. They're major campaign contributors, so the law will never be on our side until they're gone.

And by the way, don't download said music from sharing sites or friends. Artists need to see that we won't pay them any attention, with wallets or ears, if they associate with known extortionists.

csense 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I was a billionaire looking for ways to burn money, I'd set up a legal defense fund for MAFIAA victims.

We wouldn't have go broke defending everyone they sue. All it takes is a few cases to establish their abusive practices and suddenly courts start looking at them as "vexatious litigants" who file lawsuits in bad faith; abuse court procedure by e.g. jurisdiction shopping; using the court's subpoena power to get names and addresses for the sole purpose of extorting settlements with no intention of actually going to court; improperly joining hundreds or thousands of unrelated cases to save on filing fees.

When they realize someone who has the money and willingness to sue them is looking at these cases very carefully, suddenly the police fall in line and start going "by the book" and following their own procedures: Only taking evidence that's actually needed, only keeping it as long as it's needed, and returning it in good condition. Again, all we have to do is have a few successful cases and we can prevent thousands from going through what's happening in this story.

DanBC 2 days ago 6 replies      
The age of criminal responsibility in Finland is 15. So I'm at a loss at what is going to happen to this 9 year old girl. Certainly downloading music without paying for it is wrong. But there are much better ways of dealing with this than sending in the police.

And justice needs to be public. (With a few rare exceptions). Forcing people to sign NDAs is creepy and weird.

I'd be interested to know what would have happened if the father sent photocopies of the receipts for the music that they bought the next day - I like to think that would have been enough to call off the lawyers but I understand that it probably isn't.

netcan 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do these NDAs work? Can they really demand that you pay them money and not tell anyone?

Seems pretty creepy.

belorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since when did this became normal and accepted in society? Whats next, police pulling candy from babies? or are we just going straight back to whip and flails to handle the dark and evil crime called copyright infringement!

This is the definition of insanity. What is wrong with the people that was part of the chain of events that lead to taking a laptop from the hands of an 9 year old girl?

gavanwoolery 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not going to lie, this might be the best headline ever.
Nux 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is insane! Using the "law" to get to this unprecedented levels of harassment against KIDS! I mean, for fuck's sake: THINK OF THE KIDS!

I honestly want to see more and more of this, there's an already growing wave of anti-MAFIAA and this kind of abuses will only make it bigger and meaner. The bubble will burst at some point and it won't be pleasant.

Zenst 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just as worrying is the level of IT the people who take the laptop and other IT equipment away actualy have.

They could image the laptop, but no they take it away, leave it in a pile for months and then return it knowing full well that any data is not biometricaly tagged with any individual and as such a good lawyer would stamp all over it. TCP/IP in effect could be deemed entrapment in how it works.

Sad thing is I have music CD's that now over 20-30 years old are rusting a bit and some are unplayable. I would not moraly have an issue of getting a replacement via the internet for the cost of my time and internet. Now I know it is wrong and I should not have to spend my time and internet obtaining what I already paid for and was misold as a undistructable media at the time, but I'm a fair chap. But those that enforce there copyrights are not fair.

I have a file on all my computers called do not open without prior permision, its a realy evil file with compression bomb embeded picture saying "piss off" after about 50+ layers. If somebody investigates my computers without my permission or following the instructions to use my computer then that person will waste alot of there time.
OK I now need some illegal mp3's but nobody is perfect and with that this is yet another case of the system being highlighted for what it is, messed up and moraly wrong.

lysol 2 days ago 2 replies      
Yikes, I wouldn't let a 9 year old go to the Pirate Bay on her own. Unless you're running adblock there are some pretty R-rated banner ads on TPB.
DiabloD3 2 days ago 2 replies      
I imagine the death throes of this dying industry are going to get worse before it gets better.
lelandbatey 2 days ago 3 replies      
I really don't like the sensationalist "pull at the heart strings", vibe in this title. I it feels a bit misleading and over-dramatized just to cause controversy. I get what they're trying to say, I but there has to be a better way to say it.
Futurebot 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's amazing to me that in the past 10 years, so much has changed with regard to the music industry (streaming radio, MP3s becoming ubiquitous at mainstream e-commerce sites, everyone with a music player/smartphone in their pocket, etc.) and yet how little has changed (lawsuits, the laws themselves, and the general insanity around the topic.) A glimpse into these same conversations from the previous era:





madaxe 2 days ago 0 replies      
They should execute this filthy pirate. She is clearly single-handedly responsible for all poor music sales in at least the last 15 years.

Wait, no, this is utterly irrational and harms the MAFIAA's cause. I say bring on more lawsuits against neonates, foeti and octogenarians - they'll scupper their own cause pretty swiftly as they lampoon themselves.

shusso 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've thought that in Finland the reason to get a search warrant needs that the minimum punishment for the crime is 6mo in jail. When did the punishment for copyright infringement went from fines to jailtime :O Or am I missing here something..
stevewillows 2 days ago 0 replies      
The trouble with running an indie label is that you rely heavily on grant money (usually through the government). The major labels are the only ones who can execute non-organic marketing strategies (billboards, commercials etc).

Even the deals that people are signing these days aren't in their best interest. Often a band will sign only to never have anything released by the label. The kicker is that the label still owns anything that band (even as individuals) make for a period of time. You're essentially treated like a movie script.

chris_wot 1 day ago 0 replies      
The original title was much better. Why was it changed?
hayksaakian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Piracy law is getting absurd.

Imagine if this girl simply shoplifted the music, its entirely reasonable that if she was caught that shed get a slap on the wrist and if anything, no where near a 600 fine.

JacksonGariety 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remind anyone else of Terry' Gilliam's Brazil?


Tenoke 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty disturbing given that she only downloaded one album a year ago (or at least thats all they seem to be pinning on this family).
aidos 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm listening to the album in question now, the artist has definitely come out of it ok :)
lrobb 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's some unfortunate grammar.
ommunist 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I have to say. Play your own music. Create it. Educate your kids how to drum, and what to do with the piano. Never sell your own music, let people listen. They'll be the most grateful.
lttlrck 2 days ago 0 replies      
if Anonymous want something useful to do they should start hounding these lawyers...
mannjani 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where the hell is the world going?
Thank You HN: From 30 people whose lives you saved
362 points by chaseadam17  3 days ago   53 comments top 32
dos1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Holy shit. I can't remember a time when a website had an immediate impact on me like this. I mean, literally 5 seconds after landing on the site I got what they were trying to do and couldn't click the fund button fast enough. Such a simple idea but maybe that's what makes it so damn brilliant. So cool.

Edit: When I first went to the site 15 minutes ago there were two profiles of people in need of medical care. The total outstanding balance for both treatments was around $650 USD. In just 15 short minutes both treatments have been fully funded according to my inbox. That's just phenomenal, and I bet this story on HN has a lot to do with that!

justjimmy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your open Google doc is what persuaded me. I've always felt uncomfortable donating to charities - knowing well that my money may never go towards the cause they're touting, but on TV ads, expense accounts, PR Campaigns etc. While some argue it's operation costs but it's just not transparent enough.

Your easy to access and understand table really lifts the veil, as well as your clear separation of Donations going to the patients vs. Donations to the operating costs. I think people are definitely more willing to open their wallets knowing that 100% of the money go towards directly helping the patient.

Definitely suggest setting up a recurring payment option - while some people would love to help out continuously, they may not have the time to read each case (and then having to decide who to help) and come back once in a while(paradox of choice) - just take $100 bucks each month out of my account and let me know how that $100 was spent. Also give the option of deciding a % of the donation go towards operation and a % go towards the patient (like a slider style) so people don't have to feel compelled and work to donate in 2 flows.

And knowing that you guys may have a challenge of getting operation donations, offset it by giving us easy to add social widgets or just a simple graphic to add to our blogs and sites. I have no problem showing it next to my Dribbble and LinkedIn icons knowing that you guys have a really tight budget and may not have PR money. (I think free social advertising works better than those in your face PETA campaigns anyway. Makes us feel like we're directly helping out by displaying it on our sites :D)

ashray 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my god! I missed this for a while but .. wait a minute. You're saying that I can find $580 and help save this kid Cesar ?!

Or Alan even ?!

This is absolutely FANTASTIC!! I'm really curious as to how you carry out on the ground execution (getting the money to the family, carrying out the needed medical procedures, etc.) and stuff but I absolutely love the idea. Amazing work guys!

EDIT: Just donated $25 :) Oh yeah, just noticed this. If I click on "Tweet" on the site, the pre-filled tweet says "via @sharethis". You might want to change that to say "via @watsi_org" so that you know when someone shares your stuff =)

EDIT2: Just voted for you at the huffington post thing. Looks like it's close! 51-48 so far :O

EDIT3: GOOD GOING HACKERNEWS :D I just checked the site and:

There are 0 people on Watsi that need your help!

AWESOME!!! (http://watsi.org/fund-treatments)

streeter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been following Watsi for a while, and it's great to the continued success. They're currently tied for first in a HuffPo competition to win $10k which would help them reach even more people in need of medical aid. If you want to help them out, you can vote in 10 seconds for them here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/millennial-impact-c...
forgingahead 3 days ago 0 replies      
Clickable to Watsi: http://watsi.org/

Clickable to original thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4424081

sherjilozair 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work Adam, and the Watsi team!

However, its the time to scale up higher. I came to the website and saw that there were no patients to help. Surely this means that the scouting team should be enlarged. Tie-ups with other NGOs would help, who can provide you details about patients who need help.

Here in India, there is a very reputed hospital called AIIMS, who have subsidized treatment, but still ask for some nominal payment. Also, patients have to buy medicines on their own. Watsi could be a great help to these patients, since the amount of money they require is only nominal, and many times, these patients can't even afford that. Some of these medications would cost as little as $20/month. Partnering up with such institutions would get you a credible list of people needing help, and this list is perfectly aligned to the 'low-cost, high-impact' patients you aim at.

I'm willing to help you with operations in India, if you are willing to expand.

Keep up the great work!

noonespecial 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't help feeling that there's some of the ingredients needed to create an entirely new form of health insurance in here.

I'm ridiculously glad its working as well as it is. Its like watching the start of an avalanche. You don't really know what exactly is going to happen, but the ground is rumbling and you're sure its going to be huge and exciting.

mtrimpe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the great work! Just a quick question; have you considered making a WordPress plugin to display today's top causes?

I worked on a project similar to that for Oxfam Novib (Blogsfam) which didn't make it due to organizational friction but won several awards nonetheless.

It might be an interesting addition to your platform...

clicks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is so, so awesome. You made the right choice to quit your job for this. :)

I am really really looking forward to see this become big. Kudos to you for building this thing. I should also note that you've made a beautiful site as well, I can't find any faults in it by any aspect. I wish you much success.

jacquesm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Every now and the something comes along that is a real game changer. The internet was such a thing and it in turn engendered with web, which gave us WikiPedia, the Khan Academy and now this. What a super concept!

I hope you guys will be able to avoid the various pitfalls and traps that other charities seem to fall in to (where it becomes more about them than about those they help), by the looks of it you will be in excellent shape in that department.

Edit: you've covered this in the faq, but you may want to make it more plain, your donations are tax deductible, you might want to emphasize that. Especially for corporations that's a big thing, and it could get you corporate sponsors willing to name you. I know you're peer-to-peer but don't underestimate corporate dollars and riding their PR machine for free.

ars 3 days ago 3 replies      
Since everything is fully funded you should give people the option of funding in advance.

Be open about it of course, and send them an email as soon as you know who the money is going to.

Also give people the option of getting an email when there is someone in need. (To avoid annoying people perhaps limit the email to the next 3 people, then stop sending them for a user specified time.)

nodata 3 days ago 1 reply      
Your website is excellent, I've helped five people so far.

Just two suggestions:

1. Please give me a way to view who I have helped. A followup story would be great too.

2. Please give me a way to find out about new people

toomuchtodo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have a way yet to charge on a recurring basis? #shutUpTakeMyCreditCardAndChargeItMonthly
kainteriors 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a wonderful idea being executed completely by volunteers. It can be a game changer for those in impoverished countries. You can help out even more by voting in the Huffington Post IgniteGood contest. Watsi has a 50% chance of winning $10,000.00. Please vote for them so they can continue doing this amazing work. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/millennial-impact-c...
rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's a pretty great site.

You should make it easier for people to give bigger gifts -- to do so people need your tax ID and address info, so they can set you as beneficiary for 401ks (if you die before collecting), etc. And most people don't know anything about this, so maybe a 1-pg on "how to save 10 lives for free*" or something.

Also, a lot of people donate specifically before the end of the (tax) year, so a focused campaign in December would make a lot of sense.

If you possibly can, get reviewed by Givewell.

yesimahuman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work guys. I agree with the other comments, I just felt something powerful as soon as I hit the landing page, and just had to donate (and I don't do that much).

It's amazing that just 10 minutes ago Cesar needed $500 and now he's fully funded. Keep up the awesome work!

thomasilk 3 days ago 0 replies      
It literally takes half a second to get what the site does and how to help. Brilliant.

I'd put the mailing list or something similar more prominently above the fold, because more people would regularly return if they'd get a weekly or monthly email with success stories and new profiles/stories that still need funding.

F.e. currently every project is fully funded and I almost fear forgetting about the site.

Anyway great project if you need someone to help with some marketing ideas or anything else from time to time (of course for free), send me a mail (me[at]ilkthomas[dot]com). I'd love to help.

HyprMusic 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a brilliant idea, and looking at the site now everyone is fully funded. And major kudos for taking the risk of quitting your day job to head such a great non-profit. If you ever need any extra dev hands, I'll happily help any way I can.
farmdawgnation 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just tried to access the site and got a Heroku error page. Looks like you guys are under some significant load? This is an excellent idea.

I'm left to wonder how well this idea would transplant to a country like the United States. Everyone has varying degrees on Obama's healthcare act depending on where you fall on the political spectrum - but wouldn't it make the entire conversation moot if the private sector were able to fund stuff like this?

What about directly funding and putting a face to the efforts of someone who is homeless finding a job? Plenty of people give to organizations like Goodwill and United Way, but you very rarely get to have a picture put with where your dollars are going. There would be a lot of details to work out, and the idea is certainly ambitious - but if Watsi is able to succeed this much then hey, someone should give it a shot.

So much good is happening here. You guys are brilliant, and I'm thankful for people like you. Cheers.

andreyf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well done! Support for Google Checkout and Amazon Payments will help a lot, I think.
brackin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats, this is really awesome. We're building a crowd-funding site in the charity space. Where one can fund a project directly and relieve updates on project progress. So that your money is going directly to help.
keeptrying 3 days ago 0 replies      
You guys rock man!

I would love to meet you guys if you are in SF. This is the kind of deep impact stuff that I want to be doing or at least sponsoring.

baggers 2 days ago 0 replies      
@chaseadam It would be quite nice to have an option to use this in a gittip sort of way.
Also how do you go about finding people to donate to? I have contacts with a Ugandan Hospital and I'm sure others here have have worked on the ground with folks that would love to link up with you guys.
Thanks for your awesome work and good luck
vimarshk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am a student at USC. I could not do much on the financial side of it but I sure did spread the word on Twitter and other channels. I e-mailed them about the awesome work they were doing and told them that I would help them from the technology side if they required me. Then I got a reply back from Chase (co-founder) himself. In life very seldom you get a chance to do something meaningful, they are doing it! Hats off. Go Watsi!!
woodsier 3 days ago 0 replies      
You guys are absolute heroes. The concept behind this site is amazing. Well done.
hosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gratitude is never too corny for Thanksgiving. And thanks for putting the platform together :-)
nickbarone 3 days ago 0 replies      
Woah @ prefunding-treatement. Brilliant! I hope it scales - It can, I think, if you keep momentum.
aioprisan 3 days ago 0 replies      
you should build widgets so that others can embed the top stories from your site and get distributed exposure, I'm sure it would provide sustained exposure.
gauchosteph 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's to another 30 more!
fblp 2 days ago 0 replies      
795 donations so far totalling $28,515
killingmichael 3 days ago 0 replies      
chase - this is great :) if you're up for it, we would be happy to donate some iOS time to the mobile app.
rxooo 3 days ago 0 replies      
We did it Reddit!
A Better Twitter Bootstrap Modal github.com
351 points by dkroy  3 days ago   70 comments top 33
krichman 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is a nice modal, but I'd much rather never have a modal ever. The only time a modal should appear is if a critical error occurred that the user must know about immediately. For most cases where modals tend to get used, like on iOS "please rate us", or "we want your contact information now", I don't think it is appropriate at all.
darrenkopp 3 days ago 0 replies      
The first that I personally have seen so far that doesn't screw up when zooming in on a mobile device (actually resizes and re-positions itself), so great job! I'm sure there are others, but this one is now the best in my opinion solely based on that regard.
sbochins 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic, I will definately be replacing my bootstrap modal code to use your library. This would be great if this got committed into bootstrap.
atirip 3 days ago 0 replies      
"If you want to prevent the background page from scrolling (see demo for example) you must wrap the page contents in a <div class="page-container">.
The reason for doing this instead of just simply setting overflow: hidden when a modal is open is to avoid having the page shift as a result of the scrollbar appearing/disappearing."

There's a solution available which avoids wrap and page shift too. Take a look at: https://github.com/atirip/bodyscrollkiller.js

moe 3 days ago 1 reply      
It suffers from the same bug as the stock bootstrap modal; focus is not contained in the popup window. Press tab a few times and soon your keyboard focus is on elements on the page behind the modal.
kirillzubovsky 3 days ago 2 replies      
You know what's really awesome about this Modal? Unlike built-in one, this one works on iPhone without issues! Long window scrolls just fine. You just made me so happy :) Definitely using in something I am currently working on. Thanks!
ralphleon 3 days ago 5 replies      

After checking out the live demo, I have no idea how "stacking" modals could make a good user interface.

johnx123-up 3 days ago 2 replies      
My wishlist

  1. Ajax loader inside the modal (load modal first)
2. Pinterest like modal (aka modal with HTML5 history API /
hashchange / browser back button support)

geekam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. I'd remove the animation though. I think that animation is just annoyance (even slight) in structures that do not require animation. That extra few fractions of a second can mean a lot. That's why on Windows or OSX I remove the animation to hide and show application windows.
zoobert 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Thanks for making it available freely. It will be very useful to build desktop application with bootstrap and node-webkit or appjs for example.
nachteilig 3 days ago 1 reply      
Definitely prefer this to the default modal, which blacks out the screen around it. I'll have to run some tests to see if any version of IE can handle this.
aioprisan 3 days ago 2 replies      
pull request into upstream?
niftylettuce 3 days ago 0 replies      
this isn't responsive and doesn't work on devices without support for fixed positioning

you might want to take a look at grabbing what you can from my project for abs positioning:


davidtyleryork 3 days ago 1 reply      
Upvote for Longcat :)
polarcuke 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty awesome, I'm going to be using it for sure. As the title suggests I definetly think it is much better than the standard bootstrap modal. You should try to get this implemented into bootstrap. Good work.
Thomvis 3 days ago 1 reply      
It looks good, but the animation is really slow on an iPad 3
Nrndr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great job man. This needs to be added to stock bootstrap.
chewxy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks brilliant. Looks like I'll be using this for my next project (shame it wasn't released in time for my previous one)
hayksaakian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Laggy scrolling on galaxy nexus cm10

But I don't blame you, its probably just chrome 18 being ancient.

conradfr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will try it, I often need a more size flexible modal than the stock one.
jbrooksuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for a better modal for Bootstrap for a couple of days now, this is perfect!
WimLeers 2 days ago 0 replies      
- Backwards compatible

- Responsive

- Stackable

- …

Nice. But why isn't "Accessible" in that list?

the7nd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. I was just having scrolling issues with Bootstrap's modal today and I couldn't find any solutions I liked. This was a godsend. Thanks.
hhaidar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff. You need to get this into Bootstrap.
buzz27 3 days ago 0 replies      
Might just be me (FF17/Ubuntu) but it doesn't seem to be modal ... I tab around and end up on elements outside the window.
tjholowaychuk 1 day ago 0 replies      
y u no backbone-bootstrap-modal?
yusw 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! Thanks for sharing!
cientifico 3 days ago 0 replies      
stackable doesn't work. A doble click hides the second or next modal
lupin-binb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job.
mikenereson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Submission title is accurate.
mmhd 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bootvis 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is sweet!
foobarram 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool stuff. Will use it on my next project!
I Don't Want To Be Part of Your Ecosystem shkspr.mobi
335 points by edent  1 day ago   219 comments top 36
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 7 replies      
There are three things I want to do with PC technology: store stuff, run programs (which may mean consuming the things I've stored), and stay connected with friends.

