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A Protocol for Dying hintjens.com
1539 points by aleksi  2 days ago   305 comments top 71
bsandert 2 days ago 3 replies      
From personal experience, I can very much relate to and agree with this piece. My father went through a similar process: cancer (melanoma) two years of treatment and coming to terms with the facts euthanasia. As a family, we have been very matter-of-fact about it, which was definitely something he encouraged and participated in. We frequently talked about all aspects of his disease, the future, how it affected him and us. Sometimes one of us sighed that it would have been so much better if he would have suddenly died in his sleep but I always disagreed with that, it would just have come with a different set of emotions and grieving. I am actually very happy that we were able to share parts of this process with each other while he was still around.

The weekend before his death, our house was filled with people who worked up the courage to come say goodbye, he sat among them in the living room and took a few minutes in person with everyone as much as his state allowed. I sat on his bed as he was treated with euthanasia, which was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I still miss the man every day, but because of the process we had together, I have nothing but fond memories of the times he was still there, including the very hard periods of time that come with a disease like this.

This turned into a bit more text than I intended but my point is this: If you ever have a choice in the way you are to die, take heed of the points in this story. It may seem brutal at times to be as honest and open as you can about such an intimate process, but having gone through it once, I have absolutely no regrets. I wish Pieter and his loved ones all the best in the coming times.

anexprogrammer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good journey sir. Thank you for this piece. I feel your model should become an international standard.

I am saddened to see you are so young.

> ... and enforce the barbaric torture of decay and failure. It's especially relevant for cancer, which is a primary cause of death

I'm glad you find yourself somewhere enlightened. As someone who watched his father die of cancer over 2.5-3 years in the UK it almost robbed me of my father for a while. The last six months were brutal. He was either away with the fairies on Morphine, or in his increasingly rare lucid moments, pleading with NHS to reduce his dose. He chose pain and lucidity over a zombie state yet was often denied that choice as the system sought to reduce pain above all. He made it plain when he could, many times during the end months, that he didn't want to play this game any more.

Post death, our memories were of the brutality, of the incoherent husk on drugs who had had enough long since, of the ever increasing dosages and tripping in the system's wish to reduce pain, of the morphine smell. Of being increasingly worn down by it. It was harder in those early weeks after death to remember the real man, so defined by his mind, intelligence, humour and practical jokes. I still miss my best friend.

The UK is no nearer enlightenment on this topic today than 20 years ago when my father died. The views of those claiming a hotline to god, in our increasingly atheistic country, were exceptionally hard to hear, yet always sought in any media discussion of euthanasia.

I am thankful your children and other family will have the blessing of kinder memories.

danburgo 2 days ago 4 replies      
These words hit close to home. My dad just passed away from cancer/diabetes in Florida and had to endure the "barbaric torture of decay and failure". Basically 4 months suffering in bed until he eventually denied eating anything and his liver failed. I asked the nurses repeatedly if there was anything to help him go or pass and there was nothing. Something's got to change in the US, we treat animals better than humans at the end of life

Thank you for your words

jaseemabid 2 days ago 3 replies      
To anyone who does not know, Pieter Hintjens is the CEO of iMatix, where they build AMQP, ZMQ etc.

Take care /u/PieterH.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pieter_Hintjens2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=115208883. https://twitter.com/hintjens

sillysaurus3 2 days ago 2 replies      
I didn't know Pieter before today. He's one of the coolest people I've had the good fortune of coming across:

> My first free software is from 1991. I realized the power of community gradually from 2005 when fighting software patents in Europe. I refined and tested the techniques in the ffii for projects like digistan. I saw the failure of money and power in amqp. In zeromq it took years to find the right patterns. I documented much in culture and empire.

This earned my respect beyond words:

> "There's this experimental cure people are talking about." This gets the ban hammer from me, and happily I only got a few of those. Even if there was a miracle cure, the cost and stress (to others) of seeking it is such a selfish and disproportionate act. With, as we know, lottery-style chances of success. We live, we die.

And this is just awesome: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11521249

"I'm sorry to hear this, Pieter. I don't have a question, but would just like to wish you well"

> Excellent question! (can you tell I'm bored in a hospital)?Well, it all started when I was about three, and I discovered ants. Fire ants, to be specific. Biting me all over cause I'd chosen to hide right on top of their nest. There's a lesson there.

Thanks, Pieter. For everything!


If you'd like to thank Pieter more directly, he's accepting Paypal donations at ph@imatix.com.

> Well this is really kind. Yes, I'm pretty broke and have three young children who will be semi orphans. Cue violins.Happy to receive on PayPal at ph@imatix.com. I will give my family the keys to that so they can put it aside for ma wee bairns... Thanks for suggesting this.

netgusto 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wanted to express my compassion, then I figured out that's not what you need. But then, we never shared any good moments to speak about, right ? You're a stranger to me, and yet I can't help but feeling I know you better after reading your letter than many people I meet on a regular basis. And it feels warm inside. Thank you for taking the time to express this.
dirktheman 2 days ago 2 replies      
I always like to think that we don't really die, we live on in the memories of our loved ones. Even if you don't leave a massive legacy behind like you. When I think back of the good moments with my grandparents I'm not sad, I'm happy I got the chance to have experienced them in the first place.

Thank you Pieter, and godspeed on your big journey, whereever it will take you.

tjholowaychuk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this really hits home. I can only hope that when it's my time that I can go with such class and dignity. My only fear in dying is that I would regret having not lived more, spent more time on things that really matter, or being held back by myself.

I couldn't agree more about euthanasia, I've always envisioned a Dia de los Muertos style party for when I go :). I would much rather go when people have a chance to see me happy and reminiscing like you mention. I would say thank you for your work, but I know there's much more to you than that!

libeclipse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that hit me harder than expected. It's rare to see someone talking so frankly about death, and even rarer for something like this to be on the front page.

What a legend.

nickpsecurity 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tribute to Hintjens' great work and ideas. Man is like the Bernstein of enterprise software with great balance of unconventional design, correctness, performance, and innovation. Here's a list of some of his work for those interested:

A great write-up on his theory of model-driven development and the tech that underpinned most of iMatix:


Their website is a slide-show demonstrating their amazing work:


Generating servers from state machines and such:


SMT kernel for portable, multi-threaded, fast code:


Web server (old and new) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xitamihttp://xitami.wikidot.com/main:start

One of best middleware ever http://zeromq.org/

goldenkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is not every day we see much written about death on upvote lists like Reddit or HN. So it means a ton to see the perspective of a smart hacker who is indeed met with the undeniable future of his own time. I'm only 26 and I have been thinking about life and death a lot lately. Not because I would commit suicide -- but rather because the very stupifying fact of "I'm alive!" evades most of media and content we consume.

But it has huge implications for us in the very soon battle for understanding if turing-complete high-level-abstracting machines would experience "consciousness" like we do. In terms of medical care, rights, and other aspects for thinking entities.

And Pieter, if you are reading this, I wish you well in whatever lies ahead for your mind, and for your actions which will surely echo through the sands of time for people. Because like you said, even if life is indeed finite -- that we take a sensible approach, our legacy should be able to give us comfort that our actions do get magnified by time -- so do what you love, and it will speak through future generations.

Angostura 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, that's embarrassing - I just started weeping in the office. Probably because my own father has been diagnosed with cancer (in his 90s though, ripe old age) and we are both pretty much following the communication guidelines set out in the article.

Thanks for posting and thanks to Pieter for writing.

emirozer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pieter, in the article you wrote "Think of the Children" and wanted readers to write stories, which is a really nice idea.. How about we think of the children and donate some money? Is it possible to share a donation address/endpoint ?
jimduk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some Hintjens' quotes -

i) "One tactic I used was to take the cult techniques and reverse them"

ii) "We create culture by sharing" (extends to a successful project being a culture, a share-alike licence, and a name/domain which of course can be forked)

There are many others - his writing introduced me to Conway's law (was b) - "A software system mimics the structure of the organization that produces it ") - I've only read part of his work, time well spent and good to discuss with programmers and non-programmers - he made me think

bastijn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I actually wanted to attend that keynote and now you popup over here. Thought it would be a nice day, some friends / colleagues presenting anyway. Somehow my brain wandered off reading this article thinking what would have happened if you could have presented this blog post as a keynote. How would the audience react, would it differ from this where people have more time to digest it? Definitely some awkward social event afterwards I'd bet.

Only thing I missed in your post is a snappy remark to alternative medicine (not expiremental, mind you); would have made it perfect. That stuff usually conflicts with the actual treatment and even if it doesn't and people survive they say it is because of the alternative junk instead of the actual treatment they conveniently forget to mention they took as well. You know, these sites that claim it's true and proven linking to multiple studies showing it...performed by themselves and published on their own website only.

I wish you the most with the time you have left but have no doubt you will make it count.

Well, one thing left.

This is Bob.

Bob is dying.

Bob doesn't whine or bitch about life being unfair.

Bob is one tough motherf*er.

Be like Bob.




P.s. If you think the stick figure sucks you should see my real drawings.

bcg1 2 days ago 1 reply      
The first time I came across Pieter was when he was interviewed about ZeroMQ on FLOSS weekly. I've come to find his writing to be engaging and informative, and thank him for that.

His series of articles on psychopaths and the havoc they wreak is well worth reading, even if it takes a while to take it all in.

My best lesson I learned on programming from Pieter was to use code generators effectively. The advantages cannot be overstated.

Thank you Pieter, you will be missed.

srameshc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Been a fan of Pieter Hintjens since 2010 when I found ZeroMQ and read that ZMQ guide which was the most easy to read and fun technical guide that I read ever. I tweeted and he replied back, and I was startstruck by a tech superstar. He was always fun to follow and I remember one of his tweets where he says we don't even need fruit sugar, though I never followed that advice :) As graceful as ever. Godspeed Pieter.
yoodenvranx 2 days ago 0 replies      
And this is exactly why euthanasia should be made legal everywhere.

If I ever have to die of some horrible disease I want to go on my terms and do exactly like op.

augustl 2 days ago 2 replies      
It would be interesting to see how many of us that has had conversations with Pieter Hintjens. I suspect a sizable chunk of the HN crowd has interacted with him. I've enjoyed his company on many conferences, and while he presents himself in a very direct manner, he is also friendly and enjoyable to talk with.
jkarneges 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never known anyone who knew their death was imminent, and it pains me to see cancer strike another beloved member of the tech community, but I am fascinated by how Pieter is handling his situation. Delegating his tasks away, being frank about his condition and its progress, and now this protocol article. Even though his life is being cut way short, it almost seems as if he has extra time to get his ducks in a row and share wisdom. Many others die suddenly or after losing mental faculties and don't quite have the same opportunity.
aliostad 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those who had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting you personally, the day the news broke out was a black day. You are a person who makes a deep impression, your thoughtfulness and very balanced view and how you articulate them. I now read your writings and find them even more compelling: sharp observation and bravery to spell the truth out.

Death is coming to all of us. We all die. Death of some, however, will be a big loss. You, sir, are among them.

fiatjaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I must say that the cable joke https://twitter.com/hintjens/status/722315427200765952 was great.
jwildeboer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Best thing I ever created with Pieter was stallmanism.com a few years ago. And the beers we drank over the years discussing a wide range of topics while typically being surrounded by people that started to shake heads after a few minutes of listening in. Moments that will survive everything. Thank you, Pieter. Love you.
okreallywtf 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that I observed the year I lost two great uncles (one from one side of the family and six months later one from the other) to cancer was how easy it is for the closest family to get very tied up in the logistics and medical side that people weren't really taking as much time to really talk to them. Granted they weren't considered terminal until close to the end.

As the younger nephew, I didn't feel as much responsibility to be involved with the logistics (it felt more awkward to me but I think it was comforting to the children, spouses etc). So instead of joining in on the doctor/prognosis conversations and later the funeral arrangement/what to do with the house stuff, I just sat and talked to my uncles instead.

I had known both of them my entire life but I realized I knew almost nothing about them. All our interactions were just uncle to nephew, family occasions kind of stuff, but by this time I was an adult (just barely), and all the sudden we were just two people talking and I learned more about them in a 20 minute session than the prior 20+ years. Some other family who were on the periphery of the conversation confided later that they regretted not having those moments while they had the chance. I didn't even talk that much, just enough to make it a two way conversation, but I found my uncles both were very at peace but wanted to reminisce and tell stories they probably hadn't told anyone in decades. One uncle told me about joining the military during Korea and having gone through all the training and finally being sent all the way there to have the war end practically the day he got there and he ended up being sent right back and what a strange conflicted experience it was for him.

I've started visiting with my other elderly family a lot more since then and have had some similar conversations that didn't require anyone being terminally ill, but somehow that seems to make those conversations a little easier.

I can definitely agree with the piece, especially about what to say and what not to. I'm not expert by any means, I just did the only thing that felt natural whatsoever: just talk to them like a person and let what happens happen. Granted I had the benefit of the fact that they were well taken care of by their children and others, otherwise it would have been much more difficult.

danso 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is his last blog post, but according to Github, he's still actively contributing code and comments as of 7 hours ago:


gerbilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's wonderful to see someone approaching death with such a calm and balanced state of mind.

May your wisdom and compassion live on in your children and in all the other people you have influenced.

porjo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen Pieter speak both in person and on video and it's hard not be impressed by his conviction and passion. Clearly a very clever guy with a lot of interesting ideas. Quite a polarizing character by all reports, but one that has made a significant contribution to the open source community nonetheless.

Godspeed Pieter.

domrdy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great article, thanks for sharing this. I have a question: how would you tell your so to "move on" after you are gone? Was this even brought up ? I'd imagine this to be a very difficult, yet necessary conversation to have.
lemonade 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Pieter,

I'm not sure how long you'll keep on reading stuff, but rest assured me and many others will cherish the very fond memories of collaborating with you - you've always had a sharp wit and a practical sort of unconventionalism that gets things done. We have much to thank you for.

We worked together on Digistan and the "The Hague Declaration", which I helped host in The Hague - and I think it still is a strong statement that is worth repeating. People can sign that declaration:


I'm very much saddened to hear about your disease - and deep respect for the way you handle this unannounced change of plan. I hope your remaining time will be spent with those you love looking back on a rich life where you've left the world better than it is - and got the max out of it. I'll send you an email, so that when your kids are older and want to know about the things you've done they can contact me. Take care, my friend.

ascotan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another sad day for the software community. I'm a big fan of 0mq and the work that Pieter has done.

As for the euthanasia, my wife's aunt died of cervical cancer and it was very rough, not only on her, but on her entire family. It's not an exaggeration to say that they likely all have PTSD from the experience. I'm not a proponent of euthanasia but I can see the appeal. It probably depends a lot on the individual situation.

paulsutter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pieter came to work with us on a project in San Francisco and I'm so happy that I could find this post through hacker news so soon after he posted it. I don't know if he will get my email but I'm glad I had a chance to send it.
isnullorempty 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't know Pieter but contributed to CZMQ which was a excellent example of how C can be well written. ZMQ was like having lego blocks for me had so much fun playing with it, he is a profound thinker.
weixiyen 2 days ago 0 replies      
The level of courage and calmness it takes to write something like so soon after the news he just got. Dude is top fucking percentage.
ak39 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are many days I too feel I'm ready to die. But then realize I'm not ready. Couldn't understand why.

Reading what Pieter just wrote makes realize that I lack fortitude in one aspect: compassion. Pieter's words confirms to me that one needs to wield formidable muscles in the compassion department for one to be at peace and be ready to die.

Great man, Pieter.

davesque 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sobering stuff. I watched my mother die of cancer about a year ago. Sitting next to her, as she moved back and forth in bed, incoherent, was....well...pretty surreal. Honestly, I don't get this world we live in. We pop in from nowhere and then live in fear of popping out in an untimely way. I kinda get where this man is coming from. A lot of cancer therapy just seems like such a long-shot. And it's your life on the line (including your sanity). Bouncing around from doctor to doctor, treatment to treatment is enough to break people. I mean totally break people. Financially and spiritually. It didn't break my Mom. She always had hope actually and never wanted to die. But I think it would break me.
jsharf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pieter, after reading your article I feel connected to you, despite us never having met.

Thank you for everything you've done as a blog writer and as a member of the open source community.

restalis 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's strange to see such a protocol, that it was necessary in the first place. I guess people just assumed the wrong things even with their emotional compass as their guide.

Thank you Pieter, you're truly a giver till the last drop, and a model to follow!

educar 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is easily one of the most courageous articles I have read. I can only hope to have the same courage when dying. Thanks for inspiring me, Pieter.
jsingleton 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can highly recommend "Culture & Empire - Digital Revolution", a very interesting read.

I think this is a great request: "Find a moment in your own jurisdiction, if it bans euthanasia, to lobby for the right to die in dignity."

bikamonki 2 days ago 0 replies      
A terrible earthquake hit my country last saturday, killing hundreds in seconds. Before, I would have said: at least their death was quick. But now I think like Pieter: the best way to die is when you have enough time to say goodbye, even if that means painful cancer.

Goodbye Pieter, go happy knowing that you've put in your kids much more than DNA, they're set for an awesome journey!

tie_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Pieter, for your sane approach. The comments here demonstrate aptly the power of your words over the HN community. I lost a father and an in-law to cancer, and your post simply nails the target for me. I wish I'd read this back then.

Then again, as you demonstrate, we need not focus on the things we cannot change. Spending time with regrets is time wasted. Thank you!

arkangel_72 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I can barely understand his condition.. but its good that he has euthanasia as an option. In my country india Article 21 of our constitution says right to life does not include right to die.. although recently passive euthanasia is allowed i think
skylan_q 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some other reading on the topic for those who are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_moriendi"The Art of Dying"
_pmf_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe his publishers could increase revenue percentages for him from his books sales; I did not even know he was an author, otherwise I would have bought one or two of his books earlier.
amelius 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best protocol is to just ignore it. Animals do it, so why shouldn't we?

This approach is also fully compatible with the idea that life itself is a "terminal disease".

angersock 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pieter, I hope that when the time comes I have the poise and grace to deal with things to as high a standard as you have here.

Thank you.

scandox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Code Connected got me interested in programming again.


BasDirks 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have wanted to read up on ZeroMQ. This time I will. It is meaningless in the face of his situation, but I feel like this is how I, as a programmer, can "talk" to him, honor him. I'm not trying to be sentimental but it feels right.
wsfull 2 days ago 0 replies      
I became an admirer of this man's software aesthetic when I first discovered and compiled libero.

In my opinion, this is a great loss to the world of programming.

shanacarp 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you getting fully sequenced before you die, so if there are discoveries later, your kids will have a database of you to compare against?

Apparently the cost finally dropped below $1kUSD this year

fiatjaf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Someone has to take the Edgnenet project and move it forward!
arnold_palmur 2 days ago 0 replies      
I lost my dad to cholangiocarcinoma when I was only 7 - rest easy knowing you had a positive impact on the world Pieter.
simplemath 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope to muster the level of clarity and pragmatism you show here if I have time to reflect upon it when my number is called.


doug1001 2 days ago 0 replies      
thank you for sharing this; thank you for your extraordinary contribution to the open source community; thank you for writing so candidly and so eloquently about the process of building software; and thank you for making we want to be a better developer.
simsicon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Death is a horrible fact for a consciousness, however "being angry or sad at facts is a waste of time".
exit 2 days ago 1 reply      
when you bring life into this world you condemn it to suffering this.


blackflame7000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Powerful stuff... Really makes you consider your own mortality.
gm3dmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pieter, you made the world a better place. Thanks.
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can write an exclusive book and pass it on to your children
throwaway324324 2 days ago 2 replies      
It seems against protocol to argue with a dying man, but refraining also seems disrespectful to Pieter. I always open the comment section hoping that someone will disagree with the article in a thoughtful way; perhaps it's my turn, since I disagree so intensely. Presumably others would like to at least hear the counterpoints.

Euthanasia is bad from a practical standpoint, and an evil, because:

1. Objectively speaking, euthanasia is suicide, and the killing of an innocent person. If Schwartz killing himself (out of despair for his future, fear of suffering in prison, or otherwise) was a tragedy, why is Pieter's upcoming suicide not a tragedy? Is it because his certain death is closer? (This view promotes the idea that a "disabled" life, where one is "unhappy", or must be cared for at great expense, or is suffering, or (extrapolating) is cryogenically frozen, is not valuable in and of itself; but it is.)

2. Suicide increases the risk that friends and family will commit suicide. A search will yield numerous studies: "2.1-fold increased risk of committing suicide"[1], etc. If you kill yourself, you are indirectly killing the people closest to you.

3. If you are against the death penalty because we might execute an innocent person, you should be against Euthanasia because we might kill a non-consenting person. This is already the case:

> "these laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions ... about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50% of cases of euthanasia are not reported ... some jurisdictions now extend the practice to newborns, children, and people with dementia. A terminal illness is no longer a prerequisite." [2]

Please, when you hear someone speak in flowery language about the dignity of choosing death, take a moment to evaluate what they are actually suggesting, and to research why people are opposed. Many seem to think that the only people against euthanasia are the religious whose reasoning is roughly "well, my religion randomly chose to mark this as evil, therefore it is", which is just not the case.

[1] http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/relationship-suicid...

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070710/

(...finally, this is likely a very poor protocol for dealing with death - people deal in different ways, and not all people will look back fondly on having to smile all the time, or on expressing "false" hope and being told that, actually, objectively speaking, they should not have hope. Also, a totally minor point, but we are not like Lego houses - we do not need to be utterly destroyed for others to live.)

flashman 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Imagine you have a box of Lego, and you build a house, and you keep it. And you keep making new houses, and never breaking the old ones. What happens? "The box gets empty, Daddy." Good, yes. And can you make new houses then? "No, not really." So we're like a Lego houses, and when we die our pieces get broken up and put back in the box. We die, and new babies can be born. It is the wheel of life.

I am stealing this.

marincounty 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the most altruistic, caring piece of communicating I have ever read.

I don't know this man, but I love him. I will remember this to my own demise.

I will look for a political group that is for a humane way of dying, and ask what needs to be done.

My father died in extreme pain. For three days he was in hell. His last words he spoke to me, "when will it end?". I didn't have an answer. My father's death kinda ruined my life. Even though we had our differences; every day since that day in January, 11 years ago, I think about how he suffered, and part of me died with him.

nikolay 2 days ago 5 replies      
As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, euthanasia would not be an option to me, but I really hope I'd never have to think about it as a choice. I had an early stage melanoma in 2004 and I know I "beat it", but I also know it's all a matter of time and I made some important lifestyle changes and most importantly - switching to a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. (Well, also as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I'm currently undergoing Great Lent, and I know for a fact that carbs are terrible in the long run.)

It's so pathetic that we as a society waste so much time and energy on non-essential stuff instead of curing major killers. Yes, cancer is a hard one to beat (each cancer being different, too), but we've done even more complex things as humanity. I really don't think curing major diseases has ever been a top priority of our society! I hope one day soon people finally realize that diseases are not what other people get (the arrogance of the healthy), but what we all will eventually!

anonymous777 2 days ago 7 replies      
This whole thread reeks of death acceptance culture. HN readers show off how cool they are for accepting death instead of discussing how we as a tech community could help cure these diseases or at least give more people an option of being cryopreserved.

The really unpleasant truth is that if we as a society began doing serious focused R&D on these life-threatening diseases earlier, the OP and many others wouldn't have to die.

But we didn't. Enjoy marketing your mobile apps until cancer suddenly makes you rot away.

dang 2 days ago 2 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11548216 and marked it off-topic.
samio 2 days ago 3 replies      
Edit: the date has been fixed in the artice. Also: I'm sorry.

So, what's up with the dates?

First, the article date:

> wrote on 22 Apr, 05:43 (4 hours ago)

Then later in the text:

> and on 25 April my oncologist confirmed it was cancer.

Seems like someone is a secret time traveler...?

dang 2 days ago 4 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11548172 and marked it off-topic.
paraschopra 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an extremely odd thing to comment. You may be right, but your comment just feels inappropriate in the context of this thread.
function_seven 2 days ago 1 reply      
> but you still have to wonder if there isn't an immunotherapy treatment that would work for him.

In the context of this article, no, I don't have to wonder. He expresses very well why he doesn't want to entertain such longshots.

drivebyops 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thought this was something for killing processes judging by the title and it being hacker news
The average size of Web pages is now the average size of a Doom install mobiforge.com
838 points by Ovid  2 days ago   432 comments top 69
jessriedel 2 days ago 13 replies      
I'm skeptical that developers talking to each other about how bad web bloat is will change anything. They will still face the same incentives in terms of ad revenue, costs of optimization, etc.

Here's a random idea that might have more potential: create an adblocker browser plugin that also colors URLs based on how slow they are expected to load, e.g., smoothly from blue to red. The scores could be centrally calculated for the top N URLs on the web (or perhaps, an estimate based on the top M domain names and other signals) and downloaded to the client (so no privacy issues). People will very quickly learn to associate red URLs with the feeling "ugh, this page is taking forever". So long as the metric was reasonably robust to gaming, websites would face a greater pressure to cut the bloat. And yet, it's still ultimately feedback determined by a user's revealed preferences, based on what they think is worth waiting how long for, rather than a developer's guess about what's reasonable.

snowwrestler 2 days ago 14 replies      
The Doom install image was 35x the size of the Apollo guidance computer.

Thirty-five times! Apollo software got us to the moon. Doom wasted millions of man-hours on a video game.

My point of course is that these comparisons are not actually that illuminating.

Are web pages much heavier than they need to be? Yes. This presentation very capably talks about that problem:


Does comparing web pages to Doom help understand or improve the situation? No, not any more than comparing Doom to Apollo memory size helps us understand the difference between a video game and a history-altering exploration.

robotnoises 2 days ago 4 replies      
Before everyone jumps onto the JQuery/Bootstrap/etc sucks bandwagon, just a reminder that the minified jquery from cdnjs is 84.1kb. Bootstrap is 43.1kb.

If you want your page to load fast, the overall "size" of the page shouldn't be at the top of your list of concerns. Try reducing the # of requests, first. Combine and minify your javascript, use image sprites, etc.

K0nserv 2 days ago 7 replies      
Quite happy with my own web page/blog. Pages hover at around 10kb, 30kb if I include some images. I think the page size can be attributed a lot to there being no JS except for GA.

I have taken a lot of inspiration from http://motherfuckingwebsite.com/ and http://bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com/

Of course the size will differ depending on the site's purpose, but I feel like most web pages could stand to loose a lot of weight.

EDIT: I have a guide to setup a similar blog/site here[0]

0: https://hugotunius.se/2016/01/10/the-one-cent-blog.html

Tenhundfeld 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting comparison, if a bit arbitrary. It raises a couple of questions though.

1) How do the numbers come out when you exclude images?

It's valid and good to know the total sizes, including images, but that can hide huge discrepancies in the experienced performance of a site.

For example, a page with 150KB of HTML/CSS/JS and a single 2.1MB hero image can feel very different from a page with 2MB of HTML/CSS/JS and a few 50KB images.

If we're just interested in total bandwidth consumption, then sure, total size is a good metric. If we're interested in how a user experiences the web, there's a lot of variability and nuance buried in that.

2) What device and methodology were used to take the measurements?

In this age of responsive design, CSS media queries, and infinite scrolling/deferred loading, it really matters how you measure and what you use to measure.

For example, if I load a page on my large retina screen and scroll to the bottom, many sites will send far more data than if I load them on my phone and don't scroll past the fold.

I only skimmed the article and didn't dig in to the references. These questions may be answered elsewhere.

Kurtz79 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is hardly surprising, considering that a single picture taken with an average smartphone is probably already surpassing that by quite a bit.

Times change, and 20 years in tech is equivalent to several geological ages.

If anything, it cannot really be underestimated how some developers were able to craft such compelling gaming experiences, with the limited resources available at the time.

My personal favorite as "most impressive game for its size":


seanwilson 2 days ago 2 replies      
Lots of people are focusing on excessive JavaScript and CSS but these combined are easily dwarfed by a single high quality image.

Try visiting Apple's website for example. I can't see how you can have a small page weight if your page includes several images that are meant to look good on high quality screens. You're not going to convince marketing and page designers to go with imageless pages.

Doom's original resolution was 320x200 = 64K pixels in 8-bit colour mode. Even an Apple Watch has 92K pixels and 24-bit colour (three times more space per pixel) now, and a 15" MacBook display shows 5.2M pixels. The space used for high quality images on newer displays is order of magnitudes higher to what Doom hardware had to show.

Jerry2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maciej Cegowski has a great talk/writeup on this very problem:

The Website Obesity Crisis


Heres the video of the talk if you prefer to hear him speak:https://vimeo.com/147806338

seagreen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh God.

Every discussion about the web will continue to be a mess until we clarify what we're talking about.

Let's try rephrasing the title a couple times.

Rephrase 1: "The average size of a webapp is now the average size of a Doom install".

Response: Interesting, but not bad! Heck, some webapps are games. "The average size of a web game is now the average size of Doom" isn't a sentence that damns the web, it's a sentence that complements the web! (or would if it was true, and it might be for all I know)

Rephrase 2: "The average size of web document is now the average size of a Doom install".

Response: Well this sucks (or would if it was true -- still we don't know). Simple documents should be a few KB, not the size of a game.

Basically our terminology is shot to crap. Imagine if 19th century engineers used the same word for "hand crank" and "steam engine". "Hand crank prices are skyrocketing! What's causing this massive bloat!" Whelp, that could mean anything.

The best solution: web browsers should enforce a clear distinction between "web documents" and "web apps". These are two different things and should be treated separately. This won't happen though, which leaves us (the rest of the tech community) to explore other options . . .

dreamlayers 2 days ago 2 replies      
In the late 00s I remember turning on an old computer with a 650 MHz Athlon CPU and being surprised that web browsing performance in Firefox wasn't bad. Now if I try that with a 1 GHz Pentium 3, performance is absolutely horrible. Is this why?
spriggan3 2 days ago 0 replies      
The average data plan here is 10GB :

1,000,000 * 10 / 2250 = 4444 web pages a month

4444 / 31 = 143 web pages a day at most on mobile.

While it is somehow acceptable, I don't see data plans getting cheaper yet the size of the average webpage is raising fast.

It doesn't seem like most websites have heavily invested in using HTML5 offline capabilities or actual mobile first design either, something easy to check with chrome dev tools.

Also let's talk about ads : Polygon.com a site I visit often , first article on the homepage with an Iphone 5 :

- with ads/trackers 1.5mb- without ads 623kb

More than half of the load is ad/tracking related. This isn't normal.

overcast 2 days ago 3 replies      
With the majority of users moving towards mobile, I really think this is an issue, and I've been consciously building projects as lean as possible. Removing bloated jquery libraries was a big one. With native calls likedocument.querySelectorAlldocument.querySelector I've found I can 90% get by without it. For the rest, using something like vue.js, and I've taken care of all the dom manipulation, data binding, etc.
warriorkitty 2 days ago 13 replies      
Oh, you just want to add a class to the element? \adds whole jQuery\ That's what's wrong with the web.

Oh, and you need a loop? \adds underscore.js\

AndyKelley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to see how one of my personal projects compared, so I looked at Groove Basin.

Groove Basin [1] is an open source music player server. It has a sophisticated web-based client with the ability to retag, label, create playlists, stream, browse the library, chat with other users, upload new music, and import music by URL.

I just checked the payload size of a cold load, and it's 68 KB.

I'll just keep doing my thing over here.

[1]: https://github.com/andrewrk/groovebasin

datalist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not too long ago Medium pushed an "invisible" 1MB image to clients


and the video it refers to https://vimeo.com/147806338

stegosaurus 2 days ago 2 replies      
If web bloat is a problem, I don't think that looking at whether <insert buzzword framework of CURRENT_YEAR> can be removed is the answer.

I suggest that at the moment, we have basically two camps of website, with rough, fuzzy boundaries.

1. A place where someone sticks up an insight, or posts a wiki page, or whatever, to share some thought to others (if anyone actually cares). The blogs of many users of HN. Hacker News itself. Wikipedia. The Arch Linux Wiki. lwn.net. Etc. The sites are very roughly concerned with 'this is what I care about, if you do, great, this is useful to you'.

2. Commercial web sites that employ sophisticated means to try and enlarge market share and retain users. AB testing. 'Seamless' experiences which are aimed at getting more views, with user experience as an afterthought (a sort of evolutionary pressure, but not the only one).

Complaining that camp #2 exists is strange. It's a bit like lamenting the fact that chocolate bars aren't just chocolate bars, they have flashy wrappers, clever ingredients, optimized sugar ratio, crunchy bit and non crunchy bit, etc.

It works! A snickers bar is a global blockbuster, and 'Tesco chocolate bar' is the functional chocolate bar that just does the job, but will never attain that level of commercial success, it serves a different role.


My personal view:

Fundamentally what I want when we click a link from an aggregator, is an 'article.txt' with perhaps a relevant image or two. Something like http://motherfuckingwebsite.com/ maybe.

But if a site actually does that, a website like The Guardian, I'd fire up wget, strip all the advertising, strip the fact it's even The Guardian, and read it like a book. If everyone does it then no-one makes any money, site dies.

So what we actually have is this constant DRM-style race to try and fight for our brains to get us to look at adverts. It's not about jQuery, it's about advertising, branding, 'self vs other' (the integrity of a company as a coherent thing), etc.

I don't know what the answer is here. I think this is why I find concepts like UBI so appealing - I find it kind of alarming that we seem doomed to infect more and more of the commons with commercialization because we haven't found a solution to keep each other alive otherwise.

dempseye 2 days ago 0 replies      
I once bought a pre-made landing page template with all kinds of whizz bang Javascript libraries built in. The demo page was 4 MB. In the time it took to strip all the trash out of the template I could have designed the page myself. I'll never do that again.

I wonder how much of the problem is due to bloated templates.

skarap 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like most of the discussion here is on network traffic.

Minifying JS and CSS, compression, CDNs and caching won't keep your browser from having to render all the stuff.


The stewardess on a new jet airliner:

- Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard of our new airplane. On the second deck you'll find a couple of bars and a restaurant. The golf course is on the third deck. You're also welcome to visit the swimming pool on the fourth deck. Now - ladies and gentlemen - please fasten your seatbelts. With all this sh*t we'll try to take off.

forgotpwtomain 2 days ago 1 reply      
How about browser bloat? Each chromium tab on linux takes an extra ~50-150mb depending on the site -- and I still have no idea what they need all of that memory for...
jordigh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just to clarify, since I was confused (I remembered that Doom 2 was about 30 megs uncompressed, which websites are still a long ways from), this metric appears to refer to the compressed size of the Doom 1 shareware distribution.


donkeyd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Visited a website a few days ago, which used 2048x1365 jpegs for 190x125 buttons. They had multiple buttons like this on multiple pages. I sent them an e-mail about this, but I don't expect them to fix it.
kgr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Send models rather than code. Low-level code is relatively unexpressive, contains considerable redundancy, and as a result, is relatively large. By sending high-level models instead, which are then expanded on the client to working code, application download size can be greatly decreased. Models typically provide one to two orders of magnitude of compression over code.

