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This is a web page justinjackson.ca
1283 points by mijustin  3 days ago   414 comments top 99
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 4 replies      
First time [1] my in-laws saw "the web" they were trying to find information about vacation spots in Brazil but their travel guide was obsolete, I found a web page a student had written up about where the best places to stay and see were in Brazil.

I could almost see the dots connect when they realized that someone they didn't know, in Brazil, had written up a piece of information at some point that they were now seeing and using, and anyone could do that. It was like watching a Pachinko machine pay out a jackpot :-)

[1] It was circa Christmas 1994 since I was trying to explain to them what Java was and why I thought it might have an impact on the world.

adventured 3 days ago 25 replies      
"At it's heart, web design should be about words."


The web is not just a place for text / words, that is not its heart and soul, and therefore neither is that the case for web design. It really never has been. I see no great argument in favor of words being the core over any other form of expression. Today's bandwidth more than allows for beautiful video, animation, high quality graphics and photos, etc. Or low key graphics, subtle interactivity, and so on. It's absurd to argue that such a rich medium should always be focused on words.

Text does not have to be the focus. It depends on what the purpose to be achieved is.

rkuykendall-com 3 days ago 4 replies      
This was a bit of an obsession of mine ever since I saw Coding Horror a few years ago. I had seen a lot of extremely minimalist designs, but they were all doing things to accomplish that minimalism. As a developer though, you have a nagging feeling in the back of your brain saying "that's a lie, it's not simple, it's very complicated, it just looks simple." Coding Horror is complex, but it was plain enough for me to imagine it with even less structure.

I decided to stick as close to plain HTML for my personal website as possible. The problem is, plain HTML is ugly. So instead, I tried to imagine what the default style of HTML would be if it was created today.

I've am still far from that ideal, but it is a work in progress: http://rkuykendall.com/

smackfu 3 days ago 9 replies      
Centered text, large white borders, and larger than standard font size are all design. Minimal design, but it does feel very different if you look at it completely unstyled:


I feel like it subverts the message a bit that he still felt the need to style things.

a3_nm 3 days ago 4 replies      
"I wrote these words, and you're reading them"... and Google knows you're reading them.

I find it a bit ironical that a manifesto for minimalism still carries Google Analytics code to track people.

minikites 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reminded me of This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself mixed with Web Design is 95% Typography



null_ptr 3 days ago 2 replies      
There's something magical about personal websites. Something that a Facebook profile page or a Twitter stream or a Tumblr will never reach. I really wish more people would go back to the earlier roots of the internet, and share what's on their mind in a more personal and genuine way.
ignostic 3 days ago 6 replies      
Sure, simple text is fine for a blog. But if I'm selling something like a piece of art it's all about the images: large, high-quality images from multiple angles. Pinterest wouldn't be called minimalist, but it does a damn fine job of accomplishing its goals.

Design should help accomplish business (or personal) goals. We run into trouble when we adopt some sort of "minimalism, always, ever, for everything" dogma.

obviouslygreen 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I agree that the substance of a web page is the most important part of it, there's a whole lot of visual work that aids marketing, retention, and conversion, and while those things are often not appreciated by those of us who enjoy plain text, they are significant and have real benefits.

The problem with all of the "You're reading this" and "You're still reading this" is that the only reason anyone read it is because of the author's networking, and in our case the fact that it was promoted up HN. That says nothing about the content of the page or its power. It'd be just as true and just as irrelevant if the author were the only one who ever read it.

Yes, I agree with some of what's presented. But I also think it's a very narrow and outdated way of looking at the web, and it marginalizes disciplines that, for better or worse, have effectively changed the way that most people experience and internalize the experience of browsing.

md224 3 days ago 4 replies      
Slightly off topic, but if we're talking about simplicity...

why are people still using this doctype:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

instead of the beautifully simple HTML5 doctype:

<!DOCTYPE html>

I get that people might use the old doctype out of habit, but it's such an ugly, unnecessary habit, and it would probably be smart to work on discarding it. At the very least, we should be making sure that new developers learn the new doctype.

RBerenguel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with him, and this is why I find Reddit, HN and some blogs I get to read around here (M. Gemmell's, M. Arment's, J. Gruber, PG) so good: they focus on the text, not on the fancy (and this nags me again to clear all cruft from my blog, but... some other day.)

PS: I kind of missed "all craftwardship is of the highest quality" in the page, though (or text that menaced with spikes of http or something.) I guess I'm too geeky today

callmeed 3 days ago 0 replies      
>> But the most powerful tool on the web is still words.

No. YouTube comments are words. They're also terrible. Also, images can be as powerful (or more so) than words.

IMO his thesis would be better stated as:

"But the most powerful tool on the web is still a compelling piece of content (words, image, video)"

cia_plant 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just a note on the text style: it all seems kind of overemphasized and breathless, due to the heavy use of bold, italic, short sentences, one-sentence paragraphs, and so on.

Less is more with such devices, especially bold text. I'm not a skimmer by nature, but when a post is full of bold text I find myself involuntarily skimming the bolded parts, because they have such a higher visual weight than the rest of the text. It's almost as though those words are shouted, and it becomes harder to hear the rest of the text.

Simply paying close attention to the flow of your writing can usually give a sufficient sense of emphasis without resorting to special formatting.

pajju 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is the same reading experience we get in HN.

Just think we treat text as our user interface!

High quality content + focus on readability = bliss.

speg 3 days ago 1 reply      

  > One of my friends is named Montreal,she is fun to play with
I smell a sequel...

JasonFruit 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a beautiful exposition of a powerful truth: words are magical, and we can now publish anything we want so that anyone who wants to can read it. That is amazing power, and it's available to almost anyone who is literate, in the developed world.
frogpelt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can pay my bills online, shop online, transfer funds between accounts, invest, watch videos, listen to music, share pictures, reserve hotel rooms, flights and rental cars, see maps of the world and my own city.

The web is also expanding every day to include more capabilities.

It is about way more than words. Let's not oversimplify it just because we think minimalism is cute.

RyanMcGreal 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's the anti qz.com.
zobzu 3 days ago 2 replies      
I much prefer those simple pages. Load fast, display fast, no distraction.A little bit like HN.. except for the load fast part :P
foobarbazqux 3 days ago 0 replies      
The irony of this essay is that he went overboard with the bold and italic text. Otherwise I wish I could read more articles in a form like that.
mijustin 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just realized I published this on the same morning that "Video on Instagram" is one of the day's top stories.

Interesting irony. ;)

dclowd9901 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something that struck me with an unexpected amount of force was a recent scene in Game of Thrones where one of the characters is explaining to another (sheltered) character that he knew the location of a secret passage because he had read about it in a book.

The sheltered character was astounded that he looked at squiggles on a page, and through which was able to know something about the world. "Wizardry", was I think the word used.

But when you break communication down to what it is, ideas and knowledge abstracted so they can be externalized, it's pretty fucking amazing.

devilshaircut 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't speak for all designers, but when I design webpages, I do start with words. Typography and content serve as most the fundamental concerns when working toward a usable, visually stunning design.

If the thesis of this editorial is "add only which serves to aid in achieving the spec/goal", I agree. But there is an implicit danger here as well of underestimating the total needs of the resource's end user.

steveplace 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree, but...

...the author made the choice to display the text at 600px wide with a font size of 18px. There's plenty of markup (design) to point out key ideas on the page.

Would this writing have the same impact if the font was at 12px, with smaller spacing between paragraphs, or maybe with a page width of 1280px? I don't think so.

rabino 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting that the website where he makes money, is full of pictures and colors for the call to actions. http://buildandlaunch.net/
tenpoundhammer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't speak for the author,but what I can say what I got out of this.

This article spoke to the idea that we often start our endeavours in the wrong place. We start off trying to find the flashy angle and trying to hit all the write aesthetic notes before we even know what we are trying to communicate.

We should start our process by making a clear and distinct communication and filling our sites with content --the meat-- and then building everything else around that.

Nux 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not obsessed with fancy designs and scripts. Have a look at my home page.

What I'm obsessed with is the fact every god damned web site on the internet includes google-analytics stuff! You would have made your point had you left it out.

DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly agree with this post.

Please, when creating content, concentrate on the words first. There are some obvious exceptions, but almost always the words are most important.

You can then add the markup, and the css, and the javascript, and all the other stuff.

But having great copy means that your visitors will always have good quality content even if they turn all that other stuff off.

dendory 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know about the over-reliance on words, I think images and videos are just fine on the web, but I do agree with the sentiment that pages have become way too bloated around the web. When a single news site that should be telling you about a story has dozens of external scripts, hundreds of assets and takes way too long to display, things have gotten too far.
uxwtf 2 days ago 0 replies      
> At its heart, web design should be about words.

The Web is for sure a place to communicate with words. But can you imagine what will it look like if every web page will have only words? I can't. I wouldn't enjoy it anymore.

As a UI designer, I always try to create an interface as intuitive as possible, and sometimes words do work better than icons and images. But sometimes it will break the concept. Let's take Airbnb as an example.

If we'll remove all those attractive images and UI elements, which create its particular universe, Airbnb will look like Craigslist (though some apts have pictures today). And it won't be fun!

Both words and images play important roles in the web design. The role of the words is to communicate an idea. The role of the images is to illustrate the idea and to bring an additional value to the content.

exodust 1 day ago 0 replies      
sorry, but words on a web page isn't "magic".

> "We've become obsessed with fancy designs, responsive layouts, and scripts that do magical things."

When we didn't have those fancy things, we wanted them. If they were taken away, we'd want them back. Nothing wrong with fancy presentation if your intention is to present something.

The first thing I ever did on the internet back in the 90s was look up guitar tab for beginners. I skipped the words and printed out the guitar tabs I found.

The author of "this is a web page" is flogging a book. That's nice, but I don't really think that reading his words is "magical".

Oxygen is magical. Gravity is magical. Magic is everywhere. Can we please move on to the magical things that actually stand out as deserving such a label relative to where we are in online evolution?

The internet of things is settling in nicely, and it isn't about words, it's about things. Linking data and real-time manipulation from online to things in our immediate and remote environments. THAT is closer to magic than plain text on a white page.

cpdean 3 days ago 1 reply      
After sitting on the setup of my blog for a good nine months -- trying out several static site generators, experimenting with different color schemes, reactive layouts, font sizes, font families, deployment scripts, and composing about 15 stubs for posts and not finishing a single one -- i have accomplished less than this.
aklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the perspective of someone who works with data, I simply have to disagree that words seem to be the most important way to convey information. Perhaps it is to some; but I'd bet the majority of information consumers prefer an alternate mode of visual communication with a well-executed design component. It is the concept is critical; words are simply one way to execute that concept. [Disclaimer: my wife is an advertising art director who has educated me a tiny bit on semiotics]
gbog 3 days ago 2 replies      
That's what I'd call responsive design.

No snarks: it displays perfectly on phone screens and large monitors and loads fast. How could it be made more responsive.

I think the key to responsiveness is to remove all javascript, all unnecessary styling, and most importantly to remove all dynamic social features. Then you have an html static page with long cache life.

muppetman 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sure, that page is just text. But I found it via hackernews. If hackernews looked like that, I wouldn't visit it every day.
inthewind 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you've got to question the definition of "web design". I'd argue that the text is framed content and is part of the design.

The post at least highlights that 'web design' is somewhat of a distraction.

There is so much (unnecessary?) labour involved in framing the content by posturing programmers (lost down some rabbit hole) and anal pixel pushers that you could easily forget that to many: the content is what matters.

Getting your head around HTML, publishing and hosting is still not that trivial. That's why people take to something like Facebook, or sharing photos via Instagram via their mobile phones.

That's not to detract from the beauty and the 'miracle' of web publishing.

swamp40 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else think the referenced 37Signals "Know Your Company" idea was interesting?

I wondered how it worked w/o asking employees to sign up for anything, and this is what I found:

"What they came up with was Know Your Company, which poses one question to all employees via email, three days a week.

The queries vary from day to day.Responding is optional, and answers are attached to employee names.

Workers can also choose whether they want their replies shared with the whole group."

breck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neat, and I like what you're saying. However, although words are important, and longer lasting, looks are perhaps equally as important to an individual in the present. Always were, always will be. People care about looking good. People are attracted to good looking things. Great words might improve the legacy of your ideas, but great looks will improve the legacy of you. Both are justifiably important to people.

Also, often a great picture is greater than many words. And the web is equally powerful for that.

laureny 3 days ago 0 replies      
> At it's heart, web design should be about words.

If you're going to praise the power of words, you might want to start with spelling them correctly.

darrelld 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this. I've been obsessing over so many new fancy effects using javascript and fancy CSS3 styling and getting held up about the technology, but you reminded me why I ever got into programming / web development in the first place. To share things with people all over the world. As a kid growing up on a tiny island that was a huge deal for me when I first started. I think some of the magic got lost over the years as I I focused more and more on the technical aspects but you've reminded me that sharing is important and the tech is just "syntactic sugar"
logn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you. I've shared this with someone whom I know who's interested in learning to program. I think HTML is a great first step. After you learn HTML you can learn to write programs to generate HTML... and that's an application. From there you could learn more advanced programming concepts or native app development, but I think this is probably the best way to introduce people to programming, something which seems almost magical and impossible, until you get the right introduction.
chris_mahan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently redid a restaurant main page (http://californiacanteen.com/) in a very similar way, targeting mostly mobile/tablet. Same principle. (the rest of the site is a work in progress and looks horribly 1996'ish).
kombine 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I didn't need a Content Management System, a graphic designer, or a software developer."

The guy is arguing that we don't need software then, since it is possible to create every page by hand.

aaron695 3 days ago 0 replies      
It works because it's a one off.

If every page did this then a contrary page with images would make the point against just words and everyone would agree.

Looking at simple page's like that all day would be depressing, I want beauty in my life, not just words which can be beautiful, that's why I read novels, I also want visual beauty.

FreeFull 3 days ago 0 replies      
True minimalism would be a plain text file.
leeoniya 3 days ago 0 replies      
oh the joy loading a static html page @ 150ms
chris_mahan 2 days ago 0 replies      
The main problem is that writing is hard, and leaving just the words will make bad writing stand out. It seems that making a site "pretty" is easier than making the writing better, which is why I think the majority of sites go for glitz rather than excellent prose.
quackerhacker 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article really embodies what I love about the net and why I became a web dev first then a software engineer.

A Webpage is designed to be reached by anyone, anywhere, and now...can be read (at least the words) in different languages. I love text just for the global demographic that it can reach thanks to online translators like Google and Bing!

nhamann 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had an insight a few months back when I was looking at djb's website (http://cr.yp.to/djb.html). I was spending far too much time playing with toys (static site generators) and not enough time actually producing interesting content. Nobody cares about your pretty blog theme, they care about your ideas.
anigbrowl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish there were a lot more client-side design tools. I liked the idea of building something that was like your own daily newspaper, but that's not practical when every article is trying to differentiate itself visually (frequently to obscure the fact that the textual content is largely churn).
s4m20 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I love https://github.com/circa75/dropplets

Simple, minimalist, publish through markdown. I stripped the Twitter button out of my fork because I thought even that was too much clutter (example: http://notes.darkfunction.com). Now I have just a list of articles, with a link to each article, and I can't think why I would need any more. I always found article history navigation on traditional bogs tedious (how am I supposed to know which month/year you wrote what I am looking for?) and as for social media buttons, if I want to put your post on my Facebook page I don't need a button to do it.

jaredcwhite 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love it. Even seeing Times/Times New Roman in use brings back a tinge of nostalgia.

I like sites with some design pizazz, but a simple page like this with well-written content trumps most over-designed, over-widgetized crap sites any day.

andrewljohnson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I only read the bold words, so I guess style matters.
FrankBlack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Way back in the 90's, when this new-fangled web thing was just starting to take off (especially the .com side) I was teaching an "Introduction to the Internet" course at my college. I took meticulous care in trying to explain what was happening, why it happened and how to best sort through the voluminous information resources. To me, the web was about information. To my classes (dozens of classes after a while) all that mattered was they could "surf the net". They didn't care about information, they cared about seeing pictures. They were seduced by the flashy images and bored by the banal information resources available. This is when I learned that the web is just TV with a more precise remote control. Who cares if you have (more or less) the sum total of human knowledge at your fingertips? All that matters is "Dancing Baby" and "Peanut Butter Jelly Time".


sirwanqutbi 3 days ago 0 replies      
He still used CSS styling. If anything, its a take on bringing back Times New Roman... everything is designed.
Pitarou 3 days ago 0 replies      

That's why, for instance, even with the driest of academic textbooks, they still spend a few extra dollars on a cover design.

csomar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry, but this is not true in many dimensions:

1. He doesn't have an RSS feed. That's a medium many people use it to connect.

2. He doesn't have a mailchimp (or other) list to subscribe to. That's another medium people use.

3. He didn't optimize for Google. That's a huge medium people use to reach content. (he uses analytics, though. guess why)

4. Font size is set in pixels. This is the wrong way to do it if you want to be optimized for reading. You should set it in "em" to have the size of the browser default. Another reason why you need a professional to design a site.

It's true that we are sometimes (or in many occasions) taking the features to the extreme. But there is a reason why they are there. That's the new web. Learn how to use the feature to improve the experience, and not to make it worse.

Not using is just moving us backward.

vivekian2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think what I really miss is reading web pages which were truly written from the heart. I remember even as far as back in 2005, for a search like "unrequited love", Google's top hit would be a link to a physics Phd's home page who had written about his multiple experiences of being declared 'just a friend' and how to get past being rejected over and over again.

Jump to today and the Google search yields following the obvious wikipedia link, is a whole bunch of wikihow, nytimes, urban dictionary and youtube links.

Those personal web pages with an intellectually rich content have just been lost to the dark internet.

csel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wait...whatever happened to "A picture is worth a thousand words"?
marban 3 days ago 1 reply      
I built postagon.com under this dogma but nevertheless I think that it comes with an almost arrogant touch if you deliberately publish an article in a format as simple as this and expect everyone to extract the message from an otherwise horrible reading experience.
skw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good design facilitates the function and purpose of the message you want to communicate. Your example is just a handful of paragraphs, so it's easy to interpret such simple information. When you have text, images, lists, objects and dynamic content your argument falls apart.

All of the elements I just described are made up of words and/or represent words.

Sure designers can lose their way and become engrossed in decorating elements (which in some cases becomes a USP), but that's not typically the end goal.

tericho 2 days ago 1 reply      
While I do agree that copy is an important and valid starting point, don't dismiss the power of images either.

This[1] is a very important and meaningful symbol in any language.


psibi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the HTML hell page from Eric Raymond:


jmagoon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this applies to artistic theory, but in film theory there's an entire discipline based around formalist, or stylistic critique.

Briefly, they would say that an effective ideological argument stems from style--two films with the exact same script that are shot, set, lit, and edited differently could have totally different meanings. So, what's most interesting is that your argument perhaps isn't actually about words or content -- it's about the way those words and content are presented.

martin_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
This page is a little conflicting to the main website has fancy mail in widgets and runs a powerful (arguably bloated) CMS.
kenbellows 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read his daughter's squirrel story [1]. I loved the last line: "Poor grandma Jalapeno she got arested for turning into superman."

[1] http://justinjackson.ca/words.html

Felix21 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see this today.

My next website is sitting in Tomboy Notes at the moment. I'm just about to start coding.

freejack 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice, except it needs a "like" button.
dragontamer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks a lot better than what was here a few hours ago. Good job fixing the typesetting issues.
lsiunsuex 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is exactly what i'm trying to accomplish with version 2 of one of my sites - although I still need the cms and all of that, i'm stripping away all the fancy colorful css, photos, etc... only keeping what I need.

minimalistic - let the content speak for the site, not the fancy design

capex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hope the book page he's writing follows the same simplicity as in the article.
daralthus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Damn, you have this medium full of potential that could be anything and you just want to mimic paper...
olaf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Forget the web/web page, it's only a means, a tool for a higher purpose. It's no end in itself.
undo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great reminder to make our words on the web more meaningful. If you create something, make sure that the words make sense and are well supported by design, not the other way around.
shalander 2 days ago 0 replies      
I instantly recognized what he was doing, and yet, I was still reading, and kept reading, until the end. Great article!
kidsil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Except Web Design has long been more similar to commercials, which have next to nothing to communicate except "BUY ME!"
borgchick 3 days ago 0 replies      
So we've come around full circle. Back to plain old text. NCSA Mosaic anyone? I just hope we don't all go back to <marquee> and <blink>...
jerednel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I read the first sentence, one in the middle and the last just because it was the top link on a page I frequent. Nothing too revolutionary.
phawk 2 days ago 0 replies      
And what? Your font looks like crap, line-height is not nice for me to read either.
koshak 3 days ago 0 replies      
seems like echo of http://mnmlist.com/w
olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
And tomorrow's top story on HN: "Users can't read".
rakeshsharmak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Thank YOU for the simplicity. The best things in life are always the most simple..
hnriot 3 days ago 1 reply      
This guy is living in the 90's. Today the web is a platform for providing digital services. Words are a very small part of the story.
tytyty 2 days ago 0 replies      
You had me until your twitter and I read "I wear a fake mustache."
crimezone20xx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic, and makes me hopeful for how I'm about to launch my resum. Just words.
angrytoast 2 days ago 0 replies      
The future of the web is ideas, and the medium that it is delivered through, whether it be test, video, audio, or whatever that I can begin to comprehend, will hopefully be one that will be seen by as many as possible.
ahawkins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised this post has so many votes.
Nate630 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's why web typography is worth knowing as well!
tiagofernandez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for bringing me back to 1994.
davidrudder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Loved the story about the squirrel
loceng 3 days ago 1 reply      
kuchaguangjie 2 days ago 0 replies      
understand the core, and do things as simple as possible.
disclosure 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is typography
hhorsley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Love this.
dmourati 2 days ago 0 replies      
i'm a squirrel ftw
knotdvn 3 days ago 5 replies      
withparadox2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like this article!
Myrmornis 2 days ago 1 reply      
> This is a web page.

Pretentious drivel more like.

U.S. charges Edward Snowden with espionage washingtonpost.com
719 points by o0-0o  2 days ago   344 comments top 41
DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 19 replies      
So now is the time to identify the federal prosecutors who filed this and petition the government to have them fired. In addition, of course, to asking for a complete pardon for Snowden.

It also should be noted that any of the Congressional investigations into this mess are perfectly capable of giving Snowden a grant of immunity from prosecution.

People ask what to do. There are at least two avenues open to nip this completely in the bud before prosecutors get rolling, and several other ways of notifying our elected representatives that going down this path is unacceptable.

These are political charges, and as the governed we should stand up to the people who are supposed to be working for us and demand that they be dropped. Immediately.

codex 2 days ago 4 replies      
It looks like this charge can carry the death penalty because it involves "communications intelligence". From http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/794:

"(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy."

unimpressive 2 days ago 1 reply      
"The same night two prominent Kadet leaders, Professor F. Kokoshkin, and Dr. A. Shingarev, were murdered in a hospital by a group of Bolshevik sailors. When Lenin heard of the ensuing protest meetings held by the Social Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, he said cynically: 'Let them protest, let them bubble over with rage, let them rave some, sigh some, drink a lot of tea and talk until dawn; then they will surely soon fall asleep.'" - A history of Soviet Russia, George Von Rauch, Fifth Revised Edition, 1967

I can't help but think of that every time I read one of these threads. Especially when people ask for things like the dismissal of the prosecutors, in complete disregard that this agenda comes straight from the White House.

olefoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
The fact that Holder and Obama chose to drop their charges into public view smack in the middle of the friday night news blackout shows that they lack confidence and feel weak in the face of negative public opinion.

We are entering into the seminal stages of a struggle for the 21st Century; will the future be defined by unaccountable power?

Will we all live in the Panopticon with the sole exception of the ODNI or whatever Cabal is the inner circle of the Intelligence Community?

Will the US (and the world) be ruled by secret laws negotiated as "trade treaties"; that give corporate organizations greater power than any legislature accountable to the citizenry?

Snowden's revelations are merely one set of secrets that we deserve to know. There many more, and every one of those secrets deserves exposure. We, the people of earth; deserve to know what is being done to us by our leaders.

When a government has so profoundly violated the people's trust as ours; questioning it's legitimacy is... legitimate.

mtgx 2 days ago 1 reply      

"The Obama DOJ just charged its 7th leaker under "espionage" statute - total for ALL prior presidents: 3"


mindcrime 2 days ago 3 replies      
Meanwhile, the petition to pardon him[1] only needs ~8000 more signatures to require a response.

[1]: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snow...

staunch 2 days ago 2 replies      
For anyone else who thinks what he did was right: it's our job to make sure he gets pardoned. He did his part.
mtgx 2 days ago 2 replies      
Time to take it to the streets on July 4th:


"Restore the Fourth is a non partisan group of concerned citizens working to restore privacy and fourth amendment rights. We are planning nationwide protests in over 100 locations on July 4th."

fragmede 2 days ago 5 replies      
Interestingly, according to that article, he hasn't been charged with treason, 'just' espionage, theft and conversion of government property. Someone more qualified than I can elaborate, but treason is a much harder crime to prove than espionage (like murder vs. manslaughter).

Edit:According to the video link provided by spdy, the crime needs to exist in both systems (ie Hong Kong and the US) in order for an extradition request to be considered valid.

Treason, with a similar burden of proof, does not exist in Hong Kong, and thus could not be charged.

Is the US attorney's office allowed to rescind the charges of espionage and re-charge him with treason after he's been extradited to the US?

zwegner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classic Greenwald on twitter:

"Anyone have interest in a criminal investigation to discover which "officials" leaked news of the sealed indictment? http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-cha... "

surrealize 2 days ago 0 replies      
They charged him on his birthday? Damn, that's cold. After what the NSA did to Thomas Drake (dragging him through legal hell for four years, which in the end resulted in no jail time or fines), you have to wonder how personal some of the legal maneuvering is.
aspensmonster 2 days ago 1 reply      
Espionage is punishable by death. I sincerely hope Snowden finds asylum somewhere safe --Iceland perhaps-- as the Department of Justice has made it perfectly clear that this patriot is no longer welcome here.
nullc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose this certifies the authenticity of the released claims, for those who have been continuing to deny it: If the documents weren't real he'd just be a liar and lying in the media isn't generally a crime in the US.
charonn0 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why is he being charged in the Eastern District of Virginia when the alleged crime was perpetrated in Hawaii? Shouldn't any prosecution be under the original jurisdiction of the District of Hawaii/9th Circuit?

    Amendment VI    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy     and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein     the crime shall have been committed[...]

jsmeaton 2 days ago 2 replies      
Let's assume this charge is legal and correct for a moment. Why aren't the newspapers (guardian and the post?) and their writers/editors also being charged? Why aren't the newspapers having their paypal and all their bank accounts frozen?

We live in very scary times as far as I'm concerned. The US is prosecuting its own citizens for standing up and saying "what you're doing to the rest of the world is not OK". But if you're a non-US citizen doing the same you just get thrown in Gitmo.

There's outrage about what is being done domestically, but the rest of the world seem to have no way of protesting. As an Australian I should be safe from all of this - but our Government, no doubt, is piggy-backing on everything the US is doing. No one is safe.

redthrowaway 2 days ago 2 replies      
The non-print, non-mobile version:


This actually seems to be a pretty big problem with the web right now. We've been balkanized into mobile and desktop versions of sites, to the point where sharing one with the other inevitably pisses someone off. This article is all but unreadable on desktop, and I suspect the same would be true in reverse.