None of these should be dependent on location, hardware, or my personal affiliations. Geesh, it's almost 2013 folks. I should be able to walk up to a panel at a store, have it recognize me, and have all of my stuff available. Do whatever I would do at home using my PC if I like. Walk away from the panel and it resets. There's no clue or trail that I was even there.

We keep trying to use these metaphors about how the internet should work. It's a walled garden. It's a bazzar. It's a type of newspaper subscription. It's a club for friends. Each metaphor works okay -- for a while. But then the people making money off the metaphor start trying to make sure that we never grow past their little idea of happiness.

The tech community is smarter than this. Location-free, hardware-free, non-walled technology is the goal. Let's start going there.

geuis 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I live in the Apple ecosystem for one simple reason. Out of every other collection of technology items I could use for both work and entertainment, Apple products are the least frustrating ones to use.

I value my time above everything else.

I used Windows for years. Built, repaired, and maintained Windows systems for work. Setup and ran email servers. Even did some initial web development on IIS servers.

I am 32 and visibly grayer than I probably should be. If you know me in person, you can see it in my beard and in my hair when I let it get longer.

Getting nearly anything done with Windows has always been an exercise in frustration for me. Tools, user interfaces, etc. Even their best products always had something wrong, something just wasn't built right. One more little speed bump to slow down what I want to do.

Eventually I switched to Macs about 6 years ago. I had used them as a kid and it was easy, from that exposure, to switch back. Anything that needed terminal tools to get done, just works. Lots and lots of open source projects that run on Linux almost always just work on Mac OS. For the ones that don't work off to bat, its usually easy to fix.

In terms of phones, I've stuck with iPhones since they came out. For the first couple years, it was because there were no comparable products on the market in term of fit and finish. Android was a swamp of sorrows for the longest time. Any hardware companies made and slapped Android onto were just sorrows layered onto junk devices that were a miserable experience to use.

I had the joy of working with various Android handsets and tablets a few years ago for testing. It was good exposure that reinforced the simple "it works" of the iPhone.

When the iPad came out, I was excited by it like millions of other people. Oddly, while I still have my first-gen iPad and while I love it as a device, it turns out its never been a form factor that I have really been able to incorporate into my life. It wasn't that the iPad is a bad device, but rather that it hasn't been a tool that I really needed. But its a great tool that millions of other people have found to be very useful indeed. Any other Android tablets just couldn't compare in usability or hardware fit, which is why the earlier ones fell so flat.

More recently, I found the Windows Phone OS to be intriguing. A good friend that works at MS showed me the first ones that came out. I rather liked the fresh new take on a phone OS. Loved the interface. I seriously considered switching over to one for a while. But then as I used it, the rough bits showed through. Subpar hardware. Bad battery life. Random crashes. Oddly incomplete UI choices that made some simple tasks frustrating to complete. So, I kept my iPhone 4 for a long time.

Very recently, Windows 8. Metro UI. Looks great on a tablet, same nice looking interface. A couple years had gone by and more than enough time had passed for Microsoft to work out some of the early kinks. I excitedly bought a new copy the day it came out and installed it on a spare machine at the office. The installation went really smoothly.

But when I started using it, it was literally only a couple of minutes before the "wtf" moments started. The biggest issues I saw immediately was that too much of the UI is hidden away. I got very frustrated trying to do things like switching between apps, using IE 10, getting away from the completely anachronistic Desktop app. I tried installing some apps and some went to Metro, others went to Desktop with no clear indication why. When I needed to make some adjustments to system settings, it took me over 5 minutes to figure out how to even get to the settings.

I'm also still really pissed with my nice long complex password being chopped to 16 characters on Windows, Live, etc. Its fucking annoying.

Anyway, while I like the direction that MS is going, they still haven't gotten their stuff together. Its not the same as it used to be, but the frustration level is still there.

I've had an Xbox for years too. In its simplest form, I put a game disk in and it loads up, and I play the game. But in the last few years, they've added all of this extra stuff. New UI, music services, movie services, constant updates, Kinect, etc. And while it all looks shiny, none of it really works together that well. So, I almost never use my Xbox anymore because its just gotten too complicated to do what I want, which is to simply play games. Ugh.

The non-Apple tech I use and love: Gmail, Ubuntu for servers, Dropbox, github, Audible, Rdio, Netflix, torrents, Google Maps (PLEASE release an iOS app for this!), and others.

Notice that at no point in this ramble do I mention Music or Movies as keeping me with Apple. It literally has nothing to do with an "ecosystem". It just has to do with building superior products that have the least frustration to getting shit done. That's the sole thing you need to worry about when building a product that people will love.

Be less frustrating than your competitors, and you have a good edge.

Lots of companies make individual products that are well polished. Only a few make lots of products of high quality.

pretoriusB 1 day ago 4 replies      
>Music, movies, TV, and podcast subscriptions. All tied up in Apple's little ecosystem. A very pretty noose to keep people chained to its hardware.

Really? Because, last time I checked, people mostly RENTED movies and series off of iTunes -- not outright bought them (except some tiny majority of bizaros). In which case there is nothing to be "tied to".

As for music, last time I checked, iTunes sells DRM-free music, something that was first achieved for major music companies there, after Job's open letter on matter. So you can move your music to Android just fine. And even if it wasn't DRM-free (which IS) you can of course use your own DRM-free music collection with iTunes, like the vast majority of people do.

And podcast subscriptions? Really? Aren't they available everywhere, anyway?

People buy the hardware because they like it, and bought it since the first iPod, even before there even was an iTunes Store. Heck, they bought the iPhone even before there were third party apps too.

bambax 1 day ago 1 reply      
The worst offender is actually Amazon. I just bought a Kindle Fire HD and boy am I disappointed! The only apps it runs are from Amazon App Store... but only the local one in your country. I can't access the US Amazon App store from France!!

And of course one can't transfer Kindle books from one account to another.

The answer is jailbreaking and de-DRMising; it's a pain of course but it's very much worth it.

jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a dilemma. For now there is good money to be made in these ecosystems, there are people that are really raking it in (and in an above-board way). At the same time you're setting yourself up with your head on the chopping block, after you've sharpened the blade with your labor.

Personally I would never build something that is not as much as possible stand alone (so without reliance on some third party controlled eco-system, of course everything needs hosting, bandwidth and power but those are commodities). But I have to counter that with the fact that I realize I'm losing out on quite a few opportunities.

Choices, choices. Long term vs short term.

npsimons 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
-- Hegel

I know guys can't learn from yesterday ... Hegel must be taking the long view.
-- John Brunner, "Stand on Zanzibar"

Does anyone else remember this little thing called "the PC wars", where you couldn't use floppies from a Mac on a Wintel machine, and you actually had to care about what version of whichever word processor you were using because it might not be compatible? And then some crazy weirdo with a beard starts warning that hey, maybe user choice is important enough to be elevated to a freedom? And everyone predictably laughs him down.

But he was right, and he continues to be right, all while the fools forget history to their own detriment.

eykanal 1 day ago 7 replies      
These kinds of posts really bug me. Users don't give a rat's left buttock whether the "ecosystem" is closed or open or anything in between. They want something which works well and lets them buy stuff they want. Simple observation of consumer behavior has shown over and over again that people simply don't care about whether their stuff is tied to Apple or Google, or whether their location is being tracked by Twitter or Verizon, or whether they'll have a difficult time moving their music to a different device later on.

If this was written as another post trying to convince developers to avoid developing for closed ecosystems it wouldn't as bad; evangelists can be a good thing, even if he's fighting a losing battle. However, as this post seems to be geared towards consumers, it's almost completely pointless ranting.

burriko 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is one of the reasons I love services like Spotify and Netflix. They have no devices in the race, and tend to have client software for almost every platform. I can switch between phones, tablets and operating systems and still access to the same music and movies.

I could even drop Spotify and switch to Rdio if I wanted, and all I would lose are my playlists (not a big deal to me, but may be to some). These services don't lock me to devices, and I also don't feel locked into the services.

jasonlingx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait, whose fault is this DRM thing? Device makers or the music and movie industry? http://www.apple.com/es/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/
ChristianMarks 1 day ago 1 reply      
I work in scientific programming for environmental science. Whenever I see or hear the word 'ecosystem' used to refer to a technology platform, I wonder who is eating whom.
iamtherockstar 1 day ago 1 reply      
You may not want to be part of an ecosystem, but every business ever wants you to be in their ecosystem exclusively. If Amazon can keep your credit card on hand, it makes it easier for you to buy things from them, whether they be physical goods (how they hooked me) or digital goods (how they are trying very hard to keep me).

I lobbied for a long time against DRM, and then I gave up, because I did want some of the content that was only available via DRM. I'll probably regret that the day Amazon decides to change the way their purchased movies work, or iTunes decides that it's streaming only (like Amazon is currently). But the fact is that unless I want to only consume Louis C.K. standup shows, it's really hard to not have DRM.

I still buy physical media a lot of the time. I would assume Sony would still make money on the Bluray licensing, the cost is passed on to me, but then I have a copy of the movie with which to watch on any of my TVs or loan out to someone else.

mchanson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm annoyed that its difficult and time consuming to move to a new house in a new city. I mean you have to hire movers, pack up all your stuff, and find a new place to live.
irahul 1 day ago 1 reply      
> On a mobile phone network in the UK, you can use any phone you want.

That's the same in India. Standalone iPhones aren't affordable to a vast majority. If they come in tied with an operator where you walk in a store and get an iPhone with a small payment, and a monthly plan which covers your calls, data and phone installment, many people will happily buy it.

A separation of service provider and phone is good, but the customer has other data points to evaluate as well.

I was wondering though. From the way author emphasizes the separation of service and hardware, can't you buy an iPhone in US which isn't linked to a provider? You don't have buying phones and buying sim cards separately anymore?

PaulHoule 1 day ago 1 reply      
The odd thing is that people who hate walled gardens also hate systems like Ultraviolet which are meant to brdige them.

You could criticize Ultraviolet for being a DRM system, but if you look closely at it, you'll see they've worked pretty hard to build a system that prevents casual copying while being pretty fair to the consumer

janus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't you know there's an app called Doubletwist that syncs your itunes collections to android phones? That music bought from the iTunes store is DRM-free?
tomelders 1 day ago 0 replies      
So in a nutshell, Some chap doesn't seem to know the history of how music and movies became available online. So it's Apple's fault.
paulsutter 1 day ago 2 replies      
Stream or rent media. "Buying" songs in an online service is as quaint as maintaining a collection of 8-track tapes. The "buy" option for movies and TV shows exists purely to extract extra money from anal retentives (what percentage of "purchased" shows ever get watched a second time?)
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why now? All this was obvious at a time of first iPods..)
nicholassmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty invested in apps for iOS. I'm okay about this, I don't begrudge being locked into an ecosystem as I made a choice to be in that ecosystem.

I bought a piece of software on a Windows machine a while back, which was a PC, but because it was Windows software it's not usable now I use a Mac. It's locked to an ecosystem. We can all look back at that shiny, lovely past with our rose-tinted glasses, but it's a fallacy. For the most part you were as locked to an ecosystem then as you are now. There's plenty of people who bought music from Microsoft in DRM protected WMA files that ended up being locked in.

And games. And books. And software. And movies. And x. And y. And z. Smartphones are a microcosm of the exact same thing from the PC days, we just get fancy and call it an ecosystem and pretend like it's a new, bad thing that's been invented by Apple to horsewhip us.

delwin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I haven't really had problems with this. I have an Android phone, an iPod, and dual boot Ubuntu and OS X. Google Music syncs iTunes to my phone via the cloud just fine; the iPod naturally syncs with iTunes. On Ubuntu I just use Google Music via the browser, or Pandora.

The tech community is _already_ smart enough to deal with their stuff. And the consumer community doesn't seem to care much about being locked inside a brand; they don't know any better, for some reason, to most people, it makes sense that if you have a Mac, you need an iPad, not a Kindle Fire. Or if you get a Kindle Fire, you simply adjust your expectations accordingly.

Obviously it's unethical for companies to do this, but when was the last time megacorps operated with any higher morality than economics demanded?

flyinglizard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agreed, and much of this would not have been possible without the draconian government protection of DRM (such as in DMCA). I could totally see some kind of PC application that would liberate all your iTunes, Kindle etc. material (which you legally own, mind), but it's illegal under the current laws.
wting 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think Google Wave is an undeserved mention in the list of killed off DRM services.

First of all, Google supported data export from Google Wave[1]. Additionally, Google open sourced the project and it's available as Apache Wave[2] or as a protocol[3].

[1] http://googlewave.blogspot.com/2010/11/multiple-wave-export....

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Wave

[3] http://www.waveprotocol.org/

hcarvalhoalves 1 day ago 0 replies      
The truth is that only the illuminati care about inter-compatibility and data freedom. Most people (myself included) value more something that works, not a hodgepodge of solutions from 15 different vendors where nothing integrates with nothing.

Provide both inter-compatibility and a good user experience and you win everybody. Android promised that, but failed.

rmrfrmrf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ohhhh, you are just sooooooo edgy saying 'fuck' in your headline.
damian2000 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a lot of apps these days, you're only forced to use Android/iTunes to actually pay for it initially, but then you can access your data from either; I'm thinking of apps which store their data in the cloud - evernote, dropbox, etc.
pothibo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would submit to you that the reason why Apple is what it is today is because software & hardware are intertwined.
dade_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Media is what ties the uninformed to an eco-system. There are more options for paid DRM-Free media today and several DRM systems are trivial to break. I remember people that had an iPod and MP3 player because they thought that their Napster music couldn't work on their iPod and didn't know how to add them to their library.

More telling is the author's complaints about the complexity of integrating his Android device to a NAS, etc. It is the pre-built integration between Apple devices that sell their ecosystem and keeps people coming back for more. All of the integration in the world is meaningless if it doesn't work when your friends are over or it crashes halfway though a movie (Windows Media Center anyone...)

colin_jack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazon is a bit of worry for me, I like the Kindle software especially being able to use the Web version, but only being able to download (some of?) my books in AZW3 format is a PITA that is making me think twice about buying books from them in future.
mykosmos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Agreed. This is exactly why I don't buy "new" hardware like a tablet.
ikken 1 day ago 2 replies      
That's the reason I really hope most of the software will be webbrowser-based in the future. I know that right now native apps give you a better overall experience but too often they pull you into the walled garden of hardware vendor.

There are solutions like phonegap etc. that let you write semi-native apps that use embedded browser inside it, but with HTML5 and successors I believe it will be possible to just have everything run in a browser, setting everyone free from any vendor specific solutions.

thatusertwo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not to suggest breaking the law, but pirated music, movies and books are not locked into any device or ecosystem.
zerostar07 1 day ago 1 reply      
The same thing that happened when vinyls and cassettes went bust. Content is ephemeral (except for books!)
michaelfeathers 1 day ago 0 replies      
As long as it is available I will buy physical media.
aklemm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes! Sounds awesome. Of course, it's unclear how such a system would produce beautiful and easy-to-use products so that users clammer to use them.
toddh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Resistance is futile.
adamgravitis 1 day ago 2 replies      
My brain had trouble parsing the headline:

I don't want to be part of your fucking (ecosystem)
I don't want to be part of your (fucking ecosystem)

Leaving Microsoft haskell.org
297 points by protothomas  2 days ago   95 comments top 8
smenyp 2 days ago 7 replies      
FYI, Simon Marlow is incredibly big in the Haskell community and is the leading expert in Multi core parallelism via STMs in Haskell. Some of the work he has done for the GHC compiler is frankly fantastic.

This is incredibly big news in the Haskell world. The FP community is starting to break boundaries with the industry in the last 5 years with Clojure (and Scala's functional support).

Currently, FB seems to use haskell only for basic lexing and parsing[1]. It would be tremendous to see them using it at FB scale. I think there's going to be gain for both parties - For FB, the publicity and hacker outreach, and Haskell - industrial reliability.

[1]: http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Haskell_in_industry

dbaupp 2 days ago 1 reply      
It should be made clear in the title that Haskell isn't leaving MS, rather it is one of the lead developers of GHC, Simon Marlow.
mej10 2 days ago 4 replies      
Does this mean that Facebook is using Haskell more these days?
Yoric 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, talk about a shock. I hope that this is good news for functional programming and the programming language community, rather than just good news for Facebook.
jlouis 2 days ago 0 replies      
This may be either disastrous or magnificent. I think it may end up being the latter.
mattquiros 2 days ago 0 replies      
This email was sent yesterday, how come it's in Courier New?
Narretz 2 days ago 3 replies      
GHC? Great Haskell Collider?
jheriko 2 days ago 4 replies      
i'm assuming this guy has done real world work before? the idea of a compiler/language lead programmer effectively having lived in academia is terrifying on many levels.

best of luck to him at any rate. haskell and ghc are a cool language and compiler combo, one i have enjoyed for recreational programming time and time again.

TL;DR " Faster News toolong-didntread.com
274 points by swader  3 days ago   137 comments top 55
DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 8 replies      
I don't want to step on these guys' PR, but I do have a similar personal project for anybody who is interested, http://newspaper23.com

Initially it's just an aggregator that presents commentary in plain text. I plan on adding a summarizer one day. For a personal project, I've been using it daily for over a year, so I know I find a lot of value in this type of thing.

As sites try to get more sticky, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases. You spend more time reading a lot of trivial articles that a Facebook friend recommended instead of a few articles that you've scanned yourself. I know Google and FB say social search is the cool thing, but in my experience the only thing it does is increase consumption of mediocre shiny stuff. Much better to pre-qualify sources and then control the depth of your dive. For newspaper23, one of the original ideas was a timer for each day. 30 minutes of scanning and the site would refuse to load until the next day.

I'd like to see more of this type of thing -- gearing content consumption to humans instead of site creators and advertisers.

macrael 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you haven't seen http://evening-edition.com/ I highly reccomend it. It is bite sized world news published every weekday at 5 pm in a few different locales. The news is all written by a journalist, and they track some of the same stories day to day. It's not trying to solve the same problem as this site, and its not just summarizing articles you could read elsewhere. I've been reading it pretty much every day for a few months; it's great.
tokenadult 3 days ago 1 reply      
I browsed around a bit to check it out. tl;dr: I can get the same use out of Google News by customizing sections there and scanning headlines.

