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Show HN: Sorting Two Metric Tons of Lego jacquesmattheij.com
999 points by jacquesm  1 day ago   199 comments top 33
katelynsills 1 day ago 4 replies      
I work for a mill that cleans and sorts grains and beans (taking the rocks out, stems out, etc.), and it's fascinating to see the parallel invention of something really similar! We have a bunch of different steps:

1) Air is blown through the product and any dust is taken out.2) The product is run through a bunch of screens that take out anything too big or too small.3) The product is put through a gravity separator to separate based on mass.4) Finally, the product is put through an optical sorter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0gWUeqzk_o) which uses blasts of air to push out unwanted materials from a stream of falling product.

I'm sure you could use the same process for Legos. Not sure about how to distinguish between branded and unbranded Legos though.

yourapostasy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for sharing such a cool build and helping keep alive a hope of mine. I dream of a day I have enough time/capital to build/buy a Lego sorter, a robotic Lego brick separator (perhaps using high-resolution ultrasound/radar to detect where to insert the separator and where to push), pair that with an automated storage system in a subterranean vertical tunnel with robot arms similar to a robotic tape library keeping track of all detected parts and minifigs according to BrickLink categorization. Let the system keep it all organized (for example, bin overflows into multiple bins are automatically tracked as a single part and color combination), and I even have the choice to have it dump a random assortment into a big laundry-size bin, and build like a kid again, yet have it clean up after itself once I'm done.
samcheng 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a few businesses that buy (unsorted, bulk) legos and then sell sets or sorted bulk legos.

Here's a fun one in Taipei: http://www.brickfinder.net/2017/03/22/taiwan-lego-store-visi...

(They also custom print on the surface of the parts; I saw an awesome Trump Lego man there complete with red hat.)

I bet these people would love to talk about this machine!

phil21 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do you deal with parts that are stuck together? I actually noticed one in your demo video, and was curious. This seems like it would be very difficult to classify, even in a sense to sort them into a "take these apart" bin.

This is really amazing, awesome work!

wintersFright 20 hours ago 2 replies      
My 9yo son is willing to give you his life savings of $41.56 to have an at home kit of this machine :)

I've played with OpenCV and tried for fun to train a HAAR cascade classifier to recognise a minifigure. It didn't work which made me realise one has to really understand under the hood of machine learning like this in order to give it good training data.

Kudos. Very, very impressive.

AlexDanger 1 day ago 1 reply      
Incredible Machine!

Question: Were you able to utilise any data about Lego parts from Lego's own catalogues (current and historal) or technical specifications? It sounds like you trained the classifier manually. I imagine if you want to sort into sets you need to know what makes up a particular set.....does Lego provide an API or anything regarding parts/sets?

Further to that, if you have pricing data on sets you have a nice little optimisation problem - given my metric ton of parts, what are the most valuable complete sets I can make?

garply 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Lots of comments on here about the software, but I'm really fascinated by the hardware. Where did you get the conveyor belts and how much did they cost?

For the belt that lifts item up out of the hopper, I notice there's a little white hook (or platform, not sure what to call that) jutting out that does the actual lifting of the legos. How did you get the size of that right? Did you install that jutting-out part, or did it come pre-attached to the belt?

What tools are you using to make a computer do the actual belt rotation? I'm wondering how low-level it is - are you spinning the steppers directly or did the conveyor belts come with some kind of API? I'm guessing the belts don't have a USB port for easy control.

dxbydt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can you publish the details of the h/w-s/w interface...the only piece I grokked was the vgg classifier. How do you go from a physical Lego on the hopper to jpg to class label to the lego in the correct physical bin ? I'd like to do this myself. I don't have 2 tons but definitely some 10k pieces. Thanks.
tuna-piano 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you very much for this fascinating post, nice work.

Did you use any other resources to learn about deep learning besides http://course.fast.ai/? I'm looking to get started learning, and wondered what the best way forward would be.

tomovo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Awesome. Do you have a video of it running at full speed? Also, the bin at the end is for all the pieces save the fake/discolored/technic ones & see statistics on the PC or is there a more elaborate sorting scheme? Watching the belt go I was kind of expecting the pieces to be sorted by color or something, which would look neat but isn't very practical, I assume.
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Heh, that looks like a ton of fun, sorry you lost your van though! Also interesting to know that the pile of Lego Technic parts I've got from my lego bot building days actually might have some resale value :-).

Lots of interesting questions come to mind though, in that if you have two bits of Lego that are attached, what bin do you put them into? And have you looked at ways to automatically disassemble Legos? And did any of your purchases have Legos that were superglued together? (as is done in some displays.)

jawns 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would imagine that this is a hobby project and you're losing cash on it. But what would be the parameters of a profitable business? At what level of scale (if any) would it have to operate? And is there a lot of competition in this space?
ben1040 1 day ago 1 reply      
My wife and I are in the process of packing up our house to move, and we are cursing our five year old kid's collection of Lego right now.

This was perfect timing for a good laugh from the title and an interesting read. Thanks!

fest 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool build! I'm really interested in the classification process:

1) What's the input image resolution?

2) How many classes you have?

3) How many samples per class did you need to achieve acceptable accuracy?

4) How long did the training take? How many epochs did it require?

SimonPStevens 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really awesome. What Im dying to know though is some stats on the profitability. On average what sort of groupings of parts do you get from the bulk Lego and what do they sell for vs what you paid for them? Is there a variance is the quality of the bulk lots? I presume once you've sorted out the rare Lego you could just resell the common stuff as another bulk lot, but if everyone does that how do you avoid buying stuff that has already had the rare pieces filtered out?
tomcam 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fascinating. It touches on the discolored and counterfeit parts but doesn't say how they are detected I assume there was a lot of manual training of the neural net?
tuna-piano 1 day ago 1 reply      
One thought: I'd think creating a similar solution would make an amazing semester course for University students.

Maybe you package stuff up nicely and give it away as a course, or try and sell the plans as a course to one of the coding schools or large Education companies?

paulkrush 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Bootstrapting rocks to speed manual labeling. I got to full unsupervised on coin designs and angles by augmenting with many different lighting angles with ws8211 led strips and correlating the angles. I almost can with the dates, but it's so easy to finish with bootstrapping. See http://www.GemHunt.com/dates for the 100% unsupervised classes.
Fiahil 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This is amazing ! I am currently struggling to sort properly a few Technic sets (roughly equivalent to 5-6 shoeboxes), and one of the biggest challenge besides sorting, is to find boxes that are large enough to store the individual types of pieces. Any ideas ?
biot 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Was it intentional that the air hose spells out the initials "jm" in cursive?
marze 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this proof that Lego is the best educational toy for creating engineers?

What about an initial bucket for pieces that are too close to be reliablely puffed? Maybe you already do that, I couldn't tell.

On the issue pressure drop from simultaneous puffs, if you add a buffer tank with a pressure regulator for every two puffers, you'd probably avoid that problem. Like the little capacitors that used to sit by every 74xx IC.

froindt 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a really cool project and a nice writeup. What were the biggest lessons learned from a machine learning and computer vision standpoint?
zitterbewegung 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can you give more info about how you customized vgg 16? If you wanted to open source it you could call it legonet ?
Broken_Hippo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like it was much fun to build - and nice touch using Legos as part of the machine itself.
frik 1 day ago 1 reply      

Several years ago I designed an industrial machine that is used untangle and sort nails, screws, etc for feeding robots in automatic product lines. Main elements were vibration beds (using eccentric), slopes with geometry to sort out and pneumatic cylinders - to untangle items in high speed.

ultrasounder 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Saw somebody in Japan use Deeplearning to sort trash. Kinda similar approach
pvinis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Kinda off topic: Is there another ton except the metric one?
PhasmaFelis 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really cool.

I am kinda boggled that you thought "Huh, Lego, think I'll get into that" and immediately ordered two metric tons of Lego. o_O

I get that you thought (for some reason) that you would only win some small fraction of your bids, but ordering, say, a quarter-ton of Lego at a go isn't reasonable either. The whole episode is pretty hilarious.

exabrial 1 day ago 1 reply      
And here I thought minecraft was going to kill Lego off...
jrrrr 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do you clean them?
B1FF_PSUVM 1 day ago 1 reply      
> you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth

What's the age bracket for red and white? (Plus grey base plates ;-)

mfrye0 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is awesome. Thanks for sharing.
hyperbovine 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why do people always say this, "a metric [shit] ton"? It's within about 10% of a regular ton.
Wikipedia blocked in Turkey turkeyblocks.org
830 points by alansammarone  1 day ago   432 comments top 35
RcouF1uZ4gsC 1 day ago 10 replies      
I think 2016 will go down as the high water mark for a global Internet. I see a lot of countries looking at the success of China in keeping political control, and the failure of Egypt, Tunisia, etc where the open Internet was used to overthrow the regime and deciding that allowing an open, free internet is not in their best interests.If you think that Western, liberal democracies are exempt from this, just look at the attention "fake news" and "no platform" have been getting. We are going away from the free and open interchange and discussion of ideas (even horrible ideas) to the coercive suppression of ideas (at this point bad ideas, but may not be true in the future).

Add to this that a large portion of the web content is controlled by fewer entities (if Facebook or Google bans your site, you are not going to get very much exposure). Also, we are moving from user controlled general purpose computers to secured, walked garden devices. The government by applying pressure on maybe a dozen companies, can control what type of information the average person is exposed to.

And the whole dodge that the first amendment only applies to the government is dangerous. Freedom of speech is as much a principle as a law. If we get used to large powerful non-government entities suppressing speech we do not like, it will be a brief step to accepting government doing the same or at least pressuring the non-government entities to so it.

beloch 1 day ago 23 replies      
I'm a canuck who has worked with Turks and has visited Turkey. They're a wonderful people from a beautiful country with a real problem of a person in power. Turkey is almost entirely Muslim, yet they produce alcohol and tolerate its consumption within their borders, even by their own people. Let that fact sink in for a moment. Erdogan is subverting the premier secular democracy of the Islamic world, but nobody seems to care.

Turkey is nothing like the common stereotypes we have of it in the West, but Erdogan is a guy who, I think, wants to change that. A wonderful human being who I've had the privilege of knowing is currently in prison in Turkey on absolutely baseless accusations[1]. Nobody in Canada gives a damn because he was an "Imam", and that's a scary word apparently.

People in the West need to wake up and do their due diligence on Erdogan's regime. There's some seriously scary stuff happening because of this guy.


sethbannon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the administration is taking down government websites in an effort to bury climate data and scientific information. Useful to remember it's not just countries like China and Turkey that try to limit citizens' access to information.


adtac 1 day ago 2 replies      

A data dump of all English Wikipedia articles as a torrent. In case you are not able to access that, here's the direct link: https://itorrents.org/torrent/6434C646E33D02F3CDCB9C15F9DF11...

On a side note, I think it's fantastic that we have the entire Wikipedia, possibly the greatest effort towards organizing the world's information, at our fingertips.

kakamba 1 day ago 2 replies      
As suggested by others, it's a court order. Turkish officials demanded a few things from wikipedia. The main item was to remove all content where Turkey is shown supporting ISIS, but they didn't receive a response, and the repercussion was blocking access nationwide.
maehwasu 1 day ago 2 replies      
To what degree is Erdogan's regime a problem of not enough democracy, as opposed to a fundamental problem with democracy itself? (Where democracy = 51% wins)
louithethrid 1 day ago 3 replies      
Consider if you will - a diffrent approach to infrastructure altogether. There are no cables, no centralized Servers - just wifi capable devices.

How does it route, i hear you asking?It routes by likelihood of connection to social plankton. Social plankton is every group your device ever connects to- and is constituted by those members of the group, which who can gather the most "Yes"-votes about theire prediction, of the behaviour of the group.Take a bus filled with people driving to work. They always constitute from slightly diffrent devices, but the time is always the same, the amount of devices is always the same- and there is always that one deciding device - belonging to the social plankton "transportation-company" without the plankton would never come together.

Now lets take the greatest possible counter example: A convention of bus drivers, riding on a bus to the first convention of its kind.They would debate alot, and agree upon it beeing a bus- but neither could secure a majority - which bus it is. None of the driving by social plankton - called houses and cars, is able to identify the bus of busses, thus a new social plankton class is created.

How does a adress in this add-hoc net look like?It consists of a Unique identifier, wrapped into layers of social plankton, sorted by likelihood. The social organism city is likely to know the social organism university within. The key ingredient is, that inner-plankton, can be encrypted and decrypted only after arrival at the outter plankton.

So this allows for -extremely slow, in extremely big burst- communication to happen. Without any IP-Provider or Infrastructure Controll authority having a hand on it.

Even better, it allows for Meta-Organisms to host services. Lets say, i have a shard of Wikipedia on my cellphone, and im part of the opt-in plankton "FreeSociety", any request to a wikipedia server, that bounces with no return off the web, could bounce back through the social organisms internal, until it reaches me, gets a package returned, and the web is down but the gate is up.