The point of the web is to have multiple clients getting the same info from a single source. This doesn't work if mobile and desktop clients are served different versions of the same site, and in effect are barred from sharing with eachother.

malandrew 2 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, I would want him to stand trial on two conditions:

(1) He and Glenn Greenwald are allowed to have an open, public televised debate with President Obama, the congressmen that are members of the intelligence committee, and the judges that sit on the FISC court. This would be done in 3 sessions Frost/Nixon style.

(2) He is promised fair just treatment, that is made public so that he cannot be subjected to solitary confinement and other torturous conditions.

guelo 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Hong Kong grants the "provisional arrest warrant" it could mean that Snowden will spend years fighting extradition from inside a jail cell. And it could be the end of any hopes of asylum in Iceland.
outside2344 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think we have to march on this one and be loud.

For San Francisco, we should show up in force somewhere - is Tuesday too soon to plan something - say show up in force at Union Square at 8pm?

hughw 2 days ago 0 replies      
"...said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the case."

Leakers leaking about another leaker.

crazygringo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain how he can be charged with espionage? Is there some meaning of that which covers leakers of information, like leaking the Pentagon Papers, when it's to the press (and not to another government or company)?
lazyjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suppose this makes it crystal-clear that in the eyes of Washington, the people of the USA are the enemy. Now everything suddenly makes more sense.
sevenatenine 1 day ago 0 replies      
The government obviously needs to set a precedent by charging Snowden. Even though what the government is doing is controversial and many people support Snowden, there might be somebody else down the line who thinks, "If Snowden was able to do it, then I can too because I believe this thing I'm exposing is wrong."

Of course, massive public outrage over what the NSA is doing could make it a moot point and put the focus on the government. But like many things, this isn't a one sided issue and many people are indifferent or support the NSA. The media is asking "How should we feel about this?" and any white house petition will likely get a weak answer reinforcing the government's decision.

ausjke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Hongkong will be protecting him, or he can live in Iceland peacefully afterwards. He is doing that for all of us ordinary people in my opinion.This is also extremely embarrassing for US gov and the president, who were blaming Chinese for network attacks and acting as the innocent victim. I now doubt the integrity of our leaders, they're simply liars in this regard, how can I trust them in the future for whatever they're going to say.
jneal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Snowden is, and will forever be, a patriot in my eyes. Our government (in the US) takes away more and more of our civil liberties and constitutional rights with each passing day and I'm personally tired of it.
mililani 2 days ago 1 reply      
More and more over the past several years, I've wondered what has become of this country. I mean, in my 39 years of life in the U.S., I don't think there was ever a time where I thought, this country has gone to the pits. And, not only is it the the government, it's the U.S. Citizens. These people are placated to the point that if you don't take away their celebrities and entertainment, you could literally shit on their mothers and they probably would just take it.

Pretty disturbing times we're living in.

peripetylabs 2 days ago 2 replies      
The Chinese authorities will hold him until they feel he has given them all he knows, then quickly extradite him to the US.

At that point he will probably try to get to Europe. If he makes it, his appeal to those governments on humanitarian grounds may be weakened by the fact the first country he picked practices capital punishment far more than the US (more than every other country in the world combined):


He could have fled to Europe in the first place just as easily. For example, US citizens are exempt from visa requirements for short stays (90 days) in France -- la Patrie des droits de l'homme -- from where he would have had direct access to the ECtHR...

dschiptsov 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing to see here. Govt need to create a public process with a severe penalty in order not to create a precedent.

The same type of prosecution as in Khodorkovsky or Pussy Riot cases in Russia - to clearly signal to others - don't do it again, so govt will do everything that is possible.

Sometimes I think that being a major in, say, English literature isn't that useless as it seems to be.))

belorn 2 days ago 1 reply      
> The anti-secrecy group Wikileaks has held some discussions ...

What is an anti-secrecy group? It sound like something out of Discworld series, where a group is tired of being discovered changed the door sign from "secret group" to "not-secret group". In the world of Discworld, it would likely work too.

Is it so hard to write a group behind the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, or the more correct term: A group that runs a publishing website for whistleblowers called WikiLeaks?

jusben1369 1 day ago 0 replies      
They were always going to charge him if only to discourage future Snowden's.
RexRollman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, because the most criminal thing you can do is reveal criminal activity by the government.
gesman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Charged with "conversion of government property" ?Meaning conversion to something [finally] useful?
coldcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm perhaps he will meet a drone face to face and never face a trial.
sigzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not surprising at all really.
rdouble 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have a feeling we're never going to see the rest of the data Greenwald supposedly has.
shire 1 day ago 0 replies      
This thing is moving fast should reach 100k before july 9 for sure.


paullik 1 day ago 1 reply      
The irony, Snowden being charged with espionage by the country that spies everyone...
mehmehshoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The 30-year-old intelligence analyst revealed himself June 9 as the leaker in an interview with the Guardian"

Happy birthday Ed!

bayesianhorse 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know spys... bunch of bitchy little girls...
torito28 2 days ago 1 reply      
I highly doubt anything will happen to him. This is the same story over and over again.
ericgoldberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
We created a pro-Snowden collection of shirts, stickers, and hats if you want to show your support. There's a link to donate to his cause too. http://www.wishplz.com/product-collections/bDRzO6c7Stw0vSVh2...
Antiprism antiprism.eu
410 points by justincormack  2 days ago   103 comments top 18
coopdog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Specific desired actions that are realistic within the current legal frameworks. Go pirate party.
swombat 2 days ago 5 replies      
How do I support this? I'm a Swiss citizen living in the UK.
skwirl 2 days ago 4 replies      
"We are appalled to learn of the unprecedented surveillance of Internet users worldwide through PRISM and similar programmes."

There has not been a shred of evidence that PRISM gives the government any capability that it did not already have with FISA. All we learned was the name of the system that some companies use to respond to FISA requests, a name that they weren't even aware of. There is no practical difference between the U.S. companies listed on the PRISM slides and U.S. companies that are not; FISA covers them all. The initial claims by Glenn Greenwald that PRISM gave the NSA direct access to company servers have been refuted a hundred times over and walked back by Greenwald himself. If you were just now appalled to learn about the changes made to FISA with the PATRIOT act, you are 12 years behind the times.

johnvschmitt 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's unlikely that the powerful institutions will give up their powerful tools.

What I do think might work, though, is a system added to it where every human query is logged & their human peers can ask, "WTF Carl? Why are you looking at data on your ex wife? Or, Why are you looking at your political enemies?"

I think the humans inside those institutions would not limit their power, but they would want to keep an eye on their peers to make sure their peers are not abusing their power.

Those query & access logs can be periodically reviewed by their peers, and their superiors, and those logs should be kept as long as the data is, & queryable just the same as any other data.

PavlovsCat 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think this also answers the question wether the US needs a pirate party (or several).
kintamanimatt 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do we know there isn't a European equivalent of PRISM? The American one was kept secret for quite some time and it's not like European countries are any less technically advanced or motivated.
robotic 2 days ago 2 replies      
If they want to reach a bigger mainstream audience they'd do well to change their name and logo. The word "Pirate" isn't associated with doing good.
Yuioup 2 days ago 5 replies      
While I agree with the sentiment, will this actually change anything? I have yet to see anybody anywhere making any difference ...
pavanred 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article mentions Funding of Privacy-Conscious Software, one thing that concerns me is, I am quoting from Wikipedia here, "..As of 2012, 80% of the Tor Project's $2M annual budget comes from the United States government..".

So, the United States government funds programs that help secure the identity of the people and the government also spends money on surveillance programs such as PRISM. Can't the government just stop funding projects such as Tor any time they please? In such scenario, aren't we at the mercy of the very government to protect our identity that runs surveillance programs?

volaski 2 days ago 1 reply      
First thing that came to my mind: "Wow some device that gathers different spectrum of light to fuse into a single awesome ray?"
manveru 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like the link to the Austrian Pirate Party is going to the UK one.
cseelus 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are times when it feels good to be european and at least have the realistic choice between more than two equally bad choices.
userabc 2 days ago 0 replies      
No amount of begging to any government will solve this problem. If you believe that the government can or will help, you are the problem.
blaeks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Political egofagging at its best. Just ignore this.
swayvil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Digging the graphics
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tangaroa 2 days ago 5 replies      
AJAX and REST sure are evil. The fact that 229 people have upvoted this is certainly proof that web-based UIs are something that we as hackers ought to oppose.

We are all aware that PRISM has been exposed to be nothing more than a user interface to information provided by companies that receive a search warrant after the request has gone through courts and lawyers, right? Surely 229 users of Hacker News cannot be that uninformed about PRISM, after so many front-page articles on the subject giving so many opportunities to hash out the details of what it is and is not, that they imagine it to be something nefarious?

piqufoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a great idea - and sponsored by the pirate party I see. They seem to be the ones trying to plant cookies on my computer, to 'improve' my web browsing experience.


Thanks guys.

NeoCities neocities.org
392 points by kyledrake  2 days ago   207 comments top 75
slg 2 days ago 9 replies      
Don't use this for anything you view as important. I just checked and there is no collision detection for usernames. You can signup for an account using any name and your account will seemingly just replace the previous created account. That is a big enough and obvious enough flaw that it also makes we wonder if this is just a phishing expedition or a way to mine email addresses.
jstalin 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just had to do it:


It's going to play audio if you clink the link, unless you're using click to play

networked 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, Hax0r N3ws!

Check out my all-new website showing some oldskool JScripting skillz at http://cd.neocities.org/. You can trick your friends by directing them there.

P.S.: Just checked and it actually works with Internet Exploder 6.0 in an M$ Windoze 98 VM, which I had running in VMWare Player 5.0.2 with my PC's physical DVD drive connected. Should work as long as your Win9x or pre-SP2 XP has WMP 7 installed.

P.P.S.: Do post here if it works for you!

workhere-io 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN is supposed to be (partly) about the joy of building stuff, and yet this entire thread is all about people pointing out flaws, missing features and minor annoyances instead of saying, "Good job!".

Give the guy a break and a chance to get the project off the ground.

kybernetyk 2 days ago 2 replies      
Oh man, I'm sorry for OP because of all the negativity in this thread.

I think his service is kinda cool in a twisted way and I can totally see me building a little 'old school' homepage on it.

/edit: I did build a homepage: http://kybernetyk.neocities.org I feel better now ;)

zephjc 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think people are aiming to create the original geocities experience too: Examples:




brudgers 2 days ago 1 reply      
GeoCities clipart backgrounds still available!


big_lou 2 days ago 3 replies      
PEOPLE. This is clearly not intended as a business. Stop asking about the "business model." It strikes me as just being a cool side project that enables people to make websites. That's it.


toni 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've hacked a little script together[1] for uploading all the files in a directory into NeoCities. Handy if you are working on your site and want to upload everything in one go.

Set your username and password at the beginning of the script and run it with the path to the directory as an argument:

./neocities-uploader.php /path/to/my/site

[1] https://github.com/pwlin/neocities-uploader

ErikAugust 2 days ago 0 replies      
egeozcan 2 days ago 0 replies      
LandoCalrissian 2 days ago 0 replies      

Already worth the price of admission. This is a really fun idea.

fragmede 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh man, it is just like the 90's: unicode usernames are not allowed. Welcome to the past!
rozap 2 days ago 0 replies      
guys i just made mine here http://rozap.neocities.org/index.html and it is best so you all can stop making them because it will fail to surpass my creation.
will_brown 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is very refreshing that a side project/start-up related post has made it to number 1 spot on HN. And this is coming from someone who posted a Bee article that made it to the front page today.

kyledrake if any negativity on this thread gets to you, something tells me it will not, just ask yourself how many others have posted their side project on HN that made it to #1, I know I have not and that is why I created this account to begin with - to share my start-up with a start-up community.

numbsafari 2 days ago 1 reply      

Good luck with that.

dj2stein9 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, this site was fun while it lasted http://fuckthensa.neocities.org/
ibudiallo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think its a nice website, don't be discouraged by the comments you get here. HN can be awful with this, but if you parse through all the bad mouthers you may find some gold :)
eksith 1 day ago 0 replies      
The sad thing is that now there are lots of squatters creating "under construction" pages and the like instead of actually putting content. Trying to emulate Geocities without actually doing so (a lot of them did have those banners, but they also had content).

Oh well.

Here's mine : http://eksith.neocities.org Also people are forgetting, it's .org not .com)

lotharbot 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's never too early for scams.


"Security page. Please enter your password here."

Yhippa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't show this one to grandma: http://payment.neocities.org/
therandomguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to share this with a co-worker. Asked him, "you remember geocities?". He didn't. Because it was probably before he was born. I'm so old.
leke 2 days ago 1 reply      
markdown 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The file uploader will automatically scrub any characters not matching: a-z A-Z 0-9 _ - .

What about '<>/{};:[]=+~' ?

All of which are useful in html/css

mperham 2 days ago 2 replies      
Add a premium tier, even something as simple as integrated web analytics. Donations are charity. If you want this to be a sustainable business, ask for people to pay for value.
donohoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
My three quick contributions:


http://scientists.neocities.com/ (Back to the Future)


I've had issues uploading CSS, JS and manifest (for offline) files - anyone else?

vyrotek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing pointing a CNAME to this is not supported?
cabalamat 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is a bug on your dashboard; the html for viewing a page is:

    <a href="http://meowcat.neocities.org/index.html"    target="_blank">View <br></a>
Unfortunately, this means that I cannot click with the middle mouse button to bring up the page in a new tab. Please remove the extraneous target="_blank" code.

cheapsteak 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's with all the FBI seizure images?
benjamincburns 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how long it'll take for Yahoo to send a C&D...
rfnslyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
This thread is hilarious.
mixedbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck with the project!

I hope we will soon see these pathetic Facebook like buttons replaced with good old JavaScript guest counters (only half-joking).

zrail 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do you plan on keeping out spam?
serf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea, but GeoCities left a bad taste in my mouth. What makes this site any more maintainable than GeoCities was? The fact that it's donation based and not at the whims of a corporate entity is reassuring, but other than that it seems as if the footing would be even less stable. Am I wrong?
jneal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Decided to create something from scratch in the text editor. I must say I like the editor. Had to include a slight ode to the fallen geo(.*)


serf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like looking through the "Browse Existing Sites" and looking at all the emerging sites. I especially like the ambiguous "enter credit card and expiration date" sites that are nothing but a form and submission button.
kwntm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the browser editor you made. Very easy to get up and running fast. It'll be a useful tool for teaching, and also for small js projects. Fun project- Thanks!
ddinh 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's definitely an awesome project, but I just don't see the advantage of NeoCities over hosting a website on Github or BitBucket yet, especially since those sites offer unlimited space and store all the old versions of your website for you. Some differentiation with those services is needed - for example, a privacy policy guaranteeing true anonymity (no IP address stored, no cookies) or a more layperson-accessible website creator.
pronoiac 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hah! I've been playing with Jekyll and Pelican and other static site generators, and one of the thoughts I had was "if Geocities were still around, I could host pages there."
jgallant 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://remy.neocities.orgDon't forget the hot-linked images.
TazeTSchnitzel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not neocities, but a friend recently put this geocities-esque page up:


orangethirty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love this. Its geocities 2.0. Now, where do I find old gifs?


Found them. Check out mah page.


damian2000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good luck with this. Just a minor comment on your animated favicon.ico icon ... it would look a lot better if you used a transparent colour for the outside of the globe. Currently its white, which looks a little bit crappy.
mustafakidd 2 days ago 0 replies      
"We've come full circle"

I love getting old and seeing technology continually reinvent itself.

m-r-a-m 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think I captured the essence of my geocities/tripod/etc experience... http://ramige.neocities.org

I really like this and I'll probably use it for something real.

spiritplumber 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is adorable!!!!
rschmitty 2 days ago 0 replies      
return0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hosted in the US. At least geocities didn't live long enough to make it into prism
brennannovak 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am interested to see where this goes!
callmeed 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. What's your tech stack look like? Are you using Nginx to serve up the static files?
rsync 2 days ago 2 replies      
export function ? Given the fate of the original geocities, it would seem to be very helpful...
senthil_rajasek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you add a akismet style spam filtering to kill spammy pages?
conanbatt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the comments you can see instant cybersquatting.

Man i hate that -.-

cabalamat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will it be possible to upload websites using rsync?
delmarc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also please send an email once the account has been made... I know i made a page... but never received anything about it...
delmarc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Need a Password retrieval system and the sign up page needs a verify password field... I already lost my password...
colbyaley 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome.
nperez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since this takes me back to the good old days of marquee tags, I made this fine work of art.http://hello.neocities.org/
deadfall 2 days ago 1 reply      
How are you moderating the content? Are you doing it yourself? Are you putting together a flagging system? Do you need help? I am looking for another side project to work on.
songzme 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow! This is super simple to use! 10 minutes into it, I now have a splash page of myself! http://songz.neocities.org/
SteroidsLove 2 days ago 0 replies      
oakaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
How can I upload my files with CuteFTP?
mmcclellan 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's funny. I searched that domain name on domize around a month ago too. Though mine was going to be S3 and Route53 using boto.
clauretano 2 days ago 0 replies      
oops, look like someone else took it from you already. Should probably send them a bill
ianb 2 days ago 1 reply      
No API? Sigh. It could be a nice backing host for a through-the-browser CMS a little OAuth, a little CORS, and it could work pretty nicely.
jjp9999 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kind of funny. Looks like the first site on their examples page was seized by the FBI.
j546 2 days ago 2 replies      
Has anyone actually had success maintaining a business with the donation model?
andysum 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is incredible! Here's my site:http://andy.neocities.org
ForFreedom 2 days ago 1 reply      
How do you pay without adverts?
shtylman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just use github pages.
iframe 2 days ago 0 replies      
this reminds me GeoCities :'
vulgrin 2 days ago 0 replies      
-1 for not re-implementing <blink> tag
timmillwood 2 days ago 1 reply      
csomar 2 days ago 7 replies      
There are 61054 web site spaces remaining.After that, we need your help to get another server.

Does that mean he's running 61k sites on a single server? Even if each site gets one single visitor per day, that 61k visitors for the Server. There is no way the server can manage that traffic.

Sorry, but do you really want a static site? Just pay for a good one.

A useful program, 0 bytes long peetm.com
371 points by lelf  2 days ago   74 comments top 20
CJefferson 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interestingly, this is the second useful empty program I have seen. The other is /bin/true, as discussed at http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/humor/ATT_Copyright_true.html . That file is not quite empty, due to trying to comment and copyright an empty file!
hjay 2 days ago 2 replies      
A great example of how important it is for us as developers to recognize the value we provide to businesses/users instead of measuring it all solely in terms of algorithmic complexity and LOC.

Side note: Tatung makes some pretty amazing rice cookers. My family has used the same one for over 40 years now, and it still cooks as well as ever.

fendrak 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is a perfect example of selling something for what it's worth, rather than for what it costs to build.
dps 2 days ago 2 replies      
"(a TSR; if the reader knows what such a thing is!)"

Oh dear, I can't imagine not knowing what a TSR is. Feel old.

The wikipedia page is pretty good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminate_and_Stay_Resident

js2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tangent: just to give an idea how popular WordStar was, my Apple ][ had a CP/M coprocessor card [1] just so we could run WordStar.

[1] manufactured by Microsoft - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-80_SoftCard

mef 2 days ago 1 reply      
mixedbit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, not only was this program infinitely profitable, it could also be transmitted over the network infinitely fast, and even without a network connection.
Stratoscope 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best hack ever! Infinitely better than any other hack.
anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not really infinitely profitable, because cost isn't measured in bytes. His cost was the time to conceive of, test, and implement the idea as a product. I can't say I've ever thought about the value of a program how much storage space it takes up.
sage_joch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought he was going to say a Flashlight app.
dorfsmay 2 days ago 3 replies      
Ha! That's hilarious! I'm sure a lot of people remember the old joke:

-can you assume that any program out there can be reduce by one line?

-can you assume that any program out there has a least one bug?

If yes, it means that, by mathematical induction, every program can be reduce to one zero byte, and it's buggy!

lubujackson 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is kind of genius.
leephillips 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love this story. It gives a strong impression of having interesting philosophical implications, but I have no idea what they are.

I hope I can offer a little advice without being too annoying: if you are going to use justified text, especially with narrow columns, you need to implement some kind of hyphenation. There are JS libraries that do this now, I think.

tricolon 1 day ago 0 replies      
rbanffy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The old "SAVE 0 X.COM" trick... Brings back good memories.
raymondh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Python's __init__.py files are useful and can be zero bytes long.
zht 2 days ago 1 reply      
division by zero is undefined. c/x as x approaches 0 from the right is infinity.
simula67 1 day ago 0 replies      
x/0 is not equal to infinity in ordinary arithmetic (which is what author attempts here) :).


Qantourisc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Marvellous idea ! :)
gliter 1 day ago 0 replies      
On Confirmed Assumptions or, Not Trusting Google is a Good Idea anarchism.is
369 points by __hudson__  2 days ago   206 comments top 18
tptacek 2 days ago 5 replies      
How, in short, is this shit valid under the U.S. Bill of Rights? Id really like someone to explain that to me. With a straight face. Preferably without making me want to punch them in the process.

Well, he's going to want to punch me, but here's what I think(?) the answer is:

(a) He's not a US person, but instead a well-known citizen of Iceland, living abroad, and is thus not protected by the Fourth Amendment, at least to the extent that anything in the Fourth Amendment conflicts with any interest of the US.

(b) He's a person of interest in the investigation of one of the most significant leaks of national security information in US history.

digitalengineer 2 days ago 4 replies      
"Google is, however, allowed to tell me what account is involved, and I can do whatever I want with the information Google gave me"

So Google was allowed, not required. Looks like they did the right thing by at least telling OP what they were forced to do. Shouldn't the title be "Not trusting your Government"?

throwaway10001 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google shouldn't be trusted with everything you have. Between Analytics, Android, Google Search, Documents and E-mail they know what you are thinking and virtually everything you do, online and offline. Even if the current management are saints--I doubt it--the next team will push the envelope to monetize it even more. And then there is the NSA and FBI and the local divorce lawyer. If it's there they will get it.

So try things like blocking analytics at host level, using either gmail or search etc etc. Makes it harder for NSA. Can you imagine yourself in a trial trying to explain why you visited certain sites or searched for certain keywords 3 years ago? Were you really researching what you saw on CSI or were you preparing the perfect murder of your wife?

mtgx 2 days ago 5 replies      
They keep the deleted e-mails too? So even if you want to escape that 180 days law that says after 180 days it's free for all for authorities to get your e-mails, then deleting them before that time passes won't do you much good.

So basically the authorities will have access to your e-mails anyway. It's just that they won't get them in the first 180 days. And of course this just applies to police/FBI, as NSA can get them from the day you sent them.

gnosis 2 days ago 5 replies      
Google is spyware.

This has been obvious for a long time.

Most other "free" web services aren't much better.

It's sad that it's taken so long for people to start realizing and caring about this, but better late than never.

rasterizer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Abit harsh on Google. I mean what are they to do?
signed0 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Google has records of all emails that have been sent and deleted, presumably even if you don't have a Gmail account the government could ask Google for all emails that had ever been sent to your account.

Just as the Syrian government is unlikely to be able to get Google to give them information on particular dissidents, it would be wise for American activists to choose a email provider that is not located in the United States.

Semiapies 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Not trusting" in this case is more of an operational than moral/ethical judgement, and more general than Google - you can't rely on privacy from any company if the government can send them a letter saying, "Gimme everything on this guy, bitches."

And, well, if you don't want to run to Hong Kong, you're pretty much the government's bitch in that circumstance...

zenbowman 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I believe that organisations dont really have a right to secrecy and I believe that the more open a society, a society where people have more information is a society where we can take more informed decisions and where we perhaps wont need the gatekeepers that are currently in place as much" -Herbert Snorrason

If he doesn't believe organizations have a right to secrecy, then why does he believe that he is entitled to secrecy. Privacy and secrecy are the same thing, claiming to be pro-privacy but against secrecy is dishonest.

andrewljohnson 2 days ago 6 replies      
Google should invent a distributed, encrypted email protocol and make that network an option in GMail for storage and message sending. That would be a great PR move - if there is no central server, and no central message pipe, it's a little hard for anyone to think Google wants to be complicit in spying.
__hudson__ 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if donating to wikileaks or even sending an email to wikileaks offering to volunteer would be enough to interest someone in government in getting all your 1's & 0's.
tyrion 2 days ago 3 replies      
Isn't all "this shit" in violation of the International Bill of Human Rights?

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks." -- International Bill of Human Rights, article 12.

I also found interesting to read the "CCPR General Comment No. 16" [1] on the right to privacy.

[1] http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/23378a8724595410c1...

tantalor 2 days ago 2 replies      
Presumably the same justification/reasoning could be used to serve a home/business search warrant.
lettergram 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not just keep all your data on your own computer? No need to have a cloud and if it's email your worried about, well, it's assured if the U.S. government wants your conversations they will get it unless you jump through some pretty large hoops.
ethanazir 2 days ago 1 reply      
the gmail network effect pulls in people who would rather not be grokked.
fady 2 days ago 0 replies      
off-topic: you need some line-height for that post.. very hard to read.


Andrew_Quentin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why don't you sue and find out?
farinasa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think you need to update yourself on the details/arguments surrounding this particular debate before commenting.
A list of front end development resources github.com
351 points by gphreak  1 day ago   86 comments top 27
citricsquid 1 day ago 2 replies      
Another excellent development resource list is pineapple.io: http://pineapple.io/
ldng 1 day ago 3 replies      
Well it is a nice list but, it's a list, again.

By that I mean you either find compilation list like that or full stack framework but what a would personally find more useful would sets of cohesive tools, end-to-end.

Sure there are boilerplates out there but what I frustrating is that you hardly find "full stack" one. For instance what about a boilerplate for django + django-rest-framework + backbone.js + marionette + i18n tools for backend and frontend + manage.py-grunt.js integration + optimisation tools for css and images + ....

Yes, there are endless possibilities, the more the reason to find more of those out there don't you think ? Maybe it's me but I feel like there is either something missing, too much choice or both. I18N being often the most neglected (granted, it's harder)

What do HNers feel about that ?

simfoo 1 day ago 6 replies      
Seeing this mess again tells me that there's something fundamentally wrong with the web or at least with the standardized technologies that are supposed to solve the problem of frontend development (namely HTML, CSS and JS).

I think the web really needs a fresh start before I would even consider becoming a web developer (I'm a CS student atm)

awjr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seriously awesome list. Book marked and sent to friends/people I work with.

In a way shame this hit HN on a Saturday, this is one of those lists people need to find when sitting at their desk.

dypsilon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I moved the list to


please update your bookmarks. Pull requests are welcome.

darrellsilver 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great list! To teach front-end web development at http://www.thinkful.com/ we also sometimes use http://prework.flatironschool.com/
dfischer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been building a list of front-end development best practices at http://www.betterfrontend.com - it definitely needs to be updated though. I haven't had a change to work on it for almost a year. Would love to get something going with a few devs if they're interested.
jenius 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the author of http://roots.cx, much love and thanks for including us! We're working super hard on pushing roots further than we've seen any other static site compiler go, so if you are into static sites we'd love to talk : )
Nekorosu 1 day ago 2 replies      
The list is too massive and lacks projects' details to be useful.