Longer comparison with the main competition: Google News also allows me to group sources that are consistently reliable (which appear in an "Editors' Picks" section that I can customize). The Spotlight section of Google News seems to provide much of the same usability as the prototype site submitted here, showing only headlines at a glance, but as another comment here has already said, news stories are written with lede paragraphs to give you the main idea rapidly.

The kind of automated curation and formatting I look for most in a news aggregation site is not curation for short snippets and formatting for good-looking white space, but curation for quality of content and formatting for information density. As I have customized it on my browser, Google News provides that.

I sympathize with anyone who feels too busy making a living to have time to read. But when I can win reading time, I'm glad to read long articles, and I still try to read actual books even in this era of most people doing a lot of their reading online. I appreciate people working on the issue of getting more reading done in less time, and meanwhile hope that the long writings continue to get plenty of attention from thoughtful readers, and plenty of discussion here among the busy participants on Hacker News.

cwilson 3 days ago 3 replies      
Would love to see a "top stories from last week" feature. Imagine I'm on vacation, or I've just been too busy to keep up with current events but would like to catch up.

This is nicely done. I'll be giving it a shot as a tab that never closes.

slashcom 3 days ago 1 reply      
As an NLP researcher, this is interesting as a sort of summarization data set.

The thing is though, summarizing news articles is best done by just reading the first paragraph of the article. News articles are intentionally written this way, and it's a very difficult baseline to beat in automatic summarization.

Still nice site though.

irahul 3 days ago 0 replies      
You probably already know that, but your "sponsors" page is completely broken on my system, and it blames adblock.



Error message:

Does BuySellAds look broken? Disable your ad blocker, their haphazard default filters sometimes break our site.

I don't care enough about you(yet) to disable adblock. I don't even know what "sponsor" means in context of your site. I was just clicking around.

Also, you probably need it for tracking, but I don't like clicking on http://toolong-didntread.com/sponsorship and being redirected to http://buysellads.com/buy/detail/158594?utm_source=shorturl&...

nathan_long 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. My curmudgeonly response, though, is: "Now all we have to do is put another TL;DR on top of that: a monthly or yearly summary of 'items that actually mattered.'"

It's always interesting to pick up a newspaper from a year ago and see how few items are worth reading anymore, and imagine how many stories I've read and forgotten.

The same might be said for HN, for that matter... what am I doing here again? ;)

mstefanko 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've given a lot of thought to the TL;DR approach to content digestion. It works extremely well, in a vacuum, or on the site it was made popular, reddit. Their, the original poster writes the TL;DR, which is why it works so well. If you write a large post, then immediately after summarize the post into 1-2 sentences, it becomes a very efficient message that still expresses exactly what you wanted to get across. TL;DR is the future, almost to a sad degree. A lot of time it digs deeper than just wanting to filter out the articles you have no interest in reading. But this becomes the only form of digesting news. You begin consuming a lot of news, stories, articles, but you're no longer actually informed on any of the topics, you just end up with a vague idea of what is going on around you. That's far beside the point though.

This is a actually a very nice effort.

The issues I have with growth and actual value, is with how the summaries are generated. Automatic generation is fast and inaccurate, manually curated is slow and very accurate. In a world where people no longer have the time to read newspapers, their not only looking for quick news on the run, they want current news. Something that happened today, everything that happened today. But quick, not the full story, "i'll read that later." Meeting in the middle between fast and slow approaches does not work here. You're too slow, and the headlines in my RSS feed and twitter have already informed me of the news, too fast and your summary becomes a failed attempt to make twitter and RSS better quality. I have no idea how your TL;DR are currently generated. But I would think you'd have an aggregation and be doing some manual curation. To me for this to really work, you'd have to have a large group of people that read the article generating the TL;DR, constantly iterating, until you end up with an extremely efficient 2 sentence summary. Or there needs to be a project that integrates TL;DR on large scale, the publishers, news papers of the world, blogs..They submit these directly.

I think there's still a lot of value in what you're doing. I just don't think it will take off as it is now. Away from the name/marketing/novelty/social aspect not really being there. Twitter, RSS feeds, and sites like http://skimfeed.com/ end up providing me with far more day to day value. If you took this and spoon-fed me the TL;DR via my phone, i'd consider being a repeat visitor a little bit more. But you'd then be competing with a whole 'nother slice of the pie.

rhplus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have a citation for this, but I read recently that BBC News articles always lead with a concise one-sentence summary rather than something that trails to ellipses... supposedly the original reason was to fit the text within the fixed width of their CeeFax (Teletext) news pages. The result is that their RSS feeds are still rather concisely descriptive.

[1] http://newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/world/rss...

redcircle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why do people put the TL;DR summary at the bottom? If the content is too long, and I didn't read it, then I'm not going to see a summary at the bottom. Abstracts, introductions, executive summaries, etc., go at the top. You don't even have to call it one of those: the goal of good writing is to engage people before they move onwards. I guess that locating it at the bottom is equivalent to adding a conclusion, and I'll grant that some people skim to the conclusion, rather than use the abstract/intro/exec-summary.
logn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool. I was just complaining how cluttered and junky Google News has been looking lately. Way too many links, borders, and images. It used to feel so clean compared to the other news sites. This is what I was looking for.

Also, how did you get the summaries? It's like you have some algorithm to re-word the first paragraph of the story.

pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm popping a comment in here without reading all the content (I guess there's irony in that, if not disrespect, but I'm due shortly for a dinner party). That said, my comment is that I don't mind the length of articles so much as the circumstance that nobody seems to write in the "traditional", top-down ("inverted pyramid", etc., etc.) "newspaper" style, anymore.

In that style, a summary and broad overview with the most salient points, is presented first. Then the article may delve into further detail. The reader can quickly get an overview and then decide whether and how much further they care to read into the details.

Instead, today everything seems to be written in a "narrative style". Often, the first some paragraphs set the scene -- they're "atmosphere" -- sometimes before the writer even deigns to tell you, the reader, what the story is actually about.

Facts are interspersed throughout the remainder of the story, and often don't even lead paragraphs but rather remain buried within them amidst a muddle of further descriptive language.

For the conveyance of news, it's actually quite crappy writing.

I hear/read that it's part and parcel of the push for everybody to have a byline and to establish a "name" for themselves. Which I can in part understand particularly in this day and age of contract work and zero job security -- or even a job (as opposed to endless freelancing) per se.

But, for the seeking and consuming of news, it sucks.

corporalagumbo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice clear tablet-friendly design. Bold to go with text-only too. How is this news chosen and paraphrased though?
joelthelion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a request: make a "real news" feed, which is only about things that will actually make your life a bit different. Two or three items a week would be a maximum.
rglover 3 days ago 3 replies      
Why don't people like to read anymore?
MojoJolo 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want my "TextTeaser" (http://textteaser.com/) can really help provide "faster news". I'm currently doing an API that accepts a URL as an input and returns a JSON result that contains the following: title, url, sentences with their respective scores.

The scores are based on title, sentence length and sentence position for now. Because there are more to come. They are included in the JSON output.

billirvine 3 days ago 1 reply      
Common problem, problematic solution.

Humans, no matter how altruistic, have inherent bias that will influence their selection of news to summarize, as well as the nature of their summarization.

Circa is another prime example of right idea, problematic solution. It gives me news and photos with no attribution... not even bylines of whomever created their shortened bits of things that they claim could be news. (intentional sarcasm) There's no mechanism whereby I can learn to trust them, or toolong-didntread.com.

iamdave 3 days ago 1 reply      
Caveat: Not speaking against you (the developers of this) or the work you put into it, but instead against the notion behind this trend of summarizing the news: Why?

That's a curious "Why", not a crotchety "Why". Lots of people are talking about browser extensions that summarize the news or are linking to other sources that do this; is the state of journalism so that a summary is better than what media outlets produce because of excessive filler (redundancy department all hands alert), or because we don't like reading anymore?

lutusp 3 days ago 0 replies      
This tl;dr thing can be taken too far --

"War and Peace", Leo Tolstoy, 1,225 pages : it's about Russia.

"Hindenburg" : a really nice dirigible, until something bad happened in New Jersey.

"Adolf Hitler" : politician, didn't like Jews very much.

"Helen of Troy" : nice-looking woman.

"Calculus" : a province somewhere north of algebra.

pseut 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this trying to be, "headlines done right," "a newspaper's home page done right," or something else? FWIW a combination of twitter and the BBC's mobile site[1] work for me.

I was surprised that Gaza was mentioned on your front page but not world news (at 10:20 ET) and that a 2.0 earthquake in new jersey made world news.

[1] http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world

EDIT: after thinking about it some more, I'm still not sure how your website is different than, "We opened a Tumblr and/or Twitter account." There are lots of link blogs.

drd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Effective news consumption has been a huge problem since Internet got exponentially publishing disease. Unfortunately today writing for some writers and journalists is a matter of mass producing text not informing people.

I don't think today's technology can auto-summarize news for us properly. The approach taken by TLDR is the correct one. The news should be summarized by human to be useful.

To crowd source this function we can create groups of like-minded people. Members of each group need to split the job. Such a process will save many souls.

czzarr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like there are a lot of people trying to tackle this problem at the moment.
We are using a different route with our tl;dr Chrome extension for Hacker News: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tldr/ohmamcbkcmfal...
abalashov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Torn about whether to praise or damn this. On the one hand, I'm critical of modern attention spans, laziness and ADD-addled brains (allegedly) that don't have the discipline and intellectual wherewithal to actually focus on a single thought for a whole minute or more.

On the other hand, far too much of journalistic prose (and even more so, speech) in mainstream media is contentless fluff.

iaskwhy 3 days ago 0 replies      
The idea is good but the implementation is what sets it apart, good work!
damian2000 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good to see these guys are from Perth, Western Australia. We need more startups here!
JeremyMorgan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Recently someone did this to one of my articles and I think they did an excellent job summarizing it, and it got me hooked on reading similar stories. It's a good idea to capture interest and save time
j2labs 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's an amusingly long URL, given the context of the name...
nickbarone 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's something missing from the summaries: An indication of how much there is to read when non-summarized / how wrong the summary might be.

Two of my favorite examples for this are the DCA cancer treatment news and those people who don't pay for fire protection in counties that don't require it; the typical headlines are "Canada Cures Cancer" and "Firemen stand by as house burns down". The former isn't very true and there's a fair amount to read, while the latter is entirely true, only missing a little, critical, bit.

To put it another way, you're teaching me something with all those summaries, but you're NOT teaching me how much I don't know or when to go look up more information, and I think you should try.

pseut 3 days ago 0 replies      
One point in addition to what I posted earlier: check out the old (maybe the original) version of Slate's "Today's Papers." It was awesome: a ~1 page prose summary of the major newspapers every morning. The Slatest is but a pale shadow.
swader 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I feel like this is a very interesting initiative, my distrust in humankind makes me fear bias and sponsorship. What if a big sponsor decides competitor news are to be ignored and their own news are to be kept at the top longer?
ErikGelderblom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Compared to all the others, I really like this execution of the simple, eye friendly design and the color coding. Well done! A small source url after the headline like reddit and HN do, would be a welcome addition imo.
mea36 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this, it's simple and easy to skim. I'd suggest adding date/time so the user knows when the article was published.
jnazario 3 days ago 0 replies      
i like it, guys! neat! i share the concern about sustainability if humans drive it, but beyond that well done.

i do a sector (infosec) specific site for myself and a handful of friends using twitter to seed links and libots to summarize, works like a champ and has been running solidly and automatically for over 3 years. could be easy to retarget. python, mysql, libots powers it, think delicious+twitter.

hdragomir 3 days ago 0 replies      
If it would create separate twitter accounts per section (like tech) and autopost stuff there, that would be a major win.
viggity 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. I can't count the number of times I've thought about doing something similar. looks like I don't need to now.
lambersley 3 days ago 0 replies      
There was a previous discussion on this topic (1) but I found skimthat.com served useful information to me via daily email.

(1) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4734654

mysteryleo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Weird. I like how hacker news is all text and read it daily.

But I could see my eyes getting bored after a while on tldr. I much prefer this layout

Optimized for fast consumption or just dicking around.

allsystemsgo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea. I really do. But doesn't twitter do a lot of this already?

Good luck to you.

luckysh0t 2 days ago 0 replies      

I'm not sure there's any advancement here.

azinman2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love how the featured news contained like 90% tech, and not even a single mention of the current war between Hamas & Israel... with a cease fire brokered by Egypt already.


halayli 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like using nextly.com for the same reason.
perfunctory 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is their business model?
samspot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will always maintain that "summary" is easier to type than "TL;DR"
g3orge 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see the favicons of the original poster's website added.
abemassry 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did something very similar to this in node with socket.io realtime updates. http://mashrd.com/
nathell 3 days ago 1 reply      
The domain name seems slightly TL;DR.
robmcm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, still only read the titles though!
dev360 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this was done algorithmically, then it would be way cool.
amanuel 3 days ago 1 reply      
I always had thought it was TooLazy;Didn'tRead....I guess TooLong also works.
Jemaclus 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of those things I wish I'd thought of first. Good job!
tolos 3 days ago 0 replies      
isn't that the point of headlines?
tanaytandon 3 days ago 0 replies      
clipped.me/tftrial check it out - Its a one man teen startup - would love to get feedback from the community!
elliott99 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like Prismatic. Why is that not popular?
olog-hai 3 days ago 1 reply      
No feed.
jackyyappp 3 days ago 0 replies      
love the idea.
"Your criticisms are completely wrong": Stallman on software patents arstechnica.com
266 points by markshepard  3 days ago   194 comments top 28
grellas 3 days ago 3 replies      
Mr. Stallman's proposed solution is both simple and elegant: take all software that runs on a general purpose machine and legislate a "safe harbor" from patent claims for software falling in that category. This essentially would return the state of the law to what it was through the early 1990s, recognizing that software patents are fine when tied to specialized hardware or when they pertain to a special-purpose machine but not otherwise. Such a proposal is "radical" in dealing with the problem once and for all but is also remarkably conservative in only singling out for elimination the one category of patents most vulnerable to the potent objection that its retention does little or nothing to further the progress of science and hence doesn't warrant the monopoly protections afforded by the patent laws. The logic here should enable Congress to support it if it chose to reexamine the issues purely from a social and legal perspective.

Still, the practical issues remain daunting. What becomes of existing software patents, for example? Purists may say these are not "property" but massive dollars have been paid for the rights to own them and there will be huge resistance, not to mention constitutional objections, over any idea that these suddenly should be rendered worthless by legislative action. If these stay intact for the next 20+ years, what good does a safe harbor do in applying only prospectively? More important, those with a stake in the game - even relatively benign players such as Google - want to hedge and trim on the issues in order to protect their investments, and this means that inordinate pressure will be put on Congress not to single out software patents for elimination, emphasizing instead more limited measures to help fight trolls and so on.

With so much resistance, and with an apathetic public, how to build sufficient momentum to push Congress toward a true solution? Developers might lead this charge but I wonder. Founders are mostly not directly affected by software patents and neither are employees at bigger companies who are conscripted to keep churning them out. And those most directly hit in the patent wars resist reform to protect their own investments.

So Mr. Stallman finds himself alone in his position at this conference: not because his solution is bad but because of inordinately difficult practical barriers. At least we see in this conference that persons of influence in this area are finally willing to begin seeking incremental reform. If the worst of the abuses can be fixed (e.g., the troll issue), that at least is a start. And, who knows, maybe radical changes can occur after initial progress is made. Time will tell.

belorn 3 days ago 12 replies      
Richard stallman has always been eccentric and unwavering in his stand on politics around software.

Somehow, people find this odd, wrong, and or bad, and I dont understand it. On basically all political issues, unwavering is a good attribute. Even being an eccentric is better than not caring for the issue. eccentricness is often a key aspect before a change reach a critical mass.

Take a random politician opinion about abortion or nuclear power or any other common political subject. Say his/her opinion is "well, some should be able to do it, but then again there are problems so maybe not, and the issue is not one that need to be address today, and the system today do continue to work, and well, legal greyness is not that big of an issue, only for those in the courts...".

Clear, direct, and consistent opinion is a good thing. Diplomacy and "meeting half-way" has it places, but in politics, there is also times when it should be clearly avoided. In software politics, there are plenty of people working the diplomatic route. There is no shortage of diplomats, and a few eccentric and unwavering voices is then much more useful to maintain the goals of where we want to actually go without moving the goal in favor of diplomacy.

madhadron 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stallman's position on software patents is clear. It's the response from the rest of the world which is strange. There is one, simple statement that no one attempts to make and defend: "Stallman is wrong." I suspect it's because we all know that Stallman is right, many of us find it socially uncomfortable, and so there are all kinds of attempts to distance the ideas.

Personally I regard Stallman as one of the few moderate voices in software. Most discussion today is at an extreme best described as fascism: all privileges of decision and control reserved to a single person. Stallman is the moderate voice calling for a individual self-determination. He hasn't demanded any kind of social protections. Take a few minutes and imagine what the philosophy underlying the social democracies of Scandanavia would look like when applied to software.

linuxhansl 3 days ago 2 replies      
As usually RMS is spot on. "Can a person program a new solution to a problem?" Any answer involving "no" seems a bit like insanity.

Duffy on the other hand misses the point (IMHO):
"The question is, will you get very serious research that is patent-motivated?"

There is no "serious [software] research" that actually costs money. I have yet to be shown a single software patent that is the result of research and not just a spark on insight.
Sparks of insights are great. The point to note, though, is that they would have happened anyway, they do not cost anything. Granting a legal monopoly on them does not benefit society as a whole.

I have no illusion that anything will change. Big companies (with the notable exception of Google) love software patents to keep the competition (especially new players) at bay. Patent trolls love patents, which they can exploit with extortion schemes.
Last not least lawyers love software patents; not a single patent case is won or lost without the involved lawyers being rewarded handsomely.

silentmars 3 days ago 4 replies      
I read most of the transcripts of the Oracle v Google trial. This was a case where both sides had highly paid expert legal teams staffed with the best lawyers in the country that spent an enormous amount of time preparing to argue a case about patents and copyright in software.

What jumped out at me, and I imagine anyone else on HN who read these transcripts, was that despite what was a set of the optimum circumstances for lawyers dealing with software issues, none of them had the slightest idea what they were talking about. They were way off the mark. "What is an API?" - a central issue to the case. The lawyers from neither side understood the answer. "How do people use a programming language?" Again, both sides were desperately clueless (although Oracle's Boies was obviously more so, sometimes hilariously.)

So often in reading those transcripts I wanted to grab one of the lawyers and scream in his face, "you idiot!! What the hell is wrong with you?!? Are you stupid????"

The situation with software patents is the same - the same clueless legal people are having the same clueless legal discussion about it. They don't understand how software works, they don't understand what software patents really mean, they don't understand the marketplace, and they certainly don't understand programming. Unlike me, who just sits back and screams in my own head at the clueless people who are the self-appointed architects of the legal world in which software developers and entrepreneurs will live and work, Richard Stallman is standing up and screaming in their faces about it. It must feel satisfying to do that. Someone needs to.

debacle 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Speech recognition, for example, is very patent-intensive.

Speech recognition is patent-encumbered, not patent-intensive. Anyone who has done any research into the field would know that.

tjic 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm glad to see that RMS is using his trademark good manners to reach out to the undecided middle.
jobu 3 days ago 2 replies      
The thing is I would actually favor software patents if it required the patent applicant to submit all related source code to the public domain. Software is the only medium of creation that is essentially a double-monopoly with copyright and patent protection.
Tloewald 3 days ago 4 replies      
So suppose I want to make a novel device, part of its functionality is software. I can't patent the software only the hardware. It's a mass market device, so I have an incentive to make the software a trade secret. I don't want people to conveniently reverse engineer my software so I design a custom CPU and store the code in encrypted form. That's a whole bunch of overhead that has been created by abolishing software patents.

