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Lyrebird An API to copy the voice of anyone lyrebird.ai
1361 points by adbrebs  2 days ago   293 comments top 76
eadz 2 days ago 6 replies      
Combined with Face2Face[1] live video impersonation, it is truly time to be very careful verifying videos or even live streams.


pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 5 replies      
Last week on BBC Radio 4 I heard of a woman who was losing her voice through disease (MND maybe?), a similar system was being anticipated and she was saving voice samples to seed it with.

She had been a singer and strongly identified her self with her voice, she wanted to be able to use a speech synthesis system that had her own voice pattern.

Apologies if this was already mentioned, but it seems to be a use others here hadn't considered.

qeternity 2 days ago 11 replies      
While all of these vec2speech type models are impressive, I get the feeling that most of the comments didn't listen to any of the samples. It's still distinctly robotic sounding, probably has quite a bit of garbage output that needs to be filtered manually (as many of these nets often have) and is a far cry from fooling a human.
paraschopra 2 days ago 2 replies      
I appreciate the ethics link up there in the menu. Not sure if I noticed it on any other AI startup (or for that matter, any startup). Given how complex the world is becoming due to ever increasing co-dependence with tech, I can see how such pages could become as important as 'pricing' or 'sign up' pages. (The privacy issues with Unroll.me, Uber and a thousand other such services will only accelerate this trend).

Good job, team Lyrebird. My feedback is that while the inclusion of ethics page is great, it could do with more content on your vision and what you will not let your tech be used for. I know others can develop similar tech, but it will be good to read about YOUR ethics.

[Edited for clarity]

keithwhor 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love this. The business model is too good to be true.

1. Open source voice-copying software

2. At worst, create entire market of voice-fraudsters, at best, very few voice-fraudsters but very high and very real perception of fear of such

3. Become leading security experts in voice fraud detection

4. Sell software / time / services to intelligence agencies, governments, law enforcement, news networks

Ethically I'm a bit concerned with (2), but realistically the team is right --- this technology exists, it will certainly be used for good and for bad, and they're positioning themselves as the leading experts.

I'm interested to see which VCs and acquirers line up here. Applying a voice to any phrase seems useful for voice assistants (Amazon Alexa, Google Home) but I don't think that's the $B model.

pinpeliponni 2 days ago 3 replies      
Funny thing is, this is approximately where CIA was with similar technology in closer to 2000. They did some demos for politicians about how they can given anyone's fake their messages. That stuff is golden for propaganda means, and for confusing stuff like military chains of command. Today the CIA probably has worked out all the robotic artifacts already, and their output is really indistinguishable.
yladiz 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is pretty cool (although, I have no idea what other technologies exist for this kind of thing), but it's definitely not convincing enough to a human listener. This sounds like it might be convincing enough for some programs like "Hey, Siri" but it's not gonna convince your mom. You can listen to the samples on the page linked here and you can immediately tell that Obama and Trump don't sound quite human.
LegendaryPatMan 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is pretty basic at the moment and it's terrifying. Yeah, it has an MS Sam feel to it, but as the tech improves and we know it will, you could use a service like this to put words in someone's mouth. Think about how you could trip up a CEO or a Politician by playing some random clip that they never said. When that gets into the Zeitgeist judgments will be made in the court of public opinion devoid of facts or real evidence. You could destroy democracy or people's lives with technology like this
amarant 2 days ago 12 replies      
It's there any copyright protections for a person's voice? If not, David Attenborough and Morgan Freeman will be lead voice actors in my next game project
got2surf 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is exciting! If you look at historic speeches (ie from American Rhetoric http://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html), there are large variations in average characteristics between various styles/contexts (on average, pitch/volume/speed are different for inspirational vs somber speeches, for example). But there are also really large differences in the variation - an inspirational speech may be marked by large swings from quiet, reflective pieces to booming, rousing calls-to-action while a somber speech has fewer swings in delivery.

For the examples given for various intonations from Obama/Trump, some intonations are much more natural than others. It would be interesting to decide how to parametrize a sentence for the intended intonation. (based on word2vec analysis of the words in the sentence, punctuation cues in the sentence, and perhaps a specified category of "emotional delivery").

It would be interesting at the sentence-level, but also at the macro speech-level to include the right "mix" of intonations for a specific context. On a related note, it would be interesting to study the patterns of intonations in successful vs unsuccessful outbound sales calls, for example, to learn how to best simulate a good human sales voice.

eps 2 days ago 8 replies      

But also enabling the next gen of "Mom, I'm in Mexican jail. Quickly wire me $2,000 so I can get out." scams.

joshmarlow 1 day ago 1 reply      
Finally, I can have Morgan Freeman narrate my major life events.

Update:Reading changelogs before deployment never sounded better!

celticninja 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is this enough to beat voice recognition software?

If you thought fake news was bad before wait until these 'secret' recordings start getting released and reported on.

sna1l 1 day ago 0 replies      
Charles Schwab uses a voice phrase to authenticate you for access to your account, which is already pretty brittle, but I hope this makes them reconsider more urgently.
cjlars 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was wondering when CG Sir David Attenborough would get here and start narrating my day to day.
ksec 1 day ago 3 replies      
1. Is this company new?

2. Is this better then what Google or Baidu are doing?

3. I remember reading Adobe has something similar.

4. Why ( What happened ) that all of a sudden we have 4 company making voice breakthrough tech like these?

5. What Happen to Voice Acting? Places like Japan where they highly value voice actor. Is Voice even patentable?

Nadya 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of people claiming that certain things will now be untrustworthy.

As if human voice imitators have not existed and could not be paid for prior to this. For $5 you can get Stewie Griffin [0] or Barack Obama [1] to say whatever you want them to say. Any audio-only messages of well known figures should already be considered "compromised" and untrustworthy. Even without the technology to impersonate them.

This should be more concerning for "normal people". It isn't that you can no longer trust an audio-only recording of Obama, but that you may not longer be certain an audio recording is from your best friend. (E: Once the technology improves a bit more of course.)

[0] https://www.fiverr.com/joe_stevens/talk-like-stewie-griffin-...

[1] https://www.fiverr.com/celebimpression/do-a-custom-barack-ob...

drusepth 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. As someone exploring the fictional storytelling space, this seems like it'd have a lot of fun applications in that space as well.

How difficult is it to create/tune voices from parameters rather than training from an audio clip? I build software where people create fictional characters for writing, and having an author "create" voices for each character would be an amazing way to autogenerate audiobooks with their voices, or interact with those characters by voice, or just hear things written from their point of view in their voice for that extra immersion. Having an author upload voice clips of themselves mimicking what they think that character should sound like, but probably would keep traces of their original voice (and feel "fake" to them because they can recognize their own voice), no?

Can't wait to see how this pans out. Signed up for the beta and will definitely be pushing it to its limits when it's ready. :)

carlob 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how dependent this is on language: can we make Trump speak Chinese using a one minute audio track of him speaking English?
echelon 1 day ago 1 reply      
It sounds like they're training a parametric speech synthesis platform on samples in order to learn the parameters. I wonder if there are are approaches at generating n-phones for concatenative models, or using a hybrid approach.

I built a toy concatenative Donald Trump speech system [1], but I don't have an ML background. I've been taking Andrew Ng's online course in addition to Udacity's deep learning program in an attempt to learn the basics. I'm hoping I can use my dataset to build something backed by ML that sounds better.

Is anyone in the Atlanta area interested in ML? I'd love to chat over coffee or join local ML interest groups.

[1] http://jungle.horse

Tloewald 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is very exciting to me because it lets RPGs provide spoken dialog for everything (I'm waiting to see if they can do emotions at all convincingly). Even big budget games suffer from "you can call your character anything as long as it's 'Shepherd'" simply because you can't mention the character's name or any other use-content safely.
retox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Through the tinny speaker of my mobile phone the Obama in the first sample is almost spot on. Some speed issues with Trump but really impressive.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how accurately this would reproduce dead musicians voices. I've had this idea for about 8 years called the Notorious BIG project. I have about 20 acapellas that I was originally going to manually chop into a song. Neural Nets can pretty much solve this now.
jtbayly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can we get these speeches in audio form now?


Ensorceled 2 days ago 1 reply      
The samples all sound a little like Rich Little and Stephen Hawking's love child doing impressions: they won't fool very many people.

But, you can certainly see where this is going and that's the worrisome part.

kristaps 2 days ago 1 reply      
As noted in other comments, all the samples still sound very robotic, so this is probably "just" a method to tune the parameters of an existing voice synthesizer to mimic a real persons voice as much as it allows.
ageofwant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh yea. The Troll embedded deep in my soul giggles in glee.

However, the day some shill tries to sell me travel insurance in departed nana's voice would be the day I start signing my voice convos' with a pgp key.

felipemesquita 2 days ago 2 replies      
This site has a "demo" section featuring only Soundcloud clips. Uses to much the present tense "In a world first, Montreal-based startup Lyrebird today unveiled" and "Record 1 minute [...] and Lyrebird can [..]Use this key to generate anything" but has no actual product or beta version. Adobe had a much more impressive sneak peek of a similar product called VoCo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3l4XLZ59iw
backpropaganda 2 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant discussion from 17 hours ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14177589
return0 2 days ago 1 reply      
We need a new markup language for intonation and emotion.
anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent work. This will find widespread application in the film/tv/music industry and beyond (and we're not that far away from being able to do the same thing for video). Unfortunately it will also be widely abused, but given the near-inevitability of such technological development I'm already reconciled to that :-/
jpsim 1 day ago 2 replies      
Curious choice to name a company & product with a name that sounds like "Liar Bird" when spoken. To me, that looks like they're fully embracing the concept that this can be used for nefarious purposes. If one of their goals is to bring attention that this technology exists and can be misused, the name reinforces that.
redsummer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you could do this with singing? Feed it acappela Bowie, Sinatra, Elvis songs, then give it new text, and out comes a similar voice and melody.
redsummer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for Richard Burton to read me the news.
LordKano 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is impressive. There is now a way for Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones to be able to narrate movies forever.
scibolt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Voice Actors out of business! :D
ChairmanPao 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now people can deny saying things caught on tape. Just show this technology to a jury considering taped evidence, and bring in some experts to testify on how it works.

The samples weren't that convincing to me, but could probably be used to switch a word here and there. That may be enough.

olleromam91 21 hours ago 0 replies      
So all my voice commands can be recorded and my voice can be replicated. Cool...i guess
sehugg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds great, I was trying something like this in Keras but didn't get very far: https://github.com/sehugg/kerasspeechcodec
bisRepetita 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Buy the rights for "Car Talk" re-broadcast.2. Record new, current ads using Click and Clack's voices.3. If the voices sound a little too "mechanic", pretend it's a joke.
cocoa19 1 day ago 0 replies      
This technology reminded me of 24 (TV series).

The plot of season 2 has Jack Bauer prove a Cyprus recording between a terrorist and high-ranking Middle East officials was forged so the US president would start a war.

augustt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any ideas on what the underlying technology looks like? Maybe some kind of GAN for audio...
hayd 1 day ago 0 replies      
And just as my bank offers a "login via speaking" option. Lovely.
ParadisoShlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
The audio feed sounds like they're real and drunk.. so that's impressive
dyu- 2 days ago 0 replies      
This trump version [1] is quite believable.[1] https://soundcloud.com/user-535691776/trump-6
mzzter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trump 6 speaking "... my intonation is always different" sounds very convincingly human.
koolba 2 days ago 0 replies      
The President Obama voice sounds decent. But the President Trump and Senator Clinton voices sound like robots. Reminds me of the crappy text to speech program that came with Windows.
vermontdevil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coming soon - fake videos of future political candidates saying outrageous things that will derail their campaigns.

Maybe from now on - just learn ASL. Hard to fake a distinctive signing style.

inetknght 2 days ago 0 replies      
Site doesn't load at all on my machine without some javascript from Cloudflare for Ajax.

I guess this product isn't for me then.

Markoff 2 days ago 0 replies      
it's interesting development but it sounds too robotic, there is zero intonation/punctuation, zero variantions in the voice depending on mood of speaker, etc., in the end extremely robotic and if someone really need to fake someone else voice convincingly it would be still easier to hire professional voice imitator
gwbas1c 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now we can't trust the news anymore. In a year or two we'll never know if recordings are real or not.
Sunset 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now make it say the Navyseal copypasta with Trump's voice, but make him speak slowly and with emphasis.
abetusk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of any free/open source alternatives to this? Is it too new to expect a FOSS library?
leke 2 days ago 0 replies      
OMG I want to play with this so bad.
w8rbt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear. -- Edgar Allan Poe
wirddin 2 days ago 1 reply      
If they can pull this off with the API, this is worth millions of dollars on the table.
nerfhammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hello. My name is Werner Brandes. My voice is my passport. Verify me.
rajacombinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow had no idea something like this was possible. Very impressive.
theemathas 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a matter of time before this can compete with Vocaloid.
mod 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does the API get better results with more training data?
weenkus 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bit scary thinking someone could do this with ease.
simlevesque 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff ! Respect from the 514.
amarant 1 day ago 0 replies      
They lost me at "... Consumers are still not lining up to buy EV's"

What the fuck are they talking about?

hoodoof 2 days ago 0 replies      
It feels like the future has arrived.
gator-io 2 days ago 0 replies      
So much potential for mischief!!
xumx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Be right back (Black Mirror)

let's do it.

rglover 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is fucking terrifying.
selbekk 2 days ago 0 replies      
kkotak 2 days ago 0 replies      
RIP Dan Castellaneta.
backpropaganda 2 days ago 1 reply      
bertlequant 2 days ago 1 reply      
lucidrains 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lol, I totally called this.
afinlayson 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is how a lot of tech companies make proper text2speech, this was just done using the vast amount of audio that's out there for these people.

Soon Trump will use this to state that things he's said are fake news. God help us all.

stefek99 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have two domains:

- legalscreenshot.com

- legalprintscreen.com

I also developed a concept of "Reality Check" similar to Touring Test (when VR and AI becomes so convincing >50% people won't distinguish it from base reality)... Too bad I'm on the corporate network and my personal website is blocked: https://genesis.re/wiki

Aside: do you believe psychedelics should be the part of obligatory astronaut training?

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting solution to plastic pollution phys.org
584 points by fh973  1 day ago   303 comments top 35
sosuke 1 day ago 3 replies      
"To confirm it wasn't just the chewing mechanism of the caterpillars degrading the plastic, the team mashed up some of the worms and smeared them on polyethylene bags, with similar results."

A disturbing but effective way to test the hypothesis.

Clanan 1 day ago 5 replies      
"A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes."

What a great accident.

fenwick67 1 day ago 3 replies      
I am skeptical that any sort of bacteria/insect based plastic decomposition project will address the problems with plastic waste.

The biggest problem with plastic is not with the products that make it into the landfill, where bacteria could be used. The problem is with what happens when they don't make it into a landfill, and they end up as basically permanent pollutants in the water.

rmason 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's already a much better solution to deal with plastic pollution, a naturally degradable material made from corn.

We heavily subsidize both wind power and solar. We even still subsidize gasohol even though it doesn't produce the environmental benefits we first thought that it did.

But we don't subsidize degradable plastic made from corn which isn't used widely because it costs a few cents more than plastic made from oil. That has never made any sense to me.

ars 1 day ago 3 replies      
It makes sense that eventually things would eat plastic.

Lignin (wood) and cellulose are pretty tough to break down, but there are things that eat them.

Plastic fundamentally (chemically) is made of the same stuff as wood, just in a different arrangement of atoms, and releases energy when decomposed. So it seems quite reasonable that there would be things that can eat it.

I think the plastic pollution we are seeing right now is a temporary thing - soon enough there will a large enough population of plastic eaters that it will no longer be a problem.

(We should avoid plastics that have chlorine in them though, except where needed. PVC is the most common example of a plastic like this.)

philipkglass 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is scientifically very interesting but pretty much orthogonal to solving problems with plastic pollution.

The worms can't live in landfills. If you could separate the plastic before landfilling to feed it to worms, then you could just burn whatever separated plastic can't be recycled. (Yes, that releases CO2, but so does having worms and bacteria eat the plastic.) The problem with plastic as waste isn't that it is super-toxic or impossible to destroy. The problem is that it's mixed in with a lot of other kinds of waste. We don't need new ways to destroy polyethylene. We need ways to separate it from mingled waste streams or prevent mingling in the first place.

pc2g4d 1 day ago 1 reply      
One day, landfills are vibrant ecosystems that completely break down whatever is placed inside them. As a compost pile today is to plant waste, a landfill one day could be to plastic, glass, metal, styrofoam, etc. We just need to save the planet long enough that evolution can run its course and some lifeforms start taking advantage of all the energy locked inside our "waste".
ajarmst 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh, yeah, I know how this ends. A year from now, when we're chest-deep in caterpillars, you're going to offer to sell us some caterpillar-eating birds...
nnutter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Three orders of magnitude greater than previously known plastic eating bacteria.
TeMPOraL 1 day ago 8 replies      
Would be good to have plastic waste broken down, but be careful not to take down our whole civilization with it. Almost everything today is made out of plastic...
s0rce 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is new here compared to the linked paper from 3 years ago? https://phys.org/news/2014-12-gut-bacteria-worm-degrade-plas...
kangnkodos 1 day ago 3 replies      
What exactly comes out the other end? Small pieces of plastic?
myegorov 1 day ago 1 reply      
In my experience, common clothes moth[1] or its larvae is also capable of eating through a plastic bag enclosing dry foodstuffs or cereal. Not sure if they're actually digesting it or could survive on the polyethylene diet though.

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

jogjayr 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the best news I've heard all month!

The levels of abraded plastic in our water have gone up steadily over the past half century. While not so much of an immediate threat as rising CO2 levels, it's still something we'll have to contend with eventually. Not to mention the eyesore that is plastic waste. If they can make this work at industrial scale it will really be something!

titojankowski 1 day ago 1 reply      
I bet YC or IndieBio would jump at a project like this, great startup potential.

Scaling up enzymes ftw! Anyone interested?

IndieBio, $250k seed investment: http://indiebio.co/companies/

egwynn 1 day ago 0 replies      
File under Diet of Worms
smithkl42 1 day ago 1 reply      
If there's so much plastic in the ocean, and if it's (obviously) possible for something to evolve in such a way that it can use plastic for nutrition - it seems like we just need to wait a bit, and we'll get some bacteria or weird fish or something like that to solve our floating garbage problem for us. No?
jfoutz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Once a bacteria evolves that has a taste for plastics, we might have some trouble. It's probably not a very energy dense food source, but abs burns pretty well. There's some power there
buschtoens 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not a chemist, but I find it really interesting that some enzymes seem to be so versatile that they can destroy chemical bonds they did not originally evolve for.
ourmandave 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a new Godzilla movie coming in 2019 which is supposed to be a series that revisits all the classic monsters.

Perhaps this could be the new Mothra original story.

namuol 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there any efforts to use computation to discover possible enzymes to solve problems like this?
dghughes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now we're going to end up with plastic butterflies.
olleromam91 20 hours ago 0 replies      
So what do they poop it out as? Something less pollutant than plastic?
macawfish 1 day ago 0 replies      
These kinds of things give me tremendous hope.
accountyaccount 1 day ago 0 replies      
i have traveled back in time to warn you that in the future we have too many caterpillars
notadoc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sooo, cover garbage dumps in caterpillars?
ams6110 1 day ago 0 replies      
The caterpillars are infected with the Andromeda strain, evidently.
partycoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the nylon-eating bacteria discovered in the 70s in Japan.

It generates an enzyme that digests nylon (nylonase).


tossaway322 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason to buy a M1911 instead of a Glock:

Range Instructor: "Mr. Johnson, where's your sidearm?

Mr. Johnson: "I'm sorry sir, the caterpillars ate it!"

But seriously folks, this may turn out to be a problem. I already have ants eating the plastic in my house's wiring.

"'Crazy' Ants, New Invasive Species, Destroys Electric Wiring, Unfazed By Conventional Pesticides":


This situation is getting out of hand. We need worm- and insect-resistant plastics, obviously!

jayeshsalvi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are they sure it doesn't shit plastic back?
snappyTertle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Next story: Caterpillars die from plastic poisoning :(
ensiferum 1 day ago 1 reply      
A typical round about way for human civilization. Since plastic is an environmental problem a logical solution would have been not to produce and use it. Or at least manage its lifetime better. But of course the industry doesn't care about cleaning up since there's no money there.
Painting with Code: Introducing our new open source library React Sketch.app airbnb.design
744 points by pouwerkerk  21 hours ago   82 comments top 19
mshenfield 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Basically, people:

Design a set of re-usable components in Sketch that get turned into JavaScript widgets and used in a product

The JavaScript widgets are are modified, extended, and changed. Maybe a line here, a color here. Designers now sometimes have component designs dont quite match what they look like in the wild

This tool now lets them re-create the Sketch file from the components as the look in the wild. That means when designers work on whole pages, made up of widgets, theyll look exactly like they would in the wild.

jongold 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Hi HN!

Super excited to open source this I'm trying my best to bring design & engineering closer together at Airbnb (and in the world), this has been a super useful project.

I'll be hanging out in this thread all day if you have any questions / want to flame me :)

thebouv 20 hours ago 3 replies      
So, to be clear, a month ago there was an announcement about an app called Sketch (renamed to Snack now apparently) that was a playground for React code, but people said it was a bad name choice because Sketch is already a ui/ux dev/design tool in this space.

But this tool is related to that ui/ux version of Sketch (but with/for React), and not the mis-named Sketch (that was for React)?

Naming is fun.

tlrobinson 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very cool.

It would be even cooler if it could render React components written for the web without modification, maybe in a transparent webview. I'm guessing Sketch would need to add support for that.

udkl 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Do I understand the use-case correctly ? :

1) Create designs in sketch (mainly core components)

2) Code those designs in React that will generate the React translated version of the sketch

3) Use the react generated sketch to build non-core component designs in sketch..

4) When the core design changes, update the react component to match the new designs

5) All the other components in the sketch will automatically start using the new updated sketch component

scrollaway 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks great. And Sketch is incredible. I wish there was something like it available on Linux, or I could run it on Linux somehow. Seeing how important a tool it's becoming to web design makes me uneasy as it's shutting out my ability to do anything design related :/
z3t4 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The classic way for reusing style and layout in web development is to have the style in CSS-files. CSS-files have a URL, so you can include CSS across web pages and take advantage of CDN's and browser caching. CSS have it's problems, but CSS is far superior to in-lining the style al la components.It's good practice to use the native browser components, the component might work very different on a smart-watch, vs a big screen PC, native HTML component will work on both devices! And native HTML components also work with JavaScript turned off! and for visually impaired people using different kinds of screen readers.
1rae 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Would it be possible to use this on the server to create complicated PDF files for download (react -> sketch -> pdf), without using something like this current process (react dom -> html, css -> phantomjs -> pdf)?
brijeshb42 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A boilerplate project to create react-sketchapps


ziikutv 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The website slows down my chrome browser to the point where it lags and I have to backout.
FanaHOVA 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This will come really handy, thank you. I'm trying to build a better infrastructure at work; do you have anything written up about how you work at Airbnb? Your "bring design & engineering closer together" mission sounds like what I'm trying to accomplish, would like to read/chat more about it.
afandian 17 hours ago 1 reply      
What is a "Sketch document"? I didn't see a link or explanation in that page.
vladgur 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Jon was gracious enough to visit us at CollectiveHealth to describe their DLS processes as well as give us a glimpse of what was coming.

Design Systems and related tooling makes total sense at certain scale and I can definitely see both designer and developer efficiency gains from consistent building blocks that Design Systems provide.Jon I'm curious if this would still make sense if AirBnB weren't so invested in React and React Native.

xrjn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
We have just recently started using React for new products that our team develops, doing the design in Sketch. This was already a huge improvement in efficiency compared to doing design in Photoshop and building products with Angular. I'm super excited to try this library on our next project and see how it can streamline the design and development cycle.
mixedbit 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Sketch.app name similarity with SketchUp can be a source of some confusion.
chadlavi 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd really like to try to integrate some of this design philosophy (and what your team lays out in that DLS blog post, too) in my team's design flow. Thanks for this!
throaway4242 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It's great to see a company like airbnb developing and open sourcing so much cool stuff. Are you guys hiring developers?
hoodoof 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not really clear WHAT this is - why would I use it, what would I get if I used it?
fiatjaf 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't use anything from Airbnb (and no, I'm not a hotel or against the "sharing economy", much to the contrary).
Robert M. Pirsig has died npr.org
635 points by molecule  1 day ago   256 comments top 58
cypherpunks01 1 day ago 7 replies      
"Normally screws are so cheap and small and simple you think of them as unimportant. But now, as your Quality awareness becomes stronger, you realize that this one, individual, particular screw is neither cheap nor small nor unimportant. Right now this screw is worth exactly the selling price of the whole motorcycle, because the motorcycle is actually valueless until you get the screw out. With this reevaluation of the screw comes a willingness to expand your knowledge of it."
a_d 1 day ago 1 reply      
I spent a long summer in 1998 researching the life of Mr Pirsig. Here is some little known trivia - some of the years when he disappeared, were spent in Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi, India) with Prof Mukherjee (head of the philosophy department) learning about Indian (Hindu) philosophy. I met Prof MUkherjee, who was retired by the time I went looking for him. I tracked him down and asked him if he remembered Mr Robert Pirsig (I took a picture that I had printed from the internet). He told me about a curious "American fellow" who used to "audit" the classes in the philosophy department, hang around the library and the canteen - and would seek him out to have discussions with him. He said that he was very quiet and nice guy.

Interestingly, Prof Mukherjee had no idea that Mr Pirsig has written this cult book or that he was a famous author/philosopher. To him, he was just an odd student (because of his age).

I wrote about this in our campus newspaper - but no one cared. I thought that I was the only fan of Mr Pirsig in this small town in India. Once I found the internet I discovered that I wasn't alone. It was a great feeling.

Anyway, i was very proud that he went to the same university that i went to. It was exciting to learn that in 1998! Also, while i didn't fully get the philosophy-the father and son journey in Zen really meant a lot to me while growing up.

Edit: by the way, Prof Mukherjee is mentioned in his book "Lila", and that is how I found him.

Edit2: "Lila", the name of Mr Pirsig's second book, seems to have been inspired by his stay in Varanasi (India). In Sanskrit, the word Lila is "a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play by the divine". Someone on Wikipedia also seems to have made this connection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lila:_An_Inquiry_into_Morals

Edit3: I spent the last hour digging into a 15-year-old hard drive (oh, what painful fun). I found a folder with my notes on Robert Pirsig! Most interestingly, my meeting notes with Dr. Mukherjee. I gave him the book and he flipped through the chapter for 20 minutes reading the sections I had underlined (where his name was mentioned). This frail man of seventy, said with a smile on his face: "He must not have been an attentive student. I never taught him this way". Most of the notes are about him reminiscing about the "golden years" of the philosophy department when according to him many great philosophers came to visit and study at the philosophy department at Banaras Hindu University.

gerbilly 1 day ago 2 replies      
I read once somewhere that a reviewer said something along the lines of: "He didn't understand Zen and he didn't understand motorcycle maintenance either."[1]

However I read it several times and I think that interpretation is very uncharitable.

It is a touching big hearted story about a fractured person struggling to put himself back together while trying to connect with his son and while trying to figure out what it means to live 'the good life.'[2]

If what he had was metal illness, I think that he might be an example of someone putting it to the best use possible.

I'm honestly not sure if the MOQ holds up as philosophy or not, or even as a coherent mystical system. But I can say that I wish there were more books like it, that is to say: written by authors way on the fringe of mainstream thought.

[1] My critique about the Zen aspect is that Buddhism is not something you theorize about, it is something you practice. To theorize about Buddhism would be like a guy who reads a lot about golf trivia, golf training, golf biographies, but does not play golf. Golf is a thing you do, an aspiration to get the ball into the little hole. It is something you have to embody and realize in yourself. Buddhism more resembles learning a sport or a craft than a philosophy.

[2] Many of us should be so lucky to achieve even one of those things in a lifetime.

rgrieselhuber 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was kind of a punk in high school and I was in a week-long suspension room for skipping a bunch of classes. The room monitor was this cool older dude with a long beard who talked a lot about life, philosophy, and things like that.

We weren't allowed to read or do anything but sit in boredom during suspension (school rules) but he made an exception for me if I wanted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (at his recommendation).

I bought a copy and brought it to suspension the next day, read the whole thing that week. Good memories thanks to the room monitor dude and an excellent book.

theprop 1 day ago 2 replies      
And you think you're having troubles with your startup?

"Zen was published in 1974, after being rejected by 121 publishing houses...then Pirsig lived reclusively and worked on his second book Lila for 17 years before its publication in 1991."

"Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, then for all practical purposes it doesn't exist at all. But for all practical purposes it really does exist."

ffdixon1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I must have ready ZMM at least seven times (so far) in my life. Back when I was taking an undergraduate, I read it the first time and was inspired to take as many English courses as I could. I wanted to be a technical writer. After a series of co-op work-terms in the field (the companies loved a tech writer who could also program), I landed a full-time job as a technical writer in a large telecommunications company. I would read ZMM on the bus to work for inspiration. Pirsig could write with such clarity that I tried to emulate him in my writing (as I'm sure all poor writers do). I eventually returned to programming as it was my first love. The job as a tech writer definitely improved my writing skills, and reading ZMM definitely improved my life.
cypherpunks01 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you love the book and haven't seen the other photos from the trip, check them outit's 12 photos Pirsig took during the summer 1968 trip! Pirsig sent them to a professor who was doing ZMM-related research:


nickbauman 1 day ago 4 replies      
While I enjoyed the book, for me going back over it years later, in the afterword for the second edition: a crushing blow. It now overshadows the book for me. It describes the murder and aftermath many years later of his son that was featured in the novel. Here. I found it. Read it.



Insanity 1 day ago 1 reply      
May he rest in peace.

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance was one of the first books on philosophy that I read outside of my philosophy curriculum at university and it stayed with me.

It's a great book discussing the metaphysics of quality, but not just that. It's written in a captivating way, mixing both the 'food for thought' as well as a pleasant narative about a father and a son on a motorcycle trip.

It's one of the philosophy books that I can recommend to people who are not directly interested in philosophy as well, which gave me some quite fun discussions with my friends about the topics in the book without being too deep into the philosophy itself.

dap 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Zen" has its strengths and weaknesses, but I found its discussion about "gumption traps" (Chapter 26, I believe) to be absolute, solid gold. Pirsig's description of what it's like to do gritty work on a complex system -- and all the logical, mental, and emotional blocks associated with that -- really resonated with my experience as a software engineer, and they've helped me get better at being aware of those blocks and getting past them.

May he rest in peace.

CurtMonash 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish more people had read that book.

Anybody with some education in philosophy figures out that utter, logical-proof certainty can't be had. So what does one do for epistemology instead? There are two main alternatives:

-- Religious-style faith. This is not my preferred choice.

-- An aesthetically-tinged approach to epistemology.

What I mean by the latter is, for example, generalizing Occam's Razor into usability. The problem with Occam's Razor is that it says, in effect, "In case of doubt go with the simpler answer", without giving a general way to judge what's simpler. Any solution to that problem winds up being an aesthetic kind of judgment.

Turing_Machine 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Phdrus' provocation informed the Chairman that his substantive field was now philosophy, not English composition. However, he said, the division of study into substantive and methodological fields was an outgrowth of the Aristotelian dichotomy of form and substance, which nondualists had little use for, the two being identical.

He said he wasn't sure, but the thesis on Quality appeared to turn into an anti-Aristotelian thesis. If this was true he had chosen an appropriate place to present it. Great Universities proceeded in a Hegelian fashion and any school which could not accept a thesis contradicting its fundamental tenets was in a rut. This, Phdrus claimed, was the thesis the University of Chicago was waiting for.

He admitted the claim was grandiose and that value judgments were actually impossible for him to make since no person could be an impartial judge of his own cause. But if someone else were to produce a thesis which purported to be a major breakthrough between Eastern and Western philosophy, between religious mysticism and scientific positivism, he would think it of major historic importance, a thesis which would place the University miles ahead. In any event, he said, no one was really accepted in Chicago until he'd rubbed someone out. It was time Aristotle got his."

matt4077 1 day ago 2 replies      
There's a rather negative critique floating around that someone is bound to post, sooner than later. And it is, in itself, worth reading. It's possibly even rightI read both the book and the critique twice, and came away believing both, somewhat paradoxically.

But I wish to make the case that the book is worth reading for its literary value alone. The narrative parts are a gentle, beautiful telling of this father/son trip across the northwest, and reading it will leave you with enjoying nature (or, more generally, reality) with something like a calm optimism.

lanbanger 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's no exaggeration to say that this book changed my life. I learned so much from it, and apply what I learned on a daily basis. I was only thinking a couple of weeks ago that it's time for another re-read: that's definitely the case now.

RIP Robert M. Pirsig :-(

cm2012 1 day ago 3 replies      
Not a fan of the book (it calls to mind an acid trip - the author sounds like he understands something deeper, but there's no clarity to it), but the author undeniably had a thought process different than the mainstream, which is always valuable.
vr46 1 day ago 2 replies      
The conclusion to one of my favourite sections:

"In other words, any true German mechanic, with a half-century of mechanical finesse behind him, would have concluded that this particular solution to this particular technical problem was perfect."

Anyone else remember that bit? I now ride a big BMW R1200RT. I wonder if this book influenced me to do that? RIP Mr Pirsig

phlakaton 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I stumbled across this quote somewhere in my university days: "The errors of great [people] are venerable because they are more fruitful than the truths of little [people]." (It's Nietzsche reflecting on Schopenhauer IIUC and it's a quote I think can apply equally well to Nietzsche himself!)

I think this applies to a lot of the great writing I have loved, and perhaps Pirsig's ZAAMM falls into this bucket. After all, for all of its classical philosophical underpinnings and serious intent, it does not seem to have achieved much status as as work of philosophy. You won't find Pirsig's name (except in passing) in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, for example. The book is also over a generation old. I suppose there's a question, therefore, of whether it will endure as a book that future generations will draw inspiration and ideas from.

Nevertheless, I think it stands admirably as a iconoclastic, genre-bashing, cross-pollinating, fascinating exploration of philosophical ideas, and, as Pirsig himself observed, as a "culture-bearer" of the time and place it was written. This makes it a classic of American writing as far as I am concerned, if not a classic treatise in philosophy.

RIP, Mr. Pirsig.

jackhack 23 hours ago 1 reply      
For those who enjoyed "ZenATAOMM", I found another in a similar vein: "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work"

"...author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world."


dwe3000 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't remember how I came across it, but I remember reading it early in high school - 9th grade, I think - and loving it. While the philosophy was a great read, the ideas of understanding and caring for your equipment influenced my thoughts on all the technology I use, even if I'm not a mechanic.
dugditches 1 day ago 1 reply      
If anyone hasn't heard this(hour long):http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2623057085

An interview with someone who interviewed Pirsig. With clips from that original interview.

Very, very good radio.

From personal relation to the book. When I was young I went on a motorcycle trip on the back of my father's motorcycle, with his friend and son.

We pulled into a small rural gas station, and there was a younger guy filling up a small foreign car. And he just started laughing upon talking to us. He had just taken time off his undergrad after reading a book about man and his son on a motorcycle trip. And wrote the name down on the back of our map.

While I was far to young to understand the book at first, reading it over again and again as I got older it was a different learning experience each time as I grew.

temp246810 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>>"The book is brilliant beyond belief," wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. "It is probably a work of genius and will, I'll wager, attain classic status."

Amazing when things like that are foretold. (Yes I know, survivorship bias blah blah)

sizzzzlerz 1 day ago 3 replies      
Was there a US university philosophy class in the 70s and 80s that didn't include reading this book? Maybe outside the US, as well. Someone said about it that it was as much about riding and fixing motorcycles as Moby Dick was about whaling. Much like the book, I'm not sure I totally understand that but you can't deny its importance.
arh68 1 day ago 3 replies      
A thought occurred to me the other day. What if it's not so good to "be one with the bicycle" ? What I mean is, I feel the narrator identifies too strongly with the machine. The frustrations of the machine translate directly to him, leading to crap avoiding gumption traps.

Like composition v. inheritance, you don't always want to become the thing, you just want to use it. It's dangerous to become a thing, especially one without any Quality.

Maybe I resonate more strongly now with the BMW driver. I don't know. Maybe I didn't really understand the book.

rmc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a great philosophy book, but kinda rubbish as a motorcycle travel book. I recommend Jupiters Travels (from the same era) for an excellent motorcycle travel book.
dustinkirkland 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've (re-)read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance every time I've bought a motorcycle [1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2014].

Pirsig's concept of "quality" sticks with me in every decision I make as a parent, engineer, and product manager.

RIP, Mr. Pirsig.

craneca0 1 day ago 0 replies      
You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.
inimino 1 day ago 0 replies      
This book was on my reading list for many years, and I finally read it a couple years ago. A wonderful book.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes reading. It's not just the philosophy and it's not just the story, it's the way they are part of the same whole, with deep roots in the American landscape, that makes this book so special. Now I want to revisit it and see if I can pick up his later work as well.

If you still haven't read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

seanxh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think its important now to tie care to Quality by pointing out that care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person whos bound to have some characteristics of Quality Thank you and RIP Mr.Pirsig
botswana99 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a lot for an engineer to love in the ZMM -- fixing things, a meditation on screws, the quality of shims, and father-son story. It's tempting for a rational engineer to laugh at philosophy. But it's a quality book.
westoncb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read a little over half of ZMM about a year ago, and there's one aspect of it that caught my attention which I'm surprised to not see mentioned here.