This video shows how we do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4LbUv5FsGQ

This document gives some results (like a GMail client that is 100X smaller): https://docs.google.com/a/google.com/document/d/1Kuw6_sMCKE7...

collyw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember thinking years ago, that my CV in Word took up more memory than my first computer (Acorn Electron 32kb ram). It amazes me that I used to play Elete on that machine.
aorth 2 days ago 1 reply      
> The top ten sites are significantly lighter than the rest (worth noting if you want to be a top website).

Wow. That's nice to see actually.

jokoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4dYwEyjZcY this video about the early HTML standardization process, and it seems to explain all the ills of HTML.

So indeed, there is a huge optimization opportunity of having a stricter error model.

Also, I'm really wondering how much battery could be saved when surfing such pages.

Also I'm sure there is a lot of potential going in the pre-parsed document model. But that's a next level kind of engineering I guess.

stepvhen 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Recall that Doom is a multi-level first person shooter that ships with an advanced 3D rendering engine and multiple levels, each comprised of maps, sprites and sound effects.

Doom isn't in true 3D, its an advanced raycasting engine. The levels are all 2D, there are no polygons, you can't look up and down. Doom has been ported to a TI Calculator. Lets maintain some perspective here.

imaginenore 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the last project I built the initial page load with the absolutely minimal JS that was embedded into the page. Then it loaded the rest whenever it needed it. My coworkers were shocked how quickly the page loaded.

It's actually better to show the user some progress bar, than the standard browser's "Waiting for yoursite.com".

You can get away with a lot without jQuery, while still having clean-ish code.

alasano 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm genuinely excited by ensuring great response times and minimal load on a website.

Locally I see so many companies building good looking but horrendously optimized websites for their clientele who don't know enough to ask for it.

The last company I worked at were building a local search engine and were displaying thumbnails whilst loading full size pictures which were hot linked from businesses websites. With an auto loading feature at the bottom of the page by the php backend, an initial 5-6 Mb page load could turn into 30+ Mb within a few seconds of scrolling. Add to this no gzipping and caching was not properly configured either.

I tried my best to get some changes going but the senior (and only other) dev wouldn't allow any modifications to the current system "for the moment". It was a bit frustrating to see so many easy fixes ignored.

njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, were can I play Doom in the browser?
perseusprime11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Enable Ghostery and load cnn.com and you will see why the web pages are so heavy these days.
chowes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wondering if an idea like this would work:

Bundlers like Webpack already import JS in a modular structure. I'm wondering if we could do some profiling into popular npm module combinations (I know many people using React + Lodash + Redux Router, etc), bundle them up, and have Webpack load in those combos from a CDN via <script>?

Now this would probably require some work on webpack's end (the __webpack_require__(n) would have to be some sort of consistent hash), but at least everyone who blindly require('lodash') will see an improvement?

AdamN 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only real solution is a search engine that allows the end user to clip the results based on the maximum size of the total page. I've often wondered why Duck Duck Go doesn't do this as well as filter search results based on number of ad networks used, etc...
CaptSpify 2 days ago 1 reply      
disclaimer: my own blog - https://blog.thekyel.com/?anchor=Why_I_Block_Scripts_and_Ads

I kept looking for a "minimal" blogging platform, but they all had too much bloat/JS/etc. I guess minimal means different things to different people. I ended up just writing my own. The biggest post I have is 7.41 KB.

I used to be interested in front-end design, but since it's the industry standard to use $latest_framework, instead of tried and proven practices, I've given up on that idea.

bb85 2 days ago 1 reply      
> The top ten sites are significantly lighter than the rest (worth noting if you want to be a top website)

Isn't that that the top websites have a lot more ressources available to improve asset management, cleanup and refactor?

jccalhoun 2 days ago 0 replies      
and the .kkreiger beta only uses 96k! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.kkrieger
maerF0x0 2 days ago 0 replies      
This all comes down to cost. It is much cheaper to have "bloat" than it is to pay devs to fix it. And customers find it much cheaper to deal with "bloat" than to find smaller alternatives. Sure the average webpage is bigger than doom, but the CPU in my phone is approximately 100x (times multicore too?) than the 486 that ran Doom.

Sure, if man hours were free, we could trim it all down to (my rough guess) about 1/10th the size. But at $100 or even $10 an hour its just not worth it. Pay the GBs to your carrier, spend $50 more on a better phone.

Joof 2 days ago 0 replies      
From this title; maybe hacker news needs a twitter?

Also:You can't use average page weight when you are just looking at the top ten. That downturn could represent a single website; all others could be increasing in size.

CM30 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's also about 2 times bigger than a lot of SNES and Mega Drive games. Or about 4 times bigger than Super Mario World (512KB).

As for why it's getting so insane, probably either:

1. Frameworks, since most people don't remove the code they're not using. For Bootstrap or Foundation, that can be a lot of extra code.

2. Content Management Systems, since stuff like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, any forum or social network script, tend to add a lot of extra code (more so if you've added plugins).

3. The aforementioned tracking codes, ads, etc.

systematical 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon isn't what I'd call "light" at 4.7 MB, but looking at my companies market all the bigger players are way lighter than us.
chasing 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only conclusion I can legitimately draw from this article is that in twenty years a single web page will be larger than the 65GB Grand Theft Auto V install.
jakobdabo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yesterday I discovered that Twitter's HTTP headers alone are ~3500 bytes long (25 tweets!) with several long cookies, custom headers and the Content Security Policy[1] containing ~90 records. Is this considered normal nowadays?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_Security_Policy

sergiotapia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Arguably sites have been increasing in size for one simple reason: It directly results in increased sales.

Everything is sales.

If cleaner, 'purer' sites made more money you bet the average web page would be 10kb.

It's all about what translates to more sales. As such, you won't ever see a return to more traditional websites. Look at Amazon with it's virtual dress models, heavy as hell, but they most certainly land more sales.

webscalist 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happened to semantic markups? In the name of rendering optimizations, many web sites use css background image instead of <img>
apeace 2 days ago 0 replies      
This page clocks in at 935kb in my browser. According to this same page, that is roughly the size of Sim City 2000.
awqrre 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's initially cheaper to make larger web pages, you don't have to optimize for size (most of the time it would probably execute faster if it was smaller but probably not always). Some others make it larger on purpose for obfuscation (like Google).
bendbro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why can't all these frameworks just be cached? If a cross site request to cdn.com/react-v1.0.js is cached under cdn.com, at most one download will trigger. That seems to solve the problem, but maybe I'm missing something.
intrasight 2 days ago 0 replies      
The publishers really have no incentive to address this until a critical mass of users install adblock software.
ebbv 2 days ago 5 replies      
I would argue two things:

1) This is an irrelevant statistic.

2) Even if this were true it's not that big of a deal.

This is irrelevant because most people don't browse the average web page. They browse the top few sites on the internet and that's it. A more relevant statistic would be what have the sizes of the top 50 sites been over the last 15 years. I imagine they still may have grown on average, but download speeds have also grown over that time. Especially on mobile.

Even if we accept the premise that web sites as a whole, including the most popular ones are all growing and are now an average of 2.2MB each. Who cares? 2.2MB is nothing in 2016. Even on an LTE connection that's probably between 4 and 1.5 seconds to download the full page. And a lot of that size is probably in ads, which nobody minds if they load last or not at all.

Lastly, this is a self fixing problem. If a site is too bloated, users will stop going to it.

But I would propose that a lot of this increase in size is due to users (especially mobile) having higher and higher resolution displays, which necessitates higher resolution content, which of course is bigger.

sugarfactory 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google developed SPDY, an efficient binary representation of HTTP messages. Maybe they will do the same thing but for HTML. It would be much more efficient if one could design a binary representation of HTML that can only express well-formed HTML.
myared 2 days ago 0 replies      
GTA 5 is ~65GB in size. One day, web pages will be bigger than that.
hackertux 2 days ago 0 replies      
JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 1 reply      
...and my first computer had 128 bytes of RAM. And a 300-baud modem.
ivanhoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doom is not a good measure, when web pages become bigger and more bloated than your average printer or scanner driver, then it will be alarming :)
jrl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of the reasons why I love a simple website without too many whistles and bells.
NelsonMinar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a Chrome extenson that shows the size of a web page? There's a good one for page load time that I use, but I want kilobytes with and without cache.
LordKano 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great, another kooky unit of measure.

"This new re-design gets us down to 0.4 Doom installs without sacrificing any of the visual elements."

jmnicolas 2 days ago 4 replies      
> The average size of Web pages is now the average size of a Doom install

It's not really surprising in a world where a graphical driver is > 100 MB (Nvidia driver for Windows).

qaq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad we can not measure it football fields
tacone 2 days ago 0 replies      
But they load faster than Doom used to.
thom 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a reason that the economics of web development mostly work and the economics of games development mostly do not.
damon_c 2 days ago 0 replies      
In 20 years the average size of web pages will be the size of a Quake 3 install. This is progress.
partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
For Internet 3 we should call John Carmack and put all of the internet in a MegaTexture.
dclowd9901 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are we really complaining about webpage size when fully 30% of web traffic is Netflix? This might be an unpopular opinion but websites are no longer just html, css and js. They're full on applications with rich interaction and data visualization. Call me when they're larger than an average modern native app install.
brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
ronan has an account here, commented on this as it was developing a few months ago:


hammock 2 days ago 6 replies      
Can anyone explain why a simple web page is so much bigger now than a whole game?
Shivetya 2 days ago 0 replies      
and here I remember that the PDF of the Turbo Pascal manual was so many multiples of the compiler's size I needed a calculator to figure it out
flexterra 2 days ago 0 replies      
what is the average size of a native mobile app?
elcapitan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doom would have been the superior solution to the World Wide Web.
pljns 2 days ago 3 replies      
The average Web page now does more than the average Doom install, I don't see the relevance of this.

Although I get really annoyed when I visit a blog post whose page is 100x larger than Dostoevsky's novels in .txt format. On my blog (https://pljns.com/blog/), JQuery and genericons are often my largest file transfers, but I still clock under 500kb.

Intel to Cut 12,000 Jobs, Forecast Misses Amid PC Blight bloomberg.com
636 points by matt_wulfeck  5 days ago   502 comments top 44
tma-1 5 days ago 25 replies      
So Intel is cutting 11% of its workforce, Goldman Sachs just reported a 56% drop in profits, Morgan Stanley had a 50% drop in profits, Netflix missed subscriber growth estimates etc... yet, the Dow just hit a 9-Month high, and the S&P500 is now above 2100.

The whole market is overvalued, not just the tech unicorns.

anilshanbhag 5 days ago 3 replies      
One must understand that this is re-structuring. Intel is probably letting go of some divisions it no longer intends to pursue. In the not-so-distant past, Microsoft did an internal re-structuring when Satya Nadella became the CEO. It isn't as bad as it is portrayed to be as most people end up getting re-hired in other groups or take the severance and join a new company.
tedsanders 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is what the end of Moore's Law looks like.

* Tick-tock is dead.

* 10 nm is severely delayed.

* EUV is severely delayed.

* Significant layoffs in R&D

* The ITRS roadmap is vaguer than it's ever been.

* Giant mergers are up (Intel+Altera, KLA+Lam, etc.), concentrating the industry more than ever.

* And ultimately: A 5-year-old PC still works just fine.

When I say this is the end of Moore's Law, I'm not trying to be dogmatic. Of course there will still be a semiconductor industry and of course there will still be amazing technological progress. But it seems the rate of that progress is slowing, and now the industry is adjusting.

robertelder 5 days ago 4 replies      
I'm not sure how much of an effect this would have, but from a consumer's point of view, there isn't as much of a reason to buy a new PC every few years anymore. The laptop I'm using right now was purchased in 2011, and the prices in stores now are very comparable to what I paid back then. I've made up my mind to buy a new one a few times, but then when I go to the store, it just isn't worth it.
aluminussoma 5 days ago 2 replies      
A good friend was laid off from Intel during their last round of layoffs. Without going to into details that would identify my friend, he was laid off after losing a game of internal politics. His division's vice president even apologized to him for his layoff.

My friend's story gave me the impression of Intel being a highly dysfunctional company. My friend was sad to leave Intel, but I think it was good for him in the long run.

For those about to be laid off from Intel, I hope it also works out for you.

mikeyouse 5 days ago 2 replies      
Holy bloodbath..

From CNBC:

> Shares of Intel were halted after the bell Tuesday as Intel announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce

> The technology company also said the CFO would step down

wINfo 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's an irrational belief system at hardware companies about Windows that clouds their logic and leads to a sense of separation anxiety. Intel lost the opportunity to get a lead in mobile because they viewed the Linux/UNIX client device category as a side business rather than making it their core platform. They continued to invest substantial resources in supporting Windows 8 and Windows 10 despite the obvious reality that Windows is a dead-end platform with no growth prospects. It isn't just Intel but even nVidia/AMD lost the mobile space for this same reason, too much Windows not enough Linux/UNIX.

The Windows ecosystem has become corrosive to any industry or company it touches. We now see the end results of supporting a closed-source legacy platform is 12,000 jobs at Intel due to the lack of excitement and innovation in the PC space. Perhaps Linux will revive the PC market but in the meantime Intel and their peers at nVidia/AMD have done little to make that a reality in the mainstream sense.

hiram112 5 days ago 2 replies      
Intel ranks #14 in H1B use and was a large proponent of the bill to increase the allowance foreign tech workers.

So I'm assuming their inability to find 'talent' is no longer an issue? Same as Microsoft, IBM, and the numerous other big corps that have had massive layoffs recently, while also claiming an inability to find enough US tech workers?

OliverJones 4 days ago 1 reply      
For years Intel got to ride the rocketship of routine chip-density doubling. For years the new chips were so much superior to the old ones that it paid to replace them and the machines into which they were built.

Now, not so much. I can put a SSD and more RAM in my eight-year-old laptop and make it work just about as well as a new one.

I can switch off the old HP DL380/G5 boxes in my colo, hand them over to the steel recycling guy, move the data to some cloud service, and come out ahead electricity bill vs. cloud bill. I'm not buying many processor chips anymore. Neither is anybody else, except maybe the cloud services. And their bargaining power makes Dell and HP look like the guys in the white-box computer shop down the street.

The processor chip rocket ship has entered orbit; its occupants are now in microgravity. Some other rocket ship will be the next big ride.

It's too bad those folks are out of work. It's too bad plutocrats always behave as if les bontemps rouleront toujours.

spriggan3 5 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't they spend 300 millions on a diversity initiative recently to hire women and minorities ? who are they firing now ?


wrong_variable 5 days ago 8 replies      
Does anyone working within Intel know the reasoning ?

It seems skylake is doing really well.

Is it mostly electrical engineers working on the processors or sales and marketing people ?

mixedbit 5 days ago 3 replies      
What Intel needs is some reason for people to do compute intensive tasks on their computers. Today games are probably the only popular type of app that requires abundant CPU power, for most other popular activities CPU usage is low which doesn't motivate to upgrade hardware. Maybe VR can change this?
mattbillenstein 5 days ago 1 reply      
Large enterprise companies like this can lay off 10% anytime they want with little effect on output -- there are oodles of people slacking in big corporations basically not doing much of anything except collecting a paycheck.
xienze 5 days ago 0 replies      
> Its acknowledging the reality that its a single-digit growth world,

Oh, the horror.

JamilD 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this is related at all to the Altera acquisition, and how many of those employees will be affected. Intel had to give up a lot of cash, and take on quite a few redundant employees
randomname2 5 days ago 0 replies      
- Cuts outlook: sees revenue up mid-single digits, down from prior outlook of mid- to high-single digits

- Also cuts full year margin guidance, sees 62% down from 63% before

- Generated $4 BN in cash from operations, of which it spent $1.2 BN on dividends, $793MM for buybacks and saved the rest for severance

- Notable difference in GAAP vs non-GAAP: GAAP Net Income: $2.046BN (missing expectations), non-GAAP Net Income: $2.629BN

rubicon33 5 days ago 6 replies      
Am I the only one with a sinking, gut instinct, that this is indicative of a deeper problem in the economy? It feels like a crash is lurking... Maybe I'm just paranoid?
rdl 5 days ago 0 replies      
If they're cutting entire divisions, there will be a great mix of strong performers in there -- great for other companies who are hiring.

I'd always love to talk to Intel people from the hardware security projects (SGX, etc.).

neverminder 5 days ago 2 replies      
I really hope this is not going to affect their already ever lagging release schedule. If I'm not getting Kaby Lake Q3 this year as promised I will be severely disappointed.
yeukhon 5 days ago 1 reply      
Intel's IT department is so big it was for me to believe it. On the other hand I am pretty amazed that they were so serious about keeping internal application communication encrypted end to end, in every layer.
ashitlerferad 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hope some of those folks are chip designers and they decide to go work on the RISC-V/lowRISC projects.
qaq 5 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it's time to innovate a bit? I have 0 reasons to upgrade my 6 year old MAC Pro, I would need to spend 5K to get a mild performance boost.
ArtDev 5 days ago 1 reply      
I bet VR will lead to more PC sales in the coming years.
mtgx 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The company said its shifting focus to higher-growth areas, such as chips for data center machines and connected devices.

Where have I heard this before? I think in a little book called the "Innovator's Dilemma". Can anyone predict what happens next?

I wonder if Intel will try to push Atom into "Core i3" and make single-core Core i7's next to "increase profitability". They've already started making dual-core Core i7s - I mean how ridiculous is that idea?! Isn't a dual core Core i7 supposed to be a Core i5? Do their brands still mean anything anymore?

mparramon 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Robots will soon begin taking human jobs in places like retail stores, fast food restaurants, construction sites and transportation. The key technology that will fuel the transition is inexpensive computer vision systems, and the number of human jobs at risk numbers in the tens of millions. More than half of the jobs in the United States could be eliminated."


tmaly 5 days ago 0 replies      
Intel is in a very cyclical industry. They over hire when the economy is doing very well, and they cut when things are not. I got a pink slip from Intel back in 2001 just after I graduated college when the dotcom bust happened.
cmurf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Makes sense. My 5 year old laptop has a i7-2820QM, 8 vcpus, is plenty fast for the stuff I do, 4600 bogomips, 45W. My recent upgrade was a NUC with a Pentium N3700, 4 real cores, 3200 bogomips, 4W. Pretty impressive.
IBM 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think if there's any time Apple would switch to their own ARM designed chips for Macs, it's now. This along with Intel slowing down from their Tick-Tock schedule will probably do it.
manav 5 days ago 0 replies      
While there are obvious market valuation issues at play, I think this signals more about Intel and it's future strategy. The layoffs come shortly after their $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera was completed.

Intel really missed out on mobile and with PC sales rapidly declining it looks like they are going to refocus on enterprise and data centers. ARM and NVIDIA/GPU computing are also expanding rapidly in those areas and that will pose a major threat to Intel.

seeing 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how CEOs feel about their bottom line when they're off by such a big percentage in the workforce they need.

Couldn't they have predicted this sooner?

sxcurry 5 days ago 0 replies      
As you read these comments, I'll repeat mine from an earlier post: Don't come to HN for legal, medical, or economic advice!
nxzero 5 days ago 0 replies      
Being in hardware is getting harder and harder.

Increasingly the footprint of hardware is becoming sparser, replaced by software, etc.

It is time to make the push to make hardware open source mainstream from the point power hops on to where software picks up.

There are many, many really good reasons to do this, but in the end, to me, it will define how free the world is.

testpass 5 days ago 0 replies      
This will have a pretty bad effect on the company's morale. Depending on how long this layoff occurs for (1 month vs 1 year), everyone will feel extremely uneasy going into work knowing today's possibly the last day.
dman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wondering if Intel is moving out of some markets completely - mobile chips (phones / tablets) is the one market that comes to my mind. The margins on those are almost non existent currently (on the low / medium end).
mixmastamyk 5 days ago 1 reply      
How competitive is Intel in mobile chips these days, have they been improving?
kevin_thibedeau 5 days ago 0 replies      
Guess they should have kept going with StrongARM/XScale. They could've had a mature, trusted product line by now.
known 5 days ago 0 replies      
Unlike Capitalism, Globalization is Zero-sum
jmount 5 days ago 1 reply      
Almost exactly decimation.
mtgx 5 days ago 5 replies      
Right now, the only content in this article is "Developing...".
5ilv3r 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's called twitter bootstrap, and it is terrible on both user experience and performance. So much hate...
vicinno 5 days ago 0 replies      
bubble? next crisis is coming?
zump 5 days ago 0 replies      
angersock 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh man, they're even better than AMD at laying off people.
How I Hacked Facebook and Found Someone's Backdoor Script devco.re
851 points by phwd  3 days ago   118 comments top 20
reginaldo 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is Reginaldo from the Facebook Security team. We're really glad Orange reported this to us. On this case, the software we were using is third party. As we don't have full control of it, we ran it isolated from the systems that host the data people share on Facebook. We do this precisely to have better security, as chromakode mentioned. After incident response, we determined that the activity Orange detected was in fact from another researcher who participates in our bounty program. Neither of them were able to compromise other parts of our infra-structure so, the way we see it, it's a double win: two competent researchers assessed the system, one of them reported what he found to us and got a good bounty, none of them were able to escalate access.
chatmasta 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's buried in the bottom of the post, but I'm happy to see that Facebook paid a bug bounty of $10,000 for this. In the past we've seen Facebook refuse to pay bug bounties when the hacker goes beyond scope. Interesting that going beyond the usually scope of bug bounties actually discovered a latent exploit and helped Facebook. Maybe this will result in change of policies for bounty scope.
dopamean 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm not sure I understand some of the comments here claiming that 10k is not enough money for this. It clearly is enough money because Orange found the problem and reported it.

These arguments always remind me of people claiming that certain professions are not paid enough. They forget that there is a market for labor and in this case the labor is finding vulnerabilities. People will either be willing to work for the posted price or not. In the case of pen testing facebook I'd be willing to bet there are plenty of people out there looking for bugs who aren't even really concerned with what the final payout is going to be.

Yeah, they could have gotten completely owned if he didn't report this. But to him reporting it and getting 10k in compensation was sufficient. Why would facebook pay him a million if he was willing to take 10k?

volkk 3 days ago 3 replies      
I really think 10,000 for serious exploits like these is just not enough money. Even if OP only spent an hour or two on finding this out (although highly unlikely), they should pay based on seriousness/potential damage of the bug. Great writeup though. Super interesting stuff.
sveiss 3 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't the first time files.fb.com has been publicly reported as having been breached: http://www.nirgoldshlager.com/2013/01/how-i-hacked-facebook-... .
nickpsecurity 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice write up. Of course, this would be the team member whose photo is merely an Orange. Paranoid security people haha...

Part that jumped out at me, aside from obvious goodies, was this:

"FTA is a product which enables secure file transfer, online file sharing and syncing, as well as integration with Single Sign-on mechanisms including AD, LDAP and Kerberos"

...followed by...

"...web-based user interfaces were mainly composted of Perl & PHP... PHP source codes were encrypted by IonCube... lots of Perl Daemons in the background"

Wow. That inspires a lot of confidence in the "secure" product. I'd have doubted Facebook relied on such a system had I not known they built their empire on PHP. We all know its reputation. Their "secure, file-transfer appliance" fits right in.

6stringmerc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Article is exactly as headline advertised, and a well-laid out write-up. Neat to come across it.
TheGuyWhoCodes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice work, very detailed.However this is hack of Accellions Secure File Transfer.How should Facebook, or anyone for that matter, protect themselves in these cases? I mean other then some obvious ones like not running as root, limiting file access, limiting network access to other servers...
Techbrunch 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the same researcher that found a RCE in Uber: https://hackerone.com/reports/125980

Shameless plug but if you like that kind of articles I suggest signing to my newsletter: http://bugbountyweekly.com. A free, onceweekly e-mail round-up of news and articles about Bug Bounty.

gillm4 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know nothing about pen testing, but this was very interesting and easy to follow regardless. Thanks so much for sharing!
coldcode 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating. Looking for a hackable system and finding someone beat you to it.
morley 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great write-up. I know little about pen testing, yet I was able to follow along easily.
libber 3 days ago 0 replies      
If there is someone to be upset with in this situation its accellion the vendor who backs files.fb.com.

Looking at how egregious their security mistakes are they dont appear to take security seriously.

This is the same company that (last I was down there) had a billboard on 101 that says "Secure".

Many echos of oracles "unbreakable" ad campaign while being an aggressively bad at security company

utefan001 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like two factor authentication here would have helped.
frostymarvelous 1 day ago 0 replies      
So Wes got only 2.5K after successfully proved he could access signing and api keys,after he was threatened with a lawsuit.

How does setting up a shell and collecting credentials and then downloading them later give you a pat on the back?

Is this some kind of a joke?

edem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why do you use so much emoticons in your article?
mxuribe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Quite clever find! Good write-up, too! Kudos!
ryanlol 3 days ago 1 reply      
Only $10000? What the hell do you have to find to qualify for that "million dollar bug"?
lawnchair_larry 3 days ago 3 replies      
So since they were unable to pivot laterally, you pat them on the back and call it a win. But last time someone did successfully pivot laterally, you threatened his employer? You guys are really sending mixed messages! Are they allowed to escalate or not? And if that's the new policy, shouldn't you pay the other guy who did escalate?
oliverhands 3 days ago 0 replies      
i hacked facebook and someone saw me hacking and siad why are you hacking and so that's how i hacked facebook
Show HN: I made an interactive Bootstrap 4 cheat sheet hackerthemes.com
827 points by arechsteiner  3 days ago   160 comments top 40
arechsteiner 3 days ago 18 replies      
I made this! Thanks for sharing it. I'll be watching this thread for comments and feedback.

(Moderators: Could you remove the #dropdown part from the URL please?)

Edit: The two post seem to have been merged by the moderators. Thanks!

emirozer 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a person who doesn't understand a single thing about front-end, I really appreciate the existence of bootstrap, especially when I need to just put an OK looking dashboard together...

PS: for the sake of sharing http://bootswatch.com/

matt4077 3 days ago 3 replies      
I feel like bootstrap has become the jquery of css themes. People will launch into a lecture on "separation of concerns" when they see a style attribute in html or a ruby loop in an .erb template. Yet they litter their code with class="col-xs-4" without a second thought.
JoshGlazebrook 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else feel like Bootstrap 4 is just taking forever? It seems like Foundation turnaround time for rolling out new major versions of their frameworks is much smaller than bootstrap.
hanniabu 3 days ago 4 replies      
I started something similar for Bootstrap 3, but more interactive so you can select different options for each type of element.


Let me know if I should update to Bootstrap 4 and continue development. Feedback is welcome!

bink-lynch 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great! One feature I would love, the ability to edit the markup in the left pane, see it "live" in the right pane, get it the way I like it, then copy.

Nice work!

noir_lord 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks nice, I'm looking forwards to Bootstrap 4 though it seems to be running really late, iirc it was intended to be released Nov-2015 originally.

I really want the flexbox support.

tedmiston 3 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who never bookmarks cheat sheets, this is one I'm going to save.

Many of the "API" changes in Bootstrap 4 are subtle class name differences, like using pull-<size>-right vs pull-right. I think your interactive examples are a lot more helpful for seeing this quickly vs. the official docs (and the official docs are pretty good too).

asimuvPR 3 days ago 1 reply      
How did you build it? Aside from using bootstrap itself, did you use any kind of tool for the docs? I really dig the style! :D
txutxu 3 days ago 1 reply      
I simply can say: THANKS !!!

A nice idea and execution. Bookmarked!

Does versions of Bootstrap 2 and 3 exists or are planned?

oonny 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great, good job! One application of this interface is for companies to use it as a front-end style guide for their own site/web app. Just like people use bootstrap as the starting point for their front-end, and then customize fonts, size, color, etc. This could be a starting point for front-end/template user guides, which is why I was hoping I could simply fork this in github, customize it to our front-end rules and make it available internally so that all front-end coders use the exact same conventions. Thanks for making this available. Any plans to open-source the project?
latortuga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, super useful! Can you possibly load it up with bootstrap 3?
mangeletti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is really great.

I think Bootstrap 4's documentation is even harder to navigate than Bootstrap 3's. It's very frustrating, but this cheat sheet will help a lot.

deusofnull 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really appreciate this... Wow. I love your UI choices. More documentation should be written like this instead of a monolith table of contents.
paulcole 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really great! I've always found the bootstrap docs thorough but intimidating. You've got a really simple, intuitive layout. Well done!
wslh 3 days ago 3 replies      
Right now, how does Bootstrap compare to Foundation?
kulesiii 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can I request to remove the jumbotron or replace it with something that will take less space? Thanks for sharing!
bluetidepro 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is this project open source/on GitHub? I would love to see how you built this with Jekyll! :)
m3andros 3 days ago 0 replies      
You sir, are a genius! I've been looking for something like this. Thank you, thank you!
dopeboy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great stuff. Beats scrolling and greping through their endless documentation.
x13 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really useful. Does anyone know of a Materialize cheat sheet? (http://materializecss.com/)
jordache 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I prefer the original bootstrap documentation... having the TOC on the side to jump to various sections, and having a more real-estate to present ideas rather than just a small scope at a time...
switchkiller 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very very amazing. This is what I wanted :D! Beautiful creation
lsjadf 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is really cool. I'm wondering if people are using BS4 in production? I recently used BS3 because I saw that 4 was still in Alpha. Is it safe to use in production even though it's in alpha state?
nathanboktae 2 days ago 0 replies      
All this time you guys could learn CSS proper and define the design language that meets your site and needs appropriately... Sigh.
brainpool 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is nice, thanks!
oliwarner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I envy the people who get to drop IE8 support.
underzen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job! Thanks, thanks, and more thanks!
hndl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool -- bookmarked for future projects.
stevoski 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like how fast and responsive it is.
jrochkind1 3 days ago 0 replies      
super useful.

links from each section to the official docs on that element would be awfully nice.

baby 3 days ago 1 reply      
When was bootstrap 4 launched? I completely missed it. What's the difference with v3?
KayL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! Can you add a link back to official docs for advanced JS config.
greenpizza13 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really great, thanks!
rebnoob 3 days ago 0 replies      
very nice, this is extremely useful! thank you author! if i may -- any chance you could add page templates (with bs4 css/jq js from cdn)? even just a blank one would do.
mjdude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing, this is very useful.
AndrewVos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Weirdly, I used to own this domain name!
kevinSuttle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for the deep links.
mqgh 3 days ago 0 replies      
awesome work. I like this, so easy to find the style.
beardicus 3 days ago 1 reply      
More discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11541992 posted 2 minutes prior to this one
Almost Nothing About the Apple Harvests Gold from iPhones Story Is True vice.com
649 points by MikusR  4 days ago   198 comments top 17
c3534l 4 days ago 20 replies      
What does it say about the world we live in where blogs do more basic journalism than CNN? All that one would have had to do is read the report actually provided.

I don't think I'm being too extreme when I say that, apart from maybe PBS, there is no reputable source of news in America. If you don't believe me, pick a random story, watch it as it gets rewritten a million times through Reuters, then check back on the facts of the story one year later. A news story gets twisted to promote some narrative that will sell papers, and when the facts of the story are finally verified (usually not by the news themselves, but lawyers or courts or whoever), the story is dropped and never reported on again.

Again, if the only thing a reporter had to do was read the report to find the facts of the case to verify what is and isn't true, what the fuck is even the point of a news agency?

wklauss 4 days ago 2 replies      
These kind of stories are useful to understand to what extent the media has turned into an echo chamber. Everybody has to have (or comment on) the same stories than everybody else has, so fast copying (with or without attribution) has become a de-facto practice in every news outlet out there.

Good for Motherboard to wait and check. Unfortunately this means we will see this article now in all the outlets that published the previous one with a hand-washing disclaimer ("remember that article SOMEONE ELSE wrote that we talked you about last week, well...")

FreedomToCreate 4 days ago 4 replies      
This hits the nail on the head in calling out news reporting sites who don't fact check or truthfully report a topic. Its incredible how far from the actually story the Apple recycled gold headline deviates and really makes you wonder if citing so called reputable sources is even valid in some cases.
coldtea 4 days ago 1 reply      
While the article is fine, this does not really follow:

>So while Apple is nominally responsible for recycling a 90 million pounds of e-waste, very little of that is actually iPhones, and very little of that is actually being done by Apple. In Washington State, for example, Apple products made up just 1.78 percent of the total weight of e-waste recycled in 2014. In Oregon, Apple products made up 1.65 percent.

The author wants to argue that "very little of that is actually iPhones, and very little of that is actually being done by Apple" but the example he uses for that doesn't really show "very little", but rather a huge percentage of recycled e-waste being Apple stuff.

While the statement that "very little of that [apple products recycling] is actually being done by Apple" is compatible with the example, the example doesn't really prove that "very little of that is actually iPhones" as it's supposed to.

And even the implication that the numbers are small doesn't follow -- 1.65 to 1.8 percent of the total e-waste in a state is nothing to sneer at, considering Apple is just one among tens of thousands of companies making electronics, and compared to things like TVs and such, theirs are tiny and weight little (a fact admitted elsewhere in the article).

zatkin 4 days ago 1 reply      
In Apple's defense, I would imagine that most people who are getting rid of old Apple devices don't think about taking the devices to the Apple Store because that's where they buy new products. They typically take their products to an electronic recycling center, or even worse, they just throw it away in the garbage. Apple may be 'cheating the system' by paying these companies to receive credit for some X amount of pounds, but it's not like they're able to force their customers to return old Apple products to their stores.
alexkavon 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds of a great article from Blake Ross that demonstrates the laziness in journalism today. It also goes into detail about a few simple ways a journalist can investigate a topic: https://medium.com/@blakeross/don-t-outsource-your-thinking-...
DonHopkins 4 days ago 0 replies      
Have other people noticed how many articles go out of their way to compare things in different units, like "30% of people do this, and 1 out of 5 do that"?

It's like they're trying to make it hard to compare things numerically on purpose, so you have to read and believe the conclusion in their verbal narrative.

nstj 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Amount of material recovered for reuse through take-back initiatives in 2015

> Gold 2204 [lbs] [0]

[0]: http://images.apple.com/au/environment/pdf/Apple_Environment...

So is the Vice story trying to claim that "take back initiatives" aren't run by Apple? This

collyw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is Vice any more reliable? A lot of their stories look too outrageous to be true. Like this one: http://www.vice.com/read/this-guy-has-eaten-nothing-but-raw-...
frostymarvelous 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen a vice documentary on Sakawa in Ghana and I must admit. These guys are smart and thorough! They actually have me insights on things I see all the time, but failed to see the implications of.
qb45 3 days ago 0 replies      
Heh, I'm officially dumb. I knew that something was fishy when the news reported more lead being recovered than gold and tin combined but I dismissed this feeling.

Stupid, stupid, stupid and naive :)

ncavet 4 days ago 0 replies      
Who cares about $40MM dollars any more.
abhi3 4 days ago 2 replies      

Various media sites claimed apple recycled $40 million worth of gold from iphones, they were dead wrong.

What actually happened is that Apple is under statutury obligation to recycle a certain weight of e-waste depending on it market share or weight of electronics sold (depending on state laws). The e-waste doesn't have to be of the manufacturers own products.

Apple paid third party recyclers to recycle mostly CRT's and PC's (iphone have hardly any gold and are much more valuable refurbished, In fact, phones and tablets often dont count toward the overall recycling requirements in many state laws.) and probably incured a loss rather than a 40 million windfall as claimed in news articles.