Not only will this kind of thing happen, but it will become commonplace and convenient (e.g. there will be off the shelf CPU designs that support obfuscation). Imagine the digital world returning to the guild system " and the beauty of digital technology is that this could happen ridiculously fast.

Now, yes, trivial algorithms would not be worth protecting this way, and that's a Good Thing. But consider the inefficiencies and stupidity that will be created by abolishing software patents altogether. Oh and the DMCA will make any efforts to penetrate obfuscated software illegal in perpetuity.

jrochkind1 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Speech recognition, for example, is very patent-intensive."

The nytimes article with the guy who DID spend lots of time trying to innovate in speech recognition, recognized as a genius in the field, who was driven out by someone elses patent.


GotAnyMegadeth 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Pinned to his chest was a large white button: "Pay Cash"Don't Be Tracked."

Looking at the photo, it looks like it actually says "Don't Be Tracked"Pay Cash."

jrogers65 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's all well and good that we are attempting to address the software patent system but the myth of beneficial medical patents still prevails. If you are of the opinion that medical patents are necessary, please read through this document - http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.h... - in particular, chapter 9. Just like software patents, medical patents have a long and rich history of stifling innovation. Don't buy the lies wholesale - look at the evidence and make your own decision.
yason 3 days ago 0 replies      
What we're missing is a fiscal disincentive, a cost of acquiring bad patents and suing others for violating them. Currently the equation is unbalanced, it's too cheap to harass others with patent litigation. The harmful effect of bad patents isn't factored in into the complete patenting scheme, thus the bad outcome. It's like spam.

Not that I support (software and any other) patents at all. I deliberately don't want my name on any patent. I might work on something that my employer wants to patent for they do pay for my time and creativity but I don't want my own name involved outside of that. This isn't just a principle; it has happened in reality. I wish Stallman was heard and patents were banished completely.

fastball 3 days ago 2 replies      
Stallman was the only speaker that day who wasn't streamed.

>"Streaming online would require use of [the] Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which would pressure people to use proprietary software. Dr. Stallman considers it wrong to pressure people to do that."

Why is Silverlight necessary? http://blog.webmproject.org/2010/12/live-streaming-webm-with...

crusso 3 days ago 1 reply      
Those include creating key components of the free software system that he calls GNU/Linux (and many others call simply Linux)

I've always savored the irony of Stallman's fight to have content creators relinquish control of their creations while steadfastly refusing to let people just call Linux by the name they choose... while also attempting to steal top billing.

markshepard 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is definitely an issue to be tackled. After working in a large software company I can attest to the fact that ridiculous stuff that are patented just to increase the portfolio.
aw3c2 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Streaming online would require use of [the] Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which would pressure people to use proprietary software," explained Andrew Chin

just for the record, that statement is absolutely incorrect. you can offer streams and watch streams just fine with free and open-source software. for example with ogg theora or webm.

grannyg00se 3 days ago 0 replies      
"They cover common practices on the Internet, like showing an ad before a piece of content."

Why do patents like that get granted? And once they are, why aren't they extremely easy to invalidate after the fact? There is a non-trivial aspect to a patent that is supposed to be passed. It seems to me that at least enforcing that would be a nice step.

Shorel 2 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I dislike his GPL licences and prefer the MIT licenses because I find the GPL too limiting, I can't help but to be totally in agreement with him regarding Software Patents.

The best we can do is to abolish them.

klrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, sad he act in such a fool'ish way here, raging are often resulting in that people rather trust the counter-arguments. I would acted just like that myself though, and I agree that some of the counter arguments was wrong. I highly wish RMS and the whole FSF community was more respected.
maked00 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone who doubts the validity of getting rid of software patents need look no further than the fashion industry. Fashion cannot be patented, and there seems to be plenty of innovation and a flourishing business in that sector. The only thing that is appropriate in fashion is trademarks. It is just a bad idea to allow anyone to tax or monopolize ideas.
maked00 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fashion industry does just fine without patents. Plenty of innovation and investment and profits going on there.
Fashion relies on trademarks, not patents. Huge difference.
We all lose when ideas/knowledge is monopolized or taxed by the few.
numeral_two 2 days ago 0 replies      


riazrizvi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reduce the problem by reducing the software patent's lifespan, say to 7 years? That would force innovation to be more business-efficient and greatly reduce the number of patent trolls.
PrinceGeo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Software idea patents are bad for everyone, except patent lawyers.
dsego 3 days ago 1 reply      
stallman would be far more convincing if he would stop eating stuff from his feet (and drinking pepsi).
diminoten 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "Maybe it wouldn't be quite as good, but we would all be okay. None of us would be shafted."

So rather than reward the talented and ignore the ungifted, he'd rather punish the talented and ignore the ungifted?

nicholassmith 3 days ago 3 replies      
"while Google abhors them, its arch-rival Microsoft is increasingly enthusiastic about them."

Wait, what? Google abhors patents? So all the patents they've been buying up is because they abhor them so much?

Google's campaign for a free and open internet google.com
218 points by diggan  2 days ago   61 comments top 20
magicalist 2 days ago 2 replies      
Great site (and I agree with the cause), but it's pretty light on the actual info and analysis side of things. You need a good, clear hook to get people invested enough to stick around the site, granted, but there should be a page on the site with a lot more information for people that want it. Otherwise it's (partly) reducing an attempt to educate the public to asking people to sign a petition that says "evil shadowy government conspiracies to censor the web are bad".

That's super, but it's pretty obvious (I hope...) to most people that there has to be more subtlety to the situation than that, which risks alienating potential supporters, or at least gets some people saying, "well I want to find out more before I sign" and then they never come back.

On the "what's at stake" page, at the very bottom, there is a link to this related site:


which seems good to my eyes and has a little more information, but, more importantly, offers a list of links to major publications that have covered the issue. With those, you can pick one you might trust and learn more, if you want to. I'm not sure how closely related that site is to Google, but one obvious thing that could be added to this site is a "What is the ITU" tab in the site navigation, which could consist of that exact page.

(I'm not saying the link should be replaced. It's notable on HN that google is doing this, I just wish google's site had more information, or at least more prominent sources for more information, for those who are curious)

ommunist 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google is a weapon used by the US government to establish the domination and seize control over citizens access to information. Would Google really care about the open Internet, it'd license itself with GNU Public license long time ago.
This call is hypocrisy. It is like a bank which collected all the gold is calling to the mob to rob some other bank where some other gold is. Once the other bank is robbed and cease to exist, the mob will inevitably bring the gold back to the initiator of the robbery.
True freedom in the Internet is in hands of its users already. They just don't want it and give their own power to things like Google, allowing a costly layer between their needs and fulfilment. What can you do about it is another question.
8ig8 2 days ago 1 reply      
Who actually sees these pages on Google? Seriously, who is the intended audience? I'm not knocking the page or the messages, I just don't understand the target? Do people browse Google? I see this stuff only via HN. I'm curious how others find it.
bosch 2 days ago 4 replies      
It should have a * at the end of the statement that reads:

* As long as Google can track you.

jfaucett 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is a good campaign maybe not, from the site though there's a huge problem of basically no details, references or data anywhere. How can 3 paragraphs without anything to back it up convince so many people to submit their names for something? Here's a link to one article I quickly found just looking for a perspective on this. http://www.brecorder.com/it-a-computers/206/1260960/

Anyone have others?

jarek-foksa 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is just Google running FUD campaign to protect its own business. Strong enforcement of intelectual property laws means problems to any company that indexes or hosts user generated content, but I fail to see how it could endanger free speech.
alpb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no discussion about the topic arised in comments. Here are a few points:

- What is that close-door meeting called? Who are the participants? How does Google know about this?

- What can Google about it? (besides collecting emails)

- How come collecting lots of emails and location can 'really' help preventing so many governments from doing something? (I don't know any examples, that's why I'm asking)

- Why is Google doing this?

miles_matthias 2 days ago 4 replies      
Pretty surprised the site looks so terrible on my phone.
ikawe 1 day ago 2 replies      
Surely the "evil shadowy governments" are not meeting under the explicit auspices of "curtailing internet freedom." What are the "pro" arguments for the meeting?
Claudus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the way the ITU handshaking graphic is casting a shadow over top of the world.
bobak 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe our communication should have no centralized control. It should tend toward being survivable of anything, incl. people who think they are well meaning.
wildgift 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure what it's about, but here's the ITU website: http://www.itu.int
slaven 2 days ago 1 reply      
The page is completely broken on desktop Safari without Flash installed. Kinda ironic: http://cl.ly/image/1M233A072M06
hyphyphyph 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most shallow comment... but what's the font they're using for freeandopen ?
brainstew 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is an ITU blog post responding to press criticism on the WCIT-12 conference: http://itu4u.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/the-real-work-starts-a...
zaknanny 2 days ago 1 reply      
did anyone else notice one of the thing they said on the what's at stake page? I think this my be their hidden motivation for doing this.

"Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders."

TommyDANGerous 2 days ago 1 reply      
Signed up, power to the free people.
jmcejuela 1 day ago 0 replies      
So I believe they mention that 42 governments apply censorship. Which are these governments??
owencm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just added a Slant for this topic so we can collaboratively explain both sides: http://slant.co/topics/is-google-s-freeandopen-internet-camp...
aszantu 1 day ago 0 replies      
nice try, google
Introducing GNU Guix gnu.org
216 points by lelf  1 day ago   100 comments top 19
rlpb 1 day ago 6 replies      
Debian's dpkg and apt are both GPL2+. What's the reason they are reinventing the wheel here? Is there some kind of licence incompatibility that the GNU project cares about? Is there some kind of major architectural difference? Why is it important enough to fragment Free Software developers over?

I feel that this should be answered in an FAQ, but I can't find the answer anywhere.

simonh 1 day ago 3 replies      
> A distribution built by GNU hackers is a great opportunity to improve consistency and cohesion in GNU!

Because the existing fragmentation of GNU package management is too confusing, so we need a new standard for everyone to rally round.


nwmcsween 1 day ago 3 replies      
It seems everyone reinvents package management poorly again and again. Some things that obviously stand out to me:

* Why utilize scheme? It's declaritive utilize a markup like yaml, don't go off the deep end because you can.

* Utilize OS specific features such as jails, bind mounts, namespaces, you can have the same NIX style separation without destroying FHS.

* Parse the config files for options, it's easy cmake, autocrap, etc all have parsable formatting this way you don't need to mess with adding build time options.

* Parse the source for dependencies, there are lots of white papers of people doing this and beating human made spec files.

* Utilize machine learning for classification of options, dependency resolution (utilizing previous data).

jacquesm 1 day ago 1 reply      
> it's not a bootable distribution yet, but rather one to be installed on top of a running GNU/Linux system.

For a moment there I thought the GNU Hurd had been finished, I misread it as GNU Unix :(

taejo 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's "based on Nix", but what's the difference, and why fork?
huhtenberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's one misleading name if you ask me - GUI+X
s_husso 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain what benefits do I get for using this rather than the package manager offered by my distribution? And do you need root access to install guix? Because if you do then

> unprivileged package management

seems quite, well, useless imho. If on the other hand everything in guix lives in the userland, I can see myself using it in the servers I don't have root-access to..

luxxx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like that this brings out a bunch of people who don't understand Scheme or why it's important to be purely functional. Oh you, startup kids.
davorak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope this causes a surge of interest in gnu guix, nixpkgs, and package management systems with these nice features in general.
klrr 1 day ago 4 replies      
What problem does it solve?
perone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Documentation ?
rocky1138 1 day ago 3 replies      
The Linux community needed this around 15 years ago when Windows 98 came out. Now we've got .deb and .rpm which do the job perfectly well. It's even better nowadays, as well, since their existence is effectively hidden from the user thanks to package managers.

Too little, way too late.

zstumgoren 1 day ago 0 replies      
Both GNU Guix and Nix seem like excellent steps forward in bringing sanity to package management. Does anyone know if puppet, chef, salt and similar configuration management tools were inspired by these projects? At a cursory glance, e.g., there are some striking similarities in the DSLs of NixOS and Puppet.
eterps 1 day ago 1 reply      
How can I give it a try? F.e. if I want to install my own vim in my home directory?
virtualritz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yet another package manager? :)
I've yet to see something that does a better job than http://paludis.exherbo.org/
And that is not to say Paludis couldn't be improved. But I don't get why people devote time to the community to work on stuff that has been thoroughly solved.
wooptoo 1 day ago 1 reply      
This could turn out way better than current package managers if GNU doesn't screw it up.
JonnyB 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I love it! Please use it and add a ton of packges.

Because i'm too lazy :)

na85 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suppose it's nice that GNU has a "GNU-branded" package manager... I guess...
devb0x 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ill stick with apt and yum than you. They've proved themselves enough to me
News about Mark Crispin (author of the original IMAP specification) ietf.org
211 points by muriithi  11 hours ago   37 comments top 15
saurik 10 hours ago 4 replies      
A few months ago, I started working on an IMAP server, and as part of that process I decided to read, as best I could, "the collected works of Mark Crispin". Of course this meant that I read through the latest IMAP specification (in its entirety, "cover to cover") but it also meant that I read through all of the old ones as well (if nothing else: Mark actually often stated one should).

"""It's instructive to read the IMAP3 document (RFC 1203), if only to see a dead-end branch in IMAP's evolution.""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/200...

However, I honestly found this person fascinating: the more I read, the more I wanted to read; I thereby continued from the specifications, and have been reading everything I could get my hands on, scouring mailing lists old and new. I imagine that this is similar to how many might feel about their favorite author, only for me my favorite author is not Tolstoy, Dickens, or Shakespeare: it is Mark Crispin.

Obviously, like with most authors, I don't pretend to know anything about him as a person, but I look up to him as a writer. I thereby don't really know what I would say to him (nor even feel it terribly appropriate to do so at all); I do think, however, I can at least help some people here on Hacker News who might not know much about him appreciate what Mark Crispin has been doing for us in his life.

This man has been working, nearly constantly, on the IMAP protocol specification now for decades of his life; he has seen numerous challenges to compatibility and has had to make countless tradeoffs and compromises to both his vision for the protocol and his wording in specifications to keep making forward progress. Much of this is actually documented in years of mailing list archives.

"""This was a mistake. We all acknowledge it to have been a mistake. However, the discussion about naming that took place in the early 1990s wasted at least 18 months of everybody's time (and probably reduced all of our lifespans by a few years due to high blood pressure). What came up was a wretched compromise, but at least it let us do our work.""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/200...

From all of this, I would like to say: I believe he was actually a visionary. Many people who use IMAP do not realize this, but Mark did not (from my reading) ever believe in the offline e-mail that Google and Microsoft are slowly obsoleting, even at the benign level of IMAP synchronization; in fact, his own client (alpine) doesn't even support that mode of operation: it is purely on "online" IMAP client with a tiny memory cache.

"""Email synchronization is a fool's errand; but there seem to be an abundant supply of fools that undertake it. Thus we have miserable mobile device email clients such as Mail.app on the iToy, BlackBerry, and the default Mail app on Android. At least Android has k9mail which - just barely - steps over the line into "usability".""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/201...

If you go back to the early IMAP specifications, this is actually laid out in the rationale section: the argument is that in an age where users have too many devices to easily manage and network connectivity is nearly universal--or as I will call it, "Mark Crispin's 1988" (yes: 1988, and this is already IMAP2)--it no longer makes sense to store e-mail on the client; he then lays out a strategy for an efficient mail-specific thin-client protocol, with everything from server-side search to server-side parsing.

"""Consequently, while the workstation may be viewed as an Internet host in the sense that it implements IP, it should not be viewed as the entity which contains the user's mailbox. Rather, a mail server machine (sometimes called a "repository") should hold the mailbox, and the workstation (hereafter referred to as a "client") should access the mailbox via mail transactions.""" -- http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1064

It is only, however, when one delves into the mailing lists where you truly get a sense for this: on various occasions, Mark has even looked at modern webmail systems as having more in common with IMAP than the alternatives people normally compare IMAP to (such as POP).

"""It's easy to dismiss all this, because only a few IMAP clients are sophisticated enough to take advantage of this state. The vast majority are glorified POP clients that babble IMAP protocol. This came about because of the long-obsolete notion that Internet access is a difficult and expensive commodity that requires that the client must keep a mirror of what's on the server. The success of webmail (which transforms the browser into the ultimate thin client) proves that this notion is complete nonsense today. Yet people persist in claiming it. Webmail won the war for the hearts and minds of users, not because webmail is so much better than IMAP, but rather because webmail is so much better than POP.""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/200...

What struck me the most, though, is just how often people refused to see this: assuming that IMAP was something that it was not, or simply not giving Mark the respect he deserved from the history he has thinking about this problem; people oft would approach claiming they knew better, and wanted to start over. This meant that he often had to spend his time attempting to herd people towards a common goal, and defending what existed against misconceptions; even having to teach people what it meant to have a protocol at all.

"""Before assuming that you are smarter than the old guy, you ought to make sure that you really understand the problem.""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/200...

He didn't just sit back and heckle, though: he provided long and detailed critiques; he imparted his knowledge to others, even as he saw people often ignore what he had learned. His explanations usually also gave you a history lesson, illuminating part of the process and showing not only why something works the way it does, but why it worked the way it did, and how that notion had to be stretched into what we are currently using today: you can learn a lot about not just IMAP, but protocols in general, from his writings.

"""Furthermore, if you design for the stupid, you must also design for the defiant. If you fail to do that, you have learned absolutely nothing from my experience in the past 22 years.""" -- http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/imap5/current/msg00005....

There was a continual sobering undercurrent, however, with relation to how long it has taken IMAP to come to fruition (technically, it is still only a proposal). Hearing today's news brings back to mind one e-mail in particular from 2007, which I will now end this comment with (its a long one, but I consider it quite powerful, and in this context, I think it is important to include in its entirety).


RFC 3501, like all human endeavors, is not perfect. We have spent about 20 years in trying to get IMAP beyond Proposed Standard status. We are probably going to fall back yet again with another Proposed Standard RFC for IMAP.

You can't assume that the specification is going to tell you everything that you need to know. It will never happen. We can address this particular question, but I can guarantee that someone will find another one after the publication of the new RFC.

Each IMAP specification update consumes a couple of years of my time. Invariably, there are months of "last calls" and inactivity, only to have someone call a "wait, we need to do this" at the last minute that pulls everything back. Requests to review drafts don't work.

And, with the addition of more expository text to say (what is obvious to some people), we get a larger and more bloated document that people won't read. There are already many IMAP implementations written by people who looked at the examples but never the formal syntax or the expository text, because their implementations blatantly violate both.

I understand -- and sympathize -- with the desire to remove reliance upon folklore and common sense. I see no hope of that ever being accomplished.

The sad fact is that we are running out of time. Given past history, there is little hope that it will reach full standard status under my tenure.

I don't think that it's a good use of the next decade or so to make a futile attempt to perfect the base specification. It needs to be made good enough, and there needs to be general understanding of the architecture so that people don't blame their silly decisions on the base specification.

-- Mark --

""" -- http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/pipermail/imap-protocol/200...

cromwellian 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty sad, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark a few times when I was part of the Lemonade working group, he seemed like a very nice guy, energetic, unfazed by commercial interests, someone who stuck to his guns.