I'd better use github's search.

porker 1 day ago 2 replies      
The trouble with managing a list like this is that it's not exactly easy to update/correct? It's always owned by one person, and errors (like Foundation 3 being mentioned) aren't easy to correct - or to expand and add new items to.

Great resource, but wouldn't a collaborative wiki be easier - or are such lists maintained for the original author's reputation not to become a fount of collective knowledge?

mundizzle 1 day ago 1 reply      
geuis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh thanks buddy! Glad to see my Helium-css project mentioned!
pardner 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is, in fact, one badass list. Nice work, great resource.
Bjartr 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the sake of completeness, it may be worth mentioning the Google Web Toolkit.
IbJacked 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice collection. Enough stuff to wander through and be certain I'll find something of interest, or discover something I was previously unaware of altogether.
danenania 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is beautiful. Thank you!
xixixao 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mimosa is missing from workflow. http://http://mimosajs.com/
dakrisht 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good lord, what a list. Thanks for this one.
woah 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is truly an excellent list
jsilva5 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know about a backend development resources list?
johnbellone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing list, I can digest it this weekend.
_Caspian 1 day ago 1 reply      
Small editorial detail, intuit.css should be inuit.css.

Otherwise good list :)

h0w412d 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not enough links.
octy86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Should be bookmarked as startpage :)T-H-A-N-K-S
bharathwaaj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic compilation. Thank you!
cjdulberger 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why I love HN. Great list!
orenbarzilai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great list! Thanks
Snowden Leaves Hong Kong on Commercial Flight to Moscow scmp.com
305 points by bendoernberg  18 hours ago   191 comments top 27
enko 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Man, how times have changed. I was born in the 70s and the US was the country you would run to to escape retribution for whistleblowing you did back home. ()

For Snowden to be running to Russia to escape extradition from Hong Kong (!) is just fucking bizarro world for me. It is actually quite jarring. I don't trust Russia at all. But even thinking about it forces one to ask whether one trusts the USA. The answer to that is pretty jarring, too.

() I'm not making a right/wrong judgement about his actions. He blew a whistle, a whistle he thought needed to be blown. In my opinion that is a necessary check on state power and is a defence in and of itself.

uvdiv 17 hours ago 7 replies      
This is strange, because there are no scheduled nonstop flights between Moscow (any airport) and Iceland. There are flights which make a connection in Europe, e.g. Helsinki, but then there are already nonstop flights to Helsinki from Hong Kong, so what does he gain from an additional landing in Moscow?

(Assuming Iceland is where he is trying to go).



(Note that the hub in Iceland is Keflavk (KEF), not Reykjavk (RKV) which mostly does domestic).

hkmurakami 18 hours ago 3 replies      
>Moscow will not be his final destination. Possible final destinations are either Iceland and Ecuador, according to previous media reports.

I first thought that Ecuador would be more likely, since had Iceland been his final destination, he probably would have taken the Icelandic businessman's offer to hire him a chartered flight. But then I realized that perhaps Snowden places more trust in a commercial flight and not being detained in Moscow than a stranger's chartered flight which could potentially backstab him and hand him over to US authorities.

fleitz 18 hours ago 2 replies      
In the modern era you can't really hide so he might as well be as public about it as you can be.

Russia is definitely an interesting move, and Putin has been playing the whole thing very smart. I wonder what he knows that the Russians don't, or what they can now reveal having found out through Snowden rather than the usual sources.

It seems to me the value in Snowden is mostly making public what everyone already knew.

untog 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

"he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. 'I am not afraid,' he said calmly, 'because this is the choice I've made.'"


lignuist 17 hours ago 2 replies      
For those who want to hypothesize: Here you can check the departures from Moskow after 17:15h


I think destinations in Russia, EU and Asia can be safely filtered out.

epo 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This story is part of the ongoing propaganda war between the USA and China. The only thing we know for certain is that the Chinese say he has boarded a plane to Moscow, he may or may not have done. He may or may not still be alive. The Chinese may even have secretly handed him back to the Americans. We don't know and it is probably best to be sceptical about everything you read until a journalist and film crew meets him face to face.
Lucadg 16 hours ago 0 replies      
WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) tweeted at 11:20am - 23 Jun 13:

FLASH: Mr. Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors. (https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/348732325909102593)

Edit: Oops sorry, somebody posted this already. Anyway, interesting news!

Dosenpfand 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems that he got help from Wikileaks' legal team:

>FLASH: WikiLeaks has assisted Mr. Snowden's political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers ans safe exit from Hong Kong. More soon.


>FLASH: Mr. Snowden is currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors.


haakon 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Snowden is going to land in Oslo airport, Norway and meet with the leader of our Pirate Party, before going on to his final destination which is supposed to be Iceland. Source, in Norwegian: https://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/Piratpartiet-Snowde...
colin_jack 16 hours ago 0 replies      
People interested in this might also want to read the Guardians latest GCHQ revelations. Worryingly they seem to have been gathering more data and there is an interesting section on NSA involvement.


CurtMonash 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd be happier if he weren't putting himself under the control of governments that can reasonably be regarded as US adversaries. Thus, I'm with Assange that Ecuador or something was the way for Snowden to go.

Yes, there would be a risk to him of regime change in any such place, but so be it ...

nsns 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Not only his leaks, even his itinerary makes the US look bad.
alexqgb 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like this is where his carefully considered plan gets much more improvisational. Bad optics, just the same - even if he is on his way to Iceland.
rosser 17 hours ago 0 replies      
He's not going to Russia; he's going through Russia. TFA's second sentence:

It is understood the fugitive whistle-blower boarded the Moscow-bound flight earlier on Sunday and will continue to another country.

oal 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The flight can be followed in real time on FlightRadar24: http://fr24.com/AFL213
cinquemb 17 hours ago 1 reply      
As the HKSAR government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

I think Washington will wake up with a bitter taste in their mouths

brown9-2 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't he say that he intended to fight any extradition in the HK courts?
mh- 18 hours ago 3 replies      
his fellow passengers are going to be rather annoyed if he causes this flight to be detained on the tarmac for hours.
dschiptsov 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Never heard that we've implemented visa-on-arrival scheme.)
jafaku 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool website. This is what I see: http://i.imm.io/1a7pX.jpeg
WeirdSemantics 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Imho, given the publicity of the issue, there's no way the current US judicial system could find Snowden guilty of treason without creating a huge domestic and international scandal. Politically, this would turn into an enormous backlash. To maintain the image of a state of law, the US has no other choice than prosecute, but the outcome will turn out as either:

- a mistrial, followed by a strong attempt at burying the case somehow (probably with other events)

- a non guilty verdict, with spin doctoring to display the whole thing as a demonstration of the fact that the US constitution and overall legal system is sound,

- a "guilty" verdict, but with so much attenuating circumstances than there will be no significant sentence

However, for Snowden, I doubt that he will be able to find a job again in his line of work, after breaking the "ethic rules". What security company would hire a (skilled even) security analyst (or whatever Snowden was actually doing) if he cannot keep it shut on the internal practices? The scope could widen to any entreprise actually.

Thiz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Running away from lucifer to fall in the arms of beelzebub?

Weird world.

rlwolfcastle 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure why he just didn't go to China initially and then use the Phoenix to fly wherever he wanted?
spitx 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Let's not get cute here.

If the United States wanted him extracted (on the way to Hong Kong) or worse, killed during his sojourn in HK, Snowden would have already faced a fate several orders worse than Alexander V. Litvinenko.

It isn't a huge tab for the U.S. to foot in the way of deploying deep cover teams to "take care" of Snowden - for what had been alleged to be the biggest U.S. intelligence leak in a generation - in the least suspicion-arousing manner long before Greenwald ever published his story.

For a nation that outspends the next ten defense budgets combined (even with the off late sequestration cuts accounted for) this is not much of a task.

The top brass could have taken care of this in a manner several orders more believable than the 2006 killing of Alexander V. Litvinenko in which the uber rare, and thus strictly available to only government bodies, Polonium-210 was used.

They could have made it seem like a forlorn affair of unrequited love with that dancer-acrobat girlfriend of his.

It is acutely nonsensical to assume that movements of sensitive personnel, like Snowden, are not tracked, especially to far-flung locations like HK given that he is not a field operative of any kind.

The NSA and other assorted intelligence/military organizations probably have a protocol for dealing with these things,in conjunction with the Justice department.

If they didn't before, Manning's case would have elicited the need for one.







PavlovsCat 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

I might agree that this may not apply to all threads about this subject. But it also doesn't apply to so many things that are regularly posted here and nobody ever hears a peep about, often minor iteration of some shallow cosmetic "technology", and generally ads thinly veiled under bad writing. I mean, if the standards are that low, why not simply declare that humans are biological machines, and therefore all human interest stories are technology stories? But don't pretend there is consistency and actual adherence to the guidelines, I just don't see it. Maybe the problem is that it would require us first to define "good hacker". What is that? I'm thinking of the Chaos Computer Club guys, or Cult of the Dead Cow, not of Silicon Valley. But surely that isn't it, so what is it...?

I would love to see a "main section" restricted to big ideas or questions, instead of news of the day, something that strictly tries to adhere to those guidelines -- but I would still want to have an area where we can discuss Snowden, or some random thing that existed for ages predictably being converted to js now, in a format that is purely focused on the words, and with people that are generally extremely smart. And if we can't do it here, I wish we could make that place, instead of just shutting up whenever it gets remotely serious.

h4pless 17 hours ago 5 replies      
Snowden running is not something to be confused with an admission of guilt, but at the same time, it does prove that he is not a patriot. With his worldwide recognition: the safest course would be for him to publicly turn himself in to a US police station or deliver himself to a courtroom. He would have a very public trial and would have an even farther reaching message in this country. By running he shows that he has no faith in this country and no longer considers himself a citizen. Not only that but he opens himself up to a ridiculous amount of risk by being wide open in foreign countries where things are semi-expected to happen to travelers by this country. If something happens to him while he's in the legal system of this country, the people responsible for him would be crucified by the media and everyone else. Granted he could be silenced and have his reputation destroyed by the media while incarcerated in this country but I believe a patriot works with the system or fights within it, only a coward runs.
Demonstrations to protest NSA spying planned for July 4th restorethefourth.net
292 points by pvnick  1 day ago   44 comments top 11
mtgx 1 day ago 5 replies      
If Brazilians can create a 1 million strong protest over a 0.1$ bus fare increase, I'd hope Americans from the "land of the free, home of the brave" would be able to do the same over the revealing of a massive spying apparatus that's used against Americans and completely infringing on the 4th amendment.

But even more importantly it's infringing on their human rights that should guarantee that they don't have to live in fear in a surveillance state and they have the right to anonymous speech or being able to have confidential conversations with people, without having to think that everything they say is being recorded by the government, and if if they even say the "wrong words" they may end up on certain "lists" that are monitored more heavily.

pvnick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad to see HNers are excited about this. Shameless plug - if you live in or around Gainesville, FL, I encourage you to attend the one I'm organizing for my town: http://gatorsrestorethefourth.com
diminoten 1 day ago 2 replies      
Okay, so let's not become the next Occupy movement with this, can we figure out what it is we're protesting for in the first place? And "FREEDOM" or "PRIVACY!" aren't things you can protest for and expect to get. Maybe something like, "We want to require the government to announce ALL FISA court rulings" or "We want to require the government to declassify details about the PRISM program" or something along those lines.

We no longer live in an age where rhetoric tears down walls and opens doors. Somewhere along the line, people in power recognized they can just ignore pretty words and they'll usually go away.

bobwaycott 1 day ago 3 replies      
The only way public demonstrations are going to have an effect is for them to be massive and concentrated. That does not mean widespread protests are a bad idea per se, but that if none of the protests actually have mass, they are going to be ignored by both officials and your fellow citizens as a temporary annoyance for which they will hold little sympathy.

Development of public support against greater security at the cost of freedom is the only way to make meaningful change. Yes, marches/demonstrations can be part of this. But small demonstrations do not alone capture the public's interest. One must capture the public mind--and that means informing the public and winning their support of having less "security" where weaking or violating the protections of their basic rights are concerned.

Right now, as various polls have showed, far too many Americans desire the feeling and theater of security. They are content to be invaded at airport security because eventually they can still fly. They are content to have their communications slurped up because they can still send that email and make that phone call.

It's not until they're staring at a public fountain from which they are not able to drink because it has a stupid printed sign above it that says "Whites Only" that the public will accept that things have gone horribly wrong.

I think demonstrations would be excellent to see, but not if they're anything like the Occupy movement, which the wider public opposed against their own self interest. It is very difficult to get the public's attention when they do not feel the effects. The public is rather shitty at evaluating and appreciating things in the abstract. Demonstrations that are massive and concentrated would have a much more significant impact. Think of the Civil Rights March on Washington. That level of mass and concentration. Doubling it would be even better.

And yet, even that basic right to protest has been severely weakened by the fact that one must get a permit to protest in many of the locations that would be tactically good choices. This is madness. The 4th is not the only Amendment that the People have allowed to be weakened over the last two centuries.

Americans have become very lazy where protecting their rights are concerned, because the vast majority of Americans do not participate in protecting those rights when they are violated against minority factions.

jdp23 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in getting involved, there's discussion Restore on the 4th's subreddit at http://www.reddit.com/r/restorethefourth/ and daily IRC meetings at 5 p.m.
oddball28 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is just an opinion because my personal experience with protesting is null, but isn't the strategy of protesting in hundreds of communities ineffective?

It's easy to ignore or contain 50-1000+ protesters [1][2] at some 600 locations (see Occupy Wall Street), whereas a centralized protest (maybe in DC?) of 70,000+[3] will hear their voices ringing across the world.

It's easy to feel like your working together and making a difference with someone across the globe, but really to be heard you need to work together,as a team, in close proximity. Change isn't easy.

[1] Wrong: http://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2011/ows_gallery_121...

[2] Meh, street performers pull bigger crowds: http://media.syracuse.com/news/photo/10265946-large.jpg

[2] Here we go: http://wakingamericaup.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/i-have-a-...

chrsstrm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know setting the date of most of these events to the 4th of July is very symbolic, but is that really the best choice? That is the one day that Americans already gather in large numbers to celebrate. In DC alone the entire national mall area and surrounding are gridlocked with people who come to see the fireworks. How would you be able to tell who is there protesting and who is there to celebrate? It seems like your protest message would easily be lost in the noise of the Fourth.

Why not set it for the day before? 100,000+ people on the steps of the Capitol or in front of the White House on the evening of the 3rd would get much more coverage than doing anything on the 4th.

temp1234567 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a quick note, remember to turn off your cell phones at these events. Protestors are tracked by their cell phone records by the police and govt.
relak 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to spark mass protest, here's how you do it: cut all government programs. Once people realize how much government is artificially inflating their livelihood and how little corporations have really left for them, they will get angry and start rioting. It no longer will fit the left/right paradigm. If a Walmart employee can no longer feed their family because they have no access to government programs and Walmart pays their employees an awful wage, do you think they are just gonna take that? No. They'll demand actual change.
aclevernickname 1 day ago 3 replies      
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I can't help but think this is the worst idea ever. You have a highly-strung government, watching everyone for signs of domestic terrorism, and then protest, which the government has considered an act of aggression since at least the Dubya administration.

The only remedy we have in this country is lawsuits. Not class-actions, either; individual lawsuits for $500k each, for egregiously prejudicing your individual rights guaranteed by the constitution. ten thousand or so of those, with the president's name in all caps (head of the Unitary Executive) listed as the defendant.

or, you know, you could try to make a well-regulated militia of 3D-printed pea shooters, so you can overthrow the largest and most heavily-armed military in the history of the world. that'll definitely work.

Myself, I appreciate the disclosure I'm being given that Scott McNealy was right all those years ago when he said we have zero privacy anyway. The government has the right to do whatever they want with their property. if you use/are their property (isn't that ARPAnet thing US military property?), expect them to enforce their interest in that property.

TL;DR for the downvoters (+6 to -2 in less than 20 minutes? hilarious): PROTEST BAD. LAWSUITS GOOD.

w0ts0n 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is this US only?
Two dozen mathematicians wrote a 600 page book in 6 months on GitHub andrej.com
292 points by jacoblyles  3 days ago   96 comments top 24
tel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shamelessly copied [1] from tactics (go upvote him there) from the Haskell subreddit in case it's of interest to anyone here:

"Homotopy Type Theory is a recent advancement in the area of dependent types. Think Agda, Coq, Idris-style languages if you're familiar with them... otherwise think GADTs on supersteroids gone berserk.

Dependent types allow you to be extremely precise with your data types. You can talk about not just lists or lists of strings.... but also lists of strings of length n (for some natural number n). In the far future, it may be the key to getting fast-as-C performance (think removing bounds checking on arrays completely safely) and software verified correctness of a program simultaneously.

This isn't software, though. This is a math book.There was a realization a few years ago that equality types (the ability to express x = y in the type system) gave rise to a mathematical structure called a weak -groupoid which was giving homotopy and category theorists a hard time. Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is a typed lambda calculus that makes studying these things easier. In fact, every data type corresponds to (a very boring) weak -groupoid.

What this allows mathematicians to do, though, is to create new interesting data types corresponding to more interesting examples of these things. You get a data type for a Circle, or a Sphere, or a Torus. You can define functions between them via recursion the same way you'd define a function on lists or trees. These new fancy data types are called higher inductive types, and while they don't (currently) have any use for programmers, they pay the meager salaries of long beards in the ivory tower.

The other novelty of the theory might be more interesting for programmers some day (at least if you believe dependent types will save the world).

A guy named Voevodsky proposed a new axiom called the Univalence Axiom that makes HoTT a substatial alternative to the former foundations of mathematics. The Univalence Axiom formalizes a practice mathematicans had been using for a long time, (despite its technical incompatibility with ZFC). tl;dr, the Univalence Axiom says that if two data types are isomorphic then they are equal.

Eventually, this axiom may allow a programmer to do some neat things. For instance, a programmer could write two versions of a program -- a naive version and a "fast" version. (Currently, all programmers only write the "fast" version). If you want to formally prove your "fast" program doesn't suck, it's nasty. However, it might even be humanly possible to prove some correctness about the naive version. The Univalence Axiom (once given "computational semantics") may be able to let us prove things about the dumb, slow, reference implementation of a program or library, then transfer that proof of correctness to the fast one.

To give a small example for anyone familiar with a dependently-typed language, you may notice that in Coq and Agda and whatever, the first data type you learn (and one you stick with for a long time) are the unary natural numbers. That is, you have 0, and 0+1, and 0+1+1, and 0+1+1+1, etc.. We use unary numbers because they are reaaaally easy to prove stuff about. But as any programmer might guess, actually doing anything with them is suicide. The Univalence Axiom would allow us to keep on working with unary numbers for all of our proofs, but then swap them out for actual, honest-to-God 2's complement representations when it comes time to run the program.

So there's that.

Not everyone cares about software correctness, though. But if you're sold on category theory, here's a neat trick. You probably know that equality becomes a hairy, nasty thing in category theory. Two objects can be equal or isomorphic. If you move onto 2-categories, two categories can be equal, isomorphic, or equivalent! And for higher category theory, you end up with even more notions of equaltiy, isomorphism, equivalence, etc, etc.

In a univalent foundation of category theory (which appears in the later chapters of this book), we see that all of these notions of equality collapse down into just one. If two things are isomorphic, then they are, by definition, equal to each other. You no longer have to worry about that stupid squiggle over your equals signs, because univalence means that every construction must respect the structure of your data. There are no leaky abstractions in your data types!"

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/haskell/comments/1gr3uw/the_homotopy...

jere 3 days ago 3 replies      
Another post that actually loaded for me: http://homotopytypetheory.org/2013/06/20/the-hott-book/

[incidentally, it's the official post announcing the book]

anandkulkarni 2 days ago 1 reply      
The most interesting suggestion, to me:

"However, there is something else we can do. It is more radical, but also more useful. Rather than letting people only evaluate papers, why not give them a chance to participate and improve them as well? Put all your papers on github and let others discuss them, open issues, fork them, improve them, and send you corrections. Does it sound crazy? Of course it does, open source also sounded crazy when Richard Stallman announced his manifesto.

Let us be honest, who is going to steal your LaTeX source code? There are much more valuable things to be stolen. If you are tenured professor you can afford to lead the way. Have your grad student teach you git and put your stuff somewhere publicly. Do not be afraid, they tenured you to do such things."

This is a fascinating idea. I'm curious. If we did this (say, with an upcoming technology paper), would anyone want to contribute?

anigbrowl 3 days ago 5 replies      
Quibble: I downloaded the pdf, which defaults to a file called 'hott-online.pdf'. Why not Homotopy Type Theory - 1st Edition.pdf'? I download a lot of pdfs (mainly because of being a law nerd), and I am sick to the back teeth of having to rename virtually everything that I download so that I'll be able to find the filename again later. I do use Mendeley to keep my documents more-or-less organized, but what have people got against human-readable filenames? Really I ought to be able to get semantic metadata for everything I download.

As for the work itself, great stuff, I look forward to reading it, or at least dipping into it (not a mathematician).

kryptiskt 3 days ago 1 reply      
So it's basically Bourbaki with modern tools.
kryten 3 days ago 2 replies      
Even better: One surgeon wrote a mathematics book in a decade in Microsoft Word!

It's better than anything I've read from any mathematician. They seem to forget that people don't know what they are talking about to start with.


csense 3 days ago 3 replies      
Someone should make an effort to market Git to mathematicians (and academics and scientists in fields where Git exists).

This article is a start, but it would probably be stronger if the author had a nuts-and-bolts tutorial about how to use Git from the point of view of someone whose use case involves LaTeX markup rather than source code.

cocoflunchy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if GitHub are planning to add LaTeX files compilation any time soon. It would be amazing to be able to see diffs on a generated output rather than source code.
pseut 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, obviously I don't want to sound ungrateful and I'm impressed that they put this together and made it freely available. I'm not sure that creative commons is the right license though, since it doesn't require the LaTeX source to be redistributed if the pdf is (unlike the GPL or the GNU Free Documentation License). (They're providing the source on GitHub, but if interest in the project trails off and someone else forks it, the person forking is under no obligation to share the modified LaTeX).

I can think of many sets of notes on the MIT OCW site that are CC, which I'd like to be able to modify and share but can't because the source is missing.

Anyone else have thoughts on the right license for this sort of project?

mkehrt 3 days ago 3 replies      
Looks like I'm in the minority for being mostly excited about a solid book on homotopy type theory!
Dove 3 days ago 1 reply      
acjohnson55 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love a good epub or mobi version of this, if anyone's got one
cinquemb 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I were to go back to college, I'd probably try to get all my engineering friends to use git for projects to the point of getting their annoyance. Even now when I ask them why they don't use github to do something that would make their job easier, I get blank stares so is life I suppose.
tel 3 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, with a little background in Coq or Agda it feels like (from what I've read so far) this book is pretty approachable by mathematicians and computer scientists alike.
a-nikolaev 2 days ago 0 replies      
Btw, the blog author, Andrej Bauer, is an amazing guy.

I was really fascinated by some of his older blog publications (and I was only scratching the surface):

http://math.andrej.com/2007/09/28/seemingly-impossible-funct... by Martin Escardo, an article about a Haskell program doing exhaustive search over the Cantor space of infinite sequences)

http://math.andrej.com/eff/ (Language Eff, a functional programming language based on algebraic effects and their handlers.) My understanding is that in this language all effects and evaluation order are explicit; effects and pure functions are easily and explicitly composable. Something like monads but more advanced. (My interpretation is probably wrong!)

http://andrej.com/plzoo/ (The Programming Language Zoo). A number of mini languages which demonstrate various techniques in design and implementation of programming languages. (calculator, mini-ML, mini-Haskell, mini-Prolog, etc)

johnchristopher 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am going to refer to the latex code for my future assignments in electronics and mathematics classes.

Really nice to have the source.

broken_symlink 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess no one on here has heard of the stacks project. Its over 3800 pages and I counted 93 contributors on the first page. Also, the LaTeX source is freely available on github. https://github.com/stacks/stacks-project
garysweaver 3 days ago 1 reply      
> NOTE: my blog is being slashdotted by Hacker News

:) I think we need a new verb here.

twog 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Great use of git & latex! This is the exact problem we are tackling at my startup, Banyan, with our new latex platform http://cl.ly/image/3u3Z3f40382K
jdn 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the authors listed, Thorsten Altenkirch, teaches quite a few second year Computer Science modules at Nottingham. He's absolutely mad. Here is a selection of some of his best moments: http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~txa/thorsten.html.

Note that this hasn't been updated in 13 years. The gold that has been lost since then truly saddens me.

charlieflowers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic -- The title of the hacker news submission made me chuckle. It reminds me the old software principle that "9 women can't have a baby in one month."
jacoblyles 3 days ago 1 reply      
git treats every paragraph as a single line. That seems like an annoying default for english text.
HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden gov.hk
290 points by adulau  17 hours ago   133 comments top 20
mbenjaminsmith 16 hours ago 8 replies      
My opinion of the HK SAR, which has always been quite high, just went up a couple of notches.

I hope Snowden finds asylum and can live a reasonably comfortable life. He's a patriot. I'm a US citizen and I'm pro-US but this bullshit has to stop.

josscrowcroft 17 hours ago 3 replies      
What a wonderful press release. Compare this to the UK government's small-dog-loud-bark assertion that Snowden "is not welcome here... you know, just in case he was thinking about coming..." and the relative certainty that he would have been arrested instantly upon arrival here. What does that say?
fleitz 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe they are paraphrasing Rage Against the Machine:

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

edit: It's also a brilliant commentary on the rule of law, and due process rights.

jusben1369 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I find the high praise for the HK government very odd. Basically they told Snowden they'd stall for him (docs are missing page 4 - please resubmit) but he'd better hit the road fast. Worry about a domestic audience they add "With zero leverage now we promise to follow up on snooping." That will of course go no where.

The Chinese do not want to set the precedent that governments should ignore extradition treaties and thus harbor fugitives wanted on national security issues.

I don't blame the HK gov - just question some of the responses here.

sage_joch 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The response here seems overwhelmingly positive. And to some extent I get that. But it does make me nervous to see escalating tensions between major world powers. Especially when there were already tensions from the war in Syria.
pavs 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I love living in this time where most countries can tell USA government, to go fuck themselves. This wasn't always the case.
paulsutter 17 hours ago 1 reply      
My comments would be limited to "FUCK YEAH!"
jasonjei 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow, I bet Hong Kong is thrilled that a technicality allowed Snowden to leave their turf and free them from a potential diplomatic headache... meanwhile defending the right to privacy of their citizens...
staunch 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Translation: "Fuck You"
jrs235 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law"

Sounds like they took the NSA's line right out of their mouths: "Many of the requests that you forwarded to this office do not contain a complete mailing address. Therefore, we cannot respond to those requests..." (http://www.mynsarecords.com/blog/2013-06-21-nsa-please-stop-...)

dsirijus 16 hours ago 0 replies      
They should've put Facebook Like button there.
genwin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Shit just got real. The US gov't will now respond with a strongly-worded letter.
downandout 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong."