StavrosK 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm assuming Tor circumvents the ban, correct? I'm going to tell all my Turkish friends to install Tor and signal, and be sad that Turkey has reached this point.
davidf18 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why can't there be some sort of peer-2-peer Wikipedia or in fact any database that keeps people from blocking it?
jumpkickhit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are torrents being blocked? What about Kwix and a torrent of Wikipedia?


kyriakos 1 day ago 2 replies      
What triggered this?

Usually Turkish government blocks sites right after a terrorist attack or in the case of the coup attempt. Is something about to happen?

JumpCrisscross 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is some irony in Erdogan's desire for EU membership, last decade, creating such a primacy of elected leaders (at the EU's behest and guidance) that the previous guardians of Turkey's secular heritage, the military, is no longer able to stage a coup against the emerging despot.
nepotism2016 1 day ago 0 replies      
Before Erdogan, Turkey had no middle class. You either lived in remote villages and lacked education OR you were "rich" thanks to high level of nepotism. Well, Erdogan changed all this, he moved people to into cities and these people didn't forget and started to vote for him.

Before then, the Kemalist or secular people were very relaxed, they knew from history if some how they lost the government, military coup will restore power. Again, Erdogan changed this.

Even by anti-erdogan majority, Erdogan is seen as the only true politician in Turkey, he knows how to convince or play people/groups. Just ask Gulen Movement!

macawfish 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing a lot of comments about this structure vs. that structure, but to paraphrase an old Sufi proverb someone told me, it doesn't matter what the cup is made of (gold? wood?), it matters what's in the cup (good water?). It doesn't matter what your government or family structures look like if they aren't able to facilitate healthy individuals and groups. If they are facilitating the health of some and the detriment of others, well then they are wittingly or unwittingly engaging in selection. It doesn't matter if she's your wife or your girlfriend. Is it toxic or growing?
quickben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't one of the requirements of being in NATO a democracy?

With moves like this from Turkey, what will happen to the NATO membership?

mk89 1 day ago 0 replies      
How come that all dictators have one thing in common?

They don't understand that the more you forbid certain things, the more people are willing to fight for it.

They should do exactly like in the West: give us the feeling we are free, while a few companies decide what we have to do, what we have to wear, what we have to eat :)

This way, your economy flourishes, you are not perceived as a dictator, and neighbor countries don't want to invade you because of human rights :D

baxtr 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, the question is: What can we do as a community? Come on guys. We have probably many of the smartest people on this planet reading this shit here right now.

What can we do? What could be a cool tool, solution, initiative? Ideas anybody?!

yeukhon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would understand blocking WikiLeaks but blocking Wikipedia is a whole level of cenorship. Turkish people should reconsider their freedom. I don't live there and I am not Turk so I can't make more comments not knowing what's really going on there. God bless.
exabrial 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the Turkish people and the rich cultural heritage of the country, but everything I hear about Erdogan is pretty scary. My only beef with the people of Turkey is I wish they'd take a leadership role into making peace with the Kurds.
jaddood 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems it is forbidden for the Turks to get cultivated like other people in the world... We live in an era of lack of information (which is probably like all other eras)
dalbasal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know which article in particular triggered this?
yak0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Turks which knows wikipedia, already know how to use a vpn. It's a ridiculous decision. Our ruling should find better solutions for such problems
ausjke 1 day ago 0 replies      
not quite sure about world politics, but it seems Turkey is backpedaling fast these days? Maybe one day they can license China's greatwall-firewall IP?
rdslw 1 day ago 0 replies      
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak outBecause I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak outBecause I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak outBecause I was not a Jew.

Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak for me.


gcb0 1 day ago 1 reply      
hn gets useless in threads like this. we badly need a collapse comment tree feature.

so much off topic flame wars when everyone should be setting up tor nodes.

agumonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any alternative ? mirrors ? slimmed torrent distribution ?
PleaseHelpMe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, poor the students there.
darkhorn 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is idiocracy!
RichardHeart 1 day ago 0 replies      
Much of this problem comes not from the top, but from the bottom. It's a terrible idea that people can actually suck, and suck en masse, but it truly is the case. The bad leader is an emergent consequent of the bad people crying for him. Shitty leaders aren't the sole purview of Islamic states, but they seem to be better at generating them than anyone else in recent history.

How do you fix millions of people, so they stop desiring terrible things? Well, by having a culture that pays better, and marketing it well. And it's delicate, because their "better" detector isn't working properly already.

efuquen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty disappointed by some of the comments here. Because Turks voted him in that makes Erdogan's autocratic rule OK? There is no free press, hundreds of thousands that have had any association with opposition groups have been jailed, the referendum vote has been widely discredited as fraudulent. Hitler was voted into office too, I guess that just ended up being the German's problem? Democracy doesn't die without a majority of the population allowing it to, that doesn't make it right and that doesn't excuse some of the blase attitude I see here. You know you can care about something without wanting to go to war over it.
thinknot 1 day ago 10 replies      
>People in the West need to wake up and do their due diligence on Erdogan's regime. There's some seriously scary stuff happening because of this guy.

Honest question, why should the west care about every single problem that happens anywhere in the world? Why should we spend billions in wars, shed lots of our own blood, etc? Haven't we had enough of that?

cryptarch 1 day ago 4 replies      
itburnslikeice 1 day ago 2 replies      
known 1 day ago 1 reply      
Another North Korea?
someguu 1 day ago 4 replies      
Governments yield too much power, meanwhile citizens keep funding said governments with ridiculously high taxes.

Trying to fix governments is counterproductive, just need to decentralize things imho.

The Boring Company [video] boringcompany.com
803 points by janvdberg  2 days ago   731 comments top 119
Xcelerate 2 days ago 21 replies      
It's amazing to me the amount of negativity directed toward his projects and the millions of reasons people give for why they "won't work" (not necessarily on HN, but at least on general news websites).

I'm starting to believe the only difference between those who start their own companies and those who don't is that the latter convinces themselves that it is impossible, never builds anything, and from their own lack of having ever produced anything, concludes that their original supposition was indeed correct.

athenot 2 days ago 10 replies      
This looks really cool. However, boring through rock is the most expensive way to connect 2 places. It only makes sense if the land features or purchase value require it.

Fundamentally, this is about short-circuiting the regular road network and establishing a managed packet network that can bypass congestion. Interestingly, that's also the value proposition of public transit, though it also runs into issues of cost, and too low of a population density make it unfeasible.

I still think we haven't fully leveraged the potential of busses. In most cities, they are slow because they combine the disadvantages of road traffic with the disadvantage of time tables. But what if busses operated on their own dedicated network? Bogota deployed a public transit system made with busses but with a UX of a train[1]. This is a genius idea that could work in many US cities, which have a lot more space to spare.

But back to the original idea, I think we might see in the future a "managed" road network, reserved to self-driving cars which are driven by some central management system, optimising routing for the whole network so as to prevent congestion. This won't require tunnels, just gates, dedicated roads and lots of software.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU6ImWY4IBc

pnathan 2 days ago 18 replies      
This is very, very wasteful compared to actual mass transit. A subway network is much more effective at delivering people.

If he's looking for mega-good, Musk would do significantly better to drop a full subway network.

edit: tunnelling is a broadly solved problem. It's difficult, expensive, slow, etc. But there's no engineering reason why a hole in the ground can't happen. Musk might be able to drive some significant improvements there. No idea. But tunneling itself is not a reason to knock an idea beyond the cost and geoengineering involved.

tuacker 2 days ago 16 replies      
I feel like everything Elon Musk undertakes with his companies is just one huge Mars Beta Test.

 - SpaceX: Obvious, got to get to space somehow - Tesla: Build cars/machines to run on something that is guaranteed to exist on Mars (the sun) vs. Oil - Gigafactory: How to build batteries 101 - Solar roof: While Earths environment may not be as harsh as Mars you still learn something, and improve solar panel production in the process - Boring: May not make too much sense on Earth with existing infrastructure, but undereart..undermars? transportation is protected from the environment/sand stroms/whathaveyou.
I also don't know about the mineral composition of Mars and what boring does to the usability of those, but this may be a 2 birds one stone: Bore underground network and get required materials to build out mars base.

How to go to Mars and stay there:

 1. Figure out what you need 2. Build it 3. ??? 4. Mars
Where 3. is use it, refine it, perfect it, like landing a rocket on a automated barge in the middle of the sea.

Or he just hates LA traffic.

tptacek 2 days ago 10 replies      
Since this is a thread about Elon Musk, transportation infrastructure, public transportation, and urban design, and because HN has a sort of affinity for the Robert Moses story (The Power Broker was one of 'aaronsw's favorite books), this seems like a particularly on-point Twitter thread to read after the video:


You might not agree with all/any of it but I think it's hard to say this isn't thought-provoking.

OoTheNigerian 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think there is nothing more boring than reading a bunch of people who never propose anything point out flaws.

You all sound like Balmer.

This is a CONCEPT!!

Elon is THINKING you all are pointing, laughing and adding no value to the conversation of "What comes next?"

If your idea is "the metro works", a 150 year old system, then this video is not for you.

To the video, I like the concept of combining public and private transportation in the same path.

It also makes sense as a way to directly link far distances. To me, this is a modification of the hyperloop concept. Something more feasible in the shorter term and definitely less risky.

Of course all this depends on the economics and physics of boring becoming cheap and 10x faster. keep thinking Elon.

Earth needs more of your "fantasies". Let the pointers keep pointing.

loufe 2 days ago 11 replies      
The costs of tunneling are like FAR more expensive than most think. Breaking, excavating, and supporting rock is slow, time and cost heavy, and precarious work. While this is an interesting concept, unless there are serious advances in rock boring techniques (personal opinion: there are none coming) this will never approach fruition. I would suggest anyone interested in further research look into the "Big Dig" of Boston and the staggering costs and challenges it faced.

Good luck, Elon. It'll be another moonshot company if you can pull it off.

shouldbworking 2 days ago 10 replies      
Did anyone else notice that cars being lowered leaves a giant fucking hole in the middle of the street?!

This is a marketing fluff video untouched by engineers

andrewem 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have to give Elon Musk credit - the average person would be hard-pressed to come up with even a single laughably impractical mode of transportation, but he's got two.
AlexandrB 2 days ago 8 replies      
I don't get it. Much of the USA is faced with crumbling infrastructure and a lack of money for maintaining that infrastructure. How is creating a network of powered tunnels - which are much more expensive to maintain than surface roads - going to interact with this economic reality?

This seems like technology that addresses mostly fun, theoretical problems - like traffic optimization, not ugly, practical ones like tight municipal budgets and urban sprawl.

dankohn1 1 day ago 1 reply      
The essence of The Boring Company is the same as the business plan behind SpaceX: people assume that an existing industry (tunnel development, rocket launches) is reasonably well run and operating at something of a local optimum. But it turns out that there are order of magnitude (i.e., 10x) improvements available when Musk is able to assemble a sufficiently capable team to focus on it.

I would suggest that tunnelling is a more fertile opportunity, given that there had already been a bunch of rocket startups that had tried and failed over the last couple decades. Tunneling today is insanely expensive. Here's a superb article from Matt Yglesias at Vox on the $2.2 B per km Second Avenue Subway: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/1/14112776/new... . Other countries are already achieving costs of $100 M per km or less.

Now, does the car carriage from the video make perfect sense? I'm skeptical. But Musk has never been slavishly faithful to the original conception of his ideas. He gets started and then iterates, and so far the results have been awfully impressive.

dmix 2 days ago 3 replies      
Toronto really needs this. We have a raised express way that's right in front of our harbourfront and it makes the whole area noisy and ugly, blocking what should be a great view towards (great) Lake Ontario. Most importantly it takes up a ton of very valuable real estate.

A huge amount of condo development has been done right next to it and having lived in one the noise is a real problem. Living on the south-end of the highway towards the water almost feels like being cut off from the real city

You basically have to keep your window closed most of the time otherwise it's a constant drone. Night time is the worst as it goes quiet then occasionally a truck will come by and wake you up. The higher up you live the better, but that still leaves about half the units close to it.

So not only would it open up a lot of new property development but also significantly increase the value of existing properties.

The city has been considering burying the highway underground similar to Boston's tunneling project. But the Boston one ended up going billions over budget, so it is not an easy thing to do.

If they can bring the price down dramatically and perfect the concept I'm sure we'd be one of the first consumers for the tech.

fudged71 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't get over how impossibly dumb this idea is. It's a clever fantasy but it doesn't seem practical at all, from a cost or safety perspective... has he given a "first principles" talk about why any of this makes sense? By the time a system like this is built, all cars will be autonomous, so the self-driving sleds will be entirely redundant and it just becomes a super expensive road with no safety escapes.

Autonomous ground travel optimization, hyperloops, and air travel all work together to make a seamless system that make this seem redundant.

yongjik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ever been to New York or a similar city and watched people pouring out of a subway station at 8:30 am?

Now imagine every one of them is sitting in a sedan that is delivered out of an elevator, one by one.