He gives a break down of a certain style of thinking about things where you break the subject down into parts and the relationships between the parts. He gives examples in technical writing that this process has a degree of arbitrariness to it. His circumscribing the general process of conceptualizing things suggests that the process itself has limits, and while valuable, is not everything (despite the tendency of certain mentalities to see things that way. He has an ongoing contrast between himself who is inclined to think that way and others who aren't.) I see this as a bridge to understanding Eastern philosophy's low opinion of language and penchant for indirect explanations.

udkl 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are thinking of purchasing this book from the kindle store, buy the mass market paper book for $3.99 and then matchbook it to get the kindle version for $2. This way you end up with 2 copies for the price of the standalone kindle version and you can give one away.

I borrowed the book from the public library just last week.

luckydude 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the Zen book but did not understand it at all the first time I read it (somewhere in grade/high school). All I got the first time around was that it was sort of a boring book about a dude taking a motorcycle ride and there was a lot I skipped over.

Read again when I was a bit more ready to hear it and wow, profound book. The church of reason lecture is awesome. And timeless.

I hope this guy found some peace in his life, I did get the sense that he was struggling but that's just a guess.

iaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
My first thought: why is that name so familiar?

My second: Oh.

Pirsig's book was there for me during a challenging time of my life. I never finished it, but I'm not so confident that I really needed to. Just starting the book in many ways can be enough.

andrewbinstock 1 day ago 2 replies      
A wonderful book that I'm amazed ever got published. Still, as noted in wikipedia: "It was originally rejected by 121 publishers, more than any other bestselling book, according to the Guinness Book of Records."

[edited to remove spoiler I shouldn't have mentioned -- my apologies]

emmelaich 1 day ago 1 reply      
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is not a very good book but it is a good book.

I loved it and will always remember it when I have forgotten many other books. It is not a 'philosophy' book but it is quite philosophical.

It's worth a read but it's slow in parts. Push yourself through or skip a few chapters.

Like many other readers my favourite part is the drink can as shim.

MrBra 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember reading his book years ago and thinking it was an amazing read. I don't remember much about it now and I will for sure take a look at it again. I highly suggest it!
bariswheel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rest in peace, Mr. Robert Pirsig. Your books stimulated and entertained my intellect during my high school/undergrad years, served as a gateway to get a better grip on philosophy in general, and had a lasting influence on me this day. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
HAL9OOO 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never post here but this saddens me greatly, his ideas spoke to me on another level.
slvrspoon 1 day ago 0 replies      

For those who are interested, a little more info to contribute...

RP, apparently though I can't substantiate, was tested as having a "Genius level IQ" as an early child.

After reading both ZMM and LILA carefully, I believe he has gotten as close as anyone to a philosophy that explains humanity and blends successfully eastern and western history and perspective on such.

LILA is the serious effort and a far more important book, though it has gone largely ignored.

Some interesting info for fans to dig into here:http://robertpirsig.org/AHP%20Transcript%203.html

amy12xx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found the road trip part of the book enjoyable, but the philosophy (Quality) talk a bit drawn out and something I didn't get. Have been intermittently reading it, but haven't finished it yet.
baali 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had finished reading the book(ZAAMM) recently. I have been sharing its snippets with friends and talking over them. I found it really insightful and reflective.
coss 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really enlightening book. Definitely among my top three of all time.
runevault 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've owned the ebook of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for years but never read it. I think I need to finally make time for that book.
fineline 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wer reitet so spt durch Nacht und Wind?Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind.-- Goethe

Vale Pirsig

DubiousPusher 1 day ago 0 replies      
Zen is still a great gateway text into philosophies Eastern and Western. It's nice he lived to a ripe old age.
musgravepeter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Easily the book I have re-read the most times.
accountyaccount 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a lot to pick at about the book, but it's a great introduction to some basic philosophical concepts.
pasbesoin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember -- belatedly, after a few suggestions to do so -- reading "Zen" the summer after I graduated. I rarely notate in a book, but that copy ended up full of notes in the margins.

At the time, I thought it was one of the most significant things I'd read. Of course, I was young, and it was a long time ago. (And then, life and injury and illness and... well, a distinct lack of quality happened, and I never got back to it.)

I've been meaning, intending, lately, to reread it. Last year, I was invited into a book club. I've considered suggesting it -- I think I will.

Quality. Eloquence, in a word.

P.S. I've been thinking about getting a bike and riding for a summer. Adequate, but not overdone -- and quiet.

Piece by piece, this rough idea has been sketching itself in.

Don't know why I'm telling HN, this, or why you should care. Except that we all should care about quality. And about a man who thought and felt hard on the topic and in turn gave us much to think about. Reflected much of ourselves, to ourselves -- giving us eyes and ears into ourselves and our choices.


shirazi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very sad to hear this news. May he rest in peace.
breeze_em_out 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me guess, there will mysteriously be no black bar.
mmaunder 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIP Phaedrus.
winter11 1 day ago 0 replies      
how did he die and when
camperman 1 day ago 3 replies      
My introduction to Quality Without a Name and motorcycling. I still ride and still appreciate engineering that somehow manages to be greater than just the sum of its parts: the Leica M3, the Blackbird SR71, the HP 12C.
winter11 1 day ago 0 replies      
how did he die
mtempm 1 day ago 5 replies      
It's amazing public schools are permitted to do this. There's nothing for the kid to grow from in a child sitting around doing nothing. Children grow from experiences and challenges. Minds forced into isolation with no stimulation are stunted, and there's scientific evidence to support that. Obviously one week is not going to make or break a person, but this school policy is exceptionally ignorant.
anigbrowl 1 day ago 4 replies      
We weren't allowed to read or do anything but sit in boredom during suspension (school rules)

What kind of fucking school discourages people from reading even if they're in detention. Stories like this make me glad I didn't grow up in the USA.

maerF0x0 1 day ago 3 replies      
I didnt understand apple until I read this book. Before then I was a total robot.
Evidence-based advice we've found on how to be successful in a job 80000hours.org
613 points by robertwiblin  20 hours ago   226 comments top 32
orasis 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Your location is important in many other ways. One survey of 20,000 people in the US found that satisfaction with location was a major component of life satisfaction.10

This is because where you live determines many important aspects of your life. It determines the types of people youll spend time with. It determines your day-to-day environment and commute."

So much this. I moved to a town with much higher quality people and my happiness has taken a big positive bump.

cJ0th 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Berthold Brecht once said:"The opposite of good is not evil, it's good intention". Unfortunately, this article is filled to the brim with good intentions.

If I could talk to my 20 year old self I would recommend this: Stay away from the Internet as much as possible and don't look for general advice.

Most information is of little use no matter whether it's right, wrong, deep, entertaining, scientific, religious, whatever... Many may realize that but they continue to consume. The common trap is that most of us think there is no downside to consuming information and this, in my humble opinion is a huge mistake! It seems to me that the more stuff we shovel into our heads, the less able we are to get active. There is constantly such a long queue of inputs our brain wants to process that we have little energy left to actually develop intentions. When intention crystallize, motivation follows and so does action. I'd argue that people of average intelligence are not lacking success because they miss precious advice. It's because they don't actually have intentions! They can't allow themselves (mainly for financial oder societal reason, I assume) to relax and wait for curiosity to kick in. Instead they have it backwards: They hear about people who are having a career, they hear about others forming families, they hear the news telling them how the IOT is the future, they read up on cool stuff on wikipedia, read the biographies of celebreties, random stuff on reddit, they read career advice .... And then, from all that garbage, they try to deduce what to do. In most cases, that doesn't truly work because the result is not in line with their natural appetites and abilities.

lucb1e 7 hours ago 6 replies      
> The worlds ten largest urban economic regions hold only 6.5% of the worlds population, but account for 57% of patented innovations, 53% of the most cited scientists and 43% of economic output. That means the people in these regions are about eight times more productive than the average person.

Wow, they probably have no idea where their bananas come from. More productive than the average person if you look at scientific output only, but science is what improves our lives in the long run. The rest of the population does the work that needs doing to stay alive.

hedgew 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The amount of low-quality, negative comments here is surprising. I read the whole article carefully and it seems quite reasonable.
adamredwoods 18 hours ago 4 replies      
"Much other advice is just one persons opinion, or useless clichs."

This article is similar to just that: useless clichs. I clicked to read more about the evidence backing up each item, but it's only in the footnotes? In other words, the footnotes are MUCH more interesting than the article.

rawland 6 hours ago 2 replies      
BenjaminTood, thank you for this guide. It definitively paints a picture where society is heading.

 Naturally comes the question: Where does the guide guide you to? To what person does it guide you?
Everything about this reminded me of the movie The Ticket, where the previously truly blind main character becomes blinded by the superficial in his pursuit of "The Successful Life".

What world is this, in which every human interaction happens in background of some kind of utility function?

In the end we all want to be happy, right? Numerous studies find, that 'the most salient characteristics shared by students who were very happy and showed the fewest signs of depression were "their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them." ("The New Science of Happiness," Claudia Wallis, Time Magazine, Jan. 09, 2005).' [1]

I'm very sorry to say this: sadly enough, it's not how good you perform, but where you are born, what has the biggest impact on your career. [2]

From the About page of 80000hours:

 Our aim is to help as many people as possible lead high-impact careers. We do this by providing career advice for talented young people who want to have a social impact. Over a third of young graduates want to make a difference with their careers,1 but they have little idea what to do
Maybe that's the main problem here? "[Having] little idea what to do". Being raised as sheep doesn't really teach you, how to stand for your own ideals.

And that's why I'm proud of HN. Because we are!


[1]: http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/com...

[2]: In Germany 85% of all chairmen are emerging from the upper 3.5% (income-wise) families [3]. This is especially remarkable as it's only a very thin slice, which makes up basically everybody in these positions. These upper 3.5% want you to become as high-performing as possible. Guess, why?

[3]: https://www.amazon.de/Gestatten-Elite-Spuren-M%C3%A4chtigen-...

Gustomaximus 13 hours ago 4 replies      
How is this voted to second place on front page? Feels like Reddit where people obviously vote on the headline before reading the article.

A side point form this, it would be interesting if HN/Reddit or other platforms brought in a quality score to peoples upvotes to negate people who do tend to upvote catchy headlines.

That or 287 people other than me found this article interesting and useful...

tryitnow 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty disappointing list.

First, the items do not tend to be mutually exclusive - there's a lot of overlap with each other. I interpret that as a sign of poor organization. It makes the whole thing hard to follow.

Second, most of this stuff isn't remotely evidence based! Plus, there's no way to understand the effect size even when some technique does have evidence supporting it.

Overall, this is too much of a data dump to be helpful. The author should have ranked ordered these items based on the cumulative evidence supporting each one - that would have been extremely useful.

henryaj 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this a lot - a nice balance of strongly evidence-based ways of being happier and more productive, and a summary of more anecdotal (but likely still useful) self-help techniques. To those kvetching about the latter, I think they're still valuable - particularly as it saves me wading through hundreds of self-help books for the occasional gem.
BenjaminTodd 19 hours ago 12 replies      
Hey, I'm the author of the post. Happy to take questions, and keen to hear ideas about what else we might add.
theprop 17 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the most important determiners of whether you're happy and satisfied in your job is your commute time. Happiness, job satisfaction and longevity at your job decrease significantly as your commute time extends more than 20 minutes.
sAbakumoff 9 hours ago 5 replies      
The article does not answer the ultimate question : Why should one ever care to be successful in a job?
cypher303 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, if psychology studies were presented as opinion pieces I would take them much more seriously.
mvpu 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Bah. Another listicle... although, #5 (social skills) and #6 (great people) are good enough for me. If you surround yourself with great people, your motivation to do great work is high. If you develop good social skills, you're more effective working in teams. Great people + great collaboration = great career in the long run.
Asdfbla 16 hours ago 0 replies      
While probably not wrong, such lists about how to optimize my lifestyle make me anxious if anything. It kinda suggests if I don't start my fitness diary, self-improvement plan and life goal milestone list right now, I'm wasting my time.
kelukelugames 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't think the Charisma Myth is worth reading, but the first 3 tips she gives are great.

1) Don't end your sentences on a rising inflection. Makes you sound unsure.2) Don't nod you heard more than once during a sentence when someone else is speaking. Makes you look to eager.3) Take a breath before you speak. Doing so makes you come across as confident, prepared, thoughtful, and composed.

taurath 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You know what blows in the US? If you are unemployed, its damn expensive to get treatment for any mental health issues. If you can even get medicare, you can get covered for basically a community counselor - the time that most people could most benefit from the help of a psychologist or licensed therapist is the time they can least afford it.
lorenzosnap 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Good article.I am unsure about point 7 "Consider changing where you live"I accept that for some careers this might be inevitable but in a truly connected world it's also nice to follow the opposite advise and spot opportunities where you are
raleighm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I dislike the popular phrase "evidence-based" to describe practices/advice. All reasoning should be evidence-based. Experience can be a source of evidence. The results of double-blind studies require interpretation, about which reasonable people will disagree. Many "evidence-based" findings could correctly be viewed as "one person's opinion".
graycat 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For the objective of the OP, my single most important piece of advice is: And may I have the envelope please? And the nominees are, work harder, improve your knowledge and skills relevant to the job, get noticed by the C-level people, come in early and leave late, and play politics. And the winner is [drum roll, please] by a wide margin

 Play politics.
For more, usually assume that your direct supervisor does not want you to do more or better because that might get you promoted over him. Instead, he wants you to do not very well. Then he can have an excuse to fire you. Then he can argue that he has to pay your better replacement more, and then, since the supervisor gets paid at least 15% more than his highest paid subordinate, the supervisor gets paid more. And he is sure to hire someone, really, less good than the one he fired. Really, what the supervisor wants as subordinates is a lot of people who can't challenge him and, from their large number and relatively high salaries, get him paid more.

For more, there may be some cliques; join them and appear to be loyal to them.

A lot of the advice in the OP will scare your supervisor and cause him to try to get rid of you.

Net, play politics.

For one step more, the politics you are playing is well known in the literature of public administration, organizational behavior, and sociology and is called goal subordination where the workers subordinate the goals of the organization to their own goals.

Goal subordination is common in middle management in an organization big enough to have several levels of management. There commonly a middle manager wants to arrange that his position is relatively well paid and stable. To this end he wants to build an empire of subordinates who will not challenge him. The middle manager gets paid more because of his relatively large number of subordinates.

In a lot of medium to large organizations, an employee who is a star gets attacked. E.g., an employee A who sells more makes the other employees look bad, and they can retaliate by sabotaging employee A.

E.g., in a research university, never tell the others how your research is going. Instead, say nothing until the corresponding papers are PUBLISHED -- then it is too late for the others to sabotage the research, e.g., cause you to waste time by constantly dropping by your office to talk, putting you on silly committees, assigning you new courses to teach where you have to do new preparations, etc.

Net, instead of working to make the organization more successful, it is super common to replace reality with easier to do/defend processes and to fight with others in the company, especially just down the hall.

landmark3 8 hours ago 0 replies      
my rule number one to be successful in a job is not to be obsessed about it
shmerl 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> Go to Silicon Valley for technology, LA for entertainment, New York for advertising / fashion / finance, Boston or Cambridge (UK) for science, London for finance, and so on.

That kind of remains a clich, but it's less relevant today.

suneilp 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this article, yet, there is this obsession with evidence that I can't quite pinpoint and it bugs me.
logfromblammo 19 hours ago 1 reply      
6. Build your social network.

7. Abandon your current social network and move to a city where you can make better friends.

Both of those things may help generate career success individually, but probably not both of them together, in that order.

profalseidol 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe understanding how the world really works is a must.
jtraffic 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This article is ostensibly about "how to be successful in a job". One of the pieces of advice is "Figure out how to perform better in your job." Nice.

I have some advice about how to succeed in life: "Figure out how to perform better in your life."

jonathankoren 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"To avoid colds and flus its important to vacuum yourself daily. We recommend Dyson."

This is a joke right?

SteveParker60 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Stopped reading after seven seconds - giant animated pop-up.

Dear websites: please please stop doing this.

atemerev 19 hours ago 8 replies      
Right. Take care of yourself, deal with your mental issues, start every morning with cheap motivational yadda-yadda, improve your social skills -- and you can live long and stay healthy, while generating more profit for your employers and being less of a nuisance to your insurance company.

What a time to be alive!

deft 17 hours ago 7 replies      
Upvotes on an anti-capitalist comment on HN?!? Why I never....

To all the 'gracious employers': we are sick of working for pennies while you peddle psychobabble to get us to work harder. The problem is our exploitation. The end.

yuwotm8 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Piece of crap article. There's a difference between "thinking positively" and fantasising about how good your future life is going to be.
thinbeige 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Well written post and a smart idea to generate affiliate revs. With that amount of Amazon links you in that article you should have a click-through of more than 70% and a conversion on Amazon around 10%.
Uber gets sued over alleged Hell program to track Lyft drivers techcrunch.com
418 points by indexerror  1 day ago   217 comments top 16
sillysaurus3 1 day ago 24 replies      
So, no one was really able to answer my question last thread. In fact, I mostly got snarky condescending replies. I've stopped caring about such things though, so hopefully good-faith questions are still welcome:

What's wrong with Uber tracking Lyft drivers? What is wrong with using a competitor's API to get real-time tactical information about them? Not only did it not harm Lyft drivers, but it actually aided them: Several of them were offered hundreds of dollars by Uber to switch companies. Most drivers are trying to make end's meet, and from speaking directly with drivers, this was seen as a universally positive thing. "I was like, yes! Where do I sign? $400 bucks is amazing. Too bad my car was too old for Uber."

Though I guess if Mr. Gonzales wins his lawsuit, it will give the answer to these questions and more.

WhitneyLand 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is something weird about the tactics of Uber execs. I don't think it's all an ethics failure.

A lot of the lying and cheating they do seems like an objectively poor risk/reward proposition and I think many companies would not even get to the ethics question because they would stop when realizing the ideas are stupid when you add up the negatives.

Stealing Google's autonomous auto IP could be a crime that actually moves the needle for the company (if it turns out they are guilty), so I guess they at least had significant upside with that one.

dinedal 1 day ago 7 replies      
How does anyone, when asked to build such a program, not raise an objection, or say something?

The ethical compromise made on behalf of all involved is startling, if this is true.

fencepost 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure that a Lyft driver suing has as much bad potential for Uber as a class action of former Uber drivers. Given the reported churn there's likely a significant pool of those drivers, and since Uber apparently considers both Lyft and McDonald's as competitors, it seems likely that many of them are not feeling wealthy.

IIRC the previous coverage noted that Uber was providing incentives to drivers who were using both systems, including both bonuses and steering passengers to the both-systems drivers to incentivize them to drop Lyft and only drive for Uber. The corollary of that is that there are a bunch of Uber-only drivers and former drivers who had their incomes hurt by Uber's redirection of profitable fares to 2-system drivers. THAT may be actionable, and a class action of former drivers seems like it wouldn't be that hard to put together.

Dangeranger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a separate lawsuit from Lyft Inc., or is the sole lawsuit originating as a class action filed on the behalf of the driver(s)?

It would seem to me that the Lyft company has the strongest case here against Uber based on a violation of the terms of service for the private API that Uber abused.

If Lyft were successful in their lawsuit, that would lend confidence to a follow-on suit by drivers.

misiti3780 1 day ago 2 replies      
Uber lost me as a customer if there are other options. I was in Houston this past weekend and everyone is using Uber, no one using Lyft, etc.

I ended up downloading their app and using it all weekend, and uninstalled it as soon as I got to the airport. I wonder how many other cities are basically exclusively Uber currently ?

jansho 1 day ago 5 replies      
One after the other. To put a conspiracy/playful hat on - seriously this is not my serious opinion - could it be that Uber is getting set up? Not necessarily framed but "oops, this just got leaked" set of dominoes. Apparently quite a few people are mad at Uber, like Apple, and Google, and the taxi drivers ...
alistproducer2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber lost me as a customer a couple months ago. Now we just need some competition for lyft so they don't become the only game in town.
freewizard 1 day ago 3 replies      
From the code name of these projects from Uber: Heaven(God View) / Hell, you can pretty much tell this company thinks it's playing god.

This is terrifying and must be stopped!

moomin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or would it save Uber a lot of time if they just got the lawyers to go over discovery in one pass for every project they run?

It might be erm... tantamount to admitting most of your activity is subject to legal challenge but the cost savings would be astronomical.

artursapek 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uber can't seem to stay out of the news.
dudidi 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone here tells me is Uber even trying to fix all the problems? Do they consider any of their controversial strategies morally wrong? Or they're just trying to make everything looks fine?
p0nce 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uber keeps being Uber, a shady investment and value-destroying business.
sidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber might become the Napster of our times. Although I wish it doesn't happen.
nodesocket 1 day ago 2 replies      
It is no coincidence that Techcrunch loves writing negative articles about Uber almost weekly now.... It draws in page views which equals ad revenue from the constantly outraged.
david-cako 1 day ago 5 replies      
Uber can't seem to catch a break these days, can they.

Can anyone explain how this is different from Google and Facebook following you around with informatics everywhere you go on the internet? The favicon trick is a pretty good example.

How to Become Well-Connected firstround.com
513 points by rchen8  22 hours ago   131 comments top 28
AndrewKemendo 20 hours ago 8 replies      
This whole thing has a huge assumption behind it: That you're someone worth being connected to.

His distinction between the Hunted and the Hunters is great, but 99% of people don't fall into the "Hunted" category unless they are doing something exceptional - and even those doing something exceptional aren't typically hunted.

So while I think this is a good list, and it's pretty bog standard Carnegie/How to read people/HUMINT etc..., the most important thing you can do to become well connected is to be doing something that is worth connecting to.

netvarun 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Title is obviously a little click-baity. But I can attest that Chris Fralic practices what he preaches.

Back in 2013, yours truly was a fresh college grad, fresh off the boat, to play the SV lottery.

He took an hour long meeting with us, and politely declined to invest and explained his reasoning (probably the only VC who did that and which I really appreciated at that time since pretty much everyone else 'let me circle back'-ed out of orbit).

He could have cut us of there, but he went the extra mile, got us a couple of passes for us to the ChannelAdvisor conference in Vegas that year - through which we ended up getting a couple of customers!

ryandrake 20 hours ago 7 replies      
I consider myself reasonably outgoing, but I've always viewed "networking" as kind of slimy and insincere. At a fundamental level, population A has little to offer / little power and population B has a lot, and networking is the set of personal interactions that population A employs in order to have a shot at interacting/transacting with population B. The "hunter/hunted" relationship mentioned in this article is a key differentiator between networking and other forms of human interaction. All of the various tactics described in this article and others about effective networking just seem to boil down to pretty abstractions on top of that crass business logic. Convey genuine appreciation, listen with intent, blah blah blah--everyone doing the dance knows what the music is all about. Nobody is fooling anyone.

Networking is definitely a skill, I'll give you that, but it has the sincerity of a sales pitch.

SandersAK 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish articles like this would start with "hey, i come from a place of extreme privilege, and assuming you're in the same boat, here's what i did and it worked out ok for me given the amount of resources i had to take the risks i did."

Instead, it gets treated as a sort of recipe which further exacerbates the problem of selection bias and network bias.

A lot of this type of thinking is shielded by the immense wealth and agency that the kingmakers have. But the reality is that these types of networks are fraught with horse-traders and backchannel power exchanges.

I'm not hating though, I understand the game plays out like that. But if you're not cultivating a community of real people connected to you, you'll get chewed up.

Matetricks 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Chris is an amazing person who takes the time to get to know you.

When we were fundraising, instead of having us do a regular pitch he took me to an event where Peter Thiel was giving a talk about his new book. We were a chess education company, so he thought it would be good for us to talk with Thiel as he's a chess master himself.

He didn't end up investing in us but my experience with him was much more memorable than any of the other meetings we had while fundraising.

hellogoodbyeeee 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Id love some opinions on a couple networking questions I have. I'm looking for a new job currently and I'm trying to be more proactive in networking. Is it presumptuous to cold email somebody and ask them for coffee? I imagine everyone is busy and doesn't have time for coffee with strangers, but I really hate talking on the phone. And if the person I am emailing is someone I want to work for, should I be upfront about looking for a position or should the initial email be more of a request for an informational interview on the industry or company?
pdog 21 hours ago 4 replies      
These are good techniques for working a network but you'll need better advice than "be human" if you want to be influential.

Networking is overrated. Figure out what you're good at and make sure people hear about it. The network will take care of itself.

caseysoftware 20 hours ago 0 replies      
As a developer evangelist for years, I've found the most important question to ask people is also the simplest:

"What are you working on right now?"

Some people will talk about their job, their side project, their hobby, their kids, or whatever. And you can see their passion and what excites them. If you know something about the topic and can ask an intelligent question or two, even better.

cortesoft 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like this piece starts with the assumption that we should WANT to be well connected. Being that well connected, however, doesn't come without costs (in time and effort, mainly).

I don't think I want to be this well connected.

j_s 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The the tech realm: drink coffee and/or alchohol (much more effective).

It's getting better but these are often prerequisites to spending time with people outside of work.

Edit: I agree with a lot of this discussion: Do startups have a drinking problem? | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11723133

kawera 21 hours ago 1 reply      
He cites Contactually for managing his network, which seems nice, but it's too expensive for me and I generally prefer self-hosted solutions. Does anyone knows of good alternatives?
gh1 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I wanted to ask an open ended question : how important do you think it is to be well-connected? I am sure if someone spent a lot of time going to plenty of networking events and put serious effort into talking with people, then they could grow their network pretty fast. But every minute spent in networking is a minute not spent in doing something else. So how do you set your priorities?
kordless 20 hours ago 2 replies      
> How to Become Well-Connected

> If you find yourself keeping score in your professional relationships, youre on the wrong track.

Being "well connected" is an objective here, given it's lead by "how to". That intent leads to keeping score, so it's less than obvious how to resolve becoming well connected without keeping score.

Not giving a shit about what others think is the SECOND step to the enlightenment. The FIRST step is letting go of self judgment. Accepting self first allows one to realize that speaking for other's intent, even if they are blaming, may originate from their own self-judgements.

I no longer give a shit what anyone thinks about what I say because I realize I can only speak for my own choices and not others, not because I don't have empathy for other's thoughts. That's not to say I've perfected this technique however, I frequently catch myself blaming others when blame is going around. I can only set intent to become better myself. Others have the choice of doing the same, or not.

speeder 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I liked the article but it doesn't explain how to start a network... much of its advice is about how to manage an existing one.

Examples: it mentions that you should sometimes offer stuff to people you already know, instead of only interacting to ask. But what to do when your network is nonexistent and you have nothing to offer?

bluker 18 hours ago 0 replies      
There are two things that I've always found that will immediately engage people and make a lasting impression.

1. How did you become who you are? People work hard to where they're at and they rarely get to tell their story - so I found that engaging them on this level allows them to reminisce a little bit about where they came from and most people will light right up.

2. Write hand-written notes.This is a lost art and Brian Chesky talks about how he learned from George Tenet the value of writing hand-written notes.


theprop 18 hours ago 1 reply      
TL:DR --> mostly email advice. Keep emails short. To the point. "no need to respond" is powerful. Follow up on whatever you say you will. Offer something before you ask for something.
josh_carterPDX 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Sigh. Not a big fan of articles like these because it's different for everyone and there are a lot of variables that can make this a success or failure. There is not a play book for how to connect with people other than just not being a complete dick. There. I just gave you an awesome tip. Don't be a dick and people will want to talk to you. Be authentic. Not sure why people feel the need to write an article that serves as a reminder on how you can connect with people on a "real" level.
traviswingo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Absolutely one of the best books to read if you're looking to improve your social skills.
citizens 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I met Chris during an Uber Pitch ride a few months back and just meeting him was a remarkable experience. Looking back, in the course of conversation he did use these "7 Rules for Making Memorable Connections" and they worked.
CPLX 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Regardless of the other merits of the linked content, and the odd prevalence of these painfully content-free and fluffy First Round Review pieces on the HN front page, I think we can all agree that there is simply no such thing as a "landmark Forbes piece on nailing email introductions".
hestefisk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
So full of clichs - blue sky brainstorm. What does it even mean? You don't need years of VC experience to know all of this is common sense.
a_d 19 hours ago 1 reply      
There are many great points being made in the article, and in the comments - esp the comment about how this is a rehash of wisdom from Dale Carnegie.

I believe these kinds of posts need to have a corollary for introverts - folks that are shyer, more reluctant/reflective (thoughtful, perhaps), aren't great at small talk and find the prospect of starting a conversation intimidating. While I am naturally skeptical of any kind of 'people categorization' - I do think there are folks who find "networking" daunting. So, what should they do?

I think the first step is to acknowledge the importance of a good network of people that you can talk to - it is often a powerful source of diverse ideas (outside of your own bubble), mentorship, collaboration and even friendship. The reason I say this is because it is often easy to dismiss "networking" as something frivolous (it doesn't help sometimes when certain people hijack this word to mean lots of low-quality connections) or not-for-me or 'I am just happy doing my own thing' etc. I think a discussion about how networking helps us in various facets of life is important. I'd love to hear positive examples from others in this area.

The second step is to work towards a realization that most of the qualities that introverts likely possess - like "listening well" - are key to this "networking-thing". So you already possess a lot of the raw ingredients that are needed to have a good network of people.

The third step is to really value diversity - of ideas/opinions, knowledge and competence (e.g. "engineering" sometimes have reluctance in appreciating "sales"). Groups, companies, teams thrive when there is real diversity. This should make you want to talk to others who are doing different things in different domains (or same things as you, but differently)

And finally, realize that (and several folks points this out in the comments) it is not about "tricks" - i.e. don't lose your authentic self. But try to distil the "tricks" into more basic human tenets - e.g. if you are a curious individual genuinely interesting in learning more about technology (say), then "Convey genuine appreciation" isn't something you would need to fake.

The longer I work and observe other folks doing interesting things, the more I find that networking is a useful (even powerful) thing -- and I say this as an introvert and someone not proficient at networking (have a very small group of close friends). I often think "wouldn't it be cool to learn more about what this person is doing" or even "how did they do that!?", and lately (gradually) started acting on that impulse and wrote to some of those folks (that I wish to know and learn from). To my surprise, it was very rewarding. I met some very knowledgeable and interesting people -- even some that I learned from a lot. Just having a bunch of people that I can discuss different topics with - related to software, scaling, operations (or life in general!) has been rewarding.

Most of what I say here is obvious, but I just wanted to share this because I struggled (and continue to) with this whole "networking-thing". :)

venture_lol 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Come on HN and announce you are looking to drop some 50-100K seeds on 5 projects

Be ready to be hunted :)

mrmrcoleman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Grade A bellendery. There are so many holes in this I don't even know where to start.
Arqu 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This got to be the worst choice of colors for mobile I've seen in a long time. Can barely read it at max brightness.
known 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Traditionally it has been politics and religion
chromakode 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Uber CEO Plays with Fire nytimes.com
553 points by bmahmood  3 days ago   490 comments top 45
ErikAugust 2 days ago 13 replies      
Buried lede here:

"They spent much of their energy one-upping rivals like Lyft. Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyfts business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)"

pdog 2 days ago 12 replies      
From the article, explained:

At the time, Uber was dealing with widespread account fraud in places like China, where tricksters bought stolen iPhones that were erased of their memory and resold. Some Uber drivers there would then create dozens of fake email addresses to sign up for new Uber rider accounts attached to each phone, and request rides from those phones, which they would then accept. Since Uber was handing out incentives to drivers to take more rides, the drivers could earn more money this way.

To halt the activity, Uber engineers assigned a persistent identity to iPhones with a small piece of code, a practice called fingerprinting. Uber could then identify an iPhone and prevent itself from being fooled even after the device was erased of its contents.

taude 2 days ago 4 replies      
I really hope Lyft doesn't do anything to screw up, as I've uninstalled Uber and will probably never use the service again. However, I don't see myself going back to regular taxi system as that's even more corrupt and despicable.

I just hope Lyft plays the game with a social conscious and makes positive decisions and continues to treat drivers well (most Lyft drivers I talk to say they like driving for Lyft way better than Uber).

I'm not so sure that as a society we should be rewarding people with drive like this "Mr. Kalanick, 40, is driven to the point that he must win at whatever he puts his mind to and at whatever cost".

ars 2 days ago 6 replies      
For all the criticism he is getting, this would never have happened without him. Taxi companies are too strong, and the US needed someone like him to break barriers.

Lyft would never have existed without Uber. Now that Uber broke through the path (and is getting destroyed for it) the way is open for lots of other companies.

It happens all the time that the company that invents or creates something new, does not actually reap the rewards because the cost of creating it was so high they die in the process - but leave the way open for other companies.

_jal 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've thought the guy is slimy scum for some time, but that article made something click.

One consistent feature of Kalanick's tactics appears to be a proclivity for gaslighting on an industrial scale - geofencing Apple, regulators, etc.

Among (many) other things, I would never trust any data sourced solely to anything under his control.

celim307 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone uncomfortable with these kind of profiles? I'd rather judge his business decisions in isolation rather than having this quasi psycho analysis where it's implied we can get better insight of his business by knowing he was bullied
maxerickson 2 days ago 7 replies      
It'd be nice if Apple had been less pragmatic and more principled and just yanked any version of the Uber app that broke the rules.
h1fra 2 days ago 8 replies      
No one seems to explain how Uber could track user when the have deleted the app ?

It look more like an hack more than "a lack of boundaries" to me...

plg 2 days ago 4 replies      
"Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. "

Can someone explain to me the mechanics of how this happens? I use Lyft, which emails me a receipt. How does Slice get a hold of this? Does Lyft sell it to Slice?

itsmemattchung 2 days ago 3 replies      
Since "unroll.me" was anonymizing data[1] and then sold that data to Uber, is it safe to assume that Lyft used the subscription service to manage their drivers/customers contact information? If not, it's not clear to me how "unroll.me" provided that data to Uber.

[1] quote from article: Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber

zilchers 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm off uber after a BS "5 minute" issue. I've been using it for years, they literally had to burn so much goodwill to get me to stop using them, it's almost impressive.
cocktailpeanuts 2 days ago 1 reply      
Genuinely curious, can anyone tell me how this is different from Branch metrics? https://branch.io/

Tons of apps use their platform to identify unique devices, and I'm curious what makes it legal and what makes it not.

tedmiston 2 days ago 0 replies      
> That drew attention from regulators. In October 2010, the company shortened its name to Uber after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from San Francisco officials for marketing itself as a taxi company without the proper licenses and permits.

That's kind of surprising.

gourou 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Uber considered Lyft and McDonalds its main competition for attracting new drivers.

can somebody explain this?

poirier 2 days ago 0 replies      
Open source gmail script: https://www.labnol.org/internet/gmail-unsubscribe/28806/

Not by me. No affiliation. Found it after this news.

[edit: typo]

awqrre 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Uber burns to the ground, the sooner the better. So far they get away with so much, I can't believe it... Maybe Uber's only problem is that its CEO is not as good as others at avoiding the press.
mdorazio 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know if the animation of Travis at the beginning is actually hand-drawn or uses some kind of After Effects/Photoshop plugin?
0xmohit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber responds to report that it tracked users who deleted its app [0]. It seems to insist that tracking was done to prevent fraud and account compromise.

 Uber is pushing back on the allegations, saying that the tracking is a common industry practice used to prevent fraud and account compromise.
[0] https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/23/uber-responds-to-report-th...

pfortuny 2 days ago 1 reply      
As always with corporate "justice", if you are big enough and transgress, you simply get a slap. If you are a tiny developer, your app is out of the store and may be at some point you may get it back.

Truly blind justice.

dbg31415 2 days ago 1 reply      
Random Question: Why doesn't Apple do clean uninstalls once you remove an app? Every time I re-add Uber (I usually delete it since I live in Austin and it's useless... but then when I travel I re-add it when I want a ride) it already has my account and password saved. I'd be a lot happier if it did a clean install.

Not just Uber, but every app... any idea how I can do a true clean uninstall when I remove an app from my iPhone?

MilnerRoute 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you've already used your "10 free articles" for the month, the complete text of the article is also available at CNBC.


throwaway23693 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although the article says they stopped using fingerprinting after getting caught by Apple, that's not actually the case. They're still doing it. I have an iphone that no matter how many times you wipe it, or how many sim cards you use, it will get instantly banned if you try and create an account on Uber.
cm2187 2 days ago 1 reply      
One annoying thing with the Uber app is that they disabled the option to give access to location only when the app is running. The only option available in the iOS privacy setting is always or never for access to location (unlike other apps).
ijafri 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know but Uber has proven to be a shinny example of a ponzy scheme within a larger ponzy scheme. They will never be profitable, Burning billions, so is the case with Careem whom I met, and their staff was at loss to tell how this is a viable business to run. They disrupted taxi drivers, making good earnings. They benefited a lot to consumers eliminating overcharging by common taxi drivers. But as an entrepreneur I am still failing to understand how far they can go before they run out of fuel $ eventually.
nilkn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic, but does anyone know if the following image depicts programmer working conditions at Uber?


If so, I don't see how anyone can get any serious work done there.

shawn-butler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a good tool to create these line art "sketch" renditions like that of Kalanick in this article?


akyu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mr. Kalanick, with salt-and-pepper hair, a fast-paced walk and an iPhone practically embedded in his hand, is described by friends as more at ease with data and numbers (some consider him a math savant) than with people.

I chuckled a little bit reading this.

amingilani 2 days ago 0 replies      
Big story and all but they could have come up with a more descriptive title.

For a moment I wondered why Travis Kalanick playing with matches was on the front page.

bkohlmann 2 days ago 0 replies      
The embedded Lyft ads (knowing full well they are adaptive to a given reader) throughout the article is a brilliant touch on the part of Uber's main competitor.
EGreg 2 days ago 1 reply      
How did they track these iPhones after the app was uninstalled?
nomnombunty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are there so many Uber article on HN? The more I know the more upset I am with them.