That paragraph, included in this very same release, says all they need to say about how he got out of the country. HK knew it couldn't offer safe harbor for him given the economic ties of itself and China to the US, but they obviously offered him safe passage. Snowden's strategy of letting his host country know what we had done to them actually worked.

fritzy 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The pairing of the statement about Snowden with an inquiry into government sponsored hacking is telling about their attitude and reasons for not being super cooperative.
return0 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The US government is letting this turn to a huge trainwreck for them.
zokier 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The cheering for HK in this thread is interesting, when the end result was not that positive. Snowden had to leave the place that I believe he hoped to be a safe haven for him, and now he is quite literally on the run again.
jelled 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Powerful use of "Meanwhile"
galapago 11 hours ago 0 replies      
They use a terrible font in that web, oh.. my eyes!
chj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Smart move!
kghose 16 hours ago 9 replies      
It is interesting to read the commentary here. Some of you here are US citizens. You do realize that you are supporting a person, who is basically a foreign agent and now a pawn in the hands of two foreign powers who themselves engage in cyber attacks all over the world.

However, your responses are not new or novel. During the second world war the Nazi government took anti-war protests in the US to mean that public opinion was firmly against any intervention. What they did not count on was the fickleness of public opinion.

I suspect many of you here will, in case a real war breaks out, be heading for a recruiting station. People are funny things.

How I Got Fired from the Job I Invented aroundtheworldin80jobs.com
286 points by citricsquid  2 days ago   72 comments top 22
spdy 2 days ago 1 reply      
The internet is a funny place a guy with no real traction on his project (sadlybecause his idea sounds great ).

68 subscribers16,535 viewsYoutube

2,2k Twitter

just has to reach out to the right channels reddit/twitter/fb to start a PR disaster for a Adecco.

Around the world in 80 (days/jobs/parties/x)

Lets see how they will turn it around, they got bitten by a mistake of not doingenough market research.

pathy 2 days ago 2 replies      
As far as I can tell the agency responsible for the campaign is Mortierbrigade [1]. I haven't been able to confirm it for sure but the original source [2] I found it for seems to be quite knowledge about the Belgian advertising scene.

Adecco's/Mortierbrigade attempts to defend themselves on Facebook have been rather halfhearted so far.[3]

[1]: http://mortierbrigade.com[2]: http://creativecriminals.com/online/adecco-way-to-work/[3]: https://www.facebook.com/AdeccoWayToWork/posts/5588127241617...

pessimizer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that anyone can get a trademark on "Around the World in 80 Xs." I would think that you'd have to get "Around the World in 80 Dishes with Slavko Slobovich" or "John Johnson's Around the World in 80 Trees." Maybe changing the number of Xs or going "Around the Channel Islands" or something.

I would think anything built on the bare single variable snowclone would be too cliche to be exclusive.

sigkill 2 days ago 4 replies      
Apparently their reaction page is up - http://www.adecco.com/en-US/Media/Pages/reaction.aspx
mark-r 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hate to be a downer, but this is why Trademark law was invented. If you don't or can't get a trademark on your brand, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time, money, and energy promoting it.

There are a lot of slimy people in the world, and if you aren't protected eventually one of them will take advantage. Even a trademark might not stop it, but it gives you some ammo to fight back.

SpikedCola 2 days ago 2 replies      
Netbeing 2 days ago 2 replies      
Amusing: Adecco's website has a live twitter feed widget on it. And it's a constant stream of tweets ripping on Adecco for this.
edent 2 days ago 1 reply      
While the site is down, you can watch the author talk about this on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPP6fgpkTE
loceng 2 days ago 2 replies      
If he used "Around the world in 80 jobs" prior to their use, they shouldn't have received a trademark.
withad 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like every other issue of Private Eye has something almost exactly like this in their Ad Nauseum column. A lot of marketing companies are stealing ideas from old viral videos and art projects.
munger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let Adecco know how you feel in their contact form too should you feel so inspired (keep it civil though)


I just put one through, feels good.

spacecowboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an opportunity for Turner to use this situation and the attention this can generate to amplify his own idea, brand and work.
hochiwa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hilarious watching the live twitter feed on their (adecco's) homepage.
nanidin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was on reddit last night - I can't access the article, but the people in the comments on the reddit thread were having massive misconceptions about trademark vs copyright. Also, anyone can put TM next to something - it doesn't mean they trademarked it. It's the (R) that means you actually put forth effort to trademark something.
mariusz331 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's funny watching the twitter feed on Adecco's website:


Arnor 2 days ago 0 replies      
It blows my mind that http://www.adecco.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx is up today...
Zaephyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, and it's different from trademark, the Addeco.com website is showing " 2011 Adecco"

At least they are consistently not paying attention to details.

chrisvineup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Site is down...
jamespollack 2 days ago 0 replies      
the twitter feed on the ripoff homepage is priceless right now :
Ashuu 2 days ago 0 replies      
"401 Authorization Required"What is username and password?
e3pi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Great introduction and images, you worked hard on this! Get any lawyer and kick their billionairism ass five ways to Sunday for $$$treble$$$ psychotic grief damages. Site shows they ruined you.

So an effective cease and and desist letter. Prepare to doubly rebutt these criminal butts' rebuttal:


into: =====>




How to know when someone is in trouble in the water slate.com
276 points by pavel  2 days ago   113 comments top 28
ender7 2 days ago 3 replies      
Beware: it is very dangerous to attempt to rescue a full-grown person who is drowning. A person who is drowning has temporarily lost their mind and will happily drown their would-be rescuer in an attempt to stay above the water. Approach a drowning person from behind and hold them above the water by their armpits.
kaoD 2 days ago 4 replies      
I can confirm the article. Almost drowned once in a river: I let myself go with the current and, once I tried swimming back, realized I accidentally went into strong currents.

I tried swimming harder, but eventually got tired and sunk. Despite my friends being about 20/30 meters away from me, they didn't realize I was drowning. I couldn't scream for help nor do anything but trying to stick my head out and breathe. I couldn't stay afloat long enough to cause any water splash either.

Fortunately I touched a rock that was sticking out from the bottom with my foot and stood there for a bit to recover and go back.

Be careful this summer!

minikites 2 days ago 1 reply      
This get re-published every summer for good reason. Drowning happens frequently and it's theoretically preventable if people knew what to look for.

Also, be careful if you have to save a drowning person. The drowning response will cause them to instinctively push you under in an effort to get above water, so make sure you have your own floatation device so they don't end up drowning you.

Arjuna 2 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to the point of this piece, please read the following for comprehensive guidelines with regard to water safety:


For those heading to the beach, please be aware of the rip current phenomenon:



ComputerGuru 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an excellent article, it was posted around 3 years ago from the original source and there was some great discussion at the time, revolving around some of the questions and opinions currently being discussed here in the comments.


It's good to see it resurface, definitely one of the more memorable articles I've ever read.

muraiki 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen articles like this before, and whenever I read them I think about a time on vacation when I could quite possibly have drowned. I had traveled abroad with some friends and went into relatively shallow water. However, I hadn't swam at all in many years, and I was also out of shape.

We decided to have a swimming race. About halfway through I was completely exhausted, both from being out of shape and not being a very good swimmer in the first place. At that point I stopped to rest and realized that my feet couldn't hit the bottom. I recall my mouth being above and then below water, along with panic. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I got the idea to try and backfloat, which I was able to do. After resting a bit I was able to direct myself to shallow water again.

At the time I didn't think too much of it, but when I reflect upon it I think that I was drowning. My friends were indeed not far away, and I couldn't yell or thrash my hands around. It's scary to consider that I could have died while so close to them!

b0rsuk 2 days ago 5 replies      
"""How did this captain knowfrom 50 feet awaywhat the father couldnt recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television.(...)Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event."""

I think there should be a law against showing kicking&screaming drowning people in movies. I'm not a fan of censorship otherwise, but here we have a clear case where movies occasionally lead to lost lives.

nsxwolf 2 days ago 3 replies      
A video would be helpful. I'm not confident I could recognize all those signs from the descriptions.
clarkmoody 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here[1] is the publication where the article gets its description of Instinctive Drowning Response. Skip to page 14 (pdf).

[1] http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/On%20Scene/OSFall06.pdf

spullara 2 days ago 2 replies      
This device on IndieGogo seems really promising:


It is just too easy not to notice a drowning person, especially a child, even if they are right in front of you.

mikeryan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another bit that makes drowning deceptive is that most of the time the victim will be in relatively shallow water or fairly close to the edge of the pool. If you can't swim its usually hard to get out to deep/open water (unless in a beach break) so a lot of kids that struggle will do so within a foot or two of being able to reach a wall or shallow enough water to stand up in.
japhyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I first read this article right around the time my son was born. I soon realized this is a really good mindset for supervising young children as well. If your kid is playing out of sight and you don't hear them for a while, go find them and see what they are doing.

"Listening for silence" is a really good skill to learn.

diminoten 2 days ago 2 replies      
I worked as a lifeguard in high school and had to save a kid once.

I didn't even think he was having trouble until one of the counselors yelled, "DIMINOTEN!" He was taking a swim test and looked just like all the other kids, except he wasn't going anywhere.

Being a lifeguard is a silly job. 99.999% of the time you're doing nothing but sitting in a chair, trying not to fall asleep. It's that ONE time when you need to be paying attention that's critical and matters absolutely.

swinnipeg 2 days ago 2 replies      
The absence of screaming and waving seems obvious after reading it, I realize I am really am conditioned to think if people aren't screaming...etc they aren't in trouble.

That said there is definitely some lifeguard propaganda in the article (who knew such a thing existed?):

"From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response peoples bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Cyranix 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this topic interests you, please consider engaging with Colin's Hope if you are able. I used to work with a member of their board of directors, and I know from direct experience that the organization is incredibly passionate about their cause.


JakeSc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if you did this on purpose, but THANK YOU for posting the mobile version of the site. It removes a lot of the distracting spam from the main version.

I think more people should try to find a mobile version of a submission before submitting it.

Mindless2112 2 days ago 1 reply      
I spent a couple of summers as a lifeguard at a college swimming pool, and I have seen this first-hand.

As a lifeguard, I was well trained in how to rescue but not particularly well trained in how to recognize a drowning victim. There was a time I watched a boy bobbing up and down in the water, looking upward, mouth open, but not appearing to gasp for breath, the whole time wondering if he was in trouble. Luckily he was less than two yards from his mother, and she eventually picked him up. (Also luckily for me, she didn't think anything of it, or I might have been in trouble -- she probably didn't recognize that he was actually drowning either!) Only when I read the original publication of this article was I certain that he had been drowning at the time.

A side-note so that I don't seem like a complete abomination of a lifeguard: I did save a drowning victim at that pool. She displayed the TV-portrayed signs of drowning after jumping off the diving board with no idea how to swim. Probably due to the adrenaline rush, the rescue is a bit fuzzy, but that's where the lifeguard training kicks in.

atulagarwal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I had almost drowned once. I had a personal flotation device and I knew swimming! We were out rafting, and I had swayed away from the raft swimming in light rapids (the instructor said its very safe - which it wasn't). When I realized that the rapids were overwhelming me, I tried to stay afloat (a flotation device and know-how of floating works - but I guess I was panicked!), but did not help too much. It took me sometime to realize I was drowning, and in the meantime I had told another raft that had approached to help - that I was fine (overconfidence?). When the reality hit, it was bad, and I could not even scream. I did wave my hands, on to which my friends on the raft threw a rope, and I survived.

Even swimmers (I consider myself below average) can drown. "Panic" is to blame here. The following article explains a similar case quite here (search for "scuba-diving"):


jacobparker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that was uncomfortable to read. I had forgotten about a time where this happened to me in a regular in-ground pool (I was very young.) I can confirm the description of the article: arms extended, cant speak, mouth going in and out of the water with my head tilted up etc.

A friend noticed and got me to safety; my dad was confused and I felt very weird/blurry about how I had reacted.


cfn 2 days ago 1 reply      
This happened to me once in a pool and until I read an article like this I didn't even know I was drowning. I was 5 or 6 and was in a swimming class. I remember going up and down and not being able to say anything or do anything but that. I don't think anyone noticed me but I may be wrong. What saved me was that the pool bottom was slanted so every time I went down I touched it just a bit but enough to push me slowly to the shallower end.
hyborg787 2 days ago 0 replies      
From my relative who was a Boat & Water Safety person in Minnesota regarding this article:

This is a song I have been singing for years. Drowning is silent, fast, and deadly. One of the best videos I have seen on this subject is "The Reasons People Drown", produced by Dr. Pia. It is excellent, chilling, and should be watched by everyone who is responsible for or who cares about small children and non-swimmers who venture near the water.

Drowning victims are helpless, and without intervention, will be dead in one minute or less. Most drowning victims perish within 6 feet of safety, and that safety often is a person who could have rescued them if they had known what was happening within arms reach.

Re-read the description of a drowning victim and then compare it to the sight of a child at play. There are many similarities and if you are not vigilant you will never notice the differences.

If your child is near the water, you need to be near your child. And, it is not possible to adequately monitor a child in the water and read a book at the same time. Pay attention to the child only, and don't try to keep an eye on more than two at one time!

garycomtois 2 days ago 0 replies      
The link was for the mobile slate site. This is the non-mobile version:


stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some day cameras will monitor what happens in a pool and software will be good enough to figure out when someone is drowning, releasing the nearest floatation device from the bottom of the pool.
dspeyer 2 days ago 2 replies      

    color: rgb(102,102,102)

Why do so many publishers make their content so hard to read?

(Once I fixed that with inspectElement, the article was good.)

kayhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're going to swim in open water (not a pool) and there is a lifeguard, tell them you're going to go swimming and ask if there is anything you should be aware of.

They often have insights into certain areas, underwater terrain, currents and the influence of tidal changes. Also by talking with them, they will be more aware of your location.

hvflykrur 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I was 10 I was at a water park and they had some sort of artificial wave generator in one of the pools. It wasn't until last year (when I first read the article) that I realized that what I experienced in that pool was Instinctive Drowning Response. Naturally I realized at the time that I had been in some sort of trouble, but not that that was drowning. The power of the whole "kicking and screaming" trope, I guess.

One of my classmates from school actually swam by me in the pool (while I was drowning) and tried to get me closer to a rope which was hanging by the pool's edge... and when he failed he promptly swam off and did nothing more. (Not that I think that he realized the full gravity of the situation and simply wanted me to die or anything.)

coin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unrelated, but why does Slate disable pinchzoom for mobile devices?
capex 2 days ago 0 replies      
grab the drowning person by their hair, while approaching from the rear.
Battery Swap [video] teslamotors.com
275 points by chaz  2 days ago   172 comments top 29
Swizec 2 days ago 5 replies      
To me, the most surprising part is: Holy fuck, Audi's have huge petrol tanks! I usually fill up my reasonably priced car in like a minute or so and it gets a range of some 700 kilometers on a ~40 liter gas tank.

5 minutes for a petrol stop? That's insane.

robomartin 2 days ago 5 replies      
As an engineer I would have preferred to have seen a shot from under the car showing the actual process. It's unfortunate that they chose to record it from a hundred feet away.

As for the reality of this swap deal. Well, it sounds like a logistical pain in the ass. You are required to come back and get your original battery pack back or pay the difference in cost for the new one. Option number two could be in the thousands of dollars. That means your trip logistics now have to adjust to the location of that particular station or else.

Hypothetically, say you travel from LA to SFO and stay there for work for three months. Will they hold your original battery pack or will it be used to swap into other cars? Your battery could end-up in Nebraska. Then what? How many stations will have this tech and when?

Are they, perhaps, going to charge and store your pack and then somehow ship it to a station near you for reclaiming? If that's the case that would make for a very expensive power-up.

At the end of the day I fail to see how this might convince skeptics unless they suck at math and logical reasoning. Sadly this is very much like their creative financing scheme.

Cool tech but it would have been nice to have gotten far more detail on all points.

Don't get me wrong. I really like Tesla. I am waiting for the SUV and will more than likely buy two of them.

btucker 2 days ago 3 replies      
The swap will cost between $60 & $80[1].

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-tesla-swap-idUS...

quackerhacker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the greatest thing to take out of the presentation is...

1. The Tesla driver does NOT need to get out of the car (screw rain and bugs).

2. It IS a reasonable time (no need to sit in a diner and wait)

3. The mileage limitation is becoming less limiting (no different than making sure a long trip has a gas station on the way).

JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 5 replies      
I saw it and wondered "what about dirt"? Dust, gravel, spilled oil, the stray coke can. Rain (yes it does sometimes rain in California). This is a fine stage demo, but really? We're talking enormous sealed electric bombs, swapped out by automated wrench and jack platforms, then a subterranean battery-storage-and-recharge system. The bigger technology than 'doing it at all' is 'keeping it working under environmental conditions'. Any info about that?
joshmlewis 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a side note, did you see all the people in the audience taking pictures/videos? This really bugs me nowadays. I used to be like that but then I realize a.) I'll probably never watch this and b.) they are more than likely already capturing this moment and it is guaranteed to be better than my crappy handheld phone video. Same goes for concerts and other events.
rattray 2 days ago 1 reply      
Better Place, which offered batter swapping for electric cars, announced bankruptcy about a month ago. I wonder if there's any connection? Assuaging fears that battery swapping will no longer be available? Tesla can now use technology that had been patented by Better Place?
prawks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Better Place has been trying to do the same in Israel and Denmark, and is looking to expand into the US eventually:


swalsh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Between cars sexier than swimsuit models, and owning all the infrastructure to support them Tesla has a real potential to be a giant company. I don't usually buy individual stocks, but Tesla keeps looking more lucrative in the long term. If he can survive in the short term, there's a great future.
spullara 1 day ago 0 replies      
The amazing part is that people without a Tesla think that the battery swap stuff is anymore than just window dressing. You charge the car at night and it is full every morning. The times you would use this are vanishingly few. Even on those occasions, unless I am in a huge, huge hurry, I would still take the supercharger over this option.
chiph 2 days ago 1 reply      
Instead of the requirement for the owners to return & pick up their battery, why not charge $750 yearly for the privilege of swap and forget? If you swap, it's the luck of the draw whether you get a brand-new battery or a used one. But Tesla could use that money to cycle in new batteries to the pool, so your chances of getting a brand-new battery remain decent.
andyjsong 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else want to see a closer look of the battery getting swapped out? I don't think it was necessary to see a dude filling up his car with gas.
pbreit 2 days ago 2 replies      
Im assuming this will work on all the Model S's that have already been produced? Was that mentioned?
visakanv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't wait to see Tesla grow and change the way we think about automobiles, at a species level.
alainbryden 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if anyone has considered buying a Tesla (free recharges for life), driving home every day and finding a way to discharge the battery back into the grid through their meter to negate their home electricity bill.
brosephius 2 days ago 1 reply      
US Cellular has a program where you can bring your phone to any retail store and swap out your battery for a charged one. No need to return to pick up your original. Granted, that's for a $10 battery, but why wouldn't this work for Tesla? Charging an extra fee is fine too - it's the price for convenience, vs waiting for a full charge of your own battery pack.
blackdogie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would like to know is there a capacity for the number of battery replacements they system can do ? I guess they recharge your battery and pass it on to the next person when it's fully charged. How do they insure battery quality for the replacements. Still a F'ing awesome demo.
joeblau 2 days ago 1 reply      
I never actually realized how much time it took to fill up a tank of gas! The next step is to get this working via a Knight Rider style truck so you never even have to stop moving.
stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
From this, we might infer that the upcoming lower priced models either use the same battery pack or will not have the option to swap packs. Or, maybe the system is designed to accomodate packs of different lengths. The 1st and 3rd seem the most likely.
nexneo 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Faster or Free". Nice!
kryten 2 days ago 8 replies      
Considering human nature first, and the assumption that these battery swap sites will probably be unattended, I wonder how long before someone will work out how to steal those batteries?
EEGuy 2 days ago 0 replies      
In terms of energy delivery:

  ( 85 KWhr / 90 sec) * ( 3600 sec / hr ) = 3400 KW = 3.4 MW
3.4 megawatts, not bad.

btbuildem 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I especially liked about this demo is how it antiquated, dated, obsolete and generally uncool the current refuelling process appears in comparison.
joshdance 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool demo of the technology. Cool technology. But many if not most of electric car owners will never use it. They only travel to a from work, around town, into the city. Road trips are few and far in between. It is nice to know you CAN, not that you will.
artificialidiot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice demo. Can someone more knowledgeable compare the range of that Audi with two Teslas there combined at full juice?
lttlrck 2 days ago 1 reply      
That was very long winded given that it was promoting speed.

Would an A8 Audi owner pay more to fill up faster? Nope. Because it doesn't actually take very long.

Flemlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know if you can swap a 60kw battery for the 85kw?
coherentpony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man, Tesla are just incredible. Some day I'll be able to afford a Model S and do my part in getting us less dependent on oil.
loceng 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good music at the end of the video.
Snowden: US hacks Chinese mobile phone companies, steals SMS data scmp.com
275 points by teawithcarl  1 day ago   171 comments top 18
cletus 1 day ago 6 replies      
Snowden's choice of Hong Kong as a hiding spot becomes more and more interesting. I suspect the timing of this particular revelation is timed deliberately just after the US files charges against him seeking his arrest by Hong Kong authorities.

A recent article suggested that China was already inclined to "solve" this problem (from a diplomatic and political standpoint) by doing what it does best: simply dragging its feet. This seems incredibly easy to do when the Hong Kong legal system is inclined to move slowly anyway, any extradition will go through a number of appeals and the process for applying for asylum is being revamped putting all such cases on hold (not that Snowden has applied for asylum yet).

It is an somewhere between widely suspected and an open secret that China engages in concerted intelligence efforts against the US government and US corporations. Many cyberattacks originate in China (and there is strong evidence that at least some are state-sponsored). And China is widely believed to have stolen nuclear secrets [1].

But this revelation goes the other way. I really can't predict how China will take this. I suspect they'll be more disinclined to hand Snowden over (or at least do it in any kind of timely fashion). To paraphrase Ned Flanders "We've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"

Who knew in 2008 that during the Obama administration it may get to the point of people wishing for the good ol' days of George W. Bush? Well maybe not that far but it's really not that far off. The war for intellectual property, Federal prosecutorial overreach (eg the Y12 "terrorists", Aaron Swartz), the relentless pursuit of whistleblowers and the end-run around the Fourth Amendment are simply stunning, particularly from an allegedly Democratic administration.

[1]: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/06/world/breach-los-alamos-sp...

scarmig 1 day ago 10 replies      
I don't understand why everyone thinks it's terrible if a government surveils its own citizens but it's totally a-ok if it does foreigners. Because if you think about the reflexivity of it all, that means that it's a-ok if China surveils all American citizens and America all Chinese citizens. The only way that makes sense is if you think one government (America or China, depending on who you are) is privileged to violate the privacy rights of citizens of the other.

I would hope that Hacker News would be more cosmopolitan. So much of our work, especially, involves interacting with foreigners. If our government thinks that their communications with us deserve no protections because they're some suspicious other, and their government thinks that our communications with them deserve no protections because we're some suspicious other... then no one ends up with anything.

ETA: And when you think about it, that principle creates a giant loophole: country X surveils country Y's populace, country Y surveils country X's populace, and they have a mutual agreement to share data about each other's dissidents. Just goes to show that if you undermine a universal right for even one person, that right disappears.

mtgx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not saying China is innocent, but this is why stuff like this needs to be transparent and the public needs to know about it, and if the government isn't willing to make it public, then whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden need to make the public aware of it, no matter what "laws" they have to break to do it. But then it's the public's responsibility to protect them against the government, for doing them that service.

Because you have no idea what the government is doing in your name, and what kind of conflicts they are creating, and then "all of the sudden" you end up with another war on your hands, and the US government propaganda machine tells you it's their fault and they are the aggressor against US, when in fact it could be the opposite, and the attack may simply be retaliation for USA's own actions.

contingencies 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who, five years ago, tried to get commercial bulk SMS connectivity out of these same main Chinese mobile carriers (China Mobile and China Unicom), and watched them largely quash spammy SMS broadcasting with automatic SMSC service suspension after a certain threshold outbound rate, this is interesting. The guys I talked to inside of these carriers led me to believe their SMSCs were just a Linux box.

Also, SMSCs appear to be provincial entities rather than national ones, so these compromises are likely only in a subset of cities. (Further evidenced online, eg. http://www.smsclist.com/downloads/default.txt)

Note also that this article is poorly concluded: US President Barack Obama says the NSA is not listening in on phone calls or reading emails unless legal requirements have been satisfied. That's apparently only for US citizens inside the US, IIRC.

teawithcarl 1 day ago 1 reply      
This story was published in HK only 5 minutes before this posting onto HN, by the only other journalist in direct contact with Snowden himself - Lana Lam.

SCMP is a top HK newspaper, and along with the Guardian, the primary publishing source for direct news from Snowden himself.

skwirl 1 day ago 1 reply      
"And the former National Security Agency contractor claims he has the evidence to prove it."

Well... where is it?

HarryHirsch 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is all a bit reminiscent of Frederick Forsyth's "Fourth Protocol". A few words about the plot: the book is set in the early years of Margaret Thatcher's tenure as Prime Minister, in the time of the Reagan Rearmament. Elements in the Politburo devise a secret plan to explode an atomic bomb near RAF Bentwaters, blame this on a malfunction of American nuclear ordnance and cause a leftist government to be elected and Britain to fall into the USSR's sphere of influence. This plan was to be kept secret even from the KGB.

Both MI5 and KGB get wind of this, and they work in concert to stop it while they remain enemies, because either side feels that if it succeeded they would open Pandora's box and have no institutional knowledge to deal with this new world.

It is my sincere hope that the world's intelligence agencies have the institutional knowledge to deal with the widespread knowledge on spying on its own citizens.

Aloisius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oof. We're moving quickly out of whistleblower territory and into actual espionage.
untog 1 day ago 2 replies      
Excuse me if I am a little dubious of the South China Morning Post. According to the article, he gave them an exclusive interview 10 days ago that they are finally publishing now. Interesting that Snowden chose to completely ignore his contacts at the Guardian etc. for this.

Are there any other sources to back this up? Or evidence?

marcamillion 1 day ago 0 replies      

All he is doing is muddying the waters.

How can I claim to defend what he has done, if he is giving sensitive intelligence data to the CHINESE!!!!

He shouldn't muddy the waters. Just keep it focused on how the USGov't is taking away US civil liberties and privacy.

I mean...I understand why he is doing this - self preservation - but now he is looking more like a "spy" than a "whistleblower".

johnrob 1 day ago 0 replies      
The great firewall of China is seeming less totalitarian and more pragmatic. The US at least has to hack to get chinese SMS messages; allowing its users visit Facebook/Gmail/etc is like giving data away.
thezach 1 day ago 0 replies      
The USA use electrnoic surveilance on China... China uses electronic surveilance on the USA... its the nature of things.

Seriously, countries spy on countries and China sure is not innocent in hacking foreign countries.

general_failure 1 day ago 3 replies      
Looks like he is bordering on treason. Be careful snowden.
microb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Because of all this bad press, the US will rally around a fake-libertarian or Republican in 2016. Rinse, wash and repeat.
bayesianhorse 1 day ago 1 reply      
Accusing China of human rights violations and large scale cyber warfare is going to get more difficult in the future...
babesh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it legal for a foreign government such as the UK to spy on Americans and then hand that data to the US and vice versa? I bet they are doing that.
jusben1369 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now he's just becoming a tool.
powertower 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a disgusting circle-jerk of comments.

So far we have -

1. Only China should be able to hack and spy on other nations.

2. The USA should just leave everyone alone!

3. Ohh, and this guy is not committing treason and espionage by releasing things like this, he's a freedom fighter. No more secrets!