According to Wikipedia, "Times Square42nd Street/42nd StreetPort Authority Bus Terminal" station has 206,247 riders on each weekday on average. If we have 100 elevators which can transport a car every five seconds, it will take 172 minutes to move all of them.

With more realistic numbers (an elevator usually doesn't go down and come back in five seconds) it will be more than a day.

namesbc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a solved problem. It's called trains.

Visit Switzerland and you'll see that it is superfluous to build all this expensive infrastructure just to stick your personal car on a train.

Riding in a train is bigger, way more comfortable, and much cheaper.

Someone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would think that elevator has less capacity than a tunnel entry would have. The video compensates for that by having multiple such elevators, closely spaced, that presumable share an on-ramp. I'm not convinced that gives you enough capacity, because each car being lowered on that on-ramp blocks traffic for quite a while.

Also, entering this system leaves a big hole in the street where the carriage was. Before another car can enter, a new carriage must be brought up from below. That decreases capacity even further, except for the ideal situation where that carriage always carries a car. In the less than ideal sitautin, there's the added problem of getting that replacement carriage in place at just the right time (for example, at the end of the day in a business district)

accountyaccount 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the dumbest thing I've seen him produce. Reliable rapid public transit is better in dozens of ways.
lopespm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have profound respect of Musk's perseverance and courage to tackle difficult problems, coupled with a great vision of the future. This project however, as it was presented, strikes me as a bit off the mark.

I lived in a dense city with good public transportation and good bike and pedestrian lanes. To get around the city and its surroundings, I would mostly use my bike. It was incredibly fast to find a parking spot and to get from point A to point B. Other times, I would use the integrated public transport system (bus/train/tram) if wanted to go somewhere further in less time. I had options, flexibility and much more freedom than I would if I used/owned a car. Not only that, but my quality of life was way higher than that in the suburbs. Not having a car made a huge difference: more physical activity, less monetary burdens and the piece of mind acquired by not thinking about its maintenance and care.

This takes me to my second point: passenger cars are mostly useful in sparse areas, like the suburbs. In dense areas it makes less sense to have a personal cocoon for transportation. Although the boring company's tunnels are underground, that same energy and investment would be better suited in a public transport alternative, like a subway. This subway would transport people and their bikes, and this could serve as a push for the street level pedestrian, bike and public transport infrastructures to get better.

Animats 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Disney version of this concept: [1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0q_oP9TPD4&t=2479

blueintegral 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now what if we add an Uber-like component to this and let people share/carpool together to reduce the number of cars above and below ground? Instead of tires that wear out, we could use steel on rails! Aaaand, we just re-invented the subway.
convivialdingo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not that tunnels are a boring idea, but if you handed me a couple of billion, I think we could solve public transportation using ultralight above ground systems. I would base it on a roller coaster type design using single or dual tracks suspended by high load anchored polls.

The car weights would be kept to a minimum, allowing tracks and supports to be sized much smaller, lowering cost and design requirements. The average car would weight less than a bus, and could travel at very high speeds.

Existing trains and subway systems are based off of hundred-year old freight train systems which were designed to transport thousands of tons of weight. This has a huge cost for subway and commuter train design. A modern subway train costs millions of dollars, weighs multiple tons, and is an immense engineering task.

By engineering a total target track and car weight of a few tons per spacing instead - this system would be far cheaper and easier to maintain.

Passenger cars would be designed to hold only a dozen people, and cars would be linked or unlinked as needed to increase capacity and efficiency. This design also allows the system to maintain extra cars of varying sizes to manage variable rider capacity. Rather than time tables, the system would run based on rider demand, maintaining a slight over-capacity to handle peaks. This is no different than the typical Uber-type demand based system.

On the typical street, such systems would only utilize a few square feet of space per block. They could also utilize existing utilities and would require minimal space for stations. Trains would exit the main track to prevent stalling the main rails while boarding passengers.

This system could also be extended to long-hail service as well into suburbs, or perhaps across states, It wouldn't have nearly the same difficulties of property right of way, environmental impact, and NYMBY - as it essentially has about the same impact as a typical electrical infrastructure. It could also be placed along existing roads and bridges to quickly build out the system.

Anyway - just an idea.

Houshalter 2 days ago 1 reply      
City streets have more than enough space for fast transpiration. We just don't use them efficiently. Congestion is a tragedy of the commons. It could be trivially solved by putting a high tax on cars using city streets. Then the only vehicles on the street would be those that transport multiple people or valuable goods. And they would have free reign with minimal congestion. (Also maybe put an extra tax on nonelectric vehicles, because there's much less justification for using them in a city.)

If you are willing to build entirely new infrastructure, like this project, there is so much you can do. The main reason self driving cars are taking so long is because they have to be able to do everything a human driver can do. Which is very hard. If you build tracks and sensors into the road itself, it could be much easier. You could have a city filled with fleets of small automated electric people movers.

sid-kap 2 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone's looking for a good source of information on transportation costs, I highly recommend http://twitter.com/MarketUrbanism and http://twitter.com/2AveSagas. They cut through the BS of the mainstream media and politicians on transportation policy and give really intelligent opinions, particularly on zoning/land use and on the US's ridiculous transit costs.

(A lot of it is complaining about the ridiculous cost of New York's Second Avenue Subway, and complaining about how the media won't even mention that its cost was 3-5 times more per km than similar routes in London, Paris, and elsewhere in Europe. @MarketUrbanism also has a few other ticks:

* He aggressively argues that train systems in the US should save money by getting rid of conductors.

* Also, he argues that US buses should use Europe-style fare policing (with ticket inspectors) rather than requiring people to swipe as they board the bus.)

They're snarky and a bit hard to undeedia won't even mention that its cost was 3-5 times more per km than similar routes in London, Paris, and elsewhere in Europe. @MarketUrbanisrstand to the uninitiated, but they grow on you. I've learned a lot from them.

kristianc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh jeez I wish someone could just invent some kind of underground mass transportation system able to efficiently transport lots of people from place to place in built up metropolitan areas. That'd be awesome. We could call it a 'Metro' or something.
ThrustVectoring 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it's roll-on roll-off rail, with one car per train rather than running on a schedule. Loading and unloading is also parallelized through elevators (though it'd likely be far better to build a ramp down to a station. Basically it'd be an underground angled parking lot, except the parking spots can put themselves on rails and go somewhere else.)
edpichler 2 days ago 1 reply      
My opinion: moving a problem to other place you do not solve the problem.

We have too much cars, millions of people, each driving a ton of steel to move from place to place alone. Cars on the underground is not a good solution.

What world needs is automated and intelligent transport, and for the masses.

gregpilling 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I recall, this whole idea started as a result of traffic on the 405 or something.

This idea is only useful if it could deliver traffic volumes at meaninful percentage of the current 405 throughput.

wikipedia says "The freeway's annual average daily traffic between exits 21 and 22 in Seal Beach reached 374,000 in 2008" .

So how many car elevators to do 10% of that? How many car elevators to move 37,000 vehicles per day? Assuming a 1 minute cycle time, that would be 25 elevators running 24/7 evenly, with no rush hour (obvious unrealistic).

I think it is a scale problem, much like 3D printers won't upset the economics of high speed injection molding anytime soon.

anonymous_iam 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just a coincidence that Musk's main competitor in the space business is called "The Boeing Company"? I don't think so.
vmasto 2 days ago 2 replies      
Kinda off topic with what this is about but I have a few technical questions regarding the website (which is just a logo and a YouTube video embed on a white background):

- Why is it built with React?- Why does it need to load so much JavaScript?- Why does it need to load a custom web font? (There's exactly zero text from what I see).- Why does it need a CSS grid framework?

ben_w 2 days ago 0 replies      
The whole thing is sufficiently bizarre that I just have to assume it's an excuse to develop something more useful.

If that something is cheap autonomous mining that can be sent to Mars to build a colony before anyone arrives, or a sneaky way to make very large underground nuclear bunkers that always have a surprisingly large number of random ordinary people in them, or just that Elon knows about a major valuable mineral deposit that nobody else is aware if yet, great. But if this really is just some self-driving pods that attach to your car and take you around at relatively high speeds, I don't see the "while underground" doing much for the congestion.

jacquesm 2 days ago 1 reply      
What we really need to do is to figure out ways that reduce the need for all this transportation. When you look at it from a distance almost none of it makes sense. The only travel that really needs doing is people working with physical stuff, moving the goods themselves around and leisure travel (and that one is definitely not a must but it is hard to make a stand-in experience that is comparable to the real one). Most commuting is - or rather should be - totally useless.
throwaway2016a 2 days ago 3 replies      
When I heard about Boring Company I kind of just assumed it would be used for underground hyper loops. This feels kind of wrong.
Arizhel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of using all this space and energy to move cars around, it'd make more sense to just have small pods for 1-2 people, and transport the people around from point to point.

There's already a project to do just this, called SkyTran. It never gets any attention.

bcheung 2 days ago 3 replies      
Telecommuting is a lot cheaper and easier.

Also, what is the point of those rails? Seems like self-driving cars would be much easier and require a lot less.

I think the robotic conveyer belt style design like seen in movies like iRobot would be cheaper and more convenient. Plus, having it so people don't walk to their cars means you don't have to worry about theft in parking garages as much either.

datahack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well if you figure a mile of urban freeway in an urban area is an easy 5 million per mile which makes it about a thousand bucks a foot. That doesn't include annexation or planning, just construction.

A tbm can make a tunnel for 19k a foot in the right environment (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-high-tech-low-cost-world-of...), but that cost is dropping as more and more tbm projects since 2000 have driven the costs down.

So basically it's 20x as expensive to bury a highway as it is to build one on the surface.


But, when you look deeper, in urban areas there just aren't rights of way available to put new highways, and so you have huge slow costs that grind out projects. In addition, if you can find a place to put one, they are... ready... usually public infrastructure.

This is a private highway... private highways are a good idea. Take a look at https://mises.org/library/privatization-roads-and-highways

This is a bet on free market roads. That is a big bet, but goodness it's not a naive one.

I feel like Elon has some kind of cache of historic photos and documents from the late 60s and early 70s that he is just pulling pages out of.

Anyways, 20x more expensive is very doable and these roads could operate profitably in urban areas (and that's the opening, current cost). Oh, and the son of a gun bought a used tbm, which will save gobs of the cost. Oh, and it's for a ton of jobs (the cost of acquiring the Tbm is a large part of the cost of tunnels), and there is going to be a glut of tbm inventory in coming years.

Add it all up, and it sure isn't a "dumb idea" in some kind of intrinsic, obvious fashion.

Seems like a good bet actually.

brosky117 2 days ago 1 reply      
The tracks were surprising until I thought about all the idiots I encounter on regulars roads. Then it made perfect sense.
placeybordeaux 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems pretty similar to Musk looking at everyone throwing away rockets and deciding to do something about it, however if you look at Seattle's big dig the cost of the machine was only 80 million out of 4.2 billion. He's going to have to find significant price reductions beyond just reusing a boring machine.
reubenswartz 1 day ago 0 replies      
By the time you could conceivably build some of these tunnels, the Teslas and most other cars will be at least somewhat self-driving. (Since you're in tunnels, the problem gets a lot simpler, with on/off the real tricky parts.

I would have thought you'd say where you wanted to go, and if you had enough battery to get there, the car would just drive itself in the tunnel, eliminating the need for a whole other wheeled, motorized sled to move a wheeled, motorized vehicle.

buzzybee 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you go and do something like that, why have the car at all?

Edit: To be a little less snarky, multi-modal transport of this form has been considered; it's one of the ways in which PRT systems have been proposed. But those systems don't also say "and now we build the highway underground."

dynjo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whether Elon Musk can deliver on all of his ideas is almost an moot point. The important thing is that he is inspiring an entire generation to think outside the box and to believe that they really can change things.

For that alone he gets my gratitude.

simplehuman 2 days ago 2 replies      
Stupid naive question. If Musk cares so much about environment and all that, why not just build proper public transport for the bay area?
carapace 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Bollards around the elevators; the car-cars should connect into trains.
tim333 1 day ago 0 replies      
While this looks very cool I'm not sure how the economics would work out. The UK-France channel tunnel for instance which transports cars fairly rapidly through a 31 mile tunnel cost $21 bn to build and the tickets aren't cheap (~100 single) which works if the competition is a ferry but may not if it's just driving a bit. Maybe Musk will figure how to bring down the cost a few times.

I would have thought semi self driving cars platooning would be a cheaper and more practical way to beat the jams.

sxates 2 days ago 3 replies      
It seems crazy, but there's also some appeal in the idea of opting out of all the legacy infrastructure. If we could rebuild our roads from scratch today to serve a vehicle for the 21st century, what would we build? Probably something like this - standardized vehicles on automated roadways with built in electric connections that enable unlimited long-distance high-speed travel (though we'd just build this into cars instead of using 'carriers').