I also find the fact that their new logo looks like an asshole very fitting

ensiferum 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a shitty world it is that allows total sociopathic ass holes like Mr.Kalanick to raise to the top and become successful.
KKKKkkkk1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Had Travis Kalanick been driven to win at whatever cost, he would have made sure there is no sexual harassment at his company.
blackmarker 2 days ago 1 reply      
"At a meeting at Mr. Kalanicks house, and over cartons of Chinese food, he and Mr. Michael hosted Lyfts president, John Zimmer, who asked for 15 percent of Uber in exchange for selling Lyft. Over the next hour, Mr. Kalanick and Mr. Michael repeatedly laughed at Mr. Zimmers audacious request."

Did they laugh at him to his face, cause if it was just the two of them...

late2part 2 days ago 1 reply      
Serious question. How can I short this $70B stock?
stevebmark 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a possibility of a class action lawsuit against Apple for this? They knowingly let Uber track customers after the app was removed. Isn't any user who deleted the app during that time allowed damages?
shimon_e 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading the entire article everyone but one person declined comment. That person remained unnamed.
quantum_state 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber's behavior is so against the time .. it will fall in ruin ..
quantum_state 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber will fall in ruin .. people may already shorting it now ..
beedogs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber won't exist in five years. Thank God.
williamle8300 2 days ago 1 reply      
TheSpiceIsLife 2 days ago 2 replies      
breeze_em_out 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disgraceful hitpiece from a trash publication.

Keep truckin, Travis.

idlewords 2 days ago 1 reply      
The buried lede here is that Apple did nothing to protect users from a company that openly and willfully strip-mined their privacy in violation of App Store rules.
lutusp 2 days ago 2 replies      
Quote: "In a quest to build Uber into the worlds dominant ride-hailing entity, Mr. Kalanick has openly disregarded many rules and norms, backing down only when caught or cornered. He has flouted transportation and safety regulations, bucked against entrenched competitors and capitalized on legal loopholes and gray areas to gain a business advantage."

This is classic malignant narcissism[1]. The irony of the story is that it describes a confrontation with Apple, which became successful through the machinations of another malignant narcissist, Steve Jobs.

1. https://arachnoid.com/ChildrenOfNarcissus

Want to rescue rural America? Bust monopolies washingtonpost.com
409 points by avyfain  2 days ago   334 comments top 28
cs702 2 days ago 21 replies      
"I started a manufacturing company in Little Elm, about 35 miles north of Dallas, to produce the first-ever automatically retracting syringe to eliminate the risk of nurses contracting HIV through accidental needle sticks. The syringe received rave reviews from nurses, hospital executives and public health officials, a major grant from the National Institutes of Health and robust private investment. But when my partners and I tried to sell it to hospitals, we were told time and time again that even though it was a better product a lifesaving product they werent able to purchase it. The primary supplier of syringes, which controlled 80 percent of the market, structured an arrangement with a vast network of hospitals that essentially closed our industry to new firms for good."

A market in which buyers are not free to choose better products is not a free market.

A market in which new entrants cannot compete fairly against established players is not a free market.

A market in which innovators have to get permission and pay established players for "access" (think ISPs) is not a free market.

And yes, a market in which economic and political power is concentrated in large corporations geographically clustered in a handful of giant metropolitan areas... is also not a free market.

Those corporations have both strong incentives and the means to change the rules of competition to their advantage.

tanderson92 2 days ago 4 replies      
Highly relevant: Matt Stoller in The Atlantic:

"How Democrats Killed Their Populist SoulIn the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system."


peacetreefrog 2 days ago 3 replies      
Her two examples, the medical and agriculture sectors, are two of the most regulated industries around.

A lot of these "monopolies" result because of regulation pushed by combination of well-meaning and self interested people and corporations (see bootleggers and baptists).

Her examples suggest it'd be better to focus on the marriage between corporations and government, which allows companies to focus their energy on getting gov to hassle their competitors vs improving their own product.


costcopizza 2 days ago 3 replies      
Drive through many American small towns and it looks the exact same.

A strip mall with a Subway, a couple national fast food joints, and if you're big enough, Wal-Mart.

There are literally 1000s of towns with this copy and paste setup-- how could this not be detrimental when money is going to a huge corporation every time?

michaelbuckbee 2 days ago 1 reply      
Multiple other comments in here about this particular niche that the subject of the story went into (medical supplies), but what came to mind to me was a similar story about how it's a similar situation with the golf ball market [1] and from many other stories with eyeglasses (Luxottica artificially dominates the market).

These are both cases where it's not so much anti-merger/monopoly law that's the culprit, but the general structure of the legal system that favors those with the larger pockets and forces out upstart manufacturers.

1 - http://www.golfdigest.com/story/ball-wars-costco-files-lawsu...

bko 2 days ago 6 replies      
> In 1994, at the height of the AIDS crisis, in which I lost several friends and a beloved employee to the disease, I started a manufacturing company in Little Elm, about 35 miles north of Dallas, to produce the first-ever automatically retracting syringe to eliminate the risk of nurses contracting HIV through accidental needle sticks. The syringe received rave reviews from nurses, hospital executives and public health officials, a major grant from the National Institutes of Health and robust private investment. But when my partners and I tried to sell it to hospitals, we were told time and time again that even though it was a better product a lifesaving product they werent able to purchase it. The primary supplier of syringes, which controlled 80 percent of the market, structured an arrangement with a vast network of hospitals that essentially closed our industry to new firms for good.

That last bit sentence me a bit odd. Rather than go into the details of incentives of hospitals and why they would forgo a better alternative, the author just attributes it to "monopoly". If this is true, there is some deeper misalignment with incentives in this industry that won't go away by just removing product providers that control a significant portion of the market. Or something that the author doesn't know about the industry that would make this decision make sense.

cmurf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most legislation, counted in line or pages, is written by industry. Legislators aren't writing this themselves.

And there's little in the way of taking a strong anti-trust (competition law) in politics. The Obama administration watched over, and permitted mergers that very blatantly reduce competition: multiple airlines, and drug companies. And it was more aggressive overall in applying competition law compared to previous Republican administrations. So, point is, even with a Democratic president, competition law isn't pressed strongly enough, let alone with a Republican in office where it's apparently "we need to recognize more natural monopolies, and help them whenever possible".

About the only thing all Americans might be able to agree on when it comes to politics, is the increasingly obvious need for a constitutional amendment getting money out of politics.

mrgreenfur 2 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone else think that nearly all huge companies exist due to monopolies or near-monopolies? MS has monopoly on desktops. Apple on cell phones and tablets. Facebook on social networking. Google on search. I think any market without at least 3-4 strong competitors will devolve into one dominant player who can milk more from the customer base.
dreamdu5t 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article never establishes what is wrong with rural America in the first place. Why does it need rescuing? Why are businesses with large market share a problem for rural America? The premise that monopolies are bad is never explained.

The author never establishes any of this. How did this make it to the front page?

wirerc 2 days ago 2 replies      
Rural America could bust monopolies tomorrow if they voted differently. They've done it before, and they don't need to be rescued by us for that. More like they need to rescue themselves and the rest of us.
hackbinary 2 days ago 1 reply      
Welcome to the new world of corporate mercantilism.


hammock 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if, without monopolies, rural areas would be served at all with the types goods and services that these companies bring them. It might not be economically feasible!
DroidX86 2 days ago 3 replies      
First things first: ISPs
MichaelBurge 2 days ago 1 reply      
They need to deregulate the entire medical industry, so anyone can start a medical practice. Right now, doctors control the supply of new medical licenses, and they're incentivized to restrict the supply so their own wages go up. The official line is that they can ensure high-quality medical treatments this way, but that's just something they tell themselves to feel good about it.

One of the consequences is that doctors are beholden to large corporations who have teams of lawyers to handle legal issues and malpractice lawsuits. Since there are limited slots, some of them even work in foreign countries until they get experience to land a job in the US, which is a waste of talent.

If anyone could start a medical practice, a new syringe company could sell to smaller practices that haven't yet been mired in enterprise contracts.

Right now, in order to even build a hospital you have to submit "evidence of need" to the government to get approval. Imagine if every startup had to convince a bureaucrat that they were needed: fewer people would be interested in starting one.

It's probably worth considering moving medical negotiations from insurance companies and employers to the consumer. I don't know that it's very common to call up multiple doctors and find the one with the lowest price, because you're paying your insurance company to do the negotiation for you. Taxing employer-provided health insurance as income might remove the incentive for them to provide it at all. Together with deregulating the entire medical industry, it would make it possible to buy cheap treatment without insurance, which might be enough to make insurance less important.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
I largely agree with the observations in the article although I believe the author misstates the intention of government with "But in the 1980s, folks in power decided bigger was better, and conventional political wisdom followed suit." The issue with the 80's was that the US economy was in a very weird place where we had low growth and very high inflation (called 'stagflation' at the time). The mechanics of the economy were adjusted not to make 'bigger better' but instead to break out of the state of stagnant inflation.

That the changes weren't undone in the 90s when much of the economic forces were re-aligned was a problem, but understandable since nobody wanted to go back to that mode. We are living in the opposite local minimum of growth and deflation where the economy is growing but inflation isn't happening because real income is going down.

That said I believe that making single supplier contracts unenforcable would be an interesting change to try.

jondubois 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most 'monopolies' that exist today are artificial - This is because they are only monopolies to the extent that they are able to:

1. Keep buying up advertising to make sure that any potential competitor cannot afford eyeballs.

2. Keep hiring up as much technical talent as possible to make sure that any potential competitor doesn't get access to that talent in order to build a competing product.

3. Keep subsidising the cost of their own services (at a loss to themselves) in order to make the market non-viable for any potential competitor.

It's a scorched-earth approach.Any company that has the money can create an artificial monopoly for themselves by engaging in any of the three activities above.

However, those activities are increasingly expensive because they drive up advertising costs and engineer salaries.

If companies keep doing this, eventually, they'll make the market non-viable even for themselves.

eecc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found this book rather interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_Capital it reflects over essentially the same problem (to make a Marxist critique to capitalist pretenses of freedom, fairness and its claims to optimality.) Among other points, the book spends time arguing how Corporate Capitalism is fundamentally monopolistic.
throwaway73363 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently this is true not only of the US but also of Japan.

I just finished watching a nice dram series called 'Shitamachi Rocketto' which might be of interest to folk on HN.

charlieflowers 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is behind many (maybe most) of our problems in America. For example, this is the biggest source of what's wrong with our healthcare system.

Businesses have built up "moats" throughout the system, leading to high prices and poor service. This is the source of the "cost disease" that makes our healthcare too expensive.

Competition is part of the very foundation of capitalism. Without it, capitalism itself doesn't work. So we better figure out some answers.

geff82 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who loves rural USA and especially Texas, how could we spread the word better? How could we make it more attractive? Do you think there are other possibilities to revive it besides changing government policies? Let us brainstorm about it!
dingo_bat 2 days ago 0 replies      
If a monopoly is hard-won and not being abused, what's the problem?
rdlecler1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Arguably this also affects workers in major centers who have to move to high-cost housing areas just to be employed while not materially improving quality of life.
perakojotgenije 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well that's deregulated capitalism 101.
daodedickinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where are the trust-busting candidates?
Overtonwindow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh you mean like Comcast?
arca_vorago 2 days ago 0 replies      
But our savior Peter Theil said monopolies are good and the thing every company wants to become!
iddan 2 days ago 0 replies      
No! Rural America is responsible for the death of millions, Rural America is the responsible for holding the progression of human race and most important: rural America is who created the monopolies.Free market can only exist where states aren't.
douche 2 days ago 5 replies      
Or make it profitable to build shit in this country again. If you taxed the hell out of manufactured imports, and loosened up the regulations that are choking US businesses to death, you'd have less meth-and-fentanyl scourged abandoned mill towns.
Is Every Speed Limit Too Low? priceonomics.com
423 points by ryan_j_naughton  20 hours ago   635 comments top 65
mcfunk 17 hours ago 21 replies      
This is a fine analysis if you imagine that every road only ever has cars on it. But this is not the reality, and speed of cars has a huge impact on the fatality rates of vulnerable road users when they are hit.

Results show that the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25% at 23 mph, 50% at 31 mph, 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph. The average risk of death for a pedestrian reaches 10% at an impact speed of 23 mph, 25% at 32 mph, 50% at 42 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph. Risks vary significantly by age. For example, the average risk of severe injury or death for a 70yearold pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 25 mph is similar to the risk for a 30yearold pedestrian struck at 35 mph. https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011Pedest...

Please think of everyone on the roads, not just drivers, when making arguments like these.

erodommoc 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of course, this is all based on a single study from the 1960's (Solomon, David, "Accidents on main rural highways related to speed, driver, and vehicle"), which has been pretty thoroughly debunked (http://casr.adelaide.edu.au/ruralspeed/RURALSPEED.PDF).
froh42 19 hours ago 10 replies      
Over here in Germany a speed limit typically means there's a good reason to follow it. On the Autobahn we've got places where there is no speed limit at all (yep, there's places where I can legally go 250 km/h) and on other places the speed may be set as low as 80 km/h (around 50mph).

A low speed limit typically is enforced with a traffic camera. Additionally we've go a lot of dynamic speed signs which show a speed limit which fits the current traffic conditions. (empty road at night - it's turned off. Rush hour - 80 km/h. Fog - 60 km/h And several steps in between)

Not having a "fixed" all the time limit makes drives accept the speed limit more easily.

Oh yes, and 85'th percentile. I frequently drive "+15km/h", so I go 95 when there's 80 allowed because the fine when I get caught that is not too expensive. (Fines for speeding are lower when you get caught outside city limits, speeding in a residential zone or in front of a school for example is one thing I have no tolerance for as well.)

phlillip 8 hours ago 4 replies      
No. Cars today are so much faster and more powerful than they were only 20 years ago. Here in the UK the speed limit on motorways is 70mph. I learned to drive in 2000 in a Rover Montego that would cruise fairly well at that speed, but later my family purchased the very popular VW Golf Mk4 TDi and all of a sudden we could cruise at 100mph and barely notice it, the level of comfort and noise insulation was that good. This is a car from 2002. But we are not better drivers than people from 20 years ago; yet we all drive around in these vastly overpowered machines. Brakes are better, tyres are better, sure, but that can bring with it false confidence. Our reaction times are exactly the same - if not worse thanks to all the modern distractions of technology - yet there are vastly more vehicles on the road for us to deal with. I drive to the speed limit everywhere I go, and I constantly have a queue of cars behind me. If you're in a rush, get up 5 minutes earlier. Plan better. If you like to drive fast, spend 30 minutes at a local go-kart track.

Cars are like bullets in our hands and should be handled with the utmost of care.

mannykannot 17 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the consequences of the authorities in the US tacitly accepting normal traffic to flow at speeds considerably above the posted maxima is that they could, if they choose to, pull over almost any of the drivers without there being pesky issue with whether there was a valid reason to do so.
ranger207 16 hours ago 2 replies      
A big reason that the posted speed limit is only loosely correlated with the actual speed driven is because the speed people go is not based on the sign, but rather on the design of the road. There are various standards for traffic engineering that define various parts of the road based on the speed expected on them: things like lane widths, curve radii, the presence of fences and guards, and more. A 35mph road will have a smaller turn radius than a 65mph highway, for example. These standards have margins built in to them, obstinately because the standards for faster roads are safer. If, for example, you need a 200 foot turn radius to avoid skidding at 45mph, then the road will be designed with a 300 foot turn radius that would prevent skidding at 55mph, and a 55mph road will have a 400 foot turn radius that would prevent skidding at 65mph. However, what happens is that people will drive at the speed that's safe, not the speed that's posted. People will go 55mph around the 300 foot radius turn that's posted for 45mph.

The solution to this seems to be to make the roads designed for lower speeds, or to reduce the safety margin, or as other commenters suggest to add traffic calming measures. I'm pretty sure this would reduce traffic speeds, but I don't know if it would reduce traffic safety.

enoch_r 18 hours ago 2 replies      
On highways, the 85th-percentile rule makes some sense. The evidence seems to suggest that raising speed limits slightly increases fatality rates, but not accident rates, and doesn't have much influence on driver speed.

At the other extreme, on neighborhood streets in residential areas, the rationale for the 85th percentile rule (reducing the speed differential between cars traveling in the same direction) is absurd: these speed differentials are much lower and much less important than other speed differentials. If a car driving down my street at 30mph has trouble dealing with a car going the same direction at 20mph, it will also have trouble with the kids playing basketball in the street, or the car headed the opposite direction without room to pass, or the car backing out of a driveway, or the bike going 15mph. Conflicts between drivers headed the same direction are a non-issue on these types of streets.

And there are streets in the middle. A major commercial street in my town is four very narrow lanes (the right lane is actually less wide than a city bus, so when a bus is traveling the same direction you must enter the oncoming lane if you try to pass), with very small blocks, crosswalks at every intersection, tons of pedestrians and cyclists, tons of cars turning left across traffic, etc. Should this be set at the 85th percentile speed? Although it's more debatable, again, I don't think that the speed differential between cars traveling the same direction is likely to be a major contributor to fatal accidents here--on a busy urban street like this the danger is much more likely to arise from the speed differential between pedestrians and cars, a car turning left and an oncoming car, cyclists and cars, etc.

davidgay 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a hard time taking the conclusions seriously when I compare the situation with Switzerland.

The current Swiss yearly deaths are around 250, a very significant drop from the typical 1000 I remember growing up in the 80s - http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/7515011ec041... lists a maximum of 1720 in 1971. As the population increased about 25% in the same period, that's about an 8x drop in per-capita rate.

In the same period, US fatalities dropped from 52000 to 35000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_i...), for a per-capita drop of 2.3x (the per-mile drop is 4x, the current Swiss per-mile rate is 60% of the US one).

In the period I remember:

- speed limits were reduced in town from 60 to 50km/h, on highways from 100 to 80 km/h and on freeways from 130 to 120 km/h

- speed limit enforcement became much more pervasive (there's an automated radar every 10km or so on busy freeways?)

- cars got safer (this applies everywhere)

- drunk driving limits were reduced (and people's attitude to driving after drinking changed substantially)

So suggestions that speed limits are irrelevant and pointing to reduced death rates in the US as evidence are not very convincing when other countries saw substantially larger improvements over the same period.

clairity 19 hours ago 1 reply      
beyond agreeing with just about everything in the article, a few points to add/emphasize:

* speed limits are set at the 85th percentile of speeds to minimize speed variance, giving slow drivers a target speed and thereby making them go faster than they might otherwise go (but still at a safe speed).

* larger variances in speeds correlate with both greater traffic and frustration. if highway patrol could enforce just one law, it should be that drivers should move to the right if they are not passing cars on the right. this allows faster cars to clear out of congestion, increasing the overall average speed and throughput for a given section of road. it also reduces overall frustration.

* traffic enforcement as a revenue generator creates a perverse incentive and adversarial relationship largely exacerbated by artificially low speed limits. let's abolish those limits and bad incentives and give the police more time to develop relationships within their community.

* change the term "speed limit" to "safe speed" on signs (along with commensurate fines/laws), because that would have the same normalizing effect on speed variance, while also removing the revenue incentives for police.

* distracted driving is the real killer on the roads, not speed. changing roads to make them more hazardous (like narrower lanes, obstructing sightlines) probably reduces distracted driving more than it reduces speeding (just my conjecture), and thereby lowering accidents. i don't mind narrower lanes and such, but i'd advocate separating cars from bikes and pedestrians as much as possible so that cars can still move at a good clip while providing greater safety for pedestrian and bike traffic.

turc1656 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Reading through a number of the comments, my thoughts on this matter may draw some ire, but here they are anyway, FWIW.

I would really like to see some consistency applied to how the law is enforced and written when it comes to traffic safety. What I mean by that is driving is clearly an inherently dangerous activity given the frequency of traffic incidents on a per-capita basis compared with just about anything else. Well, for every other type of inherently dangerous activity we are all forced to sign wavers basically saying that we understand and accept said risk and we are willing to take that risk. That acceptance protects mostly everything but situations involving negligence or gross negligence. I never understood why driving is treated any differently.

Also, when you look at what traffic law is at its most basic level, it makes little sense when compared to the rest of the body of law that exists for everything else. Traffic law exists primarily to increase safety on the roads and reduce the risk of accidents. Now, statistics do show that enforcing traffic laws do actually make the roads safer. I acknowledge that up front. But my issue with them is that the overwhelming majority of traffic citations are issued for violations that have caused no harm. That is, drivers are cited and forced to pay a fine simply for increasing the odds of an accident happening. The accident need not actually have occurred. Nowhere else does that shit fly. You can't go to court and sue someone for anything without there being some sort of harm/tort/injury/etc. That's basic law. If someone, for example, tried to defraud you but you were slick enough to spot it and stopped it, you can't sue them in court because you didn't actually lose money.

I'd much rather see a situation where either people accept the risks of the road and only have limited options like negligence and perhaps a few others - or, to see cops citing people only when they are deemed the cause of the accident or the rare cases when someone is driving so insanely on the road that their driving alone is enough to justify gross negligence (i.e. racing or doing 50 in a 25 in the rain).

jaclaz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is another factor (human) that is not taken into consideration about accidents.

Just like the recent discussion about "troublemakers", 90% to 95% of drivers are - with different levels of driving competence - OK.

It is the remainining 5%, maybe 10%, that create most of the issues, directly or indirectly, that is not only speeding, it is often distraction, aggressivity at the wheel, etc..

One of the reasons why "black boxes" that record driving habits are not as common as they could or should be, besides of course the usual privacy risks, is that everyone is afraid if the data that would come out of them.

If all drivers were monitored it would likely come out that a small minority (the said 5% or so) should simply be deprived of the right to drive any vehicle (no insurance would ever cover them, as insurance is about risks, not about certainties) and this would break quite a few "social contracts", including the unwritten one in which there is a "right to drive" (because our cities and lives are organized in such a way that a car is needed to commute, to take kids to school, etc.).

bryanlarsen 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Virtually eliminating road fatalities is quite possible, Sweden has done it. The low speed limits and infrastructure spending on separated pedestrian & cyclist paths would never fly in the United States.


ja27 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The road to my son's high school has a 5 MPH speed limit. Have you ever tried to drive 5 MPH? My speedometer doesn't register that low. My car goes faster than that at idle.
AdamN 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Weak article - nothing really about driving on other country's roads (Germany is an excellent example). In Germany, the autobahn is unlimited speed but in other areas, it's quite strict and every zone has a speed limit sign and then when that limit is over, it's the same number with a slash through it (i.e. the end of that rule). Like everything else, the US has so much to learn.

.... although the yellow stripe between opposite directions of traffic is something the rest of the world sorely needs.

AStellersSeaCow 19 hours ago 4 replies      
FTA: "Fortunately, American roadways are safer than ever, with highway fatalities at historic lows. Roads can be dangerous, but the perception of roads getting increasingly dangerous is a false one."..."Published Jul 23, 2014"

And then: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/traffic-fatalities-shar...

iagooar 18 hours ago 3 replies      
What is ridiculous is that in many European countries speed limits haven't changed since the 70's, when cars used to be a lot less safe and driving education was a joke as compared with today's standards.

You can see that this holds true when looking at some of the Eastern European countries that only recently got better road infrastructure. E.g in Poland, the max speed limit at a highway is 140 km/h, whereas countries like France or Spain keep lower limits (130 & 120 respectively).

I think that today, any highway limit below 140 km/h is just obsolete and should be revised. Now, I would prosecute harder those who speed in urban areas, where the risk of hitting pedestrians or cyclist is real.

athenot 19 hours ago 4 replies      
If reducing speed is really desired, there are other ways:

- make roads narrower (either by optical illusion with narrower painted lanes or physically)

- reduce stretches of straight road: traffic circles are great at breaking up a straight line

- remove all straight lines from highways, making them perpetually in a slight curve. This is something that has been done in many place in Europe for newer highways. This breaks up the monotony of being on a straight stretch of highway and therefore feeling the need to drive faster. As an example, notice the slight curves in the limited access highway (A5) and compare to the 2-lane road that runs parallel to it (D605) in segments of straight lines:


tempestn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> If people and politicians do want to reduce road speeds to improve safety, or make cities more pedestrian friendly, Megge says there are a lot of other things you can do from an engineering standpoint. Cities can reduce the number of lanes, change the parking situation, create wider bike paths, and so on. Its more expensive, but unlike changing the number on a sign, its effective.

This paragraph is really key. You want to design the road and the area around it to encourage an appropriate speed, and then set the speed limit at that speed (which should work out to the 85th percentile of what people would drive anyway). IMO most freeways, at least where I'm from, should have higher speed limits (and are already designed to support them). Some residential streets should probably have lower ones, but would need design changes to encourage people to actually drive at an appropriate speed.

noonespecial 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Should it not be very much dependant on the car? A modern car with new tires can safely go (and stop) much better than a junker from the 70s with no abs, bald tires and no independent suspension.
jwagenet 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The officer in the article is absolutely right: if communities want to reduce speeds then they need to do more the number on the sign. I notice the wider and more open the roadway is, the faster I'll drive. Even if a large bike lane replaces my lane, that space is still available to take up the slack for mistakes. Whereas a narrow county road or narrow residential street lined with cars will certainly slow me down, especially with oncoming traffic.
tromp 19 hours ago 5 replies      
In my experience, the 85th percentile is at the speedlimit + 10-15 mph. It's as if people have decided they're unlikely to be ticketed by going "only" 10 mph over the limit. I rarely see anyone driving at or below the speed limit.

In Europe I've gotten tickets driving only 5mph over the limit (58 km/h on a 50 road), which would explain why the 85th percentile is closerto the actual speedlimit there.

carc1n0gen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm of the opinion that most people are just in too much of a hurry. I like to leave early, take my time and do the limit when possible. I get better fuel economy that way.

I still find myself speeding up to match the flow when the roads are busy though.

deanCommie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone bringing up how things are in different countries from Switzerland to Germany needs to stop it.

There are fundamental differences in the way people in different countries approach driving and nothing's going to change that.

Swiss and Germans LIKE FOLLOWING RULES. It makes them happy (source: I work with a lot of both and they will frequently make statements like "Rules exist for a reason. If everyone just followed them the world would be better for all." Yes, I jump straight to Hitler with my counterarguments)

Americans do not. To an extreme detriment to their own health and safety (see: Airbag regulations that assume Americans won't have their seat belt on - a basic prerequisite to driving for literally everyone else on the planet. See also: socialized healthcare being "controversial").

atemerev 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what is the problem with speed limits in the US.

Here in Switzerland (and throughout Europe), most limits are mostly sane. We have 120 km/h (75 mph) global highway limit, which you mostly don't want to ignore (especially in the mountains, which is like almost anywhere). And on the smaller roads, if it suddenly says e.g. 80 km/h, you better reduce your speed, otherwise you'll risk not fitting into the turn.

givemefive 19 hours ago 2 replies      
There's a 3 lane (each way) street with traffic lights in my suburban city that I drive every day. I refuse to go above the speed limit (40mph) while driving in general but the generally accepted speed is 55mph and there's no enforcement.

Either they need to raise the limit or enforce it. I'm sick of being the asshole going too slow.

Also my speed is generally more a function of gas mileage than anything else. With stop lights littering the route I don't feel that driving 55 is any faster than 40. It just wastes more gas. So maybe it wouldn't even make sense to raise it and instead it just needs to be enforced.

iambateman 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Genuine question...if we really cared about speeding, couldn't we just put speed cameras everywhere and issue tickets automatically for people who are driving too fast?

The randomness of having a human officer grab me (not the other 1,000 people) off the road for going too fast feels unfair and ineffective.

kylehotchkiss 17 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite is when people go 40mph on a 65mph road and nearly cause everybody else who was previously driving safely and happily to nearly rear end each other and cause unnecessary brake and tire wear. There ought to be some sterner punishments for driving too slow as well.
callesgg 19 hours ago 2 replies      
One problem i see here is that what we call the "speed limit" is not simply a speed limit it is the speed you are suppose to drive at.
ajmurmann 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The last few days have been really interesting to me in regards to speed limits. I grew up in rural Germany moved to the US west coast ten years ago. However, I've been spending the last week on vacation in rural Ireland. At first the speed limits here struck me as insane. Super narrow roads where I was terrified to pass any cars coming my way out of fear of hitting them or the wall to my left. Yet the speed limit is frequently 100km/h(60mph) and it only changes in proper villages. If there are just a few houses on the side of the road it still stays at 100. I was terrified on my first to days if driving here (the whole driving on the left thing didn't help really either). After a while I recalled that that's really how it worked in rural Germany as well when I learned driving. Frequently the speed limit will be really high, much higher than you could actually drive. However, there is trust that drivers know how to drive a car safely given the conditions they can observe. Very interesting and different approach.
booli 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This comment will probably drain in the mountain of comments but:

I had this wonderful experience in the south of Portugal, where they had traffic lights that would only go on red if you were speeding, and if you would ignore the red light you would get a fine for it.

I thought it was pretty genius.

mikeash 18 hours ago 1 reply      
As usual, the answer to the headline is "no." Probably most freeway speed limits are too low, and many others, but lots of smaller streets have appropriate limits, or even ones which are too high.

It's a fun (and annoying) game to observe how people's speed varies compared to the limit. I almost always go at the limit plus 5MPH unless that would make me dangerously slow. Sometimes this makes me the fastest car on the road, and other times the slowest.

There's a road I drive about twice a day where the first half has a 25MPH limit and the second half is 35MPH. I'm usually a slowpoke on the first half, building up a queue of cars behind me, and then end up the fastest car around on the second half. (And to preempt any haters, the 25MPH segment is less than a mile long, so I'm not severely inconveniencing people.)

Rural interstates here have a 70MPH limit, so I go 75MPH. Most people go 65-70MPH. As you get into the city where I live, the limit drops progressively to 55MPH, and most people go... 65-70MPH.

Al-Khwarizmi 9 hours ago 1 reply      
We all speed, yet months and months usually pass between us seeing a crash, Lt. Megge tells us when we call to discuss speed limits. That tells me that most of us are adequate, safe, reasonable drivers. Speeding and traffic safety have a small correlation.

So the standard for acceptability is that you only see a crash (i.e. a tragic event, often with fatalities) every several months?

According to https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/ "more than 32,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured each year from motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, the US crash death rate was more than twice the average of other high-income countries." With that data, I don't know how a post that starts by saying this even gets this high in HN.

Car travel is more than one order of magnitude more unsafe than train travel, and two orders of magnitude more unsafe than plane travel. I think our grandchildren will wonder how people in our time were so crazy to drive around so much in cars, just as we now wonder how they were so crazy some decades ago to watch nuclear tests live or hold asbestos shoving competitions.

As for the argument of the overwhelming majority of people not obeying limits, I don't know the laws in the US but I suspect it may be relating to not fining enough. It used to be the same way in Spain until they introduced more fines the possibility of taking "points" off your license, which you lose for six months (and it's cumbersome to get back) if you get to zero. Now most people follow the limit or only drive slightly over it (there is a certain tolerance level below which there are no fines) and when some years ago it went temporarily from 120 to 110 km/h in highways, it was very visible how most people were indeed driving slower.

fenwick67 19 hours ago 2 replies      
"Ive found that about 10% of drivers truly identify the speed limit sign and drive at or near that limit"

I really hope this is not the case

panglott 19 hours ago 7 replies      
Maybe police should try enforcing the traffic laws?

I refuse to speed; I think it is immoral. This is because I ride a bicycle everywhere, and the extent to which people speed on surface streets has an obvious and tangible effect on my safety. My town has a narrow bridge that used to be the only way for cyclists to get across the river, where drivers routinely exceed the 35 mph speed limit by 20 mph or more. It is terrifying, and people have gotten killed. I wish they would put a speed camera on that bridge.

The argument that "the speed limit doesn't matter because people will travel the same speed" only makes sense under the assumption that the only people who will use the public roads are drivers who feel like they can do whatever they want. Plenty of drivers feel entitled to run red lights, too, and that causes more collisions.

jakehilborn 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic. If you're interested to see how time saved speeding actually nets you check out this app I wrote: https://jakehilborn.github.io/speedr/
web007 18 hours ago 3 replies      
> If someone could wave a wand and get every American to drive below 60 mph, roads would be safer.

That wand exists - it's called "enforce the law". Increase penalties, or decrease them if you need a revenue-neutral plan, but enforce that 60MPH is a limit, not a suggestion.

This article parrots the same concept as most speeding solutions: speed doesn't kill, only variance in speed is dangerous. That makes perfect sense. So why increase the possible variance from zero, and why let people complain about driving at the limit being too slow? If you're above the limit, _you_ are increasing the variance, and _you_ need to slow down.

takk309 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This article makes it sound like 85th percentile speed is the one and only way speed limits are set. This in not true. Often times, 85th percentile speed is a starting point. Other metrics that come into play are pace and mode. The pace of a traffic stream is defined as the 10 mph increment in speed in which the highest percentage of drivers is observed. Mode is the most commonly reported speed. Beyond these statistics based measure, roadside environment is considered. The number of access points per mile, functional classification, geometry, and traffic volumes are relevant when assigning speed limits.

There is very little benefit to increasing speed limits beyond the 85th percentile. The capacity of the roadway does not increase because of the increased headway between vehicles. As vehicles speed up, the distance between vehicles increases and thus the total number of vehicles that can occupy a given segment of roadway is decreased. At 30 mph, about 36 vehicles can fit within a one mile stretch (assuming 3 second following distance, 15 ft long vehicles and one travel lane). Under the same assumptions only about 16 vehicles would fit in a one mile section at 70 mph. However, slow speeds everywhere is not reasonable and that is why some measure of central tendency is used to establish speed limits.

monktastic1 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait a minute.

> 85% of drivers drive at or below the speed limit. ...> Ive found that about 10% of drivers truly identify the speed limit sign and drive at or near that limit, says Megge. Since these are the slowest share of drivers, they dont affect the 85th percentile speed.

If 85% of drivers drive at or below the speed limit, then why are the 10% who follow the speed limit amongst the slowest of drivers?

r0m4n0 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I stumbled upon this presentation to local city leadership by the police department (https://youtu.be/BJNCCAJUEgM?t=9m36s). The commentary by the police contradicts some of these facts from this article but I would have to assume there is a vested interest in saying "pulling people over more saves lives." There are likely many variables at play so its hard to say what truly helps prevent accidents...
JulianMorrison 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the impact on this will be when a significant minority of cars are self-driving and do stick to the speed limits? Unlike humans they won't be persuaded by what the other drivers are doing - will the human drivers have to slow to accommodate them?
zw123456 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Low speed limits are a source of revenue for a lot of cities.
geggam 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Surprised no one linked the Montana Paradox


xiphias 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is totally American way of thinking. Just look at other countries, like Switzerland where the death rate is 3x lower per person: make sure that every car takes the law seriuously and put drivers who drive 2x faster to prison.

Not seeing a person dying in an accident in the last couple of months is not a good enough excuse for me. Even the fact that I know 1 person in my life who died in a car accident means that we should be stricter in law enforcement with speed limits.

rtpg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This topic comes up, and people really love the "people don't follow the speed limit", but I remember seeing a couple studies that were very explicit. Places raised the speed limit, and fatalities spiked upwards.

People focus on whether the speed limit will be respected and not on what the full consequences up.

(Right now I can find a couple studies, but they're mostly from... insurance lobbyists? I feel like the interests are aligned there but lobbyists so...)

mark_l_watson 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It is probably true that following too closely and careless lane changes are more dangerous than going slightly over the speed limit.

That said, in addition to safety, cars get lower gas mileage at higher speed (above about 50 mPH). Every time I see someone speed, follow too closely, or is careless in lane changing, I think "there goes a selfish a$$hole who doesn't care about the safety of others or the environment." I have never had a speeding ticket, BTW. People who speed and drive carelessly are self centered a$$holes.

post_break 17 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a 7 lane road where I live, no residential houses on it. Speed limit? 45 mph. Cops sit on the other side of a small bridge and run radar all the time. It's a joke since everyone does the "safe" speed limit of 55.
peterjlee 17 hours ago 2 replies      
In S.Korea, you never see a cop on the highway. They just have speed cameras on accident prone zones and put up camera warning signs miles ahead so people actually slow down. It seems pretty effective.
rdxm 15 hours ago 1 reply      
With traffic fatalities back up at levels not seen in something like a decade due to inattentive drivers, the last thing we need is more speed.

What we need is autonomous vehicles, because the sad truth is that a very large portion of the driving population should never have been issued a license in the first place.

Don't even get me started on the 85th percentile thing. That is a poster child for lazy engineering and government.

derefr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So, given that this is how speeds get set, I'm guessing truly driverless cars will completely break this paradigm by more rigorously adhering to the posted limits? (They don't right now, instead following the flow of traffic, but they might start once an autonomous-car maker gets sued for their algorithm getting someone a speeding ticket.)
godelski 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So I've driven around a fair amount of the US. Has anyone noticed that practically EVERY highway, people drive 70-80 mph. Regardless of the posted sign. I wonder if anyone knows why it is specifically that range.
exabrial 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The biggest problem is following distance... 100mph is safe on the highway if you have enough distance to safely stop
nvarsj 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not just put speed limiters in cars? I feel like this is a technological problem that could be solved with enough effort. Install a GPS in every car that speed limits based on road. Require GPS updates at the yearly MOT/smog check.
zten 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a good article with sensible rationale for raising the speed limit on freeways. It starts to touch on why local safety advocacy groups push for lower speed limits, but it only really addresses speed in the context of other motorized traffic.
mdip 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Michiganian here ... I've watched the speed limits increase over the last few years on all but residential roads and though my take is anecdotal, it's a fantastic thing as far as I'm concerned.

I used to drive 62 miles round trip to work, worked at home for a bit in between and am now back to about a 30 mile round-trip commute. Both were split equally on surface and freeway roads. Back when the speed limits were lower it was generally expected that most drivers -- during rush hour (assuming one could reach the speeds) -- would drive 50 MPH in a 40 and around 55 in a 50. It always surprised me -- every morning and evening on about a 6-mile stretch of road marked 40 MPH, there wasn't a car driving under 50 (and when that rare driver arrived, he was often tailgated so hard that traffic safety decreased considerably for him). Then, out of the blue, almost every road I took to work was changed to 50 MPH. Surprisingly, people weren't suddenly driving 60 MPH. I'm now on a similar commute as I was years ago, taking that same road, and people are consistently driving between 50 and 55 MPH on it.