Anyone else stopped reading HN these last couple of weeks?

I stopped right around when people were beginning to suggest that random government employees should be shot in protest, and as I looked as some of the posters names, I recognized a bunch of them.

The NSA can store communications of US citizens for up to 5 years, sans warrant thenextweb.com
273 points by brokenparser  3 days ago   59 comments top 22
betterunix 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is true for this specific program and only under the current policies. Let's just stop kidding ourselves and assume that the NSA stores our communications indefinitely, and design our software accordingly.
grey-area 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have been thinking about steps Google and other big providers could take to make their services more trustworthy again for those outside the US who apparently have no protection from this dragnet under US law. Given the dominance of their services in email and search, Google could actually initiate a step-change in the privacy of their customers, without much effort.

They could anonymise their search data before storing, so that they don't store individual actions, just something like group preferences to tailor searches and target advertising. This wouldn't be easy while keeping their advertisers happy, but it's an interesting problem - how do you tailor search and advertising while not keeping track of every URL the user searches or clicks on. It would be interesting to know if turning off google web history actually turns anything off apart from the UI to display this tracking to the user - they have a disclaimer saying they still log for other purposes even with web history turned off. They could allow users to turn off this tracking completely.

They could make gmail delete old mails after 1 year or so by default, as a security measure. Keeping everything forever on a server is not a great idea if various governments are then given access to that data at some point in the future, and people should keep their archives of mail locally, not on Google's server - Google should encourage that.

They could offer easy to set up encryption on gmail, in fact they could set it up by default for each user. If the user chose to this could kick in automatically when emailing any account on their own service, giving a lot of people encrypted email all of a sudden without any effort on their part. That would make a vast number of email communications encrypted, and coupled with deleting older emails, this would make it far harder for the NSA to snoop on email communications, at least for those who don't use webmail and delete their old messages from the server. If Google did this and used an open standard, other providers like Apple, Hotmail etc would follow, and mail readers like Apple mail would be changed to read the messages.

Finally, they could do far more to explain what they are gathering on each individual, and in what circumstances they will pass the material on to the NSA - they claim that they robustly defend the rights of their users, but without actual proof, this is not very convincing. I read their lawyer's Q&A with the guardian last week, and nothing of substance was said, though lots of vague denials were included again:

"We review each of those requests and push back when the request is overly broad or doesn't follow the correct process. There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box."

Which tells us nothing about what actually does happen, and whether Google has enough information to effectively oversee these requests. If they don't feel they can legally tell their customers what they are doing, they should be campaigning far more robustly and openly for the right to divulge that information, and fighting it in the open courts with ACLU now that the details have emerged. They could start by simply refusing to cooperate with FISA requests going forward, until a more transparent system is put in place - Twitter hasn't been cooperating, so why should Google?

This scandal is damaging their standing in other countries, and the best way to counter that would be to be open and honest (in spite of the secret laws they are asked to operate under) and stand up for their users' privacy with concrete actions rather than denials. If they continue to give information to the NSA, US users should be very concerned about what Google will say when all the other governments of the world require data on US persons from Google subsidiaries, following the NSA's example.

driverdan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blogspam for a Guardian article[1] that was posted here 3 hours before this[2]. This just has a different title.

[1]: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-w...

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5914021

phryk 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why is everyone fretting about US citizens?

a) Thinking the NSA and other intelligence organizations would really make the distinction between US and non-US citizens, except in the scope that public opinion doesn't instantly crush them, doesn't seem like something they'd actually be likely to do.

b) 95% of the earths population are outside of the USA, Facebook alone has a user count higher than 3 times the total US population.

Really, the distinction is completely meaningless for this discussion. The only effect it has is alienating non-US citizens because it makes it seem like US citizens are only concerned about themselves.

I also think the focus on the US surveillance apparatus might not be the way to go either, things like the upcoming Indian surveillance system belong to the very same discussion.

leoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two important things for Americans to note:

1) FAA702 is supposed not to target "US persons" at all. But FAA703 and 704 are intended to target US persons outside the United States. They are more restrictive, and surely less often used, but they're still there.

2) Have you actually read the ruling http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/fiscr082208.pdf in the Yahoo! FISA case which was http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/technology/secret-court-ru... recently reported? It's all about 703-like surveillance on US persons. And it contains this:

"2 . The Foreign Intelligence Exception . The recurrent theme permeating the petitioner's arguments is the notion that there is no foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment's Warrant Clause. 6 The FISC rejected this notion, positing that our decision in In re Sealed Case confirmed the existence of a foreign intelligence exception to the warrant requirement. "

You may want to read that again. IANAL, but as best as I can understand this is the FISC appeals court (the secret intelligence court's appeals court) affirming its belief that while law - the FISA - prevents (some) no-warrant searches for "foreign intelligence information" on US persons, this is not actually necessary to comply with the US constitution, because the Constitution does not prevent such searches at all. As soon as a foreign intelligence justification exists, open Sesame! the Warrant Clause goes away and the US government can search US citizens without any warrant. It is (according to this theory) only out of the goodness of Congress' heart that this isn't permitted already.

natermer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like how these jerks think they can go around and just make up their own rules on what is and what is not allowed.

Why don't they just admit that their lying sacks of shit, set fire to the constition, and admit what they think all the along:

"The only limit on Federal government powers are ones that we decide is valid and ok. We can do whatever the hell we want and everything we do is secret. If you try to tell the American public what is going on we will throw you in jail or otherwise make your life a living hell. We are only obligated to admit what we do when we feel like it or are caught. The rules we can change any time and only exist for our own convenience. The only people that are allowed to judge us are the judges we select and appoint for life and the rest of you peons just STFU."

codex 3 days ago 2 replies      
They can store inadvertently collected US data without a warrant (with a written letter from the NSA director outlinig the reaons), but can they listen or read it without a warrant? That key bit of data is missing from this article. It appears that the answer is "yes" but it's not clear.
ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
NSA Dark Star is capable of holding way more than five years of all voice and internet traffic.

Something tells me that number is going to be made into decades.

Unless maybe they are planning to store five years of all the drone video recordings over every major city.

kyboren 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I send a letter with my email address and proof of citizenship to the NSA, that gives them specific information that my email address belongs to a US person.

Will they not then be required to delete all communications collected under FAA702 between my email address and any other email address for which they have received similar proof of US person-ness?

Can we organize a mass campaign for everyone to send letters to the NSA doing something like this?

johnnyg 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm punch drunk at this point. What are we going to do? What is being done?
ChrisAntaki 3 days ago 0 replies      
That sounds too long, by about 5 years.
throwaway10001 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes all I think we can do by writing to our "tough on terrorists" lawmakers is save some money. Avoid the FISA court entirely, just give the the rubber stamp to the f#^&%($ NSA, it's not like any request is denied anyway.

Look at hosting services and the storage GB and traffic they offer now compared to a few years ago. Storage and bandwidth costs are going lower and lower so NSA can easily store everything "forever." If Google can do it, why can't NSA with a comparatively unlimited budget ? Just the US intel spending is something like $80 Billion a year and that's one area that is not going to be left unfunded or "you Senator will have blood on your hands next time Al Qaeda..."

fnordfnordfnord 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or has the gov't clammed up and stopped making incredible & dishonest denials?
kevcampb 3 days ago 1 reply      
And non US citizens?
epo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Off topic, but explain to me the gratuitous use of a French word in the headline. Is this some kind of slur on the French, e.g. the NSA are being so duplicitous they are almost French?
vasundhar 2 days ago 0 replies      
5 days/months/years doesn't really matter, they have it, they will store it. Data is new Gold, no one wants to get rid of it or can get rid of it for the complications it might cause in the future.Can the people who decided to store the data, will ever be ready to destroy it ?

1. You Can't treat your citizens like suspects2. You can't take control over the world information3. If it is done for the security, let us know upfront about it, there should be no beating around the bush.

hispeedencrypt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Apple, Google and Facebook can store communications for evermore. And NSA can easily get a copy anytime, via a rubber stamp by a judge in the secret court.

Now, in light of this, are we all (the good guys) permitted to use strong encryption to protect our data in storage by these third parties... since we can't trust them to do so?

Unless we have a HIPAA-like law to cover all data, not just our medical records, then may we resort to self-help?

HugoHobling 3 days ago 1 reply      
Section (3) is particularly interesting.

A communication identified as a domestic communication will be promptly destroyed upon recognition unless the Director of the NSA specifically determines, in writing, that

(3) the communication is reasonably believed to contain ... information necessary to assess a communications security vulnerability

What does this say for vulnerability researchers who happen to be American?

kaa2102 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel safer already. /sarcasm How can citizens reverse these sort of intrusive policies?
mayneack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, at least my embarrassing things that I wrote in high school are gone now...
dsaber 3 days ago 1 reply      
But how can they accurately identify a request as being by an actual US citizen?
Official statement from WikiLeaks regarding Edward Snowden's exit from Hong Kong wikileaks.org
270 points by waawal  14 hours ago   129 comments top 18
pvnick 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This is so exciting. Makes Tom Clancy novels seem dull and predictable.
drawkbox 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Playing devil's advocate here, and watched a bunch of spy movies...

What if Snowden is still a CIA agent (he was a CIA agent for years before NSA) and this is actually a snowjob/whitewash by the government to deflect attention or essentially control the message about news they knew would be released (diffusing that/controlling that message) and black-ops about China, Russia, Cuba + Venezuela how they treat/process possible 'traitors' or spies?

I hope that is not the case and he is sincere, it would be great if the US could just pardon him and address our Constitutional issues. But if they pardon him doesn't the above seem like an outside possibility?

Or am I reading too much Tom Clancy and watching too many spy movies?

It does seem most whistleblowers are swept under the rug but here you have one that is garnering lots of news and attracting lots of attention across multiple weeks/weekends to things that were previously labeled 'conspiracy' or only seen in movies (yet have been in the news quietly before, since 9/11). Now it is international news everywhere. He is almost the perfect leaker, making more waves than all combined.

synctext 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Why is this trip of Snowden made into a media event?

The Aeroflot flight number was public!Is this to counter a secret rendition attempt? Did we wake-up in a world with 007 stuff happening to real computer nerds, not just high-paid actors?

zissou 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Fun fact about Aeroflot: The slogan for Aeroflot back in the days of the USSR was "You Have Made The Right Choice", which is ironic since Aeroflot was the only airline in the Soviet Union.
Kiro 11 hours ago 5 replies      
"What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people."

What exactly is being "done" to Julian Assange? The only reason he's stuck in the embassy is because of rape accusations.

jpatokal 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm. Either they're calling Venezuela a "democratic nation", which seems a bit of a stretch, or Snowden's actually heading somewhere other than the media is reporting. I'm hoping for option B.
nraynaud 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety." They tried 2 times before, Manning is in jail, Assange is living in an embassy. Only losers quit.

edit: I see that Garzon is on board, he's the one who tried to judge Pinochet, one of the CIA's dictator. His job ended when he tried to bring trials for acts of the spanish dictature.

darxius 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this will see Wikileaks become a sort of worldwide whistleblower protection agency. Seeing as most countries don't exactly have the best whistleblower protection programs.
babesh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Imagine the financial power in the data the government has and doesn't want to reveal. Like who is buying and selling what stocks. That information is gold for data mining.
spdy 13 hours ago 3 replies      
How does diplomatic immunity work if you are in the entourage of an diplomat?
outside1234 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Venezuela? Oh no. I feel like this is going to end badly for Snowden. Its hard to imagine him not getting scooped up in a black helicopter now.
gexla 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This seems like a much better move. If I wanted to disappear, I would much rather take my chances in rural areas where people are less likely to be watching the news rather than a city which has my picture on banners and screens everywhere. All I would need is the middle ground between remote and having a functional internet connection. Then I would just setup a cottage, create a business profile and financial accounts in my partner's name (which would likely be my girlfriend, probably on a fast track to marriage, who I recently met in my new home in South America) and do whatever freelance work I would need to get by (I'm sure Snowden could find quite a bit of work with his tech skills.)

I'm not sure I would want for WikiLeaks to be announcing my moves, but this is probably something you can't escape, so might as well take the help from one of the players who are reporting the story.

ETA: Or maybe I spoke too soon. I'm not sure anyone really knows where he is going.

tassl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it (a bit) ironic that the WikiLeaks lawyer that is giving legal advice to Snowden is Baltasar Garzon, who was suspended for improper eavesdropping.

*As a clarification, this suspension was mostly political, being Spain one of the most corrupt countries in Europe and with a dark and terrible past due the dictatorship that ended 37 years ago. Garzon tried to investigate the crimes committed by Franco (related to the right wind in Spain) and a few years later he was judging a corruption case (called Grtel), which lead to his suspension.

sublimit 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Suddenly the front page is Snowden Snowden Snowden. Hacker News is even worse than Reddit at latching to news-of-the-minute.
kator 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks like he walked right through a legal loop hole (for now).
at-fates-hands 9 hours ago 1 reply      
"being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks."

Since when did WikiLEaks have diplomats on its payroll??

reaganing 12 hours ago 3 replies      
So cute how Wikileaks is always trying to insert themselves into this story.
e3pi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Over the jungle, the quiet jungle, the drone hunts tonight

...[365/24/7 refrain]...

Over the ice field, the empty ice field, the raptor hunts tonight

...[365/24/7 refrain]...

(sung to The Lion Sleeps Tonight)

If true, this exit is good news! I have worried about his safety for the past two weeks. ES needs a redoubtable safe-house enclave/bunker like a free Assange to repeatedly surgically strike while the iron is hot. Exposing heinous criminal abuse of state entrusted power, founded on self-witnessed righteous indignation- leveraged by gigahertz worldwide public networks- makes for a seriously formidable anti-Borg threat. I hope Assange's crack team are good chess players to be constantly vigilant, and terra-sotto terrified how dangerous this is. Endlessly run gold/blue team attack game/simulations, have seasoned and wounded trade-crafters as loyal and encrazed armed sentinels, handling also, a hyper-alert pack of google-glass augmented Scottish Border Collies:

One cost engineers and product managers don't consider firstround.com
268 points by jkopelman  3 days ago   98 comments top 31
nhashem 3 days ago 8 replies      
For years, the two things that most frustrated me to hear from product managers were "how hard would it be..." and "can't you just..." It took me quite a while to figure out why I had such a strong, visceral reaction to these phrases.

Oh, man.

When it comes to my natural reaction to this, the words 'strong and visceral' doesn't even do justice.

It took me a really long time to understand why I had such a deep-seated loathing for phrases like that. Think of some absurd scenario where someone asks you to cause harm to yourself, so they can benefit in some way, and that's how I would respond. I basically translated these requests to something like, "can't you just shoot yourself in the foot, so I can sell your toes?" and reacted accordingly.

This post provides some good examples -- explained in a much more objective and rational manner than I've been able to -- of the cost, and why this bothered me so much. In general though, if engineers have to spend a lot of time mitigating "can't you just...?" then I think it may point to a more systemic problem in the organization. Namely, the business units are so disconnected from engineering they don't even realize the costs of what they're asking for, and the engineers are so disconnected that they reap zero benefit from whatever business goal is going to be accomplished by this.

I'm actually okay with shooting myself in the foot to sell my toes every once in awhile. I just don't want to do it if everyone else is going to make money from selling my toes except me, and they don't care about giving me time to rebuild my foot afterwards.

RyanZAG 3 days ago 5 replies      
Good article, makes an important point about complexity.

Just want to add one extra thought though:

  he or she will run reports against the usage data to find  out whether a given feature is often used. That data can  then be run past the product managers who can help decide  whether it's sensible to just drop the feature. 
It's important to be careful here, and it's one of the traps that is very easy to fall into (see Gnome). Just because a feature is only used by 1% of your users doesn't mean it's not important. You might have 100 features only used by 1% of your users each, but if you take out all 100 features, chances are you've taken out at least one feature that every single one of your users depends on, and now your product is a lot worse instead of better.

russelluresti 3 days ago 1 reply      
The title of this article doesn't make sense to me, as an engineer, working on a team of engineers.

Complexity is always something we consider - in every team I've ever worked on. DBA's always talk about the complexity of the data. Dev's always talk about the complexity of the code base. And UI Dev's and Designers always talk about the complexity of the UI.

No one understands the cost of complexity better than engineers. We understand the increase in the likelihood of bugs, or the increase in maintenance and refactoring costs. We understanding that making a UI complex means users may have difficulty learning how to complete a task and get frustrated, and we understand the costs of those frustrations.

I'm not sure why this person thinks engineers and product managers don't understand the cost of complexity. In my personal experience, it's always been business and sales people who don't understand how adding a shiny new feature could be harmful in any way.

vacri 3 days ago 1 reply      
Users don't want complexity, either.

This is not true. Users want a manageable and appropriate amount of complexity. Sane defaults, reasonable options.

In the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo, a woman is trying to set up a date with a character who's a stickler: "What if I am late?" > "Don't be late" > "What if I am early?" > "Don't be early. Be punctual."

I'm reminded of this whenever I see something on the minimalist vs flexibility wars. The answer is in neither camp, it's in the 'be appropriate' camp.

kfcm 3 days ago 0 replies      
(5) It is always possible to agglutinate multiple separate problems into a single complex interdependent solution. In most cases this is a bad idea.

--RFC 1925, http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1925.html

I highly recommend reading RFC 1925: The Twelve Networking Truths. It's a much faster and more amusing read to get the same information.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that one really resonated with me. I hadn't really thought about how to put simplicity into perspective quite like that. One of the things that frustrated me about Windows was that there was always about 7 different ways to do the same thing (or get to the same place) and that lead to amazing time wasting discussions in attempting to support customers remotely.

Google has (had? I suspect they still do this) company wide 'fixit' days where people would fix bugs for prizes and what not. I suspect a 'delete-it' (or 'simplify-it') might be a useful exercise as well.

michaelfeathers 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been pushing this idea for the past couple of years with clients, and when I give talks at conferences. The fact of the matter is that unless an organization knows what the carrying cost is for their features, and the effect in terms of complexity, they are flying blind.

In essence, it is Joel's Law of Leaky Abstractions at work. You can't manage a software project just in terms of a set of features you agree upon with business. The codebase is a key constraint that underlies all of those discussions and unless the effects of feature choice are on the table, you end up incurring radically different costs.

This isn't just about paying attention to technical debt. It's about having the discussion about whether it is worth targeting some features or not, taking the code into account - using it as a factor in business decisions.



emingo 3 days ago 8 replies      
The first comment on that page sort of made me face palm... but then it got me thinking.

"Simplicity of usage should always win over simplicity of coding. The purpose of a product is to solve the end user's pain, no one should give a dime about the engineer's problem. IMHO that was the genius of Steve Jobs, he could take any pre-exiting product and increase its complexity by 50x while simplifying its usage by 10x."

I am relatively new to coding, and really, I want to know what do you guys think about this? Does this really scale? Does simplifying the front end often compromise the backend?

DanWaterworth 3 days ago 3 replies      
In my experience, practically everyone agrees that software should be simple, but not everyone agrees on what simple is.
Domenic_S 3 days ago 0 replies      
An oddly lengthy article considering its topic (simplicity).

Useful nonetheless. It puts into words the visceral reactions we have all had at some point to "How hard would it be to...?"

itsybitsycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agree. The last company I worked for would agree to add basically any feature someone requested, even if it was of no use to anyone else. Most of the time spent implementing these odd features was making sure they'd work with all the other possible combinations of odd features, just in case they were ever used in tandem. They never were. The project I worked on was in its 4th total overhaul when I left, and they still hadn't actually sold a single copy.
endgame 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it poor submission titles?

Is it websites that pop up a subscription box with no obvious close button?

orblivion 3 days ago 1 reply      
Complexity is also introduced by well-meaning people on the implementation side as well. Software developers like challenges, and the challenge of building a complex system that serves up a simple interface is especially alluring. Consider DSLs, abstractions and the attraction to being the one to build a framework that gets leveraged for years. This drives us to introduce huge complexity debt we defend with statements like "it makes it so easy once you understand" and "it will save us so much coding." Writing the lines of code is rarely the big cost in engineering: it's the understanding, the communication and the maintenance.

Ok, but did it save so much coding, or not? I do try to restrain myself from being clever when I realize it's really not worth it, but being clever sometimes does pay off. Extra coding is complexity too.

pjungwir 3 days ago 0 replies      
HN had another article a couple weeks ago asserting you shouldn't add business processes to your company unless they had an expected value of increasing foo by at least 10%. The author argued this was a good way of avoiding creeping bureaucracy. It's striking how similar that is to this article's thesis re code complexity.
w_t_payne 2 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant article.

I have made similar observations in the past as well:


As well the mistakes we tend to make when we try to deal with it:


pedalpete 3 days ago 2 replies      
Would anybody speculate that the popularity of MVC and agile development has exacerbated this issue?

I'm working for the first time on somebody elses code and with a group of develpers, and it seems like the answer to most problems is 'just add another model'. I stay away from that as much as I can, and try to make existing models fit new features and functions.

Maybe it's just my current workplace, but is this a more modern problem?

mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of this is heading off complexity at the beginning. Every new feature should come with "Do we really understand why we're doing this?" It's ok to experiment, but prune prune prune....
gdilla 3 days ago 0 replies      
like a commenter suggests on the original post, end users don't care how something is built, but how well it solves a problem of theirs. It's like drucker saying costs have nothing to do with price. So, you can build things with bloat but it'll put you out of business. You also have to do right by your users. Not doing stuff because it's hard isn't a good excuse (a lot of the time).
sybhn 3 days ago 0 replies      
As an engineering manager I have struggled many times trying to convey the real cost of these 'cant you just do this...' type of things. This article makes a clear case in a structured way.

I haven't run into many product manager that would understand the cost management exposed here. Most product development company I have been at avoid discussion/debates around the real cost of some of the development.

I'm not sure whether it's the lack of understanding, or simply the lack of interest for long term impacts sometime outlived by exit strategies.

peterwwillis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maintenance is 200% of the cost of writing software.

The first 100% of the cost is 20% writing, testing and certifying it, and 80% maintaining the result.

The additional 100% is the cost of rewriting it because you didn't actually write it to be maintainable.

arscan 3 days ago 0 replies      
In short: KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)

That's one of my favorite principles of software development (and engineering in general).

chmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
How do you know when you're making it too complex? On one hand you have Hello world! And on the other the vilain project manager requests.

But say you design a distributed system and its protocol, how do you know what is to keep and what is to delete ? We know the problem of over quality or complexity, but how do you know you're just right?

My feeling is that beeing too minimalist might refrain progress and discovery of new loved features.

ape4 3 days ago 0 replies      
Writing software is all about managing complexity.
mikeschinkel 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've frequently heard designers, developers and VPs of Engineering -- which I'll collectively call "builders" -- argue that a product should have fewer features and thus should be "simple."

But I honestly can't remember reading once when a user has said they want fewer features. Users want it to easy, yes, but they also want the features that make their lives, well, easier; see how that works?

Whenever I hear builders argue for simplicity I get deja-vu as if I'm hearing union members argue against those who might cross the picket line, or lobbyists trying to convince congress to give their clients tax breaks, or record companies complaining about downloaded musics, or, or, or,... well you get the picture.

realrocker 3 days ago 0 replies      
To be clear, the author is talking about simplicity which comes out of years of dealing with complexities. The better I get at engineering the simpler are my solutions.
CPAhem 2 days ago 1 reply      
Features are what sells products, the cost is that they make the product more complex (and add to the cost).

Simple products are often easy to use, and document, which is one of the reasons Apple does so well.

gopher1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I loved the article, and I like how the author implores us to extend the drive to reduce complexity to how we speak about products.
lucdurette 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could not agree more. Very good paper!
benigeri 3 days ago 0 replies      
really good read
kryten 3 days ago 3 replies      
Whammed in the face with:

"Subscribe to receive future articles right to your inbox"

Tab closed. To hell with them.

leishulang 3 days ago 1 reply      
without reading the article, I guess it's communication.
Petition to pardon Edward Snowden reaches 100,000 signatures whitehouse.gov
266 points by rory096  1 day ago   115 comments top 21
freyrs3 1 day ago 4 replies      
bhauer 1 day ago 2 replies      
I feel fairly silly hawking my own site whenever subjects like this come up, but here I go anyway. Feel free to tell me to shut up. :)

I just simultaneously believe quite strongly in the idea of pairing calls for action with charitable donations. The donations make a clear and measurable message of the idea's importance. Plus, even if nothing happens, the charities benefit.

So in any event, to get to the fireworks factory already:

A plea to the US government to pardon Edward Snowden (donate to the EFF in particular!) [1]

The idea: "More than a petition" [2]

[1] http://btf.io/382

[2] https://brianstaskforce.com/blog/more-than-a-petition

nsns 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can't we simply utter "pardon Snowden" into our Skype or cellphone knowing it's being recorded?
lignuist 1 day ago 1 reply      
Mr. Obama, stop the madness now! You once have been a civil rights activist and you have been awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. Doesn't it make you feel uncomfortable, to have switched the camp in just a few years? There is nothing wrong with becoming a nice guy again.
aashaykumar92 1 day ago 2 replies      
When someone stands up for so many people, this is the expected outcome. Unfortunately, it's doubtful that the government will take much of this into account given how badly they were exposed--they will more than likely make an example out of Snowden in such a way that no one is encouraged to do something like this again.
mtgx 1 day ago 1 reply      
At least the petition is another signal that the public is against what the administration is doing on this one.
ekianjo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now we undestand what "yes we can" was supposed to mean. Yes. we can do what we want without giving a f### about what people think.
notdrunkatall 1 day ago 1 reply      
It'll be interesting to watch the Administration entirely ignore this petition.

Kidding, it won't be interesting at all.

Xanza 1 day ago 1 reply      
People sometimes forget that although espionage is indeed a crime, Snowden did not release these classified documents to an enemy of the state, but rather the American People. Our founding father, Benjamin Franklin also committed the act of espionage in 1772 when he exposed and printed letters from Thomas Hutchinson, the royal governor of Massachusetts, detailing information about the revocation of civil liberties of the resistive American colonists. This act alone is one of the major linchpins that broke into the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the revolutionary War.

Without American heros such as Snowden and Ben Franklin, this country would not exist.

gamegoblin 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there any evidence to support that these petitions have done anything that wouldn't have already been done? They seem like a red herring.
drawkbox 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ok Obama, time for some of that Change.
pvnick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Next up, 200k [1]

[1] http://i.imgur.com/NNfWqFW.jpg

snitko 1 day ago 0 replies      
This petition would only be effective at all if this 100k people announced they started using Bitcoin for at least saving money. This is when they shit bricks.
j546 1 day ago 3 replies      
Do you really think getting 100K signatures is going to make a difference?
fixxer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish someone would compile a list of all petitions which have reached critical mass and map the administration's responses. Would love to see exactly how "effective" this little charade has been since inception.
matthuggins 1 day ago 0 replies      
On an unrelated note, does anyone know how to update their info on petitions.whitehouse.gov? My displayed city is three years old on there.
skylan_q 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great! 100,000 signatures! This will surely lead to something!
almostflan 1 day ago 0 replies      
This petition is missing Snowden's point. It's not about him, it's about the documents he released.