It reminds me of Jon Postel, in the sense that many of the core IETF people, those responsible for building the world as we know it, are getting old now, and some of them have already passed away. Everyone remembers Steve Jobs, but the greater public at large is oblivious to people who have built even more important infrastructure.

I hope the history books of the future won't just jump from Edison and Westinghouse directly to Steve Jobs, but also remember those who did the massively important work done in between.

kabdib 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't have any real working relationship with Mark, but I remember him well.

I met him over the Arpanet; we shared a common interest in Atari computers, and when I moved to the Bay Area to work for Atari, I met him (and Mabry Tyson) at a local users group meeting. He was kind of intense. He knew a /lot/ about mailers (how much, I didn't appreciate for years).

He had a DEC-20 in his spare bedroom. I saw it once, years later. It was orange. It's safe to say that not many people had DEC-20s in their houses.

Anyway, he introduced me to the Silly Valley hacker culture, and decent chinese food, and I'll never forget that.

ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes me sad. I'm glad I got a chance to send him the PDP8 programming manuals while he could still enjoy them (about 10 years ago). I only met Mark at a conference on DEC hardware but engaged in several discussions on the INFO-MICRO mailing list. He was the only person I knew of who had a DEC2020 system in his garage.
Evbn 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Mark and his team at UW wrote pine and alpine, the mail client used by many (most?) US college students in the late 1990s.

They also wrote pico, the pine composer, predecessor of nano, and the most newbie-user-friendly text editor commonly found on Unix text console systems.

unreal37 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's sad to hear that such a young man is in the last stages of life. Clearly he has earned the title of visionary and internet pioneer.

If you read the messages being sent to him on that list, it's interesting that so many of them start with "We had our differences but...". One person even wrote "I found discourse with him to be insufferable at best."

I can imagine he spent a lot of his time arguing with people.

javanix 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Dealing with someone close to death's door is one of the most painful things that I have ever gone through. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who knew Mark.
lispm 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Another Lisp Hacker.

Mark wrote the first IMAP client in Interlisp for the Xerox Interlisp-D Machine. He wrote also the first server, though not in Lisp.

primatology 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sorry to hear this. Wikipedia informs me Crispin was born in 1956, which would put him at 55 or 56 years old. Far too young.
colinyoung 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know the man, and while I know what IMAP is, I'm not exactly part of that newsgroup.

However, it's awesome to think that I will now think of his legacy whenever I refresh my email, because he made something that I use every day. I think that's what we all hope for here at Hacker News.

swampthing 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope he's holding up as well as he can be. I worked in the same department as him at the UW and remember getting a geeky thrill every time I saw one of his emails. The man's contributions to life as we know it are tremendous.
bane 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's worth thanking Mr. Crispin for all he's done to help enable us to overcome the barriers we all face trying to get our thoughts communicated to another person.
ronnier 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I have no idea if this is related, but I'm really starting to think about the studies related to long sitting sessions and the sedentary lifestyle that come with impassioned software developers/engineers. Our love for what we do might be killing us.
guan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So sad. But shouldn't we post well-wishing messages using IMAP?
rietta 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad. I've always loved to use IMAP instead of POP for e-mail. Though I have never met Mr. Crispin, I feel honored to be able to use his invention.
Elon Musk and the Hyperloop jacquesmattheij.com
200 points by snippyhollow  3 days ago   187 comments top 41
robomartin 3 days ago 6 replies      
I think everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room.

This is a long story, but I'll try to keep it very short. Anyone interested contact me off-list for far more details and an unfinished paper with some of my research.

A couple of years ago my son and I were watching a documentary on the subject of concrete. It was very interesting. They covered a wide range of topics but one of them really started to trigger my curiosity: The Panama Canal.

I don't know why, but I became very interested in the financial metrics surrounding the canal. How much does it cost to cross it? How long does it take? How many ships cross it per year? Where do they come from? Where do they go?

The more I learned the more the reality of the Canal horrified me. Why?

The bulk of the commercial traffic through the Canal are container ships. And these ships burn something very nasty: Bunker Fuel. This is, by almost any measure, the dirtiest fuel you could burn. it's horrible stuff.

When I started to do the math I started to realize the magnitude of the problem. These ships move at about 20 miles per hour. They could go faster but there's a balance between the high cost of hydrodynamic drag and fuel costs. A trip from Shanghai to Long Beach takes about 18 days and will burn somewhere in the range of 3,600 to 7,200 metric tons of fuel. For those not comfortable visualizing units in the metric system, that's from 7,936,560 to 15,873,120 pounds. Yes, fifteen million pounds of the nastiest crap you could burn is used to bring your iPhones (conjecture) and other stuff from Shanghai to Long Beach.

If my research is correct, the fleet of about 100,000 cargo ships (Yes, 100,000!!!) burns over a million metric tons of bunker fuel PER DAY.

400 million metric tons of bunker fuel per year, which is equivalent to 120 billion gallons.

Can't relate to that number?

Here's an interesting comparison:

To get a better sense of how large this number is we can try to relate it to how many cars one could fill-up with fuel and for how long. 120 billion gallons would provide enough fuel to supply 100,000 cars (assuming a 20 gallon tank) with a full tank of gas every week...for over 1,000 years.

  100,000 cars.
20 gallons per week.
For a THOUSAND years.

And our fleet of container ships use this in ONE YEAR.

The evil, when it comes to pollution and energy dependence, isn't the much-abused light bulb; it's the elephant in the room: Ocean-going cargo ships.

While our mass media chooses to focus its attention on an oil spill (because it is sensational and it serves political purposes), what is really killing our planet slowly is the transportation of iPhones, Blackberries, TV's, blenders, washers, cars, widgets and gadgets on inefficient and highly-polluting ocean-going vessels. Even the latest Gulf spill is insignificant in terms of environmental impact when compared to what 100,000 ships are doing to our environment each and every year.

It is estimated that the fleet of nearly 100,000 cargo ships in the world produces over 20 million tons of Sulfur Oxides (SOx) per year. For comparison, the entire fleet of automobiles in the world (about 800 million cars) produces about 80,000 tons of the same contaminant.

How about the Canal?

A container ship traveling from Los Angeles to NYC through the Canal will burn about 4,500 metric tons of buker-C fuel. This amount of fuel costs approximately US $1.8 million. Canal fees would run somewhere around $300K. The trip from L.A. to NYC through the Canal runs well over two million dollars, without including handling, insurance, crew costs, amortization, maintenance, etc. That's quite a chunk of change, however, when divided by the thousands of containers a ship can move it becomes a few hundred dollars per container.

How many ships go through the Canal per year?

Approximately 15,000.

I'll leave you to do the math. I have far more detail in my notes. What these ships are doing to our environment is simply horrific. The pollution doesn't stop at the act of burning fuel.

Cargo ships are also the source of an unusual form of pollution. Ships use huge ballast tanks to stabilize themselves. These ballast tanks are filled and emptied of sea water during loading and unloading operations at port. It is through this mechanism that cargo ships are responsible for transporting harmful organisms across the world into ecosystems that cannot handle them. The introduction of non-native species into a new ecosystem can have devastating consequences.

And so, from watching a simple documentary I came to the realization that, for some strange reason, we have been ignoring the most significant source of environmental pollution on our planet. And, beyond that, one of the largest --if not the largest-- consumer of petroleum products.

I didn't stop at just identifying the problem. I also wanted to take a stab at a solution. I came up with something I called "The American High Speed Cargo System" (AHSCS) as a loose proposal. This would be a cargo-only, electric powered, high speed rail system. It would connect --at the very least-- both coasts and, ideally, other major US ports. The idea would be to move cargo over land from port to port at 200 miles per hour. High speed passenger trains in the US are a waste of money and that's particularly true in California (don't get me started there). Not so for high-speed cargo.

The numbers are there to support it: A cargo ship spends over two million dollars to get from L.A. to NYC. Probably closer to three. Those same containers could be moved far more efficiently over land, at similar or lower costs and pollute far, far less. You are exchanging aerodynamic drag for hydrodynamic drag. Huge difference.

In terms of energy costs (just the electricity), I came up with numbers in the order of $10K for a trip from L.A. to NYC. I further estimated that the system would require around 700MW of power, let's call it 1,000MW. We have 53 nuclear plants that can source 1GW each. This is a case where nuclear power might be a really good option.

However, the scope of the project needs to be realized. Developing and building such a systems has the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not millions. It should be revenue neutral if not positive (sorry Panama). It would allow for the installation of upgraded communications and power backbones that would be synergistic to the process of building the rail system. It would also allow for the potential to install huge solar and wind-power farms to fully or partially power the system.

I have not explored every angle but would like to think that, if my numbers and assumptions are right, this could be the most important project this nation could embark on. You have to think in terms of a hundred or two-hundred year scale. These ships are not going to go away unless something very significant changes. Of course, the same concept ought to be replicated across the planet. Again, if I am right, we should strive to eliminate most, if not all, container ships traversing our oceans. We are making an absolute mess out of our planet.


Like I said, there's more. If interested email me off list and I can send you a copy of my notes so far. It'd be interesting to have someone go over my notes and verify my assumptions and calculations. I tried to raise the issue with politicians but, what can I say, I only have so much time to deal with morons.


I thank you for your comments. I have to ask that you do me a favor. Please refrain from making categorical statements about the relative efficiency of ships vs. a proposed high-speed electric train without having done the math yourself. Please drop me an email and I'll be more than happy to provide you with a copy of my calcs, an unfinished paper as well as links, PDF's and references. Then we can talk about the merits of the concept. I am actually very interested in having the concept, calculations and assumptions criticized. Arguing outside of a common frame of reference is rather difficult.

netcan 3 days ago 8 replies      
If/when self-driving cars succeed in being ready for public consumption, I think a huge opening for revolutions in transportation gets opened up.

- If you can call your car, it can park farther away. Parking is one of the biggest problems with cars in urban areas.

- Instead of calling of your car, you could just call a car. A self driving car and a self driving taxi are pretty similar, but one can run 24hrs and reduce the parking problem more.

- Computers can do things people can't do. Once enough auto-automobiles are out there, there can be autoauto only "features". The same square footage of tarmac might be able to move cars much quicker. Maybe autoautos can handle 200km speeds. Maybe they can cooperate to make traffic smoother. Maybe they can link together like trains to overcome congestion.

There is nothing quite as good as having a car to take you exactly to and from where you want to go. If self driving cars can really mix with human drivers everywhere they may have a nice smooth path to innovate on gradually. Big vision plans for revolutionizing transport are so centralized, so premeditated.

edit: one more thing. self driving cars interact in an interesting way with public/mass trasport, especially if people dont own their own. It may reduce the demand by competing more directly on one hand. OTOH, it will compliment by providing the last-mile component.

btilly 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think that you ALMOST have it. You've even explained the following tantalizing quote from July: I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely. The cars in the loop store power. A lot of it.

Now why do I say almost? Let's make one small modification. Let's put a lot of one way flaps in the tube so that it is easy for a puff of air to blow out, but not so easy for air to come back in. There would be leakage, but that is going to be OK.

As each car comes by, it piles up air in front of it that blows out of the flaps. Then the flaps fall back, and maintains a partial vacuum. The partial vacuum is no problem for people because there is a pile of air in front of their car that can be tapped for breathing air, that can then be released backwards, where it circulates through the tube (and probably out the flap).

This makes his evacuated tube comment even more of a teasing joke. No, the tube is not evacuated. Nor did you pump air out of it. But it winds up almost evacuated. However it is still fine for breathing.

Now the point is that reduced air pressure inside of the tunnel significantly reduces drag caused by the air dragging on the edges of the tunnel and being pushed by the cars. This does a lot to make the whole thing massively more efficient. Elon's claim is then that it is efficient enough that it can be powered by solar panels placed on the tube.

My big question is how hot it will be. There may be very little gas in the tube, but that gas will be very, very hot. Over time the cars will heat up as well. So you'd need to have the cars regularly coming in and out of the system so that they would have time to cool down.

The practical difficulties in building this are immense. But I do not see any physical reason why it is impossible.

schiffern 3 days ago 4 replies      
How can anyone possibly suggest that this would be cheaper than high-speed rail? If you're going 1150 mph ("average speed twice as fast as a commercial jet"), the curve radius is going to be immense " 90 km to maintain <0.3 lateral g. This will constrain your right-of-way selection vastly more than the HSR project Musk scoffs at.

And, of course, the skin friction on a 2.5 meter tunnel would be immense. Using a duct friction loss calculator I get 285 megawatts of loss over the entire tube. You need two tubes. At 120,000 passengers/day (HSR estimate), it would take 114 kWh per trip. That's worst than the Model S, hardly an system in which "the fundamental energy cost is so much lower" than a car.

No, the "theoretically fastest way" to go from Point A to Point B is a great-circle vacuum train connecting them. A launch loop does essentially that, but exploits the vacuum above our heads instead. It just fits better.

Any hyperloop theory needs to deal with supersonic speeds " LA-SF as the crow flies in 30 minutes is just under the wire for subsonic speeds. Elon said "under 30 minutes." There are mountains in the way.

jusben1369 3 days ago 2 replies      
Everyone's assuming Musk has the answer and we're guessing at it. I feel like he's prompting the world to create the answer. True leadership at its finest. Define the problem, broad brush what the solution could and should be and then watch minds go to work.
Tloewald 3 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't he say in the Ariane 5 is dead interview that it's a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun, so think super streamlined glider, launched by maglev, captured by maglev (recovering some energy energy on capture). High speed rail without most of the rail.

The big issue would be air traffic control at launch and landing. 600 m/s (Mach 2) at 0.5g acceleration would require 36km of launch rail which is kind of a lot. But you could loop the track and reduce the acceleration to make up for centripetal forces " a 200m radius loop might be about right, and once you use a loop you can go a lot faster (and this explains the name: hypersonic loop).

I suppose it might skip short distances requiring pylons or something for speed top ups and travel at lower speed.

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry Jacques, I'm sticking to the suborbital maglev thing.

Yeah, I know it's a long-shot, but it fits into my idea of Musk better than a giant mail tube. I'm just seeing pressurized tubes scaling. There's the same problem with the orbital sub-loop, but I'm betting Musk spent a lot of time looking at this idea as part of his Mars dream.

One thing's for sure -- it's going to be a blast seeing how it all turns out!

shin_lao 3 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting speculation by Jacques, but I think the combination of rail run and Concorde is a rail gun that fires hypersonic motor-less capsules that glide to destination.

Smaller landing zones, no air pollution, much less noise...

It's also a good combination of Telsa (rail gun) and SpaceX (rockets can be seen as motorized slugs).

Only limit I see with this system is that I'm not sure anyone could withstand the acceleration.

jws 3 days ago 1 reply      
Moving the air through the tunnel addresses the capsule drag, but now you have drag between your moving air and the tunnel wall, which depending on the distance between vehicles is going to be a larger loss.

Yacht designers refer to the "wetted area" component of drag, and an entire tunnel wall is a heck of a lot of wetted area.

minikomi 3 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting.. What if if gets shot one direction, presurizing something, which it uses to shoot back the other direction

   waiting for passenger
SF [||| <> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ] LA
pressurized --> pretty spaced out "stuff"

SF [-| - |- |- |- <>-| - |- |- -| - |- |- ] LA
in transit..

SF [ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - <> ||| ] LA
<- presurized for return

graeham 3 days ago 3 replies      
“Cheaper than high speed rail” - why is high speed rail expensive? I believe because precision contact between rail and wheel is required. How would this be done cheaper in a tunnel?

One issue with a tunnel is that even if the air and carriages are moving at the same speed, there is still drag or friction between the air and the wall of the tunnel by Poissiulle's law. At the proposed speeds (~300km/h) and distances (600km), this becomes a lot, and higher pressures (if my quick calculations are right) lead to higher energy requirements through higher air density.

In a vacuum, this friction would not exist. I can post my calcs if there is interest - I used a Moody chart and Darcy's friction equation, and ended up with an energy requirement that there would have to be ~80 million carriages going each way to be as efficient as a Telsa roadster, and neglecting any other losses.

Tichy 3 days ago 5 replies      
However, somehow using pressurized tubes for mail failed in the long run. I find those very fascinating, and apparently once upon a time some big cities were actually connected with a lot of such pressure tubes for sending mail. But apparently they were too unreliable and ended up going into oblivion.

Would be interesting if some of them could be resurrected somehow.

Another idea for improving transport: with modern technology better routing should be possible. Instead of all people boarding the same train that stops at every station, why not only board a carriage that goes directly to your destination? That could save a lot of time, I think.

monk_e_boy 3 days ago 2 replies      

Digging a tunnel takes years and cost billions (see London underground new tunnel http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16320945)

Making the tunnel fit the carrage = no room for emergency

Security (terrorists + bomb = nightmare at speed of sound)

Windows? What would you look at?

If he thinking of just goods (not people) then some of these problems are much simpler - the tunnel could be less than 1m in radius.

My wild idea is that he is going to us a rail gun to fire drones up a couple of KM into the air, these then glide down to mini airports. Replace freight railroads.

dcosson 3 days ago 1 reply      
One thing not mentioned here is speed. Musk has said this could go from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes, which is an average speed of ~700 mph - slightly faster than a commercial airliner but in the same ballpark. I'm definitely not an expert in fluid dynamics, but it seems like safely maintaining that speed in a tube at atmospheric pressure would be difficult. Maybe there's some way to design the shape of the pods such that there's a very stable equilibrium keeping it away from the walls. Or you could potentially use a magnetic field to do this (similar to a tokamak) but that seems be trickier and more expensive than a mag-lev rail.

An evacuated tube has the advantage of being much more stable at high speeds and avoids the issue of excess heat from repeatedly compressing and expanding the air in the tube.

In any case, great read. I almost wonder if Musk has thrown this idea out half-baked just to get more people to start thinking outside the box about transportation...

mkuhn 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Hyperloop reminds me a lot of the Swissmetro [1] project which was launched in 1974 and was intended to connect Swiss cities trough evacuated tunnels which would house maglev trains. The evacuation made the project very expensive but a lot of tests were run and a lot of the learning probably can be applied. Solving some of the problems that made the Swissmetro so expensive could lead to what the Hyperloop wants to be.

[1 ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissmetro the German language article is much more extensive: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissmetro)

anonymouz 3 days ago 2 replies      
The starting point of the argument is kind of whacky: He claims that the sentence "It is not (an evacuated tunnel)." is somehow the same as "It is a (not evacuated) tunnel.", but he completely ignores the fact that the position of the article that he deliberately changes resolves this ambiguity! So, duh, if you change the sentence it means something different...
kapitalx 3 days ago 0 replies      
to go between LA and SF in 30 minutes you'll need to approach the speed of sound. Certainly self driving cars don't fit that category. Also Musk talked about it as a 5th mode of transportation, not sure if cars would cut it.
6ren 3 days ago 1 reply      
Re: "no rails" - perhaps it reduces friction by not touching the ground, via a combination of a railgun propulsion + airfoil. Thus, not needing continuous maglev for levitation. Also explains the "concord" comparison.
Maakuth 3 days ago 5 replies      
He also recently said it's "a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun". That would at least enforce the maglev principle Jacques envisioned. It wouldn't be quite a Concorde in the pressurized tube though. But it's not impossibly far away from that concept, maybe Musk deliberately described it in a bit mysterious fashion. Time will tell.
frankus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think most of OP's arguments are spot on, but I think it's likely to be an elevated system installed over the center divider of the (mostly very straight and very flat) I-5 corridor. Tunneling that distance just isn't feasible at the stated cost.