But it does seem pretty far out that we'd have tens of levels of tunnels for all this underground traffic. Hyperloops seem more plausible.

nprecup 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do like the idea of coupling self-driving car technology with taxi service and underground highways. When it comes to urban environments, automobiles and associated infrastructure takes up an enormous amount of the available space. It hurts resident's quality of life in many ways (noise, pollution, traffic, stress, less green space, etc). This is one of the reasons I am totally on board with investing heavily in mass transit underground (super excited that Seattle is finally getting their act together on this, which is my home). If the cost of developing underground transport infrastructure is driven down enough by this venture, we could improve traffic flow and reclaim some of the space on the surface as space for people, not cars. Couple that and a future with clean energy for cars and when using a self driving car service is more convenient than owning a car, we could create a transportation system that can get you anywhere, quickly, efficiently, and without transfers.

Self driving car services would allow us to reclaim huge portions of cities by reducing the need for parking spaces everywhere we go, and make driving safer. Tunnels for highways could replace interstates that cut cities in two, as well as provide more flexible routes. Electric cars could make our cities healthier. I think I see what Elon is trying to do...

ares2012 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a great video, but one of the most impractical ideas I've ever seen. It would be cheaper to buy more buses and install congestion charges (fees to drive in cities during peak times).
ggoss 2 days ago 0 replies      
My bet: it's all about the lithium. The Gigafactory (located near a large domestic lithium cache) will soon consume a large fraction of the world's lithium output, and currently, Tesla is completely dependent on other companies to mine it.

My question: will the debris Musk will need to transport away from the next "beta-test" city happen to contain large quantities of lithium? Or will his current suppliers have a new source of (too-good-to-refuse) industrial machinery?

stuaxo 1 day ago 0 replies      
If he does bring down the cost of tunnelling, I hope we get a lot more tunnels for trains.

If he has any sense he would be bidding for these projects too.

It would be great if by default we could get bigger tunnels (if crossrail were bigger then we could get double deck train in the future for instance).

lightedman 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is not likely to work in SoCal. Our geology and prolific and scattered mineral/gas reserves simply would not allow for it. Maybe elsewhere, but not down here.
hxta98596 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea but very weird video. A couple thoughts:

1. "Boring Company" is such a great, funny and fitting name for a tunneling startup. FYI there are people who get so excited about a name they think is just perfect (or title for book or name for a yacht...) that they pursue creating it even though they aren't seriously into the idea. See: the better the name of the yacht, the less the owner uses it...

2. Agree with other comments the video verges on embarrassing. I don't think it helps Musk's cause much...Unless: (A) he subscribes to "there's no such thing as bad publicity" and/or (B) Musk in fact wants other entrepreneurs to see his crazy ideas as a catalyst to start their own copy-cat companies working on the same issue usually with their twist. He has made public comments (especially around the time when he open-sourced his patents) that support both (A) and (B) being true. See: all the new space, solar and hyperloop like companies that started in Musk's wake.

3. I don't think we should blindly give big-thinking entrepreneurs the benefit of the doubt. That has gone very poorly recently and historically. But I think we/the public/government regulators can support innovation and keep an eye on big-thinking well-funded entrepreneurs so they don't do something f'ing stupid full of negative externalities and tragedies of commons and tyrannies of small decisions etc...

4. This particular form of new tunneling as seen in the video might not happen. I hope it doesn't as there are serious engineering and public safety issues. But Musk has a point about needing to dig! AND Musk thinks very long term (the guy is working on going to Mars). Earth only has so much land, as human population increases, especially around cities, we can only build up or down. Both should probably be tried. I remember when Jeff Bezos said Amazon wants to try to deliver your packages by drones, and that Amazon also is out destroy the American economy. Ok he didn't say the second thing. But as for drones, people went nuts on both sides he said that but it's going forward. What if Musk's tunnels started off smaller, focused on delivering packages into and across cities, so not huge tunnels for people but more like conveyor belts for deliveries? There is a need for that or there will be soon. Would that be more palpable and would there be less averse reaction?

Have a good, relaxing weekend to all!

chrismealy 2 days ago 0 replies      
A subway, but you have to be in a car to use it. Brilliant.
sonnhy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems like a premium service, because you have to choose your destination somehow, and here comes some device that you have to install in your car (I'm referring to some kind electronic toll collection + navigation system).Also, the amount of people using this service has to be limited somehow.As the technology is presented in video, the input/output of the carriages is quite limited.Also, what about the rush hours?Everyone wants to get in, to go faster, so queue will be created, waiting for their turn.What will happen when more people, than the exit queue can handle, want to get out on the same exit/area? You will be redirected to another exit, far away as much as how many people wanted to get out in that area.
tzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is very confusing. There is nothing on the site but the video, and the video doesn't explain who they are and whether this is a serious project or just a design concept, and so on.

I think that this is a case where a secondary source submission, such as this one [1] to a TechCrunch story about this, is better than the primary source source submission, because the TechCrunch story actually tells us what the hell we are looking at. I think the moderators goofed by deciding that this submission was the one that should win.

Anyway, it's an Elon Musk company, and he talked about it at a recent TED talk.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14222545

rhcom2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this a solution that becomes outdated with self driving cars?
walrus01 2 days ago 0 replies      
Advancements in boring technology for small stuff (1.5 meter diameter utility tunnels) would also be a game changer in major urban areas. If you need to do cut and cover trenching to install vaults/manholes and duct for underground fiber in a major city nowadays, a several km distance project can run anywhere from $400 to $1000 per meter or more. Traffic closures, street closures, flagging, shoring of excavations, moving big construction equipment around on flatbed trailer in urban cores, etc.

To the extent that at $800/meter, a 4 km fiber path could cost $3.2m.

A bored small diameter service tunnel sized lined with concrete sections (basically a mini version of what the Bertha TBM in Seattle has just finished boring), sized to accommodate small electric carts that could be shared by multiple cables stuck to walls would be a game changer.

ziikutv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a question for those way smarter than me. Why is there a need for a platform?

Some pros:- If its a shitty, poor regulated car.. this will lead to more safety- Avoid adding extra gear (software/hardware) to the car

Cons:- Size restriction- Clean up and Maintenance- How do you ensure the car is in the platform securely?

otto_ortega 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is impractical in SO MANY levels...

Sorry Elon, I support 99% of your ideas, this one belongs to the other 1%...

quux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Given the time, cost, and complexity of Boston's big dig[1]; I'd be very surprised if there's a way to do this practically.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig

bmuppireddy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was just wondering if building bridges is more feasible idea than digging tunnels. Bridges will be easier to maintain, costs relatively cheaper, relatively easier to setup and we already have more experience in building bridges.
theprop 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel this could be useful as a kind of underground super-highway for some cities i.e. I need to get from one end of the city to the other end without stopping somewhere in between. Tunnels can get built today as opposed to drones or flying vehicles which are at least several years away. It could probably help traffic in some large cities.

If it could be done inexpensively and quickly it's interesting.

Some sort of a cross-country vacuum tube type tunnel that could let you go from NYC to LA in 15 minutes would be amazing and I think closer to the original hyperloop idea, but ridiculously expensive and engineering-wise beyond the initial goals of this project.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a backup you could always sell them as automated parking lots while you were working on the tunnels. Because I'm odd in that sort of way, I imagine the tunnel as an infinite tape and the entrance/exit ramp as a place where you can read or write the tape. Now if you could just force the cars to either forward or backward on demand ...
termie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you could make a big drill out of hundreds of hot swappable high torque Tesla motors that were intelligently geared and well mounted. Hot swapping battery packs from the underside of a car via automation was demonstrated years back by Tesla so learnings there could be used. Tesla uses a bunch of widely available 18650s for their packs and benefit from that same modularity, and I imagine big cost savings there for a drill that size even with a great deal of breakage in the array of motors.
mikojan 1 day ago 0 replies      
In germany this is called a subway. We also fixed the problem with the queue and people being required to bring their vehicle to use this vehicle.
Reason077 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why the "pods"? Wouldn't it make more sense for self-driving electric vehicles (which can safely maintain separations from other traffic and travel at high speed on a narrow track) to use their own propulsion?

Apparently the concept behind The Boring Company is to reduce the cost of tunnelling, but surely the "pods" would add a great deal of cost to this system.

yy77 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Musk might probably not want to build a full network but just one or two tunnels for his own convenience and grab some more focus and investment as well.
yueq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why does it even need the rails when the cards have autopilot built-in???
OrwellianChild 2 days ago 8 replies      
Don't fully get the benefit of moving cars on rails vs. moving cars on wheels... Higher fixed costs to power the rail vs. just letting cars auto-drive with internal propulsion. What am I missing?
marcell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Engineering aside, how does this work out legally? How does a company get permission to dig tunnels under Lps Angeles, or any other American city?
elorant 2 days ago 0 replies      
You know, we have something like that and it's called Metro.
JepZ 1 day ago 0 replies      
The funny thing about Elon is, that the lower the general chances for a successful undertaking are, the higher are the chances that he will succeed.

I'm just not sure if the entrance to the boring market is a high-risk venture. But at least the idea of building an underground network under existing cities is a very ambitious project.

devopsproject 2 days ago 0 replies      
this solves the "last mile" problem since your car will be at your destination
jarboot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was satire until I came to the comments.
yourapostasy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting if TBC commercialized a subterrene [1], and drove down costs of building underground structures to a tenth or hundredth of current. But commercial mobile nuclear power is unfortunately not available.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subterrene

perteraul 2 days ago 0 replies      
Musk launches companies like designers post on Dribbble.

Too bad that only a small % of them really get developed - really love his creative consistency though.

idlewords 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of idea you come up with when you spend too long inhaling exhaust fumes on the 405.


nlh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Side note/tangent: I think this is closer to what "flying cars" look like in the future vs. what's being attempted lately (which are really just increasingly small lift-based aircraft.)

Replace the underground rails with above-ground "rails" (perhaps electromagent based, when there's enough power to do so.)

vtange 2 days ago 1 reply      
What if the tunnels themselves are congested? Wouldn't it mean a line of cars surface-side waiting for their turn?
kirian 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I heard about this previously I wondered if it's a way of developing tunnel boring technology and expertise that would ultimately be useful on Mars. Underground tunnels and spaces are likely to be useful for a Mars colony and Musk is trying to figure out a way to get someone to fund it here first.
spudley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out the absolute lack of any pedestrians and cyclists in the street scenes. That tells you everything you need to know about the value of this video (pretty much zero).
Tiktaalik 1 day ago 0 replies      
kirykl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where's everyone going in this automated universe? To the work from home office? To the online store?
senthilnayagam 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you ignore the boring and tunnel part. A autonomous high speed contraption to carry cars, yes human driven cars including the fuel driven ones is the actual innovation. This will definitely work in many cities now itself.
cerebrum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the advantage to the tried and tested metro? Transporting individual vehicles instead of people is much more complex, costly and will require more maintenance.
TD-Linux 1 day ago 0 replies      
The rails are a rather interesting vote against batteries. Previously, the hyperloop designs were all gung-ho about loading batteries, however that's not shown here, implying third rail power.
webwalker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else notice the mess of CSS and HTML? The document fully downloaded almost 900kb. In hosting costs alone this could have been down with bare fraction of that and supported 20x more traffic for the same cost. Anyway. Love the idea :D
london888 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't see how the economics of this would make it viable.
niyazpk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like a cool (probably impractical) way to recharging the car on the go. No more delays to re-charge the battery.
gens 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see them try to do that beneath my city.

PS I am ashamed of the current top comment (despite not having anything to do with it).

xxgreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of putting cars underground, because then you can build a human focused city above. But the video shows an urban wasteland of aboveground high-speed traffic and no people. WAT?
rb808 2 days ago 2 replies      
On the downside, LA traffic sucks but at least you get the sun shining in. Spending your whole commute in tunnels seems a depressing way to live, even if its shorter.
orf 2 days ago 1 reply      
How about... mass transit. You know, not needing to dig giant big tunnels and build the infrastructure to ferry individual people in huge cars around underground, because the roads are too congested with individual people in huge cars.

Dig big tunnels to ferry trains with people underground. Works pretty well.

jpswade 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting concept, but big, deep holes in the road seem like a health and safety nightmare.

Look forward to seeing the next iteration.

EJTH 2 days ago 1 reply      
Makes more sense than the hyper loop to be honest...
jaimex2 2 days ago 0 replies      
My guess is Space X came across a way to make tunnels really fast and cheaply. Now to interconnect the world underground.
rmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who has been in the UG mining industry for the past decade. This is very interesting.
dahart 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Boring Company:

...solving the hole problem

...it's underground

...making tools to take you down

adamsea 2 days ago 0 replies      
What they don't show you is the dome keeping the air in, as this is the future society which Elon Musk will build on the moon.
Flemlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
If successful, I assume this will be used to drill underground hyperloop tunnels. That's obvious, right?
dafidof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where do you get the energy to make this and then to maintain this? Entrophy? Hello?
renega3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously a terrible idea, but a mining/tunnel building company would be a reasonable outcome.
akhilcacharya 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm still waiting on this to be revealed to be a part of the new Nathan For You season.
amelius 2 days ago 1 reply      
Curious: how many solar panels do you need to drive a tunnel boring machine?
partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why having to transport a car and not just the passengers themselves.
musesum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe car tunnels are a gateway to terraforming small moons.
megablast 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a huge waste of resources for individual transport options.
dflock 2 days ago 0 replies      
Genius marketing/PR - just look at this huge thread ;)
agjacobson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ridiculously wasteful. Not needed. Optimize "self-driving in packs with prefiled flight plans." No new infrastructure required.
panabee 2 days ago 0 replies      
besides google, what are the best sites for learning about the challenges of underground mapping and the current state-of-the-art?
wireedin 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens to those holes once the car is lowered into the tunnel by those carriers? Can I pedestrian just jump into the hole and then sue the boring company?
fiatjaf 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is not boring at all. Finally someone found a way to monetize tunnels.