A better petition would ask the government to elaborate on the documents released.

sudo_robin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ahh.. alright a hundred thousand more people to be targeted..
cuil 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what exactly happens now ?
jordiae 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pardon? Award!!!
Prince Of Persia Code Review fabiensanglard.net
263 points by glaze  2 days ago   30 comments top 8
jasonlotito 2 days ago 4 replies      
Just for reference, these are two books that were from the journal of Jordan Mechner written while writing Prince of Persia and Karateka. They are enjoyable reads, and I highly recommend them.



glurgh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love reading Sanglard's stuff I hope he's encouraged by the comments on his site to complete this - the bulk of it so far is on details of the Apple ][ architecture. It'd be great if he decides to take apart the actual game, although even with commented assembly source, it's no trivial amount of work.
superasn 2 days ago 5 replies      
Love how most games were mainly a one man show back in the 80s. Jordan Mechner, John Carmack could be used as aliases for the games. Btw, I read a very similar article about Doom / sometime ago about the Magical Square Root Implementation In Quake III, another interesting read[1]

[1] http://www.codemaestro.com/reviews/9

coldcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having written a VT100 terminal emulator in 6502 assembly back in those days I remember it well. But games had to be more clever as the memory was so tight. At least in my case the only fun part was showing 80 columns of data on a 40 column screen (if the user had no 80 column video card). Today we can focus much more on just writing code instead of engaging in daily hackery.
t1m 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great walkthrough, and a real trip back to the good old days. I learned programming on the Apple ][ and, like many started in Basic then moved to 6502 assembly.

I am not sure how other teenagers made this awkward transition, but I did it by writing a tiny assembler in Basic. It was fairly easy because Basic had PEEK (get contents of address), POKE (set contents) and CALL (jump to address) that everyone was used to using to get anything useful done. I think I just got tired of hand assembling programs into POKE calls.

I remember getting a thin wire-bound book with a detailed disassembly (with comments!) of the ROMs and DOS as a birthday present. I think one of the thing that inspired programmers on the Apple ][ was the amazing system code that Woz had written. He set a very high bar for assembly language programmers. His code was economical, fast, smart, and tiny. He demonstrated how to squeeze the most out of limited resources.

rpicard 2 days ago 0 replies      
He also has an interesting Doom 3 code review: http://fabiensanglard.net/doom3/index.php
uxp100 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see mentioned that the PC port did not go very well. I've never played PoP on my Apple ][, only the DOS port. Am I missing something by only having played the PC version?

(Maybe Color? I don't remember if it was B&W because of my VGA card or because the PC version just didn't have color.)

StacyC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I loved PoP, played it a LOT when I was in college. Great memories.
Newly disclosed papers give rules for NSA surveillance without a warrant washingtonpost.com
254 points by eplanit  2 days ago   54 comments top 7
guelo 2 days ago 2 replies      
They lied, they listen to our phone calls and read our emails.

In the Guardian story[0] it explained it like this: "Retain and make use of "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;"

How can they know if it contains usable intelligence, criminal activity, etc. if they aren't examining the contents of the communication?

I think the most outrageous in that list is "make use of ... information on criminal activity". Do NSA spooks get to singlehandedly determine that you're committing a crime? Do they have AI algorithms that sift through millions of records flagging potential criminal activity? If someone is heard saying, for example, that they smoked weed are they added to a federal database of weed smokers? Why is a military program supposedly concerned with terrorism interested in domestic criminal activity?

[0] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-w...

btipling 2 days ago 9 replies      
It seems like Snowden is purposefully leaking documents a little at a time in order to keep the story in the press. He may be trying to combat the short term memory of popular stories. It may be a viable strategy for getting enough attention to achieve real progress. I wonder if news will simply stop covering it as front page material as audiences get bored with it. Maybe leaking the least interesting stuff earlier, and ratcheting up interest by saving the best for last may aid such an effort.
BadCookie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I crazy, or have (many) American news sources stopped reporting on this altogether? Nobody is talking about it on my Facebook either. There's a whole lot of silence about this, and that's the scariest thing of all.
dyselon 2 days ago 1 reply      
The most interesting part to me was that they said the NSA did internal audits of analyst queries. I hope someone leaks the results of those.

The rest of it seemed in line with the initial PRISM release, and also (kinda) what they've been saying all along: they nab everything, but only read it if they "reasonably" think you're foreign, and if they're wrong, they keep any "interesting" bits anyway.

D9u 2 days ago 0 replies      
"...the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless." Snowden, 2013.
ngcazz 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get it. If they're doing it all from a "para-legal" angle, why would they even bother to document that they're doing it that way? Isn't it more of a organizational culture thing?
cdooh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ever leak invalidates the information the NSA tells the public. Now I have to ask do they even know what documents Snowden left with? Each new revelation seems to be catching them flat footed
NSA whistleblower Russ Tice goes on record with new revelations boilingfrogspost.com
238 points by rl3  2 days ago   124 comments top 9
pvnick 2 days ago 1 reply      
WOW, so surprised to see Sibel Edmond's stuff on this site. As a translator for the FBI, she had a lot to say about the 9/11 attacks and how corruption within the FBI's translation unit may have played a factor in failing to prevent those attacks [1]. She went on record to claim that the subsequent 9/11 Commission was a farce and did nothing to gather the relevant facts [2].

As she went through the proper channels to report what she had seen, she was eventually fired as a result of her allegations [3]. Her testimony was also sealed by John Ashcroft under the states secrets privilege [4], which is exactly what has happened with the recent Snowden allegations [5].

Personally I think Sibel Edmonds is one of the most reliable people in the whistleblower community and that she has a lot to say that's being hidden from the public.

[1] http://www.aclu.org/national-security/sibel-edmonds-patriot-...

[2] http://www.nswbc.org/Press%20Releases/NSWBC-911Comm.htm

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds#cite_note-oig_upd...

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds#FBI_career

[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/07/us-government-sp...

tptacek 2 days ago 7 replies      
Any major media outlet in the country right now could 1.5-3x its pageviews or audience share by going wall-to-wall on the revelation that NSA spied on Barack Obama before he was a candidate. None of them have. Why is that?
btipling 2 days ago 1 reply      
Claims like this may be more convincing when they are supported by evidence.
rl3 2 days ago 3 replies      
Direct audio link is here (MP3): http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/podpress_trac/web/20927/0/BF...


At 0:48:26 Tice mentions the intercept order for then-Senatorial candidate Obama.

He also mentions that senior civilian, military and government leaders were explicitly targeted.

Some of the notable intercept targets included Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, Samuel Alito, former FISA Court judges, U.S. Congressional intelligence committees, law firms, financial firms, State Department personnel, humanitarian NGOs.

Lawyers and civil rights groups were mentioned as well, I'm wondering if EFF was included in that.


Tice previously played off his unclassified resume's listing of space-based systems expertise as a cover story for his activities at NSA. However, he has now revealed that he specialized in space-based capabilities at NSA all along. This is humorous when you consider the following:


Do you have any connection to outer space stuff? I asked.

"I watch Buck Rogers."


Also of note: NSA's Bluffdale, Utah data storage facility is apparently already online and operational.

salimmadjd 2 days ago 1 reply      
OT: What's stopping NSA staff from wiretapping CEOs and use that info for insider trading making a bundle?
rl3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Russell Tice on MSNBC this morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKyIil9OdF4#t=0m04s
programminggeek 2 days ago 7 replies      
You know, I've always thought that the Barack "Hussein" Obama political attacks that allege that he's not a citizen, he's a muslim, and he's part of some conspiracy to bring down the USA are particularly crazy insomuch as we have the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. whose job is to investigate people to keep our country safe.

I've always thought that if the allegations were somehow true, that someone at one of those groups would have leaked something that would keep Obama from being president or from continuing as president. Yet, that never happened despite the fact that he obviously would have been investigated by plenty of people in those spy organizations.

So, the fact that Obama was spied on should not come as a surprise. It would surprise me if people in power weren't spied on.

lignuist 2 days ago 4 replies      
Isn't every potential US president scanned from tip to toe?
callenish 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this calls for a meme.


Bitcoin Foundation Receives Cease And Desist Order From California forbes.com
233 points by pelle  10 hours ago   78 comments top 18
mchusma 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It is worth pointing out that the state can put out Cease And Desist orders, and warnings on its website with no:1) Evidence of wrongdoing2) Communication with the accused3) Method of reconciliation

I have my own personal example:

I received a letter ordering us to cease and desist from doing online notarization through California notaries. We were not doing so, so in effect we sent back a letter stating:"We have not, and never have, conducted the activity you accuse us of." They basically responded saying "ok, we agree that you haven't done anything wrong but if you do anything we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law."

A few weeks later, they posted a "consumer warning" on their website saying that our company was in effect defrauding companies. Then, several other states copied that language without contact. I spoke with the government officials, I told them we were hurt by these baseless accusations, and they admitted that they really had no evidence of any wrongdoing. They basically said "we are too busy to update the website right now but we will do so shortly."

After months of effort, I was able to one by one get most of these ultimately removed or reworded to a reasonable position. California was the last holdout. I basically began the process of suing them for massive damages and that ultimately was the only thing that was able to get them to change the wording.

So overall, my learning is that it genuinely scares me what government agencies can do without any evidence or judicial process. I would guess that the Bitcoin Foundation can respond with "you are wrong, please provide evidence" and get away with it for now.

javajosh 9 hours ago 5 replies      
This C&D demonstrates a rather alarming ignorance about Bitcoin, and an even more alarming tendency of modern enforcement agencies to halt any activity they don't understand. It is an embarrassment to Paul T. Crayton and the State of California, and this "default deny" stance on innovation has just as much chilling effect as patent trolls.
C1D 8 hours ago 3 replies      
For a long time I've admired Silicon Valley and America as a whole. It had been my dream to work and create a sartup there but after all of this. After seeing how free Americans really are I am now unsure about moving there. Although America has great opportunities for people like me, it doesn't seem worth it especially since I've found out how some people get blacklisted for no reason.

PS. I hope I didn't offend anyone

codex 9 hours ago 4 replies      
State money transmission laws are very strict, requiring, among other things, a bond to be posted to protect the public.

Accoring to FinCEN, anyone selling units of a decentralised virtual currency to another person for real currency is a money transmitter--so, for example, if you operated a business exchanging U.S. dollars for Bitcoins, you must be licensed. I don't know if the Bitcoin Foundation did this in California; perhaps there is some other wrinkle of state law at play here.

thinkcomp 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Most of the comments here are not particularly well-informed and should be ignored.

Yes, the Bitcoin Foundation (probably--I don't know anything about them other than what I've read) isn't strictly speaking a money transmitter. Yes, the California Department of Financial Institutions--which will cease to exist in 7 days when it gets merged into the California Department of Corporations--is totally ignorant of Bitcoin. But they know the law pretty well. Especially the one that they wrote. (See the name Robert Venchiarutti on the letter? He's really the one behind it. The DFI lawyers just do what they're told. They don't even like the law. Venchiarutti actually wrote it, with the help of TMSRT's lobbyists.)

That being said, the law to worry about here isn't even the one cited. It is, as I've stated quite frequently, 18 U.S.C. 1960 (http://www.plainsite.org/laws/index.html?id=14426). And that law says that you don't have to be a money transmitter to get a letter such as the one received by the Bitcoin Foundation (http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/149335233?access_key=key-2l...).

"(a) Whoever knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business..."

The question then becomes whether the Bitcoin Foundation has any "control" or "direction" over its members and/or affiliates, who are most clearly in violation of the law under section (b). These words are vague. It could be argued that it does.

There is an extremely high chance that people will go to jail over this whether people here think it's stupid or not. It's too bad no one took me seriously when I pointed out that the MTA was going to cause problems two years ago. I've been doing the industry's dirty work ever since. It would have been a lot faster and easier with some help. Now we all have to hope that my constitutional challenge (http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/case.html?id=716056) is going to save the day. And it might, but that day may be pretty far off in the future at the current rate.

Meanwhile, everyone should really be freaking out over AB 786 (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?...), presently before the California Senate, which makes the MTA worse than it already is by giving Robert Venchiarutti even more power. I've been successful in removing the clause that created a new thought crime, but the rest is still pretty bad--unless you're a payroll company. Amazing what lobbying can do.

If you want to help, click on the "Comments to Author" tab at the link above, register with the State of California, and tell Assemblyman Dickinson that the MTA should be repealed for all of the reasons I outline at https://s.facecash.com/legal/20130225.packetnumbered.pdf: its overly broad scope, inability to sensibly regulate mobile technology, and unconstitutional nature. Money transmission takes place over the internet, which is in the domain of the federal government, not the states. See /ALA v. Pataki/, 969 F.Supp. 160 (1997), http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1017409488915582.... Also CC: Eileen Newhall <eileen.newhall@sen.ca.gov>, Mark Farouk <mark.farouk@asm.ca.gov>, Senator Jerry Hill <jerry.hill@sen.ca.gov>, Marc Hershman <marc.hershman@sen.ca.gov>, and BCC me: Aaron Greenspan <aarong@thinkcomputer.com>. If you live in California make sure to say where. Be polite.

Reading material:


pelle 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the equivalent of suing the American Bankers Association for a lack of a banking license.
drcode 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if Mr. Teveia Barnes (correction: Mrs) is aware of her place in history: One of the brightest minds of our generation spent years of his life developing a technology that has essentially no other purpose but to make her C&D (which we knew would come one day) completely ineffective.

(This is assuming Mrs. Teveia believes that the bitcoin foundation runs the servers that make up the bitcoin network, which I think is what this is all about.)

jahewson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Freedom of choice in currencies is probably the most important free speech issue of our time.

That sentence requires some serious mental gymnastics to agree with, which I find beyond me.

tlrobinson 6 hours ago 3 replies      
It's hard for me to reconcile how much I like living in California with how much I dislike the state and local governments here.
lowglow 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is an interview we did at Techendo with Constance Choi of Payward (They are building http://kraken.com) regarding the current legalities and regulatory landscape of virtual currencies: http://www.techendo.co/posts/techendo-episode-8-legalities-o...
Havoc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Good luck with that. Nobody is putting that genie back into the bottle any time soon....
MichaelGG 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Even if they were a money transmitter, what authority does California have over a Washington based nonprofit?
stevewilhelm 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The Bitcoin Foundation site [1] accepts donations via Bitcoin. Whose server are they using?

[1] https://bitcoinfoundation.org/donate

ISL 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Does the letter advance any evidence that the Foundation is acting as a money transmitter?
tekromancr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, a government that fails to understand technology. Shocker, that.
MaggieL 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Sorry, you can't do this until we figure out how to tax it. And it took us 18 years to figure out how to tax Amazon..."
ciokan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Seriously!? Did you really thought you can send and receive untraceable money without lovely U.S. putting an end to it?
mrerrormessage 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Only the state of California may issue phony currency, apparently.
How to travel around the world for a year alexmaccaw.com
233 points by shawndumas  2 days ago   148 comments top 36
jasonkester 2 days ago 8 replies      
Nice summary, but this looks like a writeup of somebody doing this the first time. There's lots of room for improvement.

First off, there's way too much planning going on beforehand. Having done several of these trips, my pre-planning now involves booking a single flight and letting things work themselves out from there. Dates on the calendar are really really bad to have, since they force you to move faster or slower than you want to. Avoid them at all costs.

And, of course, he overpacked. 90 liters is way too big. 40 liters is probably still too big, but at least realistic. You want to be able to fit your full pack on your lap on a crowded chicken bus without drawing angry looks from the locals. One complete change of clothes is plenty. Most of the stuff you think you need, you don't.

Beyond that, there's a lot of good stuff here. Sounds like he had a fun trip.

crazygringo 2 days ago 6 replies      
As an alternative perspective... (absolutely nothing against the original post)

Consider picking just one country, and living there, instead of travelling around the world. Learn the language, get a job (teaching English?), get a boyfriend/girlfriend, travel locally.

I know a lot of people who have done both (travel around the world, or live abroad). Travelling around the world can be utterly exhausting -- absolutely exhilirating, but the endless work involved in finding accomodation, food, etc. can wear people down faster than they think. Also, the lack of any constant companions, that all your human relationships last only a day or a couple of weeks at best.

Setting down some kind of "roots" in a place can be very rewarding as well, and can be more deeply educational as well -- what you see about a country in the first few weeks, versus what you see about it after a year or two, can be strikingly different. But, it all depends on your goals and personality of course!

grecy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I spent 2 years driving a little Jeep Wrangler from Alaska to Argentina, because I wanted to.[1] I'm a Software Engineer, and did some freelance stuff while on the road.

For the entire 22 month, 65,000km (40k miles) journey through 16 countries, I spent $27,300 [2]. That's only $1200 a month, which is barely more than I was spending to live in a city and go to work every day.

I'm extremely happy to answer any questions or help anyone that has an interest in traveling like this. WikiOverland [3] has tons of the logistical information you'll find helpful. The FAQ [4] is a great place to start for anyone new to driving themselves around continents or the world (called Overlanding)

[1] http://theroadchoseme.com

[2] http://theroadchoseme.com/the-price-of-adventure

[3] http://wikioverland.org

[4] http://wikioverland.org/Overland_Frequently_Asked_Questions

nfg 2 days ago 3 replies      
Spent a year away (2011-2012) on a budget of about 13K, itinerary was: Turkey, Iran, India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Brazil. Best decision I ever made!

Edit with more details:

Choosing where to go: get a big map and an imagination!

Flights: Just booked mine as I went and that seemed to work out well costwise. In any case try to overland as much as possible, it's more interesting.

Packing: Bring as little as possible, I had a 50+10L backpack and it was more than adequate. Every litre extra you pack is more and more hassle when moving.

Visas: This obv depends on where you're from and where you're headed. I sorted visas for Iran and India before leaving home (Ireland). Generally what the article says is true, it's usually possible to throw some money at the problem and get visas while on the move if necessary. Some visas run from time of entry, some from time of issuance (particularly India) - pay attention to this!

orofino 2 days ago 2 replies      
Another traveller chiming in, I've just started working after taking off for 8 months to travel South America (top to bottom), Antarctica, and Europe. I've been working now for almost 2 months.

Regarding packing: My wife and I each carried a 40L backpack. This is pretty small, but I'd highly recommend it for this kind of trip. They were a godsend on buses in South America.

Cost: Over the course of the trip we spent almost 40k ($165/day), if you exclude Antarctica it was a much more reasonable $92/day. Last minute deals for Antarctica DO exist, I recommend them highly (we saved somewhere in the neighborhood of 20k).

Transport: As with others in the thread, we bought as we went and opted primarily for overland travel. Tips for 30 hour bus rides: carrots to snack on and Harry Potter audio books.

My most recent post [1] was a wrap up after being home for some time. You can check out the blog for more on packing, budget, etc.

Happy to answer any questions.

[1] http://orofino.me/

jzwinck 2 days ago 3 replies      
A few related thoughts:

Travel guides: buy Lonely Planet or similar books as dead trees, not Kindle which is almost useless for this. Buy them in the US if it's convenient, because they definitely aren't cheaper in many other places.

Visas: US passport is usually good, but may increase the odds of being asked to pay someone off. In Cambodia specifically, better to get a visa in advance via the official website; some of the border stations are well-known for various schemes to get extra cash from those seeking visas on arrival. Make sure your passport starts out fairly empty--some visas take a whole page each. For US passports, extra pages are free initially, expensive to add later.

Room and board: if breakfast is free, great. But don't buy it in advance if it's not included, unless you're in the middle of nowhere.

Transportation: hitchhiking can be easier in poorer areas where many people do it, harder in places where everyone owns a car. For regional flights not every country does things online, and some smaller airlines do not charge a lot for last-minute tickets.

Packing: a 50 liter pack is enough if you don't have many gadgets. Take thin clothes that dry quickly, avoid jeans, wash a few items in the sink each night and enjoy perpetual clean clothes for free. An ultralight daypack like Marmot's Kompressor ($35) is useful, or get a cheapie abroad, e.g. $7 in Bangkok.

TheAnimus 2 days ago 2 replies      
I spent last summer travelling in SEA, funded entirely by freelance. Well thats a lie I came back to the UK for one week inbetween (it was a good party, worth two 13 hour flights).

I had a very good client for whom it didn't matter where I was, I worked on the relationship with the travel in mind and noted from day one. This ment I was about 300 a day less than my normal London day rate for two months for them. However, even down by three hundread I was travelling like a king, well king of economy travellers.

It worked well, but I had one massive disadvantage, I had to ensure good wifi whereever I moved. SEA is mostly 6 hours ahead of London, so keeping London time isn't hard, 11pm is the latest your expected to be online.

The main problem I had was due to a staff change at the clients end. The people I had been dealing with before quit on mass over a pay dispute. The placements, they were a little bit bottom draw (think where is the defintion of this 'web service', I don't want a WSDL, this is a web service, this isn't good enough types).

That is where we come to the crunch. Would I do it again? No.

It was a bit of a pain really, my friends I'd met up with along the way were off having fun, but I was stuck still chained to a laptop. Given that I'd taken a substaintial rate cut, I would have been better off just working full time as normal for half a year, saving, and taking time of normally.

The digital nomad traveller isn't all its cracked up to be. However working remotely from a fairly fixed base is great. It's very easy to get a 6 month tourist VISA to say Thailand, which has great food, and a great countryside. Rent a place for duration, make sure it has reliable good internet, and working remotely isn't such an issue when your not moving around. Now I type this I realise it was the moving around that was the issue. If working say 40hours, you either move round at a snails pace, or miss really interesting things.

I am actually looking to buy a condo in the mountains of Thailand as a bolt hole, my girlfriend and I could just run and hide there for a month or two, still work if need be, but have a change of scenary, weather and society.

_k 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a tip : Become a Belgian citizen, get a job, use a 1 year time credit, let the government pay you 1,000 a month, travel the world for 1 year and still keep your job.

You do need the company's permission. But no wonder our country is getting deeper in debt. I don't know that many people but I do know 5 people who have done this.

nanidin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw the author used wikitravel a lot - I used to also.

But now, wikivoyage is probably the preferred route. They've been adopted by Wikimedia after some drama with the company that owns wikitravel. wikitravel is now covered with ads and most of the editors abandoned ship for wikivoyage.

It's a great resource though! I have never owned a travel guide.

brent_noorda 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Alternative adventure idea: Instead of travelling the world for a year, spend that year travelling within 50 miles of your home (or, if you're starting in Silicon Valley, like this author, anywhere that Bart reaches). Get to know the immigrant communities spread throughout your area (the Thai community, the Cambodian community, Peruvian, Bolivian, etc) They are all there, practically in your back yard (maybe literally in your back yardask your gardener where he's from), living in ways that are culturally different from yours, and yet when you get to know them, hang with them, drink and dance with them, you'll learn that we're all people and we're all fundamentally the same living, loving, learning, lonely scared human beings.

You need only travel 1, 5, 10, 15 miles from wherever you are right now to find entire communities that are outside your techy echo chamber. Meet them, and you will get some perspective.

Best of all is with this alternative plan is what you won't do. You won't waste many many days (weeks? a month?) of your life either in airports, flying between airports, travelling to and from airports, or recovering from jet lag. Most importantly, in my opinion, you won't be burning 250 to 500 gallons of gasoline, and releasing 2.5 to 5 tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

wavesounds 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just skimmed this, does he mention how old he is? Pretty rare circumstances to be able to make 22k in a month consulting and then be able to take a year off of everything to travel. Sounds like a dream to me.
_mulder_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whenever I read these blogs, and the comments that follow, I'm amazed at how much money people spend doing this!

Has nobody heard of www.couchsurfing.com?

Why travel all the way around the world to pay money and sit in a hotel room/private apartment?

I've done travelling and couldn't recommend it enough. It's a fantastic experience but by far the biggest benefit, and most memorable moments, were from the people I met (even though I'm not really a 'people' person). Couchsurfing allows you to stay for free with a local host.. think AirBnB but FREE and where you can actually speak and interact with them. Most of the hosts in the more remote countries are fellow American's doing Peace Corp. It's interesting to hear their different perspective on their host country, and they enjoy the contact with another 'westerner' too. Lots of other hosts will happily invite you sailing, climbing, hiking, BBQing with them or their mates too.

If you're happy to sleep on the floor occasionally (rarely in my experience) then I highly recommend any travellers (particularly solo) give it a go.

If you're really adventurous, or want some even more amazing, serendipitous encounters with incredible people, stick out your thumb ;-)

GotAnyMegadeth 2 days ago 3 replies      
Re cost: My girlfriend and I managed to travel South East Asia for 3 months for 1200 between us. Flights to Malaysia were 350 return each from the UK. That included travel, accommodation, eating, activities, etc...

We had a 10 a day budget.

juokaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm doing this now(1), almost 300 days into it. Currently have lived in 13 countries(2). I work as I travel so haven't done too many crazy places, but definitely have learned a lot of things I would do differently now. Finishing this in October, going to be a long story to share. Was worth every single stress-minute.

[1] - http://juokaz.com/blog/living-homeless.html[2] - https://twitter.com/juokaz/status/348036931214524416

philsnow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those photos would make Thomas Kinkade blush.

The Taj Mahal one isn't terrible. As far as I can tell that's because there isn't much in the foreground. The HDR used makes the others appear uniformly flat / without depth, like an old chinese woodcut (e.g. [0], in which perspective is flattened).

[0] http://lifeasahuman.com/files/2011/12/P14-Old-Chinese-woodcu...

miloshadzic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Props for earning 20k in a month. I love the rest of the post but that part always strikes a chord with me.
andrewcooke 2 days ago 2 replies      
don't forget guys, remember to pack your colour-saturation-level-adjusting glasses. travel abroad isn't the same without them.

more seriously, having travelled much, and now living "abroad" i think it's way over-rated. people are fundamentally the same. the ways in which societies differ are in the rituals people are accustomed to - and dealing with that gets old quickly.

wallflower 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're thinking of traveling (even if it is just in persistent day dream mode), spend some time looking at:


"Brave New Traveler"http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/

wito 2 days ago 2 replies      
This link has already been on HN once, and yeah, it helped me to make decision to follow my dream and do a 6 month travel to SE Asia. Thanks Alex! Cheers from KL :)
thefinalboss 2 days ago 0 replies      
About cost: I did 9 months in Asia for 12K$ and never felt stressed for cash. My main problem on the go was motivation for side projects. It is so easy to get caught up in meeting locals, doing activities that it can fill up your whole day. There are so many interesting distractions.

If I wanted to travel and get work done now I wold probably revisit some of the same countries.

alxbrun 2 days ago 4 replies      
Don't fly, travel overland, that's the most interesting part of the trip, especially the remote areas near borders...

The worst is to book this round-the-world ticket, where you have to decide in advance how long you'll stay at each point. We travelled around the world for 1 year and ended up staying as much as one month in one place where we'd planned to stay 1 day, or literally flee out of countries like Malaysia after 2 days.

smackfu 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's quite a large scale-up to go from the typical week or two vacation to travelling for a whole year. I wonder how many people get tired of it after a couple of months? I've met some pretty damn jaded world travellers in hostels, the kind who talk about "the same bullshit hostel conversations every day."
notdrunkatall 2 days ago 0 replies      
This thread is making me want to travel again. To that end, now I'm thinking about changing my major from engineering to programming...
danielharan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just did 10 countries in 10 months, most of them in Asia.

Vietnam and China visas I wish I had known about before. For some passports, China is something you should get even before leaving your home country.

Otherwise, I definitely agree that travelling over land is much more interesting.

31reasons 2 days ago 0 replies      
>So the net cost for the trip was about $22k. I paid for the vast majority of this with one months consultancy beforehand.