I love our 85th percentile rule. It makes sense -- that one driver who's obeying the speed limit is being tail-gated by everyone else, reducing the distance between him and other cars, which increases accident probability and the relative severity of the accident since it will happen at a higher speed due to reduced braking time. When everyone is going about the same speed on the road, cars tend to be more spaced out and the relative difference in speed between the two objects colliding affects the severity of the accident.

There's also a lot of misconceptions about how speed is enforced -- at least in my area -- and what rules exist around speeding. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but it used to be that you were legally allowed to exceed the speed limit by 10 MPH on a freeway to overtake a vehicle in the passing lane. I have family who work in traffic patrol for the county and this topic comes up regularly. The department they work in encourages targeting people driving in excess of the speed of traffic, not folks who are keeping up with the speed of the cars around them. Of course, you can be pulled over in this scenario, and you are breaking the law[0], but at least in my area, it's not encouraged. An orderly system is safe, an outlier is unsafe, so they aim for folks who are driving in the left lane on a freeway in low traffic volumes, folks going over 20% of the speed of others and exceeding the speed limit, people jumping solid lines[1] and the huge problem caused by large numbers of people running red lights and failing to yield right-of-way when turning left[2].

[0] Both of them will tell you "If I want to pull you over, I can find a reason". A common one is those plastic covers/dealer advertisements around license plates or things hanging from a rear-view mirror. Some of the plate variations are legal (but there are very specific rules and almost all of them are not -- it's just rarely enforced), but most things hanging from the rear view mirror are obstructions.

[1] There are many places on the freeways in Michigan where the lane markers are solid white and for some reason, people don't understand that it's illegal to change lanes -- that's why they're solid. Aside from safety (they're put in due to increased blind-spots that make lane changes unsafe), they're often located in areas where people are entering the freeway and backups occur. Folks who panic at merging traffic or just don't want to slow down will jump lanes ... causing a worse backup.

[2] I realized this is going to sound uncommon to folks who don't live here, so pardon the long explanation. Easily the most common issue on road-ways in my area is people failing to yield when turning left at an intersection (my cousin/uncle will tell you this, but if you live here you're either already aware of the problem, or you aren't realizing you're doing it). Red light running is also more common here than in most of the country because of the frequency with which people encounter one-way intersections. It's legal, everywhere (except NYC and a probably a few other corner cases), to turn left on red when the road is one-way. Where I live, every road over three lanes (and many under) are engineered using the "Michigan Left" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_left). Often, though becoming less common, the "turnaround" is configured so that you can only turn left onto the same road heading in the opposite direction. Everything's fine when this is the case. However, it's grown popular to position these turnaround lanes in places that coincide with large retail business entrances or moderate traffic side-roads. All bets are off here. Because people are used to turning left on red in these turn-arounds, they assume they can also, legally, go straight into the side-road/business on red. Go ahead and google for signs telling people not to run red lights ... I couldn't find any. We have several of them on Hall Road in Macomb County. People are also used to "just going" when it's green, but you can't do that if the turnaround has traffic entering the road on the other side -- all of that traffic is turning right and has the right-of-way, just like in any other intersection -- left must yield unless they have a green arrow. I've been honked at on more than a few occasions by other drivers for not just plowing into the intersection, or not running the red to enter a side-street when traffic is clear but the light is red. Worse, once they put these hybrid side-street/turnarounds in, it destroys any advantage that the Michigan Left supposedly provides. It's already at a disadvantage since a portion of the traffic now has to pass through an intersection twice, but now the advantage of the "increased flow due to reduced traffic light phases" is overcome by the backups occurring in both turnarounds bleeding into a lane of traffic and the sudden pouring in of new traffic -- which has priority over existing traffic due to right-of-way -- entering in from popular businesses and busier side-streets (and, yes, a vein is popping out in my forehead now).

rand77763 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Fucking obviously they are too low. Everyone knows this. Absolutely no one drives exactly the speed limit. Speed limits are low to increase revenues from speeding tickets.
wffurr 19 hours ago 3 replies      
"If every car sets its cruise control at the same speed" I wish cruise control use was more common on the highway than it appears to me, at least in eastern Massachusetts. I don't want to play passing games; I just want to leave my cruise control set at the speed limit.

Instead, many people seem content to do a bad job modulating their speed with the pedal on hills, and average just under the speed limit instead; or swerve like a maniac across as many lanes as it takes to get ahead a few car lengths. It's really frustrating.

douche 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Yup, the good old federal highway funding, the stick that keeps the states in line. Also why we have the absurd and harmful drinking age of 21.
amptorn 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The speed of light is definitely too low.
dragonwriter 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A perfect example of Betteridges Law (and a very clickbait title): no, every speed limit is not too low.

The article implicitly accepts the conventional 85h percentile rule as defining correctness, and it's the single most common rule used to set speed limits in the US. Yes, some are below because of rounding rules, and some are below because of special safety conditions (in California, in general, these allow 5mph downward departures), because of specific legislative exceptions (school zones), or because of state maximums (which mostly affect major highways, not city streets).

And, outside of restricted-access highways, while the 85th percentile rule may be ideal for automotive traffic alone, there's a reasonable case that it's too high for mixed uses. [0]

[0] An example of the argument is here: http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/06/15/legal-obstacles-to-safe...

dsfyu404ed 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Bookmarked. Not because I don't know all this, but so I have something to cite to when you jerks forget it all sometime next week...
MichaelBurge 17 hours ago 2 replies      
> This is why getting slow drivers to stick to the right lane is so important to roadway safety

Can you be prosecuted for driving at the speed limit in the fast lane? It seems like nobody would be legally allowed to use that lane if that were the case.

wyager 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Near where I live, there is a split 3-lane-each-way toll road. The speed limit is 85mph.

Directly on either side of the toll road are the free roads. The only difference is one fewer lane each way. The speed limit is 60mph.

I do not believe there is enough difference between the two roads to justify a 25mph speed limit difference, except to create an artificial police-enforced incentive to fork over if you want to be able to drive as fast as you should.

I suspect many speed limits are designed in this way: either mostly arbitrary or calculated to maximize revenue (for police, toll road operators, etc.). They are not designed with optimizing driver utility in mind.

There are few things better than when you end up driving in a swarm of experienced drivers who are willing to safely exceed the speed limit. Safety (and efficiency!) in numbers.

microcolonel 15 hours ago 0 replies      
85% seems a bit just-so, I would bet they could find a more empirically-sound number; but a good start I guess.
Neliquat 18 hours ago 1 reply      
My right foot and sticky tires say yes.

But I do wish everyone would just drive to their abilities rather than some prescribed upper limit. Our laws made sense back when you still found carriages on the road. (Sorry Amish).

FussyZeus 19 hours ago 5 replies      
I just wish I could get tickets electronically and paid monthly. I'll pay the stupid fine, just don't pull me over and waste my time.
WikiTribune Evidence-based journalism wikitribune.com
450 points by spearo77  1 day ago   214 comments top 39
Animats 1 day ago 10 replies      
So this is a for-profit operation where volunteers do the work? The site is vague about such details. "People like you helping people like us help ourselves?" Not good. You can be a for-profit or a non-profit, but pretending to be a non-profit when you're not is deceptive.

Their terms of use are awful.[1] Note that they want to operate under British law, where libel law favors the subject. They have an indemnification clause, so their volunteers could be compelled to reimburse WikiTribune if WikiTribune loses a libel suit. That's happened in the UK; see the famous McLibel case, where McDonalds sued two Greenpeace volunteers. That decision was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. But, post-Brexit, that level of appeal will no longer be available.

They also appear to have plagiarized the terms of use from other sites. One section reads "We may, in our sole discretion, limit or cancel quantities purchased per person, per household or per order. ... We reserve the right to limit or prohibit orders that, in our sole judgment, appear to be placed by dealers, resellers or distributors." That exact text appears on other sites, usually ones that sell tangible goods. It's completely inappropriate here. Sloppy.

This stuff matters when the business involves pissing people off. Don't volunteer to write for this organization unless and until they work out the liability issue.

[1] https://www.wikitribune.com/terms-of-use/[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLibel_case

jim-jim-jim 1 day ago 6 replies      
The article in the dupe thread suggested that this would combat "fake news," but I dunno about that. I get the impression that people who digest biased/questionable sources do it to express tribal affiliation more than some genuine need to be informed. Hell, many people share articles without even reading them; they're primarily concerned with what the headline in their feed says about their character rather than the world at large. I'm not sure if having (another) "evidence based" outlet is going to be of any use to your cranky uncle.

I think the real promise lies in Wikitribune potentially going toe-to-toe with "real news" like CNN or the Washington Post. These outlets also don't always get the facts straight and can't be said to have a diehard following. If a superior option presents itself, readers will follow.

RandyRanderson 1 day ago 4 replies      
Are the facts more important or are the topics? For example, the NYT is generally pretty factual however IMO the topics they select and placement in the periodical are the message.

So the fact that they write front page article on some terrorist attack in say France that kills 5 while a similar drone strike on the same day in Afganistan kills 20 and gets buried on page 30 is the point.

Who was is that once said the first casualty in any war is truth? And how many blows did we miss that lead to that first casualty?

Regardless, I see little downside to this and hope it's successful!

kristianc 1 day ago 0 replies      
This feels like Vox - another attempt to 'explain the news', or 'provide more context'.

The fundamental problem that these sites run into is a thorough understanding of issues in the news requires context, and very often not the kind of context that can fit into an 800 word blog post on a subject.

An 800 word blog or article of any sort necessitates that you're going to make choices about which evidence you're going to include, which sources are credible and which sources are not, which sources add to the discussion vs which only serve to obscure. As soon as you do that, you're adding bias.

You can set out to build an 'evidence based' news site, but what you quickly find is that you've built a site with paid journalists (who have their own biases) supported by volunteers (who are the people most likely to have political skin in the game).

The problem is that people want a shortcut for everything - they want an 800 word post that will tell them everything they need to know about Syria. No such thing exists. There's no substitute for actually putting in the work and navigating the bias yourself.

dev_head_up 1 day ago 0 replies      
> WikiTribune is 100% ad-free, no ones relying on clicks to appease advertisers; no ones got a vested interest in anything other than giving you real news.

Ha! Oh c'mon, anyone who's experienced the activistism of certain groups on Wikipedia knows there's plenty of people with a vested interest in this kind of thing.

remarkEon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I understand what they're trying to do here, but beyond the problem of "fake news" there appears to be a deep crisis within the profession of Journalism itself. Wales is correct, in my opinion, that the proximate cause of this crisis is indeed social media. (If you don't agree just ask yourself how often you visit the masthead of whatever newspaper you typically read, and why that might be the case.) But I just don't see crowd-sourcing as the solution to this problem. I'm inclined to agree with @intended's diagnosis, and I feel like the solution has to come from the profession of Journalism itself.

So, in attempt to not be "that guy" that just complains here's what I'd suggest as a start.

- Institutions need to drop their relationship with Facebook et al (The Guardian has just done this [1]).

- There's a few places (and in the interest of avoiding starting a flame war, I'll forgo naming them explicitly) that parade themselves as "objective" sources of news by telling you they're explaining "complicated" concepts in digestible ways. In my view, that's just a rhetorical tactic to disguise what is actually just advocacy journalism. It's not objective at all, and seeks to form your opinion rather than present you with data from which you form your own. These places need to either be shut down, or pivot back to what we'd traditionally consider actual reporting.

- I consider myself reasonably well read, and read the actual, physical paper daily (when I can, I suppose). There is a distinct difference between the content I see pushed on the internet and what's in the traditional paper and it's this: increasingly articles that belong on the opinion pages are pushed elsewhere, probably because they know it'll generate more clicks elsewhere on the site because it makes either a controversial or marginally supported claim. In my view this directly contributes to the loss of faith people have in the Journalistic profession because it's just so damn easy to point out instances of bias. So, hire some old school editors and fire the "social media" guy and put content where it belongs.

That's just what I can think of off the top of my head right now, but I'm pretty convinced that "crowd-sourcing" is not the answer to this problem.

[1] http://digiday.com/media/guardian-pulls-facebooks-instant-ar...

clarkmoody 1 day ago 4 replies      
I love the idea of trying a new business model for news delivery, especially one centered around facts.

I seriously hope this project can overcome the prevalent, subtle biases in media. For instance, every single headline from the recent French election mentioned "far-right" Le Pen without also mentioning any ideological affiliation of the other candidates. Painting your opponent as an extremist is an effective political tactic, and "far-right" certainly sounds extreme. Were most media outlets opposed to Le Pen, hence the extreme label? Why not label any other candidates?

I'm not necessarily optimistic about the prospects for unbiased news, but I will be watching this project as it progresses.

sid-kap 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know this is petty, but I kinda hope they build this on better technology than MediaWiki. MediaWiki has lots of annoying pitfalls. For example, there is no native support for threaded conversations. Also they have 2 or 3 different math syntaxes and no consensus on which one should be used where.
aphextron 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love the sentiment. But how does this differ from Wikinews? Is this not just arbitrarily passing the buck of "gatekeeper" to whatever people have enough free time to contribute?
spiderfarmer 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is almost exactly what "De Correspondent"[1] in The Netherlands strives to be, with regards to ads, open data and relying on experts among their readers. They announced that they'll open source their CMS but it's not available yet. Too bad really.

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

spearo77 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems to be overloaded right now, but I found their campaign video via search in Vimeo


rodionos 1 day ago 0 replies      
If this ends up being the same as data journalism, it would be great.

- http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail - home of ... data journalism

- https://careers.bloomberg.com/job/detail/47892 - seeking a ... data journalist

- https://www.usnews.com/topics/author/deidre-mcphillips - ... is a data reporter

andrewla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm interested to see how this project evolves. As it is, even before all the furor about "fake news", I found myself consistently using Wikipedia to get summary and background information about ongoing news events, where mainstream news sources would present new data without any context and deliberately avoiding showing information about primary sources where available in favor of more internal links to other stories that give a glimpse of the point-in-time view of an ongoing story.

This is even more pronounced for retrospective coverage, where developments in the story as it had evolved are hard to glean from the coverage at the time, but important facts are surfaced throughout the coverage that are often elided in a retrospective published by a news source, but are well-represented, even controversially (where facts disagree or question the overall narrative).

My main complaint about the current trend in journalism (under Trump) is that the desire to sell clicks is so strong that you get no idea whether anything that happens is highly unusual or just routine, but the negative spin is so heavy that I can no longer trust that I'm being told how unusual each event is unless I really dig into it to find out.

A great example is the ongoing harassment of international travelers in the US. The impression I get is that things have gotten much worse, but there's certainly ample evidence of unpleasant behavior even under previous administrations, and some slim cherry-picked data saying that it's gotten worse. This is clearly a space where better sourcing of primary sources would help to make things a lot clearer, and to an extent, a somewhat adversarial approach to news research would help to reduce the tendency towards alarmism.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has potential, as a news junkie I'm interested in both using and contributing to this. Heaven knows internet news delivery needs an overhaul. Google could have solved his problem years ago but have instead chosen to profit off it.
gkoberger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Site's down, but here's an article about it: http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/04/wikipedia-founder-jimmy-wal...
lr4444lr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Supporting Wikitribune means ensuring that that journalists only write articles based on facts that they can verify

This is hardly the only source of bias in the news, which is an age-old problem. We'd be better off just expecting news organizations to announce their bias up front so that we don't have to read between the lines in order to ferret out its nuances.

mcculley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was excited to read the announcement. Then I discovered it is not really ready to go. This gives me the impression that it is half baked. That's really not the impression they should be making with something so important.

I tried to register as a supporter. Upon submitting my credit card, I got a CloudFlare error. I have no idea what was supposed to happen when I registered.

When I received the confirmation email, I clicked the "confirm" button, was asked to prove I was human by identifying photos of gas stations, then taken to the website of impossible.com instead of WikiTribune.

intended 1 day ago 2 replies      
Reinventing the wheel, or in this case, reinventing the square wheel.

Wikitribune solves a problem, just not the problem they have defined as the target.

They've used a naive view of the problem; the model under this ignores the existence of antagonists and too much faith in crowd sourcing difficult problems.

Antagonists will prey on services like this, and off the top of my head, here's 2 ways in which such a service can be made biased.

1) baseless accusations, oft repeated. Find the facts inimical to your (the antagonists) position. Ignore them.

Find facts which are borderline, and have dog whistle properties - highlight these facts ad nauseum. Say that "Wikitribune is biased". Repeat till it sticks.

Then target the facts inimical to you.

2) flood the service with facts that serve your cause- humans have only so much working memory.


The particular structure wikitribune has chosen, will result in issues. There's a reason print news papers had an editor and a whole staff dedicated to working together.

With volunteers there's no structure, and that causes failures, just consider the Boston bomber case. Of course with a journalist in the mix the assumption is that they will push back.

But the structure is supposedly egalitarian, which just means that this is going to end up causing the same politicking, and admin arguing that plagues Wikipedia.

Recruit everyone, don't get volunteers. Get the whole team.

> Articles are authored, fact-checked, and verified by professional journalists and community members working side by side as equals, and supported not primarily by advertisers, but by readers who care about good journalism enough to become monthly supporters

The wisdom of the crowd fails all too often. As another article recently discussed, it's 5% of the people that take up most of your time.

How will this structure deal with truly divisive news articles? Or people who have conflicts (and conflicts of interest) within the group?

How will you deal with the fact that one day someone can say "volunteer X was a pedophile from <country>!"

Kudos for trying it.

This looks like a propaganda machine which will use the wiki brand about to be born.

barking 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the famous Huey Long quote:

"One of these days the people of Louisiana are going to get good government - and they aren't going to like it."

If there ever is a 'paper' that publishes the full unvarnished un-redacted truth about everything, it will have very many enemies, some of them very powerful.

anothercomment 1 day ago 1 reply      
All these efforts have the same issue that existing media outlets have: why should they be more trustworthy than the existing media? All the newspapers in existence already claim that their number #1 goal is to report the truth. We all know they tend to fail miserably.
eddieh 1 day ago 0 replies      
If only it would load again (too much traffic I presume). I'm prepared to fork over some serious cash.
RhysU 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like a great way to cite secondary sources. How does this model work for a primary source?
resist_futility 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anyone know why this is an independent project instead of being part the Wikimedia foundation?
hartsdown 1 day ago 0 replies      
My BS detector tells me WikiTribune will fail but will collect lots of money from gullible CrowdFunders. Sorry, no evidence to justify that conclusion apart from the fact that at the moment it's a bit like watching a video of some device floating in a river that somehow against the law of physics is going to power a small village :-)
alva 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Facts can be presented with bias, taken out of context and most recently a lot of facts are just plainmade-up. Supporting Wikitribune means ensuring that that journalists only write articles based on facts that they can verify."

Honourable aims for this project, however once you are literally only reporting the presented facts (without bias - aka opinion) surely you are just a Wire Service?

dayaz36 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The premise that the news was truthful before the internet and we need to go back to having gatekeepers is comical
cwyers 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wikipedia has pretty much ruined the encyclopedia by driving it down to the lowest common denominator. I look forward to them doing the same for news.
fs111 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is a 28 year old fashion model exactly going to advise them on anything related to journalism?
davidlago 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anybody else getting stuck after the payment screen? I ended up getting a cloudflare error...
saurabhn 1 day ago 2 replies      
What checks does the Wiki model offer against, say, a 4chan-style brigading? I love the idea, I just want it to be bulletproof too.
JumpCrisscross 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tried to make a donation. Hit the button and then got an endless "please wait" message. UPDATE: oh no I killed it.
killjoywashere 1 day ago 2 replies      
I tried to donate and got a 503 after inputting my credit card. Guess I'll wait for that to settle out for a while...
empressplay 1 day ago 1 reply      
It concerns me that they don't know the difference between 'lead' and 'led'.

Otherwise I love the idea that there must be an attributable source to all information they present -- no more "senior government officials" or "anonymous FBI agents"...

krmbzds 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would support it if it weren't down.
lips 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I just daft or do I not see any sort of workflow described?Do I need to watch the video?
redsummer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia was the original fake news. For instance, someone might edit an article to say that a person was a known political extremist. Someone else might write an article (not on Wikipedia) saying the same thing (after having read the Wikipedia article). Years later, if the information is questioned on Wikipedia, then editors will add a reference to the off-wiki article, and everyone will be happy. Circular fake news, with truth going down the plughole. The entropic heat death of information.

I've looked at large articles I contributed to a few years ago and they are now disasters. Full of bowdlerisation, inconsistent style, and false snippets of information. I think the abusive nature of many Wikipedia admins, and the hostility of Wikipedia itself to knowledge, will eventually just make it a 4chan with pretentions.

soufron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lily Cole is an advisor against fake news?
known 1 day ago 2 replies      
truth != fact
spullara 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. What a terrible start. I'd expect something a little more robust given the obvious attention it would attract.
Thousands of computers now compromised with leaked NSA tools, researchers say cyberscoop.com
369 points by remx  3 days ago   154 comments top 19
arca_vorago 2 days ago 10 replies      
Which is exactly what we crazy cookoo conspiracy theorists have been warning about. It's the same slipperly slope we already went through in the 90's crypto wars, but SV gets amnesia when it gets lots of stupid company valuations and forgets all those lessons apparently.

Bottom line is this. If you put backdoors in, or exploit 0days for your own, they will get out in the wild eventually, and suddenly you have massively weakened infrastructure, corporate, and government security... basically all the things important to national security in general. So while I don't disagree that triple letters need some cool tools to get shit done, I think this function needs some technocratic oversight specifically for this issue.

It's time for a new Church committee.

eternalvision 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tech security has been an afterthought for too long. The core technologies we use are putting us at grave risk in ways we simply cannot imagine. As we now are starting to realize, that all of our digital lives are permanently centrally recorded carries currently unimaginable risks down the road. That we have centralized global social networks carries risks that the majority of people are not able to experience or understand. We're progressing too fast technologically, and there's way too much of a gap between morphing cultural norms and a system of government that will be, by default, always out of date with respect to these evolving norms.

That we connect directly to a worldwide network with minimum consideration for security is very troubling. In decades to come, we'll look back in humility and realize that the manners in which we used technology added grave risks to our health.

In 2017, we are not in the "wild wild west" age of technology. Rather, we are firmly in the dark ages. We're so far away from having an understanding regarding the lack of social maturity in our technological growth that we fail to properly consider the downside risks.

This is a tough nut to crack because technology is simply too good for the majority, even the technically inclined majority. I recall efforts by very very talented folks to build decentralized technologies to help mitigate some of these long term risks, but such efforts will remain firmly at the fringes of intellectual superiority for a long time. Meanwhile, Goliath will simply grow stronger in time, unless there is some major cultural shift. Is there any such shift happening, beyond the fringe?

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would be interesting (although I expect impossible) to figure out how many of those thousands were compromised by the NSA vs those compromised by people who got the tools through the leak. It was nice that Microsoft had already fixed a bunch of them (almost like they were told ahead of time they were coming).

It is also interesting to read the outrage about the tools and the presentations on how to use them. If you have ever read the user's manual for a cluster bomb which no doubt tells you in detail how to maximize the number of people it will kill, you get a sense of how destructive and outrageous war can be. Why should cyber war be any different? And how is it any different to use a zero day to compromise a system than it is to use an architectural feature of a building to bring it down on top of its occupants (other than the obvious loss of life). Exploiting defects in the deployed system to maximize the effectiveness of a munition, not a new thing at all. Just the reality of warfare.

We're pretty clearly already in a form of warfare and it is having visible effects on things like infrastructure and elections. So how do we make the battles visible to the common folks? How do convince Mom & Dad to patch their router so that they don't inadvertently aid the 'badguys' in their quest for dominance on the digital battlefield?

Definitely feels like Phase III of the Internet has begun to me.

mirimir 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Shodan has currently indexed more than 2 million IPs running a public SMB service on port 445. ..."

OK, I understand SMB on LAN. But SMB on the Internet? Is that likely accidental?

1001101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have heard the NSA mission in this regard characterized as both defensive, and offensive. Defensive in that they protect our infrastructure (a counter-intel role), and offensive in that they attempt to exploit the infrastructure of our adversaries (and others) for sigint. They trick is finding the right balance, and I don't think there's much hope for agreement on that at the moment. I also find the debate a difficult one to engage in because there are large information asymmetries and much of what we're trying to discuss is obscured by secret courts, classified documents, etc. My impression is that even the people who are tasked with oversight don't get the full picture, so what do we hope to know about it. I've had experiences in industry that I can't talk about that maybe you (in the general sense) haven't had that also inform my views.

Personally, my view is that we should be putting the focus on the defensive side. Protect infrastructure, IP, etc. I believe the reputation of technology in general is harmed by the offensive mission, and US companies disproportionately so. There is now even greater incentives for our adversaries (and friends) to foster development of technologies that compete directly with US products in their own jurisdictions (where they can get a look under the hood).

lend000 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of the agencies being allowed to use a zero-day with some asterisks.

* The zero-day has to be powerful enough to allow the agency to gain full access & remotely patch the zero day -- i.e. if the zero-day gets out, and the agency didn't warn the manufacturer ahead of time and instead used it for its own purposes, it must have the capability to "immediately" scan the internet for the vulnerability and patch it where accessible.

* If the above condition is not satisfied, or if the agency can't/won't dedicate the resources to develop a backup patch, it should be required to alert the manufacturer immediately.

Does this cost more? Yes. Does it limit some of the monitoring capabilities they will have? Yes. The second seems like a pro. The first one seems like a worthy compromise for questionable activity with high potential for collateral damage.

c0achmcguirk 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Once installed, DOUBLEPULSAR is a stealthy backdoor thats difficult to detect and continuously relays new information back to its controller."

Seems to contradict itself? If it's continuously relaying information, wouldn't that make it easy to detect?

davidf18 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am worried about the firmware of Intel processors which I believe have had firmware since the mid-1990s or a bit later. Is this possible and are there tools "in the wild" that are capable of doing this? Does Intel do some sort of checksum to ensure that this cannot happen?
LoSboccacc 2 days ago 1 reply      
shower thought: have them been infected now, or now are known to be infected?
balgan 2 days ago 0 replies      
For more details on this and regular updated on the infection numbers check:https://blog.binaryedge.io/2017/04/21/doublepulsar/
Pica_soO 2 days ago 0 replies      
The zero-day NSA Pensionfund congratulates John & Jane Doe to his retirement and wishes him/her a nice golden autumn in his Florida beach villa.
awqrre 2 days ago 0 replies      
At the very least, they should at least create some honeypots to know when those exploits are being used by others...
rapjs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks Apple, for not caving to public pressure.
awarer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Side topic: How can the free market/enterprise work properly if there are backdoors and zero days all over the place?
godmodus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good, the will jolt national and global security standards.
thomastjeffery 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just thousands? I think that is a few orders of magnitude shy...
sebow 2 days ago 0 replies      
shocking news indeed, seems like you need researchers and studies about everything nowadays, otherwise you're called names
wslh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are the added to a popular antivirus list?
noja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why Juiceros Press Is So Expensive bolt.io
470 points by pccampbell  1 day ago   355 comments top 45
freehunter 1 day ago 10 replies      
I'm not a mechanical engineer, but it seems like a roller would be able to provide a more efficient and focused method of squeezing than a press they're using now.

What we see in most products is a result of the accountants saying "no" to too much. Cheap parts, assembled cheaply, pennies saved per part. What we see here is the exact opposite: the accountants didn't say "no" nearly often enough. Apple manufactures custom everything because they can, and because they sell at massive scales. Juicero wanted to be Apple quality without selling at Apple quantity.

I fully believe you get a better cup of juice squeezing with their massive press rather than by hand because it can press over a bigger surface. I also believe it doesn't matter a bit, because this is a worthless piece of equipment. Beautiful engineering, though.

mohn 1 day ago 2 replies      
This was great reading, I really enjoy this style of content: someone with expertise tearing down electrical and mechanical equipment and commenting on which parts are well done or poorly done.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for other write ups from Ben Einstein. To anyone wanting more content like this, I also recommend the "Bored of Lame Tool Reviews?" (BOLTR) series of videos from YouTuber AvE:


guelo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Part of the problem is that the cold-pressed juice fad is not really rational to begin with. Somehow customers are convinced that the method of juice extraction is extremely important to the juice's health benefits, to the point that it's worth spending 3x comparable juices. It's great marketing on the verge of fraud. In order to capitalize on the fad the startup probably thought they needed a really fancy, distinctive press since the press has become of mythical importance in the customers' mind. And since cold-pressed customers have already proven to be cost insensitive they figured price is no object, so let engineering go wild!
TD-Linux 1 day ago 3 replies      
The two strangest parts of this are probably the door locking mechanism and the DC motor supply. The door locking was pretty well explained, but I was really surprised at the DC motor. From previous pictures I had assumed it was a 170VDC motor (using just a rectifier + filters for noise) but according to this it's actually a 330V active power correction boost converter. I guess that gets you 100-240V range support, but it seems horribly expensive for driving a motor. Even 170VDC permanent magnet motors are pretty uncommon - they fill an awkward middle ground where the motor is too big to reasonably use a low voltage DC one (due to power supply costs), but too small to use a universal AC motor directly off line power. The only tools AvE has reviewed of this design are the Kitchenaid mixer and Drill Doctor, for reference.

Also, I don't believe "330V 15A" for a second. Maybe 2A...

Animats 1 day ago 3 replies      
That's a cute piece of mechanism. I can see how they got into that overdesign. There must have been insistence that the pack must be crushed between two flat plates. Once you insist on that, it gets complicated.

I once got a chance to look closely at the mechanism of SF's JCDecaux overpriced automatic street toilets in SF. Those cost about $150K each. The mechanism is all Telemecanique industrial control components. If you built a washing machine that way, which you could, it would cost $5000-$10000.

Compare the Portland Loo.[1]

[1] http://theloo.biz/

bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the upcoming season of Silicon Valley will feature a startup called "Juicaneros" which features a technology that tests blood collected by pricking a single finger, and then squeezing all of the blood out of an arm through the new pricked hole by putting the arm into a 4-ton press.
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 3 replies      
Wow, that is amazing. I've seen less engineered products never make it to production.

I would quibble about the custom power supply though, they are not as difficult as they were in the past. Much of the 'magic' of building good SMPS supplies has been encapsulated into very clever chips and certification bodies have seen enough of them now that the checklists are pretty straight forward.

I don't get the outrage though.

Nition 1 day ago 4 replies      
Wow, this is an amazing teardown of the machine. Re the "apply force to the whole thing equally at once" problem mentioned at the end, I wonder if you could do something more like a roller on one side and a plate or another roller on the other, that rolls down from the top of the pack to the bottom.

Also, as overwrought and unnecessary as the Juicero product is, I can't agree with the "it's useless because you can do it by hand" argument. I could probably hand wash my clothes as well as the washing machine does in the same amount of time, but it's hardly useless. While the Juicero is pressing your juice you can be making your lunch or something.

Who knows why the CEO's response skipped straight past "having the machine do it saves you time" to "it can automatically lock you out if your pack expired."

toddmorey 1 day ago 2 replies      
They could have (and seems should have) created an elegant manual press, maybe with a crank mechanism of some kind. Would have arguably taken about the same amount of counter space and I still think that something beautiful yet manual would have played with the demo. Think pour over coffee crowd... a bit of easy manual work makes you feel like an artisan. Still would have packet subscription, still would have app potential for expiry notices and subscription management.
godmodus 1 day ago 4 replies      
Beauriful but over engineered for its niche and utterly useless.

700bucks for abag squeezer? Something went terribly wrong.

It feels like they aimed to produce some advanced robotics and built the wrong product. Could turn this into a limb for amputees, makes more sense and actually good use of the resources.

IAmGraydon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the machine is fine and I don't feel like $400 is very much for a well built appliance. What kills me about this thing is the fact that they take so many steps to lock you in to their juice packs, which are priced so high that a regular user will have spent more on juice in the first month than the entire machine. Couple that with requiring a nanny QR scan to make sure you can't press "expired" packs as if we are unable to simply read an expiration date and it gets ridiculous. By the way, has anyone mentioned that the expiration on the packs is 8 days after the date of manufacture? Subtract shipping time and you literally have 4 days to use your packs before you shiny new machine says "gotta buy more!" What if I'm ok with a 9 day old pack? Too bad. I think that's what will kill the Juicero. It makes customers feel like they're being hustled.
daemin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have to say I do find it disheartening that everything is aiming for a subscription model. Software, food, etc. I know that it is a very profitable business model but it does make me wonder if I really want to live in a world where everything is by subscription.

These subscription models, or even machines that require only a certain type of consumable, are effectively leases. Sure you may buy a piece of hardware, but it is only useful for as long as you buy and use the required consumable.

I am comfortable in renting a place to live - especially since I have moved about every 2-3 years in recent memory - and I am comfortable paying a subscription fee for some software and services. But I am not that comfortable when I have to subscribe to food or clothing for example.

Taniwha 1 day ago 0 replies      
archagon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Incredible. Does this make Juicero the first mass-market example of chindgu?

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

scandox 1 day ago 1 reply      
This could become a collectible piece of hardware. A sort of beautiful tech historical folly. Might be worth the actual price over a 50 to 60 year timeline.
gyrgtyn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like they are getting a bunch of free press.
mianos 1 day ago 2 replies      
Using all those CNC milled parts is simply crazy. CNC is for prototypes, small runs, super specialised load characteristics or runs of parts that are practically impossible to make otherwise. This use does not tick any of those boxes.
dsmithatx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I bought a $300 juice 15 years ago and it's a simple design and can juice anything. It's basically a giant motor with a plastic assembly attached to the front to hold the food.

If you are serious about juicing you can find cheaper products that don't require packets. This is a convenience item for people with a lot of money. There is no way this company will be worth $120MM unless they design a low cost model.

ironchief 1 day ago 1 reply      
Out of all the Juicero outrage, this is the best. You can still admire something for all its flaws.
PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
$400 for a juice machine is not crazy; if you spend that much on an ordinary juicer you can make gallons of carrot juice for a very low price. (It saves money, it doesn't cost money)

You do have to clean up a mess, but if your time is that valuable you can hire a maid to do it for about that $5-$8 price point of the packs.

pfooti 1 day ago 0 replies      
Given the breakdown, it seems like the juicero press could do a lot more than just pressing bags full of pre-chopped stuff. Do you think they engineered it to do more, but then ended up being unable to actually make premade bags that contained big enough chunks of fruit / veg to work?
xg15 1 day ago 1 reply      
(Half-)joking, but the irony is, with so many interest and high-quality parts, the press looks like it could be a desired object for makers. In particular, it contains:

- two motors, one of them exceptionally strong - a durable drive train - a control board with flash memory, wifi, a camera and a USB plug for flashing without additional tools(!) - a durable aluminum frame

Those parts look like they could be building blocks for some interesting hobby projects. Did they ever think about selling to makers?

cateye 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes, definitely over-engineered and needlessly expensive for it's purpose.

But at the same time, it feels like they have achieved such a great quality that the learning and experience to design and execute could be very valuable as an unintended consequence.

So, maybe quality always wins in the long run nevertheless. Wouldn't you hire these guys and pay a premium, if you wanted to manufacture great hardware?

kazinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the King's Toaster, an ancient allegory about overengineering a food appliance:


jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think Juicero cares one way or another about your ability to side-step their juicer, as long as you buy the packs because that is where the money is. They'd probably give you the juicer for free if you signed up for a 3 years worth supply of juice packs.
PascLeRasc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a good example of why the Keurig method of hardware sales[1] works so well. People would be okay with buying marked-up juice pouches because that's the real product. The juicer is just a means to an end.

[1] https://blog.bolt.io/keurig-accidentally-created-the-perfect...

3xnis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought this was silly until I read this point [1]:

>No prep. No mess. No clean up.

That's brilliant because people don't like cleaning. Cleaning regular juicers is annoying to the point that only few people use them regularly. There are enough people with money to spare that this can become a success. I haven't seen it mentioned, so let me spell it out: This is Nespresso for fruits.

[1]: https://www.juicero.com/how-it-works/

huangc10 1 day ago 0 replies      
> the massive force required to press the packs across the entire surface at once. The machine must apply equal pressure to ~64 square inches of surface area at once, meaning the drivetrain must be able to apply thousands of pounds of force to squish all that produce.

What if the package was a cube (16 square inches for ex. with 4 inch height) This would roughly fit in the average human palm. Wouldn't we be able to easily more or less apply equal pressure on the packaging? Just a thought.

I would consider buying these cube packs.

Steeeve 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think there's a big gap between the target market for this device and the average consumer.

A commercial cold press countertop juicer is usually a few thousand dollars. A consumer model is ~$3-400. Cold press juicers are supposed to retain nutrients a bit more, and produce more flavorful juice. (who knows if that is true)

The Juicero is the pro-sumer k-cup version of a juicer. It's not aimed at people who are price conscious at all. Price conscious people could get something close-enough for sub $30. My guess is that the $700 juicer was designed to get a high-end reputation, with lower-end follow on products once they established the brand.

At this point, they are ruined. It's collective common sense that this is a bad deal and the value of the brand is diminished dramatically.

Their engineering decisions are questionable. If you are going for a high-end high quality unique product that will push people to spend double what the competitive product provides, it should be more appealing to look at. It's like they tried as hard as they could to make a cube-shaped plastic lined product as expensive as possible to manufacture. I'm all for sturdy commercial quality components, but not in something that looks like it was manufactured by nintendo.