Original Article: 1500 words (~8 minute read)Summary: 114 words (less than a minute)

The articles goes in to some more detail and analyzes the mandatory recycling laws deeper as well. There is also some commentary of how many other sites got it very wrong and overview of the e-waste recycling industry. Reading recomended if you want gain more knowledge on this.

If you'd like such summaries for all articles before you read them check out: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11535695

johansch 4 days ago 4 replies      
Apple misled media. I hope media learns from this.
ronkwan 4 days ago 0 replies      
aapl = pretentious
awinter-py 4 days ago 0 replies      
they're after me lucky charms
ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not that I would confuse CNN as actual journalism with investigative journalists but how many times a day does CNN say "we have not been able to independently verify" about a story, yet doesn't bother with stuff like this?

How can these places claim "freedom of the press" without having to prove they are "press" or what "press" even is?

Canada to introduce legislation to legalize recreational cannabis theguardian.com
456 points by sasvari  4 days ago   207 comments top 17
gerry_shaw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Canadian News Sourcehttp://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/philpott-un-marijuana-legisl...

I love that they picked this day to make an announcement.

lee 4 days ago 3 replies      
One thing that I am disappointed in is that I wish the Liberal government first decriminalized marijuana.

For one thing, decriminalization is easy to do. Simply revoke the current criminal laws. The bill would be passed quite quickly. Which would then buy time to figure out a bill for legalization.

Why is this important? Despite popular belief, simple possession laws ARE upheld in Canada, but the people charged are disproportionately minorities and poor/homeless people. IIRC, there were 40 000+ criminal charges for simple possession last year in Canada. That means thousands of citizens who are now burdened with a criminal record, making job searches difficult and border crossings into the US.

So while laws for legalizing pot are getting figured out in Parliament, more people keep getting locked up for simple possession.

andrewstuart 4 days ago 5 replies      
In Australia "the Victorian government, is introducing laws in December to allow families access to medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances. "

You have to be genuinely, deeply sick in Australia to be allowed to puff a joint. It's like living in the 1950's. So strange that Australia follows the world so quickly towards becoming more conservative and is so incredibly slow to become less conservative, even when our cultural leader, the U.S.A. is headed that way.


kobayashi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very big hiccup that this policy might possibly run up against: the American border. Given the 280,326,500,000 USD in exports that Canada sends to the US [0], even a minor disruption at the border could wreak devastation on Canada's economy. If an American administration even hinted at an increase in border wait times due to newly enhanced searches as a result of legalization, any Canadian federal government would have to think very hard about the pros vs the cons of legalizing pot.

[0] http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c1220.html#2015

brebla 4 days ago 5 replies      
How does this effect the supply chain? Let me re-phrase that, are we still criminalizing the supply side? If so, we're just exporting our violence south of the USA border.
auntienomen 4 days ago 4 replies      
Glad to see this is full legalization being proposed.

Decriminalization is of little use to the chronically uncool.

OSButler 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm curious if all those decriminalizations and legalizations in various states & countries are having an impact on Netherlands' tourism.
bayesian_horse 3 days ago 0 replies      
Probably now Trump wants to build a wall at the border to Canada too.
nickysielicki 4 days ago 3 replies      

How do they get out of this? I've read that this is a big holdup in US federal drug law reform.

agumonkey 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any study on the reduction of young consumers (rebel/taboo incentives) and reclaimed resources for police forces (less time dealing with petty to medium weed issues) ?
asd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps it's now time to look at investing in some of the existing Canadian medicinal cannabis producers. Like cannabis or not, it's here to stay and becoming more legitimized with each passing day. The question is, who's going to supply it? It's going to be regulated and knowing Canada, it will be regulated thoroughly.
tn13 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is nothing great about smoking weed but something seriously bad about jailing people for smoking, possessing or growing. That is the reason why I support marijuana legalization but I dont think Canada wants to decriminalize Marijuana.
adnam 4 days ago 3 replies      
what about Canada's responsibilities under certain international treaties to prohibit the production and supply of drugs?
schwap 4 days ago 5 replies      
Other news sources[1] are reporting it as "legalize", not decriminalize.


the_duck 4 days ago 2 replies      
A well-timed announcement for April 20th. ;)


dang 2 days ago 0 replies      
We've banned this account for repeatedly violating the HN guidelines.

If you don't want it to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll only post civil, substantive comments in the future.

hasenj 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm a little bit worried about this, actually.

I've been to Vancouver and it wasn't a very pretty sight.

The amount of homelessness and crime is 10 times more what I've seen anywhere else in North America.

There's an entire section (several blocks) in the Downtown area that's full of homeless people and the streets smell like urine.

Shops even in areas far away from downtown put posters on their windows saying they don't hold cash overnight. i.e. please thieves don't break in at night because you will not find any cash.

At the same time, Marijuana seemed like it was very easy to obtain, and for free too! There plenty of shops that give it away for free "for medical purposes". Some of them even advertise that they have a doctor who will prescribe it for you in case you don't already have a prescription!

I know correlation is not necessarily causation but easy access to Marijuana was the only significant difference between Vancouver and all the other cities I've visited in North America.

Arduino in the size of a AA battery techcrunch.com
525 points by asimuvPR  4 days ago   170 comments top 26
asimuvPR 4 days ago 0 replies      
EditHere is the blog post from the person who created it: http://johan.kanflo.com/the-aaduino/

Github repo (Its MIT licensed): https://github.com/kanflo/aaduino


What I really liked about this approach is that it makes packaging the "Arduino" inside a common battery holder very easy. Maybe one or two holes are needed to connect sensors and you have a pretty nifty enclosed "Arduino". What we now need is someone to build a battery enclosure with exposed poins. Anyone from Adafruit, Tindie, etc. here? :)

pedalpete 4 days ago 10 replies      
Great form-factor to easily re-use existing battery enclosure, but I have been wondering lately about the long-term future of arduino.

With the low price of something like the Pi Zero which is running a full version of linux, or something like the Esp8266 which can run many different languages, you're basically paying shipping costs. What benefit does arduino have in this future, other than a large existing network, which I understand can't be overlooked as a strength.

munro 4 days ago 0 replies      
At first I wasn't impressed, because Arduinos are all bloat, an AVR can run directly off a battery. Then I realized they've found a clever way to use reuse a battery holder as an enclosure!
e0m 3 days ago 1 reply      
To me this is an indication of how far behind energy storage technology is.
dougmany 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great. I have used one LiFePO4 batteries (3.2 V) and a copper rod to replace two 1.5v batteries in a few electronic. This would be even better then a copper rod.
larkinrichards 4 days ago 2 replies      
This seems to be a great way to stick a small wifi-tracking device (skyhook based, report location whenever it finds open wifi network) in any AA powered device. You'd have to figure out how to put a 1.5v battery on the board so the overall voltage of the battery pack would be correct.
paddi91 3 days ago 0 replies      
For everyone who is interested in buying one, https://aisler.net/kanflo/aaduino/aaduino-v2
sandworm101 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lol. It's a great idea, but I would hate to go through airport security with that board tucked into a battery holder. The entire package just screams "secondary inspection".
gregsadetsky 4 days ago 1 reply      
There used to be a comment thread here regarding the Pi Zero and how it's impossible to buy one through any of the distributors. Somebody (else?) provided a link regarding Broadcom, and how they might not want the Pi Zero to become a success...

Everything seems to have disappeared. What happened?

jffry 4 days ago 0 replies      
Blog got hugged to death. Here is a mirror: http://archive.is/34sQu
striking 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's neat how many pins are available, too. TX/RX (for serial), the SPI pins, an IRQ, and pins 8-10, 12, 16.

This would be a great way to prototype a simple wearable project that doesn't use wireless radios.

BjornW 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those interested, Kanflo wasn't the first to create an Arduino like clone in this form factor. For instance there is the the Jeenode and its sibblings developed by Jean-Claude Wippler.

See for more info on this: http://www.digitalsmarties.net/products/JeeNode

2III7 3 days ago 1 reply      
18650 form factor would be even better. Better battery life and more room for stuff on the Arduino PCB.
ZenoArrow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of the form factor as it makes it easy to source a compact case. If it wasn't the case, but rather the compactness, that was particularly useful then it's worth pointing out that smaller Arduino-compatible boards exist. For example...


tlrobinson 4 days ago 1 reply      
The reverse would be neat too, an Arduino which is also a AA battery holder.
Gratsby 4 days ago 4 replies      
When you're going beyond hobby basics, doesn't it make sense to shift over to atmel or any other long established vendors?

I appreciate what arduino has done, but at some point it's too much.

svckr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand what the author is trying to say with "wiring it in backwards" in the last paragraph. Well, of course you power it with the batteries right next to it; otherwise, what would be the point? From what I can gather from the original blog post, linked by asimuvPR, there's just one way to put it in and you'll probably fry some components if swapping polarity.

Am I missing something, or is this just your average TC article?

rectang 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's frustrating that the name is a riff on Arduino rather than Genuino.


I guess this serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the power of a well-known brand and what happens when you lose control of it.

aalhour 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any guide/introduction to the hardware architecture of Arduino in layman terms and how it was built? I am really interested in studying this aspect of Arduino since I finished the first half of nand2tetris a couple of weeks ago.
ryanmarsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The AAduino

I read that with a Boston accent

megablast 4 days ago 6 replies      
What I want is one with included Bluetooth LE so that it can easily talk to smartphones.
Zekio 4 days ago 1 reply      
That guy had a genius idea, bet many people are gonna use this for wearable projects in the future.

Kinda wish I was better at stuff like this, maybe I should begin playing around with my Arduino again.

ilaksh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't the Arduino Pro Mini smaller? And its been out for ages.
huula 3 days ago 0 replies      
An atmega328p, how big should it be LOL
dang 4 days ago 1 reply      
How about we link to that instead of http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/19/aaduino/?ncid=rss&utm_sourc....

Edit: well that didn't work. URL changed back from http://johan.kanflo.com/the-aaduino/.

(We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11538219 and marked it well off-topic.)

mattewdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good news!
Let's Kill All the Mosquitoes slate.com
485 points by wwilson  4 days ago   423 comments top 67
alwaysdoit 4 days ago 9 replies      
We've done this lots[1] of[2] times[3] when it threatens agriculture, but when it threatens the lives of poor people in third world countries, suddenly we're worried about the ecosystem?

There will be an environmental impact, but it will be from hundreds of millions of humans not getting malaria and climbing their way out of property, not from the lack of mosquitoes in the ecosystem. It's still a significant problem, but our current solution of "let all the poor people die" is not a good one.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochliomyia_hominivorax

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

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastrepha_ludens

saulrh 4 days ago 5 replies      
Most of the "whoops" tales are people that didn't listen to their scientists telling them not to, didn't have scientists at all, or were from long enough ago that we can discard their stories as irrelevant in the same way that we'd discard things like "spaceflight is impossible" and "nukes will end war". We've now traced the food chain around malaria mosquitoes out to three or four degrees of separation, including things like the diseases they carry. Their entire ecological niche is trivially replaced by close relatives that don't carry malaria. They're not even common enough to have major food-chain or crowding effects like you'd see with ants, rabbits, kudzu, or sparrows. Everything that we can find says that the damage from eradication would be zero. Not "small", or "manageable". None. They're small enough and unimportant enough that we should be thinking of them as disease organisms rather than insects. And I'm sure you're perfectly happy with the eradication of bot flies, polio, and smallpox. Reevaluate your beliefs.

Granted, we can never be certain about it. We're not deities, we're still limited by information theory and epistemology. But we're pretty damn sure. Way more than we need to be to go save half a million people a year.

hellbanner 4 days ago 9 replies      
On reddit, I remember seeing something like "Research assures government that killing mosquitos would have no negative effect on world ecology"... right above another thread titled "Scientists underestimate ecological impact of species destruction"...

Do we actually understand Mosquitos role in the planet's eco system?

mikestew 4 days ago 13 replies      
This is one of those ideas that sounds genius on its face, until it's actually implemented. Kudzu? Grows fast, prevents erosion, let's pay farmers to till it into the top soil. MTBE? Prevents engine knock, makes for cleaner air, let's mandate its use at the federal level. Whoopsie, once it's in the water we can't get it out, and its a carcinogen.

Let's kill all of the mosquitos because we find their presence unpleasant. Well, that's done and...oh, shit. Turns out there was a value to mosquitos after all. Anyone think to save some of that DNA?

rm_-rf_slash 4 days ago 4 replies      
Sometimes I wonder if the relentless human intervention in every aspect of nature will create or leave only life that has a value to people, like cows and wheat, or that which can resist domination or destruction by humans, like HIV, treatment-resistant bacteria, and the unassailable cockroach.

Perhaps after a period of rapid upheaval, humanity develops the technology to capture and control those super powerful flora and fauna, and use them for our own devices.

Then we can finally become Pokemon trainers.

sametmax 3 days ago 2 replies      
Mosquitoes is not just about the macro-ecosystem. Blood sucking animals actually help micro-organism maintain their biodiversity by allowing DNA from very different environment to mixup. Killing mosquitos would be like killing bees (which we are).

Also you may think that most organism causing diseases are bad, but they can be actually useful in your own organism most of the time, and only trigger a disease once their population is out of control or when your body is not tuned correctly anymore.

Killing everything that seems to affect us in a bad way could snow ball into terrible consequences. Not to say I'm not glad that the plague is out of the picture, but everything is not "plague-level".

BTW: I have malaria. I hate mosquitos. I still believe we should not eradicate mosquitos.

quotemstr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed that the prevailing sentiment is applying the precautionary principle. We didn't create a technological civilization by being absolutely sure of all possible consequences before acting. That approach would have paralyzed us. Technology is a boon. It's done some harm, but a whole lot of good. Let's not throw up our hands and decide that we're no longer comfortable modifying our environment to suit us.
jonahrd 4 days ago 4 replies      
I remember reading some old tale about all the animals gathering to decide what to do about humanity. Every animal hated humans, so they all voted to destroy us. Except the mosquito, which was the only one to stand up for us because they needed food. The moral of the story was that in return for looking out for us, we should let mosquitoes drink what they need from us.

(not my story, I read it in a history book about India)

mgberlin 4 days ago 2 replies      
Seems like it would be relatively easy to preserve large captive populations of existing mosquito species, then kill everything in the wild. If we notice some tragic consequence, ctrl+z.
jessaustin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Eventually, a researcher who is genuinely responsible instead of merely professionally so will conduct the X-chromosome shredding experiment in the wild. There won't be publicity at first, but if it works as well as the Chickens Little fear then eventually, after the hymns of praise to the heavens have resounded for a few years, the researcher will reveal the key to a hash she had published years earlier. That hash will be found to be of her lab notes on the day she released the selfish gene into the wild and destroyed a scourge upon humanity for good.

Not only will this be good for the millions of human children who won't die, but we'll gain a better understanding of ecological principles at which we can now only guess. This isn't the last species we'll want to change, but there may only be a few we want to eliminate this way. The knowledge gained in the anti-Anopheles project will be useful for less destructive efforts as well.

justsaysmthng 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a vegetarian for spiritual reasons and also because I don't agree with causing suffering to other species.

If there's a fly in my room, buzzing on the window, I would open the window and let it fly away. If there's a big ant or a spider or a bee on my foot, I'd wait for it to explore me and then go on its way (although I'm scared of spiders and allergic to bee stings).

But even a hardcore flower sniffing fly kissing hippy like myself has his limit. And that limit is called The Mosquito.

I've sent so many bad vibes towards this species that they'd stopped biting me years ago. Even so, I still hate them for the sleepless nights and for the crazy, bad, aggressive thoughts that they've spawned inside my mind with their evil buzz.

One of the worst things about them is that it takes just one slap - 50 ms - to transform a living, buzzing mosquito into a bloody spot on the wall. They don't even have time to understand wtf has happened to them !

One moment she's like "Yeah! Who I should suck next?!" and next moment she's mush.

No pain, no regrets, no suffering. Nothing !

Yet I have to live with the memory of the suffering it has caused me my entire life.

Maybe we should design mosquitoes with more advanced nervous systems - optimized for feeling pain and suffering - and make their bodies more resistant and stronger, so that humans can torture them properly.

This "let's interbreed them with sterile males" sounds like a really soft and humane (?) punishment - give them lab grown mosquito studs so that those bloodsucking bitches can have a good sex life ? What kind of revenge is that ?

No! They must suffer !

Oh my, you see what thoughts they've spawned in me ? Otherwise, I'm pretty peaceful..


degenerate 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's an excellent 20min Radiolab you can listen to that was released in 2014, explaining how the genetically modified male mosquitos work: http://www.radiolab.org/story/kill-em-all/

One (single) notable role mosquitos played was stopping early settlements from inhabiting and destroying much of the world's rainforests... "nature's Viet Cong".

OneTwoFree 4 days ago 0 replies      
Probably I'm biased because I had a dengue fever infection a few years ago, but I don't understand the commenters here.Humanity as a whole burns millions of tonnes of coal, manufacturing millions of tonnes of products which are just thrown away, releasing who knows what chemicals into the rivers and oceans, not to mention the radioactive waste. And seriously you are worried about killing mosquitos?
mc32 4 days ago 3 replies      
Sounds good, but afaik only a few mosquito species actually are spreaders of diseases affecting humans. I suppose I don't know if those pathogens can mutate to use other mosquitoes as hosts.

While we're at it, get rid of ticks.

wambotron 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have a TON of mosquitos in the late spring through late autumn seasons. Those asian tiger mosquitos. They bite all day long. You can't go out and expect to avoid them unless you're doused in Off, and even then it's no guarantee.

Last year my daughter got bit so badly that both of her legs looked like she had a huge rash. It was just a string of mosquito bites combined with a sensitivity to them that exaggerated an already rough problem.

All that said, I'm not sure I'm pro-extermination. We have a lot of bats that come around and eat the mosquitos around dusk. I'm sure they'd find other things to eat, but I like seeing them skim the pool for a drink and then eat a few dozen skeeters while they dart around. I also don't like people playing god with this type of stuff. The butterfly effect is real, and if we exterminate them all, we won't know what the effect is until it's already too late. Realistically, the earth adapts to whatever we do to it. Long after we're gone, there will be tons of interesting life forms. That still doesn't make me any less uneasy about it.

I don't know.

duncan_bayne 3 days ago 0 replies      

"What does it mean in practice to hold a philosophy that declares that pristine nature has intrinsic value in itself, and that regards Man and his activities as intrusive threats to the so-called ecological balance?

I have discussed the history, meaning, and basic premises of environmentalism previously, in my monograph The Green Machine and in my recorded talk "Green Cathedrals." I also explore these issues on my ecoNOT.com website.

But here I want to focus on the consequences of accepting core environmentalist premisesspecifically, their deadly impact on human life."

Those who object to the eradication of mosquitoes are stating pretty clearly the value of human life according to their philosophy.

antognini 4 days ago 1 reply      
For the purpose of disease control it's not strictly necessary to exterminate all mosquitos. Mosquito borne diseases are transmitted when a mosquito bites an infected person, becomes infected itself, and later bites another person. So long as mosquitos can be eliminated from the populated areas of a region, even if only for a couple of months, the infected mosquitos will die off, and the people infected with the diseases will eventually (hopefully) recover. By the time new generations of mosquitos reach these populated areas, they will no longer be infected, there will be no infected people for them to bite, and the disease will be eradicated.

Such a strategy might be more feasible than total extermination anyway since eliminating mosquitos in unpopulated regions would probably be the most expensive part of such a project due to the lack of infrastructure in those areas.

Of course, once the mosquitos return, you still have to deal with those annoying bites....

neaanopri 4 days ago 1 reply      
This article doesn't seem to know what the impact will be and doesn't seem to care.

Mosquitos are food for birds and bats. I think that talking to bird and bat biologists would be the best idea.

AdmiralAsshat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that this article shows up now, given that this one just poped up five days ago:http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3284/what-if-we-era...
outworlder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do different species of mosquitoes interbreed? I'm guessing not, as this is the definition of "species".

If so, why do we care about the "ecological" impact of mosquito species that feed on humans? If anything, the ecosystem is unbalanced given the human population and the amount of mosquito food sources.

Dove 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am astonished by the comments in this thread. Many people seem to assume that the chance of disaster as a result of wiping out mosquitoes is high - a sentiment I can only assume arises from having watched a lot of movies with the Arrogant And Foolish Scientist's Ill-Thought-Out Plan Backfires plot. It is good to think through consequences, but supposing that real world scientists acting deliberately and collaboratively will make the same mistakes that movie scientists make for the sake of drama - I find that a concerningly distorted perception of reality.

It's sort of like the people who react to robotics with concerns that the robots will go rogue and turn on their creators. Yeah, this is like a 90% probability event in movies, but that does not make it a reasonable thing to worry about in the real world.

Yeah, of course we should carefully think through the consequences before acting. That's what is happening. But if the mosquito experts say the ecological impact is likely to be negligible, then it probably will be. These guys are experts. Species go extinct all the time, and life goes on because it's pretty robust.

I'm not saying scientists are all knowing and can foresee all side effects, though I suspect if they are willing to state a view like that with confidence, they won't be far off. What I'm saying is the ZOMG BIRDS EAT MOSQUITOS and WHAT IF WE INFECT OURSELVES AND GET WIPED OUT talk is a little silly. Cool it there, Spielberg. ;)

MrArtichaut 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm the only one not comfortable with the idea of wiping whole species just because we don't like them? I mean, I'm far fromthe Gaia thing, but what rights do we have to do that? And next? Rats, cockroaches? Hey, this specie of birds doesn't do anything useful and eat our fruits, why not killing them all?

Mosquitoes aren't even "responsible" for those diseases... Maybe we should invest in proactive body defenses against virus instead of just killing some random things.

Even if we just kill those mosquitoes species you know what? Nature evolves. Other mosquitoes and viruses will come. Do we kill them too?

jerryhuang100 4 days ago 0 replies      
This author clearly twists the words from that 2010 Nature report[1], as

1) That quote "Life would continue as before or even better." is not even the conclusion in the Nature report. It's in the fifth paragraph of the first part out of the three part report. I guess this author just stopped here and failed to read the rest parts of the report for his conclusion?

2) The other two parts of the reports talk about the mosquito biomass and its impact to arctic tundra ecosystem, food chains and even cacao pollination.

3) The original author Janet Fang actually concluded the report by quoting entomologist Joe Conlon "If we eradicated them tomorrow, the ecosystems where they are active will hiccup and then get on with life." And the more important part is the next sentence: "Something better or worse would take over."

The key is that there is a high probability something worse would take over when you tried to mess Nature's arrangement in the past 100 million years abruptly. As noted by other HN user, Chairman Mao also thought getting rid of sparrows was really a good idea.

[1] http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/466432a.html

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
My friends in Ft. Lauderdale got a couple of CO2 "puffer" traps[1] and it really cut down the mosquito population and it was "chemical free". (caveat adding CO2 to the air I suppose) I was really impressed at how well they worked, my friend calls them the "fake cows". In the Bay Area I've never really had enough mosquito angst to try to build one. The basic idea is to lure them into range and then using a fan blow them into a bucket of sugar water. Something you could easily implement with an Arduino. That said, killing them with lasers[2] is pretty cool too.

[1] These are some examples, I am not endorsing these guys just found them for folks who were wondering what I was talking about -- https://www.megacatch.com/

[2] http://www.intellectualventures.com/inventions-patents/our-i... -- if only someone other than Intellectual Ventures had built it ...

sirtastic 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why do people think it's a good idea to kill off an insect that's a food source to thousands of other insects and animals?
phkahler 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a thought. If the people who developed these things spent their own money to release them worldwide (yep, not just one continent) because they believe in the safety and importance of it... What would happen to them? And what would happen if they are right and it works great? Would the public really allow them to be punished? Would someone not reimburse them? They claim it's safe and are willing to risk the world, but not willing to risk their own livelyhood and reputation apparently.

If you believe in such a cause, and honestly believe the downside was zero, and you have the tool to do the job... What is holding you back? That's an honest question and I'd love to hear their responses.

girishso 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of GEM Mosquito control. I believe this is the only real eco friendly solution for mosquitoes menace. But corporates milking money out of mosquitoes control devices, won't let this be mainstream.

> GEM technology is a process of achieving sustainable mosquito control in an eco friendly manner by providing artificial breeding grounds utilizing common household utensils and destroying larvae by non-hazardous natural means such as throwing them in dry places or feeding them to larvae eating fishes.

Process in short - http://www.appropedia.org/GEM_mosquito_control#Modus_operand....

mirimir 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do we really know biological systems well enough to globalize code that nukes all X chromosomes in sperm? Maybe there are unknown mechanisms for cross-species sequence transfer. That could end up being quite the Darwin award ;)
canistr 4 days ago 4 replies      
Wouldn't mosquito predators effectively die off as well? Birds, larger bugs, bats, etc.
lunchTime42 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can we do this systematic?

First massive reduction, to test wether the Eco-System can handle it short term.

If yes, eradication until the diseases have vannished.

Measurement if the ecosystem handles it.Reintroduction if needed.

rmallol 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are other way to control the diseases. There's even a startup called AIME (http://www.aime.life) that focuses on using machine learning to predict the next mosquito borne disease outbreak. They claim to have pretty good accuracy too. The truth is though, that as the diseases mainly originate in "developing countries", no one seems care enough to even financially support them (not even YC). Still, they've made a lot of progress in the past months, even supporting the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
ant6n 4 days ago 1 reply      
Whatever happened to those mosquito laser zappers? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKm8FolQ7jw
itsananderson 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only comments I see here seem to be taking the the article literally, but I have a strong suspicion that it's largely a parody of the Trump/Cruz talk talk on the Middle East, ISIS, and Islam.

> The ugly situation on the ground does not call for Integrated Mosquito Management; it demands a program of Total Mosquito Destruction.


> were left to wait and watch swarms of evil on the wing, mating in midair, and landing on our shores. An enemy has made its way to the nations borders. Now is not the time for soft responses.

(and more)

gtirloni 4 days ago 0 replies      
From the article: But New Yorkers, like everyone else in the United States, can take solace in two simple facts. The first is that Zika virus cant easily be transmitted from one person to another

"Zika virus can be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners."


NoGravitas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not strictly on topic, but the discussion of screwfly eradication made me think of [this brilliant and chilling short story][0].

[0]: https://lexal.net/scifi/scifiction/classics/classics_archive...

graham1776 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any website/service that allows US citizens to sign and send a pre-written letter to their congressman to address this issue, specifically pertaining to the Zika Virus and/or killing mosquitoes? Change.org campaign?

My wife is pregnant now, we live in Southern California, and I feel fairly powerless to do anything except ask my wife to DEET up, be on the lookout for freestanding water, add screens, and pray.

esaym 4 days ago 0 replies      
Next up is the "kissing bug" http://pvangels.com/news-mexico/176714/us-and-mexico-must-jo...

Possibly responsible for most heart failures in people under the age of 50.

marcell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aside from the question of whether we should kill all mosquitoes, I question if we can. Is there really a pesticide that we can apply globally that kills all mosquitoes, but not huge swaths of other types of insects? And what is the cost of this--who is paying for this global campaign?
guelo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've heard environmentalists say that one advantage of mosquitoes is that it keeps humans out of tropical forests. It's a view of humans as the pest. Which isn't that preposterous when you consider the vast ecological damage we're doing as a species.
brbsix 4 days ago 2 replies      
I realize this is blasphemy to some, but perhaps it's time to consider further use of DDT.
hyperion2010 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, the scapegoat for the much harder problem: "Let's get rid of bad government."
SFJulie 4 days ago 0 replies      
let's give mixomatose to all rabbits to try to eradicate them all....Well, long story short, Australia is still full of rabbits and this disease has been introduced in Europe by an idiot and it is still harming the ecosystem. Adaptation sux.
Zelmor 3 days ago 0 replies      
The writer thinks in terms of human loves, excluding the fact that birds and other species thrive on mosquitoes. If you remove one step of the foodchain, you will hurt everyone, including us.
ElijahLynn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Evolution requires the human population to go through epidemics in order to get stronger. Unfortunately what is best for the planet and species is not always the best for individual humans.
Gratsby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm getting attacked here at home. Tell me one of you has a mosquito destroying IOT startup going on. Something that maybe counts the kills and pushes stats to the cloud?
sickbeard 4 days ago 1 reply      
What if mosquitoes are the only thing preventing an alien invasion? Or even worse, the key to stopping one when it happens.

"Tabarnak! we would have won if we had some damn mosquitoes!"

cmurf 3 days ago 0 replies      
"This is genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction of all life on Arrakis!"

Yeah ok, just mosquitoes, but it made me think of the angry emperor.

sklogic 4 days ago 0 replies      
AFAIR (cannot find sources) they are crucial for the soil formation (at least for tansfering the nutrients from the swampy areas), there've been some old Soviet studies.
serge2k 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Were told that scientists must work hard to find a new vaccine, as if that would be the best solution to the problem.

Because it's probably easier than just preventing mosquitos.

ElijahLynn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to say this is a fucking stupid idea.
mavdi 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's an amusing article, almost sounded like we are not the most destructive species to most other species on the planet.
viach 4 days ago 0 replies      
"The End of the Whole Mess" by Stephen King is a good read illustrating the problem with this approach.
pastyboy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe all the pesticides used to control mosquitos have created the virus in the first place.
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
We need to eliminate/inject mosquitoes with a virus that is not harmful to humans
gsmethells 4 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps mosquitos are here to manage the human population in the ecosystem.
quotha 4 days ago 0 replies      
Firstly, the cure should not be worse than the disease.
marknutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what PETA would have to say about this.
losty 4 days ago 0 replies      
Intrexon (NYSE:XON) bought Oxitec last year.
Ontheflyflyfly 3 days ago 0 replies      
First: genocide liches
rdiddly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Corporate trolling
masterponomo 4 days ago 0 replies      
My condo is clear. Next.
SubZero 4 days ago 4 replies      
How many bugs and spiders rely on mosquitoes as part of their diet? Out of all of the ideas in this article, not once was the impact to the biological food chain discussed. We can kill all of the little annoying things, but how many beneficial organisms are being supported by them?
andrewfromx 4 days ago 3 replies      
watch the will smith movie "I am Legend" where he's the last human alive because scientists made a bold decision like this, then decide if we should do a pre-emptive strike. Or will this be the 12 monkeys (wow, 2nd movie reference) tipping point.
iamleppert 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why don't we kill off some of the humans instead? It's sad when a child dies of malaria, but anymore I'm wondering just what makes us think we deserve to be here more than any other animal, insect, etc? Epidemics are tools of nature to deal with an unbalanced ecology.

People are far more destructive to the environment and have been around for far less longer than the mosquito, which has been here since the beginning.

At least something like a mosquito is honest about its intentions. It wants to have a handy blood meal from you. A human, on the other hand, will engage in varying forms of deceit, deception and then probably fuck your mother behind your back, before they sucks you dry.

Which one would you rather have around? Something to think on next time your get bit by one.

bbarn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Serious question: In areas where Malaria is killing many people, access to health care is a big part of why, right? So I'm assuming if you just removed the mosquitos, those people that died would be alive, and putting greater strain on already famine-like food economies. Wouldn't that be equally as bad?
1M People Use Facebook Over Tor facebook.com
379 points by Titanous  2 days ago   155 comments top 15
nocarrier 2 days ago 5 replies      
Alec Muffet has done a lot of work to get Facebook running on TOR and he's a true believer. I really enjoyed working with him when I was at Facebook. He also did a lot of work to get .onion domains to be recognized by registrars as a special purpose domain name. This let us issue certificates on .onion.

I don't know if the story behind the facebookcorewwwi.onion domain name itself has been talked about much, but we wanted a memorable name for the domain so we took a new cluster that hadn't been put in production yet and threw something like 500k cores at brute forcing onion names till we had a memorable domain name. Alec had a script that looked for hashes that started with facebook and then he picked the one that seemed to fit the most. And that's how we have facebookcorewwwi.onion now.

putasidemobile 2 days ago 4 replies      
Related: Please Facebook, let me peek over your walled garden. Taking a privacy-friendly stance, with the current Facebook, hurts my social life.

I do not trust your company, and I think you are bound to act unethically in the future. But I do not ask you to become a trustworthy ethical company. Mess with the accounts of my friends all you want. I just want to be invited to the next BBQ. People have stopped using e-mail for announcing these social events, and _all_ use Facebook. Could it be possible for me to not be on Facebook, yet still stay up-to-date on what my friends, or hell, even my parents now, are doing? A more advanced social graph API that hooks into email, RSS, Twitter, whatever... ?

I'm sure you also have my email-address from the address books of my contacts, so you could verify me.

As one of your longest non-users (I remember when TheFacebook required a Harvard-email for invite), please let me become a semi-user. It won't pay you a dime, but it will make the world a better place.

supermatt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Or 1 person uses 1M facebook accounts over Tor...
akavel 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've recently tried using FB via TOR (Browser) for the first time, but was unable. After entering the onion address and my FB credentials, I was informed that the account is temporarily blocked (presumably because of first access via TOR). I was presented with an option of unblocking it by recognizing a few photos of friends and matching them to names - but unfortunately, all those photos showed as blank, white squares!

So, I wasn't able to login via TOR via the purposefully created .onion address. Also, sent an issue report via non-TOR login about this, but never got any response.

Note also that this seems to mean to me, that there may be people who are cut off from FB via TOR same as me, but who don't even have a way to notify FB about the fact. And thus not having any chance of having the bug fixed.

HalcyonicStorm 2 days ago 11 replies      
Please explain it to me if I'm wrong, but doesn't logging into Facebook on Tor defeat the purpose of Tor?
mike-cardwell 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I use "Tinfoil for Facebook" on my Android phone. It's a wrapper around the mobile site with some extra features, and you can tell it to use "Orbot" (Tor client for Android), and you can tell it to use the onion address as well if you want (which I do). Which means I can use Facebook over Tor without using the official app which steals god knows what data from your phone.

You don't get mobile notifications this way, so I just get my notifications via email instead. And I uploaded my public PGP key to Facebook, so the emails they send me are encrypted. Getting notifications via email also means that Facebook doesn't even know if or when I've read a particular notification.

To read those encrypted emails on my phone I use K-9 Mail with OpenKeyChain. My Yubikey Neo acts like a smart card reader to my phone over NFC so I don't need to give my phone direct access to my secret PGP key.

This setup works for me because I try to limit my Facebook usage, keep my number of "friends" on there to a minimum, and lie to Facebook whenever they want me to explicitly supply information.

NelsonMinar 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's funny that they say people use Tor "for a variety of reasons related to privacy, security and safety". They left out "firewall circumvention", which I have to believe is the #1 reason, at least in China.
logicallee 2 days ago 3 replies      
Given Facebook's real-name policy, and the fact that it's literally a social network of your best friends, then since all Facebook pages are HTTPS anyway, the idea of using it over tor is... Uh... a bizarre

in theory the only thing you're leaking over a plain https is, "Hey this guy has friends." (this connection is visiting facebook).

meanwhile in theory I'd expect facebook to leak everything else on their end, because come on. I have next to zero expectation of privacy on facebook.

by that I mean you think people are planning terrorist plots over facebook? come on.

so I find the mashup of tor with facebook to be kind of bizarre.