Wow. Consultancy that pays $20k+ still eludes me.

boothead 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to hear some perspective from people doing this with small kids. Almost all of these posts are from people young free and single!
gautamnarula 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious, how much of an issue is language when doing a trip like this? This is something I'd like to do, but I'm only fluent in English and have a basic proficiency in Spanish.
izztmzzt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Im always impressed by folks who can keep on the road like this.

I myself prefer to stay in an area long term and marinate the local culture and language. I studied abroad in Beijing for one year in undergrad, and taught english in Japan for 2 year. You discover many subtle things by staying somewhere for an extended period of time, and learn a new way of living. Definitely want to do it again.

But before I die, I'd like to try this method too.

mililani 2 days ago 2 replies      
How does one make $22k a month doing consulting work? The most I ever got doing side consulting was $80/hr, and that was just a 2 week gig.
sockgrant 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've done 4 week trips every year, but this year I'm looking at going away for a year or longer.

A question I have: Does anyone have any experience being a landlord while traveling abroad? What's it like?

I was thinking that investing in an apartment before I leave might be a great way for me to get some low-maintenance income while traveling.

jungziege 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to link to the old HN discussion about this article when it was first posted a yea ago:


madsravn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I loved this the first time I read it and I loved it now again. This is definitely a dream of mine and when I finish university, I'm gonna find me some work and collect some money to do this.

I mean, who wouldn't want to see the world?

andion 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! I admire you for being able to travel and do all this stuff. I'm travelling for 7 months now and after the 1st month I realized I couldn't do both things. Keep moving! :)
CrunchyJams 2 days ago 0 replies      
Solid article. If you like that, you should read Four Hour Workweek. He outlines a full plan for how to stay productive while globetrotting for months at a time.
spiek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is anyone else amused by the idea of choosing your travel destinations according to an HDR photoblog? It seems somewhat absurd to base your travel destinations on some doctored photographs, and to ignore the cultural and historical context of all of the places you're planning on going.
tbug 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was planning to do something like this.

My problem is, If I get to a place that requires no VISA but I have no return ticket because I plan to buy the next hop while I'm there, won't this make getting into the country more complicated?

NY auto dealers trying to shut down Tesla Motors in NY twitter.com
233 points by cobrausn  2 days ago   133 comments top 15
leetrout 2 days ago 5 replies      
Because the government is completely ran by corporations and Musk isn't in "the club" (yet). Gone are the days where the consumer is uneducated and the supplier doesn't have a way to easily and effectively communicate with customers everywhere from anywhere.

There's a pretty good doc on Netflix, "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream", which covers some of the financial backing of congress and how it affects things (although that's not the primary focus). I'm sure this plays out at a state level, too. I witnessed it first hand growing up in Eastern Kentucky and how the coal companies threw their money and weight around.

sigil 2 days ago 1 reply      
"My dear colleagues, every day great quantities of wood come into Paris, and draw out of it large sums of money. If this goes on, we shall all be ruined in three years, and what will become of the poor people? [Bravo.] Let us prohibit foreign wood. I am not speaking for myself, for you could not make a tooth-pick out of all the wood I own. I am, therefore, perfectly disinterested. [Good, good.] But here is Pierre, who has a park, and he will keep our fellow-citizens from freezing. They will no longer be in a state of dependence on the charcoal dealers of the Yonne. Have you ever thought of the risk we run of dying of cold, if the proprietors of these foreign forests should take it into their heads not to bring any more wood to Paris? Let us, therefore, prohibit wood. By this means we shall stop the drain of specie, we shall start the wood-chopping business, and open to our workmen a new source of labor and wages. [Applause.]"

-- Bastiat, Sophisms of the Protectionists


untog 2 days ago 6 replies      
Any evidence to back up Musk's claim? Being a Senator's employee must be annoying sometimes.

"Hi, I'm calling to defend Telsa Motors because its CEO told me to. No, I do not know anything more about the topic I am calling about"

jusben1369 2 days ago 1 reply      
I applaud Tesla for trying super hard to disrupt the current selling model that's existed for decades. I understand why existing participants in the market wonder why this new competitor can play by a different set of rules. The irony is that once (if) Tesla starts selling cars in significant volume their purely direct/internet/word of mouth model will break down and they'll probably find themselves....... establishing dealerships!
shmerl 2 days ago 2 replies      
I general, I find it bizarre that a law should exist, that protects some middleman position. Isn't it nonsense to protect such monopoly through the law? How can it coexist with the antitrust regulations?
paddy_m 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.latfor.state.ny.us/maps/?sec=2012s seems to be the best place to figure out what district you are in.

While you are at it, ask your senator to protect pedestrians. http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/06/21/marty-golden-needs-to-...

rorrr2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why Elon can't register another corp to be an exclusive dealer for Tesla?

Or not an exclusive, but add an outrageous fee to become a member of "Tesla Dealer" club.

frogpelt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dealers in North Carolina are attempting a similar tactic.


UPDATE: Actually it appears Tesla is having a rough go of it in a lot of states, Colorado being the first one to oppose their efforts:


cobrausn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Status update: The NY State Senate appears to be unconvinced.


smackfu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Title should really say "NY State Senators." (It used to say NY Senators which I would assume is NY US Senators, but it's been changed.)
meerita 2 days ago 1 reply      
I will appreciate if anyone can address me some explanation about this matter. Personally I want to know why auto dealers want to shut down Tesla, aren't they just dealers, are they?
ggamecrazy 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you live in New York, please contact your senator and let him know what you think, regardless of your opinion. http://www.nysenate.gov/senators
baddox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good old competition.
CrunchyJams 2 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite part is when he didn't say how or why
shmerl 2 days ago 0 replies      
A source? Is it a proposed bill or a rumor?
The Physics Behind Traffic Jams smartmotorist.com
231 points by netvarun  22 hours ago   98 comments top 38
seanp2k2 11 hours ago 4 replies      
>"It was dusk, the headlights were on, and I was going down a long hill to the bridges. I had a view of miles of highway behind me. In the other lane I could see maybe five of the traffic stop-waves. But in the lane behind me, for miles, TOTALLY UNIFORM DISTRIBUTION. I hadn't realized it, but by driving at the average speed, my car had been "eating" traffic waves. Everyone ahead of me was caught in the stop/go cycle, while everyone behind me was forced to go at a nice smooth 35MPH or so. My single tiny car had erased miles and miles of stop-and-go traffic. Just one single "lubricant atom" had a profound effect on the turbulent particle flow within the "tube.""

When I try this, most other people have no idea what I'm doing and/or are stupidly greedy and go "OMG A GAP" and rush into it. I'll also typically have people behind me honking / flashing their headlights at me, as they're equally clueless. I've had one dude and his wife, in a Harley Davidson edition F150 actually roll down their window and scream at me for "not knowing how to drive".

I drive a 6spd stick too, so the stop/go is even more painful. I try to be that "lubricating atom" both for my sanity and to ease the jam, but the collective inability of other drivers to think beyond "OMG MAKE AS MUCH PROGRESS AS SOON AS I CAN" greatly inhibits my efforts.

TL;DR traffic jams are caused because people are greedy and short-sighted in their greed. It's not really different from all of the other big problems with humanity.

AndrewKemendo 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Some years ago (2008) research (1) demonstrated that traffic jams were chaotic dynamical systems and given a certain traffic density would be inevitable based on the variability of drivers. Here is a video demonstrating as such:


I always found this fascinating. My hope is that the driverless car idea will take off in earnest and normalize the variability between drivers, making for a much more rational/logical commute.

1: http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/10/3/033001/fulltext/

networked 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The article shows what looks like a time-continuous microscopic traffic flow model ("microscopic" means that the model accounts for individual cars as opposed to fluid-like "traffic streams"). There also exist cellular automaton-based models like the two-dimensional BihamMiddletonLevine model [1] or the one-dimensional rule 184 [2] that can also show fascinating behavior but are much easier to program a computer simulation of and to alter (say, introduce different kinds of vehicles to).

Check out the videos on the Wikipedia page to which I've linked, especially [3], to see what I mean. In those videos the blue dots are trying to get from the top to the bottom while the red ones are trying to go from the left edge to the right edge of an "intersection".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biham%E2%80%93Middleton%E2%80%...

[2] https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=rule+184

[3] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Biham-Mi...

teuobk 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Contrary to one of the recommendations in the article, the Minnesota Department of Transportation recommends against merging early, and instead has made a large public-education effort (including signs at merge points) to encourage zipper merging:


More discussion:


socillion 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Original copy at http://trafficwaves.org/

A video from there, omitted from OP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGFqfTCL2fs

OP is a cut-down version of this site, which has been up for a decade or two. I'm curious if it's a legitimate copy.

freework 20 hours ago 4 replies      
The solution to traffic jams is to have a dynamically calculated speed limit based on the density of the traffic flowing through it. A car going 60mph down the highway needs 50 feet in front and 50 feet in back between it and the other cars (for braking distance). When that same car is going 20 mph, you only need 10 feet in front and back. Therefore, to support more cars, speed needs to slow down. You could have a device that counts the amount of cars entering the highway, and then an algorithm could assign a speed limit for a section of the highway. In the middle of the nigh, theres no one else on the road, so the speed limit will be very high. During rush hour the speed limit could be as low as 15mph. This would make merging easier since you're going slower.

You wouldn't think that lowering speed limits would easy traffic congestion, but it would. Its a counter-intuitive, so it will never be implemented anywhere.

jasallen 11 hours ago 0 replies      

This is misleading1)The actual throughput of cars through the constriction even in the animation is only slightly faster despite 'apparent' better speeds.

2)The animation does not account for drivers re-assuming their previous following distance. Regardless of whether your 'comfort' distance is half car-length or 5 car lengths, you will eventually resume it. Leading to a slowdown. The advice, and animation seems to assume both that we've merged (onto the highway in the first place) at a rate that can absorb those driving distances without additional slow-down and that we won't resume our previous driving distance (after merging past the constriction). In short, its moved the problem and then shown a window into the part that was improved.

*edit: added parenthetics to improve clarity

sigil 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in the physics of it, there's a PDE that explains these backwards propagating density shockwaves (aka traffic jams).


mwexler 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This appears to be a prettier version of William Beaty's work at http://trafficwaves.org/ which is well worth the read. I send this link out multiple times a year to friends, because it advocates (and shows some proof for) some simple driving changes that can substantially reduce traffic: Leave space ahead of you, and let folks cut in if they want. Given the chaotic pattern of traffic and drivers, these simple habits appear to reduce (but never eliminate) traffic jams.
ChrisNorstrom 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Yeah, Traffic Waves. There's no cure. They've been studied, documented, they have many causes but there's no way to get rid of them unless all the cars on the highway are autonomous and self correcting.

Once a highway increases past 2 lanes they are inevitable as people from the far left lanes have to merge right to get to their exit and the 2 right lanes than can normally hold 20 cars with a 1 car space in between all of them now have to cope with 35 cars. The cars in the left lane can't merge in time to get to their exit so the far left lanes start slowing down as well.

There are a LOT of causes, from bunching (cars driving too close together) to pattern breaking (cars slowing down to look a pulled over cop), to merging, to accidents, to bottlenecks, to over-crowded exits, etc...

The only way to provide some relief is for ALL drivers to travel in groups/packs with large gaps in between the groups/packs. The gaps can obsorb slow downs.

afterburner 20 hours ago 2 replies      
A shame "rubberneckers" were mentioned (even if in passing); it always bothers me when "rubberneckers" are blamed for a slowdown, despite that it may simply be the long-term wave slow-down after the incident (as also discussed in the article). The reason it bothers me, especially when it's mentioned in a traffic report, is it gives everyone a little easy road rage "blame the bad driver" excuse when everyone just needs to chill out and realize this will only cause a few minutes delay at worst.

It's also futile to try to "train" everyone to overcome these little wave effects. All you're going to do is give some people an excuse to rage at others about their "inefficient" driving. Just keep your distance, follow the rules of the road, and put on some good music/audiobook/podcast/etc. You will get there eventually, and one day better self-driving cars or mass transit will make this frustration moot.

(Note that even if self-driving cars aren't specifically programmed to solve the wave effect, it won't matter because you'll be too busy watching TV or reading to give a damn. I'm all for efficiency, but having commuted by car for years, it's not about these little things anyways, it's the sheer time spent that is the worst thing (and damaging on a personal level), and traffic accidents truly do block traffic anyways.)

Too 15 hours ago 2 replies      
It's the same as when approaching a red light or any other intersection. If you drive all the way up and make a full stop you will have to accelerate from 0 once you get green. If you slow down when you see the red you can be able to roll into the intersection with speed just as the light switches to green effectively giving you a 30km/h headstart or more.

You leave the intersection faster and you save gas by not accelerating. I don't understand why more people don't do this very simple move. The tricky part is timing the switch perfectly which is almost impossible, instead you should just slow down more and more and more and try to never ever fully stop the car fully.

WalterBright 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> My single tiny car had erased miles and miles of stop-and-go traffic. Just one single "lubricant atom" had a profound effect on the turbulent particle flow within the "tube".

I did this in the 1970's. It gets rediscovered constantly.

aba_sababa 22 hours ago 3 replies      
This is awesome. The problem is that no individual agent is incentivized to drive slower. I wonder if it'd be worth it to hire "stir-the-pot cars" whose job it is to drive slowly during rush hour and ease jams. Kind of like dietary fiber for the road.

Hey, doesn't Uber have a whole fleet of cars in cities around the world? It would be a cool $&@! project for them to be the all-wondrous curers of traffic.

pbnjay 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone at Waze should get on this. Send a small notification to Waze users that there's a jam ahead, and to slow down by 10mph to help alleviate it! It's a simple solution and might even work since Waze users are already a "community" of drivers in the sense that they're looking out for each other and not necessarily just themselves.
makeramen 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really interesting. I wonder if the existing California Highway Patrol practice of swerving around the highway[1] to slow down traffic can be used to create these "anti-traffic" gaps during rush hour?

[1] http://articles.latimes.com/1996-08-12/local/me-33464_1_traf...

seanp2k2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Even better solution to traffic: develop real high-speed rail in the US, live closer to where you work / need to be (stop suburbs / sprawl), ride bikes or even just motorcycles / mopeds in California where filtering is legal, or walk.

This has a lot of other nice first-order benefits like real communities, decreased pollution, less time wasted commuting, and tons of second-order benefits.

rheide 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the prisoner's dilemma. If you slow down and drive smoothly, and everyone else does too, then everyone benefits greatly. But if you cut in front of one of the smooth drivers, which you can since he's leaving lots of space, you benefit personally by gaining a car length while inconveniencing everyone else in that particular lane. Well, at least until the guy behind you has smoothed out the difference. Human nature makes smoothing out traffic an improbable solution.
rallison 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If you enjoy this sort of stuff, the book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt[1] is an enjoyable read. He covers traffic waves and a lot more.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Drive-What-Says-About/dp/03072...

dirkgently 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I have been experimenting a bit whenever I am stuck in the traffic. The goal is not to come to a complete stop. So, in order to do that, I keep long enough gap in front of me while the traffic is crawling, and keep a low speed such that I do not get too close to the car in front (in which case, I have to come to a complete stop).

Just by doing that, the car behind me can also just follow me at the same speed without coming to a complete halt.

I just hate sitting still on the highway. This game keeps me entertained while also helping a few cars (if not all) behind me.

The best place to see this effect is in a tunnel (say, Holland tunnel, where switching lane is not allowed). Just one car maintaining a low speed with enough space in the front can make the whole lane flowing so easily.

I just don't understand people who would accelerate and the brake, and repeat this until they are out of the traffic. Not only you are causing yourself a lot of anguish, you are also not helping others, nor your car.

tempestn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't do this for traffic waves, but it would appear the ideal solution to merge slowdowns is to have different speed limits before and after the merge. Regardless of anything else, the flow rate before and after a merge must be the same. Ideally you want the flow rate after the merge to be approximately one car every 2.5 seconds, with those cars traveling at the speed limit. (As opposed to the usual situation where post-merge traffic accelerates from a near stop, causing large, unnecessary spaces to form.) One way to achieve this is to have pre-merge traffic leave twice the space, but it's unlikely there are enough traffic-flow vigilantes out there to achieve that, if such a thing would even be desirable. Much easier is to keep the same time spacing between cars, but to have pre-merge traffic travel at half the speed. Traffic approaches the merge in two lanes, traveling at 50 km/h. The speed limit increases to 100 km/h, then immediately afterward the traffic merges. Speeding up from 50 to 100 naturally opens spaces, and traffic merges painlessly. There is no reason for a slowdown to occur, so no self-perpetuating gridlock.

Of course, the slower speed limit is only useful when the road is filled to capacity; otherwise it would be inefficient. So for most roads you would want this limit to vary based on time of day (or even dynamically based on traffic volume, but obviously that would only be useful/necessary in extreme cases).

frogpelt 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The merging solution is oversimplified. Leaving enough space for another car in front of you sounds easy. But in reality, if 1,000 cars each add 2 car lengths in front of them you've added 40,000 feet to the length of the slow down. Yep, 7.5 miles.

If it was feasible, we could also stop at red lights with 3 or 4 car lengths between each car and when the light turned green everyone could go at the same time. There isn't space on the road for this type of behavior.

platz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember some sort of experiment in Colorado in which state police formed a line of cars at intervals forcing everyone to drive the same speed, and thus was able to eliminate the daily blockages in that experiment.
notmarkus 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem with leaving a gap is that, as soon as it's a few car-lengths long, people in the adjacent lane(s) notice that there's a gap and quickly cut into your lane to fill it, because it moves them a car-length or two forward. In order to do this, they have to cut in front of you, speed up quickly, and brake quickly. And you're left in the same position that you were in before you made the gap -- plus one extra car.

I try to do this all the time and it's frustrating because it's completely impossible. As soon as a vacuum exists, drivers rush to fill it.

brownbat 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Jams spontaneously occur after a certain road density is reached.

The sadistic side of me wishes they'd just close entrances to the highway whenever it's dangerously full.

jdleesmiller 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a nice simulation of these physics here:http://www.traffic-simulation.de

The jams seem pretty robust, unless you turn down the input flow -- a bit like real life!

caw 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting blog article.

I've always found it strange that when school is out, traffic is like 30-50% better. This effect is the best I can think of, because I wouldn't think there's a lot of people directly impacted by the school schedule. Elementary, middle and high schools all start and end at different times, and there's people directly employed by all of those schools, and certainly some parents who pick up and drop their kids off, but still it doesn't seem like that many people compared to how much better the traffic gets.

So maybe this article is right, you take a few people off the road and the merging madness, and everything becomes better.

mortehu 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My heuristic when trying to help get rid of a traffic jam is this:

> Maintain a higher minimum speed (and the same or higher average speed) than the car in front of you.

The only reason why traffic jams ever disappear is that people are doing this. Most of the time I guess the true root cause is that incoming traffic is dissipating, though.

mappum 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I found the idea that one person can make a huge difference really interesting, I will have to start experimenting with this myself. All the roads OP wrote about are where I drive, but the Lynnwood ramp he talked about recently got expanded.

This also makes me want to make some sort of simple traffic simulator to do experiments like this, does anyone know if any already exist?

adacosta 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually try to avoid hitting the brake as much as possible in order to maintain the most uniform speed I can. This is due to a selfish, lazy motivation, because I don't want to rapidly alternate between gas and brake.

I think there is also a psychological component to seeing bright red brake lights. I want to say it creates a reactive, and often overly reactive response. I imagine lifting a foot off the gas pedal often creates sufficient deceleration without the alarm caused by hitting the brake pedal but many people don't drive this way. Maybe we should have two shades, or colors, or a full gradient to indicate level of braking? What if a brake light could indicate current speed?

clarky07 20 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me of an experiment by some college kids in atlanta - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoETMCosULQ
chrismealy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw William Beaty's zen traffic warrior video years ago, and I don't know if it works, but it sure makes me more relaxed when I'm driving.
dirkgently 22 hours ago 0 replies      
A related Japanese experiment on the Human factor of traffic jam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suugn-p5C1M
mooze 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a whole chapter on traffic jams in the book Critical Mass. From what I remember, innocuous things like a single driver slowing down can cause massive jams due to the natural 'physics' of traffic.
Stark2 22 hours ago 0 replies      
On the freeway system in LA, a lot of the jams are caused by slow drivers in the passing lanes. Most the time, when there's a clump of cars and empty space ahead of them, it's one or two slow drivers blocking the passing lanes.
sly010 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this mean it's actually possible to improve traffic by introducing extra tempo setter cars whose only job is to smooth traffic?
matiasb 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Next Generation Video: Introducing Daala xiph.org
211 points by metajack  2 days ago   34 comments top 7
gioele 2 days ago 1 reply      
Monty's ability to explain convoluted technical topics is astounding. He explains everything in plain words yet it remains technical and scientific enough.
mtgx 2 days ago 2 replies      
They make the distinction on their page, too - this is a "next-next-generation" codec, not just a "next-generation" one like VP9 and HEVC.

So if this is finalized in 2-3 years, then it will be more of a competitor to VP10. Not sure if MPEG-LA will release another one 2 years from now. They usually release one every 5 years or more, and VP9 managed to catch-up with HEVC after only 2 years of work (work on HEVC started in 2008; work on VP9 in 2011), so we might see VP10 in 2 years that is twice as good as VP9/HEVC, but not an h.266 codec that is twice as good HEVC/h.265.

It will be interesting to see just how good Daala will be. If it's going to be released 2-3 years from now, then it should be at least 3x better than h.264, or at least 4x better to be safe, and to be worth the switch from HEVC/VP9 (and at least as good as VP10, if Google does indeed release VP10 around then, too). That would make 4k video as efficient as 1080p video with h.264 (file size/bandwidth-wise).

znowi 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm surprised to learn that modern codecs are so conservative, incrementing on the tech invented decades ago. I expected this field to be rampant with cutting-edge research techniques. As the article says, the lapping transformation dates back to the early 90s. And it's considered "the next-next-generation" today. Why is it happening?
jwr 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is very good news. I'm glad to finally see some real development of video encoding. I was disappointed to see Google put its weight behind VP9, which was basically the same set of technologies as H.264, with (almost) the same set of patent encumbrances.

The ideas behind Daala, while not revolutionary, are enough to make it quite different from everything else out there. I also hope it means it won't infringe on every patent out there, just some of them.

nullc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I still think we should have pointed out that the same thing that makes feistel ciphers invertable is what makes integer lifting invertable.
arianvanp 2 days ago 2 replies      
Speaking of 'original' formats. Why would one prefer the Discrete Cosine Transform to the Discrete Fourier Transform? I've only worked with the Fourier, and I'm wondering if there are any benefits?
rikacomet 2 days ago 1 reply      
so basically how much it would save : Cost/Time/Space over a 100 MB file, compared to current codec ? A example would have been nice for non-CS people like me.
We were wrong kickstarter.com
197 points by lukashed  2 days ago   521 comments top 45
ebbv 2 days ago 27 replies      
Dear fellow HN dwellers,

If you read the writings of the Guide's author and do not recognize that it is misogynistic and advocating sexual assault, you have a problem. That problem is that you are mistaking sexual assault for "taking the first step."

You do not need to resort to pulling out your dick and forcibly placing the woman's hand on it in order to "make a move." There's literally hundreds of other things that aren't sexual assault that you could do before resorting to that.

If you believe that's a reasonable "move" to make, then you not only have no imagination, but your judgment of what's acceptable behavior is way, way off. It doesn't matter if this is a woman who you're behind closed doors with for the first time, that's not a normal, acceptable "move". That kind of thing is for people already in an established, ongoing relationship with a solid foundation of consent.

Without that consent, it is assault.

I strongly urge all of you who "do not see the problem" with the author's writings to do more research into exactly what consent is, and what women (as a whole, obviously it varies from individual to individual) see as acceptable, expected behavior.

If women are loudly saying "This is assault.", you need to take them at their word, because it is their judgment, it is their consent that matters. Not yours.


A married, 34 year old HNer who is ashamed of this community right now.


I thought this was obvious but I have already read all the comments in this thread and all the "context" the excusers are providing. If you think pointing me to that again is refuting my points, then you didn't understand what I wrote.

gilrain 2 days ago 3 replies      
I won't touch the issue of whether the action was right or wrong here on Hacker News, but I think everyone has to admit that this is a brilliant example of an apology done well.

They do not equivocate (the "sorry you were offended" apology) and they take direct action to fix what their users felt was wrong (new policy made) as well as somewhat atone for the original offense (donation to RAINN). It's also written simply but very skillfully: zero weasel words or anything.

I happen to agree with the action taken, but bravo in any case for the brilliant apology!

hacker789 2 days ago 8 replies      
Women are sensitive, fragile, inferior creatures who require constant, vigilant protection from honorable men.

If it becomes necessary to take a few quotes out of context in our noble quest to protect the fairer sex, so be it.

Kudos to Kickstarter for adhering to feminist principles.

> The thing that the commenters on social media are leaving out is that the advice was taken from a section in the guide offering advice on what to do AFTER a man has met a cute girl, gotten her phone number, gone on dates, spent time getting to know her, and now are alone behind closed doors fooling around. If "Don't wait for signs, make the first move" promotes sexual assault, then "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid was a song about rape.


iandanforth 2 days ago 12 replies      
I don't respect this. I acknowledge that as it is their playground they can make this kind of judgement call, however I have always believed that freedom of speech also protects the freedom to hate and be a terrible person. There are countless texts, movies, and other 'creative works' which both condone and encourage violence against women, mass murder, torture, and other things I find abhorrent, but I don't get to ban any of them, and that is a good thing.

If your mission is focused on art I would encourage the kickstarter group to go back and re-read the history of banned works of art, and pay attention to which groups were pushing for those bans. I suspect you won't like the company you now keep.

xauronx 2 days ago 4 replies      
Jesus, seems like an over reaction. Books and guides like this are nothing new, and should be taken in context/used appropriately. A nerd in a club is going to take this brash advice like:

"All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality."

And not go up and rape a woman, but perhaps take a chance and put their hand on the girls shoulder during conversation to show interest, where they might have otherwise oddly looked away from them. Also, there's a huge difference between personal conduct in a night club and in a library.

Anyhow, I'm a nerd with a SO that has never drank and hates night clubs but that's my take. Seems like any other topic and people would be crying free speech and censorship. A guide like this isn't going to turn a normal man into a rapist.

josh2600 2 days ago 3 replies      
Great apology. Right to the point, no dodging blame, and an acknowledgement of the debt to society.

Now, that being said, is this not a take on the book "the game", about picking up women? Am I missing something or is Kickstarter now picking and choosing what is "good" content? Obviously they have to do this to some extent, but where is the line drawn?

gregd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is an entire quote from one of his passages on a reddit thread:

Hi guys.First off, big props to thesacred. I went out with him yesterday and he has tons of game. Looking forward to many scandalous nights with him and others in Tokyo. He skipped the club to go attempt a threesome! Awesome!

Anyway, if you've followed my FR's recently, you've probably seen me mention the Physical Push/Pull (PPP) move I've been using. It's basically where you substitute actual physical pushes and pulls for emotional push/pulls, OR combine them with emotional push/pulls for maximum effect.

I was field testing it as an OPENER in the club yesterday and my GOD did it work. I highly recommend some of you guys try this out, but it's not for the faint of heart.


[see girl on dancefloor or near bar]


[hook her in with your arm] "Aww you're so cute. Come here."[shove her aside HARD, seemingly randomly]

[approach someone else and say hi]

[Turn around. About 75% of the time she'll be staring at you with a huge grin on her face.]