(I expound at greater length here: http://franking.tumblr.com/post/36241325898/my-personal-spec...)

topbanana 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think the tunnel would need to be pressurised. If the air moved at the same speed as the train, no resistance would be met.
Jabbles 3 days ago 1 reply      
So it's what they have in Futurama?

I'm not really sure how it "can't crash", nor how there aren't any "rails" (or things that look suspiciously like rails).

loceng 3 days ago 1 reply      
First time I read it wouldn't be an evacuated tunnel. Next thought of technology it could use then then jumps to maglev-like technology; Imagine a Tesla vehicle (or others) that can hop onto a network that brings the vehicle onto a maglev system, reducing friction (and other elements wouldn't really effect it, especially if you decided to put a canopy over it) ; Anyone else realize he may have dropped a hint in this video (http://video.ft.com/v/1974478965001/Elon-Musk-from-electric-... ) that we might see flying cars?

You'd need on-ramps, where a minimum speed is required before merging with the main line, and of course you'd only build on/off ramps at major hubs. The only issue I see being you're not using tar then, and therefore costs of raw materials would be higher, at least initially, and would likely last longer than tar.

Being cheaper than highspeed rail could fit into this equation because its the vehicle owners paying for the vehicle, and no trains are being build for it - so actual money going into the system, the synergies that would exist, might be greater - though putting it how he does is creating lots of attention. :)

Maybe the hyperloop refers to a an on/off ramping system, where you get accelerated to a certain speed... Fun speculating. And time for tea and breakfast.

guynamedloren 3 days ago 0 replies      
Musk has also noted that the system would be "protected from the elements"... Perhaps he meant the 'pods' inside the tube would be protected.
danpalmer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to add another possibility into the mix, I think it might be based on some moving walkway concepts that have been considered for quite a few years but have never caught on or progressed passed the prototype stage.

The idea is that rather than being a straight line with a sort of conveyor belt, the walkway is made of plates like an escalator, and the ends of the walkway curve off from the main body of it. This means that a user steps on to a slow moving plate, immediately goes around a corner on it, and in doing so accelerates to a much faster speed, with the opposite happening at the destination.

As soon as I heard the word 'Hyperloop', this is what I thought of. It's a looped system, but with an extra dimension in a way as different sections operate at different speeds. I think this could be scaled up to be perhaps a track system that 'cars' are put onto with passengers inside, but I don't know.

Is this a reasonable possibility? Maybe.

" Ground based

" Weather independent

" Like a railgun (if propelled with magnets)

" Is not a pressurised tube

" Leaves when you arrive

? Could hold solar panels

? Cheap

? Revolutionise the transport industry

- No rails - depends on your interpretation of this, one could argue that a pressurised tube is a kind of track or rail for a carriage.

smoyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Several comments mentioned freight transport below, but not in this context. The loop you've described requires some "density" of carriages to maintain the "group inertia". One obvious way to fill gaps that are too big is to put freight cars into the loop to fill them.

Very nice article.

jcfrei 3 days ago 3 replies      
sorry for being kind of a buzz kill - but I'd rather see elon musk venture away from traditional engineering ventures and going into life sciences. the hyperloop seems like an interesting concept, but I don't really see where it fits in, given that his electrical revolution of individual transportation succeeds. Very densely populated areas like new york are already reasonably served by a metro - scaling that system might be cheaper and equally effective as the hyperloop described by jacques mattheij. building new tunnels is very expensive and would probably account for most of the costs in this endeavor. additionally finding spare space in dense cities to construct such a hyperloop might be very difficult besides existing sewer systems and electrical lines, offsetting the benefits of the hyperloop (after all this would require massive public funding)

expanding this system to long distances would be really interesting, however even more expensive, given the need to construct long tunnels or tubes.

nnq 3 days ago 2 replies      
...the first bit of Hyperloop speculation that actually makes sense and seems plausible ...though the price will this will likely go up because it's new and untested technology and it has to be SAFE: the price difference between "doing something" and "doing something safely" can be orders of magnitude (think airplane safety) so I wouldn't rush to invest in it though...
pauljburke 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm aware this is not adding much to the discussion but I couldn't shift the intro to futurama out of my head while reading the post.
socialist_coder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't Elon also say that the Hyperloop would be buildable/achievable without having to obtain large swaths of contiguous land for the construction of the entire loop (which is next to impossible in developed countries)?

How does this prediction meet that requirement? Or am I missing something?

This is the quote I'm referring to:

"It also can't have a right of way issue, where people have to give up their homes."


sunjain 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rather than self-driving cars, I see hype-loop kind of system being more effective overall(reliable, cheaper). Obviously a lot more work has been done(Google) on self-driving cars but I would secretly hope/wish that Elon really gets cracking on this thing(especially since he has to regular suffer one of the worst commutes in the world - 405 freeway in LA - especially that particular section).
meric 3 days ago 0 replies      
Almost sounds like a bigger version of http://shweeb.com
danpalmer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a problem with the quote "no rails required" because I would interpret that in a general sense, i.e. a Car does not need rails. To me, a tube just sounds like a special kind of rail.

However, all the most plausible theories I have heard so far, and my own possibility, all rely on some sort of (although not traditional) rails.

Gustomaximus 3 days ago 0 replies      
People have built systems called Atmospheric Railways that could be closed to Elon's vision than an evacuated tunnel.


maxerickson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I figure it is a side by side maglev with a bunch of mass going around one of the tracks to store energy.

That's assuming the mass needs to be on a second track to maintain a schedule. I guess it's probably possible to do something clever at the stations to avoid a second track.

Angostura 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry to be the pernickety one, Jacque but inyour opening sentence: "For a while now there are tantalizing hints that Elon Musk is at it again." isn't correct English since "are" is the wrong tense.

Try "For a while now there have been tantalizing hints that Elon Musk is at it again"

Or perhaps better: "There have been tantalizing hints that Elon Musk is at it again for a while now"

grumblepeet 3 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect that it is a beneath the road electrical induction charging system so that cars/vehicles don't need to carry heavy batteries to travel longer distances..

On open roads, where batteries fall down on range, surely this would make sense? Combine with self drive for easy town to town driving experience.

simondlr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another point to mention is that it is also solar-powered.
gagan2020 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looking to me like router/hub concept in the real world called Hyperloop. You have network (pressured tunnels) with packets (packets which carry me around Hyperloop) controlled via nodes aka router/hub (locations where people could board). Brilliant.
gusgordon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember Musk saying that its propulsion source was similar to that of a rail gun's. Sorry, can't remember where, but it was recent.
n_coats 3 days ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk > Chuck Norris
Nobel Prize winning biochemist says all biofuels are nonsense climatesanity.wordpress.com
175 points by sasoon  1 day ago   108 comments top 22
gojomo 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here's an even harsher assessment of plant-derived ethanols from Dr. Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin:

Basically, [corn] ethanol is obtained from burning methane, coal, diesel fuel, gasoline, corn kernels, soil and environment. We destroy perhaps as many as 7 units of free energy in the environment and human economy to produce 1 unit of free energy as corn ethanol, and make a few clueless environmentalists happier and a few super rich corporations richer. The story is even worse for switchgrass ethanol.

(As quoted from http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9619 )

uvdiv 1 day ago 3 replies      
He really, really misses the point: what matters most is economics, not technical metrics in vacuo.

“… these values even do not take into account that more than 50% of the energy stored in the biofuel had to be invested in order to obtain the biomass (for producing fertilizers and pesticides, for ploughing the fields, for transport) and the chemical conversion into the respective biofuel.” [...] “The production and use of biofuels therefore is not CO2-neutral. In particular, the energy input is very large for the production of bioethanol from wheat or maize, and some scientists doubt that there is a net gain of energy. Certainly the reduction of CO2 release is marginal.”

In real world economics, biofuels are not energy; they are high-density liquid transport fuels. The economics make it clear: e.g., gasoline costs ten times as much as coal, per unit energy. You're paying for the chemistry, not the joules.

It matters very litte in real life, that much of the energy (cheap) is wasted; that much of the energy comes from (cheap, external) sources. If biofuels are viable, they can be seen as a conversion of energy to hydrocarbons: of (comparatively) cheap electricity and methane/hydrogen to expensive liquid fuel. Not as a primary energy source. It's the carbon that's valuable.

Farming machinery can be electric powered. Nitrogen fertilizer can be created from nuclear- or solar- powered hydrogen. And voilà, it is carbon-neutral. Nuclear electricity, solar electricity, hydrogen -- these are only marginally viable fuels (c.f. the world market for EV's; opinions may differ). Converting them to liquid hydrocarbons is a very useful thing.

doublerebel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Headline is misleading. The important, specific point is in the conclusion:

    ...we should not grow plants for biofuel production.

Using biofuels from what would otherwise be waste (decomposing waste biomass, used fry oil) is still efficient and valuable.

Reading between the lines, if we want to run cars on solar power, we should do it with electrics and solar cells, not photosynthesis.

jeremyjh 1 day ago 3 replies      
He is absolutely correct that biofuels are not efficient use of land. But the market would quickly sort that out if it were not for biofuel subsidies. That is what needs to be stopped.
TomAnthony 1 day ago 1 reply      
Elon Musk, in the Q&A section of his recent talk at Oxford (download here: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/view/211) also said he believes all biofuels are useless.

His point was that putting energy into biofuels is an inefficient way to use the suns energy, and then getting it out is also inefficient. He compared the efficiency to solar.

MikeTaylor 1 day ago 2 replies      
In the end, aren't coal and oil biofuel? Just fuels that take millions of years to make. That seems to be proof by counterexample that not <i>all</i> biofuels are useless. But at doublerebel says, the headline should really be "we should not grow plants for biofuel production". Which is not the same thing at all.
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how everyone comes into this debate with a different concept of what bio-fuels "do."

If you think about supplying the worlds energy needs using bio-fuel it is a non-starter, and that is basically what the editorial says. Converting incident sunlight into useful energy through existing photo synthesis processes is inefficient and does a great harm in terms of food production.

If you think of it as a way of converting sunlight into something that pre-existing infrastructure can use (fuels) that can be justified on the expense of swapping out the existing infrastructure.

Big picture -> move everything to electricity and gas, since those two forms of energy are pretty readily convertible into the other forms we need.

Intermediate points -> you need a petroleum fuel cycle while you're converting everything else.

mayneack 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are different types of biofuel research. He seems to ignore the whole sector that is bioengineering the plants to solve these problems. One example that comes to mind (and I can't find a link to on my phone) involves changing the color of the leaf to absorb more light.


worldsayshi 1 day ago 1 reply      
"nonsense" feels like an understatement. It competes with our food sources and even more so with ecological diversity. It should be one of those factors that assure that food prices rise to the sky with fuel prices and as they both go up, nature will fold.
Feel free to criticise my ignorance of economics. I'm probably mostly wrong.
Cowen 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't know a single thing about biochemistry or biofuels, but in reading this I can't help but be reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's first law of prediction:

> When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

anovikov 1 day ago 1 reply      
Biofuels are of course nonsense from energy efficiency standpoint. Biogas is produced for a different purpose: it results in storable energy, which is theoretically supposed to balance energy produced by intermittent sources. Overally, biofuels are not supposed to be energy-efficient or net energy positive. If we can one day produce oil from nothing spending 2x the energy the resulting oil will contain it will be a great achievement, even a holy grail of all renewable energy work: storable, high density renewable energy good for peak loads and for transport (worst case: airplanes).
alokv28 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's a direct link to Michel's article that the blog post pulls quotes from.


JoeAltmaier 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Headline: oil industry experts slam alternative energy.

Alternatives have only just begun being explored. Innovation in this area are very likely to surprise that chemist. E.g. steam from room-temperature water posted on HN today: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4824205

Bioengineered plants may work any way we can imagine, not just the way an oil-industry chemist imagines.

readymade 1 day ago 0 replies      
Way to link to a Climate Change denial blog, HN.
guscost 1 day ago 5 replies      
We're actually burning edible plants. Isn't it obvious?
SpikeDad 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Irrelevant. If if a renewable source is 10x less efficient than non-renewable sources, the key here is NON-RENEWABLE. We've got to take the pressure off of petroleum based fuels until such time as we come up with some alternative system - hydrogen, high-capacity battery storage, etc.

PS. Adding Nobel Prize to someone's argument doesn't have the gravitas as perhaps it once had. I think Linus Pauling and vitamin C diminished that.

stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Plant based biofuels are only problematic if you imagine replacing all transportation energy needs with them. Cut that out! Develop all technologies and let the market decide. I predict that there will be specialist niche applications for biofuels, and that most of transportation will be electric. For a cheap, robust means of storing lots of energy, it's really hard to compete with a metal tank of hydrocarbon fuel, but this doesn't doom us to run everything this way.
jpalomaki 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Biofuels are also being produced from waste: http://www.st1.eu/index.php?id=2876
siculars 1 day ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk addresses this around 1hr 17min here http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/view/211
alberthartman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn you math! PV works just fine. Too bad we don't have a high density mobile energy storage method to compare to liquid oil. When that happens, sub power will rule all.
tehwalrus 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought we knew this already.
Angostura 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn, better jettison my wood burning stove.
PyPy 2.0 beta 1 released morepypy.blogspot.se
174 points by dagw  2 days ago   35 comments top 5
kkuduk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Regarding non-synthetic benchmarks, quite recently I've tested pypy as a "backend" to Gentoo's package manager (portage). System was quite not up-to-date, lots of packages and dependencies, this is how much time did it take portage to figure out what to update:

  python2.7: 323.13s user 6.50s system 99% cpu 5:30.59 total 
python3.2: 271.40s user 6.33s system 99% cpu 4:38.64 total
pypy1.9: 168.28s user 5.95s system 99% cpu 2:55.16 total

andybak 2 days ago 1 reply      
ARM, eh?

What's the memory usage like? That used to be a problem for anyone considering PyPy on mobile chipsets.

alberth 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does PyPy 2.0 compares to LuaJIT 2.0 [1] with regards to memory usage and performance?

I ask since they have similar goals for their respective languages.

[1] http://luajit.org

continuations 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Software Transactional Memory

Would pypy be able to take advantage of Haswell's hardware transactional memory?

realsmart 2 days ago 1 reply      
The OSX binary segfaults on a 64bit Lion. Can anybody confirm this?
Color schemes for Sublime Text 2 and Textmate github.com
173 points by usaphp  1 day ago   75 comments top 24
flyosity 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice themes! It's pretty cool to see all these screenshots and the background color leaking into the tabs... I'm the designer of the Sublime Text UI theme and Jon was adamant about making the tab background using the color of the theme background color. It was really, really hard (lots of PNGs and lots of switching between PNGs depending on the luminosity of the background color, lots of pixel tweaking) and it's not perfect for all luminosity values, but these screenshots make it look pretty snazzy :
msluyter 1 day ago 4 replies      
I think these are all quite nice, however... am I the only person out there who likes comments to show up in a nice bright color (my preference, usually a bright terminal green). The faded comment look that most of these share is really hard for me to read.
danberger 1 day ago 1 reply      
Open Terminal...

  cd /Users/dan/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Packages
git clone https://github.com/daylerees/colour-schemes

In Sublime -> Preferences -> Color Scheme

Brajeshwar 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really love the Tomorrow Theme - https://github.com/chriskempson/tomorrow-theme
Luyt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a very simple color scheme for Textmate. Basically black text on a light-yellowish background, with only string literals and comments in a subdued color. I have found that syntax highlighting with many colors distracts from the code. http://www.michielovertoom.com/incoming/textmate-colorscheme...
giu 20 hours ago 1 reply      
By changing the general theme, the background color of the build panel won't change automatically (screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/35N6Z.png).

You can change the build panel's background color (in Ubuntu) by editing the ~/.config/sublime-text/\Packages\Theme - Default\Widget.sublime-settings file and replacing the current line in the file with

   "color_scheme": "Packages/Color Scheme - Default/<insert-your-current-theme>.tmTheme"

sirn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like this is now available in Sublime Package Control via the "Dayle Rees Color Schemes" package name.
daylerees 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi all,

Dayle Rees here, glad you like my themes! If you do, please remember to star the repo! Also if you like some of the themes, but would prefer them slightly different, please let me know using the github issues feature and I will create an alternate version! Also taking requests the same way!


metastew 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a huge fan of Phoenix Theme and Color Schemes. https://github.com/netatoo/phoenix-theme

It's based off Soda Theme. Currently I'm using Tomorrow-Night Color Scheme, but I'm digging the Dark Green and Dark Blue too. You can also configure color of folders and tabs.

antihero 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Obligatory plug for my own Dogs colour scheme: https://github.com/radiosilence/dogs-colour-scheme
leak 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know of a them for Sublime that looks exactly like Chrome?
nnq 21 hours ago 0 replies      
sweet ...but every time I find a new favorite color scheme, it only lasts for a week max ...after this some part of my brain pulls me into changing back to my good ol' Visual Studio-like color scheme ...wonder if this happens to anyone else too
wildranter 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Very well balanced color palettes, beautiful. Thanks for this!

Does anyone know how to convert them to Xcode? I googled around but didn't find anything to get the job done.

kentwistle 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome selection I especially like the font!

There is plenty of themes listed here as well http://textmatetheme.com/

mihaifm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
niyazpk 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is the font used in the screenshots?
safetyscissors 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any vim ports?
madprops 8 hours ago 0 replies      
i'm using carbonight now because i'm a boring person
hayksaakian 1 day ago 3 replies      
Install instructions would be helpful.
photorized 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looking at these makes me want to write code again. Clean, elegant code. Weird.
Benferhat 1 day ago 0 replies      
The font color for comments is too close to the background color -- could use some more contrast. This goes for almost all of the included themes.
joria 23 hours ago 0 replies      
At http://wbond.net/sublime_packages/community (package control website), there are tons of color schemes (just search for scheme) with their corresponding github repo (most of them with screenshots to preview).
azat_co 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Gorgeous, many thanks!
magg 1 day ago 0 replies      
can you add the default theme from smultron/fraise??
Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women rawstory.com
173 points by manuletroll  2 days ago   122 comments top 22
kamaal 2 days ago 5 replies      
Religious extremism can be very convincing when you are into it. The problem is very similar to the editor religion. Unless you are shown the other part of the world you may never realize the futility of your ideology and actions.

Saudi Arabia is a Monarchy, frankly speaking the monarchy should/would have collapsed long time back if not the for the systematic information control and low ball offers made by the royal family to the citizens. The Saudi Regime survives on creating a useless welfare state, fueling religious passion and creating things like the religious police, and then of course providing some good facilities at the Islamic holy sites.

What they provide to the their citizens is actually nothing in front of what they steal. The current king abdullah's father had some tens of wives, from which he had tens of kids. The family's strength is well placed at some 15,000 members currently. They are almost growing at a near exponential rate. The problem is each member of the family sort of demands a share of the pie, and its quite well known that much of wealth of the nation is shared among the members of the Saud Family. With so many thousands of them being present, to prevent a break down and rebellion among family members, most government high posts, money making job positions, contracts and anything of financial significance always goes to the saud family members.

The family also has very close ties to a religious family called Al-Sheik. And they often marry among each other to preserve their trust and dependency on each other. Apart from that it is believed, the saud family members also marry among other clans and tribes to keep them in picture too.