The Bloomberg article was in poor form. At least let a company get out of the gate and establish itself before tearing them apart. But that's the danger involved with investing big money in companies based on a business plan and not vetting that they are good decision makers. This all could have been avoided if their PR people were on top of things. You'd think they'd have top notch PR people in place for this market segment... another bad decision.

grappler 1 day ago 1 reply      
A machine with that level of quality has a lot of appeal for me. Something generally useful like a blender or stand mixer, that might be kept visible on the counter and used often, I could see dropping $400 or even $700 on.

But this thing doesn't appear generally useful based on what I've seen about this story. It seems to want to lock you into using food from a particular vendor.

How much less appealing would my stand mixer have been as a purchase if it were outfitted with a QR reader looking to make sure that the KitchenAid cookie dough I was giving it was fresh? That would be a deal breaker.

lwander 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh this is interesting:

> The two primary exterior plastic parts are huge, detailed injection molded parts with multiple slides and actions, large changes in wall thickness (which makes it very hard to mold without imperfections)

Does anyone know why large changes in wall thickness makes molding these parts more difficult?

dreamcompiler 1 day ago 1 reply      
I blame modern VCs for this. VCs love continuing revenue streams and monopoly suppliers, and this crazy thing had both of those in spades. The funders must have been salivating so much about those factors that they never questioned how stupid the device ultimately was. There has to eventually come a tipping point where consumers just get sick of devices that require constant rent payments in order to continue functioning, with no choice in suppliers. Not to mention ridiculous amounts of packaging waste.
justinzollars 1 day ago 0 replies      
Misallocated Capital. Maybe I'm bitter because my startup wasn't funded, but I feel like we can and must do better than this.
cJ0th 1 day ago 0 replies      
After reading about the details in this wonderful article I am starting to believe they intended from the beginning to create a piece of postmodern art.
gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate to point to conspiracy theories but the only reason someone might invest in this company is if they are investing money not in the product (because it is obviously a flop) but to gauge if consumers will eventually be dumb enough to allow abuse from appliances just like they allow from internet and mobile phone companies.
2muchcoffeeman 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a hardware perspective is this well designed?

Forgot what you think of the product and whether it's excessive.

I mean with that handy USB connector to flash the firmware, a $400 appliance that does one thing well is not that bad if you can do that one thing on whatever you want.

issa 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm a little bit shocked by everyone's reaction to this. It is nothing new for people to spend more money than required to accomplish a task. First class plane tickets. Luxury cars. Mansions. Expensive restaurants. And a million other things.
carsongross 1 day ago 1 reply      
"The enemy of art is the absence of limitations"

--Orson Welles

Neliquat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Useless precision. The anathama of profit. I love some engeneering porn, but that is when form follows function, that is dubious here.
phonon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like they needed the inventor of the AeroPress to be involved.
lips 1 day ago 0 replies      
I bet this was really fun to work on.
maverick_iceman 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a Rube Goldberg contraption.
maxxxxx 1 day ago 10 replies      
I hope they will fail miserably together with Keurig, Blue Apron and anybody else who makes simple food preparation into something that produces piles of trash for no good reason other than costing ten times as much. This is totally the wrong direction.
droithomme 1 day ago 5 replies      
The so-called hack is that if you squeeze the bag you get 7.5 oz of juice compared to 8.0 oz from the machine.

This clearly means to anyone with technical insight that what is inside the bag is not really sealed raw vegetables in a plastic bag able to handle 10,000 lbs/sq in of pressure, but is some sort of processed vegetable juice that has been artificially processed and embedded within some sort of substrate meant to appear solid-ish.

An actual vegetable press that uses immense pressure does indeed produce a particular special kind of "pressed" raw juice extract that retains the vitamins and flavor. However this machine clearly does not do that and is therefore misrepresenting itself. The evidence that proves it is that people can squeeze whatever is inside it out.

If the inventors and investors of this technology wish to claim otherwise I am more than willing to engage in a personal challenge where we get together and look inside the bag and find out if it is really unprocessed raw vegetables or not.

Disagree? Buy a carrot. Squeeze it as hard as you can. Film the result and upload it to youtube. Do the same for a beet, for lettuce, and for celery. Post the link. Demonstrate that pressed vegetable juice from raw unprocessed vegetable is possible with simple force from the human hand, unleveraged.

snackai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Guys, cancer. It's still out there. Donate for research instead of wasting 400 Bucks on a fu*king juice press. No one can justify this useless piece of crap.
Suicide of an Uber engineer: Widow blames job stress sfchronicle.com
405 points by BinaryIdiot  10 hours ago   227 comments top 49
defined 9 hours ago 4 replies      
This is not unique to Uber.

I have worked in toxic environments that depleted and debilitated me to the point that, in two cases, I was psychologically completely incapable of even thinking about finding work for three months after being laid off from one, and quitting the other.

It doesn't even take abusive bosses who don't like you, although that just makes it far worse.

It simply takes being treated like a robotic code monkey who is expected to do everything that is ordered, without question, and micromanaged to the point of insanity, while people in management positions make decisions - and then reverse them - that are so obviously wrong to any competent engineer that it makes Dilbert's PHB look like Einstein in comparison. This is not much of an exaggeration.

This is bad enough for any regular human to endure, but take a skilled engineer who probably suffers from impostor syndrome and the upper end of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and it is a recipe for a breakdown and, quite possibly, suicide.

Those who would glibly criticize such people for not going and getting another job, or just quitting, are out of touch with how badly one's confidence is damaged by that point; it would not be unreasonable to compare the psychology to that of abused spouses who don't leave their abusers.

Also, I could not leave one of the jobs without losing my work visa and being deported (it was back in 2003 before visa portability). Maybe others are in situations that make it harder than expected to move on.

My deepest empathy goes to this engineer, and to all others who suffer in this way, and to their families. We need to pay far more attention to the destruction that is done by quasi-sociopathic managers.

jjjensen90 9 hours ago 4 replies      
This was so difficult for me to read.

I have struggled with extreme anxiety and chronic depression and brushed up against the thought of there being no way forward or out but suicide. During the closest calls, I was making the most I ever had, living in a nice house, etc. It didn't really matter though. I felt a tightness in my chest and a boiling kettle of acid in my stomach from the second I woke up until the second I fell into fitful sleep. I had a Pavlovian response to the sound of email arriving on my phone, to the point where it would be in my nightmares. But it was more than just work; irrational panic and anxiety filled everything facet of my life. I would nearly pass out from panic attacks when flying, or worry that the police I saw were going to arrest or harass me for an unknown crime, or think that any time my family was calling it would be tragic news.

About three months after I most seriously considered suicide, I got a new job, saw a psychiatrist, saw a counselor, and a few years later I was pretty much stable. I did have to detox off benzos, but that wasn't too bad.

It has to be understood that highly motivated, highly intelligent people can be driven to irrational levels of stress from their work. Unfortunately it isn't as easy as just reminding the person that they aren't their job or their career, just like you can't treat depression by telling a depressed person to turn their frown upside-down. This man may still have struggled with stress, anxiety, and depression even if he left Uber for somewhere healthier; what's important now is that people reading this story or these comments realise that there are always so many ways out, and that no matter what there are resources to keep you afloat.

Zelmor 6 hours ago 3 replies      
What I have found out over the years is that having roughly 4-6 months worth of living expenses in the bank (unblocked and accessible within 24 hours) alleviates stress. Figure out how many months worth of savings makes you feel comfortable, and have an 'oh shit' budget figured out for times of willing/unwilling unemployment. For example, I can cut my spendings by 40% in case of unemployment simply by cutting luxury items. That 2.5 kilograms of light roasted coffee each month, dining, massage and clothing expenses isn't all that necessary, and can be cut temporarily.

So yeah, being able to quit and leave whenever I want and take 2-3 months of break does take off a lot of weight from one's shoulders. 40 hours a week with no overtime or on-call for me! I will not be the employee with the mad bonuses when the time comes for that, but I will also be the one not on medication/suicide watch/psychiatric aid. The company will have a stable workforce that is able to care an adequate amount for the company's well-being, and I will not spend my bonus on keeping my health intact. If you don't want to employ such a person, I don't want to work for you either. Easy as that. :^)

So yeah, the essence of my comment, I would say, is that make sure you have financial get-away. You don't have to subscribe to the crazy USA way of overtime>money>health issues>expenses>overtime to compensate for expenses. Having a small vegetable garden also helps, or just caring for plants on your windowsill.

Also, cats.

kirillzubovsky 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's amazing how a toxic work environment can dismantle an otherwise perfectly fine human in a matter of months. For anyone who is reading this thinking it can't, I've seen a number of friends get completely demotivated and numb due to the circumstances of their work. Luckily all ended up finding better jobs, but the PTSD was real and took everyone a long time to shake off.

I can totally believe this guy was a great engineer too, as I've seen the work stress affect the best ones the most. The lazy and dumb can coast for months, speaking fancy words and pretending to be working, but really smart people actually want to deliver value and they grow tired and frustrated when they can't.

Stress isn't talked about much in SV, as the focus is on growth and revenue, and it's a shame. You can't build a long-lasting company without good people.

jjm 1 hour ago 2 replies      
All, Hear me out. The first thing you need to overcome is not your wallet, or your options, timing or any other thing. It is -- your mind.

If you experience this level of pressure, quit. And then start looking. Do not be influenced that your boss is the boss of your life or your career for that matter.

If you've got a family to take care of, quickly join a consulting firm. Worst case you'll have to travel some, but it buys you some mental time to start looking for another job. And it sure beats Hell. People WILL tell you to not quit but they won't know how much pressure your in. They don't need to know. Just quit and find a better place. Garden, paint, chill with your espresso, take up that book you never read, or that new lang you never used. Do something positive.

You hold the power to fix this. Quit, and find a new Job. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, for your friends, do it for open source communities that you contribute to.

There is always a way out, and don't let anyone make you think that the only way out is a tiny little door -- to hell. Because what they don't tell you is that the door is fake. Your already in hell.

Bust down the walls of your mind and get out.

NovaS1X 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This article has resonated with me far more than I thought it would.

I can't help but think that this is not just an Uber culture problem but a problem of culture in general. Hyper productivity is so in fashion and I don't think it's good for us.

I spent a number of years in tech in Vancouver and during my time I went though a period of unconscious breakdown which ended up with me in the hospital with perimyocarditis (heart failure due to unknown reasons, ie: stress).

After a number of years doing what I have aspired to do for what is really the majority of my conscious life, I ended up quitting my career and just leaving altogether. I met a girl, she was not from my country, and when she had to leave, I took the opportunity as an out from the life that I was living. At the same time, I began using photography as a way to explore my new city and as a creative outlet, as tech no longer was that outlet and became a source of stress.

The interesting thing is, once I left tech and began to put my free time in to photography I got caught up in the same culture that I've been trying to leave. Managing Instagram, Facebook, 500px, Flickr, and YouTube profiles to garner my following. The constant idolization of " work work work" I see YouTubers and IGers tout. Constantly judging myself against other people. Always feeling like I'm not good enough yet or that I'm lacking in talent that other naturally have. Believing that I'm not living my life correctly in relation to the perceived 10xers around me. Chasing the illusion of the 1%.

This article handed me an epiphany. I'm only taking the life I want to leave with me.

Why is it so that I feel the need to chase hyper productivity as a measurement of success?

joeblubaugh 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Please know that if you are feeling hopeless, like you are a failure, and that there is no recovering, there are people who will help you. You are not your job or your accomplishments, you are worth it and there are people who love you and will help you.

In the Bay Area, call (415) 781-0500 to talk with someone who can help. http://www.sfsuicide.org/

65543543 9 hours ago 3 replies      
My heart goes out to the whole family.

A while ago, a long long friend of mine suddenly messaged me out of the blue reminiscing on old times and stuff. I could sense something was amiss. I planned an impromptu trip to see him. I didn't bring anything up...we just chatted about the good old times, cracked a few inside jokes etc. He was visibly much better when I started back after a few days. We promised to be in touch but it kinda dwindled from there.

He got back in touch again and this time told me that he was seriously contemplating the last ride and my trip made him change his mind.

elvinyung 9 hours ago 4 replies      
X-posting my comment from the other post because I think it's worth discussing:

> Uber denied the benefits claim through its insurance carrier.

That seems like an extremely terrible move, even if Uber might be technically correct. Deciding to do that makes them look awful, and I think that's what matters most, given everything else contributing to their public image right now. It could have been a great opportunity to look magnanimous.

botchagalupe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In Japan they have a name for this.. karjisatsu.. It literally means suicide from work. I wrote about this about two years ago below. Our industry (IT) could be worse than others due to the different kind of stress it creates. Here's some work/research I have done on this.



We have to band together and do something about this plague...


clint 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ed Finkler is doing great work with his non-profit Open Sourcing Mental Illness. They are currently looking for 2017 corporate sponsors, so please talk with your employers about it!

It would also be a nice move of HN to help them out since this is a huge problem in the startup world!

Illniyar 9 hours ago 5 replies      
I think we are missing some information here:"All suggested that he leave his job, but he was adamant that he could not. "

The question is why? what conditions need to occur where a man who most likely can get another job easily enough and who has switched jobs before decides that ending his life his a better course of action then switching jobs.

They wrote that he eventually saw a psychiatrist, was he prescribed SSRI medication (I.E. Prozac)? If so, the other articles on HN suggest that that may be the cause, and not Uber's work environment.

All of that isn't to say to Uber's work environment is ok, but unless there was some form of coercion to keep the job (debt, noncompetitive wages, medical insurance issues), I don't think it's fare to blame Uber for the suicide. Mass worker exodus or a union is the way to change a company's work environment.

throwawayosiu1 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Throwaway as usual:

Just last weekend (Friday), I thought I had reached my breaking point. I could not handle my job, my friends, my parents and my side idea to the point I convinced myself that the only solution to my problems was suicide. I went on to 4chan to ask for help on the quickest solution.

The only reason I'm alive today is because Amazon does not have a quick shipping policy (what I ordered would have taken me over a week to receive). Now I'm taking one day at a time in the hope that I don't reach that situation again.

I truly feel sad for both the Engineer and his family!

pdimitar 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
To me this is a failure of Uber of course, but also of the guy's wife. She is supposed to be his best friend, life partner, and a lover. If she couldn't detect that her partner needed urgent help then I am afraid he didn't have the happiest marriage out there. Same goes for his family, how can they even claim they're his family if they never detected this?

Therapists most of the time don't amount for anything. They put a suit and a tie, they are well-instructed how to fake confidence and never betray lack of understanding. Most of them are as cold as a brick wall and I am not at all surprised the therapist wasn't of any help.

Toxic work places will always exist. Competitive "alpha" pricks who tell you that you must always work harder won't disappear from the gene pool anytime soon. We must learn to cope, or at best, avoid them. Failing that, we need a supportive partner and a family.

If we don't even have that, then yes, people are committing suicides.

sgt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This widow seems to be the same woman who was charged with leaving her kids in a hot car. The children were later released to the father.


Makes one wonder if Joseph's family life wasn't exactly conducive to stability.

hackits 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Just remember there no point earning the mega $$$$ when you're going to put a bullet in a gun and shot yourself in the head because of the stress. Look after yourself first.
markbnj 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I've never felt like he seems to have felt, so I can't put myself in his shoes. But my first thought on seeing the picture of his family at the top of that post was that trying to reverse-engineer whatever misery would cause a man to take that step, to leave his family that way, to do it in a way that was almost certain to force his wife or even, horribly, one of his kids to confront the results, is fruitless. Maybe someone with a deep professional understanding of the human mind would have some insight. "Uber did it" is a far too coarse answer imho.
fredsted 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It's really mind-boggling this happened after less than 6 months at Uber. I wonder what it must be to work there. Sounds absolutely horrifying.
trustfundbaby 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Man, this really hit home. That guy's life could have been mine.

I had this almost this same experience 2 years ago (we were at the job for the same length of time even, five months), and it led to a long period of depression for me. I didn't kill myself, but I have to tell you, I could see how someone could.

In my circumstance I interviewed as a Senior Engineer, and got offered a Lead engineer position because apparently I had impressed everyone so much (this is important because later, they would claim I wasn't even good enough to be a senior engineer). I erroneously thought that I would get support and encouragement, I got none of those things. Worse still I was the only black engineer in the entire company at that location, which left me incredibly isolated during my work days, when things got really really rough.

Essentially, 70 days into my tenure, despite 30 and 60 day reviews that seemed fine, my manager and architect of the codebase I worked on, decided I wasn't up to snuff, and essentially started a process of managing me out of the company. My manager was a very smart engineer but a world class jerk, so when I complained to HR about the unfairness, he was demoted so that both of us were now leads, but guess what?

The Performance improvement process continued ... I got a new boss, but he just picked up where the other guy left off. The kicker?

He worked in another city so he actually got feedback on my performance from guess who? my new peer, who clearly now had an axe to grind.

Everything was downhill from there, everything I did was shit, everything. I remember going into work one day and my boss sending me an email that essentially said "you're not performing at lead engineer level, and you are not even at senior engineer level, if we're being honest", great morale boost.

When I tried to ask for help (remember I'd never been a lead before) it was turned around as me trying to assign blame to other people. I had nobody to help me, and worse, I was the only black engineer at that location. I felt like and absolute failure everyday for 30 days (they had a 90 day introductory period, so they gave me an additional 30 days to "prove" myself, but in addition I had to agree to that Performance improvement plan, I mentioned earlier.

At one point, I was barely sleeping, was super stressed out and anxious, even on weekends. I'd go into meetings with my new boss, and the old one (remember he's my peer now) with his superior knowledge of the code base (he built it) would throw me under the bus, claiming I wouldn't hit my dates, or that my estimates were wrong. Openly, in front of 7 or 8 people, and the new boss would tolerate it.

To add to all this, I was on an h1b, and had left a job that was processing my green card to join this new company. So if I lost the job, I would be right back to square one with everything, and I'd have to find a job within 30 days. Throw that in the mix with being told everyday that I was crap, not having anyone at work to talk to about what was going on, being on a performance improvement plan and walking around totally humiliated wondering what everyone must think of the dumb black engineer who couldn't even hack it a couple of months.

Anyway, the final straw came when I delivered my project pretty much on time, but my boss changed his tune from "poor performance" to "culture fit". I had known the game was rigged and I was just being managed out, but at that moment I knew it for a fact, and asked to be allowed to give 2 weeks notice, but spend the 2 weeks at home not working for the company, but looking for a job.

They agreed to that, and I was gone.

But that wasn't the end of that. turns out that at the end of that 2 weeks they had my h1b revoked (usually companies will let it sit a few weeks, especially if they know you're looking for work). This meant that when I landed a job 30 days later, my visa couldn't be transferred, and the company had to take back their offer, and move on.

If not for an amazing lawyer who worked some black magic to get my green card 8 months later, (I had an approved i140 from an earlier job, but didn't realize the significance of that, turns out, its VERY significant). I really don't know what I would have done.

Those 8 months were truly some dark times, I left the job in October, and let me tell you, being out of work over holidays is no joke, everyone is out making plans and traveling to see family, and there you are contemplating the epic shit your life has become, almost overnight. In addition to failing so badly at a job I desperately wanted to succeed in, I couldn't work for 8 months, and even worse, didn't know if I'd be allowed to stay in the country. I was pretty depressed, but I had a group of engineering friends that helped me keep my spirits up, and listened to my rants (no idea how they put up with it honestly), and I think the biggest thing was that a good friend of mine (pretty much my sister), got me into therapy. That was MASSIVE.

If not for that ... who the fuck knows.

So yeah ... I can totally see the cascade of events that lead to this mans death, I lay the blame squarely at the feet of horrible management, as was the case for me. I wouldn't be shocked to find that he was placed on a performance improvement plan, and just ... gave up.

PS: I'm a bit of a fighter, I don't shirk from an argument, and I'll call bs when I see it. This has got me in trouble at a couple of places I've worked, but ironically, thats probably something that helped me power through the absolute disgrace of an experience that I went through. I could see how a more mild mannered person, especially a high achiever would just ... not.

I mean, can you imagine having to explain to your wife and Children that you're on a performance improvement plan (which I'm almost 100% sure that this man was on). As a man that has to absolutely destroy you. I didn't even tell my parents and brothers what had happened for several months, I was just too ashamed.

kfkhalili 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Does anyone think that this culture of extreme competitiveness and "working hard" benefits employers before it reaches the employees?
jankedeen 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh, yes. Strikes a chord. Work till you drop and not make any friends = disaster.
ghughu 2 hours ago 1 reply      

 Free markets just means unregulated capitalism just means out-of-control companies ruining workers lives. This isn't unique to Uber.

brbrodude 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Countries outside America have labor laws to prevent that kind of shit. You gave away yours.

Edit: I`ve been through two burnouts while working remotely. Gave it up for good, happily working in my city and have freedom, dignity and respect now. It is a human need.

Edit2: F*ck Uber.

princetontiger 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Get the hell out of SV. It's become a pressure cooker because of many, many reasons.
tribby 8 hours ago 1 reply      
tragic loss.

I wonder what would happen if companies with high-stress environments employed on-site counselors. even if employees have outside help already, as mr. thomas did, it's very difficult -- for so many reasons -- to approach HR or consider a medical leave due to stress or mental illness. maybe creating a less daunting first step could help. in general, getting employers more proactively involved in asking how their employees are doing -- and if they need time off to heal -- could go a long way. at a certain point, an individual's motivation or willpower will not turn a situation like this one around, but outside intervention still might. how do we effectively intervene sooner?

siliconc0w 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much the equity handcuffs are to blame here.
vivekys 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Its sad to see why smart people set themself for failure. Under bad situations at work all it takes is to go out the front door and not come back. Living a life where you're just trying to out-compete everybody or oneself is a trap. Best not to do that.
schneid3306 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I stated something similar in a reply below, but I think it is worth repeating on its own...

It is hard to describe to someone who never experienced a job that is overwhelmingly and exclusively awful how much of an impact it makes on you. And I am not talking about a job that you don't like or don't enjoy. I mean a job that has zero redeeming qualities and a culture that is incredibly toxic.

You feel like a failure at work, but there is nothing you can do to improve or impress the higher ups. Nothing is good enough. Period. Managers are instructed not to give out performance reviews any higher than a 3/5 for their best performers because the company does not want to pay out bonuses. You can be outputting 44% of the work of a 13 person team and you are called out by your immediate supervisor because you had a word document open and "it was closed the next time I walked by. So you clearly are not working your full 8 hours a day." You have to handle the work of three, then four, then five people because everyone else seems to be getting hired elsewhere and quitting. And the company certainly isn't replacing them. (Cost savings, yay!) You aren't able to find a new job despite putting out dozens of feelers and going to a couple interviews a month, and getting to the final interview rounds for 3 or 4 jobs. Congratulations, you worthless POS. You cannot even get hired out of that company. Maybe you really are that awful of an employee. You are miserable. And you see an out (quitting) but if you quit (without a job) there are a whole bunch of questions. Will someone like you ever be able to find work again? If you can't find work over five months while you are employed, what makes you think you would stand out anymore if you were unemployed? And in some ways the unknowns caused by quitting are even worse than the misery.

So, you go back in the next day and go "no way the prospect of losing my home can be worse than this." Then you go home and it is "no way my job can be worse than losing my home and failing my wife and kids." And in both cases you realize that, yes, somehow, both of those statements are true. The job is more miserable than losing the home which is more miserable than the job which is more miserable than letting down my wife and kids which is more miserable than my job which is more miserable than losing my home which is more miserable than my job which is more miserable than letting my family starve which is more miserable than my job...

...and suddenly you find yourself with a gun in the front seat of your car because there is nothing in life that is not miserable. Nothing.

I was able to quit my toxic job. But if I was in a situation similar to that of Mr. Thomas, I can easily see why he thought he only had one option. And it is heartbreaking for his family.

abalone 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll put this out there.. somone who has destigmatized and open sourced depression is Rob Delaney. Now has an award winning show featuring the late Carrie Fischer (Catastrophe) but nearly killed him self a few times in the past and has written extensively about it[1]. Alcoholism too. Psychiatric medication saved his life. REALLY funny guy, check him out on twitter (best reason to use twitter still).

[1] https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/comedy-545-v17n10

ajhurliman 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I truly feel awful for the family, but to play devil's advocate: What could you do if you were in Uber's position to prevent something like this?

And no cop-out answers like "Don't make an environment that pressures people" (everyone has deadlines, pressure is ubiquitous). What, specifically, would you do tomorrow to prevent this in the future if you were the CEO of Uber?

uladzislau 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There're two critical ways out of the situation like this which looks like severe major depression to me - 1. remove yourself from the stressful situation 2. seek medical help.

The worst in this situation is that the person is unable to clearly understand the severity of the situation and take an action so the role of friends and family becomes the critical one.

siculars 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My condolences to this persons family. May his memory be a blessing.

Ever hear the saying "where there's smoke, there's fire"? At this point I'd really have to evaluate whether or not Uber is the right kind of fit for anyone to be working there. There are other options.

zappo2938 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Mental health is often an issue that comes up on Hacker News. Perhaps, Y Combinator can contribute to the community yet further by providing research and services for mental health issues which plague the tech industry.
throwaway75657 9 hours ago 2 replies      
So what should you do if you find yourself in one of these situations and get let go? It gets really irritating having to explain what happened at the previous job in every interview.
diebir 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever's the cost, Uber should make it right for the guy's family.
noway421 9 hours ago 0 replies      
At this point one might ask, why have we not heard this stories before?
divanvisagie 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone notice how quickly this got removed from the front page?
throw2016 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think best to avoid some discussions. If only to avoid being confronted with the realization you know but try hard to avoid of a world where empathy is in short supply.

Bad things happen but its how we respond that shines a ray of light through the darkness. It may gives others stuck in a similar situation a context.

Sometimes we just have to stop and consider where we are as a collective. The sense of bleakness of an uncaring unfeeling world is devastating I think to even the most cynical amongst us. When money is put above everything what is left is this dehumanizing bleakness. And wealth for those who embrace it.

codinghorror 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so depressing. Shame on you, Uber.
adolfaiken 1 hour ago 0 replies      
an old story for uber :(
ensiferum 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"For Zecole Thomas, mourning the loss of the husband she met in 11th grade, it was baffling and confusing to be denied workers compensation. He had a great work ethic; he devoted his life to work, she said. I was sure they would reciprocate."

How stupid are you if you're willing to sacrifice your life (literally) for work. Yeah... I'm sure your employer will recipocrate... (not)

paradite 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Meta but relevant: 57 points in 35 minutes with no heated debates in comments, but not top story, suggesting high number of flags by users if I remember correctly about HN ranking algorithm.

Edit: Apparently this was a repost of the story, initially posted 15 hours ago (and 8 hours ago again):



Edit again: Now this submission has also been marked as dupe after 1 hour of front-page. Looks like mods don't really want this story to get too much attention.

defined 7 hours ago 1 reply      

This thread has essentially disappeared, along with a great deal of very useful comments, because there are apparently duplicates of it. Never mind that this has more comments than the others.

Instead of being near the top of HN, where I believe it deserves to be, it is gone. This is unwarranted, and merits serious consideration of merging the so-called dupe threads.

Failure to do this will surely look rather suspicious, don't you think? Some people are already mentioning that it didn't rise in the ranks even after getting around 50 points in several minutes.

defined 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to address the many comments that try to be helpful and offer advice, while expressing bemusement that the obvious step of just leaving and getting another job was apparently rejected in favor of suicide.

Edward de Bono of Lateral Thinking fame wrote a book named "Po: Beyond Yes and No" [1].

While not the most catchy title, in the book he describes the process of forming patterns in the mind as analogous to pouring warm ink over jello. After a while, channels begin to form and the ink naturally starts to flow down the channels, deepening them. It's pretty obvious that (a) knowing you are stuck in a groove takes some insight and (b) breaking out of the thought patterns can be pretty challenging.

De Bono also invented the L game. The interesting thing about this game is that it demonstrates very visually a flaw in human thinking: once you have started down a path in a decision tree and pruned off other possibilities, all your answers from that point onwards will be wrong if that path doesn't contain the right answer.

Pretty obvious, but where the flaw comes in is that, unlike computers, humans don't tend to backtrack past a point of a belief that "this is axiomatic", and never reexamine it.

I think that - and this is just IMHO - people who go on to commit suicide when there are other, obviously better solutions, are stuck deep down the wrong branch of a decision tree and incapable of reevaluating prior decisions.

Offering rational advice to people in this position is futile; what's needed is to help them pour warm ink to form new channels.

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/Po-Beyond-Yes-Edward-Bono/dp/01401378...

dominotw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> turned down job at apple

> was scared he'd lose his job at uber

Seems like some sort of the cover up by the family to blame shift on work stress.

What a sad waste of life. Rest in peace friend.

olgeorge 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure Uber is responsible for global warming too. I mean yes, that's very sad, but let's be reasonable about it, uber is probably not the only intensive work place, and the guy was not the only one under pressure.
handsomechad 9 hours ago 7 replies      
This is kind of ridiculous. My condolences to the bereaved and all that, but come on. High-paying jobs can often times be extremely stressful, and whenever I have worked in a pressure cooker environment I have often found myself questioning whether or not it is worth it to continue working there. Sometimes, the answer has been no, at which point I figured out my exit strategy. What I have not found myself questioning is whether or not I should take my own life.

Obviously, quitting is a much better solution than immediately jumping to suicide. Of course depression doesn't work logically like that, but unless he was being systematically bullied or hazed it seems completely unfair to blame the employer in a situation like this rather than his own psychological makeup.

I'm not saying that an incident like this shouldn't be alarming and merit internal investigation and rethinking of cultural norms. Sure, and I'm sure they did that. But I don't think it's a good precedent for an employer to be held responsible every time an employee self-harms. They aren't your parents; it is after all "At Will" employment.

Postal: Open source mail delivery platform, alternative to Mailgun or Sendgrid github.com
375 points by rendx  6 hours ago   97 comments top 20
dan1234 5 hours ago 9 replies      
Isnt part of the reason for using Mailgun, Sendgrid etc that you get to send via IP addresses with good reputation?
pvsukale3 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Will this platform be actually usable for independent developers considering today's spam blocking scenario. How one should proceed with this in order to not get blacklisted while actually using it for the first time.
stephenr 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
This sort of thing is fantastic to see, regardless of whether you want to run your own mail servers for this task.

That they provide a hosted service using the same stack is great to see: host it yourself, or pay them to host it for you. This is what great open source businesses can look like.

No "open core" where the good stuff isn't available for the community, and community efforts to implement the same thing get rejected.

No viral licensing like the GPL or jesus shit on a stick, the AGPL.

vanilla 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems to be the software behind appmail.io[1], a service just like mailgun and sendgrid.

[1]: https://appmail.io/

ohstopitu 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
If I were to host this myself, I'd still need a static IP that had a good reputation. GCP and Azure both mention that we should not be hosting mail servers on their platforms (rather, they all suggest we setup mail servers + relays to a reputed IP).

How would I go about getting a static IP or a reputed IP?

cryptarch 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you have a system to prevent trusted users from being given low-reputation ip addresses without them having to pay for a dedicated ip?

Something like, "if you don't pay for a dedicated ip, but have been a non-spamming client for a month, we move you to a higher-rep ip address pool"?

ramoq 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Question: if all these companies monitor outgoing SMTP traffic, how are people sending billions of spam messages a day? What's the loophole?
ksajadi 5 hours ago 7 replies      
We sent a lot of emails which makes services like Postmark or Mandrill very expensive. Since switching to Amazon SES, the cost has been much lower but the lack of individual email tracking has been a pain (in case a recipient claims they haven't received it or we need to track opens, etc).

This UI with an Amazon SES backend would be ideal.

jbverschoor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of mailgun. It is far better than mandril, sendgrid and probably ses - without a lot of the set up
brightball 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm most interested to see what their solution for handling INCOMING email looks like. Having used the inbound APIs with the others they are all pretty polished and reliable but have inconsistent APIs. I've always been a little bit concerned about how to handle high volumes of inbound email functionality if the prices on those services ever went up.
senic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I was just looking for something like this the other day, thanks HN! The software looks quite polished. Hopefully there'll be a dockerzied version to play with it.
spuz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Does Postal allow you to set up an email group? I.e. an email address that will forward to a defined list of other email addresses any email that is sent to it? This is a feature of Mailgun but unfortunately it does not quite behave in the way we need with regards to setting the 'Reply-to' address.

I'm looking forward to seeing the documentation and setting up Postal on my server.

t3ra 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds interesting. I have been looking for a proper mail Server for sending marketing only for a while now.

I'll wait for the doc to update but until then :

Does it do things like IP rotation?

Is it using postfix at the backend or its a complete mail Server

What kind of list management features does it have? (i am looking to compare with interspire)

hultner 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose this is more like a open source alternative to PowerMTA? How would you compare them?
IgorPartola 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Now if only there was a decent self hosted alternative to MailChimp.
no1youknowz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone tried elasticemail.com? I've seen their CEO post here before.

If you have, what's your experience with them vs Mailgun or Sendgrid?


nbevans 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The reason why we use Mailgun is to avoid deploying and maintaining e-mail infrastructure which is very hard and high cost. We would rather keep paying Mailgun about $20/mo as this is cheaper by several magnitudes than the self-hosting option.
yowza 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Not usable without a proper license.
madspindel 5 hours ago 3 replies      
This project fails to answer the question 'Why?'.
jpkeisala 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is Postal and services like Mailgun solution for a functionality where email can be viewed/replied from personal email inbox and a web app? Then somehow magically these services routes mail to relevant inboxes and the web app like Zendesk etc?
States are moving to cut college costs by introducing open-source textbooks qz.com
303 points by Dowwie  1 day ago   174 comments top 32
darkengine 23 hours ago 13 replies      
When I was at Oregon State (a couple years ago), all my math and econ classes used "My{Math,Econ}Lab" as homework. Meaning, if you chose not to or could not pay for Pearson's infamous Flash-based "web" app (which I had to spin up a Windows VM to run), you could not pass the class.

It really astounded me that we had to pay a third-party for-profit company to get access to our homework.

georgeecollins 1 day ago 6 replies      
When I went to UCSD (a long time ago) the standard engineering calculus book was revised every other year, usually changing all the homework problems, destroying the used market for it. It was written by the chair of the department. In that way the professors and the book publishers had an interest in keeping the price of textbooks very high.
ravenstine 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is wonderful! Though I can't believe that Openstax wasn't mentioned. For those interested in some excellent free & open source textbooks, look up Openstax.org. I sometimes read through chapters for the heck of it. My only wish is that they are made available for Kindle. Really makes me sad to look back at my college education and think of all the money I spent on textbooks of comparable quality.
thearn4 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm teaching a data structures class w/java this coming fall semester, and am putting together a reference text/notes in markdown to provide for free, since it seems really silly to require a paid text for this stuff.

Every single item that contributes to the learning objectives of this course is incredibly Google-able, but as new students to the field, they do need at least some curation and direction to keep from getting overwhelmed. They need a reference resource that they can trust which is academic enough to be true, yet reasonably conversational. Textbooks used to fill this role, but publishers priced and walled-gardened themselves out of relevance.

Side note: if you're an professor who has done something like this in the past, I'd love to compare notes with you.

zekevermillion 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This is encouraging. I strongly believe that public schools at all levels should (as in, morally ought to) use freely available coursework. Not only does it remove one more way in which kids are sorted by economic class, but it also teaches them something about the "system" in a meta way that could be as useful as any other particular subject, in itself. But I can see the major roadblock to this, which is just that it is damned hard to create a curriculum in any subject that will meet all internal and state requirements.
djent 1 day ago 1 reply      
My college just started pushing this as well, but missed an important point: some professors already use Creative Commons textbooks. I'm currently using one in my proofwriting class - and my professor demanded we have a print copy. I've only taken one computer science course that required a non-free book, and that was because the professor was the author.
fnordfnordfnord 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My .edu employer "encourages" faculty to use texts supplied by the campus BN franchise.

As mentioned by /u/darkengine Pearson and Blackboard have their claws in as well.

In my experience, most faculty simply take the lowest friction route.

sddfd 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone from a country with a fixed book price agreement, the pricing of college text books in the U.S. seems criminal to me.
JustFinishedBSG 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think here ( France ) our profs are required to write a "textbook" for their class.

We get a lot of awesome free material as a result.

awch 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I often wish there existed a 'student course materials bill of rights'. At a minimum, it would require professors to indicate which version(s) of the texts are acceptable, and would require them to provide this information ~2 weeks before the start of the term, allowing students time to order used books online.

The current-1 edition of a textbook, purchased used on Amazon, is often 25-50% of the cost of the new textbook in the college bookstore...

Of course, open-source textbooks would be even better.

jimhefferon 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been offering a math text that is open source (LaTeX on GitLab) for many years, since 1995. I have had the good fortune to work at a college that gave me professional activity credit for this.

Writing a text, well, is a major piece of work. The text body takes a lot, writing good exercises takes every bit as much, the answers to the exercises are important, and so also are ancillary material such as classroom slides.

People respond to rewards and unless they get rewarded for this it is not going to happen nearly enough. If you are an alum, and have some contact with your college or university, please urge them to give people credit for this. Say its important.

chrismealy 1 day ago 2 replies      
America could cut college costs by a quarter by making undergrad degrees take three years instead of four.
EliRivers 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I recall back at the turn of the century, I genuinely think none of my classes had a required textbook. I know that some did recommend books that could be used for extra depth, but that's all they were. Everything in the exam would have been explained by the professor in their own words and drawing, at the front. I've still got the set of notes from some of them; no textbooks involved. Question sets were photocopied bits of paper.

This was in the UK; I can't speak for how common this system is in the UK, but it sure feels like some people are getting massively ripped off. Clue's in the title, surely; you're a professor? Profess things :) A few years ago, I did a Masters in Maths in my evenings and weekends, for the fun of it, and that was to a large extent "get this textbook, make sure you can answer all these question, see you in nine months for the exam" with a few phone calls and weekends face-to-face thrown in. Whole thing cost a few thousand pounds. If you're just learning from the books, the actual cost of the education is so much smaller.

mrfusion 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder when more product classes might go open source? It's been such a hit with software I wonder why more products haven't popped up?