[Walk back over to her.] "You really are so cute, you know that?"


This is one of those "reality destroyer" openers where girls have NO IDEA what just happened. You can open as many sets as you want throughout the club/bar this way and decide which ones you wanna pursue further at your leisure.

I did this yesterday in a dance club.

I re-open a girl by walking up, grabbing her, caveman-ing her against the wall & kissing her. Then I cast her aside and get a drink at the bar. The entire time she is staring like "OMG who is this guy?" (in a good way).

I come back to her with my drink. "Come on, let's go."

I walk her to the corner, escalate kino, smalltalk a bit. Fast forward and guess who is getting a BJ in the dark corner of the club? THIS GUY!

Gentlemen, try this out. It's not only extremely effective but it's hilariously fun. Your friends' jaws will hit the floor when they see you pull this off.

Go and do likewise, gents.


blairbeckwith 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reading some of the comments on that blog post, I left thinking: Am I a terrible person?

I just don't see what's wrong with this project, and I certainly don't see the link between it and "sexual violence" where is Kickstarter making this connection? Say what you will about the seduction community, my very brief and infrequent encounters with it have been largely positive and I left thinking that they were a generally respectful, if a little bit misguided, group. There's some of their terms and techniques I don't like, such as "negging", but there's things like that in virtually every community that I don't like.

Certainly not sexually violent.

pathy 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the sake of completion: http://pastebin.com/zwHYzCZeThis is a statement on the matter by the author, linked in the original Reddit thread.
vacri 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, they weren't wrong. They decided not to do a snap judgement on a controversial topic. Let it slip with what little time is left, examine post facto how it got through, tighten the cracks, explain it to the punters. They did everything right except think that they did it 'so wrong'. Making snap judgments on new areas of information can bite you back and make things much worse.
DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 1 reply      
META: I know it's wrong to talk about flagging, but I think it's also important for the community for people to try to bring up good reasons to flag posts.

I read the linked article, I skimmed many of these comments, and hell if I got anything useful at all from them. Dating standards and decisions about misogyny and important topics, but they're also highly subjective. We HN'ers could argue until the cows come home and not accomplish a damned thing. In addition, it's highly emotionally-charged.

A couple commenters tried to take the conversation towards how a company should act in the face of public outrage. Kudos to you guys. You were drowned out, though.

I love talking about controversial topics. Heck, I'll post about the existence of God, the reasons for controlling speech, the relationship between organized religion and societal progress -- I really love good conversations among smart people about important things.

But I got none of this here. Just a bunch of people making speeches to themselves. Which looked like it could go on forever without either the writers or readers gaining much insight. I flag not based on the topic, but on the quality of the comments I see around the posting. So I had to flag it. Sorry.

alan_cx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just read this thread, and it applies to my newly learned wonder phrase:

"Tyranny is the suppression of nuance"

Not many people working with the nuance here, are there? Its gotten very black and white , and if you don't agree with one side, you must simply be a sexual predator.

illtakesix 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's worth reading through the creator's response to the situation: http://pastebin.com/zwHYzCZe. He claims and reasonably supports that the highlighted excerpts were taken out of context.
emingo 2 days ago 10 replies      
Maybe I was raised by a bunch of rabid dogs...

But after reading the cached page... I really don't understand what the creator did wrong?

He was a guy that I a lot of people can identify with, whom is publishing a book about his experiences?

Is seduction intrinsically bad?

oscardelben 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone read the actual response from the book author? http://pastebin.com/zwHYzCZe
jmduke 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of comments are getting into the issue of whether or not seduction stuff is appropriate/misogynistic/etc., which I think is missing the point.

Kickstarter received a vocal outcry against the material. They responded quickly and fairly to remediate the issue. There are tons of times that a business is pressured/advised to stop doing something when that 'something' isn't strictly illegal or immoral. How they respond to those opportunities defines them going forward.

Part of Kickstarter's value proposition now is a certain level of content curation: moving forward, they're much less the 'anything-goes' crowdfunding platform than they used to be. I suspect they're okay with this, given how much they're pushing the social networking aspect of their site (and for good reason -- their stats on how many users went from funding the Veronica Mars or Zach Braff kickstarters to other initiatives were pretty impressive.)

Free enterprise, of course, also dictates that now there's a vacuum for a competitor which has less (or no) qualms about stuff like this.

zedshaw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, I'm going to sidestep the whole book's ultra-crazy content and ask a kind of really obvious logistic question:

Why the hell was he doing a kickstarter for a book he could easily publish online for 0 money down and only cost him the time to write it and maybe get a copy editor?

The content of this book, and most similar unpopular material, is designed for the internet. That's how 50 Shades of Gray got its start, and there's been underground sex and erotica content for decades online. Doing a kickstarter just seems like a blatant scam or complete laziness, either are an indication that he won't finish the book.

So why the hell was he doing a kickstarter? Idiot.

solarmist 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't believe I haven't seen a single comment about non-verbal communication. No, a girl doesn't want you to ask for a kiss (it comes off as incredibly lacking in self confidence), but she better be touching you, smiling a lot (at you not just in general), laughing at your jokes, playing with her hair and/or many other things that show you she's saying she wants you to go further.

Everyone here is talking exclusively about verbal communication, but in courting non-verbal communication is the key context. Women are masters of it, but most men are only barely aware of it and that's where most of the problems in these kinds of materials come from and how well authors teach inept men how to read and respond to body language is what really separates a decent "dating" guide from a misogynistic "how to get charged with sexual assault" guide.

The Guide's author is a horrible writer and only makes passing references to reading non-verbal communication, but builds all of his "techniques" upon it. That's why they are all so horrible.

If you're chatting with a girl and she's smiling, playing with her hair and glancing down when you make prolonged eye contact you're probably okay to brush against her arm or touch her shoulder or elbow or even if you're bold pick her up and put her in your lap (but that'd force a girl to immediately decide if she likes you or to reject you).

In contrast if you're talking at a girl and she answers in the minimum length sentences, won't look at you, and has her arms crossed then touching her in anyway is going to make her want to get the hell away form you.

Similarly if you're in your bedroom because she came home with you when you invited her, you've been making out and her shirt is off then opening your pants and putting her hand on your penis probably isn't the smoothest thing, but probably isn't a deal breaker for her at that point either.

Again opposed to you sharing a taxi with her and asking her 10 times if you can come up for coffee/tea/drink then once you're inside her place and pulling your penis out, that's probably going to get you thrown out at the very least if not having the cops called on you.

This guide focuses exclusively on what the guy should "do" which, without a similar guide on how to know how and when to "do" those things, will lead to bad out comes if not sexual assault. It's written from the perspective of an instruction manual for a video game/passive object (the girl), which is a lot of what misogyny is all about, do A then B then C and you save the princess.

hosay123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Heh. So enslaving sentient organisms for the purposes of entertainment (cockroach robot app) is classed as a "creative work", while teaching teenagers how to pick up women results in outcry?

And no I'm not suggesting some equivalence between women and cockroaches, I'm objecting to their frivolous dismissal of the project on the grounds of it not being a "creative work".

doktrin 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a cesspool of a thread. Why is HN consistently at its worst when gender issues are brought up?
Tichy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I guess to understand this one has to consider that Kickstarter is based in puritan America?
lotharbot 2 days ago 0 replies      
>> "the decision had to be made immediately".

Kickstarter believes their only choices are "allow to continue unimpeded" or "cancel the project". This incident suggests a third possibility: "flag for review". They could set up a policy which allows them to temporarily suspend a project, placing a short-term hold on project funds so that they do not go either to the creator or get refunded. The review process would need to be fast and transparent, but not so fast as to require snap judgments.

philliphaydon 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'll probably get down voted for this, but reading through what was written, and based on the fact woman LOVE the book, 50 shades of grey. I'm kind of lost as to why on one side everyones offended, and on the other side its what they desire... Yet get offended.
OvidNaso 2 days ago 0 replies      
The linked blog post has an update that is really interesting:

[UPDATE: In the opening paragraph of this beast I mentioned a Kickstarter campaign that I am passionate about, that represents everything I like about Kickstarter. But for some reason I am getting bombarded with e-mails from people that think that project and Above The Game are connected. And now people are pulling funding for the project Im pumped for. Because of that, Ive removed any mention of them by name.]

Makes you question if any thought was put into the situation by many of the people who are outraged.

citricsquid 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does removing the kickstarter project after funding has taken place work for the backers? Do the backers no longer get their rewards? Does the project creator have no access to the backers information? Will Kickstarter refund the backers out of pocket? Strange situation.
mkr-hn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see the same quote about stopping if there's any rejection being repeated endlessly in this thread. Treating consent as a simple yes/no ignores the reality of a culture where women are taught to be quiet and compliant, and where they're punished when they don't go along. In a culture where half the population is treated as subservient objects, it's a good idea to seek explicit consent every time.
patrocles 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kickstarter should claim safe-harbor as they are a conduit.

This case means they open themselves up to being required to censor every project for every jurisdiction. Kickstarter apparently views the cost of that censorship as much less than the community cost.

Seems unlikely to be the case.

Paladiamors 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think Kickstarter's response to this incident is incorrect.

We're talking about the legitimacy of a single blog post vetoing 686 backers (according to the cached link on the kickstarter post) from what it looks like from the kickstarter post.

I don't think that this response was particularly measured:

-1) Does it only take a single blog post to have kickstarter ban a project?

1a) Can we be certain that the blog post did not take the passage out of context?

1b) Can they be sure that the seduction manual was intentionally promoting the alleged "sexual violence"?

1c) Was there any reasonable attempt to communicate with the author to address the paragraphs in issue?

-2) What number of the kickstarter community reacting negatively to this project?

2a) Was "Sexual violence" the only controversial topic?

2b) Was a specific (kickstarter) clause for violation cited?

2c) Was any law broken because of this project?

3)Can malicious intent be proven?

[1] If you actually look at the link to reddit comment link I don't even see conversation that could be taken as people taking this as "sexual violence" and there is even one comment from a female user (derina585) that recommends changing the language and offering advice.

This reaction to lynch mob the guy is unwarrented and is somehow legitimized by kickstarter's "apology." I think that we need to take a closer look at the information before jumping to conclusions here.

benblack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made a shirt for all you guys who think the rape, erm, PICK UP ARTISTE, book is totes cool and nbd http://www.cafepress.com/mf/79293678/i-am-rape-culture_tshir...
mathattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am a fan of "I'm sorry" posts, though they have become frequent enough to become cliche. When they put a $25K donation behind the apology, then it's a lot more than false humility.

"Fourth, today Kickstarter will donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization called RAINN. Its an excellent organization that combats exactly the sort of problems our inaction may have encouraged."

Well done!

gfunk911 2 days ago 0 replies      
You start by saying that if you disagree with you you're a misogynist pig, and any discussion of the merits is wrong. Just think about times you've read other people say that, and try and think it over.
DannoHung 2 days ago 9 replies      
Look at all these HNers defending sexual assault.
noamsml 2 days ago 0 replies      
This annoys me greatly. Whether or not the book itself was bad, an open platform shouldn't have to apologize for not immediately censoring its users on public outrage. To the contrary, I would have expected an apology if, given the first blush or public outcry, they suspended the account without a proper investigation into it.
boldpanda 2 days ago 3 replies      
This book will sell more copies now that it's been banned by Kickstarter.

I'm curious how the funding was going before this, I can't imagine it was getting much traction.

I quantify this as a paranoid over reaction by Kickstarter, if the post wasn't breaking any of their terms of service.

VikingCoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, were they also wrong to allow Cards Against Humanity?
dirkgadsden 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's easy to see why there aren't more women in computing with the mountain of rape culture, misogyny, and male privilege on display in these comments.
mkr-hn 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those who want to see what this book would have looked like, it's a collection and expansion of the author's posts on /r/seduction: http://www.reddit.com/r/seduction/comments/11piau/above_the_...
king_jester 2 days ago 0 replies      
So many of the comments here are trying to justify this project's content by saying this are things to do when you are with something you've already been dating/wooing. I just want to say that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows and that ANY kind of intimate contact does not justify further contact that someone has not consented to. Saying otherwise is an attempt to justify rape.
loumf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kickstarter is a private company that can decide what they want to have on their site for whatever reason they want. They have to answer to their customers. If you disagree, don't use Kickstarter.

But the idea that they have to comply with "freedom of speech" or be consistent or anything else doesn't make sense to me. Every store curates it's inventory with whatever rules they deem appropriate. Kickstarter never claimed that any possible piece of content was ok.

doki_pen 2 days ago 0 replies      
He mentions having only 2 options to decide whether to cancel or let the funds go through. Isn't there a third option that they could use in the future, Put a delay on the transfer while you review it?
bjhoops1 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's really quite remarkable how much good will a simple apology can generate. I wish more individuals and organizations recognized this.
tomp 2 days ago 0 replies      
A woman has never asked me if I wanted to have sex... Rape? Sexual assault? Come on!
kepano 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think one can fault Kickstarter for this or the Kobe Beef Jerky incident. As the platform grows so will the number of abuse cases. The submission process is a fairly strict filter, but from there the project is more than crowd-funding, it becomes increasingly about crowd-sourcing the due diligence process.

My concern is that a crowd-sourced due diligence process can be slow and requires active participation from the backers. That sense of common responsibility is what's needed to help the company take rapid action and for the community to remain a positive place for funding great ideas. I hope Kickstarter can continue inspiring that proactive participation from its users.

samspenc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is Kickstarter unable to return the money?
DanBC 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there was a moderate MRA group, that wasn't full of hateful idiots.
Email Sent by Michael Hastings Hours Before His Death Mentions Big Story theblaze.com
195 points by r0h1n  1 day ago   147 comments top 19
dakrisht 1 day ago 12 replies      
Want to consolidate all of my comments into one, so here goes:

1. Raw footage of the crash, that Mercedes (appears to be a 2012 C-Class Coupe) is fully engulfed in flames. The car blew up on impact. How is another question.


2. Dash cam footage of driver running red light (Highland Avenue & Santa Monica Blvd) at a high rate of speed. Video dissolves moments later (something was cut from it)


3. 5:00 into first video (crash) - you can see the entire transmission thrown over 200 feet into the sidewalk.

4. Car is really on fire here, not sure a C-250 fuel tank (17.4 gallons) could create that big of a fireball? And that's a full tank.

5. I will assume Mercedes would engineer the car with the fuel pump cutting off from the engine at the moment of impact. All electrical systems, fuel, combustion, etc. would be disconnected for this reason.

6. He was traveling at a high rate of speed (80+ mph). Highland Avenue is a nice two-land (in each direction) street, no potholes, bumps, smooth like a baby's ass (that particular section of the street). The palm trees are also fairly thin compared to some bigger ones we have here.

7. Who are these LANewsLOUDLABS people? Why are they filming a) the red light at that gas station, b) the accident site shortly after (but going through side streets as opposed to simply going straight and making a right turn?) and c) have an LAPD police scanner (LAPD uses trunked communication, you need a $500+ scanner, of course, accessible to anyone (and legal) with $500.00. But a, b, and c just seem odd...

8. You can tell briefly that the car used by "news" above has a silver exterior. I'm not sure of the make/model, does NOT really sound like a V8 to me, maybe a turbo 6... Driver saying "oh shit" seems genuine, if that makes a difference.

Prelim thoughts:

1) He was going fast, really fast.

2) He ran a red light (there's always a reason for this: alcohol, bad judgment, being chased by someone, etc.)

3) Vehicle burst into flames - but when?

4) Engine and transmission over 200 feet away from crash site (tree)

5) That roof is gone, there's a big hole with flames shooting out - but this car has a panorama sunroof. That glass shattering + high impact collision = hole.

6) Any arson specialists, chemists - feel free to chime in on the pattern, color, position, spread of the burns at 3:00 of the video.

7) The cockpit is intact - so is the drivers seat - the engine is gone, the car is badly damaged in the front, but if there was no fire, I'd say bad injuries but alive. Fire killed the guy.

pyalot2 1 day ago 4 replies      
The probability of a journalist investigating a big story in the atmosphere of recent scandals is significant. The probability of having a car crash, even a weird one is also quite significant. I won't comment on the (alleged) history of DUI offenses of hastings.

But if you really want to go off the conspiracy deep end, here's my take: Hastings was driving a modern Mercedes. These come with everything like ABS, EPS, Servo steering, Electronic throttle control, automatic transmission and so forth. And as you might know, cars these days are basically computers on wheels intrepreting the users input to the devices output. So if you really wanted to "produce" a freak accident, like say, remote controlling the car into a palm tree. All you'd need to do was hack the onboard control computer, you probably wouldn't even need an RC receiver as you could probably reuse the builtin wifi/radio to input commands to the computer. So unless you perform forensic examination of the onboard computer (which is usually locked down with DRM so you aren't able to repair your own car anymore) there'd be zero evidence.

ghshephard 1 day ago 1 reply      
Somewhat ironic (or perhaps disturbing is more appropriate) the recent posting on HN [1] of the historic CIA review of assassinations, in which staged car accidents were fairly prominent.

This line from that post comes to mind,

"If the subject's personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used [2 words excised] to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind."

[1] http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4/ciaguat2.html

Udo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember actually rolling my eyes when the first Hastings crash conspiracy statements were made here on HN, now they don't seem so far fetched. Crazy world. Still, chances are it was an unfortunately timed accident. However small it might be though, the (perceived) realistic probability of government involvement is kind of a big deal, at least for people like me who historically never believed in that sort of thing.
alan_cx 1 day ago 3 replies      
First I have seen of this, so I have no idea of the various theories. As I understand it, the car crashed at the front and blew up? Correct? If so...

I find it very, very hard to believe a modern Mercedes would do that. Merc are very safety conscious, they sell to well off people who expect not to blow up, and that is on top of strict EU safety rules and testing. I assume the US also has it's standards to comply with too. This is a luxury car manufacturer which prides its self on safety above and beyond legislation or international standards, and sells to customer who fully expect that.

So, is there no public Merc statement or full on internal investigation? A Merc blowing up like that publicly should be a massive PR disaster for them. Who wants a luxury car that blows up in a front impact? If it is as simple as a front impact causing the car to blow up, I would have thought Merc would be very, publicly, concerned about that.

If I were some one interested in investigating this, I'd be perusing Mercedes to see what they have to say.

crocowhile 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a video from a UCSD researcher on malicious attacks on modern automobiles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHfOziIwXic

Examples of what can be done: Insert in the radio a CD containing a malicious WMA file that would play fine on the computer but once in the car could completely compromise the car electronics...

Kylekramer 1 day ago 2 replies      
The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. - Alan Moore
l33tbro 1 day ago 3 replies      
I still call poppy-cock. It's just such a ridiculous proposition.

Look, the guy contacted Wikileaks a few hours before his death. Wikileaks! He also contacted his employers about a story he was writing on the subject of NSA. Now, if .. IF the FBI/NSA were intent on ending him, surely they would have been privy to said communications. This being the case - what motive would they have to go through with it? I mean, by doing so, they would knowingly and invariably be drawing more heat to that which they were covering up. How? Well,

a) Wikileaks knows about it. Therefore a suspicious death would draw more attention to whatever it was he was about to report.

b) A suspicious death would make him a journalistic martyr, prompting one of his fellow reporters to pick up on where his research was left and give even greater salience to the issue reported. The FBI aren't stupid. They know that murdering a reporter would only magnify the issue down the track.

I'm sorry, it just doesn't make sense to me that they would willingly self-immolate by killing the dude and igniting several spotfires.

I'd like to believe it too. I'd love to see these Prism guards go down, believe me. Honestly thought the people of HN were a bit beyond the conspiracy crap you find on Reddit and such places.

aaronbrethorst 1 day ago 4 replies      
Seriously, Glenn Beck's website is showing up on the front page of Hacker News? It's like the worst of Rush Limbaugh meets Alex Jones. Flagged.
TerraHertz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know the name of the street where the crash occurred? Said to be in Hancock Park, but I can't find that palm lined center-row street in google maps. Want to check something out.

My opinion on the crash - from the pictures online of the crash almost immediately after impact, the whole car is very much on fire, yet the R-side door paint is unburned. This just doesn't fit with modern fuel safety construction.

In the current political climate, and given the evidence he was onto some big story, the 'dead man in a wifi-controlled car' idea seems quite realistic.

throwaway10001 1 day ago 0 replies      
Accidents do happen, even after sending email warning about big stories and Fed investigations. But then it all depends on his "big story." It need not be the Government doing it, maybe some big fish to avoid jail, embarrassment or a fortune loss, called in a favor or paid to have the problem solved. Personally I could see both of them happening.
tptacek 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Blaze. Glenn Beck's site. Really?
ohwp 1 day ago 2 replies      
Cars almost never get fire when they crash. It seems more likely that you crash a car that caught fire.
TerraHertz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure many here will roll their eyes at this source:

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1687.htmTop US Journalist Attempting To Reach Israeli Consulate Assassinated - By Sorcha Faal

But it's an interesting set of dots.The address they give for the Israeli consulate is correct: http://www.israeliconsulatela.org/index.php/en/get-direction...Which does make it about 9 miles from Hastings' crash site, fwiw.

But I'm more interested in identifying the exact crash location, and the direction he was going. In this article: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/21/email-sent-by-mic...there are two photos of the crash site that should allow location of the exact site using google maps and streetview. Particularly this one: http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/600x39998...

It seems to be somewhere sth of the intersection of Highland and Melrose Av, here: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Highland+and+Melrose+avenues&...

I've tried, but still can't pinpoint it.

From this image: http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/600x339.j...I'm wondering if the car clipped the foreground palm tree, then hit the next tree solidly on the front left of the car. So the car ends up spinning to the right, stopping at 90 deg to the street. This would explain why there's little visible damage to the RH side of the car. But not really why the rear damage.

If that's so, it must have been traveling away from the camera view point. But is that going Nth or Sth?In either case, it's hard to see how that fits with heading to the Israeli consulate.

Someone might like to go and see if there's any shrapnel damage in the road surface anywhere before the impact point.

dakrisht 1 day ago 1 reply      
"I need to go off the radar for a bit."

Not sure how big this guy is, let's just say average build, average height - is it me - or is there no visible body in the driver's seat at 3:00 in the video?

If he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, he would have been ejected to where the engine was. Otherwise, that seatbelt keeps him in the same place, even if he leaned over, etc.

Not into conspiracies but definitely some interesting observations from others on this thread.

The BIGGEST red flag of course is WHY he was speeding through a red light at a high rate of speed.

Could be many, many things.

reledi 1 day ago 3 replies      
> Meanwhile, investigators are still looking into what caused Hastings to crash on Tuesday. They are trying to find out if the car had a technical problem or if he may have had a medical condition that caused him to wreck.

There's speculation online that it was a bomb, which isn't under technical problems or medical conditions. Which makes me wonder, would investigators conclude it was a bomb if there was ample evidence?

dakrisht 1 day ago 3 replies      
Raw footage of the crash - that Mercedes (appears to be a 2012 C-Class Coupe) is totally engulfed. The car blew up on impact. How is another question.


brokenparser 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, he's definitely "off the radar" now.
informatimago 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, nothing new on the Voynich front.
Tesla Shows Off A 90-Second Battery Swap System techcrunch.com
191 points by ghayes  2 days ago   76 comments top 18
codeulike 2 days ago 1 reply      
It makes sense that they built the battery to be swappable but its pretty incredible that they managed to keep this as a post-launch surprise. Everyone last month was like 'well I dont see how that can be possible, the battery makes up most of the car frame etc'. But they'd planned it this way all along.

Its as if the new iPhone came with a swappable battery but Apple kept it quiet till six months after launch.

SCdF 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's unfortunate the video quality is so poor. Surely this should be a marketing boon for Tesla. You'd think they'd put more effort in.

Edit: This is better quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlaQuKk9bFg

Edit2: An even better video: http://www.teslamotors.com/batteryswap thnx jlgreco)

mixedbit 2 days ago 6 replies      
I like Tesla a lot, but I also like honest marketing. 23 gallons (83 litres) tanked during demo gives much longer range than a full battery. Accumulated time spend at stations won't be shorter with Tesla's technology.

I think the swap is a great feature and there is no need to use questionable marketing tricks to sell it.

uptown 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked on a college team that dealt with this exact challenge. We had an electric F1-style race car that required battery swaps half-way through the race. In our case, the car held 24 (? - I think) large heavy batteries from Electrosource (now out of business) that were configured in pairs, and slid in and out of the vehicle on sleds by a pit-crew. Heavy as hell, and a real challenge to do at a race - but functional. To see this whole thing automated is really fascinating on both a technical and personal level. Some companies are adding 9 seconds to video. This company is defining our future.
VeejayRampay 2 days ago 0 replies      
The US are so lucky to have Tesla Motors. I wish we'd have such a status-quo-shattering company in Europe.
jviddy 2 days ago 5 replies      
This seems to point towards a battery lease solution.

Having to worry about the relative cost of your battery vs the one you are swapping for could make this a bit of a lottery. Also possibly bribing the attendant to give you a much newer one instead of the old creaky pack that no one wants.

Stupendous 2 days ago 2 replies      
The beauty of this is that with battery technology rapidly improving, and performance for new batteries much better than older ones, Tesla's cars can retain or even increase their expected mileage per charge over the life of the car.

The expected lifespan of their batteries right now are about 7 years, but as anyone with a smartphone or laptop knows, battery life decreases rapidly over the life of the product. Tesla's cars were no exception to this and although most of the cars on the road are new and have not faced these issues yet, they were bound to crop up in the future. With battery swapping they've nipped this problem in the bud. Of course they'll charge you the difference for a newer battery but the benefits far outweigh the costs, and breeds stronger brand loyalty.

ari_elle 2 days ago 1 reply      
So instead of loading my battery i just swap it with a fully charged one and the thing is done. My old battery gets fully charged on site, and if someone else comes along he gets my old now fully charged battery.Basically you never have to charge your Tesla again....90 Seconds to "refill"... nice one
a13xnet 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if technology from Better Place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place) was in any way an inspiration? They had developed a battery swapping system in 2007.
softbuilder 2 days ago 4 replies      
Seemed super fake because of that one lady/superfan. I'm not suggesting the audience was seeded - it's more likely just a few ass kissers in the crowd - but wow, that really just killed any genuine enthusiasm I would have had while watching.

Edit: The enthusiasm seemed fake, not the actual tech being demonstrated, which seems straight-forward.

edwardunknown 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the chances of getting a standard battery size in these things? I'd be a shame for stations to need a hundred different batteries for every make and model.
lifeformed 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how the payment will work? Do you still have to get out of your car and swipe your card? It'd be cool if your car was linked to some online account that you could manage, so the whole thing can be done without stepping outside.
lettergram 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its amazing, Tesla will control both the energy usage of their car and the production. As opposed to the private oil companies and car manufacturers. This would mean they could get profits never dreamed of.
solarbunny 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see such swaps could be useful in next-gen electric aircrafts. It takes quite some time to fill these.
tome 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's impossible to see how the swap is actually being accomplished.
taylorwc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a super cool idea, and I love Tesla for just this sort of thing... but it's conjuring an amusing parallel to a Pony Express rider swapping horses.
Jack000 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very impressive. Although some of the details pour cold water on the dream of hot-swap road trips (ship the battery back?
orenbarzilai 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can understand how come betterplace isn't mentioned even once in this article.
       cached 24 June 2013 02:11:02 GMT