JumpCrisscross 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish Google and Apple would roll out .onion Gmail and iCloud services, respectively.
rhokstar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe bot networks are included in that number?
sidcool 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does Google allow searches from Tor network? Last I heard it didn't.
mvidal01 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many of these accounts are sock puppets?
agildehaus 2 days ago 3 replies      
I thought .onion addresses were for anonymous hidden services, which Facebook is not. What's the advantage of accessing a .onion versus using Tor to visit the normal facebook.com?
cookiemonsta 1 day ago 0 replies      
and how many of those are for spam...?
hfourm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Terrible title. I was wondering in what use case Facebook makes sense as an alternative to Tor
Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) ubuntu.com
432 points by ctpide  3 days ago   280 comments top 38
Rezo 3 days ago 7 replies      
PSA: If you're running a HTTP/2 server like NGINX on the 14.04 LTS you'll want to upgrade to this release.

Google Chrome will no longer support HTTP/2 on vanilla 14.04 after May 15th [0], even if you're using the latest official upstream NGINX packages. This is because 14.04 ships with a version of OpenSSL that does not support the ALPN extension (prior to OpenSSL 1.0.2 you're limited to NPN, now deprecated). There was a bit of back-and-forth about the exact date, as the change was originally scheduled for earlier. However, Chrome decided to specifically push back the date so that there would be an Ubuntu LTS release available with the required support [1]. If you're still stuck on SPDY, that's going to be dropped too, so there's really no good reason not to simply use HTTP/2 at this point.

[0] http://blog.chromium.org/2016/02/transitioning-from-spdy-to-...

[1] https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=557197

ivank 3 days ago 3 replies      
Notes from my 15.10 -> 16.04 upgrade:

1) If you use the nvidia drivers from the graphics-drivers PPA, starting the default non-root X server will hang with no graphics output. Installing xserver-xorg-legacy fixes this.

2) LXC+Linux 4.4 seems to be very broken: https://github.com/lxc/lxd/issues/1666#issuecomment-21290311...

3) Pulseaudio now uses shared memory and playing audio inside a firejail will break the pulseaudio server: https://github.com/netblue30/firejail/issues/69#issuecomment...

nailer 3 days ago 5 replies      
For anyone packaging software on Linux, this now means every major distro - Debian, RHEL/CentOS, Arch and now Ubuntu - supports .service files.

No need for bash scripts, custom watchdog and daemonise tools, etc.

simplicio 3 days ago 2 replies      
Say what you will about Canonical, their whimsical naming scheme has helped expand my vocabulary of both obscure African mammals and little-used adjectives.
dz0ny 3 days ago 2 replies      
Mozilla will release Firefox directly via snaps


aus_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Notably, Xenial is also the first release to bring support for s390x architecture (ie mainframes).

[0]: https://insights.ubuntu.com/2015/08/17/ibm-and-canonical-pla...

[1]: https://help.ubuntu.com/16.04/installation-guide/s390x/

noisy_boy 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Online searches in the dash are now disabled by default [1]

A welcome and saner default. I'm thinking of moving back to Ubuntu from LinuxMint (I was thinking of Arch as well but not too confident of being on the bleeding edge).

[1]: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/XenialXerus/ReleaseNotes

fpgaminer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I gotta say, Canonical/Ubuntu has a lot of respect in my book for how dependable the distro has been over the years. I've been through my fair share of distros, and one of my employees goes through a new Linux install at least once a week. Ubuntu is one of the few distros that almost always works. Other distros will have one problem or another with this machine or that, but put Ubuntu on there and everything is fine (well, as fine as Linux gets).

A few weeks ago I had to dig up an old 12.04 machine and bring it back to the modern age. Much to my surprise, I was able to upgrade it all the way to 15.10 with minimal hassle. While the normal apt repos were dead for 12.04, Canonical keeps around an archived mirror. So you just edit the sources file to point at the archive, and then you can upgrade from there. Impressive.

Not that Canonical/Ubuntu don't have their warts. The Amazon fiasco, Unity, their cloud services, etc. And at the end of the day it's still Linux, with all the problems that brings. But, all things considered, I rate Ubuntu as the best of the bunch and feel grateful for the gift they give to the community.

mhw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Release notes: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/XenialXerus/ReleaseNotes

Always worth a read before you fire up the installer...

kraftman 3 days ago 4 replies      
Been using 16.04 on my XPS 13 for a week or so now, it finally supports nearly everything (bluetooth is a couple of extra commands) out of the box, and I've not had any issues so far.
fideloper 3 days ago 4 replies      
knocte 3 days ago 5 replies      
I love the part about simplifying packaging via 'snap'.

Now, I would love to know, if I'm a maintainer of Foo (and you can get it today via `apt-get install foo`), how will I be able to start packaging using snap rather than relying on deb packages that come from debian? I'd love any feedback, cheers!

michaelmior 3 days ago 4 replies      
For anyone like myself who isn't a big fan of the Unity interface, check out Ubuntu MATE[0]. The MATE desktop environment is very similar to pre-Unity Ubuntu. It seems like the final 16.04 release hasn't landed yet but I'm sure it will later today. Ubuntu MATE is also one of the derivative distros that has been granted LTS status by Canonical.

[0] https://ubuntu-mate.org/

arca_vorago 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been on 16.04 for a few days now, and while I did have to work through some bugs (such as sddm and lightdm fighting each other) I've been impressed so far with the improvements.

Inused to hate on Ubuntu, but on my 2014 Macbook Pro, it was the one distro that "just worked", and since I mostly run debian servers, I figure Sticking to the similar ecosystem reduces mental load of switching.

I still have my issues with Shuttleworth and Canonical, but hey, it's linux, so I can remove the crap I dont like (unlike some things, staring at you windows 10).

creshal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Small warning: Ubuntu's "do you want to upgrade" popup window defaults to "yes". Had to find that out the hard way when a user hit Enter the wrong moment and was suddenly sitting in front of a bricked system.
ajdlinux 3 days ago 2 replies      
PowerPC/ppc64el, System z and ARM/Raspberry Pi server images available at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/16.04/release/
uuuuu 3 days ago 5 replies      
Is an update from 14.04 painless or would you recommend reinstalling? I'd like some newer packages but don't really feel like setting up the whole system again with a reinstall.
csense 3 days ago 4 replies      
They should just stop publishing MD5SUMS for new releases. By now, everybody should have gotten the word that MD5 has been broken.

The security of the MD5 has been severely compromised, with its weaknesses having been exploited in the field, most infamously by the Flame malware in 2012. The CMU Software Engineering Institute considers MD5 essentially "cryptographically broken and unsuitable for further use". [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MD5

e12e 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another interesting tidbit, this version comes with

Cephfs v10.2.0 Jewel: "This major release of Ceph will be the foundation for the next long-term stable release. (...) This is the first release in which CephFS is declared stable and production ready!"


lobo_tuerto 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why Canonical don't have an HTTPS version for this page.
chippy 3 days ago 1 reply      
From some sources, I've heard that it appears that those with AMD graphics will suffer a downgrade in performance until the point release in June. I think by June, the open source AMD drivers should be up to speed or have the same features as the previous flgrx ones. From what I gather it's more like a downgrade in supported features.

I think this is just an issue if you are doing 3D graphics work or gaming.

therealmarv 3 days ago 2 replies      
If somebody needs a Vagrantfile for testing: https://gist.github.com/therealmarv/555f7efc1c55ffa288bca091...

but it seems even Ubuntus Server are not speedy today (Atlas server are also slow)

(Update) it seems I'm getting an error with it :/

 The guest machine entered an invalid state while waiting for it to boot. Valid states are 'starting, running'. The machine is in the 'gurumeditation' state. Please verify everything is configured properly and try again. If the provider you're using has a GUI that comes with it, it is often helpful to open that and watch the machine, since the GUI often has more helpful error messages than Vagrant can retrieve. For example, if you're using VirtualBox, run `vagrant up` while the VirtualBox GUI is open. The primary issue for this error is that the provider you're using is not properly configured. This is very rarely a Vagrant issue.

ausjke 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hope DigitalOcean and Linode will support 16.04 quickly. Can't wait.
gnoway 3 days ago 1 reply      
In case anyone's looking here first, ISOs are available here:


For some reason these are not linked yet from the 'Downloads' page at ubuntu.com.

nik736 3 days ago 1 reply      
So we finally got Native ZFS with 16.04? :-)
tard 3 days ago 5 replies      
what are they going to do when they run out of letters in the alphabet?
xd1936 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know what packages are going to be bundled as Snaps, and what packages will still be debs? Firefox? Libreoffice?
jontro 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great! Finally php7 support out of the box
JdeBP 3 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see how long it takes, and indeed whether it happens at all, for UbuntuBSD and Ubuntu on Windows NT's Linux subsystem (which currently defaults to Ubuntu 14.04, although people have already installed things like Fedora on it) to catch up.

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11326457

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11542089

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11415985

abledon 3 days ago 1 reply      
>Support for scaling cursors in HiDPI environments

So 4k resolution support is becoming recognized here?

gravypod 3 days ago 2 replies      
So when will I be able to `sudo do-release-upgrade`? Does not seem to be working on my end. I'm using Xubuntu.
nikolay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, the EC2 images [0] are not available yet!

[0]: https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/locator/ec2/

elinchrome 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I have a software RAID that I created under MINT using `mdadm`. will the partition work the same after installing Ubuntu 16.04 or will I have to re-synch the volumes?
bad_user 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Beta 2 on my laptop. Seems to be a solid release.
iris-digital 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to trying Python 3.5, it's in the repo.
orf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yay, "apt install". At last!
MarkMc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any way I can download Ubuntu securely? They don't seem to have an HTTPS link to the .iso file
jkot 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone using Kubuntu 16.04? I am thinking about moving to Fedora.
Drone believed to have hit British Airways flight 'may have been a plastic bag' telegraph.co.uk
347 points by pj_mukh  3 days ago   168 comments top 19
gregmac 3 days ago 6 replies      
Wow, this is an elected official?

> Transport minister Robert Goodwill admitted authorities had not yet confirmed whether what struck the Airbus A320

> Mr Goodwill also dismissed calls for tighter rules on drone use to protect against terror threats insisting current rules governing drone use were strong enough. He said it would be much easier for terrorists to attack airports on the ground with rucksacks or car bombs than orchestrate the attack from a drone aircraft.

> He warned that any moves to enforce geo-fencing rules would be vulnerable to being hacked by "somebody who could get round that software".

> "And indeed the early reports of a dent in the front of the plane were not confirmed - there was no actual damage to the plane"

> "the pilot has a lot of other things to concentrate [while landing] on so we're not quite sure what they saw so I think we should maybe not overreact too much."

This is a sane, rational response.. I am just not used to hearing it come from government officials. This should be a model for the type of responses that government officials have to these types of situations.

HorizonXP 3 days ago 6 replies      
What a level headed response by the transport minister. I love that he acknowledges that geofencing rules will easily be circumvented.

That said, I still think it's a good idea to implement. It will make it easier for casuals like me to quickly be warned when I'm venturing into forbidden areas. Sure, I could ignore it or hack around it, but at least it's an easy to implement safeguard that will keep most people away.

k-mcgrady 3 days ago 3 replies      
Slightly misleading headline. Basically they haven't confirmed it's a drone so they can't rule anything out, or as he puts it "it could have been a plastic bag or something". They don't seem to have any evidence suggesting it's a plastic bag and not a drone (and vice versa).
TillE 3 days ago 2 replies      
"there was no actual damage to the plane and there's indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something."

This is an amazingly flimsy basis for a headline.

philovivero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ah. It's a drone discussion.

Is there any advance in drone tech to make it quieter? Any time I've been near a drone in operation, the loud buzzing hits a particular psychological frequency (probably the "it's a large flying insect!") that stresses me out.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Other animals seem to dislike drones.

I think most of us animals would mind them less if they were more pleasant-sounding, or closer to silent.

CrazyCatDog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome RC pilot here(1).

Hitting a commercial jetliner with an off the shelf drone is impossible--especially at that altitude. With $8K it becomes feasible, but I'd put the level of difficulty at about the same as driving a Bugatti Veyron at 70mph in reverse and executing a j-turn (think Hollywood 180 spin) into a tight spot between two SUV's at the grocery store--3 times in a row.

As rare as plastic bags are at 1700 feet, if it was a sunny day in London in an area with a lot of jet traffic, then it was in all likelihood a bag that was kicked up by a car, caught a massive thermal and managed to get blown around by jet traffic.

(1) Fly fixed wing RC in excess of 180mph weekly and have flown quads for 3 years.

smoyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm happy that they're backing off the drone regulation but it's going to be pretty inconvenient for the locals when plastic bags are banned within 2km of an airport.
awinter-py 3 days ago 0 replies      
This wouldn't be a problem in california


leecarraher 3 days ago 0 replies      
damn kids flying their plastic bags near the airport... there should be a law.
pj_mukh 3 days ago 1 reply      
If airports/pilots are really that paranoid perhaps they should install sensor system (low range radar?) to capture particular drones (and birds).

For drones, they have systems now that they can deploy to take them down immediately. http://www.skysafe.io/

And please, leave the rest of us who live/visit nowhere near airports alone.

MrPatan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now I want to see all those blowhards calling for a crackdown on the Drone Menace for a crackdown on the Plastic Bag Menace. Disgusting.
f_allwein 3 days ago 0 replies      
would be ironic since the number of plastic bags in the UK decreased dramatically since a 5p charge was introduced in October:


techterrier 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's 5p we'll never see again. What a waste.
pete622 2 days ago 0 replies      
What next? Were the geese Sully's plane nailed actually newspapers?
ageofwant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Plastic bags, not thats one thing I won't mind being banned...
MKais 2 days ago 0 replies      
FAA issues new rules stating all plastic bag owners must register each bag with the FAA
elcct 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the bag was protesting being essentially a 5p class citizen.
awinter-py 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is 'plastic bag' not a derogatory term for drones anymore?
aaron695 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you weren't calling bullshit on the original articles you really need your view of the world examined.

This is just D&D is the devil panaroia for 2016

1000s of 'near misses' and no hits is a industry that plane lies.

Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the Impossible EmDrive Thruster technologyreview.com
431 points by scrumper  4 days ago   238 comments top 29
deftnerd 4 days ago 7 replies      
I think what I most enjoy about the possibility of the EmDrive is that it's similar to how things were often discovered during the "golden age" of science.

Often, engineers or inventors would create something and then scientists would have to explain why it happened. In the last few generations, physicists and mathematicians would come up with theories and engineers would have to build equipment to test those theories.

The EmDrive is one of the rare modern situations where someone has engineered a device that shouldn't work according to what we know and the scientists are having to come up with the explanation.

Personally, solving a mystery is more exciting than purely intellectual theories and the EmDrive has created a very interesting mystery.

rimunroe 4 days ago 4 replies      
> Since then, something interesting has happened. Various teams around the world have begun to build their own versions of the EmDrive and put them through their paces. And to everyones surprise, theyve begun to reproduce Shawyers results. The EmDrive, it seems, really does produce thrust.

That's a misleading statement. I'm passingly familiar with a few of the experiments they're referring to, and none of them both produced significant results and were performed by groups which seemed un-suspect. I'm not aware of any peer reviewed paper on this stuff, and I don't personally know any non-laypeople who believe there is anything actually remarkable happening here.

[edit] fixed some grammar

apsec112 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think there's anything real here. McCulloch's papers on arXiv seem very confused. Eg., this paragraph:

"In this scheme there is a minimum allowed acceleration which depends on a Hubble scale , so, if has increased in cosmic time, there should be a positive correlation between the anomalous centripetal acceleration seen in equivalent galaxies, and their distance from us, since the more distant ones are seen further back in time when, if the universe has indeed been expanding, was smaller. The mass to light ratio (M/L) does seem to increase as we look further away. The M/L ratio of the Sun is 1 by definition, for nearby stars it is 2, for galaxies it is 50, for galaxy pairs it is 100 and for clusters it is 300. As an aside: equation (11) could be used to model inflation, since when was small in the early universe the minimum acceleration is predicted to be larger." (http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0612599v1.pdf)

If an effect was stronger in the early universe, you'd expect to see a big correlation between the effect size in a galaxy, and that galaxy's redshift z. It wouldn't make any sense to say that "galaxies" have a ratio of 50, since there are galaxies at every redshift; many are nearby and have redshifts of almost zero, while the Ultra Deep Field galaxies have very large redshifts of up to ~10. If the number is really the same for "galaxies" in general, that means there's no distance dependence, but McCulloch doesn't seem to realize this. He seems to imply that nearby stars have a higher mass/luminosity ratio because of their distance compared to the Sun (?!), but the time-delay effect for anything in the Milky Way is negligible (< 0.0005% of the universe's age). In reality, nearby areas of space will have higher ratios than the Sun just because they contain many objects which, unlike the Sun, don't emit much light (red/brown/white dwarfs, gas and dust, etc.). Likewise, he seems to imply that "galaxy clusters" are farther away than "galaxies", but most galaxies are part of clusters, and we can observe both galaxies and galaxy clusters at both small and large redshifts.

adekok 4 days ago 2 replies      
The hard part for physicists to accept is that the theory requires the speed of light to change.

It would be interesting to see how the theory behind the Unruh radiation works with "The quantum vacuum as the origin of the speed of light" (http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.6165#)

Or also MOND (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics) Which also has predictions based on very low accelerations.

It seems like the theories could be related.

(says an ex Nuclear physicist who's now doing computers).

th0ma5 4 days ago 4 replies      
The sentiment I hear in this thread is like those that dismiss cold fusion. Sure, we can all make statements like "obviously, someone screwed up" but it is another thing entirely to have to the patience to simply cite the experiments that disprove the proposed effect. I don't know what to make of cold fusion, but I also know for a fact that neither do physicists, and instead of studying it, they're just simply saying because there is no theory it must not work. Same with this stuff.

The one YouTube guy discovered the beaded-chain lifting effect, and then it had to be studied to find out what was going on. Obviously that was an easily reproduced experiment.

So with this thing, we must find conclusively the unmeasured heat or ions or whatever and show a repeatable method for such mistakes. That is my opinion about science, of course I probably lost most scientists with my first sentence.

scrumper 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious to what degree Unruh radiation (and the resulting consequences this idea relies on) 'established physics'?

By extension, I think this is the most interesting article I've seen to date on the EmDrive: it seems to have a basis in a fairly non-controversial result of GR, which in turn is something which nicely explains an otherwise bizarre physical phenomenon. And, to top it off, there are a number of falsifiable predictions which are within our ability to test. I'm interested in whether any of my assumptions are wrong.

spottedquoll 4 days ago 1 reply      
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary yada yada.

A working reactionless drive isn't just extraordinary. It's utterly mind-boggling. The least interesting thing is that it's a free-energy device.

It requires breaking spatial symmetry. If it works, it's not some edge-case theoretical law that's being broken. It's the geometry of space.


jimmcslim 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is probably incredibly naive... but couldn't this all be put to bed by someone putting such a drive on a cubesat, lifting it into orbit, and seeing if it works under practical conditions?

Maybe Hawking and Milner should be considering this for Starshot?

est 4 days ago 0 replies      
refuted by reddit


> ... (McCulloch) proposes a constant term that modifies the acceleration corresponding to the inertial mass. He says torsion balance experiments can't detect it because torsion balance experiments measure differences in acceleration. But he's wrong because since it's a constant term he "predicts", it should manifest in the Eotvos parameter. Torsion balance experiments have gone well beyond the limit to detect this. But it's irrelevant because he completely misunderstands all the theory he bases this on.

mcnamaratw 4 days ago 0 replies      
The article leaves out all the numbers and so skips over one little problem. The momentum some people think they might have observed (if it's not experimental error) is compatible with what you'd get by using a microwave antenna as a thruster. Just ordinary radiation pressure, with the puzzle of how the radiation could be escaping the cavity.

But the minimal measurement results I've seen are not compatible with the radiation pressure multiplied by some large factor for the Q of the cavity, which seems to be the claim from some. That really would violate our understanding of conservation of momentum, rather than violating our assumptions about where the momentum goes in this experiment. And that seems to be ruled out experimentally so far.

wmeredith 4 days ago 2 replies      
> At very small accelerations, the wavelengths become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe. When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next.

So the EmDrive glitches the universe size? This is hilarious.

phkahler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Photons must behave as if they have mass. From TFA:

McCullochs theory could help to change that, although it is hardly a mainstream idea. It makes two challenging assumptions. The first is that photons have inertial mass.

When I was taking college physics, there was a question on the exam about radiation pressure. I missed that day, so had no idea how to solve it. "a 5mW laser is reflected off a mirror (perpendicular) what is the force exerted on the mirror"? Later looking it up in the book there was a page on this and a derivation using electromagnetic theory. In the exam however, I decided to convert 1 second of laser energy to mass, bounce it off the mirror at speed=c, compute the force and change in momentum (over change in time which was 1s). I got the right answer of course.

The logic is simple. If we can convert back and forth between matter and energy, any experimental setup must obey conservation of momentum and it's CG must not move. So a laser inside a closed spaceship would actually be tranfering mass (as energy) from one end to the other. The net effect must be the same as if that mass was moved any other way.

I derived a general expression for radiation pressure after the exam and it's identical to the EM one from the book. Photons behave - and must behave - as if they have mass with a velocity of c. By the same reasoning, gravity must bend light rays, though I have not compared this prediction to that of relativity.

askvictor 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't help but look at things like this as hacks in/of the simulation we are probably living in.
drudru11 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is fascinating stuff. It is also good to see more and more respectable names looking at this. Good things will come from that regardless of the overall outcome of the emdrive.
api 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Yes, they're still using warp drives to heat food..." - alien observers
baltcode 4 days ago 0 replies      
So is there any microwave radiation escaping the cone? If more of it escapes from one side than the other, won't the momentum of the escaping photons (radiation) be the reaction of the thrust produced? Why does it need special physics? I am probably missing something here, but what is it?
russdill 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the main issues I see with the EmDrive in general is time invariance. And especially with the theory Mike McCulloch put forward. If photons cause this process for a positive change in momentum, the same process should happen in reverse with a negative change in momentum.
PaulHoule 4 days ago 0 replies      
People have been doing "research" into reactionless propulsion for a long time, such as this science fiction writer:


aalexgabi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Humans have learned a lot of things. However they still have to learn about the universe because there are non-naturally-observable physical phenomena and we have no evidence that we discovered them all.

Edit: These so called "laws" are laws in our minds and things like EmDrive show us that our minds can expand forming new "laws".

trhway 4 days ago 1 reply      
> inertia must quantized at small accelerations.

as everything does :) I think it is quantized at all levels, it just becomes noticeable at low levels as usually.

ridgeguy 4 days ago 0 replies      
For anybody who's interested, there's a NASA forum devoted to the EmDrive:


Joof 4 days ago 0 replies      
Inertia is quantized? Do we actually live inside a computer, because that's really weird. Physicists, help explain this outside of the universe uses a lookup table to approximate inertia.
323454 3 days ago 1 reply      
Supposing this theory is true, how big an emdrive does it predict is needed to lift a reasonable payload, say 100kg?
dnautics 4 days ago 0 replies      
wonder if this inertial/acceleration effect is what is responsible for "dark matter" in the universe, i.e. galaxy-scale gravitational anomalies that don't agree with existing newtonian and GR models.
kempe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would be very interesting to see an actual implementation.
alfiedotwtf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Meta: Wow that drop down menu at the top is really annoying
lunchTime42 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a thing that allows for Science Annonymous?
jaekwon 4 days ago 1 reply      
How does this relate to the spinning black/white thing?
33a 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man, this is the perfect news story for 4:20.
San Francisco Is Requiring Solar Panels on All New Buildings nextcity.org
315 points by uptown  2 days ago   316 comments top 31
eldavido 2 days ago 15 replies      
Partner is an architect in SF (works on 2nd St.)

She's currently dealing with two overlapping regulations, one from the state, the other from the city:(1) All electrical outlets must be placed less than 18 inches from the edge of a countertop, to make them accessible to people in wheelchairs

(2) A countertop must have an outlet every 18 inches, or less.

They're getting held up in permitting because there is a no constructible L-shaped countertop that satisfies both of these constraints. The best part, nobody on either side seems to care much, they're "just doing their job"...and housing isn't getting built.

I'm not sure what to make of this, other than that it's the newest brilliant "innovation" from the place that banned happy meal toys, and outlawed plastic bags.

davidw 2 days ago 4 replies      
Simply allowing more density would be a greener plan: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/20/11467110/san-francisco-solar-de...
eldavido 2 days ago 3 replies      
Another thing: this is why we (tech) need to engage with politics.

If there's one thing we really understand, it's complexity: why it sucks, how to avoid it, and how piling on rule after rule can make the legal code "unmaintainable" (sound familiar?)

anxman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I live in SF and I'm active in the real estate businesses too. While on the surface, this seems like great news it comes with hidden negative externalities. Specifically, this law benefits existing owners who will be grandfathered out of this requirement.

Any new builder will see her housing development costs go up, and given the short supply of housing, will then cause RE prices to go up on all new housing. This system therefore benefits existing landowners who were able to reap higher gains on existing buildings and helps create a moat on new housing development by making it less financially lucrative.

Also, just in case anybody is curious, most solar panels are not a good economic investment for an investor. In an optimistic case, they may pay for themselves in 7-10 years but the value of the asset itself depreciates so quickly that it isn't worth the risk financially or in on-going maintenance costs.

geebee 2 days ago 6 replies      
For the cost of these solar panels, what else could we be doing to reduce carbon emissions? Here in SF or internationally?

I do think that carbon reduction is pretty essential, but it's so essential that I don't think we can waste our money on low yield actions. I'm not saying this strictly is, I'd have to read about it more, but I'm not optimistic that mandating very specific technologies will be a good approach.

No1 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article makes it sound like the SF decided to set a goal of "100 percent renewable energy by 2020" without a clue of how to achieve that goal - but gee does it sound nice. Realizing that the city is not going to be able to fund such an endeavor, they mandate the cost of deploying solar panels be passed on to new development, completely disregarding the practicality of solar panels on city buildings. Forget spending the money on better insulation, windows, living roofs, wind power, heat pumps, grey water reclamation, etc. or just making more badly-needed housing - the city needs solar because the word gives people tingles and they have this arbitrary goal-without-a-plan.
mc32 2 days ago 0 replies      
Scott is pretty reasonable, but in this case I think the whole supes went overboard. I would have preferred a stipulation to make them solar ready,but not outright installed. I feel that sometimes excitement and wanting to be "leaders in x" gets the better of them, from time to time.

When I plan to buy a house I'll seriously consider installing solar, but id almost want to tear down any installation forced on by the city. If it's your property it should be up to you to consider what you want to add to your domicile. Maybe I don't want the upfront cost of solar, or maybe I planned on other renewables.

Put solar on all your city buses, put solar on all city buildings, etc. Don't force solar on homeowners who never wanted it.

haha1234 2 days ago 2 replies      
San Francisco why would anyone want to live there ... trashy, ridiculously expensive, smell of homeless & downtrodden everywhere, the mentally ill with megaphones shouting their crazy on the streets.

I've lived in many US cities and WoW San Fran is a shock to the system!

matt_wulfeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
At first I liked the idea, but then I remembered what a beuacratic and hostile nightmare it is to build in San Francisco (and CA in genera) and quickly turned against it.

Would it not have been sufficient to offer tax incentive carrots instead of making it a requirement?

jkot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Serious question: how many new buildings are started in SF per year?
moultano 2 days ago 2 replies      
New buildings? In San Francisco?
guimarin 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is pretty typical of SF. Try and solve a problem they are not well suited to solve at the city level. SF has a ton of Fog, building solar panels would not be as beneficial to the city as increasing density and allowing people to have roof-decks.

Another great example is homelessness. Homelessness is actually something which should be addressed at the Federal (for Veterans) and State (for people who should receive medical help) levels, not the city. Oh well.

The end result of this solar initiative will be to increase costs for the poor. The 'real' solution is for CA gov't to stipulate that all dwellings of X and Y quality that receive Z amounts of sunlight are required to offset A% of their annual energy consumption with Solar/wind energy. You can either build it on your own home or buy a share in a solar/wind farm.

blisterpeanuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a good idea to have solar on every building, but I have to ask: how many new buildings go up in SF in a year?

I thought the problem was that they have a lot of architecture preservation and not enough new office and residential construction.

Similar to Boston and Manhattan, mature cities where there isn't that much new construction, so this kind of ordinance seems more symbolic than practical.

pascalxus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just wonderful. Another housing regulation which will further disencentivize a greater housing supply.
cavisne 1 day ago 0 replies      
So how does this work for apartments? Normally apartments dont bother as the homeowners get almost no benefit (small roof relative to the power usage), and net metering shared solar panels is tricky, way to tricky for a utility to care. So who bears the cost of this?

That said might be a huge opportunity for a microgrid company to set up panels, smart meters and batteries in buildings, and then just have a single meter at the perimeter.

bcheung 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not that San Francisco has any room for new buildings but this smells like crony capitalism. Which solar panel company lobbied to have this become law? And which politician is getting the kickback?
im_down_w_otp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't that first require San Francisco to allow building new buildings?


:-D ;-)

almost_usual 2 days ago 1 reply      
Makes sense in a place like San Francisco. One good hail storm in the Midwest and you'd have a lot of broken solar panels.
pmyjavec 1 day ago 0 replies      
It makes me laugh the US Government is doing so little on climate change that local Goverments now have to protect their own cities.

Remember when Calirofrnia sued the US Government over climate change? They've been doing a whole lot of not much for some time.

No1 2 days ago 0 replies      
wrsh07 2 days ago 0 replies      
It only applies to buildings with 10 or fewer floors. Do you think this will just encourage new ~10 story buildings to instead be >= 11 stories?
akerro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Which senator has some shares in a business?
beaud 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in solar and our renewable energy future, we're hiring full-stack engineers at Wunder Capital (TS'14)

Learn more here: https://www.wundercapital.com/

sebringj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this good news for Tesla's giga factory?
maxschumacher91 2 days ago 0 replies      
lucky for them that nobody is building in SF.
resonanttoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
So... no new solar panels for SF then?
ZoF 2 days ago 2 replies      
Agreed, I can barely stand those churlish wasteful Americans and their unwillingness to offer our environment it's well deserved 'amenities'.

Nevermind that the parent poster wasn't saying anything negative about this policy besides that it detracts interest/investment in rectifying issues that would have a far larger environmental impact for a lower price.

The relevant facts here: America is bad and Americans hate the environment. Let's invest in the basic environmental amenities guys!

25 years ago? Lets go even further into the past with our nationality shaming. Let's draw some other parallels from Germany's wonderful past actions.

Americans have a lot to learn.

arrty88 2 days ago 0 replies      
great for my solr stocks
henvic 2 days ago 0 replies      
nkrisc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, I get it. People can live on top of the solar panels.
djschnei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely within the reasonable bounds of what local government can demand with the threat of violence. How progressive of them.
FBI Paid More Than $1M to Hack San Bernardino iPhone wsj.com
313 points by maibaum  3 days ago   199 comments top 31
oneloop 3 days ago 15 replies      
Same article on the FT:


James Comey, director of the FBI, said on Thursday that the cost was worth it, but added that an accommodation needed to be made with Apple and other technology companies in the future, as paying outside technologists to find ways to access highly-encrypted messages on phones used by terrorist suspects was not scalable.

makecheck 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wish people who paid lots of government money for things were always forced to do so out of their salary. For example: we will pay you $X per year in exchange for giving you the responsibility to make up to 10 big purchases; each time you purchase however, 1% of the proposed sum comes out of that $X salary; now then, how judicious will you be?

One thing Ron Paul did in Congress years ago, after one of those stupid lets spend taxpayer money on a bunch of medals proposals or something, was to rephrase that expense: he challenged Congress to simply donate a percentage of their own salaries to make it happen. After all, if it was so wonderful (echoing all the things other Congress members had stood up and said about the idea before then), and so worthwhile, surely they would personally not mind chipping in something, right? Predictably, a very small number of congresspeople were suddenly willing to go quite that far.

aidanhs 3 days ago 5 replies      
To me this raises a question about selling security vulnerabilities to state actors in general (in the context of the Facebook vulnerability thread where the standard discussion about value is being hashed out).

Specifically, I live in the UK and one of the complaints law enforcement has is that US companies can (and do) totally ignore valid court orders because they don't apply in the US (reddit being an arbitrary concrete example).

So, what would be the impact of GCHQ setting up a scheme where you can sell vulnerabilities to them (assuming they do the legwork to make it legal)? Would it violate some kind of trade agreement? I assume at minimum it would harm diplomatic relations given the pressure the big companies would exert on the US to push back.

droithomme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Given that they found no relevant information on his work phone, exactly as experts and reasonable amateurs and common men predicted, how was it "worth it" as he claims? Is it that wasting huge sums of taxpayer money while attacking civil rights and attempting to instantiate a police surveillance state with no privacy is simply "worth it" no matter what, even if pointless?
nickbauman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that this entire issue is the same as the nuclear issue was in the cold war.

Government Technocrats: We need bigger and more powerful warheads to protect us from the Soviets.

General Public: OK we'll learn Duck and Cover.

Sensible Few: Is risking the destruction of everything we're trying to protect worth it?

Government Technocrats: We can't look our children in the eye ... yadda yadda yadda.

mindslight 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to see what's around the corner for this argument.

Sure they can go to congress and push for increased funding or whatever for their top cases. Which gives congress a tangible budget number that could be "saved" by passing a law, but politics/congress doesn't really work this way - spending money benefits the administrating critters, the FBI, and the contractors doing the work.

Furthermore, $1M is essentially a small amount and obviously "worth it" for the major sensational events that they'd use to push through backdoors. So it seems they're actually giving up ground by having to move the argument to the urgency for backdoors in cases that aren't worth $1M.

I can see the argument playing for fiscal-primacy authoritarians who would take this as an example of government waste, but they'd already support government backdoors and I don't see this riling them up enough to be worth it.

It seems like a dead-end for propaganda purposes. What am I missing?

Maybe they're just trying to salt the earth so that their technical success in this case does not hinder them arguing for backdoors next time?

Aelinsaar 3 days ago 1 reply      
This really seems like a terrible market for a state to be so openly involved in.
techterrier 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is that it? Had they found a way to do it internally it could easily have cost 10x more.
agsimeonov 3 days ago 2 replies      
Were they going to pay Apple if they had somehow forced them to do the deed?
mkhpalm 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me this sounds like the typical "teachers and firefighters" government PR tactic. The best response is an equally ridiculous knee-jerk public reaction. We need to call to defund the FBI by 1 million dollars to settle the accounting. Clearly they have too much money burning holes in their pockets if they are able to make large purchases of this nature.
pbreit 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is that a lot or a little?
d_t_w 3 days ago 1 reply      
$180k is a dangerously small amount to pay someone with James Comey's responsibility.
kureikain 3 days ago 3 replies      
Where did that $1M come from? If it's from tax I'll say that a big waste.
tomtoise 3 days ago 1 reply      
Paywalled for me here in the UK. I assume the title sums up the article?