What are your ideas for products that might someday have a successful open source version?

antisthenes 21 hours ago 3 replies      
This is bikeshedding at its finest.

Textbooks were a minor, tiny part of the total cost of attending college. When you put the cost of books next to tuition, room and board and opportunity cost of not attending college, it's barely noticeable. I probably spent no more than $250 on books per semester (less on average, thanks to used books and online materials).

This is almost as comical as a hypothetical scenario of putting public terminals in health clinics that point you to WebMD, in an attempt to cut medical costs in the US.

enknamel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great and all but textbooks for me, while expensive, were nowhere close to my tuition cost. I'd love to see some traction on tuition cost reduction. I know that's trickier but hey, Amdahl's Law.
debacle 1 day ago 2 replies      
One of the biggest reasons I am dismissive of the "free tuition" change in NYS for SUNY schools is the massive cost associated with college that isn't tuition. Ignoring room and board, tuition is still only ~50% of the cost of college. Fees can be massive (I was paying 2k+ a year in fees 10 years ago), text books are exorbitant, and that doesn't consider all the ancillary costs for lab supplies, etc.
ergo14 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Heh, in my country we had state funded open source textbooks. Then right wing took over and they scrapped everything just like that.
ReverseCold 1 day ago 0 replies      
"open source"
ourmandave 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My daughter starts in the fall and during recent campus tours the advice on the down low from the tour guide has been to get ebooks on-line and Never Buy From The Campus Store.

They also mention Amazon's text book rental (but I haven't done any price comparisons on that).

taifff 22 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.pearson.com/corporate/news/media/news-announceme...Pearson and Chegg Announce Partnership to Make Textbooks More Affordable for College Students.

imo, Pearson is really evil, I live in Taiwan and still lots of classes in the top universities use Pearson textbooks, and lots of students pay for their solutions on Chegg, which makes it all more absurd.

BlackjackCF 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Good. All those horrible, predatory textbook companies need to die.
Tloewald 17 hours ago 0 replies      

Why start at college? I am amazed that we don't have open source textbooks and materials created cooperatively across the entire education system.

sn9 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really surprised Dover books aren't more common.
hyperion2010 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it laughable that people think that $1500 a year (ballpark) is 'cutting costs' when annual tuition is on the order of $50,000. That is an order of magnitude of difference. Maybe students care about it because it is the only cost they really feel, but come on, these efforts are marginal at best. I thinking open textbooks are an incredibly important initiative, but they don't make a meaningful dent in college costs.
ende 23 hours ago 0 replies      
publishers : professors :: pharma : doctors
wolfkill 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It is my opinion that

1) We continue to need new textbooks: Despite relative little change in core materials for subjects like Calculus, there is a need for adaptation of texts to include current applications and methods.

2) The best use of interactive media to complement and enhance learning is yet to be determined.

3) The worst crime of textbook companies is lack of innovation.

carsongross 1 day ago 2 replies      
While I appreciate the token nod towards controlling costs, and the text book scam is a mark of shame that the professoriate class should be deeply embarrassed by, this is a bit like tending to the deep cut on your hand while your severed leg spurts blood in cadence with your fading heartbeat.
tehlike 23 hours ago 1 reply      
seems like the best way to get college education at a cheaper cost is sending kids to other countries for education. I am saying this as a non-american resident of the US. You could use the extra money as a seed for the child's potential business ideas, if any.
ythn 1 day ago 4 replies      
Somehow I doubt this. You think publishers are just going to sit back and let this happen? Either publishers will lobby against this, or they will force exclusivity contracts with universities so that "open source" books are banned.
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
This should be done at the same time as flipping the classroom!


exhilaration 1 day ago 4 replies      
While this might be good PR the real driver of college costs is the ever increasing number of administrators:

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

- https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/the-real-r...

Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds bbc.co.uk
310 points by sjcsjc  1 day ago   235 comments top 21
zeteo 1 day ago 4 replies      
Looking at the funnel plot in fig. 3 in the linked meta-analysis [1], the high precision studies (standard error < 0.268) are clustered around an effect size of 0. The overall positive effect derives exclusively from the medium and low-precision studies, with several visible outliers well to the right influencing the mean significantly. The medium and low-precision studies had problems with one or more of the following:

"randomisation; allocation concealment; blinding of therapists (intervention supervisors); blinding of participants; blinding of outcome assessors; handling of incomplete data (use of intention-to-treat analysis); selective reporting and any other risk of bias." [1]

Also, the result was only statistically significant for poor quality control groups that didn't engage in any shared activity:

"When the control group involved either no contact (eg, waiting list, usual care; p<0.01) or education (eg, computer course, health lectures; p=0.01) the estimate was statistically significant. Where the control condition was exposed to an active control (eg, stretching; p=0.17) or social group (p=0.62), the effect size was still positive but no longer statistically significant." [1]

In summary, a few poor quality studies with large bias account for most if not all of the effect reported in this meta-analysis.

[1] http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/30/bjsports-2016-0...

theprop 1 day ago 4 replies      
Do not say you're too busy to exercise. Your productivity is much higher when you exercise. Do not say you're too old to exercise. The older you are, the more crucial it is. Get in the habit. Start with even just 2 intense minutes a day. Once you're in the habit, you'll work out longer.
dvcrn 1 day ago 31 replies      
My problem with exercise is simply time. There are a million things I want to do and with a 10-7 work shift, I just can't do much.

Staying 30 minutes longer happens easily so it's 7:30. Commuting to the gym would take another 20-30. 1h in the gym and it's 9 (or later). Commuting an hour home and it's 10. Go to supermarket, maybe cook something up and it could easily be 11 already. This leaves 1-2h max to do anything else, given I am not dead from the gym. Now spinning up the brain to focus on something creative also needs a bit of time.

Morning gym is hard as well. All gyms around my home open from 9:30/10:00 which is when I have to be on the way to the office already.

So the time slots that are free are very competitive. Pick one: Do I go to the gym? Do I watch a movie with the gf? Do I program? Do I learn the next grammar chapter? Do I work on other hobbies that I've been putting off too long? Do I meet friends and catch up on social life?

To be honest, this 'problem' makes me currently think of switching into a part time job, just so I have more time for the things I actually care about. (Part time remote for optimum happiness but that might be impossible to come by)

H1Supreme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nothing helps me tackle a tough programming problem like a nice, long bike ride. Is it grueling at times? Of course. Are my legs burning by the end? Usually. But, hard physical activity is the perfect way to clear my mind.

Plus, the fact that your body will go to shit if you don't exercise. Before I started lifting weights approx 10 years ago, I had back aches from sitting in an office chair all day. After regular, challenging, weight training, those problems vanished. Why? Because my muscles are strong now.

If you don't use your muscles, they soon because worthless, and painful. It's amazing how much stronger you get in a short amount of time as a beginner in weight training.

You don't like exercising? Boo hoo, no one does. I'd much rather eat pizza and drink beer than put 30 miles on my bike. But, I know it's important, so I suck it up and go. Even when I absolutely don't want to.

ck425 1 day ago 4 replies      
Does anyone else worry about staying fit as an office worker? As much as I enjoy my career, I might give serious consideration to moving into something more physical in future. While you can easily fit in a decent amount of exercise outside of work if you only work 40 hours, it strikes me as much more efficient to make your work exercise in and off itself. I spent one summer working as a software engineer intern with 6 weeks in between working at a summer camp where I was on my feet all day every day. When I got back to the office my mood and focus were sky high compared to before but I never had to try to do exercise at summer camp, the job itself just was exercise.
spodek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Saying that exercise keeps the mind sharp normalizes not exercising.

I prefer to think of exercise as normal and sitting around as the mind-dulling deviation. I would say:

Not exercising can dull the mind.


A sedentary lifestyle instead of getting your heart pumping can dull the mind.

oblio 1 day ago 5 replies      
"Mens sana in corpore sano", says 10000th study :)

The real question: is there anyone out there that really debates that exercising constantly = better, longer life?

2845197541 1 day ago 8 replies      
On one side of my family retirement for my grandparents meant long days vegetating in front of the television with little dogs to pet. Church on Sundays were really their only time out. This brought dementia by age 80 and a host of other issues and they are on their way out. On the other side my grandfather plays basketball, golfs, runs, reads a book every few days, even drinks at a bar. No dementia. Sharp as a tack. Dare I say... no church.
clumsysmurf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Somewhat related, today I read

"Researchers found that the foot's impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain."


Mankhool 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who is in his fifties, and just took my first real break from the gym in 40 years (2 months off) I can easily say I don't miss it. I still walk to/from work, which is about a 12km round trip, 5 times a week.

And although I have considered never picking up a weight again, I know the benefits of weight bearing exercise and so, sometime this year, will go back to they gym, but less frequently and for a shorter duration.

And never forget that 50% of your health is nutrition.

mike_ivanov 1 day ago 1 reply      
Or - there is a confounding factor that makes people both sharp and willing to exercise.
nepotism2016 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate direct exercising, ie running around my local area or going to the gym. However what I do love is participating in activities which require exercising; mountain biking, table tennis, football, hiking and badminton. I love all of these sports for its social benefits and most of the time I forget I'm exercising :)
js2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Recent study ("Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity"):

Abstract: Running is a popular and convenient leisure-time physical activity (PA) with a significant impact on longevity. In general, runners have a 25%40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners. Recently, specific questions have emerged regarding the extent of the health benefits of running versus other types of PA, and perhaps more critically, whether there are diminishing returns on health and mortality outcomes with higher amounts of running. This review details the findings surrounding the impact of running on various health outcomes and premature mortality, highlights plausible underlying mechanisms linking running with chronic disease prevention and longevity, identifies the estimated additional life expectancy among runners and other active individuals, and discusses whether there is adequate evidence to suggest that longevity benefits are attenuated with higher doses of running.

Conclusion: There is compelling evidence that running provides significant health benefits for the prevention of chronic diseases and premature mortality regardless of sex, age, body weight, and health conditions. There are strong plausible physiological mechanisms underlying how running can improve health and increase longevity. Running may be the most cost-effective lifestyle medicine from public health perspective, more important than other lifestyle and health risk factors such as smoking, obesity, HTN, and DM. It is not clear, however, how much running is safe and efficacious and whether it is possible to perform an excessive amount of exercise. Also, running may have the most public health benefits, but is not the best exercise for everyone since orthopedic or other medical conditions can restrict its use by many individuals.


NYT reporting on the study ("An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life"):


readhn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can a person overcome lack of exercise by eating healthy?

Can a person overcome lack of good nutrition by exercising regularly ?

Exercise goes hand in hand with nutrition IMO. People who exercise tend to eat better and healthier foods.

If someone did not exercise routinely - they could easily improve their health by eating properly!

What is more important? healthy nutrition or regular physical activity or both?!

* And dont forget about about sleep!!!

mycoborea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Purely anecdotal: I'm in my early 30s and find a brisk run to have a huge positive effect on my mental function and general energy levels for the rest of my day (I work in biotech and spend half my day in the lab, half behind a screen). In fact, I noticed this difference my very first (pitiful) day of running.
pavfarb 1 day ago 1 reply      
So that's why Taleb deadlifts like a madman.
agumonkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder about travel too. My mind buzzes whenever I'm a new environment.

I now wonder about walking far...

Myrmornis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 39 and I can't do anything with my brain nowadays after exercising, so I'm looking forward to that changing when I get to 50.
vixen99 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found "Spark! How exercise will improve the performance of your brain" (Ratey/Hagerman) to be a good popular summary of research in this field. (No connection with the authors!).
posterboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
correlation causation fallicy anyone?
ruleabidinguser 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meh. I'll take the shitty brain.
Alphabet's Self-Driving Cars to Get Their First Real Riders bloomberg.com
318 points by rayuela  1 day ago   397 comments top 18
jonmc12 22 hours ago 13 replies      
Am I the only one feeling the press + big tech narrative of "driverless vehicles = safety" is way ahead of itself? OK, "driver error is blamed for 94% of crashes", but what is the validation strategy to show where driverless cars can quantifiably improve? In 2016, Philip Koopman of CMU discusses that there are non-trivial engineering challenges of achieving safety in NHTSA Level 4 vehicle automation: https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/pubs/koopman16_sae_autono...

If we are building the safest transportation system, what role do driverless vehicles play? Wouldn't that be the narrative that actually saves the most lives?

tyingq 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Is Waymo clear about what the end goal is? I can't tell if they plan to launch an Uber like service, or a direct-to-consumer lease type service, or just to be suppliers (whole vehicles, components like lidar, software) to companies like Uber. Or maybe they are leaving all of that undecided for now?

I'm not sure this rider trial thing strongly signals any of them. You would want real world end-customer experiences regardless, I would think.

KKKKkkkk1 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is there really a race to build self-driving cars? It seems that Waymo is eons ahead of everyone else.
kyrra 1 day ago 4 replies      

* People can apply to use/borrow a Waymo vehicle (RX450 or Pacifica) for some period of time.

* "as part of this early trial, there will be a test driver in each vehicle monitoring the rides at all times."

* Limited to Phoenix metro area for the time being.

* You apply here: https://waymo.com/apply/

* Waymo will be adding 500 more of the Pacifica minivans for this program.

ChuckMcM 17 hours ago 0 replies      
So now what do we tell our kids? "Don't get into a van even when nobody is driving it." ? :-)

I think it is great that they are getting additional exposure to nominally real world users here. However, I'm not exactly sure what they are learning in user behaviors. Is it "Can we make a less expensive livery service?" or is it "How freaked out do people get in self driving cars?" or is it something else?

I went to a conference last week where there were several talks that were pretty critical of self driving 'hype' given the HLS[1] issues and the ability to inexpensively 'spoof' the AI[2] to see something that isn't actually there (road signs being particularly vulnerable). It left me thinking I might be more optimistic about the technology than I should be.

[1] "Health, Life, Safety" the general basket of things that are super critical to minimizing injury and death.

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/3/13507542/facial-recogniti... -- on Facial Recognition but sign recognition has the same problem.

jamesroseman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Self-driving cars have been in the development phase for so long, I'm really excited to see them start rolling out in these beta tests.

I'm curious what sort of unconsidered edge cases they'll find out in the real world. I'm sure test passengers are much more "disciplined" than real world ones.

Fifer82 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I would like to see little leased pod cars which trundle around at the local speed within a certain range, and have the ability to go to a Bus Lane (I presume the bus is dead), and join a Magnetic Track of sort where they go 200 miles an hour.

That would be pretty amazing. Why they are sticking shit all over 2 ton vehicles? If they are solving Fuel and Emissions and Driver, can't they just take the final step of a revolution? I am pretty sure governments would be throwing notes at it.

Pigo 23 hours ago 4 replies      
After seeing the movie Logan, I was curious if the movie was taking a jab at the autonomous vehicle trend by portraying them as a danger to ma & pa drivers on the highway. It showed a crowded highway full of shipping containers pushing a truck hauling horses off the road. It seems the message was not that the technology can't be courteous, but that once it's accepted, corporations will abuse the roads to help their bottom line. It makes me wonder if that is a valid concern.
Kiro 1 day ago 5 replies      
How will self-driving cars affect society? Trying to wrap my head around the bigger picture.
trapperkeeper79 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wish they deployed this in Mountain View. I see like 20 of these a day going around aimlessly. I'd sign up as a customer!
saosebastiao 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an important step for testing, and I'm surprised that this is being spun as a move towards commercialization.

As of right now, waymo has only been doing what could metaphorically be called unit testing. That is, they test the cars behavior in very controlled but unrealistic environments, looking for very specific responses. The accident rate that they've incurred is likely ridiculously skewed: they've been driving in good weather, on meaningless routes (not chosen by destination, but by route features), at relatively safe times of day, at slow speeds, and they've been doing it extremely cautiously with engineers ready to take over in a moments notice.

This is exactly what they should have been doing, but politically it is misleading. Most human drivers, given those same constraints, would also do extremely well and way better than average. They've done well, but we have little basis for comparison with the average driver.

This is the first step towards integration testing. They get to see how the cars behavior integrates together across various scenarios that are much closer to real life. They are driving on actual routes that real people travel on...routes that aren't chosen in order to test a specific behavior.

Accident rates are going to go up. That's a good thing...its a move towards the things humans find more difficult too. We should, however, expect slowing progress to level 4 autonomy. This is typical of system capability growth; exponential in the beginning, asymptotic near the end. People that are rushing this are out of line; akin to immediate commercializations of lab rat successes. Give them time.

bigato 1 day ago 4 replies      
I dream with the day that humans riding vehicles will be forbidden by law unless the driver would prove the need for human driving. So many deaths would be avoided.
smpetrey 19 hours ago 0 replies      
When your opponents do not play by the rules, you win. Glad to see Google is making some strides.
z3t4 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I had nightmares about self driving cars as a child. Am I the only one who thinks self driving cars are scary!?
andrewmcwatters 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to see Phoenix getting some love.
monkmartinez 1 day ago 2 replies      
I find it smart that Waymo waited until the snowbirds left to start this. It will be comical when the blue hairs come back next winter and smoke a few of these self-driving cars.... or vice versa. Obviously I don't want anyone to get hurt, but... it is going to happen.
drcross 1 day ago 3 replies      
That the author even uses Uber as a rival to Weymo demonstrates their lack of awareness in the industry.
chrismealy 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Google's car clearly isn't going to work in the real world (can it follow detour signs? Get out of the way of emergency vehicles? Understand a cop directing traffic?). Why is Google pretending otherwise? Why are they doing this?
Experimental Nighttime Photography with Nexus and Pixel googleblog.com
343 points by monort  21 hours ago   67 comments top 22
BeetleB 18 hours ago 7 replies      
Amateur photographer here.

This should be the future of DSLRs. Provide some sort of API so that I can create recipes for my photography project. Bonus if the hardware is powerful enough for me to process the way I want to on it (as opposed to the builtin, mostly useless, features).

As a silly example, say I want to take 10 photos. I want the first photo to be 1/30s. The next 1/15s, and so on - doubling the interval each time. I just want to be able to program this, and assign it to a button/menu item, so it will do it automatically.

Or I want to do custom focus stacking. It should automatically take N shots of predefined focal distances, and if powerful enough, stack them.

I've never coded Android apps, so I don't know how much control over the camera is exposed to you, but why can't camera companies provide the same level of control?

ivanech 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Once you know some basic principles of photography, this actually shouldn't be all that surprising. The Google Nexus 6P uses a 1/2.3 inch type sensor that measures 6.17 x 4.55 mm. That gives us ~28 square mm of sensor area. The initial example image was taken with a full-frame camera with a sensor that measures 24 x 36 mm, yielding 864 square mm. That gives the DSLR ~30x the sensor area of the Nexus. Then with the same amount of light per square mm per second (measured by the f-stop of the lens) the Nexus needs to expose the image for 30x longer than the full-frame camera to gather the equivalent amount of light. It just so happens that this approach used 32 exposures - it makes sense that the results look comparable to a full-frame camera because the phone gathered just as much light.
rb808 19 hours ago 5 replies      
My Nexus 6p takes amazingly good photos - I rarely use an SLR now.

The main problem I have is that it shuts down after 10-30 minutes of use - no help from google. https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=227849 Makes me want an iPhone. (see below Huawei might be fixing)

soylentcola 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been pretty happy with my Pixel XL's camera (easily keeps up with the incremental improvements in cell phone cameras over the years) but I also appreciate how they didn't make this into too much of a puff piece where they "hand wave" away the amount of work still needed in Photoshop or similar.

The takeaway is that with some effort and intelligent use of other software tools, you can put together a nice image with all sorts of lower-end cameras. The bit at the end about hopefully adding some of this functionality to software available on the phone was a nice touch, as I imagine all of the big players are always working on that sort of thing.

carlob 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why take the mean instead of the median of the images? Wouldn't the median be less sensitive to outliers?
zokier 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The photos are impressive. But considering the introduction, it would have been nice to have some actual side-by-side comparisons with dslr. And then just for fun, the same exposure stacking applied to dslr at max iso.
HappyTypist 7 hours ago 2 replies      
What I don't get is why JPEG is still so commonly used when it introduces significant artifacting (even at high qualities). When a more advanced format like WebP can deliver higher quality images for the same file size.
pdelbarba 19 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me of the low light video camera that was on here ealier. http://kottke.org/17/04/incredible-low-light-camera-turns-ni...

Not as fast, but the results look fairly similar.

jbarham 15 hours ago 0 replies      
FWIW Olympus already provides in-camera shot stacking for night shots in its Micro Four Thirds cameras via their "live composite" mode. See http://www.duford.com/2016/08/explaining-olympus-live-compos... for example shots.
polyvisual 21 hours ago 3 replies      
"The camera cannot handle exposure times longer than two seconds."

What's the reason for this? Is it a hardware restriction? I suppose an artificial software restriction could be removed by using root / other camera software.

fudged71 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Incredible results!! I would really love to be able to do this on a phone.

I've tried with iPhone to take long exposures and crank up the brightness/HDR to bring out as much signal as possible. This is the best that I could do on a fully moonlit night: http://imgur.com/a/km1D9

pareshverma91 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it would be interesting to compare an image shot in the daylight with the one created with this processing scheme in the same daylight. I expect the normal exposure shot to be better than the processed one, but it would be interesting to observe the difference in quality.
locust101 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great that they are investing so much in camera. In modern smartphone, I do not feel any difference in performance between my moto play and s7 edge. It is just the camera that makes me keep coming back to s7 edge, despite the $300 price tag difference. It is just much more convenient and I have stopped bringing my dslr on trips now since the phone camera works really good.
Jack000 14 hours ago 0 replies      
for the stars shot the next obvious step would be to automatically segment the image with optical flow. Could also try solving the hand-held problem with ORB feature matching.

given the previous posts from the googleblog I kind of expected a bit more algorithmic involvement beyond image stacking.

LoSboccacc 20 hours ago 1 reply      
if this could become an app it'd be great
dboreham 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting work. However, in order to reproduce the marin headlands DSLR image the smartphone would have needed to also stitch a panorama from multiple frames (because the lens used in the DSLR shot has roughly 2x the FOV angle).
shaklee3 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Fascinating article. Thanks for all the work.
th0ma5 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I know on the XDA forums, at least for the 5x, there is an app someone threw together to do long exposure times. I played with it some and got a pixelated mess, but I didn't try a tripod. Some people on the thread produced some pretty good pictures.
tambourine_man 18 hours ago 0 replies      
>Still, this may be the lowest-light cellphone photo ever taken.

Not so fast buddy. Some of us have been playing with this stuff for a really long time :)

Gravityloss 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Cameras, like so many things, have been increasingly software limited during recent years.
Theodores 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the timelapse style stars is a feature and not a defect, although it goes against the original challenge.

Although this article is about the challenge - decent photography with a mobile phone - it does outline how easy it is to layer up lots of images in Photoshop, median everything out and get a long exposure image. Taking out the sensor 'median' was clever too.

So you could use this with DSLR images too, to take better long exposure images whatever the sensor, so long as everything is fully HDR and manual.

I think that I might just give it a go. With PHP Imagemagick so that I can automate the Photoshop part and tweak settings easily.

Uber must turn over information about its acquisition of Otto to Waymo techcrunch.com
288 points by golfer  17 hours ago   113 comments top 13
Animats 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Uber's self-driving system doesn't actually have to work beyond the demo level. It's mostly to pump up the company's valuation. Uber is losing money, and unless they find another sucker within a year, they're toast. They've already had to borrow on unfavorable terms.[1]

Operating a fleet of self-driving cars may turn out to be a lousy business. Uber's business model is built around others buying the cars, maintaining them, replacing them, and doing all the hard work. All Uber does is run an app.

Running a fleet of self-driving cars is running a car rental company. The company will have to buy the cars, maintain the cars, fuel or charge the cars, and obtain parking lots for storing the cars. They also have to figure out what to do with the used cars after a few years. Car rental companies turn over their fleets in a year or two, and are big sellers of used cars.

It's more likely that car rental companies will get into self driving than that Uber will get into car rental by the trip.

[1] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber/funding-rounds

ziszis 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I assume that Otto execs indemnified Uber with respect to the intellectual property, given that it was a primary value in the acquisition. If so, Uber can claw back the $680M they spent.

If not, it would be the worst IP miss since Ebay acquired Skype for $2 Billion, only to find out that they didn't own Skype's IP or have access to the source code [0].

[0] https://techcrunch.com/2009/09/18/new-lawsuit-brings-clarity....

wil421 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This season of Silicon Valley is getting good.
matt4077 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a link to the actual order, from ars, which is where the cool old school journalists work that still link to sources: https://arstechnica.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/CAFC.Waym...
Operyl 16 hours ago 3 replies      
And the plot thickens. If Waymo is correct, and such a contract was signed, they seem to be as good as toast.
bitmapbrother 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Perhaps this is standard practice, in the valley, to make the company that acquired your company defend you in the event that the acquisition resulted in a lawsuit, but this revelation just adds another red flag to the already long list of red flags that Uber ignored when acquiring Otto. IMO, Uber clearly knew what he did, either through disclosure or due diligence, and disregarded it. Considering their company culture of playing fast and loose with the rules until you get caught this is not surprising.

>"Waymo has claimed that Levandowski signed an agreement with Ubers lawyers just a few days after quitting his job at Google, requiring Uber to defend him if the companys acquisition of Otto resulted in a lawsuit."

>"Mr. Levandowski argues that he is entitled to relief under the Fifth Amendment because production of the unredacted privilege log could potentially incriminate him. We are not persuaded that the district court erred in its ruling requiring defendants to produce an unredacted privilege log, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled."

>"The order also opens the door for Waymo to request a copy of the due diligence report that Uber commissioned while it was in the process of acquiring Otto. Waymo has claimed that the due diligence report could contain evidence that Uber knew Otto was using stolen technology"

asafira 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Question: how public are these hearings? Is there a place we could get transcripts of them? (I remember previous days had snippets of transcripts (at the very least))
inlined 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm really curious how Alphabet even suspects that Levandowski signed this doc days after he quit. Anonymous/confidential tip?
home_boi 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't get Levandowski's 5th amendment claim on the privilege log. Doesn't the 5th amendment only stop the individual from incriminating himself?

How can he argue that other people (or an entire company in this case) are not allowed to incriminate him?

Has anyone successfully claimed 5th amendment and forced other people/entities not to incriminate him/her?

rodionos 16 hours ago 3 replies      
It's high time for mods to launch ubernews, they are in the spotlight every single day. 71 submissions last week [0].

0: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=uber&sort=byDate&dateRange=pas...

kolbe 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For all the relative good that Facebook and Google have done for the image of how contemporary business gets done in Silicon Valley, Uber is doing its best to make sure we realize that y'all are just as big a shitheads as the rest of corporate America.
dzhiurgis 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Finally scrappy guileless startup Google can stick it to the bloated megacorp Uber /s
guelo 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Where's the district attorney? If someone is claiming the 5th because he might be incriminated that seems like pretty strong probable cause for a criminal investigation.
A Primer on Bzier Curves pomax.github.io
375 points by mabynogy  1 day ago   52 comments top 13
artursapek 1 day ago 4 replies      
I love bezier curves. I'm working on rebuilding a project I started in college, a vector graphics editor. The function for determining intersections between two cubic bezier curves, which I found on a professor's website, is absolutely insane:


It's a wall of this:

 c11.x*c12.y*c13.x*c13.y*c23.x*c23.y - c11.y*c12.x*c13.x*c13.y*c23.x*c23.y + 6*c21.x*c22.x*c13y3*c23.x + 3*c11.x*c12.x*c13.x*c13.y*c23y2 + 6*c10.x*c13.x*c13y2*c23.x*c23.y - 3*c11.x*c12.x*c13y2*c23.x*c23.y - 3*c11.y*c12.y*c13.x*c13.y*c23x2 - 6*c10.y*c13x2*c13.y*c23.x*c23.y - 6*c20.x*c13.x*c13y2*c23.x*c23.y + 3*c11.y*c12.y*c13x2*c23.x*c23.y - 2*c12.x*c12y2*c13.x*c23.x*c23.y - 6*c21.x*c13.x*c22.x*c13y2*c23.y - 6*c21.x*c13.x*c13y2*c22.y*c23.x - 6*c13.x*c21.y*c22.x*c13y2*c23.x + 6*c21.x*c13x2*c13.y*c22.y*c23.y +
Maybe there's a way to refactor it, but I wouldn't know because I still don't understand it; I just know that it works.

TheRealPomax 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Pomax (the author) here: for those wondering about what's different since last time this hit HN, this is a slowly-but-surely updating project that has been in the works since 2011. If you remember seeing it before: you're not wrong! But it will probably have been less content or less functionality than it is this time round =)

The latest improvement is that the codebase now supports localization which means that if you're a dual (triple, etc) speaker and you want to help bring this content to people who don't speak English, now you can! Chinese and Japanese localizations are already underway (although it's a volunteer effort, much like the Primer itself, so progress is again steady, but slow) and currently cover the first 10 or so sections.

For more details on the fine points of the build system and how much work it was to overhaul an "everything is assumed to be English, no l10n provisions have been made whatsoever" to "EASY to localize" (not just 'possible to', but 'easy'), hit up http://pomax.github.io/1489108158510/localization-is-hard where I've blogged about the uplift and the tech choices I made.

And on a less impressive note but certainly more useful for social sharing, the social share buttons now actually point to the section you're reading, so that future sections can be shared waaay easier. For the last six years, those things have just pointed to the base article URL and that is not very useful when you want to share the fact that you just read up on how to split a Bzier curve using matrix operations, or want to link to the B-Spline section all the way at the bottom of the Primer.

seanalltogether 1 day ago 4 replies      
It never fully clicked for me until I saw it animatedhttps://www.jasondavies.com/animated-bezier/
klibertp 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a really good article! It was thanks to this (and the Wikipedia page) that I managed to write code[1] for drawing evenly-spaced letters along the curve. The letters are even rotated to match the curve, all thanks to this article. It's basically a one-stop shop for all things Bezier :)

[1] In Racket, here: https://github.com/piotrklibert/curved-text

_eLRIC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pierre Bziers, in addition to being a great mathematician and engineer, was a great teacher (including when he was ranting about us, youngsters, not being able to solve "simple" mechanical problems !)It's good to see people investing such effort to make it easy to understand and available to everyone
Washuu 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I used this resource about six months ago as a refresher so I could build bezier splines[1] for character pathing while I was learning Unity. It is probably the best resource out there for this.(Outside of game engine specific information.)

1: http://i.imgur.com/8pWMTZS.png

2: https://vid.me/GMso

combatentropy 19 hours ago 0 replies      

 > They're named after Pierre Bzier . . . publishing his investigations in 1962 > One might be tempted to say that the mathematician Paul de Casteljau was first, investigating the nature of these curves in 1959 > Bzier curves are, at their core, "Bernstein polynomials", a family of mathematical functions investigated by Sergei Natanovich Bernstein, with publications on them at least as far back as 1912.
I see many stories like this, which shatter the idea of a lone inventor bringing something new out of thin air.

pyromine 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Lovely explanation, I always find them fascinating. I really need to get around to coding some of them sometimes, but I find most of the itnerest in the mathetics.

That said, early higheschoolers knows jack about binomials unless they are particularly smart. I would venture a majority of college students (in subjects other than engineering and science) would find this too daunting. I think by downplaying the complexity it actually turns people off from trying to learn. Which of course is a shame.

retox 1 day ago 2 replies      
Look at the archives, this link has been doing the rounds for at least 6 years now.
athenot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was expecting another superficial article with some interactive graphs but this is a lot deeper with handy formulas for various flavors and uses of Bzier curves. Worth a bookmark!
azeirah 1 day ago 2 replies      
> In fact, they even need this for straight lines, but the function is ridiculously easy, so we tend to ignore that as far as computers are concerned

Well.... If it was so easy, why does the algorithm have a name? (Bresenham's algorithm), if it's named surely it must've been "invented" at some point, implying it wasn't as easy?

legulere 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I used an earlier version of the section of splitting bezier curves to do the opposite: Combining two bezier curves in SVG (probably they were split at some point before by the outputting program).
fogleman 1 day ago 0 replies      
This came in very handy for me on one of my side projects, specifically finding intersections between curves. Excellent content.
Glob Matching Can Be Simple and Fast Too swtch.com
329 points by secure  2 days ago   92 comments top 18
js2 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have not looked at the other linear-time implementations to see what they do, but I expect they all use one of these two approaches.

Python's glob() (fnmatch really) translates the glob to a regular expression then uses its re library:


dexen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Previously: "Regular Expression Matching Can Be Simple And Fast" (2007) https://swtch.com/~rsc/regexp/regexp1.htmlThe paper deals with "Thompson NFA" approach to regex, with low computational complexity.

Other Russ' papers on regular expression matching: https://swtch.com/~rsc/regexp/

avar 1 day ago 2 replies      
There's another way for glob() implementations to mitigate these sort of patterns that Russ doesn't discuss, but can be inferred from a careful reading of the different examples in this new glob() article & the 2007 regex article.

In the regex article he notes that e.g. perl is subject to pathological behavior when you match a?^na^n against an a^n:

 $ time perl -wE 'my $l = shift; my $str = "a" x $l; my $rx = "a?" x $l . $str; $str =~ /${rx}/' 28 real 0m13.278s
However changing the pattern to /${rx}b/ makes it execute almost instantly. This is because the matcher will look ahead for fixed non-pattern strings found in the pattern, and deduce that whatever globbing we're trying to match now it can't possibly matter if the string doesn't have a "b" in it.

I wonder if any globbing implementations take advantage of that class of optimization, and if there's any cases where Russ's suggested solution of not backtracking produces different results than you'd get by backtracking, in particular with some of the extended non-POSIX glob syntax out there.

FreeFull 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting how the Rust implementation of glob currently seems to be the slowest out of the linear time implementations. I guess maybe not too much optimisation effort was put into it?
eriknstr 1 day ago 2 replies      
OP, what version(s) of the BSD libc did you test? What OS, which version of the OS.

macOS only? NetBSD? FreeBSD? OpenBSD?

If you tested on FreeBSD, please file a bug at https://bugs.freebsd.org/bugzilla/enter_bug.cgi?product=Base...

I'm not a project member but I'm a user of the system so it's in my interest that issues like this are resolved.

Please let me know whether or not you file a bug so that if you do I don't duplicate bug reports and if you don't I can do some benchmarking myself.

avar 1 day ago 3 replies      
Slightly off-topic, but anyone know what he's using to generate those inline SVG graphs? I've been looking for some easy to use graphing library like that to present similar performance numbers on a webpage.
lexpar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not sure if OP is author, but if you are, just to inform you, there is a small typo in this paragraph:

"Unfortunately, none of tehse protections address the cost of matching a single path element of a single file name. In 2005, CVE-2005-0256 was issued for a DoS vulnerability in WU-FTPD 2.6.2, because it ran for a very long time finding even a single match during:"

Very informative article. Thanks for it!

tyingq 1 day ago 1 reply      
The bsd derived glob has other functionality that I assume isn't simple or fast:

 perl -MFile::Glob=bsd_glob -e 'print bsd_glob("{{a,b,c}{1,2,3}{{yuck,Yuck},{urgh,URGH}}}\n")'
Produces 36 lines representing all the iterations. Nest a bit deeper and it gets unwieldy.

mixu 1 day ago 0 replies      
For fun, I ran this against node-glob ( https://github.com/isaacs/node-glob ).

Looks like it exhibits the slower behavior:

 n,elapsed 1,0.07 2,0.07 3,0.07 4,0.07 5,0.16 6,1.43 7,19.90 8,240.76
See this gist for the script https://gist.github.com/mixu/e4803da16e42439480eba2b29fa4448...

maweki 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder whether it would help to match from both sides (start and end) simultaneously, since you know you're not looking in the middle of the string. You also don't care about capture groups.
JdeBP 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Graphical FTP clients typically use the MLST and MLSD commands

Do not count WWW browsers amongst the number of those graphical FTP clients. The common WWW browsers that speak FTP use LIST or LIST -l . With the exception of Google Chrome when it thinks that it is talking to a VMS program, they do not pass pattern arguments, though.

libre-man 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tested Common Lisp. SBCL seems to be exponential while Clozure CL is not.

However it should be noted that it is non portable to do globbing in Common Lisp, so I expect most users implement it using something CL-FAD or OSICAT and CL-PPCRE, and CL-PPCRE is efficient.

mlgh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry, but the implementation posted is O(|pattern| * |name|), not linear.http://ideone.com/2xCXyY
jankedeen 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How about the default sort?Ouch or no ouch?
E6300 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been playing around with my own glob implementation. From what I've seen, the simplified algorithm mentioned in the article wouldn't be able to handle question marks. In particular, I don't think a non-backtracking algorithm can handle a pattern like "?a?a?a?a?b". I've been working to minimize the worst-case behavior, but it's tricky.
BuuQu9hu 1 day ago 1 reply      
We independently reinvented an adaptation of this algorithm for Monte's "simple" quasiliteral, which does simple string interpolation and matching. The code at https://github.com/monte-language/typhon/blob/master/mast/pr... is somewhat similar in appearance and structure to the examples in the post.

 def name := "Hackernews" # greeting == "Hi Hackernews!" def greeting := `Hi $name!` # language == "Lojban" def `@language is awesome` := "Lojban is awesome"
A quirk of our presentation is that adjacent zero-or-more patterns degenerate, with each subsequent pattern matching the empty string. This mirrors the observation in the post that some systems can coalesce adjacent stars without changing the semantics:

 # one == "", two == "cool" def `adjacent @one@two patterns` := "adjacent cool patterns"

oconnore 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why write a glob engine at all when you already have a fast regex implementation that can match both exact paths and plausible subtrees?