Someone is pointing to problems that seem obvious, I can see a lot too, but they've solved monetization.

Mattasher 2 days ago 2 replies      
Giant hole opens up in street with no gate around it. Have they actually spent time thinking about this or is this a joke?
bbcbasic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just... wow! How did they generate that monstrosity of a html document?
frik 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks totally like a copy cat of old school books about electric cars and the future.

So nothing special at all, people had such visions for some decades.

Funny thing is projects like "Hyperloop", "Boring Company", etc all are already tried many decades ago in various places around the word, just marketed under a different name e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumatic_tube

brentm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love it
givinguflac 1 day ago 0 replies      
The monorail!
outsidetheparty 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The Grimdark Slotcar Company"
thunderstrike 2 days ago 1 reply      
This doesn't seem feasible at all. Especially the overview shot of the underground network, like it's all open air. Definitely wouldn't be possible like that under a major city.
wireedin 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens to those holes once the carrier lowers the car into the tunnel? Can I, pedestrian, just jump in there with the intention of discovering the future and then sue the Boring company? Well jks aside future is getting here sooner than we think.
mandeepj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whenever I am stuck in traffic, I am thinking about how can we have no traffic jams at all. My idea is similar to this but not in tunnels. I think we can do it on earth. Just have an elevated freeway that is reserved for this type of traffic where road is like a conveyor belt. I hope you got the idea.
If you opened your PayPal account before you were 18, close it medium.com
728 points by iDemonix  1 day ago   362 comments top 72
kbos87 1 day ago 6 replies      
If ever there was a single shining example of how not to treat your customers, PayPal is it. Every year or two there is another story of a different arcane rule they have in place that is enforced with zero human consideration, oftentimes to deprive people access to their funds. They don't learn from their mistakes, nor acknowledge them in the first place. I can't think of another company that has drummed up such bad will in me (probably not even United.)
ben0x539 1 day ago 2 replies      
Also this is a great example of having rules that are bullshit enough that you can basically do anything to anyone and technically be perfectly justified according to some agreement, but also enforcing them arbitrarily enough that anyone who complains about the terms of the agreement will be brushed off as paranoid.
loeg 1 day ago 8 replies      
Just close your account if you have a PayPal account at all. They limit and freeze funds at random and good luck resolving it.

OP, You can refund the funds to the sender less Paypal's 30 cut, I believe. That might be the best way to get the money back to your friend, and then they can re-send it to you with something sane like Google Wallet.

joshuaheard 1 day ago 4 replies      
I can't think of a legal reason for this policy. Normally, one must be 18 years old to enter into a contract, so the policy of preventing users under 18 from using the service is rational. However, if a user under 18 turns 18 years old during the contract, the contract is "ratified" and becomes valid and enforceable. It's as if they were 18 years old all along. So, there is no legal reason for Paypal to terminate accounts for people who enter into the contract under 18 yet turn 18 during the contract period.
delecti 1 day ago 4 replies      
I only ever use Paypal as a wrapper around credit card transactions for merchants I trust enough to purchase from, but not necessarily enough to handle my credit card information directly. I can't say I've ever had a problem using them that way.
Eun 1 day ago 3 replies      
Had the same issue last month after reciving a $3000 bug bounty. PP limited my account I uploaded a copy of my id, bing -> banned.

However: After calling them, they told me to create a new account and verify it with the CC and bankaccount (that were in old acc). And as soon everything was verified they trasfered the money to the new account.

So apparently it seems not to be that difficult to get your money.

jliptzin 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here's three rules someone once gave me which I can't emphasize strongly enough.

1. Never use Paypal. For ANY reason.

2. Never. Use. Paypal. For. Any. Reason.

3. See rule #1.

JoshGlazebrook 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've had similar bad experiences with venmo. Apparently I had created an account a couple years ago that I forgot about so I created a new one to receive a payment from a friend. A day after I received the money and had it set to transfer to my bank account they closed both of my accounts citing some rule in their terms of service saying one account per lifetime. And now I can't ever have another venmo account. That $500 also never got to me and never got returned to the sender. Just overall a scam of a company.
deadfece 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I joined, the ToS explicitly allowed users between 16 and 18.


It looks like their ToS changed in February 2003 to enforce an 18-only model.

c0achmcguirk 1 day ago 2 replies      
> There are alternatives to PayPal, its just become so ingrained in to online life that it can be easy to forget that.

This is very true, but I like to think of how predominant MySpace and Hotmail were at one time. Someone will come along and do it better. Stripe, PaymentSpring, heck even Bitcoin are all potential disruptors here.

I think the days of PayPal's dominance are numbered.

colanderman 1 day ago 0 replies      
So in this case where a friend's deposit is being held for ransom, could that friend simply chargeback or file a fraud claim against PayPal? After all, PayPal has stolen their money which was intended for another person (the author in this case).
digitalzombie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or... Don't use Paypal.

They stopped "doing business" with me out of the blue.

I call them up and asked why and they said I need a subpoena to get the reason.

I call them back saying I have a retainer so what do I do to get the reason with my retainer on hand?

Seeing I was serious, the operator told me the reason as if he's letting me on a secret. The reason being I'm associated to somebody that owe them money.

Yeah seriously. Their reason for not doing business with me was that I know somebody that owe them money but they won't tell me who.

I asked if they can remove all my info. The dude told me it's secured because paypal use SSL. I wanted to to tell him that SSL is for connection encryption not data encryption but at this point I'm done with this bullshit ordeal.

2 months later paypal got hacked.

I only use paypal to buy chinese clothing over ebay since I'm a small guy and it's hard to get clothing in USA with my size.

AdamJacobMuller 1 day ago 3 replies      
> will now just have to move to my credit cards directly

One of the reasons I like paypal is that it provides a great amount of control over who I pay and when and how much. I can login and reasonably easy see all of my MRC subscriptions, and cancel them as appropriate. Technically possible with credit cards directly, but not as nice.

Best of both worlds right now is privacy.com for me, they generate credit card #s on the fly and provide that same level of vision and control into where the money is going with exactly 100% less bullshit and 100% less scumbag tactics.

If you're moving payments away from paypal (and you should) I would suggest considering moving them to privacy.com instead of directly.

jaimex2 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you are in Australia and PayPal every pull anything remotely similar, contact the financial ombudsman. They are extremely good at putting Paypal back in line.

In some cases they fine financial institutions who don't resolve quickly enough.

pizza 1 day ago 0 replies      
PayPal told me I was 'violating sanctions against Iran' - an accusation I think I will never understand because I mostly used PayPal to buy stuff from HumbleBundle at the time.. - and upon showing them id they froze my account because I was < 18. It's been years since, and my account is still frozen, although I've attempted to get it back a couple of times.

Don't use paypal.

hanklazard 1 day ago 3 replies      
As someone who uses PayPal on a multiple times per week basis and who has never had any issues, this type of story (as well as the general sentiments of many of the comments) makes me worry that my time will come soon enough.

Can anyone recommend a service like PayPal that would be good for online transactions between individuals, but that also allows for credit card use? Fees are to be expected, it's just that I have t been able to find another service that will allow CC. I'm really hopeful that Google wallet will begin to allow CC use sometime soon.

darkhorn 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are a programmer in PayPal. The manager tells you to program "close accounts that are created when under 18". And the programmer cannot complys.

When I say to my manager that this thing won't work etc he imlies that I'm smartsass jerk. Thus I no longer argue with him. I don't suggest anything to him anymore. I do exactly what he says. Probably this is the same case with PayPal too.

robin_reala 1 day ago 1 reply      
While its good that the author got their money back at least, if it was invalid for the author to have an account for 10 years it was also presumably invalid for PayPal to take any transaction fees during that period. Might be an interesting avenue for small claims.
Spare_account 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was able to determine the year I opened my account in the Account Settings page:


huac 1 day ago 2 replies      
They had Paypal Student before, where your account would be linked to your parent's account. But they shut that down recently, with no way to reactivate or unlink the account, and you're unable to reuse your email when making another account.
jrnichols 1 day ago 3 replies      
What an epic failure on PayPal's part. Is there some banking law that I'm unaware of that would cause them to take such drastic actions? It sounds like the OP is definitely above the age of 18 now too, so why would PayPal suddenly decide to yank the rug out from under him?

It'll be interesting to see if there's a follow up.

MaximHarper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Same experience my end: https://twitter.com/MaximHarper/status/847071547772821505

PayPal is unfortunately still pretty central to eBay & I'm a payment geek so I've made a new account. Glad I didn't have any funds frozen though, that must suck.

aphextron 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've completely blocked PayPal out of my life. I've been screwed over by them so many ways over the past 15 years it's impossible to count. I refuse to do any business which requires their services.
oliwarner 1 day ago 1 reply      
You regularly transfer money with this guy but you're both happy eating transfer fees every time?!

Seriously? Wtaf? BACS and Faster Payments (through your banks) are free. You're literally pelting the Devil with your money for getting in the way.

zajd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good enough reason to close my account, thanks for the heads up. Fuck PayPal.
mxstbr 1 day ago 1 reply      
This exact same thing happened to me, though I was thankfully allowed to withdraw my money and open a new account with the same bank details.

Call your local PayPal support hotline and explain to them what happened, I was immediately escalated to higher level support who had me provide details of why the money was in my account, which they verified and then unlocked the withdrawal and bank accounts. Still had to make a new account, but that's a small price to pay!

iDemonix 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interestingly, this article just tanked from 6th to 38th according to hnrankings.info, maybe I've found a conspiracy for my next Medium article.
omfg 1 day ago 3 replies      
Do people not realize PayPal has phone support? It's not some black hole of support. Just call them up like a normal company... they've been helpful for any odd issues we've had in the past.
wishinghand 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a list of good PayPal alternatives besides Stripe? Bonus points for companies that work outside of the USA.
qb45 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you opened your PayPal account at all, close it now and open another for the next payment. Rumor has it that PP cares much more about not pissing off new customers than the old ones.

This works pretty well for me ever since my first account had been locked for bullshit reasons when I needed it most, of course with the money locked inside. Thankfully it was almost nothing, but thank you PP for reminding me to never keep anything of value in there.

Granted, I only use PP when I absolutely must, which is no more than maybe once a year, so setting and tearing down these accounts is no big deal. I traditionally select "poor customer service" and "worry about security" as the reason I quit :)

a012 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 30s and living in SEA, opening PayPal with CitiBank card and provided proofs (scan of ID and bank statements) then they immediately closed my account. They just stated that my info wasn't met their standards. So fine, I don't use PayPal otherwise.
5ilv3r 1 day ago 0 replies      
I too started a paypal account when I was underage with mother's permission, help, and her checking account attached so I could sell thrift store finds on ebay. I've been with them over 10 years and never used another payment service. Uhg.
mvrekic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah PayPal, all the power of a bank, none of responsibility.
kennydude 1 day ago 1 reply      
Look at opening a Monzo account, lets you have a monzo.me link to get paid in the UK.

Shame we don't have anything like Square Cash :(

zepolen 1 day ago 2 replies      
The day Bitcoin will replace Paypal for online transactions can not come fast enough.
tanto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seriously vote with your money and just close it. I just did. More and more big companies think they can treat customers however they like. Paypal just seems to be a frontrunner. I just voted and closed Paypal. At least in Germany we got many other options.
ultim8k 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah. Paypal are plain street robbers. Not only they charge like you a church, but they have awful support considered that you trust them with your money. Unfortunately as a freelancer I had to use them, but I moved asap to a bank solution. Today that so many fintech startups are there, there is no reason to use them.
mamon 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Forgive me if I sound dumb, but why bother creating PayPal account in the first place?

If you are mostly buyer, then online payment is already easy (few clicks and 1 SMS password away).

If you are seller, setting up your website to support credit card payments takes maybe two hours.

I really don't see the use case for PayPal, especially given the constant complaints.

StreamBright 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paypal just cancelled my PP CC because I was late with payment twice. They autocancel it. I have looked into why I was late and realized that PP failed to process my payment. I asked them how come a failure on their end causes this but tey never replied.
a3n 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Im not really sure what half a year of holding on to my money will help PayPal achieve?

If they have a pile of similar money (likely, by the stories we hear), then they earn interest, and may (IANAA) be able to point to that cash as an "asset" in situations where they need to show assets.