Since I can't read the article, from anyone that can, how did they come to that figure? Is that just the cost of the exploit or..?


dschweig 3 days ago 0 replies      
If over $1M is reasonable, I wonder what Comey would deem as an "unreasonable" amount and the rationale behind the calculation.
sixtypoundhound 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh - total paywall on the article.

Seriously, we need to just ban domains that do that (full paywall after 1st paragraph) - it's not really sharing any content with the community.

ryporter 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you consider all of the time and effort that they put into this case, they spent a hell of a lot more than $1M. We're focusing so much on it because it a single line item.
epalm 3 days ago 1 reply      
What evidence is there that the phone was actually hacked? Wouldn't saying "ah never mind we hacked it" be a convenient way out of a precedent-setting court case the FBI was losing?
tn13 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is our tax money down the drain by scaring us to death for fear of non-existent terrorist threat. It is remarkable how such FBI directors don't get fired from their job.
refriedbeans3 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's it?
Shicholas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Next time they should just bring the phone to RSA and have their pick of vendor-booth-magician to decrypt it.
amptorn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still don't believe they've actually hacked it. There's no evidence that they have.
chris_wot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently $1 million is how much it costs to discover that no information was on the phone.
WalterBright 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the wrong profession!
bobwaycott 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like a refund, please.
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not www.iphoneasyunlock.com
yohann305 3 days ago 0 replies      
this money comes out off our pockets.. YAY. NAY
Kequc 3 days ago 0 replies      
What bothers me is they apparently had no better intel available to spend that money on. An iPhone really? This screams of the government having absolutely nothing to do if not being outright incompetent entirely.
VT_Drew 3 days ago 1 reply      
McAfee offered to do it free of charge. Should have took him up on that, rather than wast $1M.
Git Tips alexkras.com
478 points by akras14  4 days ago   98 comments top 31
majewsky 4 days ago 5 replies      
Here's my favorite git oneliner:

 git push origin --delete $(git branch --merged origin/master -r | grep -v master | grep origin | cut -d/ -f2-)
It deletes all remote branches that are merged into the remote master. Because people always forget to click the "Delete branch" button after merging their pull requests.

EDIT: And another thing. Turn all your Git aliases into shell aliases (e.g. "git status" is aliased to "git st" is aliased to just "st" on my system) with this one weird trick! https://github.com/majewsky/devenv/blob/2c4252d37597617a493f...

epmatsw 4 days ago 5 replies      
Love #16 and the associated article. I cringe when I see something like "js fix" as a commit message.

However, not on board with the hate for rebase. If it's your feature branch and you aren't sharing it with others, I'd much rather get a cleaned up PR than one filled with junk commits because the author was afraid to rebase.

yes_or_gnome 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an avid supporter of rebasing over merging. I'll refrain from getting into my workflow, but here's what i want to say: For the love of all that is holy, never squash a merge commit nor squash onto a merge commit.

Squashing a merge commit is a perfect way to reintroduce old code back into master.

Squashing onto a merge commit is great way to lose changes. It's been a while since I have tried this, but creating a didactic repo if fairly easy. Create a repo with two feature branches, a file on each of master and the feature branches, merge featureA to featureB, make some changes or delete a file, `commit --amend` on the merge, and merge featureB to master. Then use `git cat-file` to look at those commits and commit trees. I've seen mysterious things such as simple as unreported changes to files mysteriously being deleted from the repo.

azag0 4 days ago 6 replies      
I use git often on the command line, especially for non-trivial tasks, but do not quite understand why someone would pick it for routine committing/tree view over a GUI. I find the ability to graphically see the state of the working tree and the index, and being able to stage/unstage individual lines by visual selection in a non-linear way absolutely natural. Likewise, the ability to get a context menu for a commit in a tree view and fire a command (rebase/branch most often) seems like something git was "built" for.
rollulus 4 days ago 1 reply      
My tip #20: tig [1]

[1]: http://jonas.nitro.dk/tig/

Pirate-of-SV 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since interactive rebase was mentioned I'd recommend taking a look at its --autosquash flag and the --fixup flag of commit. With autosquash the interactive rebase will move fixup commits to where they belong:

 git commit --fixup=<commitref> git rebase -i --autosquash HEAD~5

jdudek 4 days ago 1 reply      
My recommendation: configure the shell prompt (add __git_ps1 to $PS1), this saves a ton of time and makes it much easier to understand what is going on. Especially recommended for beginners (but obviously not limited to).
i_have_to_speak 4 days ago 1 reply      
Mandatory xkcd reference: https://xkcd.com/1597/
egjerlow 4 days ago 1 reply      
For vimmers: https://github.com/tpope/vim-fugitive is awesome, especially for only adding only parts of a file to a commit.
notzorbo3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Site is non-responsive for me. Cached link:


rndstr 4 days ago 1 reply      

 git checkout -
Switches to the previously checked out branch.

cornstalks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope I'm not the only one who thinks that "Update README file" is a poor commit message. It's overly nondescript. A better commit message would be "Update README install instructions" or "Fix README links to dependencies" or anything else that better describes what about the README file was updated.
endgame 4 days ago 1 reply      
My #1 git tip to anyone who will listen: use magit. Having the options for each command within easy reach makes getting git to do the right thing so much easier, and the UI feels very emacs.


kevindeasis 4 days ago 2 replies      
For git commit messages.I've began liking to initiate or end a statement with stuff like these:


( )





How do you guys feel about these in git commit messages?

ivan_ah 4 days ago 1 reply      
At my old job I had to do a major cleanup of a git repo with dozens of old branches. I got really good with the `git log` command. Here my alias form my ~/.gitconfig that shows author, branches, and remotes in a colorful manner:

 [alias] ll = log --graph --oneline --decorate --date=short --all --pretty=format:'%ad %h %Cgreen%an %Cred%d %Creset%s'
With this you have a pretty good picture of what's going on accross all branches.

K0nserv 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great set of tips. Unfortunately I find that so many post that suggest rebase recommend against force pushing. This takes a lot of the power away from rebase/amend. So much does this happen that is wrote a blog post titled "You should force push more"[0].

0: https://hugotunius.se/2014/09/08/you-should-force-push-more....

BerislavLopac 4 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite tip for commit messages: write them as if you would explain someone how to do what was done in the commit. So, instead of "fixed a bug" use "replace datetime object with date". It can be more abstract for larger commits (e.g. "refactor payments"), but it should be roughly analogue to what you would write to a ticket title to the same effect.
daurnimator 4 days ago 1 reply      
LaFolle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Talking of commit message styling, Antirez (of Redis fame) also has a say. http://antirez.com/news/90
xavhan 4 days ago 1 reply      
love this one :

 git diff --name-only | uniq | xargs $EDITOR
(opens all modified files)

and this one to open files with conflicts

 git diff --name-only --diff-filter=U | uniq | xargs $EDITOR

aaossa 4 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who's strugling to see the website? My Phone is having a bad time trying to show it (Windows Phone, Internet Explorer)
chris_wot 4 days ago 1 reply      
I seriously must be doing something wrong, but when I'm doing an interactive rebase, if it stops due to a merge conflict I sometimes find I need to tweak other files, and to add the files to git I find I do the following:

 git add $(git diff --name-only)
Am I wrong, or is this the right way of doing this?

ozim 4 days ago 1 reply      
I work with git daily for couple years and I find it quite tiring to follow git branches/commits in command line.

I rather use Git Extensions on windows and on mac Git Kraken. For beginners I think it would be better to use GUI tools.

pbreit 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm still not even quite sure how to a) discard edits that I've made but not added/committed yet and b) delete something from a repo that I added accidentally.
akavel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm collecting my personal notes/tips at: https://gingkoapp.com/git-notes
michaelmcmillan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I never recall the command, but it lives in my bash history somewhere. Running your test suite over a series of commits can be very handy.
educar 4 days ago 0 replies      
git log --format=%ae | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr
knorker 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Table of contents"
the_common_man 4 days ago 1 reply      
git reflog is my favorite
thiht 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I had no idea git bisect was so easy to use
known 4 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant tips
GitLab Partners with DigitalOcean to make CI more affordable gitlab.com
360 points by fweespee_ch  5 days ago   131 comments top 15
spdustin 5 days ago 6 replies      
I have a (perhaps) more incendiary take on this kind of thing. I have no problem with promo codes for new customers. Zero. None. As a business owner, I know damn well there are some products or services that need a little "taster" offered to a potential customer to get them even modestly interested.

Existing paying customers? Why would you spend money to acquire customers that you've already acquired. You had your reasons for signing up for DO, and apparently, the lack of a $10 credit wasn't one of them. And we all know this is a flimsy firewall to breech anyway - a different e-mail address that - if you're really feeling saucy - you could have delivered to an SMTP daemon on your existing droplet.

Promotions are by definition a form of publicity or advertisement, and if you're already a customer, you're already a customer, know what I mean? Why advertise "hey, check us out" if you've already checked them out and signed on the dotted line.

If you feel really, really, really burned by this, do what other cost-conscious consumers do, and whenever you see a box "promo code" on a signup form, Google "example.com promo code" (substituting the actual domain name, obviously) and see what you can find.

I do not understand, even a little bit, the amount of outrage over the fact that you want a company to spend advertising money (that's what a promotion is budgeted to) to advertise to an existing customer. Not unless you feel that DO isn't worth it already, that is, and in that case, what the hell is $10 going to do to change your mind?

phillc73 5 days ago 7 replies      
> *Note: Promotion code available for new DigitalOcean customers only.

This type of promotion really aggravates me. I'm not just saying this only about the announced GitLab/DigitialOcean partnership, but rather as a general comment as I see this customer acquisition ruse quite a lot elsewhere too.

I spend money with DigitalOcean. I don't feel particularly rewarded for my loyalty when I can't enjoy the same promotion as some new customer, who may never spend another cent with DO.

rohanprabhu 5 days ago 2 replies      
Kind of off-topic, but the work GitLab is putting in and the things they come up with every other day is crazily impressive. We moved from Github to GitLab sometime ago and we believed that to be a trade-off for moving to our own infrastructure. It always seemed like GitLab wasn't "quite there". Today, however it is a whole different story. We pretty much cannot go back to Github at all because of how well-integrated, stable and beautiful this product is.
sytse 5 days ago 1 reply      
For more information about the autoscaling see https://about.gitlab.com/2016/03/29/gitlab-runner-1-1-releas... Questions about anything GitLab are very welcome.
abpavel 5 days ago 3 replies      
I love both GitLab and DigitalOcean, but why do I feel so devalued by IT deflation? The longer I'm part of something and the more effort I put into promoting a platform, the less perks I get. Why? I understand the importance of new customers, but why do you alienate the loyal user-base that made you what you are today? Are we rewarding ignorance now?
shade23 4 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking on a more meta level here,this is an interesting phase of Product offerings.

We have a single giant whose products are used by the masses(Google/Uber/Github-in this sense) which had customer-focussed /domain-oriented paths but seem to have lost it midway, and then we have smaller/modular companies who are more focused to the domain improvement in itself (DDG,Lyft,Gitlab) who partner up with other specialised companies(Yandex/Didi Kaudi/DO) to remain customer-focussed /domain-oriented.

In the meantime the consumers get to choose between what the world chose and what could be a more sensible decision.

explosion 5 days ago 2 replies      
In the shared runner settings, I see this:

"GitLab Runners do not offer secure isolation between projects that they do builds for. You are TRUSTING all GitLab users who can push code to project A, B or C to run shell scripts on the machine hosting runner X."

Seems like a very strong reason to use one's own paid DigitalOcean instances for runners instead of using the free shared runners, at least for commercial projects. I was wondering if anyone from GitLab could expand further on this?

fweespee_ch 5 days ago 2 replies      
> GitLab partnered with DigitalOcean to provide free Runners to all projects on GitLab.com

Wow, I hope that doesn't get abused and taken away.

kawsper 5 days ago 1 reply      
The thing that made CI more affordable for us was to rent our own Hetzner servers, and switch to https://buildkite.com

Prior to this we were with CircleCI, and before that Travis CI.

awinter-py 5 days ago 1 reply      
I use self-hosted gitlab as my primary CI and love it. Setting up CI runners is still too complicated (maybe because I use the gitlab docker image and there's no compose support). drone.io seems to have better support for deploying & cleaning up images, but I'm sure gitlab will get there.
brokenwren 5 days ago 1 reply      
More affordable than free? Not sure I get this. Is CI really so hard that we need to pay someone else to do this? I have a perfectly good server doing nothing and I installed TeamCity on that. Works great and is essentially free.
ausjke 5 days ago 0 replies      
As of today DO remains to be my experimental playground for testing new ideas, linode is my official site, it seems DO keeps its innovative momentum and I begin to wonder when or should I switch over fully, Gitlab adds one more point on DO side certainly.
deckar01 5 days ago 1 reply      
Install `gitlab-ci-multi-runner` on your existing droplet and enjoy (relatively) free CI with high priority. GitLab already made it incredibly simple to setup.
neom 5 days ago 1 reply      
Great news, awesome partnership. Nice work team! :clap:
abpavel 5 days ago 2 replies      
Came here to post it, but too late! Good job @fweespee_ch!The importance of this announcement is that DigitalOcean is all over Fortune 500, and GitLab partnership means that Git is not only mainstream - it's THE stream.
What convolutional neural networks look at when they see nudity clarifai.com
426 points by rcpt  5 days ago   155 comments top 31
make3 5 days ago 1 reply      
this could be used as a YouTube thumbnail generator for clickbait videos. take the image from the sfw video that has the highest nsfw score, crop down to the area with the highest nsfw score, and bam, instant automatically generated clickbait
rdl 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is exactly the kind of content I love to see -- interesting technical topic, completely outside of any area of expertise of mine, clearly presented, interesting, and pretty obviously useful. Please post more!
maaaats 5 days ago 7 replies      
Huh. Even after having used that classic Lena image in the header for multiple visualization projects, I never knew she was naked in the full version.
nickpsecurity 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is very exciting as I toyed with this problem around 2000-2001. I speculated it should be easy to recognize porn because the images had recurring patterns. I made a list of a bunch of them that should at least reduce a moderator's workload. Not going into details but the best foresight I had was recognizing the Got Milk commercials would throw the classifications off. It did lol.

In any case, we just had things like fuzzy logic, SVM's, primitive ANN's, and so on. I could describe and illustrate the patterns with ease but couldn't encode them into an algorithm for the life of me. That the modern tech created in the image set some of the same exact patterns my brain spotted is pretty amazing. The researchers also have a ton of training data to better illustrate NSFW and SFW. That they're throwing in lots of SFW is very smart as it's easier to bias this topic than most.

All I can say I keep up the good work. Been neat to see an insurmountable-on-Pentium2 problem get stomped by the CNN's. I still want to see them applied more to hunting source code defects, host forensics, and intrusions.

shanacarp 5 days ago 1 reply      
True story:Then we throw before and afters of Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomies with various types of nipple reconstructions among previvors who found each other and were part of a semi-private group on facebook, and hell breaks loose.

A classifier isn't human judgement by itself, and you need to be aware of how people view something in context. Good training images are also critical (one of the reasons why hell broke loose above were some people mastectomies were more likely to be censored than others)

Though I will admit I am very curious what happens if you throw a Robert Mapplethorpe at it.

Then everyone got censored, then the group got banned, then facebook got slammed by cancer groups and cut a deal with them to rehost cancer support groups as long as everyone stopped sharing mastectomies directly to facebook because Facebook could not specially moderate and alter feeds for those thinking about or dealing with prophylactic mastectomies. However, this issue still pops up ALL THE TIME for them on Instagram

umanwizard 5 days ago 3 replies      
Heh, this SFW picture of a room (or is it a cardboard box? hard to tell!) is 75% likely to be NSFW, according to the API.


narrator 5 days ago 1 reply      
Combining one of these nudity trained classifiers with a project like neural-style (https://github.com/jcjohnson/neural-style) could create some serious mischief.
yzh 5 days ago 1 reply      
It could be used as an NSFW content identifier, it also could be used as a fine-grained porn video classifier. At least that's what I want to use it for.
rkaplan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Highly recommend this video on the Deep Visualization Toolbox to anyone interesting in understanding more about how convnets work through visualization:


rcpt 5 days ago 6 replies      
author here: let me know if you have any questions
jjcm 5 days ago 1 reply      
As an aside, this might be the first time I've seen Lena used in a completely uncontroversial manner.
fnaticshank 5 days ago 0 replies      
Recently watched the Machine Learning Conference and learnt about Clarifai there ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHE0DfBqwHo )And its pretty cool to see that they are actually expanding along various verticals and understand every image and even videos. And its great to see it here today. Please keep posting more crisp, concise and technical posts here!Kudos for forevery!
lucidrains 5 days ago 2 replies      
ok, somebody go train a generative network now
btilly 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love the choice of Lena at the top.

The image has a surprising history. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenna for the basics.

irascible 5 days ago 0 replies      
If they had taught me this in high school I'd have never dropped out.
matheweis 4 days ago 1 reply      
How fun - their convnets have determined that Facebook is an incarnate deity.

https://www.facebook.com/images/fb_icon_325x325.png is classified as "cross", "no person", "Resurrection", "spirituality", "symbol", "religion", "god".

In all seriousness, I found this pretty interesting, as I've been toying with using RNNs to classify NSFW images on my icon conversion site. The biggest issue that I've run into is that "icons" are squarely in a different class that photographic images. For some reason the *NN networks that I've toyed with break down on classifying icons because they aren't able to easily correlate a stylistic interpretation with a real item. It kind of makes sense given how they work, but there's got to be a way to work around it...

dharma1 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Hadn't heard of deconvnets. Thanks for posting!
rcpt 5 days ago 0 replies      
in case the blog goes down there is a backup here http://ryancompton.net/2016/04/19/what-convolutional-neural-...
MzHN 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been wondering, since there have been white papers on reconstructing occluded faces based on face detection algorithms[1], and we have these nudity detection algorithms - do you see where I'm going - when will someone make a neural network that can automatically make any photo showing skin into a nude photo...

[1] EDIT: I did not find my original link, but here is a similar paper http://www8.cs.umu.se/education/examina/Rapporter/NaeemAshfa...

scotty79 5 days ago 1 reply      
Deep dream on this might be visually interesting.
misiti3780 5 days ago 2 replies      
great post - where did the training data of 500K images come from ?
Phemist 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting! I wonder how it performs on this vase, which is obviously inscribed with dolphins:


andrewfromx 5 days ago 4 replies      
can you imagine the ai bots that get to work on this assignment? once computers become more like the AI in the movie ex machina, would a bot be "turned on" by the nudity? it would affect them. The bot would be distracted by it and have a hard time concentrating on other things when it's around. Sounds human to me.
devilsbabe 5 days ago 0 replies      
The about the author section describes him as a "NSFW enthusiast". Aren't we all...
stared 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it only me, or the top bar (which re-appears with scrolling up) is extra-annoying?
smartbit 4 days ago 0 replies      
Accurate recognition of breast & vulva mimics the brains of men.

I don't think though that men can create neural nets that simulate the brain of woman ;-)

philip1209 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this performs on black-and-white images.
rocky1138 5 days ago 3 replies      
Can you drop the scrolljacking on your site? I spun my mousewheel and I went halfway down the page. Usually I instantly jump ship in these cases (even when the header is a Playboy centrefold. Priorities, priorities...)
xts_chain 5 days ago 1 reply      
You forgot to mention the boobs. Everyone likes those, even if it's just pixely thumbnails.
pareci 5 days ago 2 replies      
Could you make it faster if you had no ego?
dang 4 days ago 2 replies      
That's past uncharitable and into personal attack. You can't comment like this here.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11530336 and marked it off-topic.

Curing Our Slack Addiction agilebits.com
355 points by ingve  5 days ago   181 comments top 45
bhuga 4 days ago 2 replies      
Slack does a good job overall, but I'm glad to see articles like this one challenging the enthusiasm that they've seen of late. I'm starting to share the article's opinion that Slack encourages unthoughtful communication. I do wish the author had spent a little time pointing out some specific product decisions that lead to the kinds of problematic communication they were seeing.

For example, basic product choices like "every message highlights a room for attention" creates, for me, a feeling of "farmville for corporate communications." There's always another channel to click, another few sentences to read. This makes Slack very engaging at first, and makes it highly successful at lodging itself into organizations. And that's great, because Slack's a far sight better than email. But this rapid-fire feel encourages synchronous communications, and everyone quickly learns that @-mentions and DMs get quicker responses. That in turn leads to communicating with individuals instead of teams (or instead of searching issues, or Jira, or a wiki, or whatever). I don't think chat has to be this way; product decisions can encourage a more thoughtful question and answer flow.

I think that Chat may be like product management: the product opinions matter quite a bit, and teams have varying styles, so there's room in the market for several different products. Slack does a great job for a certain communication style, but it's not the only style out there. I hope some competing products with different opinions gain enough traction to keep them honest.

educar 5 days ago 7 replies      
Here's my best practices list:

1. The best use of slack is the free edition which has limited history. Once this lack of history is made clear, people use it simply for online pings. Since notes, files and everything will disappear, people will automatically put the effort to put those things in the right tools (wiki, bug tracker etc).

2. Don't expect people to be online. It's the same as irc. If people are there, they are expecting to be interrupted / they are feeling helpful at that moment.

3. Integrations.. are a gimmick. There is really no value in knowing someone commented on some github issue instantly. Or someone committed something. Use integrations only for firefighting. But because of 2) use this carefull because you shouldn't expect anyone to be around. Paging/sms/email is best for this. After all, these are already used and it's not slack makes these obsolete.

alanh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Off-topic, but: AgileBits is one of my favorite companies ever.

- Fantastic product

- which genuinely helps people

- which has evolved and matured in an impeccable manner

- which has, as far as Im aware, never failed critically (no data loss or security breaches hell, they are so proactive that 1Password saves multiple DB backups for you just in case they eventually mess up)

- which sports good and native apps for all major platforms, including icky ones Im sure the founders dont prefer. (They have this in common with WhatsApp!)

- Helpful, knowledgeable, and quick support

- Didnt shut the company down after 2, 3, 4, or 10 years just because they werent on track to be a billion dollar company in the next few quarters

Whatever culture these guys have? Copy that.

subpixel 5 days ago 2 replies      
> We all knew how great it would be to have a repository of knowledge for people to find their answers, but Slack was simply too good at providing the quick fix we all needed.

I'm seeing this across numerous open source project communities, and it's really infuriating. B/c these communities are not paying Slack, they don't have access to archives, and of course it's all invisible to Google. So a valuable Q&A that might help thousands of people over many years were in on a public forum winds up helping...the handful of people who were in the channel on the day it happened.

llamataboot 5 days ago 2 replies      
I have no idea why the answer to this problem is "using Basecamp!" - That doesn't make sense to me at all. For me the answer has been to turn off notifications and shut Slack when I need to go heads down, but review it multiple times a day and chime in where needed. It's still such a vast improvement over an email or email+issues based workflow.
cik2e 5 days ago 6 replies      
Reading this article was honestly sickening. As I went on I got a growing sense of something horribly wrong with the author/culture of the company. And then these paragraphs all out confirmed my suspicions:

> Slack forced me to evaluate things very fast and respond quickly, otherwise I would miss my opportunity to join a conversation before it moved onto something else.

> Then there was the fact that we had so many channels and direct messages and group chats. It multiplexed my brain and left me in a constant state of anxiety, feeling that I needed to always be on guard.

> And I had to read everything. I felt that I had no choice as often decisions would be made in Slack that I needed to know. And in other ways it was simply an addiction that needed to be fed.

Blaming the tool for this kind of behavior would be comical but for the fact that it's actually scary scary to see someone with this little self awareness. At least he got the "addiction" part right.

Reality check. My company of ~80 people uses Slack (sparingly) as a slightly better alternative to gchat/Skype. We have jira for issues and a wiki for persistent knowledge. No one here likes being interrupted or always being on guard for the next chance to participate in a conversation. So we just don't do it and Slack has yet to force us to.

randomsearch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Recently I've seen a lot of anti-Slack articles.

Not once have I heard a colleague criticising Slack. Every startup I know is using it and praising it.

When I work with some people who still use email to coordinate in situations where I usually use Slack, I find it to be maddeningly time-wasting. Email is terrible for group conversation.

It strikes me that there must be some more general for the Slack criticism. Perhaps the hype cycle effect? Or the inevitable fact that at least some companies will use a tool ineffectively, given enough adoption?

To anyone who hasn't already used Slack - I'd recommend a trial, especially if your organisation has a culture of group discussion via email. I've found it to be an excellent tool, particularly when coordinating remotely.

firepoet 4 days ago 0 replies      
The article inspired me, next time I'm on a product team, to pair Slack with the discipline of the Pomodoro technique. If a notification comes in and I need to take a "soft interruption" to check it in the midst of a pomodoro, I'll respond like I would IRL: ask "I'm in the middle of a pomodoro; can I get back to you in 12 minutes?" If yes, write down a task on my to do list and return to it at the end. If no, cancel the pomodoro and reflect on how to improve our process in the future to avoid such costly interruptions.

If enough Slack interruptions happen, it will hopefully become clear that I just need to close the app in the midst of the pomodoro, only opening it on breaks, and even then only to triage to do items for future pomodoros. If not, then simply continue down that path.

The trick would be to get everyone to buy in to protecting their own time to focus. That requires a very disciplined culture indeed. One that values balancing people's ability to create with clearing other people's obstacles and above all else encourages every person to participate fully in the governance of their team.

jesseg17 5 days ago 1 reply      
While I understand the motivation to move away from Slack, Basecamp, to me, seems like a worse alternative.

Most of my Basecamp interactions come from the emails that are sent on every thread change. It almost seems to be a proxy between conversation and email, which is counterproductive to its goal.

The key issue in this article is about the lacking of separation of concerns in Slack. I may be missing something, but it seems to be diametrically opposed to Slack's "always-on" structure. I would argue that Basecamp tends to devalue workplace communication through impersonal Basecamp-templated emails which often hide the original sender and thus any sense of urgency that would otherwise be generated. We have so many fantastic tools, but often email seems to be the unsung, yet essential, hopper for all of our notifications. For workplace communication and general project discussion, just email (under the right direction and guidelines - along with supplemental direct chat) strikes the perfect balance between urgency (or lack thereof), the ability to compartmentalize, and personal touch, without interfering directly with work by breaking concentration.

awinter-py 5 days ago 2 replies      
Chat is toxic to productivity. Teams need to get questions answered 'eventually' (exactly when depends on the team) without interrupting each other.
dorfsmay 5 days ago 1 reply      
You have to think of slack channels as coworking place and meeting rooms.

You need to live mainly in one channel (the equivalent of the physical open office), and go to the other channels when called in, or when you have a bit of down time to check what's going on there. Like the buildings where we used to work, you do not need to visit every room.

greenspot 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really do not get this hype around Slack.

Chat, group chat, video conferencing are nothing special. These applications are commodities and included with so many other apps. Eg. if you use Google Apps/Mail you get the fantastic Hangout for free, working on all devices.

Moreover, every time I login Slack it feels so crowded. If you want to change something you have to navigate through a forest of settings here and there.

Finally, chatting and being messaged is the best thing to get out of flow and to get ADD. Messaging is great, group messaging too but use it rather for important stuff.

jwr 4 days ago 1 reply      
The lack of threading is what really kills the usefulness of Slack. This is why we settled on Flowdock in our company.

If you don't have threading, you lose the one best feature of those new chat solutions, the single advantage they have over decades-old IRC: conversations at least slightly detached from time. On Slack, you have to be there all the time in order not to miss things or to participate in just about any conversation. If you aren't, soon it will be too late and no one will know what you're replying to.

As for other advantages, I noticed that one of the biggest uses is file exchange. If there was another simple way to just drag&drop a file somewhere and have people access it, those chat apps would see less use. But there isn't.

I haven't seen the bad effects in our company. Perhaps they occur at larger company sizes.

abraae 5 days ago 1 reply      
I can imagine this same article being written many years ago when email first became ubiquitous in the workplace.

I worked at a large company where seemingly every day we would get several "someone has left the lights on in their blue Honda" type emails sent to everyone in the company.

Thankfully now I work in a small one without a carpark.

erikb 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with many of the problems, but quite a few are actually advantages! The biggest misconception I see here is that you try to change other's behaviour instead of your own.

E.g. if there are decisions made without you, let them. Offline there are also many conversations and decisions you are not a part of just because you were so unlucky that you haven't been there at the time. But in an offline or private-chat conversation you can't look up afterwards what each person said exactly, you have to rely on hear-say. So in fact if you accept that decisions are made without your participation (it's called "trust in your team") then using a good chat tool is an advantage.

E.g. 2: People don't use your QnA software or wiki and instead use chat. Maybe instead of convincing them to use the other tools you can learn and teach others how to use the search function of the chat efficiently. You may find that you don't need a QnA software when all the questions and answers are searchable in the chat software. Here you can safe the cost (money, admin, learning time for new guys) of one software.

E.g.3: You want tickets and tickets are really important to link activity like commits. I'm not sure but I would assume that it's possible to find a chatbot which creates tickets for you from your chattool, writes comments to them and gives you back the ticket-id to use it in your commits. Then you also have a kind of log for how a discussion and the creation of a ticket where interlinked with each other, because you see the 'hubot create ticket "debug problem"' in the middle of a conversation happening. More context for free.

To change others the first thing we need to do is change us, and that is admittedly even harder.

paulcole 5 days ago 1 reply      
> And the notifications are to die for. They are simply amazing and fun to receive.

This is where the article lost me. How are Slack notifications different from those in other services? I'm just not getting it.

To me, this is an example of somebody wanting to love something.

hspak 5 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like a signal to noise ratio problem. The problem is that there wasn't a sound way to filter noise (multiple channels failed) so they were forced to deal with all the noise to make sure they didn't miss anything relevant.

The constant policing they mention at the end was probably enough overhead for them to consider alternatives, though I don't understand what they mean with this quote: "Furthermore, Slack was not designed for the deep, meaningful conversations that are needed to move 1Password forward."

On the surface, it sounds like a people/culture problem, but I'm sure there were other factors at AgileBits that contributed.

EGreg 5 days ago 3 replies      
I think the key takeaway is this:

And even if we had been successful in changing peoples behaviour, the lack of threading made it very difficult to have meaningful, deep conversations about complex subjects anyway. Before you could even fully understand the problem being discussed (let alone find a solution), someone would invariably start a new conversation or reply to a previous discussion that happened earlier in the channel.

Threaded, asynchronous discussions with notifications when someone actually replied to your message are much more useful.

And they can also be freaking decentralized and end-to-end encrypted! Woot!

I am building something like this. Anything like that exist?

dsr_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Our private xmpp server logs everything into static HTML pages. This is useful for compliance with legal things, but also for turning q&a sessions into wiki documents -- cut, paste, a little editing and you're done.

It's also, you know, private.

pbw 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow really surprised to hear they broke up with Slack. It seemed like a very good long explanation of the problem, basically no mention of any attempt to fix the problem, and then dropping the tool. We are deep into Slack and still liking it, but seeing some strain. This really rings true: "some of the most positive and uplifting individuals I know come off as curt and stressed and pissed off in Slack conversations."
tensiuyan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think for a team work effectively you need differentt tools - Slack for instant communication, Basecamp for tracking project status, Trello for organising work flow and etc. It is impossible to have a tool that fits all your needs.
patcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
> For many months myself and a few others have been trying to make Slack work for us. We would be the bad cops and point out peoples bad behaviour and suggest alternatives.

> When someone would report an issue in Slack, wed point out the appropriate JIRA or GitHub project where that should be reported.

This got me thinking: Part of the problem is that the attention of others is a commons -- a vast wealth that we each have an interest in extracting from, but which takes a toll collectively.

Perhaps there's a way to internalize for a "consumer of attention" their attention-cost externality. So if certain people are extracting too much from the commons in the form of "@person" and "@everyone/@channel" messages, perhaps a bot could randomly ping them with noise messages in proportion to their attention-grabbing actions, to make them feel some of that pain and adjust accordingly without policing :)

errnoh 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was previously working in a company that used Flowdock[0]. Current place uses Slack and I've noticed that there are multiple things bothering me.

Biggest complain for me is that the Slack UI gives too much weight on the fact that someone has talked on a channel. This makes me feel like I should be reading that, even though it might not have anything to do with me. This creates a whack-a-mole situation where I end up constantly jumping between all channels so that I wont miss anything.

Another thing that I really liked on Flowdock was that discussions had separate threads. Especially on channels that weren't your main focus but instead you were invited to in order to discuss some specific thing you could follow just the discussion about that thing and everything else can be filtered away. This also makes it easy to know what any comment is about, since you can easily read the whole discussion thread without having to skim through the whole channel. This works great even if the messages have days or weeks between them. (Instead of having just the direct mention as a point of interest you end up following the thread that you were mentioned on and you might keep following it for longer time, even after the highlight is weeks old)

There was a major annoyance with Flowdock as well. At least when I was using it there wasn't a search that covered all channels. You had to either know what channel the thing you were searching on had happened or you had to one by one go through all channels and do a search on each one of them separately.

Main point here is that Slack fails to keep my attention on the things that are relevant to me and instead seems to suggest that everything is critical to me. This makes it feel like addiction instead of a tool that would be useful all the time.

[0] https://www.flowdock.com/

pbw 5 days ago 3 replies      
I'm wondering if Slack will ever implement something like Sococo or teamspeak's always-on voice chat. If you have not seen these it's quite a weird idea. If you are in the channel your speakers are always-on. Someone can speak to you without dialing and without you answering. They can simply say "Hey Fred..." and start talking.

I have not worked with these, but did try Sococo briefly. The way this would work in slack is you could opt-in to voice on a certain channel for collaboration intensive work. Might be a horrible idea I'm not sure.

I guess you could use /call this way? Hmmm... didn't think of that.

teen 4 days ago 0 replies      
My last 2 companies used slack. I thought it was amazing. After being at a company that doesn't use slack, I realized how terrible it was for productivity and also gossip.
atmosx 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm confused, I never used basecamp. Are slack and basecamp direct competitors? Isn't basecamp primarily a project management software like Jira/Redmine?!
tootie 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love electronic communication and Slack in particular. For a distributed team, it's an absolute must that every important chat happen on Slack. Stuff spoken in person is imprecise, secretive and easily forgotten. Slack is clear, persistent, and public. Everyone is on the same page. I too feel the need to read every conversation, but compare that to having those conversations just happening without my knowledge.

The solution to this guy's problems are to chill out.

marcus_holmes 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Slack as the new email" is spot on. And the article identifies it too.

The problem isn't the tool. The problem is people. Giving people more and better ways to communicate creates more noise, not necessarily more signal.

Constraining communication to channels that only allow signal feels bureaucratic (complete form 31/b to request new business cards and send to purchasing no later than the second week of the month).

There's a happy medium (pun intended) somewhere between the two.

sickbeard 4 days ago 1 reply      
Email communication, slow, initiator feels ignored.

Slack/chat communication, instant, receiver feels overwhelmed.

The problem is not email or slack, it's the method in which we communicate. We need to make sure we use the right tools, as the author mentioned, knowledge bases, email, chat etc at the appropriate times.