The bulk of the haskell code to do this:

 parseGlob :: Char -> Char -> String -> Parser Glob parseGlob escC sepC forbid = many1' (gpart <|> sep <|> glob <|> alt) >>= return . GGroup . V.fromList where gpart = globPart escC (sepC : (forbid ++ "{*")) >>= return . GPart sep = satisfy (== ch2word sepC) >> return GSeparator alt = do _ <- AttoC.char '{' choices <- sepBy' (GEmpty `option` parseGlob escC sepC (",}" ++ forbid)) (char ',') _ <- AttoC.char '}' return $ GAlternate $ V.fromList choices glob = do res <- takeWhile1 (== ch2word '*') if B.length res == 1 then return GSingle else return GDouble wrapParens s = T.concat ["(", s, ")"] globRegex :: Char -> Glob -> T.Text globRegex sep GSingle = T.concat ["([^", T.singleton sep, "]*|\\", T.singleton sep, ")"] globRegex _ GDouble = ".*" globRegex _ GEmpty = "" globRegex sep GSeparator = T.singleton sep globRegex sep (GRepeat a) = T.concat ["(", T.concat (V.toList $ fmap (globRegex sep) a), ")*"] globRegex sep (GGroup a) = T.concat $ V.toList $ fmap (globRegex sep) a globRegex _ (GPart p) = T.concatMap efun base where base = TE.decodeUtf8 p escChars = S.fromList ".[]()\\{}^$*+" efun c = if S.member c escChars then T.concat ["\\", T.singleton c] else T.singleton c globRegex sep (GAlternate a) = if V.null alts then "" else T.concat [altsStr, if hasEmpty then "?" else ""] where hasEmpty = isJust $ V.find (== GEmpty) a alts = fmap (globRegex sep) $ V.filter (/= GEmpty) a altsStr = wrapParens $ T.intercalate "|" $ V.toList alts

gwu78 1 day ago 1 reply      




 execlineb -c 'elglob a /*/*/*/* ls $a'
(statically-linked execlineb)

If I am not mistken, ARG_MAX will be the limit.


Stanford Lecture Notes on Probabilistic Graphical Models ermongroup.github.io
330 points by volodia  3 days ago   32 comments top 8
georgeek 2 days ago 2 replies      
An amazing text on this topic is Martin Wainwright/Michael Jordan's Graphical Models, Exponential Families, andVariational Inference: https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~wainwrig/Papers/WaiJor08_F...
refrigerator 2 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, here are the materials for the Graphical Models course at Oxford: http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~evans/gms/index.htm
beambot 2 days ago 1 reply      
For a practical application of using graphical models to "solve" a bayesian problem, I recommend Frank Dellaert's whitepaper, which cover Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM, a robotics algorithm) using similar techniques: https://research.cc.gatech.edu/borg/sites/edu.borg/files/dow...
dirtyaura 2 days ago 2 replies      
For a novice, it's hard to assess how important PGMs are currently.

Investing my time to learn Deep Learning (CNNs, RNNs) vs. Random Forest vs. PGMs vs. Reinforcement Learning well enough to be able to apply the chosen approach, it seems that PGMs are not high in the list, is that correct?

Are there Kaggle competitions, in which PGMs have been the best approach?

What are the real-world problem areas that PGM's currently excel at compared to other methods?

likelynew 2 days ago 0 replies      
We have a professor in our college, who uses this thing with great passion. I took two related courses under him. The problem with this thing is he uses his own mental image and notation in the lectures and examination. Even the internet seems to be highly affected with this problem. I think there are many concepts that are not hard but it takes time to get a feeling. Like see "monads are not burritos" essay. It describes the problem of using analogies in explaining monads. This seems like a great page in the sense it uses minimal confusing analogies as is common in most resources in bayesian rule.
graycat 2 days ago 1 reply      
In their "Probability review" at


I see two problems:

(1) First Problem -- Sample Space

Their definition of a sample space is

"The set of all the outcomes of a randomexperiment. Here, each outcome can be thought of as a completedescription of the state of the real worldat the end of the experiment."

The "complete description" partis not needed and even if includedhas meaning that is not clear.

Instead, each possible experiment is one trial and one element in theset of all trials . That's it: is justa set of trials, and each trialis just an element of that set.There is nothing there about theoutcomes of the trials.

Next the text has

"The sample space is = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}."

That won't work: Too soon will find that need an uncountably infinite samplespace. Indeed an early exerciseis that the set of all eventscannot be countably infinite.

Indeed, a big question was, canthere be a sample space big enough to discuss random variablesas desired? The answer is yes andis given in the famous Kolomogorovextension theorem.

(2) Second Problem -- Notation

An event A is an element ofthe set of all events Fand a subset of the sample space.

Then a probability measure Por just a probabilityis a function P: F --> [0,1]that is, the closed interval [0,1].

So, we can write the probabilityof event A by P(A).Fine.

Or, given events A and B, we can consider the event C = A U B and, thus, write P(C) = P(A U B). Fine.

But the notes have P(1,2,3,4),and that is undefined in thenotes and, really, in the rest ofprobability. Why? Because


is not an event.

For the set of realnumbers R, a real random variable X: --> R(that is measurablewith respect tothe sigma algebra F and a specified sigma algebra in R, usuallythe Borel sets,the smallest sigma algebracontaining the open sets,orthe Lebesgue measurablesets).

Then an event wouldbe X in {1,2,3,4} subset of Ror the set of all in so that X() in{1,2,3,4} or

{| X() in {1,2,3,4} }

or the inverse image of{1,2,3,4} under X --could write this all moreclearly if had all of D. Knuth'sTeX.

in which case we could write

P(X in {1,2,3,4})

When the elementary notationis bad, a bit tough totake the more advancedparts seriously.

A polished, eleganttreatment of thesebasics is early in

Jacques Neveu, Mathematical Foundationsof the Calculus of Probability,Holden-Day, San Francisco, 1965.

Neveu was a student of M. Loeveat Berkeley, and can also seeLoeve, Probability Theory, I andII, Springer-Verlag.A fellow student of Neveuat Berkeley under Loevewas L. Breiman, so can alsosee Breiman, Probability,SIAM.

These notes are from Stanford.But there have long beenpeople at Stanford, e.g.,K. Chung, whohave these basicsin very clear, solid, and polishedterms, e.g.,

Kai Lai Chung,A Course in Probability Theory,Second Edition,ISBN 0-12-174650-X,Academic Press,New York,1974.

K. L. Chung and R. J. Williams,Introduction to Stochastic Integration,Second Edition,ISBN 0-8176-3386-3,Birkhaser,Boston,1990.

Kai Lai Chung,Lectures from Markov Processes toBrownian Motion,ISBN 0-387-90618-5,Springer-Verlag,New York,1982.

mrcactu5 2 days ago 2 replies      
course like these make me wonder ... how much one can dress up basic probability. i think the answer is A LOT
CEO of ThinkPenguin, Inc arrested for filming police trisquel.info
306 points by remx  2 days ago   262 comments top 19
JshWright 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here are the most recent videos in the playlist linked in that post. Parts one and two of a 'confrontation' with Officer Hans Chapman.



Basically, a couple of guys looking to provoke a reaction, and a cop who interacts with them respectfully and is primarily concerned for everyone's safety.

I wonder how similar the scenario described in the post was to the videos in that playlist...

lohengramm 1 day ago 6 replies      
Seems like the guy calls himself a "copchaser" and is used to actuallly chase police officers, annoyingly record their action and make sure to insult them while teaching them a lesson about how to do their job. And he calls all that "standing his ground".

I am sure police officers can be jerks or even completely criminals, but this guy really seems to be crossing the line of common sense.

Source: the YT channel himself posted https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgnVXppkmzBKfTOwe-KqAJQ/vid...

sambull 2 days ago 5 replies      
In my county they opened fire on someone filming the police recently. Turns out having video evidence is the ONLY way a policeman can be wrong.
musgrove 1 day ago 5 replies      
Filming police isn't against the law in the US, so that wasn't the charge as the clickbait title states. If the guy wanted to be forthright he could have listed the complaint(s) that are on his summons instead of making up a different scenario.This guy's obviously looking for trouble; filiming police for no good reason; getting himself arrested for no good reason; then going online and being deceptive about it to get support for himself by stirring up more trouble. It's no wonder he's such a frustrated person.
draugadrotten 2 days ago 7 replies      
This sounds very much like one side of the story.

"I was essentially arrested for filming a police checkpoint in Manchester, New Hampshire"

I don't want to defend the police, but that sounds like there is a lot of information missing here. Why was he filming the police? What did other people do at/to/near the checkpoint? Was he alone or part of a group or even a mob?

dewitt 1 day ago 3 replies      
Seems incredibly ill-advised to be publicly discussing what is sure to result in legal action. Even as one-sided as this is, the best he can do is incriminate himself. The other side will wait until due process requires them to disclose their case. At best he's trying to rally opinion (why?), at worst he's just seeking attention, and either way he's just making things worse on himself.

As a CEO he just associated his company with poor decision making.

If this guy has a lawyer, he should consider listening to them.

But IANAL, so who knows.

pnathan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting how the prevailing mood on HN is very much pro-cop. Kind of surprising for a hacker forum.

You don't really see what a system is made of until you stress it: filming police is one way to stress the LEO system. It's an unfortunate reality that it often does not produce good results.

hownottowrite 1 day ago 0 replies      
He's part of "New England Cop Chasers." Their YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgnVXppkmzBKfTOwe-KqAJQ/vid...
traviswingo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Snapshot since site is overloaded: http://archive.is/g0Kes
rdiddly 2 days ago 6 replies      
So has anybody written an app for streaming video directly into cloud storage?
crispyambulance 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've seen this stuff before. Police doing their job on the street trying to keep order in potentially volatile situations and some fool with a camera insinuating himself into the mess who wants to start an ad-hoc high-school forensics debate about police power. Bad idea.
Justin_K 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can almost tell by the attempt to write "legalese" that this guy was looking for trouble. Every other sentence is "clearly this", "clearly that"... no, it's really not so clear.
dustingetz 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I was essentially arrested for filming a police checkpoint ... (my video was seized, but experienced correspondents bring back up, as I did, we had several people apart from the nearly 20 activists protesting the checkpoint with video cameras)

Emphasis mine. What happened exactly? There's more context gone unmentioned and he knows it. All one-sided stories sound open-and-shut.

JustSomeNobody 1 day ago 2 replies      
> You can legally get as close as a foot to an officer provided there is no interference. So for instance one can get a few feet from a scene as a member of the press where an officer is ticketing somebody for an offence.

Does the person being ticketed have no rights in this situation? I think I'd be pretty upset at the reporter if they got all up in my business like this.

beedogs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, the old "contempt of cop" charge. If taxpayers knew or cared how much money is wasted by police acting macho and lording it over citizens even to the extent of violating the law to do so, there might be some actual change in this area.
adamnemecek 2 days ago 6 replies      
throwaway999b 1 day ago 4 replies      
There are very few details in this forum post, just some nonspecific mentions of an individual recording a police checkpoint of some kind. What type of checkpoint? Why did this person feel it necessary to record the police? Why did a confrontation start? What were the circumstances of the escalation?

In general, if you interfere with the police (even if you disagree with whatever it is they're doing) you can expect some trouble. I will be the first to acknowledge that sometimes the police (especially small town cops) can get a little too full of their own authority and take it too far.

On the other hand, their job is to keep the community safe, and save for the very worst cops (which are in the minority), they take the job seriously. There is (and should be) a pretty high bar to harassing or interfering with the police.

snikeris 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just bought a wireless card from ThinkPenguin a couple weeks ago. Very pleased with the transaction.
charliebk 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are innocent people losing their lives in confrontations with cops (including the good cops who get killed just doing their job) and this guy is creating drama and looking for more attention from it. Just look at how long his posts are and at how he is begging for attention from everyone (the media, the tech community, etc). His altercation with the law (a misdemeanor at the most) doesn't warrant all of this extra drama he's creating. And what the hell does he want strangers to do about it (stop their busy lives, filled with real problems, to fight his battles and stroke his balls so he can feel validated about this self-inflicted wound?). The term "get a life" was creates specifically for these moments and types of people.
Ask HN: How did you acquire your first 100 users?
430 points by karthiksk2012  1 day ago   171 comments top 53
Doches 1 day ago 4 replies      
Ill second the PG advice: do things that dont scale is by far the most effective tool Ive found for finding _and keeping_ users. Im building small-business tools for fringe retail [0] as a side-project, and those users are usually more than willing to at least investigate new apps if they even have a chance of solving some real problem their business faces. Emailing them personally with a pitch based on a few minutes research into their business reliably generates leads and meticulous hand-holding through the first few weeks usually convinces them to stick around.

People are used to paying for software from Intuit or Microsoft or whatever; offering to build (tiny! like, 5-minute one-offs!) features _just for them_ sort of blows their minds. And those features almost always make the product better, usually in a way that I would never have thought of.

Ive also had pretty great success with an old-school hack: I use an affiliate marketing scheme to turn our most enthusiastic users into mini sales reps. For every new customer they can sign up that converts, I credit their account with a few free months. It totally wont scale, but it helps me grow into markets where I cant physically travel out and do sales in person.

[0] https://quailhq.com

gargarplex 1 day ago 3 replies      
Lots of people come up with a good idea for a product, launch, then wonder where to get users. "Start with the market, instead," evolves their consciousness. I offer a different approach: start with the customer acquisition strategy and then build your product.

1) Build a landing page describing the problem and your solution, in terms of emotional value benefits

2) Drive paid traffic to the landing page. Get at least 20 signups. Boom, you're now at 20 users. Paid traffic = Pay Per Click ads. Try Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Google AdWords.

3) Build the thing. Write an email to your list describing the process of how you built the thing and how you found their names.

4) Cross post that very same narrative to discussion forums: Facebook, HN, Reddits, Indie Hackers[forum], wherever.

5) Search on google for one of those "web app directories" or "new startup directories". Block off two hours and painstakingly submit your app to every one.

6) Look for podcasts in your niche. Email all of them and invite yourself on as a guest

7) Look for influencers in your niche. Email all of them and ask them if they'd like a complimentary copy of your product (access to your webapp, etc) in exchange for a testimonial. If the influencers are all pay-to-play, find people who are active but on the verge of influencer status.

8) Send to your friends and family.

9) Post an ad for a usability test on Craigslist. You'll learn a ton and maybe get some quality users.

10) Post a Delighted.com or similar Net Promoter Score survey to your user base. You'll find the "holes" in your bucket that are causing you to leak users rather than compound them.

SyneRyder 1 day ago 0 replies      
My first customers came from emailing a discussion list for Photoshop plug-in developers (since I also make Photoshop plug-ins). I didn't get sales from that email, but one of those developers mentioned my product in their own email newsletter to 10,000+ subscribers, and that is where my first sales came from.

The beta testing strategy others have mentioned also worked for me. But instead of recruiting from beta directories, I asked people in my target market (so, asking for beta testers on Photoshop user forums). I put a long beta signup form/survey on my website, partly to learn about my potential customers, but also to weed out people who wouldn't give detailed feedback.

My best growth hack was giving those beta testers a discount code / link to share with their friends at launch. That encouraged them to talk about my software (and talk about the secret project they'd been helping with!) with their own communities. My beta testers also got a credit in the About box. I wish I could claim it was a carefully constructed marketing strategy, but I'd just thought it was a nice way to thank testers, and it turned out to also gain traction.

I wrote about my experiences running an early beta test, but it's from 2004 so it's highly embarrassing and from a pre-Facebook pre-Reddit era:


welanes 1 day ago 5 replies      
1. I scoured the reviews of similar apps and listed the main feature requests that were being stonewalled and implemented them.

2. I then set up keyword alerts for Reddit and Twitter and when somebody mentioned [similar app] I popped in and suggested they try Lanes which, btw, has feature [similar app] has not implemented.

3. I got lucky^. Photos of Lanes began appearing on Tumblr blogs (the #studyblr community) and readers began asking 'what's that website on your laptop'. Queue, lotsa signups.

4. The next 100: I listened to the first 100, intently.

^Of course that stroke of luck would never had transpired had step 1 not helped me figure out how to add value.

The app is https://lanes.io

mobitar 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Getting the first 100 users has actually been the easiest part of the process. It's getting 100 daily new users that's really hard.

For Standard Notes[0], here's what I did:

1. Comment on privacy related HN posts about a privacy-focused notes app. That would have gotten me 40-50 users.

2. Write articles[1] on encryption/privacy/webdev. Some of them made it to frontpage HN, some didn't. That might have gotten me to 500 users.

3. Repeat. Tirelessly. Painstakingly. Depressingly. Just keep going doing small things every day. Eventually they start to compound.

[0]: https://standardnotes.org

[1]: https://journal.standardnotes.org

amorphid 1 day ago 1 reply      
tl;dr -- offer customers something they can't buy at a price their willing to pay.

My personal, non-software example was to identify an untapped opportunity in my field, technical recruiting. My clients had 20 to 100 employees, no internal technical recruiter, had already recruited their core team, has run out of organically generated people to interview, and had raised a Series B or later in funding. In 2010, the only options available to them were contingency recruiters, contract recruiters who wanted 6 to 12 month full time contracts, and inexperienced admin staff (aka not experienced technical recruiters).

After learning that it super competitive to sell traditional recruiting services to my clients, I decided to develop a workflow that allowed me to offer them part-time hourly recruiting with no long term commitment. Typically this started off as 10 to 30 hours a week with no commitment (aka fire me at any time). This model worked great, and in 2 years I scaled from just me billing 30 hours per week with one client to 15 people (part time & full time) billing several hundred hours per week.

Service business are not software businesses, but they do share at least one thing in common; selling a product or service customers need & can't buy in an industry you understand is a heck of a lot easier than trying to make something up from scratch.

Good luck!


lefstathiou 1 day ago 2 replies      
We provide SAAS to financial institutions and their corporate clients (so the below may not be relevant to your market):

1) make sure your service is a pain killer not a vitamin. This industry does not believe in vitamins and we didn't have the resources for such a long closing cycle. Our tech can be deployed in minutes, is easily understood and requires very little to no backofdice Support 2) Cold call to get meetings. I can't emphasize enough how powerful a cold call is. People on Wall Street get hundreds of emails a day but they are trained to always answer their phone. Be nice, be genuine, solve a painpoint 3) "ask for the order". Sales cycles can drag on, at some point you have to draw line in the sand and ask for the order. Do it humbly and respectfully and be prepared to hear no. The will almost always say yes

Final thought: we never took VC funding. In the beginning friends and mentors said we should as it would "add to your credibility", anecdotally I believe the opposite has happened. I've sat across from many entrepreneur CEOs who chose us not just because we were good at what we did but out of a desire to pay it forward. It's the unwritten code among founders: you grinded to get where you are and people who had no need to helped along the way, you do the same when the time comes. Point of this story is find these people as early as possible, they will become your champions.

lauriswtf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've launched a couple of startups, and usually the combinations of these yield the best results -> word of mouth, reddit comments/posts, quora answers, hackernews posts/comments, comments on top SERPs, twitter posts + following leads, get listed on comparison/review sites or blog posts.

Of course comment when relevant, offer something useful and contribute to the discussion. Don't just spam link to your startup.

metalmanac 1 day ago 2 replies      
Getting the first hundred users in itself is not hard, post to forums where your users hang out and you'll be at 100 users fairly quickly. The hard part is getting users to keep coming back to your site aka engagement.

The best advice I have come across to get your initial users : do things that don't scale [0]. Yeah, everyone read that post by PG but a surprisingly small number of people actually apply it to their own projects/startups. Practical example : I am building a community for programmers [1], so to get some initial feedback I posted to a Python subreddit and got the first 50 users. I got a lot of valuable feedback, but users hardly came back to my site after a couple of days. So I decided to follow up individually with users who had signed up and started a conversation about my site. I explained to each user what the site is about, how to use it and asked for feedback. I also asked them what their first impressions of the site were and how it can be improved. I learnt that people did not even understand what my site was about, and I knew that I need to focus on conveying the essence of the site to new users. (Still working on it) You gain a lot of insight about users by having conversations with individual users. I managed to help 3 people with their Python related problems so far, in the chat room https://www.metalmanac.com/topics/python/chat/

Once you get a small number of users who are passionate about your project, continue talking to individual users and ask them to share it with their friends and offer to guide each user individually, it works very well. This is obviously not scalable beyond a few hundred users, but getting those passionate users initially is critical. I am currently at this stage.

Once you have a group of 100 or so passionate users, you can share it with a wider community of users (eg- PH, HN for tech projects) and continue focusing on having conversations with individual users.

[0] http://paulgraham.com/ds.html

[1] https://www.metalmanac.com/

steveridout 1 day ago 3 replies      
These got Readlang's first 100 users:

1. This post to a language learning forum: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T...

2. This post to r/LanguageLearning: https://www.reddit.com/r/languagelearning/comments/1b08ly/re...

If there's a subreddit where your potential audience hangs out that's a good bet. Try to be honest, humble, and non-spammy.

r_singh 1 day ago 0 replies      
At my previous startup which was a home scrap pickup service in India, we acquired our first few hundred users with word of mouth, offline event participation (in an exhibition) and getting an article in a local newspaper.

The exact path to getting the users will differ based on what you're attempting to do. In an awesome HN comment for business advice (a few days ago) I came across this awesome book called Traction; which is like a cookbook for user acquisition. I'm reading the book right now and it should give you a lot of ideas!

peterhartree 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's what I did for my Chrome extension [1]:

1. Searched the Chrome Web Store, Twitter and Google for users who had said lukewarm or negative things about another extension which addresses a similar user problem in a different way.

2. Searched the same places for people who were clearly interested in the topic of focus and email productivity.

I spent a day or so manually emailing several hundred people in this way. This initial push - and the events that it lead to (e.g. people I contacted recommending the extension to others) - got me 100 WAU within a couple of weeks (and lots of helpful feedback).

(I tried some other things which were much less effective. Listing sites, in particular, were largely a waste of time, though my Product Hunt submission came good when the extension was featured a few months later.)

[1] https://inboxwhenready.org

chrischen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Treat your business like a consulting service, and treat whatever technology you have not as the end product but as a tool you use to provide whatever service you are providing at higher quality or at lower costs.

Essentially the "do things that don't scale" advice is just this. It puts your technology at the backseat.

blurrywh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice question. I am just wondering if anyone will disclose their current killer acquisition hacks. Moreover, the question heavily depends on your business, so is it B2B, B2C, online, app, bot, etc.?

However, a good read on this which tackles all ways of user acquisition/Marketing is 'Traction' from the DuckDuckGo founder. It's not an exciting book but gives an ok overview.

You could also just start with the channel which seems most obvious, set up analytics from day one and iterate over and over. With this approach you should get a good feeling if your acquisition strategy works and if yes you should optimize. Otherwise move on to the next channel.

Edit: When you search for Traction on Amazon.com there's also another one on #1 (good Amazon search hack from another other author btw) which is not the mentioned book (the one I mean is blue-ish)

cdiamand 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did the following for http://www.oppsdaily.com

1. Posted landing page in a slack chat (first ~10 users)

2. Posted on the indiehackers forum (+30 users)

3. Got mentioned in the indiehackers weekly newsletter (+150)

4. Posted to hacker news (+?)

5. Posted to product hunt (did not go so great)(+?)

6. Started posting weekly metrics to HN - made the frontpage (+1500-2000)

joshontheweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I searched for people complaining on twitter about how bad Skype connections ruined their podcast recordings and let them know about my solution. Generally people were pretty happy to know of a better alternative and signed up as well as started sharing it via word of mouth.
hokihy72 1 day ago 1 reply      
For us it was through a Kickstarter (https://medium.com/@alexobenauer/how-i-launched-my-company-w...), and the majority of the first 100 backers (that I didn't already know) were from Hacker News.
pawelwentpawel 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are distributing an early-access of your product first, the first 100 users could be beta testers. I have gathered an initial community of people using my app by posting to directories like betalist.com, betapage.co etc.
MrGrillet 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a SAAS app at the moment but I have had success with... Bots, influencers and ads.

Lots of people seem to think ads don't work here but, I believe it is a matter of targeting and your funnel.

I think the main issues people have when it comes to ads is they poorly execute on...

Targeting - have no idea who will actually want the product and target too broadly with a useless message or, in many cases no message at all.

When people here talk about "doing stuff that doesn't scale", what they are often doing is selling the idea before someone see's the site or product for example. Like a tweet to someone looking for a new notes app - you will normally @ them with a feature or solution right, equally with a forum post - once you know they have the problem. Do the same with your ad & targeting.

Poor sales effort - In an effort to make the page look good, people often try to have as little text as possible. In my experience, the more you say the better because you eventually touch on points the lead cares about. You simply need to make it engaging. This can be done well with a screen capture you record on your computer if you really want to have a page with minimal copy. (But test lots of copy either way)

Price/ product - most people are making stuff people don't care about and won't be interesting enough to part with money for. Might not be nice to read but in many cases, it's true.

I hope this helps.

jwmoz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I seeded my site with scraped data for quite a while. Once organic started coming in and twitter referrals and hits increasing I added an email subscription.


dtougas 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I would say that it depends on your project. I recently launched my personal side project (https://outsideways.com/) and it took me about 9 months to get my first 100 (soft launch with little marketing, I was busy working on features), and my next 30 in the 10th month. Now I am getting 2 - 3 sign-ups a day (In my case, there will be a seasonal aspect to new sign-ups). I am doing a number of things to promote it:

- Released a multi-week YouTube video series on a related topic of interest, with a plug for my site at the beginning of each video.

- I regularly participate in Facebook groups related to the niche and occasionally plug it there.

- I am babysitting my most active users so that their experience is really good, learning their pain points, and responding quickly to their needs. They are in turn starting to spread the word on their own.

- Talking to friends and family who I think might be interested.

- Personally welcoming everyone who joins to try to make the experience a little more personal.

- Being active in social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), posting interesting and relevant content that would attract the kind of users I am looking for. Following users who I think might be interested. Participating in their content too (i.e. likes, comments, etc.)

calyhre 1 day ago 0 replies      
Posted here, get roasted by HN community, being noticed and mentioned in LifeHacker.
adamdecaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've found that Traction [0] covers and explains most of the ideas people will mention here on HN.

[0]: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0976339609/

thebaer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I started by building something simple that would appeal to a tiny group of people I understood: a pastebin service only available over telnet [1]. I posted it on /r/linux, which led to some good conversations and open sourcing what I was doing, building a small HTTP-based service (the start of our API), and having a small group of people to talk to when the product evolved.

The goal was to become a seamless publishing platform, so I built the Android app next (which brought me closer to the broad audience I wanted) and told /r/goodguyapps about it. Every time I went after a new platform -- Chrome OS, iOS, desktop via command-line, web -- I found a community that would want to hear about it and simply had a conversation. I went to listen to people's problems instead of just selling my app, and ended up learning exactly what I should build and what the product could do outside of what I'd originally imagined. Write.as didn't have user accounts for the first year and a half it existed, but somewhere in that process we passed 100 users across various platforms.

[1]: https://github.com/writeas/nerds

anacleto 1 day ago 2 replies      
My go-to list:

1. Launch your product on BetaList

2. Create a blog and write a lot. Don't create trivial content. SEO is important but write because you have interesting things to talk about, not because you have to create "content".

3. Share as much as you can on twitter/Slack/FB groups. But never be spammy.

4. Being actively engaged on Twitter (yes!) by regularily searching for your main 1-3 keywords.

5. Start soon with link building. It's hard but eventually will pay.

6. Word of mouth. Encourage and make it easy for your customers to tell others about your product (no, not by including dumb social sharing buttons!)

What not to-do:

Don't start with Ads prematurely. No matter what the platform is. The don't pay initially and will cost you a lot.

minhajuddin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have launched a few products. It is really difficult to get the discussion going on many places like reddit or other discourse forums as there are rules against promoting your products. However, I have had huge success with advertising my product ( a paid contact form endpoint service https://liveformhq.com/ ) on another free product (https://getsimpleform.com/) that I built. If you can build a smaller version of your product which provides value to customers it can be a great source of leads :)
lazyjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a CSE (comparison shopping engine) for computer hardware it was simple:

- talked to friends on IRC about the website (1996-1997)

- e-mailed the scraped shops and asked for permission, some became users too

When it's obvious what the product does and how useful its benefits are, and the target audience is large, getting to 100 users is really easy.

It's also an advantage if there is a compelling and logical reason to visit the website frequently, so it stays fresh in memory and becomes a habit. In my case it had up-to-date prices collected from shops, so visiting often helped people find good deals and let them observe dropping prices until they could afford a purchase.

yesimahuman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I posted on hacker news and made sure to get people signed up to a newsletter. Hacker News has been the launching point for a lot of my projects over the years.
paltry_digger 1 day ago 0 replies      
My company (http://www.gosmartride.com) allows seniors without smartphones to use Uber.

Two main ways of marketing:

ProductHunt, which gained exposure among tech savvy people. Some referred parents/grandparents to use.

I then went to senior centers with business cards and flyers. All managers there were excited about the idea and happy to let me post a few flyers and distribute business cards.

mezod 1 day ago 1 reply      
I asked for honest feedback for my app https://everydaycheck.com on a couple of subreddits where people are trying to get disciplined and improve themselves. Since it was my personal goal too I could easily relate and that brought a lot of signups, great feedback and most importantly, engaged users!
ajuhasz 1 day ago 1 reply      
We have SaaS aimed at developers[1] (platform for coding/hosting chatbots) and have tried 3 major prongs to getting our first 100 users (in order of usefulness)

- Meetups

- Content marketing

- Adwords

By far the best is our meetup group. We host a weekly meetup[2] series where we go through the platform and framework and help people write their first bots. It's nice because it also allows us to see how people are using our platform and where the rough edges are. This has been invaluable in quickly fixing small bugs that are meaningful to new devs. Some stuff we wouldn't have even noticed through analytics. We're working on getting better follow-up engagement. We have about 5-10% come back week after week.

We write entries on our blog[3] and post links to a few places (FB groups, twitter) and it's helped out too with recognition. Though our conversion from people signing up for an account from the blog is about 3%. We try a mix of posts that range from non-developer focused to developer focused. We host on medium and have had success with medium's tags and getting readership from other medium articles and the suggested articles bar on the bottom.

Adwords is almost useless at this point, though neither of us has had any prior experience so it could just be us not using the tools to their full potential.

Finally we've gone to 1 conference, NY Techday a few weeks ago. We handed out ~150 business cards and >250 stickers. I think we may have generated 3-4 leads. It was exciting that a few people recognized us from the blog and posting in FB groups, so that was a good reinforcement to keep posting on the blog.

[1] https://alana.cloud

[2] https://www.meetup.com/from-just-a-thought-to-your-1st-chat-...

[3] https://blog.alana.cloud

CM30 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well for my community sites, they just tended to come in on their own through minimal promotion. I mean, one of my forums is literally about a topic that no one else online is running a website about. For the members there simply were no viable alternatives.

However, when I failed the issue was getting people to use the site, not to sign up. People will sign up for sites and services almost at a whim, but the percentage who will actually contribute is in the single digits. So I ended up with a 'service' that mostly people ended up reading rather than posting on.

Just getting 100 users? Some active social media accounts, posts on other forums and communities, some good content and just damn faking activity until real people join tends to work well enough there.

1ba9115454 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was a frequent visiter to a forum where there was a problem I was able to fix. 1 post in that forum was enough to start to get traction.
SRasch 23 hours ago 0 replies      
We provide on-demand freelance services, customers are b2b

Got first 100 by

1) Friends: first asking a few to try; then telling about the idea at parties (also hosted a "launch party" at home, etc. Then at last emailing whole LinkedIn-contactlist. First couple were free, rest more or less discounted but paid. 2) PR. Had a few early newspaper articles when we had initial traction which gave us perhaps 20 customers each. Also posted the article to our facebook, which I think perhaps got us half of those.

(We also tried a lot of other stuff that didnt work, including a big cold call campaign and paying for leads via ads, but it didnt yield much results as it is very hard to do well)

danielfoster 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wrote a passionate blog post made the front page of a major subreddit. The story was then syndicated across a few other large blogs in my niche. This resulted in 3,000 sign-ups in a few days-- much more than I had expected!

I've also found reddit ads to be quite useful if you take the time to craft relevant ads and quickly nix ones that do not perform.

iEchoic 1 day ago 1 reply      
/r/wow got Guilded's[0] first 100 users. Reddit has a (well-earned) reputation for being very hostile to self-promotion, but I think it's under-appreciated how charitable and enthusiastic redditors are, too. If redditors can tell you put your heart into something, you don't sound like Lord Business, and you actually listen to their feedback, they'll go above and beyond to help you out. Users like this are invaluable, and just as importantly, they make making things fun.

[0] http://www.guilded.gg

needz 1 day ago 1 reply      
My app is for a very niche population so spreading the word for it was incredibly easy as there are only 3-5 really good hubs for this crowd (pinball players) online.
Kiro 1 day ago 2 replies      
Facebook ads are always really effective for me to build some initial traction.
nhorob67 1 day ago 1 reply      
Facebook Ads -> Blog Posts/Lead Magnets -> Email List

Bootstrapped Solo founder. Beta launch in June 2016. Full launch in December 2016. Crossed $200k in ARR last week.

viniciusbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
My partners and I run a business advertising website in Brazil. Since we didn't have any funds to bootstrap PPC/FB Ads we decided to manually send messages to advertisers (and actually chat with them) running ads on other big websites. That provided us some initial traction without having to put down any money, and also precious feedbacks that guides us through design iterations until today.
PascLeRasc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I published my Chrome extension on the Chrome Web Store and wrote up a little post on Github about how I made it, then posted that to a subreddit, I can't remember if it was /google or /chrome or /webdev. Unfortunately since then I can't seem to get past ~400 users but it was a pretty good kickstart.
jankedeen 17 hours ago 0 replies      
What is an app I wonder? Is it sort of a codeword for frontend embedded in logic impossible for the user to decipher with invisible sys hooks everywhere because the os is opaque to the user or is it something else?
karthiksk2012 1 day ago 2 replies      
Really great feedback. The reason I asked this question is I just launched my app https://pipecourse.com/ and its been few days. I tried cold emailing people but getting almost no response. Any particular feedback for this will be appreciated.
morisy 23 hours ago 0 replies      
1)Mailing lists.

2) Personally calling up/emailing up with a few dozen people I thought were a good fit, and then always asking them "Who else do you think would be interested in this?", even if they thought it was a bad concept.

juiyout 1 day ago 0 replies      
If: 100 phone calls -> 10 meetings

10 meetings -> 1 contracts

To get 100 contracts, just make 10,000 phone calls.

Find your ratio and start from the top.

In the beginning, improving ratio is not as importatnt as increasing your denominator. Just get out there.

david90 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ads are good actually to acquire your first 100 users. But not on common platforms (Google Ads, Youtube, Facebook). You can find with websites with high traffic and ask them to put up your ad messages.
pryelluw 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can get lots of users on social media. Just work through the social graph starting with your connections. Personalized messages work best. Just ask for their opinion.
edpichler 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a thing that don't scale. I wrote emails to my potential customers, not cold emails but real emails.
amgin3 1 day ago 2 replies      
Bought them from India, like every other company.
skdotdan 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting thread. I would like to read answers for B2B.
maxblack 1 day ago 1 reply      
I acquired our first 100 users by running Facebook Lead Generation ads. I got their emails and thousands of page likes.
horusthecat 23 hours ago 0 replies      
We made it a requirement for managers to use our internal application. Har-har-har
interdrift 1 day ago 4 replies      
I think building an amazing product is the way to get them automatically.
Ending the cult of the CEO managementtoday.co.uk
280 points by ekpyrotic  1 day ago   177 comments top 27
elihu 1 day ago 9 replies      
The way I look at it, there are two kinds of CEOs. There are the ones that founded the company and have led the company according to their own personal vision. Many of them hold stock worth billions and they're generally looked up to as "captains of industry".

The other kind is the CEO who is hired by the board of directors. They're usually very well paid and given a lot of stock, but aren't wealthy the way, say, Bill Gates is wealthy. They also tend not to be as admired, since they didn't build the business from the ground up.

People wonder why the second class of CEO receives such lavish compensation, when they're essentially just a regular employee. I suspect that the compensation is actually part of the qualification for the job. It makes shareholders feel good if the CEO holds a lot of stock, because it's a strong incentive for them to put the interests of the shareholders (whom it's easy to stereotype as rich, entitled lazy people living lavishly off of passive investment income) above the interests of the employees the CEO works with every day (who are usually hard-working people who, if the company is successful, generate far more wealth than they're compensated for).

Normal human behavior would be to put the interests of the employees above the shareholders. Large stock grants counteract that. Sometimes I wonder if a hired CEO were to refuse to receive large stock grants, would that cause the shareholders to revolt and/or the board of directors to not hire or try to fire him/her, simply because they're not comfortable with a CEO who doesn't have an incentive to pump up the stock value.

(It's worth noting that shareholders can change their investments much easier than employees can change employers, so shareholders are more likely to prefer policies that pump up the stock value now even if they're bad for the company in the long run.)

JoeCortopassi 1 day ago 6 replies      
Reasons why CEO's make millions and I don't:

- Business Network: If I had a billion dollars, I would never have been able to acquire Instagram. I wouldn't even be able to get a seat at the table. Zuckerberg closed it in record time while talking to a company that wanted to be on it's own

- Market Knowledge: I thought the iPad was the stupidest device ever, Steve Jobs didn't. I now have 4 at my house along with two of those stupid iWatches (actually they're pretty nice)

- Portfolio: Marissa Mayer wasn't paid what she was paid because the board expected her to perform well, she was paid her salary (and golden parachute) because the company was dying and they had no idea what to do. Mayer had an idea of something that might work, but why on earth would she risk her awesome rsum with taking on the risk of a company on it's last leg?