The common masses, are well made to believe they are living under a generous king whose duties extend beyond that of state matters and also include doing the holy work of god.

mtgx 2 days ago 9 replies      
"Women under male custody". Wow. I hadn't realized Saudi Arabia is so primitive. If the US Government is going to send them billions in aid (to buy weapons from US companies, and therefor indirectly subsidize them), can't it influence some of these decisions? Or does it prefer it when it's run by dictators?
ChrisNorstrom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I always thought that advancing technology would move humanity towards freedom from oppression. Turns out, the oppressors simply adjusted their tactics to use technology against freedom.

This just made me realize: 1) a tool's just a tool, no matter how immaculate. 2) Never trust the user. 3) Don't give concentrated power to one group of people. 4) Beware the 1st rule of nature & evolution: The aggressive will dominate the passive.

jschuur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some additional information on this, including how the system has been in place since 2010, with the recent change being that you're now (somehow) getting text messages without registering your mobile number:


nova 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's truly horrible.

I'm glad that our civilized governments would avoid such blatant sexism and instead mandate electronic tracking for all citizens, irrespective of gender. For our protection.

jpatokal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oddly enough, this represents progress of a sort. Until fairly recently, Saudi women did not have identity numbers or cards, effectively meaning that they could be murdered by relatives with no repercussions.


mcantelon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Note that the US and Canada governments, despite their posturing about the Taliban's abuse of women, are very friendly with Saudi Arabia.
saljam 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really see the point of this, given that women and non-adults can't cross a border anyway without a signed permit from their father or husband. I'm guessing this text message system works for children too.
surrealize 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an onion headline, it would have been hilarious. As a real story, it's scary as hell.
jmedwards 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm trying to remember that quotation I've stolen and hatcheted this from:

Bombs and tanks don't scare these folks, but a girl with a book does.

mnemonicsloth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously this is because so many Saudi women are ninjas.
skeltoac 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anyone in San Antonio planning to print this article and hand it to the principals of John Jay High School and Jay Science & Engineering Academy?
jasonlingx 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Electronic tracking system for women"? You mean passports?
marquis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you aware of the twitter backlash? Are you also trying to say that imprisoned women are quite happy or unaware of their situation? Religious restrictions don't make restrictions right, if they are opposed by force. Your comments above are rather tactless I'm afraid.
alan_cx 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, from a story about tracking kids in a US school to tracking women in Saudi. See where this leads?
pknerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most Probably Saudi government will not need to come up with such steps like US government to safegaud American women?


namank 2 days ago 1 reply      
How are they tracking the women? Phones?

Sounds like the couple that got the text wasn't even aware of the service to begin with.

Mordor 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should pass laws to emancipate dogs in the West - your move Saudi.
axyjo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Other countries in the area have had this for a while. For example, the United Arab Emirates sends out text messages when any dependant enters or leaves the country.
jamesbrennan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a disappointing use of technology.
uzair88 2 days ago 3 replies      
I can't make up my mind what's worse...KSA tracking women or France telling them what they can and can't wear
ramgorur 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just wondering could these people make a single tracking device of their own.
Introducing the Rails API Project steveklabnik.com
168 points by tomdale  2 days ago   82 comments top 17
ollysb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't this be better as a new lightweight generator for the existing rails project? i.e.

$ rails new api

instead of

$ rails new

My concern is that rails-api will diverge from rails and I'll be stuck having to decide which is the easiest starting point where I want features from both.

viseztrance 2 days ago 1 reply      
A few days ago I found myself getting a rather strange git error while running bundle after upgrading to the latest ruby. Turns out the active record serializer gem was moved just hours earlier to this rails-api location without any reason or notice. It was referenced by a git revision, because we needed the latest changes and it was also encouraged in the readme (as it still is now).

My issue with all this is that we already had tagged revisions in our application and this basically broke our older builds on which we actually relied on should things go wrong (the application is a rails engine).

So I think it would had been nice if this was announced earlier.

gingerlime 2 days ago 2 replies      
Seems like a great initiative. As a django user, I was using tastypie, which sits on top of django for creating an API. I agree that it's nice to reduce some fat, if it's really not necessary.

On a side note, and sorry for going off-topic, but referring to this comment

> Security: Rails detects and thwarts IP spoofing attacks and handles cryptographic signatures in a timing attack aware way. Don't know what an IP spoofing attack or a timing attack is? Exactly.

It's not completely transparent to developers, or it shouldn't be. If you're not careful, your rails app might be vulnerable to IP spoofing even now.

See https://github.com/rails/rails/pull/7980 and http://blog.gingerlime.com/2012/rails-ip-spoofing-vulnerabil...

tomblomfield 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're using this to build internal services - I'm currently wondering if there's a best practice for taking querystring params and mapping them to an ActiveRecord query.

Obviously, it's possible to build a "Searchable" module/class, but I wondered if anyone has already solved this problem?

Eg, pagingation, querying on date-ranges, ordering, filtering etc.

aaronbrethorst 2 days ago 3 replies      
What's the easiest way to make this work well with the asset pipeline assuming I wanted to make a single page app hosted in the same project? Or should I just not do that?

edit: thanks, guys!

kungpoo 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not trying but be harsh but I've never really understood the need for this project. I mean, Rails just boils down to a collection of gems right? So wouldn't you be best just cherry-picking your own gems? Or using something barebones to begin with, like sinatra/padrino?
EvilTrout 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone creating a large Javascript application with a Rails API, this makes me very happy. Perfect timing!
themgt 2 days ago 1 reply      
We've had a lot of love recently for Goliath + Grape, e.g. see: https://github.com/postrank-labs/goliath/blob/master/example...

Goliath is it's own asynchronous app server, and it wraps around the nice Grape API DSL. Works really well for little projects I'd rather write in ruby than CoffeeScript + node.js

carols10cents 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does the hypermedia support exist now, or is that a future goal? I couldn't tell from your blog post whether the use of future tense "will" about most of the features implies "when you use it" or "when we write it" ;)

I also didn't see much in the READMEs or open issues having to do with hypermedia at a quick glance.

Also, LOL at steveklabnik2 ;)

bretthopper 2 days ago 3 replies      
Would be interesting to see some simple benchmarks comparing a base JSON only Rails app with Rails::API.
tomblomfield 2 days ago 3 replies      
This looks great - I'll be trying it out for a project this week.

I'm still searching around for a good solution to API "views" or presenters when I don't want to expose all of a model's attributes. Something like Rabl? What do other people use?

jasongullickson 2 days ago 1 reply      
We'll be taking this for a spin. I've been pushing for an API-driven site for awhile but the case for that model was cinched when we started adding non-web clients to our system.

A leaned-out Rails is a nice compliment to other bolt-on API options and fat GUI-based API builders. Personally I prefer to start with something even simpler, but the facts are you can cover more ground faster (and potentially safer) with something like this vs. building your HTTP stack from scratch.

The Hypermedia stuff is most exciting to me, as hand-rolling that is a hard-sell for many teams (if you have a system of any significant richness).

disbelief 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've built quite a few Rails-based APIs recently, and one of the major pain points (for me) has been the performance of generating the actual JSON in the payloads. I've ended up with a modified JBuilder gem and using a subset of its render methods, but performance is still pretty lack-lustre. Compared to to_json, it's absolutely glacial!

I'm wondering how the serialization in rails-api performs in this regard? I'm assuming as this is a core part of its differentiation from rails base, and so it should be better than JBuilder. Has anyone run any benchmarks for JSON rendering?

Forgive me if this is a naive question, this is the first I've heard of rails-api and I haven't explored the source or tried it out as yet.

hayksaakian 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is great, getting started guide would be nice too.
hakaaak 1 day ago 2 replies      
Rails-api isn't a new project, and the name of the project is misleading. It provides a no-frills controller. Why is this is another project and not part of actionpack?
SilasX 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whoa whoa whoa guys, timeout! I thought Rails enforced REST conventions on all your models and therefore Gives You An API For Free? Wasn't that its big selling point? Or of adhering to REST in general?
louischatriot 2 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting project, but if you're only building an API, using a much more lightweight combo such as nodejs + express seems better.
Extremist Programming ezyang.com
163 points by achille  3 days ago   66 comments top 11
tikhonj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree with the blog's premise: "extremist" languages are great for language and for research. So this whole rant is not directly related to the post's central thesis. Instead, it's about the assumptions most people have whenever this topic comes up.

What I'm a little annoyed with can be summed up with a single banal and overused phrase: "the right tool for the right job".

For one, this phrase really doesn't say all that much--it's basically a tautology. Yes, using the right tool would be good, but with programming languages, it's rarely obvious what the right tool is! It's just a specialized version of the advice to "make the right choices", which is not much advice at all.

Another problem is that people inevitably ignore how much programming languages overlap. Virtually any languages worth comparing are going to be general-purpose languages. Choosing between a functional language and an OO language is not like choosing between a hammer and a screwdriver to pound in a nail, it's more like choosing between different types of hammer. In a world where hammers can do anything. (I don't know enough about carpentry to extend the analogy properly.) There are very few applications where one language clearly fits and another is clearly unsuited--and if you're in a vertical like that, the question just won't come up in the first place!

Another thing that comes up is people assuming that a multi-paradigm language has the benefits of all the paradigms it supports. I've found this is never the case. Even very multi-paradigm languages tend to favor one paradigm or the other more. And even if they didn't, there are benefits to being consistent. You can do much more by being functional everywhere than you can by merely supporting functional programming in some places. Any mix of paradigms is necessarily going to be a compromise, and the advantages of prioritizing one main paradigm can outweigh the flexibility of supporting more than one to any large extent. Doing one thing, and doing it well, is a powerful idea that doesn't stop applying in designing programming languages.

Now, I'm not leaning one way or the other here in any comparison of languages (I'm sure my biases are pretty evident and show through, they're just not germane to this comment); I just think that summarily dismissing a language for being too focused or too "extremist" or not multi-paradigm is rather short-sighted. Also, often, unless you've tried doing something in a language yourself, don't assume it's more difficult than what you already know. There is much "common wisdom" about (like "functional programming is bad for GUIs") which is often more "common" than "wisdom".

jonsen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another extreme direction to try out is the direction toward the machine. The value of trying out assembler programming may not have similarly direct benefits. But I personally find it a great general advantage to have detailed knowledge of under which practical conditions your program must run. To know that whatever fancy high level constructs you are making use of, you are always building a giant state machine where space is traded for time.
jacques_chester 3 days ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, this is a formula for coming up with PhD projects: take a common comp sci primitive and then remove it or shift it to someplace else in the life cycle or stack.


drbawb 3 days ago 2 replies      
>what if we made an OS where everything was a file?

Shameless Plan 9 plug.


wissler 3 days ago 4 replies      
He underrates the power of principle.

"Mass is awesome. What if every object in the Universe had mass?"

"Liberty is awesome. What if there should be no such thing as slavery and every human being should be free?"

If you pick the wrong principle and take it to an extreme, then yes, it'll lead to undesirable results, but that means you should throw bad principles out, not all principles.

w0utert 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice article and interesting viewpoint, taking principles to the extreme for learning purposes seems very useful.

The thing that impressed me most isn't the article though, but the amazingly beautiful clean look of that blog. Really a pleasure to look at and read on the iPad :-)

timbaldridge 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is why I use Clojure. I can do Functional, OOP, logic, or any of the dozens of other programming styles in one language. And since it's a lisp I don't have to worry about having to need extra syntax from the language writers to get what I want.

Pragmatic languages FTW!

rizzom5000 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sure, you could try to treat everything like an object and then find out if an integer was an object (the hard way) or you could just RTFM (the easy way).

Don't get me wrong, experimentation is a great for learning about limitations and capabilities; but I personally wouldn't use it as my primary means for learning about the design of something (unless it was very poorly documented, in which case I would try to avoid using it at all).

nickbarone 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, could we start a listing of things learned through the application of extremist programming?

Or better yet, a listing that shows where a given principle hasn't been extremified, so we can go try it out and see what happens?

liquidise 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome article. I would argue this goes for practices as well. Automated Testing vs TDD and the like.
10098 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's the right idea for a hobby or research project, but please don't do this in production code. Think about people who have to maintain it after you. I've seen my colleagues wade through a swamp of completely unnecessary C++ metaprogramming madness left by someone who apparently learned about templates yesterday, and it wasn't very nice.
Everything Technical in F1 scarbsf1.com
164 points by dmmalam  3 days ago   56 comments top 15
junto 3 days ago 3 replies      
A friend of mine was a transmission/gearbox designer for F1 cars. It was fascinating to hear about the things going on behind the scenes.

Most teams have components built by a handful of specialized external engineering companies. Some things are dealt with internally, but the lower order teams don't have the budgets to deal with much of the technology in-house. Ferrari is the exception and they do almost everything themselves (this might have changed because this was nearly 10 years ago).

The lower order teams get called "pit dodgers" (behind their backs). External companies know that statistically these teams don't finish so many races, and the attention to detail in the design and finish for these teams is much less than those premium teams receive.

It is sadly a vicious circle. Statistically, they will have worse drivers, who are more likely to crash or damage the cars early in the race, so often the cars in the lower order teams don't have the required staying power for the entire race.

I found it interesting to know that F1 cars have reverse gear, simply in accordance with regulations. It doesn't always work that well however, and I believe on one occasion its inclusion was overlooked.

ImprovedSilence 3 days ago 5 replies      
If you ever have a chance to go to an F1 race, do it. You might have a terrible view of the race, but it is the greatest sound you will ever hear. It's like the sky is getting ripped apart by a million banshees.
pinchyfingers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why would you do this to me? I'm supposed to be working!

I'm fascinated by F1 because of the technology in the cars. The driving is astounding, but for the technically minded, Formula One cars marvelous.

I'm already excited for the race coming up in Brazil. Now I need to forget that this site exists or I will lose all productivity in these precious few days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. (Bogus holiday BTW, but at least I get to chill with my family).

ivanmaeder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't remember and F1 story getting so popular on HN, the Austin GP has helped :) I think the sport is fascinating because it really is a battle of geek engineers and drivers. The most successful geek around today is this guy:


Normally the champagne can get stuck in your eyes.

These guys and the huge teams behind them battle off track with each other and with the regulations, and the strategists and races battle on track. The off track battles make these cars safe in accidents at 300 km/h (186 mph),


Robert Kubica was unconscious after the crash and he missed a race but Mark Webber hit the barrier at 280 km/h (174 mph) and walked away from it. As some other readers have mentioned, there has not been a driver death in F1 since 1994.

A typical trade off we might think about in software is this:



In F1 the trade offs when writing the regulations are between safety, cost reductions and entertainment.

And yet the two aspects that make the cars go slower (safety and cost reductions) are exploited to the maximum. No matter if wings are taken off the car to reduce downforce, or traction control is banned to reduce speed into and out of corners, or if fans are declared illegal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-rZKlutlzE), the cars each year go just as fast as the year before.

For example in 2009 this little trick from Brawn GP caught most teams off guard and won them the championship:


Interesting story: the development of this car had been carried out by three teams separated from each other so that they each understood and explored the regulations differently.

If you're interested in F1 I recommend Youtube:







The Peter Windsor podcast is good, and Scarbs has been on it a few times:


And there are plenty of blogs around. For me the perfect dose of racing is:


The last race of the season is this weekend in Brazil. Qualifying is on Saturday, the race on Sunday. The times are at http://www.formula1.com/

I sound like an F1 spokesperson!

philjohn 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the big draws for me in F1 is the technology. Each team is, more or less, producing a prototype car each year, and developing it throughout the season. Over the course of 8 months the cars get ~ 1 - 2 seconds a lap faster.

There are some mandated "common" parts, such as the McLaren ECU, but so many parts of the car are custom designed and manufactured it really does boggle the mind.

tomthorns 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been reading this blog for over a year now and the detail and knowledge Craig has is incredible. Understanding the technical characteristics of the cars has really deepened my love for the sport.

On a side note, I saw on Twitter this weekend that Craig/ScarbsF1 has been ill recently. He's actually due to go for a tripple heart bypass tomorrow, so I'd like to wish him well and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

scott_karana 3 days ago 1 reply      
As cool as the technology in F1 is, I wonder what might be created if there weren't such labyrinthine rules imposed on them.
I think a league like Can-Am, with only a budget cap, would be fascinating. Would we be seeing three-wheel drive cars? Supercapacitor-driven electrics? Something entirely different?

(For those who don't know, many innovations came out of the league [1], especially from the Chapparal constructor. McLaren was another notable.)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Can-Am#Pioneering_technology
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaparral_Cars

paddy_m 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just subscribed to racecar-engineering.com . I should have done this 20 years ago.
nl 2 days ago 0 replies      
My friend works at McLaren in this building: http://archidose.blogspot.com.au/2005/03/half-dose-8-tag-mcl...

It's crazy, but sometimes that building seems the most ordinary part of the job!

beaker52 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to say that this isn't just any F1 technical blog, Scarbs is -the- best technical blogger and has uncovered and written about several innovations before any other source. He's a technical sleuth, who delivers great articles.
mgl 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in how the construction of F1 car is an equilibrium between technological advances and hard limits set by the FIA just go through the "Technical Regulations" section on the right hand side at http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/tech..., "approved by the FIA" is a very common phrase.

Software-related excerpt from "Electrical systems":

"The electrical and software systems of all cars are inspected by the FIA at the start of the season and the teams must notify them in advance of any subsequent changes. All teams must use the same FIA-specification Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for controlling engine and gearbox.

All software must be registered with the FIA, who check all the programmable systems on the cars prior to each event to ensure that the correct software versions are being used. Electronic systems which can automatically detect the race start signal are forbidden."

"notify them in advance of any subsequent changes", right...

brunorsini 3 days ago 3 replies      
I could never get interested in F1 again after Senna's tragic death.
MindTwister 3 days ago 3 replies      
I sometimes have a hard time trying to fathom all the regulations imposed on the teams. Can anyone shed some light on eg. the dangers of wing design?
prdsh 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best site for F1 technical fan. A great reference for most of updates to a car component neatly explained with illustrations and diagrams.I am Fan of F1 for some years now and what amazes me is the speed and sound of F1 and the different race strategies. Really its the pinnacle of Motorsport
udkl 3 days ago 0 replies      
It also be great to have such an exhaustive peek inside the workings of the drivers head !!
After-all the driver is maybe the most important part of the race !

On the other hand, will there be driver-less F1 races in the future ? ... or more aptly put, WHEN will there be driver-less F1 races ?!

Debian, FreeBSD and CentOS now supported by EC2 aws.typepad.com
158 points by olefoo  1 day ago   49 comments top 11
jballanc 1 day ago 1 reply      
For some reason I'm really getting a kick out of the notion of "FreeBSD: Sold by Colin Percival".

At any rate, this is excellent news! I've been looking for an excuse to do more with kqueue/libdispatch in a server setting, and this looks like just the excuse I need. Congrats, Colin, and thanks!

cperciva 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since there's a bunch of people asking questions about FreeBSD/EC2 here, I submitted my page on the topic separately: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4823941
pestaa 1 day ago 4 replies      
From the FreeBSD product page[1]:

    Please note that for technical reasons this AMI
only runs on high-performance (cluster & high-I/O)

Looking at Mr. Percival's other resources, other contributed AMIs don't run on arbitrary instances, either.

Being a broke student, I wanted to put it on the smallest micro instance. What are these technical reasons that prevent me from doing so?

In any case, thanks for the great work.

[1]: https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B00AA25MLK/ref=sp_mpg_...

whalesalad 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just spent an hour installing and documenting every step of a new 12.04 deploy for my rails-powered API.