The problem is not Slack per say, it's using Slack for all communications.

halflings 4 days ago 0 replies      
Slack is planning to release threaded conversations later this year [1], so maybe this will answer some of the criticism on this post.

[1] http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/13/11418594/slack-threaded-me...

an4rchy 5 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting read, will have to see how it turned out (in case you guys move back to Slack :D). Although, I'm not sure changing tools is the right answer, it sounds like you guys had everything you wanted and more. Why not modify Slack to your liking and not change tools entirely, this eliminates the need to learn a whole new set of tools to do the same work.
andrewfromx 5 days ago 1 reply      
one day in our office slack was down from like 11:50am to 1:10 pm and it was perfect. It was like a big sign lit up in the office that said "TALK TO PEOPLE". Everyone took a much needed slack break and got lunch. Maybe the admin of a slack network should be able to enable that timeframe to be off everyday.
pierrebai 4 days ago 2 replies      
Why has SMTP evolved in all those years?

Email could handle much more automation, and be friendlier to on-demand inclusion in discussion threads, but AFAIK, it doesn't support a standard way to provide:

1. End-user controlled behaviour.

2. Whole-thread forwarding initiated by the end-user.

#1 would require a way to allow stantard plugins to be written, either by sysadmin or end-users. (Obviously, the capability and authorization of each would be different. End-user ones would only be allowed to touch end-user own emails.)

#2 would allow easier evolution of email threads.

I'm not talking about proprietary extensions to a particular SMTP implementation. I'm talking a standardized protocol addition to support these scenarios.

Am I missing something? Were changes to SMTP ever attempted?

aidenn0 5 days ago 0 replies      
We use jabber in my office, and it's definitely higher friction than slack; this made me think of it as at least slightly a positive for the first time. We also have a wiki, and a searchable database for topical mailing lists, and those get used a lot.

If someone has to send me an IM to get an answer to something about our product, and I can't link the answer to them by just searching our wiki (or documentation if it's user-visible), then I file a note to add it.

I haven't ever felt the need to berate someone for asking me about easy to find information, because someone who isn't at least slightly embarrassed to have their question answered by a link to a resource they could have found on their own in under 30 seconds is probably going to have enough problems in other areas.

mmaunder 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is incredibly timely for me. We have grown from a team of 2 to a team of 18 in the past year, we're all remote and we literally huddle around Slack and warm ourselves to it's glow from morning till night. It's the core of our company culture and our comms.

I think Dave (the author and founder of 1password) is feeling the same thing I'm feeling as a CEO. It's a kind of weird anxiety that creeps up on you as the company scales and you feel like you're always-on from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you close them at night. I think it's a symptom of a virtual office and team. A real office on the other hand would provide that very real sense of driving home in the evening that gives you a very solid separation from work, the team, the opportunities and the issues.

To be clear: I'll never go back to a physical office, both for my own benefit and that of my team's.

I became aware of this problem with being always-on recently. I also started giving rather short unvarnished answers to questions on Slack and I realized something had changed. I've put it down to having no sense of quiet time. I don't mean not having any 'quiet time' but having no 'sense of quiet time' because someone might have messaged me. So even if I set myself to away, I'm still checking in just in case I dropped the ball because someone is waiting for a reply.

I've changed two things so far to try and fix this:

- Taking long walks (in addition to my regular bike rides) with Slack off. - I still code, so I turn Slack off and set my alarm for 1.5 hours from now or whenever I need to be back on. Then turn Slack off.

Things I'm considering:

- Banning Slack after a certain time at night (for me personally). Perhaps 8pm. - Banning Slack for myself until I'm "on" in the mornings.

Being a remote team I see Slack as absolutely essential and I don't think we could do without it. We are very productive via slack and we share music, jokes, news, ideas for blog posts and many other things via Slack. We also do our voice calls via Slack and we don't use video on purpose because it's distracting. So for us, Slack won't go away any time soon. I think if you can manage it, it's an amazing team platform.

On a broader note: I think digital addiction is a real problem. I think it's subtle and it involves checking the same thing more than 20 times a day in a non-productive obsessive way. Think Facebook, Reddit, Hacker News, hitting refresh on a SaaS thing that gives you a quick endorphin or adrenaline rush and of course Slack. I think the symptoms are subtle, the behavior is widely accepted as normal and it's destructive in several ways.

So I think it's important to develop a discipline that allows us to exist online safely, productively and in good health. I think what this discipline is is just beginning to emerge in our culture because the problem of digital addiction and being always-on is only beginning to be recognized.


jsudhams 4 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree with @mmaunder comment on setting time for checking slack and not using it other times. No matter what tool be it outlook or blackberry, you need to set timing for the communication and collaboration. For the people who have collaboration/communication as not a primary job like developers/designer/engineer etc..

Also it is completely unacceptable to call this checking a tool beyond your shift/work a culture and it is indeed a bad practice setup by lead/ceo to keep everyone working all the time. The companies pay you for your time, so unless u get paid extra allowance to check these tools after hours please do not do it. For emergencies situation let people SMS and if no response in 15 minutes then call and that too have roaster who will be on call in which week or month.

It is a job of the leader/manager to ensure people have work life balance and they should setup internal polices and procedure to ensure people don't get to appreciate the one who is always on rather the ones who contribute with in the work hours. The management should make a culture of people talking about it so that it does not become forceful as people start doing this always on and others fear that they would be considered contributing less if they don't be online hence everyone stays on line for no reason.

For a company like 1Password there is absolutely no reason to be online all the time except for the support folks(and they too with in thier shift and have enough people to cover 24/7) and dev's can be engaged on call as required. All they need is setup couple of core hours every body is online to communicate and status update. Even geo diverse teams you can have core hours that ensure everyone is online for about 1 hour or 2 at the same for each team , if it is absolutely necessary.

I wish startup ceo's understand this and account that 8 hours a day is what person can reasonably put in work and if you need more hours it is going to cost business and that is part of the budgeting process. If you can't afford that then you are not yet ready to start the startup or do it it yourself. For god sake it is 21st century and if you are going to change the world first change your mindset and change the your company and make it a first class and make it 22nd century company where employees are not exploited because they can be(in the name passion, happiness, blah blah blah).

sgift 4 days ago 2 replies      
I still try to understand what Slack is that IRC isn't. At the moment I'm in the "someone managed to make money out of copying IRC"-phase including copying all the problems/pain points of IRC according to this article and comments here so far (highlighting, channel inflation, multiple conversations in one channel at the same time overlap ..) - what do I miss?
lexhaynes 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article was much more focused than the "Slack, I'm breaking up with you" artucke posted to HN a few weeks ago: https://medium.com/better-people/slack-i-m-breaking-up-with-...
cm3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen teams rely only on Slack for communication, including technical discussions.

I don't get it, and I'm concerned about the following:

1. proprietary service with no interoperability and high potential for loss of records

2. important technical details/arguments hidden in a chat log and not made part of a ticket/commit/comment

3. removal of async communication leading to more interruptions and less async emails one has thought about before responding

4. teams boasting the use of 10 or more channels

There are other issues with relying solely on Slack and killing off email, but these are the most important ones that always come up when I'm confronted with a Slack-only team.

I've had the same issue with IRC, so it's not my kind of communication medium to monitor 24/7, whereas I love bulk responding to emails and often ponder about a response for a while.

If there's something urgent, one picks up the phone, and usually one thinks twice before calling (interrupting) someone.

Using proper email threads, ticket discussions, etc. give you an electronic trail of the technical decision, and that's also why Fossil's inclusion of a distributed ticket system is such a great idea. Two years later, you can easily inspect how the code evolved and why it did in a certain way.

How do dev teams cope with Slack? I couldn't work without async email and use real time communications (text or voice) only on demand, in order to limit interruptions.

jolux 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why can't you just search your Slack for answers to old questions? Isn't that supposed to be part of the point? I've heard that's one of the main selling points.
Joof 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why not IRC, Jitsi, Jira and a wiki.

IRC for chitchat / asking questions (PMs and highlights so there's no immediate need to respond)

Jitsi / IRC for meetings or small team collaboration.

Jira for bugs

Wiki for documenting design decisions and future work

dogweather 4 days ago 1 reply      
Makes me think that something like Discourse should be used for all non-ephemeral communication.
hashkb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Imagine all of these comments in a flat, linear wall of text. Threads++
chadlavi 4 days ago 0 replies      
tldr: a better hammer is a better hammer, not a replacement for your whole tool chest.
tunnuz 5 days ago 1 reply      
My understanding: free CI runners for everybody, 10 USD promo code to new users. Considering that DigitalOcean has always been giving away 10 USD coupons to non-users, the promo code is quite irrelevant. But the free CI runners are great!
About rel=noopener mathiasbynens.github.io
396 points by dmnd  2 days ago   105 comments top 19
stormbrew 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Note that this also works when index.html and malicious.html are on different origins window.opener.location is accessible across origins!

... Why. Why would anyone (not maliciously) consider this desirable behaviour?

teej 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the new pop-under. Sites trying to serve as many ads as possible will open links with target=_blank and redirect the old window to an ad.
jklinger410 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ths is a problem for Browsers, not developers. target=_blank is too embedded into the web.
Dru89 2 days ago 3 replies      
What is the correct way to force a link to open in a new tab, then?

Unfortunately "let the user decide" is not the best answer if you want to link to something like "terms and conditions" in the middle of a sign up flow or something. If the user doesn't know how to open it in a new tab on their own, this can be extremely frustrating I'd imagine.

donatj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well I just had an "Oh sh*t" moment thinking about all the websites I built over the years at my old company that had target=_blank to commentors sites... Aw crap.

Not my problem anymore, but I never even considered this.

ddoolin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a practical reason that a reference to the opener window is given to the opened window? That seems like something we could do without.
pmalynin 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty old bug, I think I reported it a few years ago to Google.

EDIT: 2013 to be exact.

detaro 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you open a page of your own site that then redirects to the target (like some pages do, presumably to hide the exact source URL in the referer-header before there was a header for it), is the opener-reference broken?
doughj3 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm using Chromium and even the link with `rel=noopener` seems to be able to "hax" the first page. Am I reading it wrong or is `rel=noopener` supposed to protect against this?
Grom_PE 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Some time ago I was surprised that my Google Search page was replaced by something else after I returned from some spammy page (opened in another tab).

As the browser I use, Opera 12, also treats all links manually opened in the new tab as if they had target="_blank", giving them opener access, I decided to remove the window.opener altogether by replacing the "opener" string with "opera" in the opera.dll. This way it gets overwritten by the normal window.opera variable and is essentially hidden. So far I haven't encountered a site legitimately relying on this behavior.

vortico 1 day ago 0 replies      
Note that all the opened page has control over is closing and changing the address of the tab. You can't insert HTML into the page, for example. Phishing seems to be the only problem this creates, but no more.
jaredsohn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I built a quick userscript that treats rel="noopener" as default for links with target:"_blank".

It could be worth checking out if you want to avoid experiencing this security issue yourself (but I offer no warranties) or if you want to see if it would break any site you visit if browsers would enable the behavior by default.


homakov 2 days ago 2 replies      
They ever heard of "security by default"? I guess no.
adrianN 1 day ago 1 reply      
NoScript saves the day again.
zspitzer 2 days ago 0 replies      
wouldn't a simple solution be <base rel="noopener">
carey 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the right circumstances, which as far as I can tell are when crossing between security zones, Internet Explorer and Edge already seem to block this. I've never been able to pin down exactly what's happening, or to get Google login to work on our intranet sites with IE as a result.
nsgi 1 day ago 0 replies      
There should be an option in content security policy to prevent this on all links.
mindcrime 2 days ago 2 replies      
sigh This is a perfect example of a title that should not have been changed. The original was objectively better than the current one. If you don't already know what rel=noopener is, you'd have no reason at all to click through on this. But the earlier title actually explained something about the content on the other end of the link.
_RPM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does this "work" for cross origin requests? If I plant a `target=_blank` in my website, user clicks it, goes to my second website, do I have control over the website the link came from? If not, I don't see the security issue. Of course you can XSS yourself, what have you.
US Ranks 41st in Press Freedom Index Thanks to 'War on Whistleblowers' npr.org
229 points by raddad  4 days ago   49 comments top 15
russell 4 days ago 2 replies      
From the RFS entry on Surinam, position 22: "public expression of hatred towards the government is punishable by up to seven years in prison under a draconian defamation law. The controversial Dsi Bouterse, who became president again in 2010 in an election, has managed to be amnestied for the 1982 murders of 15 political opponents including five journalists."

RFS on Jamaica at 10: " The very occasional physical attacks on journalists must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police."

Or even Ireland at 9: "... defamation lawsuits are common. Finally, interviewing police sources has been virtually impossible since the Garda Siochana Act of 2005, which bans police officers from talking to journalists without prior authorization."

Not a little biased are we? Amnesty for murdering journalists isnt my idea of freedom of the press, nor are defamation law suits, or a prohibition against interviewing the police.

protomyth 4 days ago 0 replies      
coming in at #22 is Surinam with a "public expression of hatred towards the government is punishable by up to seven years in prison under a draconian defamation law."

The ranking for Slovakia at 12 seems at odds with its description "Defamation is punishable by up to eight years in prison, the harshest penalty for this offence in the European Union. Many legal actions have been brought by businessmen, politicians and judicial officials. Prime Minister Robert Fico initiated several during his first term. Censorship was tightened in 2014 by the adoption of a regulation limiting the number of journalists with parliamentary accreditation, restricting their movements within the parliament and banning them from photographing the personal property of parliamentarians."

ekianjo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Netherlands at the top? The place where offensive tweets gets you a police visit ? Allright.
dogma1138 4 days ago 1 reply      
I personally won't read to much into this, RFS has a very single minded political agenda, Mongolia has more press freedom than Japan and Italy, Georgia (in which the government closes TV stations at will) has more freedom than Greece, and Lebanon's press has apparently more freedom than Israel's.
deepnet 4 days ago 2 replies      
A free press and whistleblowers are essential to democracy.

Without a free press & whistleblowers democracy cannot function.

It is clear from the last five years of leaks that elected governements around the world feel they must act in secret because they suspect the electorate would not approve.

Without much more oversight this will worsen.

Free Chelsea Manning. Pardon Edward Snowden. Drop the inditement against Julian Assange. Offer sanctuary to Mossack Fonesca's whistleblower. Lead by example.

sachkris 4 days ago 1 reply      
Link to the ranking : http://rsf.org/en/ranking

Surprising to see that Singapore is at 154 and there is Eritrea below North Korea.

anabis 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Reporters Without Borders retracts Yasuda hostage comments" http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/12/29/national/reporte...

I am starting to think of them as just another irresponsible NGO.

calvinbhai 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hard to believe India is at 133. The kind of manufactured news that is peddled by the Mainstream Media in India with no responsibility, I think it should be #1 !!

Also, going through the methodology, I couldn't figure out which Indian languages are included in the survey, so, its quite possible that a major chunk of the Indian media was left out from the survey just because the translations were only in Hindi (thats my assumption).

anabis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Japan is 72nd, and their biggest beef is "" (Journalist Club) were established domestic media gets precedence in press conferences.

It partly looks like political maneuvering to get more question time in them. I wonder how other countries do it. I heard there are "first question rights" and "first rows" in the US also, so old hands like Helen Thomas had advantage.

raddad 4 days ago 0 replies      
Something which likely contributes to this rank or at least gives the appearance of it is this:

These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America


Note this article is from 2012.

known 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Media does not spread free opinion; it generates opinion." --Oswald Spengler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_the_West
xornor 3 days ago 1 reply      
Finland and Russia has the most steepest border in the world if measured by the freedom of press.
jfaucett 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone provide:

1. What factors were used in deriving this list?

2. Who funds this project?

I can't find it anywhere on their site.

wahsd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let's remember here; Obama's War on Whistleblowers
Amazon open-sources Ion a binary and text interchangable, typed JSON-superset github.com
354 points by machinagod  3 days ago   161 comments top 28
haberman 3 days ago 4 replies      
To think about the difference between serialization formats, here's an analogy I hope will help.

Protocol Buffers (and I think Thrift, and maybe Avro) are sort of like C or C++: you declare your types ahead of time, and then you take some binary payload and "cast" it (parse it actually) into your predefined type. If those bytes weren't actually serialized as that type, you'll get garbage. On the plus side, the fact that you declared your types statically means that you get lots of useful compile-time checking and everything is really efficient. It's also nice because you can use the schema file (ie. .proto files) to declare your schema formally and document everything.

JSON and Ion are more like a Python/Javascript object/dict. Objects are just attribute-value bags. If you say it has field fooBar at runtime, now it does! When you parse, you don't have to know what message type you are expecting, because the key names are all encoded on the wire. On the downside, if you misspell a key name, nothing is going to warn you about it. And things aren't quite as efficient because the general representation has to be a hash map where every value is dynamically typed. On the plus side, you never have to worry about losing your schema file.

I think this is a case where "strongly typed" isn't the clearest way to think about it. It's "statically typed" vs. "dynamically typed" that is the useful distinction.

leef 3 days ago 6 replies      
Finally! I've had to live the JSON nightmare since I left Amazon.

Some of the benefits over JSON:

* Real date type

* Real binary type - no need to base64 encode

* Real decimal type - invaluable when working with currency

* Annotations - You can tag an Ion field in a map with an annotation that says, e.g. its compression ("csv", "snappy") or its serialized type ('com.example.Foo').

* Text and binary format

* Symbol tables - this is like automated jsonpack.

* It's self-describing - meaning, unlike Avro, you don't need the schema ahead of time to read or write the data.

kazinator 2 days ago 3 replies      
I Consider this Harmful (TM) and will oppose the adoption in every organization where I have an opportunity to voice such. (In its present form, to be clear!)

There is no need to have a null which is fragmented into null.timestamp, null.string and whatever. It will complicate processing. Just because you know the type of some element is timestamp, you must worry whether or not it is null and what that means.

There should be just one null value, which is its own type. A given datum is either permitted to be null OR something else like a string. Or it isn't; it is expected to be a string, which is distinct from the null value; no string is a null value.

It's good to have a read notation for a timestamp, but it's not an elementary type; a timestamp is clearly an aggregate and should be understood as corresponding to some structure type. A timestamp should be expressible using that structure, not only as a special token.

This monstrosity is not exhibiting good typing; it is not good static typing, and not good dynamic typing either. Under static typing we can have some "maybe" type instead of null.string: in some representations we definitely have a string. In some other places we have a "maybe string", a derived type which gives us the possibility that a string is there, or isn't. Under dynamic typing, we can superimpose objects of different type in the same places; we don't need a null version of string since we can have "the" one and only null object there.

This looks like it was invented by people who live and breathe Java and do not know any other way of structuring data. Java uses statically typed references to dynamic objects, and each such reference type has a null in its domain so that "object not there" can be represented. But just because you're working on a reference implementation in such a language doesn't mean you cannot transcend the semantics of the implementation language. If you want to propose some broad interoperability standard, you practically must.

wyc 3 days ago 4 replies      
This reminds me a lot of Avro:


They both have self-describing schemas, support for binary values, JSON-interoperability, basic type systems (Ion seems to support a few more field types), field annotations, support for schema evolution, code generation not necessary, etc.

I think Avro has the additional advantages of being production-tested in many different companies, a fully-JSON schema, support for many languages, RPC baked into the spec, and solid performance numbers found across the web.

I can't really see why I'd prefer Ion. It looks like an excellent piece of software with plenty of tests, no doubt, but I think I could do without "clobs", "sexprs", and "symbols" at this level of representation, and it might actually be better if I do. Am I missing something?

jonhohle 3 days ago 3 replies      
Big congrats to Todd, Almann, Chris, Henry, and everyone else who made this happen.

Several years ago, I wouldn't have imagined this possible and I'm a little bummed that I left before it happened.

Like leef said above, I'm glad to have Ion as an option again.

escherize 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is there a source for benchmarks/reviews for the various ways to represent data? As far as I see it, there are a lot of them that I'd like to hear pros/cons for: json, edn + transit (my fave), yaml, google protobufs, thrift (?), as well as Ion.

And where does Ion fit here?

deathanatos 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't decide if "JSON-superset" is technically accurate or not.

JSON's string literals come from JavaScript, and JavaScript only sortof has a Unicode string type. So the \u escape in both languages encodes a UTF-16 code unit, not a code point. That means in JSON, the single code point U+1f4a9 "Pile of Poo" is encoded thusly:

JSON specifically says this, too,

 Any character may be escaped. If the character is in the Basic Multilingual Plane (U+0000 through U+FFFF), then it may be represented as a six-character sequence: a reverse solidus, followed by the lowercase letter u, followed by four hexadecimal digits that encode the character's code point. The hexadecimal letters A though F can be upper or lowercase. So, for example, a string containing only a single reverse solidus character may be represented as "\u005C". [ snip ] To escape an extended character that is not in the Basic Multilingual Plane, the character is represented as a twelve-character sequence, encoding the UTF-16 surrogate pair. So, for example, a string containing only the G clef character (U+1D11E) may be represented as "\uD834\uDD1E".
Now, Ion's spec says only:

 U+HHHH\uHHHH4-digit hexadecimal Unicode code point
But if we take it to mean code point, then if the value is a surrogate what should happen?

Looking at the code, it looks like the above JSON will parse:

 1. Main parsing of \u here: https://github.com/amznlabs/ion-java/blob/1ca3cbe249848517fc6d91394bb493383d69eb61/src/software/amazon/ion/impl/IonReaderTextRawTokensX.java#L2429-L2434 2. which is called from here, and just appended to a StringBuilder: https://github.com/amznlabs/ion-java/blob/1ca3cbe249848517fc6d91394bb493383d69eb61/src/software/amazon/ion/impl/IonReaderTextRawTokensX.java#L1975
My Java isn't that great though, so I'm speculating. But I'm not sure what should happen.

This is just one of those things that the first time I saw it in JSON/JS a part of my brain melted. This is all a technicality, of course, and most JSON values should work just fine.

drawkbox 3 days ago 1 reply      
Binary values can be stored as base64 in regular old JSON as well. Yes that is bigger but same as email/MIME binary chunks are converted to base64. Email messages and attachments are handled this way, we do this everyday. Base64 does bloat by 40%ish, so the larger content could be compressed/decompressed prior to base64 encoding it and vice versa or even encrypted/decrypted on either end in software/app layer.

No need for a new protocol when doing it that way for basic things, if you need more binary (busy messaging/real-time) there are plenty of alternatives to JSON.

I love the simplicity of JSON, so do others and it is successful so many try to attach on to that success. The success part was that it was so damn simple though, most attachments just complicate and add verbosity, echoes back to XML and SOAP wars which spawned the plain and simple JSON. Adding complexity is easy and anyone can do it, good engineers take complexity and make it simple, that is damn difficult.

eyan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Surprised nobody mentioned CBOR (http://cbor.io) yet. Aka RFC 7049 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7049).
vparikh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wasn't this solved already by the BSON specification - http://bsonspec.org ? Sure this allows you a definition of types, but this could easily be done using standard JSON meta data for each field. I find BSON simpler and more elegant.
Ericson2314 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Decimal maintains precision: -0. != -0.0

What? This means their "arbitrary-precision decimals" are actually isomorphic to (Rational x Natural).

saosebastiao 3 days ago 2 replies      
Do any of the popular message serialization formats have first class support for algebraic data types? It seems like every one I've researched has to be hacked in some way to provide for sum types.
kevinSuttle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would like to see a comparison to EDN. https://github.com/edn-format/edn
akavel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone share links to some examples, showcasing the differentiating features vs. json? I couldn't easily find any via the main link
userbinator 3 days ago 3 replies      
Almost every time I see yet another structured data format I'm surprised at the number of people who haven't ever heard of ASN.1, despite it forming the basis of many protocols in widespread use.
desdiv 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interestingly enough a JSON alternative named "ION" was just posted as a Show HN[0] about three months ago.

So now not only do we have the problem of redundant and mutually incompatible protocols (cue obligatory xkcd), but that we have so many such protocols that name collision is becoming an extra problem.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11027319

blake8086 3 days ago 1 reply      
How does Ion help with schema evolution? I see it mentioned, but not described.
tn13 3 days ago 2 replies      
This appears to be something in between of JSON and Protocol buffers. I wonder under what conditions Ion makes more sense than either of the JSON/PBuff.
cm3 3 days ago 1 reply      
A question for frontend devs: Will H2 being binary on the wire inspire more use of binary data representations as well, with conversion to JSON only on the client? Passing around JSON or XML across a big SOA (or micro-services) architecture is a waste of cycles and doesn't have types attached for reliability and security.
viraptor 3 days ago 1 reply      
So far, most of the interesting bits I see in Ion are covered in YAML (which is also JSON-superset). Most of the rest are extra types, which YAML allows you to implement. The only really missing bit is the binary encoding... but that seems unrelated to the text format itself.

This really looks like a NIH specification.

coldcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any other implementation besides Java? I would be using it from iOS.
voltagex_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
Open question to anyone reading this: Would you use Ion if you were designing a new house-wide message queue? (e.g. broadcast messages to /Home/Lounge/Lights/ to turn on/off)
kilink 2 days ago 0 replies      
Things I dislike about Ion, having used it while at Amazon:

- IonValues are mutable by default. I saw bugs where cached IonValues were accidentally changed, which is easy to do: IonSequence.extract clears the sequence [1], adding an IonValue to a container mutates the value (!) [2], etc.

- IonValues are not thread-safe [3]. You can call makeReadOnly() to make them immutable, but then you'll be calling clone since doing anything useful (like adding it to a list) will need to mutate the value. While it says IonValues are not even thread-safe for reading, I believe this is not strictly true. There was an internal implementation that would lazily materialize values on read, but it doesn't look like it's included in the open source version.

- IonStruct can have multiple fields with the same name, which means it can't implement Map. I've never seen anyone use this (mis)feature in practice, and I don't know where it would be useful.

- Since IonStruct can't implement Map, you don't get the Java 8 default methods like forEach, getOrDefault, etc.

- IonStruct doesn't implement keySet, values, spliterator, or stream, and thus doesn't play well with the Java 8 Stream API.

- Calling get(fieldName) on an IonStruct returns null if the field isn't present. But the value might also be there and be null, so you end up having to do a null check AND call isNullValue(). I'm not convinced it's a worthwhile distinction, and would have preferred a single way of doing it. You can already call containsKey to check for the presence of a field.

- In practice most code that dealt with Ion was nearly as tedious and verbose as pulling values out of an old-school JSONObject. Every project seemed to have a slightly different IonUtils class for doing mundane things like pulling values out of structs, doing all the null checks, casting, etc. There was some kind of adapter for Jackson that would allow you to deserialize to a POJO, but it didn't seem like it was widely used.

[1] https://github.com/amznlabs/ion-java/blob/master/src/softwar...

[2] https://github.com/amznlabs/ion-java/blob/master/src/softwar...

[3] https://github.com/amznlabs/ion-java/blob/master/src/softwar...

incepted 2 days ago 1 reply      
> <groupId>software.amazon.ion</groupId>

Why not "com.amazon.ion", like thousands of other existing packages?

stolsvik 2 days ago 2 replies      
Are there any object marshalling/serialization solution for Ion? (Like GSON, Jackson)
breatheoften 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why this instead of clojures "transit"?
voltagex_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how difficult this would be to port to C#?
Detecting the use of curl bash server side idontplaydarts.com
350 points by ingve  4 days ago   119 comments top 12
ithkuil 4 days ago 7 replies      
> Installing software by piping from curl to bash is obviously a bad idea and a knowledgable user will most likely check the content first

It's funny how so many obvious things are all but obvious when you think a little bit more about it. Interesting read on the subject: https://sandstorm.io/news/2015-09-24-is-curl-bash-insecure-p...

(I don't want to enter the `curl | bash` good or bad rabbit hole; just that the topic cannot be just dismissed as "obvious")

Velox 4 days ago 3 replies      
The unfortunate problem with this is that while piping directly into bash can be exploited, it remains as one of the easiest ways to install programs.

Taking RVM for example. Their instructions are to run this: `curl -sSL https://get.rvm.io | bash -s stable`. The script that is executed is 887 lines long. The installation is "complex", requiring a lot of different stages. Now, the solution to this is "Use a package manager". Sure, that works in a lot of cases. However, when you have something like RVM which is used across several major operating systems, and hundreds of different flavours, each with their own quirks and package managers it suddenly gets difficult to manage each of these.

The problem we face is, how can we make it easy to install something, while still being safe and maintainable?

Breaking this down further, there are 2 issues to solve. The first is "How do we ensure what we download is what the maintainer says that we should download?". I.e. How do we make sure there are no malicious injections. That one is simple. Use SSL.

The second issue is, "I want to install this thing but I don't know if I can trust the installer". Are you crazy!? This isn't an issue. If you don't trust the installer, you sure as hell can't trust the product. If you don't trust either of them, then you automatically don't trust the other and shouldn't be installing it.

The result is that, yes, people can maliciously serve up code when you pipe the output of curl through bash without you realising. However, this is no different than blindly trusting and installing a script.

some1else 4 days ago 1 reply      
Take-away: Always download the script and execute it locally. An attacker may change the underlying script once you pipe it to shell.
rollulus 4 days ago 0 replies      
"a knowledgable user will most likely check the content first.". Really? I'm knowledgeable in that I understand that the script may contain evil, but I'm lazy as hell so I don't bother to check 99% of the time. Like I clone, build and run repos without checking every SLoC.
amelius 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry, but I fail to see the difference with downloading and installing without verifying the code. And since verifying the code is usually hard, I don't see the significance of this article.

Please enlighten me :)

klue07 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of why I also don't copy paste text from websites directly into my terminal.


educar 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Installing software by piping from curl to bash is obviously a bad idea and a knowledgable user will most likely check the content first

While this is true, how is this any different from installing using apt-get/dpkg/rpm ? I have never looked into any package I install. In fact, those things are worse because they require root unlike curl | bash.

At the end of the day it's about trust. If you trust the author(s), you would install it. I trust my distribution/browser/OS and I install things they want me to install it. So, if a project suggests "curl | bash", I would do it when I trust the project.

jchiu1106 4 days ago 1 reply      
Nice exploit.

I think it can be prevented by `tee`ing bash :

$ curl -s https://localhost:5555/setup.bash | tee bashsleep 3echo "Hello there :)"

dantillberg 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wrote up a little utility I wanted to distribute last year, and I came up with this little script block to do it while also verifying the scripts hash:

> bash -c 'S="3bceab0bdc63b2dd7980161ae7d952ea821a23e693cb74961b0d41f61f557489";T="/tmp/gut.sh";set -e;wget -qO- "https://www.tillberg.us/c/$S/gut-1.0.3.sh">$T; echo "$S $T"|shasum -a256 -c-;bash $T;rm $T'

This downloads the file to /tmp/gut.sh (which hopefully works on your system), then checks whatever file was downloaded against the hash specified (which hopefully works on your system), then executes it, then deletes it.

I think that `shasum` is a pretty widely-available utility among Linuxes and OSX, though not universal, but it occurred to me that it would be really awesome to have a program that was more purpose-built to only execute shell scripts that matched a particular hash, a la:

> curl https://www.tillberg.us/c/blah/gut-1.0.3.sh | shverify --sha256 3bceab0bdc63b2dd7980161ae7d952ea821a23e693cb74961b0d41f61f557489

Obviously, many other systems are more "secure" than curl-bashing, but curl-bashing is very convenient, and adding some sort of common utility to support it could mitigate the most obvious security issues.

kevrone 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's funny is that they suggest adding a sleep in the script so that it can be detected as a delay in byte stream delivery, but if you really want to know if the script is being executed and by what, you could literally just have the first line of the script make an http request with whatever meta data you want.
nerdponx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there a difference in behavior between "curl > tmp.sh" and "curl -o tmp.sh"?
michaelmrose 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't want to be rude but it's not luck its competency. You would derive a lot of benefit from learning how to manage your system properly.
Edward Snowden: The Internet Is Broken popsci.com
344 points by doctorshady  2 days ago   166 comments top 15
mirimir 2 days ago 4 replies      
Excellect! It's the most cogent analysis that I've seen from him. Damn, what a fucking hero!

A few comments, however ...

> ... we had to go to the dark side to be able to confront the threat posed by bad guys. We had to adopt their methods for ourselves.

He's using "we" there in reference to the government. But it can also be read with "we" as you and me, and "bad guys" as the government ;) But then, I claim a broad "right to be left alone", one that doesn't concede any state monopoly on power.

> ... you cant opt out of governmental mass surveillance that watches everybody in the world without regard to any suspicious criminal activity or any kind of wrong doing.

Well, sure you can ... as he goes on to explain ...

> You would need to act like a spy to pursue a career in a field like journalism because you are always being watched.

... and ...

> Instead of changing your phone to change your persona divorcing your journalist phone from your personal phone you can use the systems that are surrounding us all of the time to move between personas.

Right! Compartmentalization is for sure the way to go. There are numerous personas like Mirimir. Maybe I make it too distinctive. But I have no meatspace identity that goes on like Mirimir does. And Mirimir, ve has lots of vis personas. So hey, let's create a tangled morass of overlapping personas ;)

partycoder 2 days ago 4 replies      
The EFF warned long ago something was going on when AT&T was putting beam splitters on Internet backbones to feed the NSA. Then Snowden revealed how everything is tapped.Then, be sure all mainstream encryption is "NOBUS". Nothing is truly random. Someone somewhere has the master key: elliptic curve cryptography using magic numbers from NIST? "Secure boot" by Intel? OpenSSL? Microsoft software? All backdoored.Trust no one.
0xCMP 2 days ago 5 replies      
> But at the same time, we technologists as a class knew academically that these capabilities could be abused, but nobody actually believed they would be abused. Because why would you do that? It seemed so antisocial as a basic concept.

I guess so? Not me though. Snowden literally only proved what I had learned on my own.

> But we were confronted with documented evidence in 2013 that even what most people would consider to be a fairly forthright upstanding government was abusing these capabilities in the most indiscriminate way.

Um. Who thought this? Ever? Since the 90s.

tmnvix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well yes, the internet is broken. That article is inaccessible to me. I am redirected from popsci.com to popsci.com.au which, it appears, doesn't have the article in question. I just get a message telling me "Oops! Something went wrong. Please scroll down to find your content." The content isn't there and there is no way to select the non-au site. Very broken.
stevetrewick 1 day ago 1 reply      
>But at the same time, we technologists as a class knew academically that these capabilities could be abused, but nobody actually believed they would be abused. Because why would you do that? It seemed so antisocial as a basic concept.

What's with 'we?' The various classes of technologists that I've been a member of - from the teen hax0r BBS days thru the crypto lists and Usenet groups to actual working professionals have absolutely believed this. It takes a truly spectacular amount of naivety to believe the contrary.

I have a deep and profound respect for Snowden, who has certainly sacrificed any possible semblance of a normal life in his native culture and likely narrowly escaped a worse fate, something he must certainly have known was a risk. It is his very naivety that made him such a perfect whistleblower : he's in there looking around and he's like "Holy crap! These guys are into some profoundly bad shit! I have to tell everyone!"