Friedduck 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Every story I've ever read about PayPal is a cautionary tale not to ever use or rely upon PayPal.

Of course like others I use it for eBay but never, ever, for anything important.

theWheez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ha! Apparently I signed up for paypal 3 days before my 18th birthday. What are the odds.
cannonpr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully between virtual credit card providers, invoicing providers for b2c like klarna, cryptochains, challenger banks like monzo... one of them will land PayPal in hot water, it's about damn time, they are one of the most toxic companies online.
ben0x539 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there a way to find the precise age of your paypal account retroactively? It says mine was created the year of my 18th birthday, and I'm sure I did it all above-board, but it'd be nice to have it confirmed.

Update: It looks like you can get some day/month number if you check your account limits at https://www.paypal.com/de/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_lift-limits if you still have any, and combine them with the year it actually displays in the account settings. Makes me feel better at least.

pdog 1 day ago 0 replies      
I close and reopen a PayPal account for every individual PayPal transaction I (rarely) need to make. It's a hassle, but I see no alternative if I don't want the account-based "features".
peterburkimsher 1 day ago 1 reply      
I signed up for PayPal (and eBay) on my 18th birthday, before I even got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast.

I'm still worried that they might want to block me though, because I have more than one account. PayPal accounts must be linked to a bank account in the same country. So I now have different PayPal accounts in the UK, US, New Zealand, Korea, and Taiwan.

tangerine11 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the heads up! I normally only use PayPal for purchases, but I looked up my email logs and realized I did create it when I was 17. it was easy enough to close my account and open another.
michaelmrose 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we shorten this to if you have a paypal account close it? Who wants to send money to a company that may or may not actually let you access your own money?
thriftwy 1 day ago 1 reply      
It was long obvious to me that PayPal is one of those "good while it lasts" entrprises.

As in, you should factor in from the day one that they might stop working with you at any random moment. They never contributed towards any other image.

(I wonder if you can sue them in locales where they're legally a bank)

kmfrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was asked to "confirm" my credit card a while back, but I don't have the supposed charge on my credit statement.

So I shot them a support ticket to sort things out.

Like over a month ago.

I don't see how it's possible to manage your company so incompetently.

gist 1 day ago 1 reply      
Snarkly I will mention that this is the same company that 'HN darling' Elon Musk was part of prior to his current life. Everything that everyone hates about paypal existed back then.
thiagocsf 20 hours ago 0 replies      
At this point I cannot hold any sympathy for people in tech getting screwed over by PayPal.

We have all read the horror stories and, if you're still using them, you've got no one else to blame but yourself. At which point you will write your own horror story with the faint hope that it goes viral and forces PayPal to make things right.

This is specially true for someone who, like OP, immediately liquidises the asset. Pick a digital currency, any currency.

GBond 1 day ago 1 reply      
The bright side is now that its on HN, you have a high chance the issue will be resolved for you.
Animats 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't deal with any payment system you can't sue in small claims court.
prklmn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a bitcoin solution that looks like this without having either party directly deal with bitcoin?:

currency in bank account of person 1 --> bitcoin --> currency in bank account of person 2


credit card of person 1 --> bitcoin --> currency in bank account of person 2

Neliquat 1 day ago 0 replies      
PSA: Do not use PayPal for any reason, they are unethical and unreasonable.

How many more times must this happen to people?

MatCarpenter 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who has been working online since 16 years old, this worries me.
linkmotif 1 day ago 0 replies      
PayPal has good rates on micropayments ($0.05 + 5%). But they terrify me. Anyone know of any competitive processors?
exabrial 1 day ago 0 replies      
I prefer Google wallet for P2P payments... If zcash ever takes off that's be my preferred currency of choice
jtth 1 day ago 0 replies      
When did they add the 18 thing? Mine's fine and I've had it open since 2000, when they barely had a website, let alone a good EULA.
milankragujevic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate PayPal, but thankfully I created my account in my mom's name when I was 12 so I think I'm safe, will create another one in a year.
chmike 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How come there is no competitor and alternate solution to PayPal ?
DSingularity 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why does anybody use paypal anymore? Go buy litecoin or ethereum. You can then send anybody anywhere money in an instant. If you afraid of volatility not going your way, buy bitcoin -- its more stable.

Sure, cryptocurrency is not stable in value yet... but its getting better -- fast.

njharman 1 day ago 0 replies      
In some/many? jurisdictions contracts are not enforceable against people under age of 18.
znpy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I registered when I was 15. I guess I should make sure to use paypal as little as possible from now on.
nikon 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just closed my account. Have you tried Transferwise instead? You'd save a fortune on fees.
jrrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks! Closed.
NietTim 1 day ago 1 reply      
JustSomeNobody 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the image of the email you got from them it looks like they are telling you to create a new account. You can't do that and have them xfer over the money to the new account?
Bud 1 day ago 1 reply      
All this, plus, Peter Thiel founded it. So you know, a priori, that it sucks.
carsongross 1 day ago 2 replies      
> Im not really sure what half a year of holding on to my money will help PayPal achieve

It doesn't help them. If it were possible they would complete every transaction with minimal fuss.

The reason transferring money is so difficult is due to governments who wish to prevent capital flight, "laundering", etc. Paypal fought against this intensely early on.

phkahler 1 day ago 1 reply      
I bet his practice of "share money with friends and family" looks shady. I mean who sends a friend 300 bucks with a 19 dollar fee. If you do a lot of that it probably looks like drug dealing or something. Last time I bummed a few hundred from family or friends: never.
Stupid security things troyhunt.com
596 points by troyhunt  2 days ago   159 comments top 30
gumby 2 days ago 3 replies      
> and I know for a fact 90% of the sites I personally sign up to online also follow that same process.

This is a totally legit response. After all if something goes wrong they must have followed "best practices". No reasonable person would expect them to do more.

And it's true (if you only consider the needs of the business). This is a solid strategy for getting lawsuits dismissed. I've seen it in physical security too [+]. It only took one investment bank to put badge-checking turnstiles in place and then they all had to do it. That stuck with banks only for a while until one more conventional business did it...and now I was at Twitch the other day and they have it.

Of course who's missing here is the customer. But the customer's needs aren't paramount: the business's are -- and more specifically the manager who has to spend the money on security. If they have put in just enough that they won't get fired when it fucks up, and if they saved money and effort in the process: WIN!

[+] my favorite physical security story is old, so at the end: when leaving Intel's Santa Clara fab in the 1990s you would have to hand over your briefcase for inspection to make sure you weren't leaving with any Intel documents. They didn't care if you had floppy disks. Why? Because this was a defense against shareholder lawsuits and "what else could the guards do?" This is where I learned the explanation above: once anyone in the industry increased plant security they all would have to, which nobody wanted. So LCD was the name of the game.

throwaway6845 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is pretty horrifying.

But almost as bad: websites that insist on over-elaborate security measures for trivial stuff. Take a bow, HM Revenue & Customs:

> Youve got a new message from HMRC

> Dear Fred

> You have a new message from HMRC about Self Assessment.

> To view it, sign in to your HMRC online account. For security reasons, we have not included a link with this email.

> Why you got this email

> You chose to get paperless notifications instead of letters by post. This means we send you an email to let you know you have a new message in your account.

> From HMRC Self Assessment

And HMRC have mandatory 2FA. So to read the spam they've sent me - and it is pretty much spam, it says "you need to do your self-assessment before next January", I know that already - I need to go through the rigmarole of entering my Government Gateway number, which I don't remember but starts with a 4 or something and hopefully that will be enough for Chrome to autofill it, then authing with my mobile phone. Which I think I left upstairs or something. Wait while I ring it with the landline to find where it is.

Seriously, I might just go back to getting letters by post.

Edit: No. My Government Gateway number which starts with a 4 is my company one. My Self-Assessment login appears to be a different number.

People elsewhere in the world, whenever anyone tells you that the UK Government Digital Service is a beacon of usability and good practice, please don't believe them.

bungie4 2 days ago 4 replies      
Programmer (not me!) manually iterates over user file (passwords plain text natch). If he finds a matching username (format is enforced so dead easy to guess). He sets the auth cookie. THEN he goes looking for the password. You don't have to enter any password. At that point, just hit the back button a couple of times and refresh and BING! You can impersonate anybody on the system. Including the admin because guess what the admin's username is.

This guy is notorious for writing crap like this. But according to the powers that be, he's a 'god'.

The funnier bit? This site is RSA protected.

gambiting 2 days ago 3 replies      
Huh, couple years ago Santander in the UK changed their web layout. No big deal, except that my password wouldn't work anymore - I rang them up, and they said "did you have any special characters in your password? If yes, then they have been removed because the new system does not support special characters. Please use the same password as before, but without special characters".

1) This is one of the largest banks in the UK and they don't accept special characters?

2) If you store my password encrypted(as you should be!), how could you remove any characters from it?

I sent them an official complaint, they replied saying their security is fantastic and there is nothing to worry about, I closed my account a week later.

djtriptych 2 days ago 4 replies      
That "What is the name of your grandmother's dog?" security question made me lol @ work.

This really makes me want to write a "Stupid security questions generator" website.

yeukhon 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like we need laws in place on software and hardware security. Laws to punish crimes is good, but we also need some regulation, simple ones, to govern how companies have the obligation to manage software and hardware security.

I think:

* companies running a website and collects customer data must have an incident response plan laid out.

If we punish bad service providers reported by consumers, why can't we do the same? We are talking about companies ignoring and downplaying even the most low-hanging fruit vulnerability, and companies that don't understand web security because the workers there have no clues what they are dealing. If we can't raise our cyber security awareness and education domestically, then we fail at being a top technology leader in this world. I don't expect every company hires a security engineer, perhaps under some managed services.

peterwwillis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I remember when cookies was where every site kept their cached credentials in plaintext. It was so popular you didn't need a password manager, just a cookie and form manager.

In case most of you didn't know/forgot: a large amount of the modern security practices on the web are due to browsers making it easy for sites to attack users, and making MITM trivial. The most common attack vector is literally the browser and protocol design, not a bug in the browser.

Also, to replace passwords, all you need is TOTP. You can combine TOTP with a 2nd factor for a little boost, but TOTP is much better than passwords, and more convenient when automated. Combine this with password reset and one-time use codes and the majority of users would not need to remember more than one or two passwords (the password for their e-mail or OAuth provider). You can also password-protect the shared secret to protect data at rest (some VPNs do this as alternative to physical tokens)

A protocol extension could define a handshake to negotiate TOTP tokens. The browser would generate a token with a plugin and send it securely after prompting the user to authorize it, and optionally try to verify the identity of the site. It could be extended to rotate the shared secret after an expiration period.

Also, it's about time we defined a better secure mail standard so we can rely on password resets to be valid and eliminate phishing.

deathanatos 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you contacted Rackspace's chat support while logged in, the representative sometimes asked the security question. To which (remember, you're logged in) you could click "Account Settings", "Security Question" copypaste.

A former employer of mine had internal security questions. Five of them. They were all inane questions, the "favorite movie?" type, so I came up with a somewhat random answer and used the same answer to all of them. The one time I had to use it, the representative asked all five questions, and I gave him the same ridiculous answer each time. He did it all with a straight face somehow, and looking back, I don't know why I didn't stop him at the fourth question to ask "if I knew the first three, you really think I don't know the last two?"

_jal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thank dog someone is making a cable that reduces virus noises. I just don't know what I've done all this time without one.
Neliquat 2 days ago 2 replies      
The number of webmasters who wanted me to set up ssl to 'secure' their site, while the backend emailed cc info in the clear to the orders dept is larger than I have digits, even the extra adolecent joke ones.
CM30 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another example of possible poor security (which seems to be depressingly common with UK banks) is to ask for certain characters from your password. Like say, the 1st, 3rd and 5th characters in the word.

However, if the password was encrypted, they shouldn't really have this information should they? So by asking for it, they're basically admitting everything's stored in either plain text (very bad) or a reversable form of encryption (also quite bad).

There are other complaints about this too (like accidentally encouraging people to write the passwords down so they can figure out which character is the 3rd one or what not):


And it also doesn't seem much like a good deterrent against keyloggers. But yeah, quite a few banking sites do this, which is a tad worrying.

krupan 2 days ago 7 replies      
Why do we still use passwords? When I connect to Amazon.com I don't ask them for a username and password to verify they really are Amazon. I verify their certificate. Why can't I authentic with a certificate too?
makecheck 1 day ago 0 replies      
If theres one thing that needs to go away ASAP, its security questions. They are so time-consuming, they increase the amount of information shared with 3rd parties, and the quotes I used are intentional because the questions provide no security whatsoever. Quite the opposite: these questions simply force people to share more information than they should be required to share, and (for most people who dont think to lie) it increases the chance that sensitive secrets will be revealed and used to impersonate people.