- Access: If my daughter has a birthday, I can schedule an early day to be home and celebrate with the family. When Steve Jobs came down with cancer, he was required to disclose his medical details publicly because of the fiscal impact it could have on the public stock

- Job Market: I'm a programmer. There are jobs everywhere for me. If the CEO of Uber loses his job (fingers crossed), it might be a looong time before he finds a new one and even then it's not likely to be remotely similar to what he does now. I mean shoot everyone loves Gabe Newell, but if he lost his job, what are his options? Not as many as me.

Look, I'm not saying that some CEO's pay isn't exaggerated. I'm just saying that I'm not worth nearly as much as a talented CEO. If the company your 401k/pension was invested in hired me as CEO, you better believe you'd grab your pitchfork.

dahart 1 day ago 2 replies      
> This focus has a devastating impact on the lives of CEOs... Leaders deserve to be happy too... solving the problems starts with communication... we need to wage war on this picture

A whole article about how hard CEOs have it, and not a single mention of CEO pay or the ongoing efforts to even get reporting of CEO pay ratios?

I mean I agree that CEOs get a ridiculous amount of stress and an unfair share of credit and blame, but if we want to fix it, I wouldn't start with platitudes like 'why don't we talk more', I'd start by paying CEOs less.

> The result is that a startling 100% of CEOs report that they suffer from stress and, according to research by Apollo Life, one in four say they struggle with insomnia.

Yeah, 100% of the population suffers from stress too. And I just googled it: 30% of the population suffers from insomnia. LOL.

jathu 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is reminiscent of auteur theory in film, which essentially says that the director is the author of the film. Similar to corporations, making a movie requires a lot of people with different skills/talent. The director overshadows everyone and is the person primarily credited with authoring a film, they even overshadow the writers of the screenplay. One of the leading arguments for auteur theory is that the director has the vision of the film and they set out to create it. This is the same narrative used in the startup world: the founders have the vision. So this extends to why we credit founders for the invention of products, just like how we credit directors for films.

Maybe 100 years from now we will say "Steve Jobs invented the iPhone/smartphone", just like how we say "Thomas Edison invented the light bulb" or "Martin Scorsese made Taxi Driver".

hkmurakami 1 day ago 6 replies      
I really hope that we can end the cult of the entrepreneur as well.

It's not some special thing to incorporate and start a company, and it's not inherently superior to any other line of work.

pnutjam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Over 60 years ago, Frederick Lewis Allen published "The Big Change". He noted that we do not live in a Capitalist Society, we live in a Managementist society. Capital is too often diced up and spread around so that it has no bearing on decisions and the "owner" has no responsibility or even ability to track things.
prodmerc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, it's time to end human nature.

Please, how often do you see anything credited to more than 10 people, even though maybe thousands worked on it?

It's human nature to look for the leader, or leaders if there's no clear leader or if that seen leader is actively advertising the others, but no one will ever credit 100+ people actually working on anything.

A single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.

jernfrost 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good this topic gets brought up. I've blogged about this in the past: http://blog.translusion.com/posts/CEO%20Salaries/

Studies by Gabaix and Lanier, who were in favor of performance based pay showed that the difference between the best CEO and the 250th best was 0.016 percent.

Meaning if one replaced the 250th best CEO with the best, then the companies market capitalization would grow by 0.016 percent.

Perhaps what really matters is how bad the CEO is not how good he/she is. E.g. it is like studies of parenting, there is no difference in outcome for kids with awesome parents and those with average middle-class parents. The big difference is between bad parents and average parents.

Something similar with IQ. There is no difference between having 130 in IQ and having 200, with respect to your chances of winning the nobel prize. But there is a noticable difference between having say 100 and 130.

jobcreators 1 day ago 0 replies      
i can't read this without shaking my head. boo hoo. when CEOs' compensation starts to mirror their output/tangible contribution to the company, i'll be able to take stories like this more seriously. i.e., i agree that CEOs are given far too much credit and cannot possibly be looped in on everything that leads to the successes or failures of a company, but they certainly pay themselves as if this was the case.
pixie_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd say the CEO acts as the primary role model and the employees/company often reflect the attitude of the CEO. Think of the workplace stereotypes of amazon - customer focused, google - side projects, spacex - mission, uber/oracle - aholes, apple - design, microsoft - developers , facebook - hackers, etc.. the CEO sets the tone and if you agree with it you'd probably like working there :)
cortesoft 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just how humans view the world. We attribute everything the government does to the President, we attribute everything in a film to the director, and everything in a company to the CEO. We view the world this way, when in reality things happen at every level.
theprop 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is true. And not true.

It is SO true that a company is a team effort. It is also sadly true that CEOs get most if not all the credit of what their teams accomplish even if they didn't have much of a part in it. The current CEO "God" Jobs said as much, and in fact had wrong intuitions on a number of the most critical things today in Apple's business... a gigantic one being a hesitance to open up the iPhone to 3rd party apps. I think other Apple team members eventually convinced Jobs (probably didn't take that much effort) to open things up. Jobs was rightfully concerned 3rd party apps could crash your phone which wasn't a good idea!!

That said, when Apple didn't have a strong product-focused leader we saw where it went earlier, and one can see how it's floundering today -- under Cook, Apple was maybe 2 years or more late with a large screen phone and the iWatch is not good at all. Tesla under a certain CEO has in less than 15 years what's widely considered the world's best car...beating few dozen companies with long histories of making cars and limitless resources. Amazon took big risks with AWS, Prime, and many other things and failed miserably many times e.g. the Fire phone...but they have a leader who kept pushing things forward. Compare Amazon to say Walmart (to my view largely the same company it is today that it was 20 years ago) or any other e-commerce company. The visionary leader who can deliver revolutionary products relentlessly really does matter.

bg4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pack order mentality is probably not something humans will ever be able to overcome.


edit: typo

gavinpc 1 day ago 0 replies      
The "cult" underlying this phenomenon is our celebrity culture. We fetishize the 0.01%. The role of overpaid CEO is established; it no longer needs any more special justification than top athletes, entertainers, or TV "personalities."

Conveniently, we have lots of companies that need saving. And it seems to me that, for a country where people still like to pretend there's a "free market," we sure hate to see companies fail. I think of the old saying, "Many a good hanging has prevented a bad marriage." But hey, who asked me.

marplebot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was anyone else bothered by the way studies were cited in this article?

> 100% of CEOs report that they suffer from stressAnytime I see 100% I assume the study was bullshit.

> the death of a CEO causes a company's value to fluctuate by $65 million more today than it did 60 years ago (adjusted for inflation)I'm guessing the sample size here is pretty small or at very least a measure of absolute "fluctuation" doesn't seem like the right thing to measure. I can imagine a world where the death of Steve Jobs alone could have caused this effect. Also what was the fluctuation before was it $100 million? $1 million?

coldpizza 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Think of a prominent global-company CEO. Sir Martin Sorrell? Indra Nooyi? Elon Musk?

> Now, name the CFO and CMO. I bet you cant.

I can't, but it's because it's not the CFO and CMO representing the company on the public realm, so they're not the faces and names I see when there's news about a company in which I do not work at or with.

If this "exposure" happens within a company as well, that's an issue for each company to assess and deal with accordingly.

erikb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always wonder why people happily give up the rewards they earned for their hard work. Prestige, connections, bonusses. I think that's a big part for the guy at the top getting most of it as well.

And the reason is self-preservation. While all these things are nice, to most people it is more important to not experience the opposite: public criticism, haters, losing your job. In many situations it is also reasonable, since for a middle-income person a save reliable income is usually the most valuable asset they have. Losing it is much more hurtful to their lifes than losing a bonus. Therefore they give up some higher-risk opportunities for safety.

Summary: The employees probably also want the success and failure associated to their boss not themselves.

wand3r 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found it hard not to disagree with this article. I am not sure I agree with the premise but this argument wasn't persuasive. Of course a stock drops when the CEO abruptly dies. Of course 100percent of people responsible for the well being of others (employees and shareholders) and countless decisions is stressed.

A counter example to jobs (cliche pic on every article like this) is Ive. The cult of personality is an obvious way to humanize a company. It can be good or bad. Kalanick bad right now; Musk good right now.

Being a good CEO is more important than simply branding yourself.

IDK, article fell flat for me I see both sides and it's subjective in my book

dilemma 1 day ago 0 replies      
The result is that a startling 100% of CEOs report that they suffer from stress and, according to research by Apollo Life, one in four say they struggle with insomnia. Many multinationals have launched expensive well-being programmes in response, but these just wallpaper over the core problem: CEOs unnecessarily carry the full weight of company performance on their shoulders.

It is the job and responsibility of the CEO to delegate so that decisions can be made elsewhere.

cosinetau 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing a possible resolution is to disseminate the responsibility that a CEO holds.

I've never been at that level of management, but it appears that other players (inside and out of an org) require a single point-of-contact, or ultimate authority. I think this might be better, simply because 1:1 relationships are easier to coordinate than 1:n (chair and council), or n:m (council and lieutenants), which dissemination might bring.

My counter question is: where would the buck stop?

vonnik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this article misunderstands one of the roles of the CEO, which is to be the face of the company, the individual to whom the media can attach its narrative. Group stories don't have the same appeal. Harder to tell. Even if they're more true. CEOs are traveling salespeople. They represent a larger group. They persuade. And one of the groups they sell to is the media.
amjaeger 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sure the majority of the article is valid, but Apple's stock skyrocketed after Job's death. I'm sure it's an outlier but kind of wish that had been acknowledged given the image used.
soufron 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's very nice to say that business is almost always a team effort, but it does not explain why some teams succeed and other don't.
rileymat2 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is hard to tell, but it appears the death of the lifeway ceo in 2002 had very little lasting impact.
LeicaLatte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, let us all stop being humans because some humans are bad.
cafard 1 day ago 1 reply      
Given that a fair chunk of today's NY Times front page is devoted to Steve Cook rebuking Travis Kalanick, I'm not going to short to incense stocks quite yet.
rglover 1 day ago 0 replies      
Windows Is Bloated, Thanks to Adobes Extensible Metadata Platform thurrott.com
291 points by Integer  21 hours ago   162 comments top 17
tomcam 18 hours ago 7 replies      
You would be surprised at how much cruft in Windows over the years has been directly due to Adobe. I had many bug triage sessions where Windows developers at Microsoft had to work around Adobe problems to keep Windows users happy. I always thought it was unfair and was quite impressed by Microsoft at their willingness to handle this so quietly.
mih 18 hours ago 3 replies      
In one of the comments on the page, a reader ran the analysis [1] on a windows installation and reports the bloat size.

Total bytes wasted: 5341278

[1] https://gist.githubusercontent.com/riverar/f4a56b91580af1bd3...

II2II 15 hours ago 4 replies      
By the sounds of it, this bloat is minor. (Keep in mind, the author is pointing out the two most extreme examples.)

Bloat arises from a lot of different places, a lot of which cannot realistically be controlled without drastically affecting user expectations, system performance, and how software is developed.

Consider graphics. If you are quadrupling the color depth, you are quadrupling the amount of memory required for graphics resources. Even more fun, if you are doubling the resolution you are quadrupling the amount of memory required for graphics resources. Going back to the olden days would only be an option if they are willing to compromise on the quality of the graphics.

At the other end of the spectrum are developers. Should they really be choosing things like the type of an integer to reduce the size of code and data? Old software was often limited due to such considerations. In some cases software used bizarre tricks to reduce bloat, such as cramming data into the unused bits of an address. (Apparently that was common on 68000 based personal computers.)

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of unnecessarily bloated software. Yet I suspect that the vast majority of that bloat exists for very good reasons.

Esau 17 hours ago 4 replies      
It's not just Windows that is bloated; so is macOS, Android, and iOS. The wastefulness annoys me and I don't want to hear its okay because we have tons of disk space and RAM - it is still wasteful.

I understand why they kitchen-sink operating systems - its mainly so they can crow about new features when releasing new versions of the OS. But I wish they would offer alternate installs for those of us who are proficient.

squarefoot 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't comment on this issue, but if you want to get an idea of how a company can take over an excellent software and ruin it making it beefier and slower, just take a look at the wonderful snappy gem that was Cool Edit Pro and what it became after being morphed into Adobe Audition.
0x0 17 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not the first time Windows has shipped with shameful metadata. For example, a .wav file shipped with Windows XP appears to be authored with a pirated version of SoundForge: https://web.archive.org/web/20060721090521/http://techrepubl...
asveikau 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It's great investigative work into Windows binaries, and I hope it gets addressed for the sake of people's disk space, but I think the tone is too harsh and overstated.

Example: He cites effects on startup time - but has he considered the existence of virtual memory? When explorer.exe loads and maps the bloat into address space, it doesn't need it in RAM until the first page fault accessing it which likely will not even happen.

msimpson 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Given this bloat resides in the metadata of PNG assets exported from Photoshop, couldn't this affect any operating system?

How many applications on Mac OS utilize PNG assets which were exported from Photoshop without any further optimization?

blibble 19 hours ago 4 replies      
I wonder how many hundreds of kilobytes that adds up to in a 20gb windows install
JayXon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
shameless plug: you can throw a windows pe file (exe, dll, etc.) at leanify and it will remove all the garbage in pngs in that pe file (even those embedded pngs in high res ico file in pe file), and it will also optimize png compression with zopfli.But don't use it on windows system files because modifying those pe files will definitely break the digital signature.
wtbob 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Egad that XML is horrible! Whoever thought that could possibly be a sane format?

And to repeat it over and over it's like a boot stomping on disk space, forever.

sp332 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it feasible to remove this junk yourself, or will the system freak out about hacked binaries? Would it also complain if I just applied to the PNG files?
21 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember an article saying that making a trivial change to Windows requires 5 minutes to change the code and 2 weeks to deal with the aftermath (testing/...)

I wonder how easy it actually is to remove this XMP metadata, considering that it could potentially break some application which loads a PNG directly from explorer.exe with a broken PNG parser or something.

fiatjaf 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Ok, how can a Windows user defend himself from that?
thinknot 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Next time, run `optipng -o9 -strip all` on all your png files!
zeveb 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, that's a bloated format. Here it is as XML:

 <?xpacket begin="?" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> <x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/" x:xmptk="Adobe XMP Core 5.4-c002 1.000000, 0000/00/00-00:00:00 "> <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"> <rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:xmp="http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/"> <xmp:CreatorTool>Picasa</xmp:CreatorTool> </rdf:Description> <rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:mwg-rs="http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/" xmlns:stDim="http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#" xmlns:stArea="http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#"> <mwg-rs:Regions rdf:parseType="Resource"> <mwg-rs:AppliedToDimensions rdf:parseType="Resource"> <stDim:w>912</stDim:w> <stDim:h>687</stDim:h> <stDim:unit>pixel</stDim:unit> </mwg-rs:AppliedToDimensions> <mwg-rs:RegionList> <rdf:Bag> <rdf:li rdf:parseType="Resource"> <mwg-rs:Type></mwg-rs:Type> <mwg-rs:Area rdf:parseType="Resource"> <stArea:x>0.680921052631579</stArea:x> <stArea:y>0.3537117903930131</stArea:y> <stArea:h>0.4264919941775837</stArea:h> <stArea:w>0.32127192982456143</stArea:w> <stArea:unit>normalized</stArea:unit> </mwg-rs:Area> </rdf:li> </rdf:Bag> </mwg-rs:RegionList> </mwg-rs:Regions> </rdf:Description> <rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:exif="http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/"> <exif:PixelXDimension>912</exif:PixelXDimension> <exif:PixelYDimension>687</exif:PixelYDimension> <exif:ExifVersion>0220</exif:ExifVersion> </rdf:Description> </rdf:RDF> </x:xmpmeta> <!-- whitespace padding --> <?xpacket end="w"?>
And here it is as SXML (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SXML):

 (*TOP* (*PI* |xpacket| "begin=\"?\" id=\"W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d\"") (|adobe:ns:meta/:xmpmeta| (@ (@ (*NAMESPACES* (|adobe:ns:meta/| "adobe:ns:meta/" . |x|))) (|adobe:ns:meta/:xmptk| "Adobe XMP Core 5.4-c002 1.000000, 0000/00/00-00:00:00 ")) " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:RDF| (@ (@ (*NAMESPACES* (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#| "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" . |rdf|)))) " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:Description| (@ (@ (*NAMESPACES* (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/| "http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/" . |xmp|))) (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:about| "")) " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/:CreatorTool| "Picasa") " ") " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:Description| (@ (@ (*NAMESPACES* (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#| "http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#" . |stArea|) (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#| "http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#" . |stDim|) (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/| "http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/" . |mwg-rs|))) (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:about| "")) " " (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/:Regions| (@ (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:parseType| "Resource")) " " (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/:AppliedToDimensions| (@ (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:parseType| "Resource")) " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#:w| "912") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#:h| "687") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/sType/Dimensions#:unit| "pixel") " ") " " (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/:RegionList| " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:Bag| " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:li| (@ (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:parseType| "Resource")) " " (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/:Type|) " " (|http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/schemas/regions/:Area| (@ (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:parseType| "Resource")) " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#:x| "0.680921052631579") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#:y| "0.3537117903930131") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#:h| "0.4264919941775837") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#:w| "0.32127192982456143") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/sType/Area#:unit| "normalized") " ") " ") " ") " ") " ") " ") " " (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:Description| (@ (@ (*NAMESPACES* (|http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/| "http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/" . |exif|))) (|http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#:about| "")) " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/:PixelXDimension| "912") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/:PixelYDimension| "687") " " (|http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/:ExifVersion| "0220") " ") " ") " ") (*COMMENT* " whitespace padding ") (*PI* |xpacket| "end=\"w\""))
The only terrible thing about the SXML is the preserved-whitespace from the XML (which of course wouldn't exist in pure SXML); otherwise it's much nicer and contains exactly as much information.

pavement 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Which is funny, because all of the things I hate about Microsoft and Windows have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they provide bloated binaries, containing PNG images that are bundled with extra XML tags and descriptors.

Gee whiz! What a world!

Apple cuts App Store affiliate commission from 7% to 2.5% techcrunch.com
289 points by petergatsby  1 day ago   157 comments top 18
coupdejarnac 1 day ago 5 replies      
For my apps, I used the affiliate program to get back some of the Apple tax.

So from my perspective, this is just the latest in a long line of developer hostile developments from Apple.

Sidenote- I tried deploying an app to testers on Testflight for the first time, and the app was rejected. What a complete waste of time. It was rejected for not running on iPad properly and not working with ipv6. Not exactly too frickin helpful when I needed to get the app out to testers/stakeholders asap. Fortunately Tryouts.io don't want to waste my time.

bastawhiz 1 day ago 2 replies      
> If Apple drastically cuts this revenue stream, the company could end up alienating people writing for those sites.

Isn't this, in some ways, good for the consumer? While some legitimate review sites may be impacted, this would imaginably help cut down on the number of illegitimate spammy review sites that are pushing ad-ridden and malware-ish apps.

mcast 1 day ago 5 replies      
As a consumer, I strongly dislike the direction Apple has taken since Tim Cook assumed CEO. When I bought the new iPhone 7, the previous plastic headphones case was changed to be made of disposable, thin paper. You could argue it was an environmental move, but Apple now seems to care more about maximizing profit and cutting costs in every possible area than providing a good customer experience. I mean, the original iPhone even included a microfiber cloth to clean the screen. And iPhone's seriously still come in 32GB for the base model?

The company has an excess of over $250B in liquid cash but it decides to stiffen its products to revolve around pleasing shareholders, not consumers. Let's not even get started on the disaster of catering to professionals using their MacBook "Pro" or Mac Pro line.

zeteo 1 day ago 3 replies      
"The rent of land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the land, is naturally a monopoly price. It is not at all proportioned to what the landlord may have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what he can afford to take; but to what the farmer can afford to give." - Adam Smith

The App Store developers are now farmers on Apple's domain, and their landlord has figured out they can pay more.

caiob 1 day ago 2 replies      
Affiliate commissions generate a lot of fake reviews. I think this is a good move by Apple; although I believe they should simply shut down the entire program.
protomyth 1 day ago 3 replies      
Starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) will remain at the current 7% commission rate in all markets.

So, the sites promoting Hollywood get to keep the 7%, but the sites promoting Apple's developers get tanked?

jordansmithnz 1 day ago 1 reply      
A lot of comments seem to think this effects developers. It doesn't - just the many sub par app review sites that make money with affiliate links. As an iOS developer I wouldn't be sad to see these die out.

Some comments have mentioned the 30% cut that Apple takes. From my point of view, I'd be making $0 without the App Store, so a 30% cut I was aware of from square one doesn't seem unreasonable. Apple have never raised the figure, and I don't think they're likely to in the near future.

zackmorris 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is it time for a developer's guild?

Like if most iOS developers were part of the guild, and if Apple made too drastic a cut like this, the guild would disable all of the apps in the store for some number of days until a compromise could be reached between Apple and the guild. Not to single Apple out - we seem to be seeing a lot of these unilateral decisions in tech lately.

notadoc 1 day ago 4 replies      
Who would want to promote something for $0.025 commission on a $1 sale?

The volume needed for that to be any sort of business model seems extraordinarily high.

gressquel 1 day ago 2 replies      
The 30% fee robbery is the reason I quit app development, im actually happy I ended up in SaaS business, so thank you Apple
wand3r 1 day ago 0 replies      
IDK. I feel bad for the devs but I hate being punted from safari to the app store. If this cuts it down 66percent that would be awesome ux. Really sick of the huge green button that says "proceed" and the tiny "no thanks" that takes you to the actual site. Reddit is a perfect example
elsonrodriguez 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this means I'll get fewer random redirects to the App Store from crappy advertising networks?
blurrywh 1 day ago 0 replies      
OT: Imagine a web without affiliate sites. Would we miss any of their content?
pascalxus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also, you can look forward to the day when apple raises it's tax from 30% to 50%. I suspect this is coming. They're certainly powerful enough to pull it off. Developers won't like it but there's nothing devs can really do about it.
return0 1 day ago 2 replies      
Who used this?
johansch 1 day ago 0 replies      
It does fit the pattern. When in lack of product innovation, milk the existing reveneue stream harder.
killin_dan 1 day ago 1 reply      
And I suddenly don't feel the need to support iOS anymore
benguild 1 day ago 3 replies      
This may mean that theyll decrease the commission charged to developers to as little as 10-15% this summer?
LSD microdoses make people feel sharper, and scientists want to know how theverge.com
263 points by rbanffy  2 days ago   155 comments top 21
got2surf 2 days ago 6 replies      
While this is a really interesting article, there may be some issues around the "placebo effect" of taking a microdose vs physical effects of the microdose. (Granted, the impact of "having more creative moments" may be the same either way, which could be a win in itself)

https://www.gwern.net/LSD%20microdosing this article was posted on HN a few years back, and talks about an self-administered blind study of microdosing, which found limited benefits of microdosing, counter to most anecdotal examples.

Asparagirl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting tidbit at the end of the article about LSD microdosing reportedly fixing twelve female subjects' irregular/painful menstrual cycles.
northband 2 days ago 3 replies      
So this kind of article is excellent and I really am excited about how entheogen can potentially heal productivity to depression.

I have been very interested in this concept and approach as I know several people who could benefit from this - myself included.

Psychedelics are tools and are not to be taken lightly. As much as an advocate as I am for them I also agree that they're not for everyone.

Finally being able to have access to testing and experimentation we may discover even more capabilities.

However, what drives me crazy is how are we supposed to get the medicine? Especially in the case of LSD I am concerned of purity and risk of finding it.

It's a lot different now than it was in the 80's - at least here in the midwest. We no longer have the Grateful Dead and/or "family" providing clean sources. To make matters worse it's most likely the > 40 year olds crowd who would be interested in this but who is going to sell a 'mom or dad looking person' a hit of acid? Hanging out in the concert lot isn't what it used to be ;-).

Perhaps in places like Marin County there still is some availability. I hope so and I hope it once agains paints it's way across the country/world.

qeternity 2 days ago 7 replies      
I am genuinely curious to hear from someone who has taken both, how LSD microdosing affects them versus amphetamine salts (i.e. adderall)
coldcode 1 day ago 4 replies      
While it seems interesting, I have no idea how one gets a trustworthy supply of such micro doses, not to mention that fact that LSD is a schedule 1 drug. Caffeine seems much easier to obtain.
JKCalhoun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who knew, synthemesc or drencrom could sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.

(Sorry I had to.)

robocaptain 2 days ago 2 replies      
The podcast Reply All covered this in an episode last year:https://gimletmedia.com/episode/44-shine-on-you-crazy-goldma...

Obviously not scientific, but great anecdotal discussion.

wklauss 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Feel" seems like the key word here. Unsure how much of this is the placebo effect at work or just simple recursive autosuggestion (you expect to be more sharp and so you are constantly checking for that sharpness and therefore find that feeling validated)
ekzy 2 days ago 0 replies      
yunocat 1 day ago 2 replies      
one thing not mentioned here but hinted at is tolerance -

The 4 day window between doses hinted at is pretty much required in order to have anywhere near the same effect with the same quantity so doing this in a regular way is more like 'regular chemical therapy' a couple times a week than a 'morning pick me up' like cofee

not sure how tolerance builds over the long run - so could be wrong here if it actually plateus; that said probably not the best idea to be on LSD every single day if even in small doses..

kminehart 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is this comparable to achieving a similar effect with caffeine?

I know whenever I get into the office, I don't feel nearly as productive or good at solving problems as I do whenever I drink an energy drink or a coffee. Strictly anecdotal, of course, but still. Lots of talk about placebo.

alistproducer2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can concur with this article. Non-hallucinogenic doses of hallucinogens does give one a feeling of clarity and purpose. This works with mushrooms as well although obviously it's harder to get the dosage correct.
pessimizer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I knew a group of people 20 years ago who would take tiny doses of LSD in order to maintain decisionmaking skills before going out for a night of drinking. Most of these were people who didn't even like LSD, they just liked drinking.
f4rker 1 day ago 1 reply      
"feel sharper" vs "actually sharper"
LinuxBender 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to get this legalized so that I can ask for this in my coffee and so that my state can reap the tax benefits from it?
kazinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everything feels sharper because you're modestly applying a "high" pass filter. :)
nnm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Self-claimed sharper is far from objectively sharper.
webkike 1 day ago 0 replies      
I figured that in the title feeling sharper was literally feeling like you are more pointy, given LSD
vixen99 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worth being aware that "In the United Kingdom, LSD is a Schedule 1 Class 'A' drug. This means it has no recognized legitimate uses and possession of the drug without a license is punishable with 7 years' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, and trafficking is punishable with life imprisonment and an unlimited fine."


dmitripopov 1 day ago 2 replies      
Every stimulator drug always backfires. I won't be surprised if the subjects of research will go into deep depression and productivity slump once they stop microdosing therapy.
Why I published in a predatory journal the-scientist.com
290 points by robwwilliams  2 days ago   113 comments top 21
glangdale 2 days ago 3 replies      
There's a expose like this every couple of years, but nothing ever changes. My adviser told me entertaining stories of pranksters putting fake articles into CS journals from "The Austrian Naval Academy". I suspect one reason things don't change much is that the publishing game is shades of grey all the way up to the best publications - a third-tier journal won't publish complete gibberish, but you certainly might be able to get some pretty shallow stuff into it and I would be very surprised if anyone, say, checked the references or reality-tested the results.
Jedd 2 days ago 5 replies      
I've spent basically zero time in academia. I've heard the phrase 'publish or perish', and I know the evils of Elsevier, and the popularity of sci-hub - but that's about it.

How are these guys making money? Is it just the 'editing fees' for people trying to publish? Presumably advertisers are savvy enough to not throw money at these types of journals? Proper scientists / researchers are (hopefully) also not easily fooled - and whoever peer reviewed this article (assuming it actually was peer reviewed, as claimed) won't want their name attached to the publication.

These stories come up often enough to suggest it's a well known problem, and the culprits are easy enough to identify. But that these stories do keep coming up suggests there's good money being made somehow, and attempts to thwart these publications are failing.

eecc 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been drafting a P2P app to (legitimately) share publications without intermediaries. Authenticity and traceability of all data - including metadata such as tags to represent peer approval - are supported using PGP cryptography. If anyone is interested to at least provide a critique to the code (it's my pet project so it's also rife with "let me try this new framework" syndrome) please give me a ping. If you want to contribute yay!
lostgame 2 days ago 1 reply      
With all this hubbub about 'fake news' - 'fake science' may be even more dangerous.
ayuvar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I worked for one of these outfits for a summer job. I needed the money and they seemed alright on the outside.

There was a strange obsession regarding looking official and academically legitimate, to the point where they would attempt to recruit professors to do the peer-reviewing, then override what they said in the final "edit" stage of the review and approve the submission anyway. Since it was anonymous, there was no way to tell if "Reviewer 3" was actually bumped or just that someone else got to that submission first.

That said, their business model was a bit different. They weren't open-access: they made their money selling conferences (which were mandatory to attend if you wanted your paper to actually get published in the journal).

Often, they would resell gifts from the venue such as comped hotel rooms and airport shuttles at above market prices to the attendees as well as part of a "package." As well, the venues usually also matched where-ever the founder wanted to go on vacation.

Out of paranoia as much as cost-cutting, they ran the offices very lean and centralized authority in the founder and his family. They probably would have had a more successful operation had they gotten good lieutenants who were better capable of maintaining the facade. My local university used to warn people off of publishing with them by name, which I thought was a remarkable step considering the precarious state of Canadian libel law.

Other staff was mostly early-stage "green card"-esque workers who they would hold the threat of dismissal over their heads (forcing those workers to rush to get a new job before they timed out and had to leave the country) and students like myself.

The year before I got there, they had a major publicity crisis in which they took substantial heat in academic circles for basically auto-publishing plagiarized articles from anybody with an email address. Part of my work was integrating one those "turn it in" style plagiarism detectors into their submission funnel.

By the end of the summer they were in deep with the tax authorities from a backlog of unpaid taxes; the founder bragged to me that he considered paying corporate income tax a kind of "game" in which the penalties for losing were insubstantial. I'm sure by now the penalties have grown in seriousness, though the last time I looked them up they still seem to be publishing journals and hosting conferences.

It was a good lesson for me about what to look out for in the future when trying to select a small business/team to work for.

DrNuke 2 days ago 1 reply      
Journals are flooded in a way you would never believe if not spending a day on the other side of the desk. Many papers are presumptuous and preposterous at best, from developing countries but also from reputed institutions. The model is clearly flawed and the ecosystem saturated, there are a small number of institutions being accepted by default and a lot of the other not being given any sniff in. I am not sure how to rectify this distortion, predatory journals being one effect more than a cause: you can't stop shit / compilative / small incremental papers being put forward and spammed if not charging them a fee? The more you charge, the more probable they desist. Point is such money should be reinvested into the ecosystem, not drained out by greedy publishing corps imho.
MichailP 2 days ago 0 replies      
What people don't realize is that it is YOUR responsibility to make your research any good. Peer review won't significantly improve your research, and btw it is very rarely constructive criticism, and it certainly doesn't make you feel you and reviewer are in the same team (but you should be in a perfect world). So what the author of original article confirmed here is that he can falsify results, his name, etc. But that's ON HIM!
WhiteSource1 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm more shocked at the fact that they published the article without receiving payment!
theprop 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow! There are multiple wars against science, exploiting "science". There seems to be a strong need for some service that can flag fake news, fake research, etc. in facebook, google and others.

The government which funds the vast majority of scientific research should insist that real research is freely accessible not in these gated journals that are ridiculously expensive (as much as $25k/year for a single subscription)...so that there was an easy way to access real scientific research.

Incidentally a similar stunt was pulled with a humanities journal several years ago and the gibberish paper got published...but this was in something a lot more like a real journal.

lutusp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quote: "My long-term goalan ambitious one, I knowis to stop the production of predatory journals altogether."

I salute your energy and your objective. Having observed individual scientists over a period of decades and noting the degree to which a modern scientist's professional life is ruled by "publish or perish", I think some very basic changes would have to take place to eliminate phony journals.

On the one hand, phony journals, and corner-cutting episodes like the recent retraction of 107 cancer research papers from otherwise legitimate scientific journals[1], only show the desperation in the lives of many scientists and pseudoscientists.

On the other hand, freedom of the press allows pretty much any nonsense to be put on paper and online, and efforts to stop phony publications often collide with a very permissive attitude toward printed expression, including those that walk a thin line between fact and fiction.

To me, the central problem is that publishers make too much money from technical and scientific publication -- it invites cheating and exploitation. Maybe in the future there will be some kind of publication arrangement that is (a) beyond reproach and (b) not undermined by absurd access prices.

1. http://retractionwatch.com/2017/04/20/new-record-major-publi...

osazuwa 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here is an fascinating instance of astroturfing by MedCrave on Quora, with painfully bad "smart-people" English https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-get-rid-of-the-rumours-about-...
dragandj 2 days ago 0 replies      
When we're here, I have to jump in with my own: https://www.scribd.com/doc/167706815/EVALUATION-OF-TRANSFORM...

The whole sting is later analyzed in a serious scientific journal: https://sci-hub.cc/10.1007/s11948-014-9521-4

19eightyfour 2 days ago 0 replies      
To complete the expose of broken peer review, there ought to be a kickstarter / crowd funding for the $799 fee.

Cash for publication. Sad state of science. Terribly irresponsible that this is medical science.

I'm not emphasizing blame for the individuals involved...I think the way the system operates incentivizes things that don't work to produce solid results.

A new peer review system that does work to reliably generate reproducible results would be a significant technological innovation that improves basic publicly funded STEM research.

chestervonwinch 2 days ago 2 replies      
The current system for publishing needs to be overhauled. This is difficult because those early in their careers have to establish themselves, and publications are the de facto metric for doing so. However, number-of-publications is not necessarily an accurate surrogate for the quality of a person's work since all journals do not have equally rigorous review processes (or any review process as shown by this article and many others).

Long term solutions for this problem often focus on (1) new systems for reviewing/publishing scientific work as a means to make number-of-publications a more accurate quantifier of the quality a researcher's body of work, or (2) incorporating metrics other than publications.

What about short term solutions? What about an IMDB-like review and rating system for publications? This way, researchers still publish wherever they like, but could be potentially reviewed by a independent system. Would such a system be too readily game-able?

sytelus 2 days ago 5 replies      
Can't websites like Google Scholar help here? There should be some algorithmic way to identify such journals. One way could be to use PageRank for a paper to create a PargeRank of journals. Then take the bottom of journals and use either wisdom of crowd or human editors to de-list them or flag them. If publications from bad journals stops showing up (or at least get flagged) in search results and/or Google Scholar, they practically don't exist.
frozenport 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody is suprised that there are con-artists who will take your money. The real problem is similiar behavior from supposedly legitimate journals.
ma2rten 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there journals like this for computer science?
GrumpyNl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its all about greed. As long as you pay, or say you have the intention to pay the 799, your paper will get published. The system is rotten.
logicallee 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm sorry, I only read the abstract[1] but this is excellently written, in a way that only people with real scientific understanding are able to write. This isn't a "hoax", it's simply unconscionable on the part of the author.

Let me translate this to terms people here might understand. This is like writing an O'Reilly book entitled "Essential System Administration In Client-Side Javascript" detailing a cookbook of the most common techniques you would want to use to do local system administration from Angular, React, Meteor/Ember, etc, with special attention to the pitfalls of identifying whether the local system is a Windows,Mac, Linux, a mobile browser, tablet, etc, and listing the various ways you can set up the local user's device to your own liking.

Where it crosses the line is if it's written in a highly informative way without any indication WHATSOEVER of being satire. Local system administration from javascript frameworks doesn't exist. It's not a thing. You couldn't so much as set the time.

But when you write with authority on how to do that and more, suddenly it does exist. What's more, it will be interesting and useful. If you write with authority and an overview of the subject, in the way done here (it starts by identifying the scope of the issue - the very first words of the abstract are "Uromycitisis is a rare but serious condition that affects over 2,000 mostly adult men and women in the United States each year". From the moment you've written those words -- you even say who it affects and the exceptions, since it affects adults but mostly adults -- you are now an expert and you're not writing a satire or hoax: you're writing fraud.

It would be as if I began the above with:

"Web-based administration of local devices with a standard browser serving as the remote administration client is a small but growing choice of hundreds of large companies with 5,000-50,000+ employees. Its advantages include leveraging development practices that may already be familiar, web standards, regular security upgrades from the major browsers, centralized distribution of small updates while leveraging the security mechanisms (such as HTTPS and signed certificates) already present in the browser, and cross-platform availability across many devices. Simply put, System Administration in client-side javascript is the closest you can come to fully controlling your user's devices without administrative tools at all. While it has important limitations, such as being unable to repartition hard-drives or install a standard image while the operating system is running, in other respects it enables all of the power of many administrative tools without many of the downsides. In this book we will cover some of the basic functions you may want to do, such as applying security updates, installing or removing software, creating user accounts and setting their privileges, and, in the case of Windows computers, setting up roaming profiles. Let's get started."

Is that a hoax? No, it's more like simple fraud. (Our author invented a research institution, created fake gmail accounts, etc.)

Sorry. I don't support the author in how they went about this. It would be different if what I wrote was hilarious - such as bemoaning that for the moment Apple Watches unfortunately do not support a standard browser, so you will have to break into them by finding and applying zero days for the iPhone, which are unfortunately patched regularly; a list of Russian and Chinese sources is contained in Appendix 1, and you can usually ask for a sample while promising bitcoins - but is the above paragraph I wrote hilarious? No. It's not hilarious and that means it's not okay.

[1] direct link to PDF: http://www.the-scientist.com/images/Opinion/2017/UNOAJ-04-00...

jszymborski 1 day ago 3 replies      
If a paper is published after 2010 and the corresponding author's email is from a free service (gmail, yahoo, yandex) or is not from an institution that is a university or firm with an R&D department, you shouldn't trust the journal or the paper.

It's a simple litmus test and while it generates many false negatives, there are almost zero false positives.

EDIT: At least, for biomedical papers... can't speak for other fields

       cached 26 April 2017 15:11:01 GMT