There's probably a hiring policy moral for black ops shops in there somewhere.

tmptmp 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess, the Snowden incidence is being used to hurl undue venom towards USA. But these people are ignoring or deliberately misleading other people to ignore the real dangers posed by extremists (including Islamists, communists, the far right Christians and so on). These ideologically driven criminals (called terrorists) live hidden in the general public. Their identification is a main problem. This "identification" problem is what requires mass surveillance.

The terrorists are significantly different than many other criminals. In the sense that terrorists are not mainly driven by personal and earthly goals but they are driven by the goals set by their ideologies. Thus terrorism (inspired by hate ideology or religion) is significantly different in a very important respect from other crimes; that is, the terrorist(s) generally find support and shelter amongst large number of otherwise normal citizens inspired/driven by the hate ideology or religion whereas a murderer or a pedophile generally doesn't find such shelter.

Tell this Snowden to do (or at least talk) a little bit about the dire situation of people's freedom in the country he has chosen to flee to, namely, Russia. And the people who are criticizing US way too much should do themselves a favor by looking at countries run by tyrants like China, North Korea, most Islamist countries and Cuba. The way the Chinese government does the mass surveillance of its citizens on the Internet and the way the communists have installed the reward/punishment system based on it will make you realize that what is happening in US is hardly even annoying.

I am not to say that US is innocent person but it has been receiving criticism way too much.

Edit: typo

nickpsecurity 2 days ago 2 replies      
He's still not getting it or fully recommending it any more than most have. The funny thing is that I recently read a 150 page interview with one of founders of INFOSEC, Dr Schell, that showed his employer was the same way: ignored "COMPUSEC" as useless in favor of "COMSEC" solutions to all security problems. Schell, Karger, and Anderson's tiger teams smashed every mainframe and crypto using system put in front of them due to hardware and software bugs. They bypassed it.

Like Schell and Karger said for 30 years, what we need is to start deploying high-assurance security practices, protocols, systems, methods... everything that's proven to get the job done in various ways. We need them deployed pervasively. More private protocols and encryption by default, too, but who gives a shit if it runs on systems so insecure it doesn't need backdoors?

Let's go back to 1960's moving toward the 70's and 80's on hardware stuff. Burroughs stuff was tagged so everything in memory was code or data, pointers protected, arrays bounds-checked, arguments checked on function calls, and OS tried to isolate apps from each other. Some LISP machines had GC's for memory management. System/38 had capability-security & built-in database. Solo had safe concurrency at OS level. One had read-only firmware you couldn't change without physically moving it with a nucleus that handle protected functions that OS's built on. Two implemented a secure, Ada runtime that enforced the language's safety properties. SAFE (crash-safe.org), Cambridge's CHERI, and Sandia's SSP/Score processors follow these traditions.

Now let's look at how Schell et al said to do assurance. Precise, math/flowcharts/whatever description of functional and security requirements to avoid ambiguities & resulting vulnerabilities. Similar for design with attention to simplicity. Implementation in safest language you can with simpler subset and style easy to analyze. Every module proven to match a requirement/spec so no subversion (well, a start on it...). Strict modularity, layering, and interface checks all over the place. Success and failure states modeled then shown to follow a precise, security policy. If you can't state it precisely, then you can't secure it because you don't know what security means for you. Code review, tests of each function, formal proofs if possible, static analysis if possible, covert channel analysis of info flows, configuration management that assumes malicious developers, source to object code verification, trusted distribution of HW/SW to customers, onsite verification/generation from source, and configuration guidance. All of this independently verified by at least one set of professionals that know what they're doing.

That was security in 1970's-1980's. Far from red tape some here claim, every method above was proven by researchers, field users, and pentesters to catch serious problems. The only dispute was what caught most and where to spend most money. Even those questions had decent answers. Well, plus specific design and modeling decisions but INFOSEC was in infancy & that was evolving. I'm talking assurance activities: getting it done right whatever it is. Fast forward today to find that all the problems Schell, Karger, etc predicted have happened and consistently in systems that don't use those methods whereas systems that do avoid many more problems.

So, here's the solution: raise assurance of our systems across the board using methods that go back to 1961. That's right, Burroughs engineers were doing a better job on security before that was even a thing just trying to improve reliability. This is 2016. We have better specs, better languages, better static analysis, easier formal tools, automated test generation, tons of sample code, fast dev machines... you name it. There's no excuse, outside willful ignorance or apathy, for security-focused developers (esp in FOSS) to not use everything at their disposal that's proven to work at reducing risk. Even less excuse for the stuff they make to still be less secure than tech from the friggin 60's and 70's.

Shout out to the exceptions that are trying to do it right. Groups like GenodeOS, Dresden, NICTA/OKL4, Carlisle's IRONSIDES DNS, Bernstein's stuff, Galois, JX OS, ETH, INRIA, Secure64, Sentinel HYDRA (minus bodacion crap lol), Combex, and even NativeClient since they knocked off OP browser. Enough stuff like this and NSA will be begging us to ban INFOSEC books and shit since their info will dry up haha.

mouzogu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have absolutely no faith in any government that gives the impression that they will add tighter controls or a reduction on the collection of personal data.

They've been doing this for many years before Snowden and will continue long after any new laws are passed to give us the impression of an improvement.

Daneel_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd love to be able to read this article, however popsci, in their infinite wisdom, redirect all Australian users to the .com.au site...which doesn't have the same articles. Sigh

US proxy it is then!

educar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent points.

I think the other part which he hasn't discussed is the rise of Cloud companies like Google, Facebook. We should really be working towards an internet where people can keep the data to themselves and decide how it gets used. But now, the default is for these corporations to own all the data.

Of course, govt can still access the data (which is what snowden is talking about) but that is a different problem.

awqrre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Computers are also broken, and the Internet makes it more obvious.
yoz-y 2 days ago 0 replies      
Soo... roll out your own crypto?
lolidaisuki 2 days ago 3 replies      

>You are receiving this error message because your ip ( is listed in the StopForumSpam.com database.

>You can check the status of your IP and have it removed by visiting http://www.stopforumspam.com/removal. Thank you.

It's kind of ironical that they are quoting Snowden and their own site blocks Tor.

E: didn't HN used to have markdown quoting?

known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Broken for whom?
matchagaucho 2 days ago 3 replies      
"police and the government then have the authority to search through your entire life in your pocket just because you are pulled over for a broken taillight"

This is the classic Snowden formula. Establish a false premise that has no faith in the government or constitutional rights, then continue to paint a picture of a dystopian future.

This guy should be writing sci-fi novels...

[edit: I predicted at least 5 down votes as I typed this. Don't disappoint me ;-) ]

Why the S.E.C. didn't hit Goldman Sachs harder newyorker.com
292 points by JMiao  3 days ago   191 comments top 14
inthewoods 3 days ago 1 reply      
Abacus is a more complicated case. The more shocking one to me is why Dick Flud isn't in jail. His use of the Repo 105 to move assets off the books to make Lehman look less leveraged and in better condition is a clearer case of fraud. He essentially did the same thing that Enron did - and Sarbanes Oxley requires that CEO sign off on the truthfulness of financial statements. Here's a guy that seems to have deliberately misled in those financial statements, yet he walks free. To me, that case is a more clear case of how the SEC is a toothless agency.
Annatar 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I was growing up, my father used to tell me "bankers cause wars; they are the biggest criminals in the history of mankind." The article, and my own personal experience, which I'd rather not divulge in public, illustrate this perfectly. I know all the managers knew about the scam; they perpetrated it; and yet, they walk free and flush with cash from such deals, while ordinary people lost their homes and jobs. The S.E.C. is in cahoots with them. Essentially, the managers and lawyers inside of the S.E.C. and the banks found a way to commit criminal acts without going to prison.

"Liberty and justice for all."

Synaesthesia 3 days ago 1 reply      
Goldman Sachs has many well-documented connections to the US government & White house. https://prof77.wordpress.com/politics/an-updated-list-of-gol...


nickpsecurity 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's pretty simple: the Treasury head and many others in regulators are ex-Goldman. The word is subversion. The biggest violators have people embedded into the regulators to make sure they're not a problem.
chollida1 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those of you who haven't spent the past 10 years of your lives following this and want a quick TL/RD, the below link has a good recap of what Abacus is.


Von_Jones 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am not an American and I wonder why the most likely presidential candidate is the one taking somewhat opaque "speaker's fees" from an organisation that a lot of Americans realise operates in ways akin to a mafia. From the outside it like turkeys voting for Xmas.
arca_vorago 3 days ago 2 replies      
I boil this down to a few categories of people in positions of government. There is a certain word, don't say it too loud or they might run or grab pitchforks, but the word is... cough... accountability.

Looks around carefully. I spent some time contracting in DC, and the conclusion I came to is that there are three main types of people around the government and financial centers of power.

1) Those who are aware of the coming shitstorm and the complete corruption and subversion, and are just trying to "get theirs". This usually ends up in a "I got mine, fuck you" attitude. They don't push back because they know they would get punished for it, so they instead use their knowledge to further their career at the expense of their duty, and principles. They know, but don't care (enough to risk anything) about the status quo.

2) Those who know about the situation, and agree with it. These are usually indoctrinated extremists on either side of the spectrum, neocon, ultra-lib, the kind of people who now think capatalism in it's current form is the best gift from god and they speak of peace while selling massive amounts of weapons to dictators they setup all around the world. They know, and they care (for the wrong things), and actually perpetrate many of the abuses of the system.

3) Those who are too ignorant or stupid to know, or the slightly modified, those who have an idea about how bad it is but would rather stick their head in the sand and pretend reality doesn't exist. They don't know and don't care.

Don't tell me where all the true patriots went. I have told my friends, that "I know not one brave soul, not one." (keep in mind I'm not talking about media figures, like Snowden, Manning, Drake, Binney, Tice, Edmonds, all of whom I do consider brave souls) To me, that is the real problem I faced when I had my Descartes reset, in that I started to realize that while I still believe in the power of an oath, and the duties that come with them, the majority of the people around me and in positions of real power pay tons of lip service to principles, but never actually do them. Personally, I think this is causing a kind of mass cognitive dissonance and compartmentalization that we have yet to realize the full impact of.

When I think about the leadership traits I learned in the Corps, and how little of them I see in our leaders, I fear for the future of my country.

(in case anyone is wondering, they are: Justice, Judgement, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty, and Endurance.)

whatok 3 days ago 3 replies      
For people complaining about revolving doors, how do you get regulators with current industry expertise without.... industry experts?
qaq 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mainstream Banks laundered close to 400 billions in drug money and got slapped with fines in 10 mil. range. Everyone is up in arms about GS.GS counterparties are supposed to be sophisticated Fund managers they are payed millions in fees for managing money. It's their job to do due diligence on the deals they do with GS or otherwise.
cloudjacker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I like to imagine that there are esoteric business relations like this in places like Palestine with an Israeli regulator.

But I can never get a discussion deep enough going on about how the rule of law is implemented there.

jbob2000 3 days ago 23 replies      
Here's the TL;DR:

"In our conversations, Kidney reflected on why that might be. The oft-cited explanationscampaign contributions and the allure of private-sector jobs to low-paid government lawyershave certainly played a role. But to Kidney, the driving force was something subtler. Over the course of three decades, the concept of the government as an active player had been tarnished in the minds of the public and the civil servants working inside the agency. In his view, regulatory capture is a psychological process in which officials become increasingly gun shy in the face of criticism from their bosses, Congress, and the industry the agency is supposed to oversee. Leads arent pursued. Cases are never opened. Wall Street executives are not forced to explain their actions."

Basically, regulators don't have the balls to go after the big guys.

jheriko 3 days ago 0 replies      

they are inept and impotent.

ErikAugust 3 days ago 1 reply      
The lyrics of this song contain the answer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2VG53RIJ50
Boaty McBoatface and the False Promise of Democracy theatlantic.com
271 points by geromek  2 days ago   257 comments top 52
lb1lf 2 days ago 2 replies      
<Cough> Working for a contractor heavily involved in this project, all I can say is that internally on our servers as well as in any documentation and conversation the vessel is referred to as 'Boaty McBoatface'.
jernfrost 2 days ago 14 replies      
I don't agree with a lot of the conclusions of this article. E.g. they propose that voting "probably" works the same way in all other countries as the US. There are plenty of objections to be made against that. E.g. 1) the US being a two party state means that getting representatives which represents the great variety of voter opinions is exceedingly difficult.

2) US elections are so dominated by advertisement, expensive campaigns and donations that there is no way a politician can actually do what they tell voters because at the end of the day they have to satisfy donors otherwise they can't get money to run elections. There has been studies that show American politicians are mainly aligned with the wishes of the rich rather than people who vote on them.

That is just two big points, which makes the US stand out of many other western democracies, and there are multiple others.

My other objection is that Boaty McBoatface, somehow represents the will of the people. No it doesn't. It represent the will of people who bothered to vote on an issue most people likely don't give a dam about. If a choice was demanded of the whole population then Boaty McBoatface would never have won.

Whenever there is an issue most people don't have a vested interest in or think is very important it is likely that whoever wants to stirr up stuff or make some fun are going to win, because nobody else has any incentive.

This is of course a major issue with democracy. When you let people make decisions on things they don't really care about then they will make poor decisions. Democracy shouldn't make everything a choice, but rather be about choosing people you think will make good choices on your behalf.

geromek 2 days ago 2 replies      
The story is more complex than the article says. A Spanish forum (one of the top-40 more visited sites in Spain) voted massively the name "Blas de Lezo" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blas_de_Lezo ) a Spanish admiral who in 1741 defeated a British Army far bigger than his own one.

After gaining the #1 position the organization decided to withdraw the name from the polling, causing more controversy about this digital process.

mrob 2 days ago 12 replies      
The solution is simple. Continue calling the boat Boaty McBoatface. Ignore all references to the government's preferred name. They can choose what's painted on the side, but the name depends only on what people call it. If enough people call it Boaty McBoatface its name really is Boaty McBoatface. If your job depends on calling it the government's preferred name then subtly alter the timing of your speech to make it clear that it's not the real name while maintaining plausible deniability. Only written communication from coerced people remains a problem, and hopefully that will be far outweighed by people using the real name.
smoyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
The new royal research ship will be sailing into the worlds iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice, and rising sea levels,

"Imagine Boaty McBoatface sailing into the world's iciest waters with the wide-eyed fascination of a child. Observing global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Boaty McBoatface absorbs new facts and ideas without the jaundiced and prejudiced views of older research vessels while providing fresh perspectives and iron-clad observations of data regarding global warming, the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels."

I think it works!

buserror 2 days ago 2 replies      
And what's wrong exactly if the name appeals to every 5 years old in the country? I think /that/ is inspirational -- how better to get kids interested in the science than having them following that boat adventures over the oceans?

I think refusing that name would be not just be 'anti democratic' -- it's just be very un-british, because as a foreigner, that's /exactly/ what I'd expect the british to come up with as a name, just for a smirk, and that's something I like about them!

dmurray 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best thing to have come out of this is a headline from satirical online newspaper Waterford Whispers: US Military Introduce Childbomber McChildbombface


return0 2 days ago 3 replies      
Crowdsourcing of a name is not about democracy. It doesn't appear to me that the public was widely informed that they had to make a democratic decision, instead sounds like a bunch of kids trolling. I think the article is conflating two unrelated entities here.

As a sideline, what is democracy even? Democracy via elections would be oligarchy to ancient Athenians, who prefered democracy by lot anyway.

ohthehugemanate 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article is good food for thought in a year dominated by two strong "outsider vs the Establishment" candidates in the US, populist rise in all the European elections, and the entire Brexit issue. We are confronting a lot of areas where the "will of the people" differs from "the will of the people who know what the fuck they're talking about." this raises a lot of questions about "democratic-ness."

executive powers originally designed for extenuating circumstances are being used on one side and the other: to select delegates in an election, to get around a stonewall Congress in Washington, to name a boat in England. Where they aren't used, there is pressure to use them: to avoid a Brexit disaster, to stand up for a comedian's right to free speech in Germany, to respond to terrorist threats in France and Belgium.

I have to wonder if this is the Internet doing to Democracy what it is doing to Capitalism : breaking fundamental assumptions of how the world works. Information and opinions work very differently, now. We are part of much larger social herds, governed by different forces, with much faster (and more selective) information transfer. Populism is a different beast today than when Berlusconi ran in the 90s. Maybe it's time you disrupt democracy.

alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is it undemocratic to not respect the outcome of an online poll? First of all, online polls are never democratic (They are directed to subset of the population - which is pretty obvious when they are hijacked.).

Second - even proper referendums are usually advisory, i.e. the outcome isn't bindnig for legislators. I don't see a democratic problem with that either unless legislators would go against a strong public opinion, repeatedly.

sputr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not calling it Boaty McBoatface will just be a massive missed opportunity for effective science outreach and a crappy PR move.

You say it's going to be doing important research? Great! Add a social media presence, pull in people with the "funny name" and keep them for the exciting and interesting research.

But you're not going to that, because you're too important for that, ... because you're snobs.

red_admiral 2 days ago 3 replies      
There's two things we British excel at, silliness and pedantry.

So it's no suprise that the best objection I've heard to the name so far is that it's stupid because the vessel is clearly a SHIP, not a BOAT.

dcw303 2 days ago 1 reply      
Comparing Boaty McBoatface to electing a democratic official for representation is a little disingenuous. One is a popularity contest of suggestions to a concrete answer of a question, the other is marking a preference for someone who you hope will perform executive actions in line with what you want.

Surely it's closer to compare it to a referendum: in which, the public majority agreed on an answer that the establishment didn't like, and will now renege on.

xenophonf 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the country of the author who gave us ship names such as Gunboat Diplomat, You'll Thank Me Later, and (my personal favorite) I Blame Your Mother. You'd think the NERC would understand that it's all in good fun and would have the grace to use the name chosen by us unwashed masses. I mean, it's irreverent, but it isn't obscene, so who cares?
slavik81 2 days ago 1 reply      
What the poll results don't tell you is how much people care about the choice they picked. In a representative democracy, it's not just about what the majority wants, but how much people really care.

If a majority prefers pepperoni pizza but will eat basically anything, don't be surprised when the representative orders vegetarian. The vegetarians care far more about the exact type of pizza that's served and are more likely to change which representative they vote for in order to get what they want.

duncan_bayne 2 days ago 3 replies      
The author has conflated democracy with voting. Sortition - the selection of Government at random from the citizenry - is a far superior mechanism, and results in a Government that is genuinely of the people.


RubyPinch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really don't get why people are trying to manufacture drama over the name of a boat, seriously.

"tyrannical" because a group that got a boat, asked some people what their thought on the matter was, and then said "no that silly"?

"What happened to disapproving of what you name your boat, but defending to the death your right to name it" and now this is infringing on free speech as well?

cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
The code name for Apple's Power Macintosh 7100 was "Carl Sagan", an in-joke that the mid-range PowerMac 7100 would make Apple "billions and billions". Sagan asked Apple to rename the project, so they chose "BHA", short for "Butt-Head Astronomer". Sagan sued Apple (twice) and lost. Apple eventually renamed the project "LAW", short for "Lawyers are Wimps".


Also, the "Sosumi" alert sound introduced in MacOS 7 is short for "So sue me", referencing the Apple Corps v. Apple Computer lawsuit.


GCA10 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the realm of prank names, this one is actually pretty good. It's not sexist, racist, obscene or infused with hate speech. I can see shutting down a prank name that's got hurtful overtones. But this one is playful and harmless.

Here's hoping that the authorities relent.

marcoperaza 2 days ago 4 replies      
This seems like bad move on the British government's part. Name the thing Boaty McBoatface and reap great PR for years.

Edit: Or maybe it's all part of the plan. Let us all down by hinting that they're not using the name, then announce a change of heart. The internet would explode.

rubyfan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Direct democracy and representative democracy are different. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking the Internet suggestion box for ship names was direct democracy.
brightball 2 days ago 1 reply      
A professor from UVA once told me that Democracy was the art of convincing people that they actually made the decision.
newjersey 2 days ago 1 reply      
> The key point is that representatives voting behavior was not strongly constrained by their constituents views, Achen and Bartels write. Elections do not force successful candidates to reflect the policy preferences of the median voter. The authors claim theres no hard evidence to suggest that these dynamics would vary in countries with political systems of proportional representation and more parties than in the U.S.

I'm not a fan of grover norquist but I think it is unfair to say our representatives should be free to disregard the pledge they so publicly made when they were campaigning. Yes, we expect our representatives to go against their platform in extreme cases for the greater good but I'd say if that happens, the representative must turn right around and resign immediately from office and not run for office again.

No, it doesn't matter if the cause was an "obstructionist" Congress. It didn't matter with George HW Bush and it won't matter now.

Can you imagine if we had a referendum for independence of Scotland and had Cameron said "nah jk" after the results came in favor of Independence? Or if he started attaching new conditions to the promised he made Scots to vote no? "Oh we will get right to the issue of devolution but we must make sure Scots can't vote in England only legislation" but then who didn't they say that when campaigning?

Imagine a system where there was a yearly pie eating contest to determine the king for a year. Would it be OK for the current winner to abolish the contest and make the position hereditary? Of course not!

goda90 2 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone is wrong. It should have been named Boaty McFloaty.
fanalin 2 days ago 0 replies      
10 years ago, I got elected to our local parliamant and I learned that democracy does not work very good for searching names. That's just something which somehow is not a good fit for the political process. Perhaps other methods how votes are counted (Condorcet or other methods) could work better.

Similar issue: when the new Wembley stadium got a new bridge, there was a voting for the name of the bridge. The german football (soccer for my american friends) player Dietmar Hamann scored the last goal in the old stadium, and german football fans tried to overrun the election to force the englishman to name it "Dietmar-Hamann-Bridge", a slap in the face for every english football fan. Although Hamann won the vote, the bridge got the name White Horse Bridge (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Horse_Bridge)

snitko 2 days ago 1 reply      
This small example shows the true nature of any democratic government: if you vote the way they don't like, they will not submit to it. Voting is useless.
daemonk 2 days ago 2 replies      
This name is obviously a joke name that probably shouldn't be used. Yes, there is a responsibility to maintain a democracy by the governing body. But shouldn't there also be a responsibility on the governed to take voting decisions seriously?
Overtonwindow 2 days ago 1 reply      
Something else that may have not been considered is that the whole voting system was rigged. Much in a "marblecake the game" scenario. What should be done in a situation where the vote has been rigged by nefarious/trolling actors?
blubb-fish 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's funny about this ridiculous name??? It's stupid - simply stupid and reminds me of Churchill's infamous remark:

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

Angostura 2 days ago 0 replies      
As the article makes clear, this wasn't a bait and switch, it was clearly said at the start what the parameters were. They were there to avoid this type of situation where people chose a crass name.
mcguire 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article is troubling.

It seems to be an attack on the fundamentals of modern governments, that the legitimacy of the government follows from the will of those governed. Because those governed can't be bothered.

So, what's your next suggestion, then?

Personally, as a random human and as a scientist, I have no problem with Boaty McBoatface, although I know a lot of the stuffier set who would regard it as ridiculous and insulting, and might reflect those feelings on the work done aboard the ship. (I also feel those people should be vetoed.)

minikomi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Serious Sciency McScienceface seems like an apt compromise.
nateweiss 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Boaty McBoatface incident reminds me, with a smile, of a similar incident when Kraft (Australia) turned to the public to name a new variant of Vegemite. The winning name was "iSnack 2.0" which sure seems (at least to me) to have been intended as satire/commentary. Anyway the product launched under that name to much ridicule, before being later renamed Cheesybite.

Interestingly, the name Vegemite itself was also originally "crowdsourced" back in the 1920s [1], so the effort had some tradition behind it. Perhaps "Vegemite" also sounded really silly back then.

I think (but not sure) that it's still for sale in Australia... in any case it is/was delicious, regardless of the name.

[1] http://adage.com/article/global-news/crowdsourcing-wrong-veg...

woodandsteel 2 days ago 0 replies      
What an idiotic article. "Democracy doesn't work. " So the authors wouldn't mind if the US became a dictatorship?

One reason that democracy works vastly better than authoritarian government is that the public agrees on a lot of things. For instance, the public in the US disapproves of governmental corruption, and so it is far lower than in authoritarian countries like Putin's Russia.

Oh, and if the authors think that informing the public doesn't work, then why are they working for a media organization is, guess what, informing the public?

transfire 2 days ago 0 replies      
The British government also fails to realize that by accepting the name, people might be surprised to learn their government actually listens to the people! Then in the future these kinds of events might be taken a bit more seriously.
szerated 2 days ago 1 reply      
Really, really over the top with the drama here... This is a crowd sourced name where people didn't take it seriously. This has happened countless other times with Internet polls. Not everything is a statement about democracy...
gpvos 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still disappointed they didn't call the Northwest Territories "Bob".
krylon 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Can you imagine one of the worlds biggest research labs travelling to the Antarctic with your suggested name proudly emblazoned on the side?

I know it is silly and childish, but that would be so awesome. That joke would never get old.

akshatpradhan 2 days ago 0 replies      
The UK Gov't really doesn't get it. Just imagine the marketing and sales opportunity for a Kids Television Show about Boaty McBoatface, the Research Vessel.

Or how about toys, educational videos, educational cartoons, educational books featuring Boaty McBoatface and friends.

This is a Scientific Research Vessel that people could really fall in love with, and instead of capitalizing on that possibility, they'll give it a name like the Hawking. Nothing against Hawking.

fhood 2 days ago 0 replies      
The real issue with democracy is that people (me included) care far more about whether a research vessel is christened Boaty McBoatface than they do about almost anything else.
brohoolio 2 days ago 0 replies      
The second place name, Poppy Mia, is named after a 16 month old kid who died after battle with incurable cancer.

Just imagine being the parents and losing to McBoatface. Have it named after the kid with Mcboatface be the nickname.

AndyMcConachie 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with Boaty McBoatface? I think it's kinda cute.
mtgx 2 days ago 1 reply      
First off, this is nothing like how elections work. People are still run by representatives in democratic countries.

Second, everyone, including the government is making it sound as if this is a "terrible name", just because it's out of the framework they imagined it to be. But I think this is a great name and has brought nothing but popularity to the project being done on that boat.

a3n 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope when $NAME_OF_VESSEL crosses the Arctic Circle, they refer to themselves as Boaty McBoatface, at least for the day.


doktrin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see a cause for outrage here. They never promised to abide by the results of the vote, and drawing parallels to the political system feels like a complete non sequitur.
squozzer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Compromise is the essence of democracy. In that spirit, I suggest the following:A serious official name, for example the HMS Stephen Hawking.The people's choice, hand-painted in comic sans.
tychuz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eh, I did not enjoy RSS Boaty McBoatface. However, like 15th entry really caught my attention in that voting poll - RSS Boat. Now that's something simple yet elegant.
JustSomeNobody 2 days ago 0 replies      
Then they should never have asked people what they want.
cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
To avoid this isssue, they should have asked people to vote from a list of pre-approved names.
ourmandave 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are the voyages of the starship, McBoatface.

It's five year mission...

chris_wot 2 days ago 0 replies      
My daughter is devastated. She's 8.
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well armed sheep contesting the outcome".

Let's not kid ourselves... Democracy is no perfect ideal to aspire after. See:


Let's also consider what Bastiat had to say[1]:

 What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Each of us has a natural right from God to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right its reason for existing, its lawfulness is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force for the same reason cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces? If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.
Now I don't agree with his appeal to "God" as the justification for the inherent nature of the right to self-defense, but his basic argument is sound.

[1]: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G004

Secret Court Takes Another Bite Out of the Fourth Amendment eff.org
252 points by DiabloD3  2 days ago   56 comments top 11
DannyBee 2 days ago 4 replies      
Errr, reading the actual decision, i don't see a lot of support for the EFF's claims. It seems pretty cherry picked.

In fact it clearly states they can only retain stuff long term if the DOJ notifies them explicitly that they have a continuing litigation/preservation hold necessity (which is usually not the DOJ doing it,but say, a civil lawsuit that carries with it preservation obligations).

It also makes further clear that in all cases, the only people with access to most of any retained data is system administrators, not investigators, and that it can't be used for investigative purposes.

It does say general querying is allowed, but only people explicit 702 access rights are the ones who must be making such queries, or making such decisions. In all cases all records of who accessesd what with what query terms and their access level are explicitly logged, etc.

It also explicitly states that information acquired under section 702 will not be introduced as evidence against a person in a criminal proceeding, without1. Explicit approval of the attorney general2. in criminal cases related to national security crimes

In any case, this is not new, this viewpoint is something going back to FISC precedent from 2002.

So it's not like this just happened.

Additionally, the statute is pretty clear here.

It says:"(h) Minimization procedures, with respect to electronic surveillance, means

...(3) notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), procedures that allow for the retention and dissemination of information that is evidence of a crime which has been, is being, or is about to be committed and that is to be retained or disseminated for law enforcement purposes; and"

So again, nothing new here, this has been law for quite a while.

In short, i may hate a lot of things about FISA/FISC/etc, but i think the EFF is stretching to say this is a new problem, or to blame the court for it.

tmuir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this means that the NSA's definition of "collect" has conveniently reverted back to the widely accepted meaning.

Their previous defense was that "collect" meant to actually inspect the information.

partycoder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Western press always mocks eastern countries because of their policies around surveillance and censorship to restrict free speech. They rarely report on what is going on around here.
rboyd 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's best as a society is to fight. What's best as an individual is to conform.
tacos 2 days ago 5 replies      
Is anyone aware of a source for this type of news that isn't quite so one-sided? It seems all we have is hyper-lefty "sky is falling" stuff and hard-charging right-wing "shut up kids, the government knows what's best for you."

I want reporting, not advocacy. The better of the mainstream press outlets are balanced to a fault but get the interesting details wrong or leave them out altogether. The fringe outlets target their core audience with lots of spun details and a lack of opposing viewpoint.

EDIT: If anyone can get past "lefty vs righty" and answer my core question I'd really appreciate it. This is a genuine query for information, not a clever way to troll.

Karunamon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Could someone clarify something for me?

As I understand it, PRISM is not a thing that lets the NSA willy nilly search the internal networks of companies they've onboard,

It is instead a thing for companies who would be the target of large volumes of these requests just because of their size to upload the data they're legally required to because of NSL or similar, in a rapid fashion.

Is this assessment correct?

DenisM 2 days ago 3 replies      
A lost opportunity. Had they asked for the court orders from the FBI, that could set the framework for the future - information is collected, but cannot be searched without a court order. That could have been a decent compromise.

This is not going to be a popular opinion, but I think a compromise is necessary. There is no way to stand up to the train of data collection. For one, the public being afraid of this and that will demand to be protected at all costs, no matter how small the threat. The more scandalous the news cycle gets, the more panic we will see. And then the technology improves so fast, soon enough publicly installed video cameras will track everyone, and all within the constitutional framework.

A middle ground would be to create the fourth branch of the government that is tasked with data collection, but will only give it up on court order. Orders may be for individual incidents based on reasonable cause, or for data-mining, based on a judgement of proper scope.

deepnet 2 days ago 1 reply      
"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged", Cardinal Richleu.

'Nothing to hide' privacy naysayers imagine innocence a perfect defense.

In practice a prosecution presents select facts in the order best suited to convict.

Under mass surveillance they have all the facts; the defense only has what one still possesses/ remembers.

With such resources, enough well cast aspersions could convict anyone of something.

Counter intuitively innocence can be harder to defend as the guilty will have prepared alabis. (part2 @)

Lawyers advise their clients not to talk freely to police for very good reason.@

@ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

pcrh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man... this is depressing...

I'm counting on you lot at HN and beyond to create the technology allowing widespread encryption that makes such surveillance moot.

rco8786 2 days ago 0 replies      
We all knew it was coming, but dang that was fast.
CamperBob2 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, not yet, but they certainly can be. Handing this technology to the next J. Edgar Hoover -- and rest assured, there will be a next J. Edgar Hoover, even if Comey isn't him -- will be like giving an atomic bomb to that kid in high school that everybody was pretty sure would end up in jail.

If the judges and politicians had half a brain, they'd understand that they, and not us, will be the first to experience the downsides of a security state gone berserk.

Deadly animal prion disease appears in Europe nature.com
269 points by etiam  4 days ago   170 comments top 21
shmageggy 4 days ago 14 replies      
Prions are a crazy, crazy phenomenon. From wikipedia:

> A protein as a standalone infectious agent stands in contrast to all other known infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, all of which contain nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, or both)

In my layman's understanding, they're like this bizarre edge case in the way proteins interact. Of all the myriad way a protien can fold, it happens to find one that induces the same malformation when it interacts with another protein. To me, it almost seems like as much of a mathematical/geometrical problem as a biological one. In any case, very interesting from the perspective of emergent behavior in complex systems.

jcromartie 4 days ago 5 replies      
The most terrifying thing about prions is that they are infectious but not alive: they can't be "killed" in the normal sense by sterilization. The proteins must literally be dissolved to neutralize them.
nxzero 4 days ago 1 reply      
Prions: Killer Zombies

"You Can't Kill What's Not Alive: Prions cannot be destroyed by boiling, alcohol, acid, standard autoclaving methods, or radiation. In fact, infected brains that have been sitting in formaldehyde for decades can still transmit spongiform disease. Cooking your burger until it is well done will not destroy the prions!"http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/molecules/prions/

"Eating human brains helped Papua New Guinea tribe resist disease, research shows."https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/brains-helpe...

Original name for the prions was "trembling in fear" - or Kuru:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuru_(disease)

ckinnan 4 days ago 0 replies      
>>Although the disease is not known to be transmissible to humans

This is not quite correct, the disease is believed to be transmittable to humans, but we're not in the practice of eating deer brains, so there are no confirmed cases. All of the states with CWD have advisories on reducing the risk with consumption. Eg: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/deer-carc...

Given that we don't really know how CWD is transmitted among animals it is still pretty worrying.

martian 4 days ago 1 reply      
Prions are both beautiful and terrifying. One of my favorite science fiction stories is Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora". He makes great use of the prion concept, and its consequences for human life, in relation to space exploration. Fascinating read if you're interested in the topic.
exhilaration 4 days ago 2 replies      
I recently learned that Chronic Wasting Disease was spreading through deer in the United States, there's a map of its spread here: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2700&q=323412

Apparently it's been shown that spiker monkeys can contract it but it hasn't (yet) been shown to be transmitted to humans.

imaginenore 4 days ago 2 replies      
Prions are fucking scary. They survive all regular decontamination procedures - alcohol, boiling, even autoclave. Patients had been infected through the sterilized scalpels and endoscopes.
Balgair 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since there are a lot of questions and very good discussions today, I thought I would share a good resource for bio made for comp-sci people: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~wcohen/GuideToBiology-sampleChapter-...

If anyone knows any other good resources or intros, please share as well.

mrfusion 4 days ago 2 replies      
Could a prion have been the precursor to life? Seems simpler for a protien to accidentally come into existence and start replicating than a string of rna?

Or am I misunderstanding?

technological 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone want to learn more about prion related disease Kuru .. should watch this documentary


jcfrei 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since when can we reliably test for prions? Could it be that those misfolded proteins have been around forever?
alexholehouse 4 days ago 2 replies      
To be fair, this doesn't have to have originated via animal-to-animal infection, but could be an example of sporadic CWD.