Its even worse when these security questions are coupled with the Monday-Friday, 9-5 ET phone numbers. I once had a mobile login lock out my account on a Friday night and I was informed that I could not unlock it without calling one of those numbers and answering my security questions. So instead of having access as a customer, I had over two full days of nothing, followed by the obligation to find time to call these people, followed by the awkward process of wondering if I would even remember the damned questions or answers. Every last bit of that process is broken, wrong, unnecessary, adds no security, and disrespects customers.

And in case you think account-lockouts are any better, consider that it is TRIVIAL to use this as an attack. Someone you dont like? Odds are you can find their E-mail log-in. Guess their password 3 times, and they cant access their account at all for some extremely-inconvenient length of time. Ever-increasing delays between log-in attempts work just fine as an alternative to lockouts.

sphinx65 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that might be the worst I've ever seen.

Does anyone here buy from auction sites often? Those are a nightmare, they let the sellers do pretty much anything and very few accept paypal (they're THAT stingy) - sellers on liveauction.com routinely ask buyers to provide credit card info over email. It looks like a lot of sellers are flocking to these because ebay is too strict, wait, I mean "sane".

gry 2 days ago 0 replies      
draw_down 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't believe people still inform and try to counsel these tone-deaf corporations. The upside is so small and the downside is potentially quite large. Catch some moron CEO in a bad mood and they've got plenty of resources to make your life hell even if they don't have a legal case.
zanny 2 days ago 2 replies      
> And before we all lose out minds going "the password must die", nobody has yet figured out how to make that happen!

If I were designing a new product today, I would never consider having usernames and passwords. While it is a shame Mozilla killed Persona before it could even have a chance, it is still way, way more reasonable to use third party signin buttons than to try to do it on your own. Again. Brokenly. For the thousandth time per person.

It is a shame that one button alone does not work, but just OpenID connect includes Google, MS, and Amazon (so one login backend and three click buttons and you are covering probably 99% of people, who will have one of those three accounts).

CM30 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some of this stuff is absolutely terrifying. I mean, using the last four digits of a mobile number as a password? Damn, it's a site where a leaked username list is literally a major data breach.

LOL at 'reducing virus noises' too.

saulrh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen the "Express <Form with Personal Data>" vuln before, but with people's SSNs, DOBs, and bank account numbers, plus sequential numeric user IDs instead of emails. It's fixed now, thankfully, but, uh, yeah.
schwede 2 days ago 0 replies      
That was a very entertaining, but very sad read...
chrisper 2 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of AT&To Gophone website. Your username is your phone number and your password is a 4 digit PIN. The same pin you can use to transfer out your number.
The_Magistrate 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I needed this laugh (and cry) on a Friday.
smnscu 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of my pet peeves is that 1password doesn't seem to support security questions out of the box, so I have to manually generate random passwords with it, fields for Q1, A1, etc., then set those fields to type "password".
bArray 2 days ago 4 replies      
@troyhunt: Have you seen the latest leak by Atlassian?

I got an email on 4th April, 2017 that reads as follows:

 Hello, This weekend, our Security Intelligence Team detected an incident affecting HipChat.com that may have resulted in unauthorized access to user account information (including name, email address and hashed password). Atlassian ID is used to manage access to your HipChat.com account and other Atlassian services you use. The password is encryprted using bcrypt with a random salt. In our security investigation, we found no evidence of unauthorized access to financial and/or credit card information. We can also confirm that we have found no evidence of other Atlassian systems or products being affected. As an added precaution, we have reset your Atlassian ID which is used to access all Atlassian services, including HipChat. Please go to https://id.atlassian.com/login/resetpassword and enter your email address to trigger a password reset email for your Atlassian ID account. If you have been using your Atlassian ID password on other sites, services or online accounts, we recommend that you immediately change those passwords as well. Please refer to the HipChat Blog at http://blog.hipchat.com for additional information about this incident. We regret any disruption this may have caused and appreciate your immediate attention. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact HipChat Support via our support portal or by sending email directly to support@hipchat.com. Ganesh Krishnan, Chief Security Officer
Nice of them to provide links to reset your password - anyone quick on their feet and with access to that database could have got people's passwords.

I think if you tweeted at them they would release an email list to you for updating the https://haveibeenpwned.com/ website. I imagine there's still a lot of people that are unaware that their details are out there and that their accounts are vulnerable.

dionidium 2 days ago 0 replies      
"No really, I've seen some very stupid security stuff out there the likes of which make the above example not just believable, but likely. Don't believe me? Here, hold my beer..."

The "Here, hold my beer..." line is totally played out at this point, anyway, but the usage here doesn't even make sense. The implication is that you're about to do something stupid, not that you're about to tell us about some stupid things other people have done.

Why would I need to hold your beer while you tell me a story?

robk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly British and other Commonwealth countries like Australia seem way too overrepresented in crap like this. Something about British culture leads to atrocious ignorance of security.
srum 2 days ago 0 replies      

test testtest, Burdur, Eastern, Hong Kong , Hong Kong

Daytime Contact Number: 1234567890 ; Mobile: 55555555

systems 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is a bit hard to read with all the screenshots/images, headings , sub-section

i think the author is knowledgeable, but .. please make it more readable

noelwelsh 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd much rather read a post detailing secure best practices on all these issues than "look at all these stupid people, lulz".
city41 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a huge problem and has been for a long time. We allow pretty much anyone to code up a website. It'd be similar to allowing anybody to start practicing medicine.

I've lost count of how many websites I've used that were blatantly insecure. Sometimes you have no choice but to do it, like when I had to apply for a Brazil travel visa. Their SSL certificate has expired, and has been expired for years now.

Rust 1.17 rust-lang.org
550 points by steveklabnik  3 days ago   316 comments top 10
GoodbyeEarl 3 days ago 17 replies      
Hey, folks!I have never used Rust but all the buzz around it made me curious, so I may ask you to forgive my ignorance on the matter. I have a few honest questions about it and I'm pretty sure these questions were answered before, so feel free to point me to this resources, I'd appreciate very much.

First of all what's the point of Rust? OK, it's a systems language, but what does that even mean? You can write a system in any language right? Python is a scripting language and lots of people use it everyday to write systems. What problems is it trying to solve? Also how does it compare to Go? (I haven't used either one or another). It seems to me that both Go and Rust are mainly used by C/C++ folks that want a new shiny language that somehow resemble the syntax or structure or funcionality of the former and at the same time add some modern features (I might be totally wrong by presuming this).

From the perspective of other languages I know a little bit such as Ruby, Python or JS its syntax seems really bloated to me with all those specials symbols. Do you feel more productive writing software in it than in let's say JS?Please keep in mind that I really don't know Rust (nor I've never tried a statically-typed language) and I don't mean to offend anyone.

Thank you guys!

kibwen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hard to believe that this is the 17th minor release since Rust 1.0. :) Lots of good ergonomic improvements in this one, but for those of you who are itching for incremental compilation, a beta is now available for testing using the CARGO_INCREMENTAL environment variable: https://internals.rust-lang.org/t/incremental-compilation-be...
kevindqc 3 days ago 9 replies      
> String concatenation appends the string on the right to the string on the left and may require reallocation.

I don't really know Rust, but isn't that weird? In most languages I know, I would expect for example Vector3(1, 2, 3) + Vector3(2, 3, 4) to return a brand new Vector3(3, 5, 7), with Vector3(1, 2, 3) unmodified? Unless I do vector1 += Vector3(2, 3,4), at which point I expect vector1 to be modified without creating a new vector?

Why doesn't rust create a new String and concatenates using this new owned String? I guess that's why beginners get it wrong - I would

daliwali 3 days ago 10 replies      
I was interested in learning Rust as a safer alternative to C a few years back, and have been observing its progress from afar. I'm much less optimistic about it now, though I only have a layman's understanding of it. The language seems to be more cumbersome to write than many other languages due to its design choices. It may be safer, but not as "ergonomic" subjectively, which ultimately affects productivity. It's hard to think of a good reason to use it, other than the safety features.
XorNot 2 days ago 3 replies      
What's the Rust IDE story looking like these days? For a language like Rust (or almost any language really) the best way I've generally found to learn them is to get a good auto-completing IDE which solves for "what's the standard library and what can I do?" and let's me focus on getting the syntax and design methodology right.

Till now Rust hasn't had that. Is there a decent stack?

0xFFC 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wish they include language service in the stable branch soon.
cadu2 2 days ago 1 reply      
This thread convinced me that my next language to learn will be Rust (coming from a C/C++/Python career path).

Can somebody point out a list of resources to start on Rust? Do we already have a good IDE with proper autocomplete support?

Thank you!

fpgaminer 3 days ago 3 replies      
I still get excited every time there is a new Rust release :D

> When using Cargos build scripts, you must set the location of the script in your Cargo.toml. However, the vast majority of people wrote build = "build.rs", using a build.rs file in the root of their project. This convention is now encoded into Cargo, and will be assumed if build.rs exists.

This is what I love about Rust's development. Rather than the developers just using their own ideas about how the Rust ecosystem will use a system, they instead wait for the ecosystem to come up with its own conventions. Once those conventions are organically established, they fold them into the official Rust tools.

It's the equivalent of finding product market fit. More times than not our ideas about what the market (in this case, Rust users) wants will be wrong. Better to just adapt to the market.

That's enough praise for now, so ... how about something not so great about Rust? I started building a password manager in Rust, because I'm not satisfied with the current options for password managers. This will be my first Rust project with a GUI and ... so far it's been very painful.

I've looked at GUI in Rust in the past but never tinkered because there were never any good libraries available. It's now Rust 1.17 and there are still no good options. For this project I landed on gtk-rs, but it's a nightmare of Rc's, RefCells, and borrow_mut just to get even the simplest UI working.

I'm not sure yet if this is an issue endemic to gtk-rs, or if Rc's and RefCells are a necessary evil in Rust whenever GUIs are involved. It's a bit hard to reason about ownership in this case, where your callbacks can be called at any time, and if they modify the UI that may trigger another, now nested callback, which may trigger yet another callback, etc. So it requires a lot of brain power to think about every borrow and what the lifetime should be.

Without thinking too much about it, I feel like things could be better. If Rust was driving the UI loop, and if the callbacks didn't have 'static lifetimes, then it might be possible shove the UI into an isolated struct and not have to deal with too many ownership and lifetime issues. But again, I haven't tried to think it through and it's irrelevant because there's no mature GUI library in Rust that would allow that.

Of course, none of that reflects on Rust itself, nor on the Rust developers. This is a third-party issue; it boils down to a lack of good GUI libraries. That's hardly surprising given how new Rust is.

For now, I'm blundering forward and just hacking together whatever mess of code works. The critical parts of the password manager are in a separate Rust library with unit tests, and the password database will have history/versioning on every entry. So I ultimately don't care if the UI code is ugly and hacked together. It's just more time consuming than it probably has to be.

pvg 3 days ago 2 replies      
"If you want to understand Rust replace all occurrences of 'Rust' with 'The Thing'"
Animats 2 days ago 3 replies      
Tried some programs that used to work:

First program:

 src/main.rs:65:11: 65:19 error: no method named `join` found for type `collections::vec::Vec<&str>` in the current scope src/main.rs:65 sline.join("") // return string
OK, what happened to ".join", and who had the great idea of taking it out?

Second program:

 $ cargo build An unknown error occurred To learn more, run the command again with --verbose.
OK, must rerun because of useless message.

 $ cargo --verbose build Invalid arguments. Usage: cargo <command> [<args>...] cargo [options]
Note that the "Usage" message doesn't say where to put the options if there's a commmand. So we have to guess:

 $ cargo build --verbose Failed to parse registry's information for: chrono Caused by: the given version requirement is invalid
The version requirement in the cargo.toml file under [dependencies] is

which, according to this manual [1] is valid.

I used to like Rust, but after years of stuff breaking with each new release, I don't use it for anything serious.

[1] http://doc.crates.io/specifying-dependencies.html

Just Say No jacquesmattheij.com
543 points by janvdberg  2 days ago   349 comments top 39
gregwtmtno 2 days ago 25 replies      
It's not just crime that you shouldn't use your skills for, it's all immoral or unethical activity.

It's a surprisingly urgent problem in a field that enables mass government surveillance, dark patterns, big data aggregation, and cyber warfare.

As an attorney, I wonder if software engineers should consider implementing some kind of rules for professional conduct and an organization to enforce it like the lawyers have.

DoofusOfDeath 2 days ago 12 replies      
> If youre reading this as a technical person: there will always be technically clueless people who will attempt to use you and your skills as tools to commit some crime.

You may be overstating that a bit. I've been doing tech for a while, and I can't recall anyone ever asking me to abuse my skills for ill-gotten gain.

oblib 2 days ago 2 replies      
When I was a teen I was offered cash to turn back speedometers many times, and always refused. This started after I set the speedo on my own car back to zero, but I was customizing it for myself, not flipping it for a fast buck, and it was already 25 years old anyway.

Back around the turn of the century I was offered a bit of cash to build a "Revenge Porn" site. The guy who called me sounded very mild and calm, even nice. He did say he'd been turned down a few times but he also seemed determined to make the site.