I wanted to do this on FreeBSD! I check HN mid-install of a bunch of software and boom what do you know. Time to start over!

That being said, there seems to only be one result for FreeBSD in the marketplace, from our bud cperciva. I'd really love to deploy a base 9.0 on a Small.

sdfjkl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Better late than never. The defenestration hack always irked me since it meant paying for a Windows license that I didn't want to use.
hcarvalhoalves 1 day ago 0 replies      
FreeBSD support is huge. Many thanks to Colin, who's been working on this for quite some time.

Now we need a more agnostic EC2 platform so it can run on all instance types. The Windows fee situation is not cool.

pkandathil 1 day ago 6 replies      
Why is FreeBSD such a big deal? What advantages does it have over Ubuntu?
verelo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazon linux was already a variety of CentOS wasn't it? We used it where we would use CentOS on other providers.

Very pleased this has happened!

borplk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can someone give me a simple comparison between the three if they are to be used as web servers for simple sites?
ishbits 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does this mean I can get Amazon built AMIs for CentOS instead of building my own or using untrusted community images?
TheSmoke 1 day ago 1 reply      
having freebsd is a great decision. i don't have a nice experience with mysql on freebsd but for apache or nginx on serving on freebsd is a breeze.
Scientist Creates Self-Filling Water Bottle thenextweb.com
152 points by Vilvaram1  3 days ago   55 comments top 21
eykanal 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Sorenson notes there is more than three quadrillion gallons of water in the air, which is essentially a massive untapped resource.

For what it's worth, air with low humidity can be pretty damaging. Lots of materials would become excessively brittle at very low humidities, causing them to break easily. This interesting white paper [1] suggests that, for most materials, the optimal humidity is between 40-60%.

Still, this is a very cool concept.

[1] http://www.descoenergy.com/pdf/Humidity%20How%20it%20affects...

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm air can carry a few grams of water per kG of air [1] and 1kG of water is one liter, so if you can pull 1g of water out of each kG of air you need 1,000 kG of air. Stole this from wikianswers: "Each mole has a volume of 22.4 liters and a mass of 28.97g/mol at STP, therefore a cubic meter of air is 1.293 kg at 0o Celsius on the coast. An average mass of 1.2kg per m3 at room temperature and standard pressure is often used as a rule of thumb." so that would suggest about a thousand cubic meters of air flowing past this bottle's extractor area to get one liter of water out of the air.

No idea how long that would take though.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Relative_Humidity.png

adriand 3 days ago 3 replies      
This may be a stupid question, but if the device requires power in order to move air over the water-collecting surface, would it work without power if it were outside in a breeze? Or is there something about the air flow in terms of its characteristics or location in/on the device that requires a manufactured flow?
Someone 3 days ago 2 replies      
Background info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)

The device in India shown there produces 15 liters of water per square meter per year. The surface area of a bottle is, say, 500 square cm, or 1/20 of a square meter. That would produce about a liter in a year.

http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/publications/data/2005-01-05gshar... talks of 0.042 liter per square meter per day, in extreme.y high humidity.

Clearly, some efficiency gains are needed w.r.t. those designs to effectively make the claim "water bottle tha fills itself". Whether that is possible, I don't know.

nickbarone 3 days ago 3 replies      
My question is what kind of contaminants (or none!) this process picks up - If you're getting your water from a polluted atmosphere (say, LA), what kind of pollutants end up in your water? Or does it produce "ultra-pure" water, leading to weird health risks like hyponatremia?
ggchappell 3 days ago 3 replies      
If I might channel my inner grumpy-old-man for a moment:

I find it curious that people who design nifty new devices are regularly referred to as "scientists". This is not science; it is engineering. Why not call it that?

mikek 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of those "didn't see it coming" technologies that really has the potential to change things. Could this disrupt the bottled water industry? Make it so that water pipes are a thing of the past ("wireless" for water)?

I realize that extraction rates are probably slow right now, but imagine this technology n years from now.

idupree 3 days ago 0 replies      
Info I've found so far on rate of water capture:

(MIT, 2011) "In some field tests, fog harvesters have captured one liter of water (roughly a quart) per one square meter of mesh, per day. Chhatre and his colleagues are conducting laboratory tests to improve the water collection ability of existing meshes."


blahedo 3 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds nifty, but what I'd love to know is, what's the rate of filling, for an apparatus that's small enough to be roughly bottle-sized? Obviously many of the technical details (battery size, etc) are still being worked out, but I'm betting that rate of condensation is already known---and it's an important constraint.
psykotic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Obligatory reference: Fremen windtraps from the Dune novels.
te_platt 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can see more about collecting water out of the air at http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/03/07/the-fog-collectors-h... . Having lived in the Atacama desert I know there are already ways to do it and am very curious about the efficiency of this new system. In coastal northern Chile conditions are about as perfect as possible but it is still a slow process.
luma 3 days ago 1 reply      
Vaporators! Sir - My first job was programming binary load
lifters, very similar to your vaporators.
tgrass 3 days ago 0 replies      
Disappointed after realizing the title was not:
Scientist Creates Self-fulfilling Water Bottle
ipetepete 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, now the real question is: How long until we have a self filling beer bottle?
jayfuerstenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This could be good news for farmers who could perhaps create a closed loop within greenhouses to draw water from the air that the plants originally exhaled.
jmdeldin 3 days ago 0 replies      
This might be the first case of biomimicry on the front page :). This was one of the entries in our 2011 Biomimicry Student Design Challenge [1]. It's pretty exciting to see how far they've taken it from concept to funding [2] in a short amount of time.

[1] http://2011.biomimicrydesignchallenge.com/gallery #38 -- 5 rows from bottom in center)

[2] http://ben.biomimicry.net/uni/2012/biomimicry-design-wins-bo...

jlgreco 3 days ago 1 reply      
In what ways is this different from existing dehumidifiers? Form-factor and energy-efficiency I assume, but do they otherwise do the same thing?
msds 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it Sorensen or Sorenson? The article keeps switching between the two forms... As a Sorensen, I will attest that there is a big difference.
madrox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sure, but when can I fund this on kickstarter?
sophie-paul 3 days ago 0 replies      
The air-faucet got broken, want a drink?
moneypenny 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a fabulous technology, but we shouldn't get carried away. Firstly, this is another disruption of the world's water cycle, which we have already managed to a considerable degree, and if we manage atmospheric water extraction on a massive scale, we will wreak havoc with the climate (again).

Note, I said: if we do this on a massive scale.

Dotcom: "We've hit the jackpot" nzherald.co.nz
148 points by weisser  1 day ago   29 comments top 8
linuxhansl 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This is wrong on so many levels:

* Why is the DHS tracking down copyright infringers?!

* The FBI shuts down a site with hundred of thousands of user because of 36(!) infringing files

* These files were ordered by the DHS not to be deleted

* (From other articles) megaupload's users still do not have access to their data

* (From other articles) the ISP running megaupload's servers is not allowed to shut them down (or repurpose them) and has to foot the bill.

There's probably some other stuff going on that we do not know about, but this looks like a big clusterf*ck.

powertower 1 day ago 4 replies      
> When the FBI applied to seize the Megaupload site in 2012, it said the company had failed to delete pirated content and cited the earlier search warrant against the continued existence of 36 of the same 39 files.

1. It's been 3 years, I'm sure the warrant in reference did not impel MU to keep those files after the case against NinjaVideo was done and over with. This probably goes all the way back to "how" MU stored files... 1 copy for 1000s of uploads (as long as the hash/finger-print matches). And each of those videos was uploaded over and over, and MU kept them around / did not block transfers. And are now trying to make it seem like they had no choice but to keep sharing those videos FOREVER, letting everyone and anyone upload them, and letting everyone and anyone download them. I'm sure MU/KimDotCom has the original order to preserve the evidence in the NinjaVideo case, why not share it with us and let the media see the details of what was asked of them?

2. Are those the ONLY files referenced in the indictment against MU? Probably not... All the FBI has to do is prove at least one of the files listed in the warrant is valid and was brought in good faith, and then show the judge/jury the other 97% of MU traffic revolved around sharing pirated content.

That article and KimDotCom's story seems to leave a lot out.

Hupo 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I've seen many people bring up the fact that MegaUpload had the same file for multiple links and that they only took down links reported as infringing. Many people seem to come to the conclusion that this is automatically somehow representative of bad behavior, but I strongly disagree. Just because something is covered by copyright and is on MegaUpload, does not automatically make it infringing, even if some of the links to it might be.

Consider that someone legally backs up his own files to MU and never shares links to them with anyone. Then someone else uploads the same content in an infringing manner. Should the first guy with his completely legal backups have his stuff deleted just because someone else did something infringing with the same files? He most certainly should not. Assuming that all links of the same file that was uploaded are automatically infringing is basically "guilty until proven innocent", and is very much not the way they should be treated. Hell, I have music and other copyrighted content perfectly legally backed up in the cloud myself, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to see it deleted just because someone else might have used the same service for infringing sharing of the same files. (and what cloud provider wouldn't want to optimize their service to only have one copy of each file in their back-end instead of wasting space with duplicates?)

And, of course, this is very different to something like child porn, which is always illegal under US laws (where the stuff was hosted in case of MU). There can be no "non-infringing" use there, so it makes sense to delete all and every link to it. Not so much with just copyrighted content. And as we also know, deducing whether something is infringing or not isn't very clear cut either, like with Viacom issuing takedowns for Youtube videos its own employees had legitimately uploaded for marketing purposes.[1]

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/18/youtube-viacom-secretly-upl...

Viacom's efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

epa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The FBI does whatever it wants. The US government bends the law how it wants. I'm sure they will fabricate some sort of evidence to ensure this set back is not a set back.
pebb 1 day ago 1 reply      
We are all Kim Dotcom now.
flxmglrb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah? Well the FBI owns the casino. Good luck with that.
ommunist 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems that the US government is illegally using the infringed copy of justice. I strongly believe that such organisation must delete itself and its illegal copies from the wetware of all abused customers.
DuskStar 1 day ago 0 replies      
If this is all the FBI had as part of it's indictment, I wish Dotcom luck in getting damages...
A Few New Things Coming To JavaScript addyosmani.com
147 points by twapi  2 days ago   57 comments top 11
tikhonj 2 days ago 1 reply      
They're adding a bunch of new features and yet they ignore one of JavaScript's most glaring shortcomings: not tail call elimination. Honestly, I would be ecstatic if this was the only change to the language.

That said, I'm excited about some things. In particular, I really like proxies--being able to customize the behavior of your language (in this case, how objects work) transparently is a good way to decouple parts of your code. Now you can change how an object's properties behave without having to rewrite client code to use methods. Having modules built into the language would be nice too: having everybody use the same system for importing code will make life easier for everyone.

The article mentions that sets "are an effective means of creating ordered list of values". Is this just a mistake on the author's part, or are sets actually to be ordered? Any sane set data type should not be ordered for two reasons: the obvious hash-based implementation isn't, and the actual abstraction (a mathematical set) isn't either.

I believe that they are also planning to add more support for iterators over arrays, maps and sets, which wasn't covered in the blog post. I personally think this is a big mistake. In the recent past, I've had to use iterators pretty widely for a little project. (I was also using a coroutine system very similar to Python's generators.) I found iterators to be a horrible headache. They are essentially anti-functional: they introduce additional state even for benign things like iterating through a sequence! You can't pass them around, you can't use them twice, you have to be careful when writing functions over them... it's really not pleasant.

Anyhow, some of the changes are certainly interesting--both in good ways and in bad ways. There's also always the question of how long it will take for enough browsers to support it. However, with the recent push towards automatically and quickly updating browsers, this shouldn't be as bad as in the past.

angersock 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some of the more utilitarian features are kind of nice, but I'm not sure how I feel about the module and class support.

I understand that the current situation is a bit annoying, but one of the attractive things to me about ES is that you can fake near anything using the prototypical nature of the language--adding this other stuff seems to me to be bloating things for the sake of a little less effort when trying to use ES like Java or something similar.

ES is an ugly little language, but at least it's little.

EDIT: I'd rather they simply standardize a lot of, say, the underscore.js functionality into the core APIs.

doublerebel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Import, classes, and default parameters have a very strong resemblance to CoffeeScript. In fact, Osmani expresses succinctly -- better than I could have -- why I love Coffee so much over JS syntax:

    Classes in ES.next are there to provide a declarative
surface for the semantics we're used to (e.g functions,
prototypes) so that developer intent is expressed
instead of the underlying imperative mechanics.

The Observables are so much like MVVM in KnockoutJS or SpineJS. (Plus, Spine is written in Coffee, and includes makeArray and a module pattern). I know many developers can't see the advantage to Coffee, but if you are interested in ES6 features you can use them right now by compiling Coffee to JS/ES5. Osmani didn't mention array comprehensions (ES6/JS1.7) or generators (ES6/JS1.8) but they are in Coffee as well.

So please, if you are interested in the future of JS, take another look at Coffee. And bring on ES6!

rudasn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Good stuff there, but unfortunately we'll have to wait a few more years for these to be usable (at least for me).

Modules, block scoping, default parameter values are great additions. Proxies sound good as well.

On Maps, the concept is nice but not very useful unless you can do things like



    obj.set('some.deep.nested.value', {
'more': {
'nested': {
'stuff': 'here'

On Observer again the concept is absolutely great but I wonder if the changes propagate:

    let obj = {
'some': {
'deep': {
'nested': {
'value': true

Object.observe(obj, function(changes){

obj.some.deep.nested.value = false

Will the observer be triggered for all changed properties (some, deep, nested, and value) or just the last one (value)?

For me Maps and Observers are highly important and it seems that no existing open source JS library/framework has implemented them in a way that makes sense.

Has anyone tried implementing these in such a way?

pixelcort 2 days ago 3 replies      
The problem with WeakMaps is that their keys are weak, not the values.

While weak keys are useful to provide a place to store extra data about an object, a more useful ability would be to have weak values, so you could find existing objects by string key, if they haven't been GC'd yet.

One big potential use for weak values is in ORMs. When asking for an object with id 5, if one exists you'd like the existing instance. However, you don't want the ORM keeping strong references to all of the instances, preventing them from ever being GC'd if nothing else is using them.

hdragomir 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think we'll start seeing a lot of ES6 to ES5 compilers.

Then it's going to be a question of how to load the appropriate logic into the web page based on what it can do.

I have mixed feelings about this one, but I'm definitely looking forward to the new features.

yuchi 2 days ago 1 reply      
To every one here saying that we'll not see these features because we have to support IE and we have to wait till IE 11... well IE10 has automatic updates, and what does this has to do with ES.next?

A lot of features cannot shimmed in old FFs and V8s and JSC too, to those browsers' users we'd say "oh, come on! upgrade!".

We're talking about JS itself. Cannot wait to see the awesome improvements brought by ES6 used in SSJS.

BTW: does anybody know why they didn't put in the specs the Executable Class Body thing? It's the coolest part of Coffee-script, and it's the only real meta-programming style for class (IMHO).

dwj 2 days ago 1 reply      
While these features are nice, they doesn't really enable us to do anything we couldn't do already. What I'd like to see are features that would actually make javascript more useful for developing apps, such as an ability to dispatch events while in a loop, or an API for screengrabbing.
gills 2 days ago 0 replies      
The module syntax and local relabeling reminds me of module syntax in PLT/Racket a couple years back. Given JavaScript's heavy scheme influence to begin with, it seems like a good thing to me.
juristr 2 days ago 3 replies      
Very nice additions.

However, I wonder how long it'll take till we can actively use them in production code...

javis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hopefully the browser vendors get this implemented before MS start work on IE11. That's the only way we're going to be able to use this anytime soon.
Elon Musk - The Future of Energy and Transport [video] ox.ac.uk
144 points by dawson  2 days ago   80 comments top 18
jd 2 days ago 1 reply      
simonebrunozzi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Before thinking about enhancing tranportation, we should ask ourselves IF we need to travel more.
In the last five years I took 500 flights (all on economy class except for two), and I also took about 100 train rides.
For "short" trips (<600-700 km or 400-500 miles) train might be slightly slower, but there's essentially no dead time and it's cheaper (no rush to the airport, no stupid security checks at the airport, no weather affecting the trip, no big delays, no taxi trip from arriving airport to city center). As a consequence, we should "aggregate" airports and use them only for long range travel, and revert to rail or road for shorter trips. By doing this, we would maximize the frequency and availability of flights from these mega-airports.
Then, by simply providing more leg space, power, and possibly internet connection, we could make flights "suck less".
This is doable now. Any other technology would take decades to develop.
And again, most people don't need to travel NY to Hong Kong in 3 hours. Most people need to travel cheaply, and possibly in a green way.
MarkMc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Elon Musk certainly sails close to the wind. In this talk he says that SpaceX would no longer exist if the fourth spaceflight had not succeeded. And during the financial crisis in 2008 Tesla almost went bankrupt. I admire Elon's success, but I couldn't take the risks he takes.
swalsh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love the idea of Elon musk travelling to Russia trying to negotiate a price on ICBM's. I wonder if the Federal Government was watching him :
stcredzero 2 days ago 2 replies      
Electric jets combined with beamed power could be huge. Such craft would be unencumbered by fuel tankage, so there would be huge potential for savings. One place to start, strangely enough, would be with electric tankers. By lifting fuel to altitude, individual aircraft fuel needs would be greatly reduced to cover the same distance, meaning structural weight could be saved, resulting in even more efficiency. Networks of power beaming stations to power cross country flights would result in aircraft so light, that parachute landing systems for the whole craft might be feasible. (Some on board battery capacity would always be necessary for emergencies.)
neokoenig 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi All,
Sorry for the streaming server issues.
Now mirrored on youTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1HZIQliuoA&feature=youtu...
andrewtbham 2 days ago 2 replies      
I like when he talks about why Mars is the best planet to inhabit. 24 1/2 hour rotational cycle, 1/2 the earths gravity, lots of water/ice. Co2 atmosphere (which plants like to consume). Ultimately terraform the planet to make it like earth.... Sign me up!
cskau 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no one has posted the official youtube video yet:


nodesocket 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know if Elon has a minor speech impediment; stammer or stutter? I myself stutter and was just curious, as I noticed it watching this video.
karpathy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe this is a silly question but why doesn't SpaceX or Tesla use some form of crowd-funding scheme for their projects in addition to all their other sources of funding?

I really want both companies to succeed and I'd be happy to contribute to either cause (yes, I see both primarily as a cause and philosophy, not just a company). Judging from response around the internet there are many people like me who are just as excited. I can't buy a Model S car because I don't have that money, but I'd be happy to throw some money at Tesla or SpaceX for a little badge and a warm feeling.

agumonkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the lazy podcaster, there's also the [audio] http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/podcasts/201211_m...
akie 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've got the file. Where do I mirror it? Have fast connection to upload.
beobab 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone got a transcript?
xoail 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think I'm in love with the guy.
mcdonji 1 day ago 0 replies      
He sounds quite bright. It seems he (and his people) are actually making a dent and are producing some tangible value. He said he could have gone to work for Wall Street. Does Wall Street actually attract our best and brightest people? I wonder what the world would look like if the best and brightest did not put all their talents into skimming value off the top (on Wall Street) but instead actually produced value.
20100thibault 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering what's the efficiency (speed) limit on ducted fan relative to altitude for the electric airplane concept. Would like to have some data on it
filvdg 2 days ago 1 reply      
there seem to be bandwidth issues with the streaming
       cached 25 November 2012 05:11:01 GMT