As far as I know, sporadic CWD is relatively uncommon, but given CWD is caused by the PrP protein, and there are a number of known mutations in PrP which can increase its likelihood of undergoing prion-conversion, I'd hope they're going to sequence this animal's PrP gene to see it it shed's some light on the etiology.

Irrespective, this could still mean that CWD is now endemic in Europe.


Updated for clarity and extra info/context (thanks pbhjpbhj!)


CWD: Chronic Wasting Disease (deer-based prion disease - main topic of article)

PrP: The specific prion protein involved here. Note that (confusingly!) prions are both a 'class' of proteins but also refers to a specific protein (PrP).

Prions (class) are proteins which can exist in one of two states. In their soluble form they're happy-go-lucky proteins that are monomeric (i.e. exist as a single unit). However, these soluble-form prions can undergo a conformational change (re-arrange their shape) into a different conformation (the infectious form). The infectious form of the prion can do two specific things: 1) Aggregate (so all the previous soluble prion proteins get stuck into a big wad of protein) 2): Catalyze the conversion of soluble-form prion into the infectious form. Herein lies their infectivity - you get an exponential growth in the number of proteins in the infectious state.

Prions (PrP) is a specific protein found in many higher-order multicellular organisms that is the SPECIFIC protein that causes a range of prion diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), BSE [mad cow], CWD, Scrapie etc). There are species barriers to these diseases, even though the proteins are pretty similar (i.e. humans cannot catch CWD from deer, even though the PrP protein misfolds in CWD and the same human version misfolds in CJD). These species barriers are convenient (!!) but very poorly understood, which is somewhat concerning.

Finally - it's worth point out prions aren't always bad. Fungi use them as a mechanism to facilitate non-genetic heritability/diversity [1], and we're increasingly finding examples of prion-like mechanisms that facilitate fast and irreversible signalling in cells (e.g. in the inflammation response [2])

[1] True, H. L. & Lindquist, S. L. A yeast prion provides a mechanism for genetic variation and phenotypic diversity. Nature 407, 477483 (2000).

[2] Cai, X. et al. Prion-like polymerization underlies signal transduction in antiviral immune defense and inflammasome activation. Cell 156, 12071222 (2014).

amorphid 4 days ago 2 replies      
Too bad DNA doesn't stick around more than a few million years [1]. It'd be interesting to research the possibility of prions wiping out the dinosaurs from Mad Herbivore Disease.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_DNA

braderhart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone else read this, because it looks really promising?


danielsiders 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also see the study on aerosol transmission of prions:


tinix 4 days ago 0 replies      
mrkgnao 4 days ago 1 reply      
What does a normal reindeer brain look like?
m_eiman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic, kinda: is anyone else having problems with nature.com not resolving? Firefox and Safari both fail to load it, but for some reason Chrome manages to find the server. OSX, latest.
ioquatix 4 days ago 0 replies      
I, for one, welcome our new zombie reindeer overlords.
chrramirez 4 days ago 4 replies      
For anyone who may want to know, prion diseases are sciencetific possible causes of a Zombie Apocalypse. That's why this new called my attention.
Got a Hot Seller on Amazon? Prepare for Amazon to Make One Too bloomberg.com
288 points by petethomas  4 days ago   226 comments top 35
chatmasta 4 days ago 5 replies      
Watchya gonna do about it? Amazon makes merchants an "offer they can't refuse." Fear of Amazon cloning your product (whether physical via Amazon Basics, or virtual via AWS) is not enough reason to avoid selling on Amazon altogether.

If your product is easily cloned by Amazon, and you cannot afford to sell it for less than Amazon, then you do not deserve to have the dominant market position.

A good, sustainable product is more than just marketing and engineering. It must also be defensible, meaning you need to have an advantage in either product-development (patents, expertise, first-mover advantages) or supply-chain (exclusive manufacturing contracts, access to greater economies of scale). It's almost impossible to beat Amazon in the supply-chain economics, unless you have a highly specialized product and deals with the manufacturer, so you are left to compete in product development. Your product needs to be sufficiently innovative and defensible in order to avoid Amazon cloning it.

DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 4 replies      
I think the mixed incentives problem is becoming more and more glaring with each passing day.

Want to write an app that people use on their phone? Awesome. Become an Apple Dev or a Droid Dev. It's the lottery: the providers love you playing, but only about 1-in-100 make it, and "making it" is not about quality. The garden is too big to be manually cultivated, so the winners are the ones that can play the algorithm.

Have a site online you'd like people to visit? If you're advertising it, you're going through Google or Facebook. Just be sure you don't accidentally flip any yellow flags with them. If you do, they can yank your advertising and you're talking to a robot trying to get it back. Unless you're big, of course. Or you can play the algorithm.

How about if you sell a physical product? What if you've been selling it for years? Well, you gotta go to Amazon. They own internet product sales. But guess what? If you switch to a provider, you don't have an email list, you don't have a unique internet address, you don't provide a unique experience, and whatever you do has just become a commodity. And we're back to the algorithm thing again, because if you can source, package, and sell it on Amazon? Somebody else can too. Probably cheaper. Maybe it has high quality parts. Maybe not. There's far too many products for Amazon to manually curate, so you're back to worshiping the algorithm. The algorithm provides traffic, it provides recommendations, it provides an indication of quality text content -- it provides sales.

Make a mistake in the old brick and mortar days? Go change your sign. Deal with complaints through the BBB.

Make a mistake now? Sure, there's recourse. Sometimes. It's all about the algorithm. And we can't tell you what's in the algorithm, because if we did? Everybody would be gaming it. Like they are now.

The algorithm rules all.

Cross it and die.

arprocter 4 days ago 3 replies      
Online retail is always a race to the bottom, as mostly all anyone cares about is price. When I was in the business, it was a continual hunt for new/unknown products we could sell at a decent profit before other sellers got on them and the margin got trashed.

For a niche product it seems a little odd that Amazon would make their version half the price. Then again, they may argue that theirs is a 'budget' version, and thus it doesn't compete with the original.

joemi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon would do (and probably still does) this in another way, too. When I was selling on Amazon for a bookstore, our strategy was try to find books that Amazon didn't have on the site, then sell them, and if any sold well we'd send massive quantities to Fulfillment By Amazon so we'd sell a lot and not have to ship each copy individually. The first time this happened, we sold something really well for 5 or 6 months, and then it stopped selling completely. Turns out Amazon started carrying it and was selling it far below list price. Then it happened again with another book after a few months of good sales. And then again. After the third or fourth time Amazon suddenly undercut us like that, we gave up on the practice, since between the already low FBA margins and the cost of returning all the unsold products to us (and the publisher) since we couldn't move them anymore, we weren't making enough for it to be worth the effort.
bitL 4 days ago 4 replies      
Yes, it happens all the time on Amazon. Not only Amazon itself, but also other companies observing hot sellers (there is an API for that), then "cloning" the item and ordering manufacturing in Shenzhen. If you complain to Amazon, your selling privileges might be removed... Amazon desperately needs a competitor.
chrisgd 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anything different with Costco offering a Kirkland Signature anything after they see that product flying off the shelves? Kirkland signature olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coffee, shirts, shoes, peanut butter. Even newer products like air popped quinoa chips or coconut water. If you see something new in everyone's cart one day, two months later there is a kirkland signature brand.
tmaly 4 days ago 1 reply      
For me there are positives and negatives to this type of move. The small mom and pop stores are supporting local jobs in some cases. In other cases where the product is mass produced overseas, I would prefer the lower priced Amazon Basics product.

CVS a pharmacy in my area does something like this. The slot on the shelf for the brand name product you want is usually empty. The generic CVS brand of that same product is fully stocked right next to it. I sometimes just go to a non-chain pharmacy just so I can get the brand I want.

danvoell 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure why this leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. Obviously, a lot of major retailers already do this. It just seems like Amazon can do this at a much bigger scale and/or at the same scale as Walmart and end up putting a lot of people out of business.
gmantom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon is a lot like China.

You go make your stuff in China it's cheap, they have the factories, the facilities. You do well.

Once they, in China and at Amazon, notice that what you're doing is selling quite well they make the same thing and cut you out.

Edit: Spelling.

awinter-py 4 days ago 1 reply      
AMZN's growth prospects increasingly resemble abuse.

Half their success at breaking into new business is consumer trust / lock-in. ('they already have my address & payment info, let's do business with them again').

The situation isn't as nice for their merchant customers; this is amazon's achilles heel. Companies like crowdsupply are the leading edge of a trend to use logistics & sales smarts to help merchants rather than compete with them.

amazon has ridden the wave of consolidation until now, but let's cross our fingers that the tendency will toggle to diversification.

fabulist 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why is this legal? Aren't they using their dominance in one market to enter another market? Isn't that what antitrust suits are for?

I'm not being rhetorical, I'm actually asking.

vblord 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately this type of behavior is not uncommon with Amazon's business practices. The book "The Everything Store" by Brad Stone was a very good book. But it also shows how Amazon deploys these types of business practices. With the huge market share Amazon has, it has crushed many smaller business just by selling cheaper products. For example, it took a huge loss on selling Diapers just to destroy a competitor. Because it has so many resources, it can do these types of things.
JustSomeNobody 4 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this similar to what Grocery stores have done for years? Cereal, pasta, bread, canned goods, you name it, there's a store brand.
personlurking 4 days ago 1 reply      
Also relevant from 2 months ago:

"Company Makes $70M Selling Random Stuff on Amazon" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11186289

I also remember another somewhat 'recent' article about a secretive company doing what AmazonBasics is doing now but I can't locate it.

kristianc 4 days ago 1 reply      
AWS is a gigantic platform for doing just this. It's not just a retail thing.
imaginenore 4 days ago 2 replies      
Good. Competition is what keeps the quality high and prices low.
dubcanada 4 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't exactly news... This has been happening since we began selling stuff.

You know how to combat that, keep the price the same, and make a name for yourself as the best laptop stand around.

People still buy all kinds of US made products even though there are China made versions for 50-70% off.

6stringmerc 4 days ago 4 replies      
Yikes. Makes me wonder what kind of recourse could be possible. Often I see a lot of "death to IP protections!" chants around here, which makes this situation all the more interesting. In my view this is a pretty clear 'derivative' infringment, and if there's enough of them, could there be a class-action approach to signing up those who can make the connection? "Ripping-shit-off" isn't a very pleasant business model in my opinion.
merb 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see the competition, I would still buy the non Amazon Basic one. The only time I grab a Amazon Basic product when I don't need it a "long" time. actually even the amazon basic batteries are worse than any cheap vatra.if people would care about quality they would mostly spend less money on rebuying the same damn thing.

btw. on the german website the amazon basic thing looks very different when I search for laptop stands (only a direct search 'AmazonBasic laptop stand' would give me the thing in the news and actually even then there is another competitor that isn't Amazon and 10 cheaper than the Rain Design). it is more close to a product by hama which was there LONG LONG before the Rain Design product. Also Rain Design has sometimes flaws. According to buyers, sometimes you get scratches or rough edges. For 50 bucks thats definiv a NoGo!

mesh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Related PlanetMoney episode:

Episode 586: How Stuff Gets Cheaperhttp://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/11/28/366793693/episo...

thesmileyone 2 days ago 0 replies      
They have been doing stuff like this for ages.

If you sell a product on amazon and they decide they want in, you are forced to give them your source or they terminate you. Then they go to your source (or more likely their source) and buy in bulk then undercut you or minimise your listing... and so you are priced out of the market.

rdl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm wary of business models built around just selling hardware, long term -- it seems like hardware + service combination is the way to prevent this kind of activity from vendors, ghost shift manufacturing, other counterfeiting, and such. Also good for the consumer in a lot of cases. The problem is the products run the risk of being orphaned if the manufacturer stops supporting them at some future date.
jamescun 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel for Rain Design (I love my mStand); however is this any different to your average supermarket offering lower priced own-brand competitors to their other stock?
sunstone 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like Bezos needs to move in on a niche aluminium computer stand business. Pick on someone your own size Jeff.
programminggeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty much everybody selling on amazon should expect this. It's not exactly news.
mooreds 4 days ago 2 replies      
> Rain Designs Tai has resigned himself to the competitive threat from Amazon and says he can withstand it if hes able to foster customer loyalty.

And how do you best do that?

Build your own channel and don't depend on Amazon.

Kiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've never understood how that Rain stand could cost so much and still be so popular (I have one myself). At first I thought it was an official Apple stand but no.
morgante 4 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to capitalism, supercharged.

There's a reason that in the long run economic profit of firms is theoretically 0. If you're making substantial margin off a product, and doing so in volume, other companies will naturally want to compete with you to sell it. You either have to innovate faster than them (and thus win customer loyalty) or get into a brutal price competition which pushes both your profits to 0.

Keeping your products off Amazon isn't even a defense against this. It's hard to keep a lucrative product secret for long. Cash cows eventually moo.

Your margin is Amazon's opportunity. Get used to it.

MicroBerto 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have it on good authority that supplements will be coming too. Probably starting with basics like a multivitamin.... No clue how deep they'll go though.
tn13 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you have a successful product there will always be a competitor. I think that is a good thing.
transfire 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anti-trust action is going have to come down on Amazon eventually.
drpgq 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what happens when people give low ratings to Amazon basics items.
thefastlane 4 days ago 0 replies      
everyone hates banks but, come on, AMZN is about as filthy of a corporation as they come.
cylinder 4 days ago 4 replies      
E-Tailer was an odd word choice in the headline. I read a few paragraphs in still trying to learn more about the company "E-Tailer."
tomp 4 days ago 1 reply      
So... one company is upset that another company has entered their market, after they've been scamming consumers, selling a $20 item for $40 for years?

Color me shocked.

Off the Grid stephenfry.com
309 points by decasteve  4 days ago   167 comments top 45
uhtred 4 days ago 7 replies      
It's interesting that I was at an itunes free gig in London back in 2010 at the Camden Roundhouse (band was Bombay Bicycle Club and they were very good), and Stephen Fry made a pre gig speech (obviously paid by Apple) to say how marvellous the iphone was and how although some people criticise social media , it is a marvellous thing that helps people feel less lonely, amongst other things (and the iphone helps people stay connected to this social media when on the go). I wonder if he truly believed that then, or was just saying so for Apple's sake. Either way, let's assume he believed it; and so I guess in 2010 it was all still rather new. Now he, like many of us, have grown very tired and cynical of it all. I agree with a lot he is saying in this post. The internet has been hijacked by big money and corporations. I personally am utterly fed up with waiting for web pages to load, unable to read the content because it keeps shifting around the page while another shitty targeted ad gets inserted. And then I realise the content was trash anyway; just more shallow, "read this in 2 minutes" bullshit that gets churned out because the authors know we have lost our ability to stay focused on one thing long enough to read anything substantial and genuinely informative.
darkclarity 4 days ago 6 replies      
I have gone through a similar phase. Got rid of social media, switched back to a feature phone, am reading real books, listening to music on physical media, using cash where possible and whatever else.

The Internet has gone from a place with a high barrier of entry (and the interesting characters that self selected for that barrier), to an all encompassing entity with a load of moralisers, businesses and governments fighting over the ability to call the shots.

In its current state, I think it's better to take a step back. View the Internet as an occasional tool for getting things done, rather than a place to live within and rely upon. Let the masses have their addictions fulfilled, while technology enthusiasts move on and enjoy real life.

nadam 4 days ago 4 replies      
As someone who uses the internet in a healthy way and healthy dose, i think this article is like when an (former?) alcoholic suggests to all the people to not even drink one beer occasionally.Seriously why should I not use email to communicate with people far away from me on interesting topics? Why would I not look up things in Wikipedia? Why would I not look at Fecebook once a day for 2 minutes to see whether there is something extra with my IRL friends and relatives?
return0 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why do people feel like FB and messengers are the entire "Grid"? You can go off social networks and still enjoy the marvel that is the internet (it works for me). My guess is that people develop a genuine addiction to FB and need to avoid all temptation for a while. Going offline for a longer than that is not a good idea though.
stcredzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
These days, while there may be much talk of digital connection being a civil right, that doesnt make it a civic duty, or a legal compulsion.

Social media tries to use it as a "civic compulsion." They say: Hew to our ideology, or you're not allowed to have an online presence. We will shame and destroy your online persona. So much of our culture and commerce is online and digital, this may well feel like banishment to many.

The same progressive movements that railed against the thought control, coercive pressure, and shaming methods of the church and the old cultural establishment have sprouted online movements of predominantly young people who use silencing tactics, banishment from civic organizations, and coercive shaming to further their agenda.

I find this a damn shame, because I count myself as a progressive and across the long arc of history, this only delays substantive progress. It's like trying to invade and occupy a country by holding land with troops. It's expensive, causes great collateral damage, and it turns many potential allies against you. It can "work," but only when you utterly rout the opposition, and even then, it often just plants the seeds for the next set of conflicts.

True activism can't just stop at demonstrations and resignations. It doesn't stop with committees or legislation or court cases. The end goal is to win hearts and minds. Beware of those who say they're winning hearts and minds, but backing it up with coercion. Beware of power, even limited contextual power. Power that lacks self awareness can be locally perilous.

(Really, is that stuff really about justice, or is it about the pleasure of watching someone get their comeuppance? And has our culture degraded to the point where a large fraction of intellectuals are unaware of the difference?)

jgrahamc 4 days ago 7 replies      
The other day I suddenly remembered the door of my college room. Since I was at university pre-Internet, pre-mobile phones there was a piece of paper and a pencil on the door so that people who came round to find me could leave a message... by writing on the door.
phillipamann 4 days ago 2 replies      
This article speaks to me and what I've been preaching to others for a while now. I got high speed internet in 1999. I was 13 years old. I am now 29 on the cusp of 30 and I think that this experiment has been detrimental to me rather than beneficial. I am currently in the process of doing what Fry talks about. While I can not be absolute and still want to visit some sites and some communities, I am trying to treat each website as if it were a magazine subscription or something I have to buy and own.

I like to live a minimalist lifestyle at home and prefer owning as few things as possible. I know many others feel this way too. However, with the internet and computing, ownership is abstract. I become overwhelmed and anxious under the deluge of files, apps, notifications, settings, and upkeep required for it all. I know I am not alone in this. Below is a quotation I loved from Deep Work by Cal Newport:

"These services arent necessarily, as advertised, the lifeblood of our modern connected world. Theyre just products, developed by private companies, funded lavishly, marketed carefully, and designed ultimately to capture then sell your personal information and attention to advertisers. They can be fun, but in the scheme of your life and what you want to accomplish, theyre a lightweight whimsy, one unimportant distraction among many threatening to derail you from something deeper. Or maybe social media tools are at the core of your existence. You wont know either way until you sample life without them."

Newport, Cal (2016-01-05). Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (p. 209). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

squeaky-clean 4 days ago 2 replies      
I agree that most of us should be "off the grid" more than we are, but not for any of the reasons he suggests. There's no real reasoning to this argument, just "It used to be like X before the internet, so the internet is bad." But with no reasons why X is good, as if it's obvious, but the modern ways seem better to me.

> Well maybe they should consider this for a moment. Who most wants you to stay on the grid? The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers.

Really? "The man wants you on the internet, so you should stop!" If you avoid the internet just because of this, you're still letting the advertisers, your boss, "the man" make your decisions for you, rather than coming to your own conclusions..

> Remembering what I was like at fifteen, I wriggle pleasurably at the thought of how it would feel in 2016 to tell a teacher that, no, I couldnt possibly e-mail my homework, because I dont have e-mail:

> Im not on your email, miss/sir.

> Dont be absurd, Stephen. Email me the essay as soon as possible.

A bit of a strawman here, isn't it? In what situation would a teacher ever demand you send an assignment ASAP instead of on the assigned due date? And if it's because you've missed the due date, what right do you have to act difficult and decide the medium over which you turn it in? Either accept the failed grade, or play by the rules of the person who is accommodating you.

Self control when it comes to technology is great and all, and if you feel you need or want less than the average person, that's fine. But thinking you're better than everyone else because you refuse to use a tool some people use incorrectly?

grillvogel 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Because the bombardment of pseudo-realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly, spurious humansas fake as the data pressing at them from all sides. My two topics are really one topic; they unite at this point. Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans. It is just a very large version of Disneyland. You can have the Pirate Ride or the Lincoln Simulacrum or Mr. Toad's Wild Rideyou can have all of them, but none is true." - PKD

edit: this is from http://deoxy.org/pkd_how2build.htm

scotchmi_st 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Those very politicians, advertisers, media moguls, corporates and journalists who thought the internet a passing fad have moved in and grabbed the land. They have all the reach, scope, power and social bandwidth there is. Everyone else is squeezed out given little hutches, plastic megaphones and a pretence of autonomy and connectivity. No wonder so many have become so rude, resentful, threatening and unkind.

The radical alternative now must be to jack out of the matrix, to go off the grid."

This is awfully regressive, but not only that; it's also foolish. If his point is that by going 'Off The Grid' you can escape these people, he's out of luck- these people are AFK as well as online. Try walking through a major city without seeing a single advert.

If you want to get away from all the shit on the internet, the only way is forwards, not backwards.

yarou 4 days ago 4 replies      
When I was a youngin' browsing BBSes in the 90s, I remember distinctly encountering a text guide to "the art of disappearing", essentially getting off the grid as Stephen Fry mentions. It involved a whole bunch of seemingly paranoid steps, like burning your passport, and booking your flight (one-way) with cash. I also remember thinking to myself how silly the whole concept was - why would I ever want to do something like that?

These days, I'm realizing more and more that it doesn't sound that crazy in this increasingly dystopian world.

0xffff2 4 days ago 1 reply      
>They couldnt force me to have an online presence after all.

I don't know where he gets this idea. Both the Comp. Sci. and Engineering schools at my university require that all students have a laptop capable of running software related to the coursework (financial aid is available specifically to help meet this requirement). The university also supplies plenty of computer labs. If I insisted on turning in all assignments on paper, I would be laughed at and given failing grades until I was kicked out of school.

The modern world absolutely can and will force you to have an online presence.

unwind 4 days ago 0 replies      
Meta: I think the "Stephen Fry" in the title is very redundant, considering the domain.

If it really has to be there, it would (to my eye) look better to lead with it, i.e. "Stephen Fry: Off the Grid".

stuartmalcolm 4 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one struck by the irony of an advert for his book in the middle of this post?
patcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed myself being just a tiny bit less interested in labouring through the full article knowing that nothing I or anyone else expressed about it after the fact would ever make it to Stephen's attention. The tantalizing idea of a comment affecting an author (no matter how small that chance) definitely plays into my consumption.

It makes me wonder whether a better approach to disconnecting is to set quotas, essentially saying something like "I would like 2 tweets and 1 blog comment to make it to my attention daily -- hide everything else from me for my own sanity."

coldtea 4 days ago 0 replies      
>They have been given, willy nilly, demographic tags like millennial, post-millennial, Generation Z, i-Gen not out of anybodys acute cultural observation, sympathy or understanding but either to bulk up a HuffPo article or to delineate convenient advertising categories, within which many sub-categories can be established. You are not a person, you are an algorithmic assumption, a mould into which hot selling-jelly may be poured.

Well, obviously, and for every generalization concerning a whole generation, you're not, and you're not supposed to be, a person. There's a time to talk of people individually and as persons (e.g. in personal relationships, workplace, etc.) and times to generalize and talk about their collective patterns of behavior.

And those names are not always coming from journalist hacks without "acute cultural observation, sympathy or understanding" either. E.g. "Generation X" came from a member of said generation itself, Douglas Copland, trying to describe how it is for him and his friends.

In any case, "Generation ___" is just a convenient handle to talk about many people together -- its usefulness comes from whether it describes something statistically useful, not from whether it caters to the individuality of each unique snowflake person (and of course most just delude themselves that they are that, while following very similar paths with their generation for most things).

>my proudest boast would be: My friends and I, we disappeared ourselves. No social media, no email, no chat, no wifi, no selfies, no SMS, no smartphones. We did it. We did this thing. We Got Off The Grid.

I'd say this again underestimates how many people are "off the grid" (even if they have internet at home) and don't participate in the whole social media/chat/selfies/etc thing.

ablation 4 days ago 3 replies      
Goodness me, that's a lot of bloviation. I think there's a point buried in there somewhere that has been made far more succinctly by a lot of other people.
alva 4 days ago 0 replies      
"The internet, as opposed to AOL and the others, was like a great city. It certainly had slums and red-light districts and places you wouldnt want to visit after night, but the museums, ... streets were packed with excitement. "

This memory of the internet still lives. There are many nooks and crannies that are hard to find as they do not show up on facebook, reddit etc. Lots of independent, wacky, controversial, illegal and subversive sites are alive and kicking.

In the earlier days, I suppose due to lack of volume, it was a lot easier to find these places.

SpeakMouthWords 4 days ago 4 replies      
The good folks of tumblr have a succinct counter-argument to suggestions like this. It is, and I quote:

"durr hburr technology is bad fire is scary and thomas edison was a witch"

boznz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Agree with a lot of this, however it is all about balance and moderation I'm not sure going all the way makes you a better person or gives you a better lifestyle.

email is fine once you have filtered out all the spam and dicks who put everyone on cc.

I love music, but I wont be going back to vinal anytime soon, my mp3 collection is fine and much more convenient. Yes MP3 may have cheapened music and there maybe something about removing it from the sleeve, putting it on the turntable and turning it over after 20 minutes but that person is not me.

Same with books, I love reading books, but I am as happy (if not more happy) to do it on a kindle as a 'real' book from the library.

A cell phone is convenient if left on silent or turned off when in company and not continuously checked

I would still want google and wikipedia to do my job and I would still want hackernews to ensure I can see and click on articles like Mr Frys if I so desire, again these should be on-demand not continuous.

I have some beautiful countryside outside my door and I am very happy to step away from all this and into it as often as I can.

pdkl95 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I would feel that it had connected far more and with far greater purpose and meaning.

One of the better discussions of this topic is Vi Hart's explanation[1] of Edmund Snow Carpenter's[2] "They Became What They Beheld".

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm-Jjvqu3U4

[2] almost certainly written with Marshall McLuhan

ascorbic 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's not surprising he'd want to turn his back on social media after the (justifiable) kicking he took over this: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/apr/14/stephen-fry-s...
jasonkostempski 4 days ago 4 replies      
I've been trying to do this and as of this week, HN and stackexchage are the last social accounts I have but only because I can't find a way to delete them. I could just log out and walk away but it feels like there's no closure that way. Anyone know of a way to close an HN account?
llamataboot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think we'll look back on maybe the 10 years previous to this and the 10 years after this as the years where we didn't really know how to handle all the information and connectivity we were barraged with because our brains simply didn't evolve for such a thing (and it's about to get a lot more interesting with VR/AR) -- the dopamine hit of MORE INFO MORE INFO MORE INFO makes sense in an information-scarce world. No longer. I suspect our brains will adapt rather quickly, for those of us born into it. For those of us over age 25 or so, I suspect we'll always have twitches of addiction and nostalgia for being off grid.
betteryeti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Longtime listener, first-time caller here. Okay, maybe this is just a naive idea, but in Fry's spirit of going-backward-to-go-forward, I think that a very subversive, Internet-thwarting tech would be a device that did point-to-point communication (ie., like ham-radio packet broadcast). Like, go to place X, tune into your point-to-point USB dongle and tune in to the chatter -- constrained by the broadcast range of the device's power and antenna. You'd have the efficiencies of a social networking system paired with the place-ness of a particular physical location. This would tend, I imagine, to link people up IRL after they "sniffed" each other electronically to determine whether they were same tribe/interest/affinity/perversion/whatever. From there, they could pursue the more authentic/place-based/dreamy/serendipitous youth more resonant with what Fry experienced in his youth. And since the communication is point-to-point with no IP address or Internet implied, no advertiser/analytics authority could interpose itself in those conversations.

Is that an insane idea?

ogdoad 4 days ago 0 replies      
>It is not about the numbers. It is _never_ about the numbers. Dont let them tell you otherwise.

The ad midway probably has something to do with numbers, where 10,000 is better than 100.

vinceguidry 4 days ago 0 replies      
What in the world would be the point of really going off the nets? I honestly can't see the point. It's so easy to pick and choose how you want to interact with the online world. A few years ago, not having a Facebook was like living in a cave in the woods. Now? All my friends are on Facebook, but very few of them participate. It's been relegated to mere entertainment. I can go days without checking it.

A reporter asked a Girl Scout whether the cookies they were selling were healthy. She just said, "Don't eat the whole box."

Technology is like relationships, they get better after you develop good boundaries. If you can't trust yourself with cookies, don't keep cookies in the house. But really, you should just work on not being a slave to food. Or Facebook.

Nothing about technology actually keeps you from interacting more deeply with others. You do that to yourself. You can't blame food for making you fat.

RivieraKid 4 days ago 1 reply      
He's such an amazingly good writer.
dajohnson89 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's cute, he thinks a student in today's world can be successful without the Internet.
JaggerFoo 4 days ago 0 replies      
So Mr. Fry is assuming that 15 year old boys would be willing to give up the treasure trove of Porn that is available to them via the technology he suggest they spurn.

A very unrealistic assumption.

patcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I live in a world without Facebook, and now without Twitter. I manage to survive too without Kiki, Snapchat, Viber, Telegram, Signal and the rest of them. I havent yet learned to cope without iMessage and SMS.

I respect what he's getting at, but this is all sorts of backwards for someone who wrote an earlier paragraph about escaping the eye of advertisers (and presumably surveillance)

tmaly 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like his spin on it. The internet has become a ton of noise and walled gardens. I initially dropped off the social media platforms, but then I re-joined under anonymous names.

During my off-grid time, I found I was more productive in terms of thinking and getting my side projects done.

I was able to read more paper books as well as just enjoy life and nature.

Freak_NL 4 days ago 0 replies      

 Logans Run, Zardoz, Soylent Green, Fahrenheit 451
Lovely films. Something about the pacing or the cinematography of the films from that era appeals to me.

Ah Zardoz Nothing beats Sean Connery running around in weird sci-fi shorts. Also, Beethoven.

Falcon9 4 days ago 0 replies      
"They couldnt force me to have an online presence after all."

Read your terms of enlistment, soldier. They can and they do.

sanoli 3 days ago 0 replies      
email is awesome, but I do miss receiving long letters from friends far away. Man, do I miss that. I only have two friends left who still write letters. I would give many parts of the internet to have that back.
kbart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rants away (though I agree with some points), it's a nice summary of Internet history.
chriswarbo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this makes some very good points, but conflates too many things as being "the grid" or "the internet [sic]". Yes, advertisers, HR departments, parents, etc. like people to use Web sites to look at ads, provide a work history/CV/photographic evidence of pasttimes, update a beacon with their current whereabouts, etc. but those are societal things which have basically nothing to do with the technology. Paper and ink are just as tainted with advertising, corporate homogenisation, familial pings, etc.

How does handing in an essay on paper 'fight the power'? Paper is just as corrupted as the Web. Anecdote: a couple of years ago, before a long coach journey, I decided to buy a pen and paper so I could pass the time writing, drawing, mathematical playing, etc. In the centre of a large city (Birmingham, UK) it took me about half an hour to find anywhere which sold blank paper rather than pre-printed magazines/newspapers/books/etc. (I eventually found some in Poundland; an underrated shop IMHO). I nearly missed the coach.

Rejecting technologies, like email, is self-flagellation. Whether a teacher can or can't force a student to have an email address is irrelevant; all that's needed is to SMTP the server with a syntactically-valid FROM address, like "thisisnotarealaddress@example.com". There is no requirement for that address to even resolve, let alone for it to accept mail and make it available to you. So what if you get marked as spam, that's always a hazard even from established providers.

Likewise, if someone wants to make something available to you via email, there's nothing stopping the use of a one-time-only address, e.g. mailinator.com or something similar with a password, that disappears after 24 hours.

To refuse email in such a way is like refusing to write English in left-to-right order; or using a fountain pen full of invisible ink: it's petty and silly, which is fine if that's your intention, but as a serious statement it achieves nothing.

In contrast, refusing control by "The Corporation" is definitely a Good Thing (TM). It's why I've never used Facebook, Bebo, or any of those other register-to-view silos and never will. It's why I deleted my Twitter account after their chilling meeting with the UK government after the 2011 riots. It's why I host my own blog, Git repos and anything else I would miss if it were deleted. It's why I use only FOSS software, on machines which require no driver blobs or proprietary BIOS (except for the GSM driver on my OpenMoko; I'd be glad to hear of any alternatives). It's why I download videos from YouTube, iPlayer, etc. to watch in the ways that I want to (which may be several decades after those services collapse). It's why I use ad blockers, NoScript, hosts file blacklists, etc. It's why I only turn on my smartphone (OpenMoko running Debian) occasionally, when someone asks me to expect a message from them. And so on.

It's often said that technology is neither good nor bad, only its uses are. Ignoring the "bad" uses of technology doesn't require abandoning the technology itself. The article decries "digging up Wikipedia and planting cabbages over it", but there are also many other areas of the Web which aren't "bullying and wheedling and neediness.. invisible selling... loveless flirting and cowardly mocking... unbearable long silences and the ceaseless screaming chatter... vengeful rivalries... frenzied desperation and ...wrenching loneliness.". Does "jacking out" make those things stop? No, it's just ignoring them. So why not just ignore them without "jacking out"?

Did the youth of the 1950s rebel against authority by hammering on harsichords in their stagecoaches? No, they blared the sound of electric guitars, transmitted via radio, from cars. Refusing to conform to the new normal by staying with the old normal isn't being rebellious; being rebellious is using the new to create some unfathomable anithesis of normal. That's what I love about Open Source, on top of the fundamental rights provided by Free Software: the bazaars surrounding the cathedrals. Yes, FOSS gives us LibreOffice to file our tax returns; but it also lets us connect a GPU-backed deep learning library to a 3D-printed robots, via software-defined radio running on openly-programmed FPGAs, so we can.... I don't know, because it's so new!

When studying Physics as an undergraduate, our lab sessions gave training on how to analyse experimental results using Microsoft Excel. I refused to participate, claiming that the scientific process should not be beholden to the unknown inner workings of a proprietary, black-box application with an exclusionary EULA and known bugs. I performed all of the required analysis on the course using Gnumeric and Python instead. Whilst still quite petty, I still believe that was still a far stronger message than not using email from a residence with broadband-connected computers.

anticitizen 4 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason it delights me that Stephen Fry has read William Gibson.
awinter-py 4 days ago 0 replies      
hadn't heard of savonarola. there are no github matches for this so if someone's looking for a cool project name, now's your chance
rayascott 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well isn't it ironic, don't you think?
swang 4 days ago 0 replies      
Complains about advertisements... shows an advertisement half way down the page...
dang 4 days ago 2 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11533926 and marked it off-topic.
djschnei 4 days ago 0 replies      
'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?' Stephen Fry
iammew 4 days ago 1 reply      
erjjones 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Another self imposing post making its way to #hn (sigh)...

On to other news ...

How about #Microsoft releasing and open sourcing .NET Core http://docs.asp.net/en/latest/conceptual-overview/dotnetcore... and https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/dotnet/2014/11/12/net-core-...

(?) Where has our community gone :/

       cached 25 April 2016 04:11:01 GMT