I had never heard of this idea at the time and was pretty surprised with the concept. I turned him down, of course, but what surprised me most was how many friends and acquaintances told me I should've taken the cash when I told them the story.

I'm 58 years old now and the number of people who've asked me to help with their scams, and have tried to scam me, is far more than I can remember. With all that experience I can spot them easily now but it never ceases to amaze me how willing some people are to do that.

saosebastiao 2 days ago 4 replies      
I don't wish for the feeling of desperation on anybody. Even for someone who has morals, desperation can warp your sense of reality. Back when I was a truck driver, I had a substantial offer from someone to transport a duffle bag in my utility lock box across state lines. I was desperate, and it was a lot of money. I rationalized, told myself it was just gonna be some drugs, and I never get pulled over anyway. No big deal, I told myself. Until I grabbed the bag, and realized it wasn't drugs. Took a peek once I was out of sight, and it was definitely submachine guns. I started panicking and about 10 miles down the road came up with my plan. I pulled over, punctured a cooling hose, ran my engine til I overheated, and then called my contact and told him I had overheated and steamed out all my coolant and wasn't going to make it. That interaction was probably the most terrifying experience of my life. Never again.
iliketosleep 2 days ago 6 replies      
I believe the authors post is a little condescending and ignores the nuances of such situations. Sure, it's easy enough to "just say no" if you're already pretty successful and have a lot to lose by engaging in illegal activity. But what about the talented hacker who has failed career wise and is going through a really tough phase financially. It might seem that there's everything to gain and nothing to lose.

If you have a choice of being able feed your family or just say no to modifying an odometer, what would you choose?

ericb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great advice. I once let a company license legitimate software (a history cleaner before browsers offered this functionality) I wrote and they wrapped it in adware and caused a lot of people headaches. It felt gross. They didn't make it clear what they were going to do with it beforehand, but there were signs I should have noticed--their business model description sounded too good to be true. You can't just wash your hands of these things and have a clear conscience because you didn't do it personally.

The low point was finding their adware on my mom's computer.

Personally, I made it a rule after that to avoid business relations with the morally questionable. They drag you down.

edw519 2 days ago 6 replies      
My first co-founder was a brilliant engineer. One day I borrowed his car (a fancy late model sports car) for an errand because mine was blocked in. But the speedometer didn't work which made for some strange driving. When I asked him about it, he said, "Oh I disconnected it to improve it's resale value."

We didn't remain together much longer.

To this day, the value of a relationship with another businessperson = sum(assets) * EthicsFactor. EthicsFactor is 1 or 0. There is no in-between.

Nice post, Jacques. It sure feels nice to comment in one your threads again.

pjungwir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a story of temptation and pressure---not as good as Jacques's but maybe interesting anyway. I was leaving grad school (not for tech) and getting back into programming. I had two new kids, and I was really ready to stop living on $21k/yr (my student stipend), but I didn't have a lot of work yet, and I wasn't sure how my 5-year hiatus would look.

I had done a few projects for a small agency, and the owner was having me spec & quote work for potential new customers. One of these customers wanted us to build a "dashboard" to control a fleet of machines that would generate fake reviews for sites like Yelp or Amazon. I'm not even sure if that is illegal, but it didn't seem good. I told him it didn't sound like work we could do. If he had been just my customer, it would have been easy, but it raised my anxiety to say it to my customer's customer.

I think Jacques's conclusion about "a bad beginning" is very wise, and I'm glad he had to foresight to see all that. I hope his story helps keep other people out of trouble. His writing it up is really a gift to them.

educar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am curious how much this extends to:A) Facebook and Google mining people's dataB) Cisco building extensive survellance systemsC) Microsoft was blatantly abusing it's monopoly

I could go on but all these had many many engineers involved. And best of it all, most of it was .. legal. When something is outright illegal, it's easy to say no.

fiatjaf 2 days ago 5 replies      
If you're offered a job from Facebook should you say "no"?
codezero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had people try to get me to do illegal things for 25 years. It was much more aggressive and enticing when I was young. It's easier for adult me to recognize and reject these advances than it was for teenage me. It wasn't always even money that was on the table, but recognition and acceptance which can make you do crazy things.
bigjimmyk3 2 days ago 1 reply      
My alma mater added a course requirement on professional ethics shortly after I left, partly due to multiple "incidents" at the university (not because of me... this time).

Ethics is the difference between Dr. Spock and Dr. Frankenstein.

kangdolit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a situation like this before.

A friend referred two commodity traders to me. They wanted to contract me for SEO purposes. Why? When you searched for their names on Google/Bing, articles about fraud charges came up. They wanted me to push them off the front page. I was able to do that kind of work, because I had done it before for more benign situations. My friend told me I could name my price, because they were outrageously rich (apparently from their fraud schemes).

I spoke with them over the phone. Their reason for wanting to do this was: "It's a real bummer when you're dating a hot chick and she looks you up and sees all these negative articles online." Bullshit. I smelled it immediately. I didn't need abetting and conspiracy charges leveled against me. Even if I had agreed to do it, I doubt they would have paid me in full. I mean, I had evidence of their alleged fraudulent behavior.

The problem is that sometimes the fraudsters are really good, and what looks like a legitimate job has a less obvious ulterior use.

trveskyll 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was involved in the warez scene as a cracker and a trader around the turn of the century. In a way it was a fun scene with groups that had strict hierarchies as in companies, the community aspect was strong, you could earn fame if you worked hard enough for it and had the skill, which was all pretty fascinating for us youngsters spending their nights in front of their PCs. In hindsight though, it was flatout stupid to participate in illegal activities over unencrypted IRC channels and FTP sites located at universities with hundreds of users. There were bouncers/tcp-tunnels and stuff, but many didn't care to use them. Things got scary when some of my affiliates got busted in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Buccaneer. Thankfully I got out without getting my ass burned.
everybodyknows 1 day ago 0 replies      
In certain cultures, someone who won't steal from a rich employer to help family members is considered disloyal, and has reason to fear ostracism. And this in a culture where family connections are paramount. Solution of one such employee, somewhere in the western Pacific: Tell any lie necessary to hide the fact.
charles-salvia 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ethics aside, at a certain point, you realize you can make a lot more money legally and legitimately using your technical skills than through any sort of "clever" technical scheme that involves hacking odometers or scamming people in some way.
okreallywtf 2 days ago 0 replies      
This must be a much more difficult offer to turn down if you are in an economically depressed nation where job prospects are not good. In the US, even though there are plenty of rough areas, if you are skilled and/or well educated you have a lot of opportunities so it is a lot easier to say no. If its the difference between basic necessities for your family or not its not so easy to "just say no".
wohlergehen 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is an incredibly powerful German anti-war poem titled "say no" [1], that I instantaneously associated with the title.

I think it's important for people involved with technology to have an ethical compass that of course includes criminal activities, but ideally also goes beyond that.

1: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/xxx123.html

nnd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never done anything explicitly illegal in the context of programming, but some opportunities which fall in the gray area of legality are just too tempting to pass upon.

I did consulting in reverse-engineering and provided documentation and tool too exploit certain vulnerabilities. Provided that I never used those tool myself for profit, the liability falls onto my clients, considering that I also signed a contract explicitly stating that.

The reason why I loved doing this work so much is because it was highly challenging, considerably more complicated than any software engineering job I ever had before. And more importantly I was extremely good at it, and more often than not I discovered something which no one ever did before. It felt like a mix of software development and scientific research.

Unfortunately when it comes to reverse-engineering, there are not many strictly "white hat" applications for it, besides pentesting and security audit. And naturally I missed building things and creating something which would actually make people's lives better.

HillaryBriss 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article enters a difficult grey area. What should one do when a family member requests something illegal and there's a possibility of retribution for refusing to do it? The solution: lying can be an acceptable way to avoid unethical behavior.

I applaud the author for doing the right thing. I'm not sure I would have been as ethical.

That said, my favorite line is: Salmon, French cheese, party time.

liotier 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just say no, but not for moral reasons: say no because, unless you are absolutely desperate, it is the most profitable choice. Relationships with dangerous people who gain blackmail leverage over you will end badly - probably badly enough to offset all prior gains.
mathattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had similar in school. A friend who was applying to grad school thought it would be easier to break into school systems than to study for class. I told him no. He eventually found his way into law school and politics.
Intermernet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have this wonderful image of the family member in question, after Jacques said "No", trying the Ferris Bueller method of putting the cars on blocks, putting them in reverse, and locking down the accelerator.
DonHopkins 2 days ago 1 reply      
So that explains why that taxi cab was driving backwards down my street in Amsterdam. I thought it was because it was a one-way street that was blocked around the corner.
orasis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen plenty of people fall into shady karma, especially my (ahem) peers in the early peer-to-peer space. Other than Zooko and Roger Dingeldine it seems most of the guys had to make a bunch of bullshit philosophical contortions about how associating with lowlifes and mobsters was OK. Some of those guys made money, a lot didn't, but their karma will forever be sullied.
SadWebDeveloper 2 days ago 0 replies      
meh... low risk = low reward, high risk = higher reward.

Morality/Ethics is POV problem.

jawns 2 days ago 4 replies      
> Just say no. And lie if you have to.

I'm extremely interested in the modern morality of lying, because on the one hand, we find some lies to be so heinous that they are career-ending (plagiarism among them), and some lies to be so necessary that _not_ lying is viewed as heinous (e.g. "Would you lie to an S.S. soldier about whether you were hiding Jews in your house?")

Here, Jacques spends the entire blog post trying to persuade people to avoid immoral behavior -- but then advocates lying. Is lying not immoral anymore?

I would be very interested in knowing what percentage of people view lying as objectively wrong, and how that has changed over time.

clarkmoody 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the quickest way to stifle innovation in software (or drive it out of the country) would be to implement a professional organization.
Learn2win 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes You just have to follow your heart. It's not about getting it right; it's about doing what's right.
pavel_lishin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what happens once you've already done the illegal thing, perhaps not even realizing that what you're doing is against the law.
israrkhan 2 days ago 0 replies      
During my undergrad I took a course "Ethical and Legal dimensions of Engineering". At that time I thought it was boring, but now I realizes how important such a course can be. A lot has changed over the past decade. Engineers have much more influence over the society than it used to be. There is definitely a need to develop a global code of conduct that does not change across geographic boundaries. All engineers should be taught that.
hvo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably one of the best articles i have read on Hacker News.Just straightforward.Keep it up.
minikites 2 days ago 5 replies      
>Fortunately, now the EU has made odometer fraud illegal

It only became illegal recently? I find that surprising.

gpsx 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it safe to report the crimes of dangerous people publicly and non-anonymously?
ryanisnan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you not worried that your family member reads hacker news? ;)
whatupmd 2 days ago 5 replies      
No, you should not be breaking the law.
sphinx65 2 days ago 0 replies      
What an incoherent article
aub3bhat 2 days ago 7 replies      
Meh, this is just ridiculous moral posturing.

Which laws are scared and which aren't?

Are you telling me that you never violated copyright, or say helped a friend install torrenting software ("technically clueless people who will attempt to use you and your skills as tools to commit some crime").

"Just say no" was the famous anti-drug slogan, we all know how that War On Drugs attitude ended up afflicting american society.

Finally even Supreme Court justices find this type of hard-line attitude ridiculous.


atmosx 2 days ago 2 replies      
> I grew up in Amsterdam, which is a pretty rough town by Dutch Standards.

I stopped reading after the first phrase because I disagree with the premise. Amsterdam ranks 12th in the "most liveable cities" according to the Telegraph[1].

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/galleries/The-worlds-most-...

How I got an FBI record at age 11 from dabbling in cryptography (2015) stanford.edu
509 points by tjalfi  1 day ago   121 comments top 20
Yabood 23 hours ago 8 replies      
Funny story, so in 2008 I was admitted as a refugee. I flew from Amman, Jordan and landed in Chicago. Everyone that had an IOM bag had to go to a designated area to get their fingerprints taken. So when it was my turn, the officer took my index fingerprint, waited a few seconds then gave me a look, a WTF look, but didn't say anything. A couple of minutes later, two homeland security officers showed up out of nowhere and escorted me to a holding area. I wanted to find out what was going on because I was the only one out of the entire group (100 people or so) that was getting this special treatment, but the officers ignored me. I waited, and waited, and waited, then when I asked again ~ four hours later I was told "Don't worry, you're going in either way". Long story short, The FBI had a record on me because I was a translator for the US Army in Baghdad, but the record didn't say whether I was one of the good guys or the bad guys, so they had to contact the FBI to see what's up. Fun times..
saganus 1 day ago 4 replies      
"We traced the glasses to your son from the prescription by examining the files of all optometrists in the San Diego area."

Wow, no wonder government agencies salivate at the idea of being able to monitor the whole Interwebs.

I know they now have orders of magnitude more data to process but still... that manual process must have been expensive and boring as hell.

I guess as an agent you would need to convince yourself that this was actually a very important task of defending your country or something. Otherwise I can imagine going crazy just doing this stuff for nothing...


Another quote I found amusing:

"The friendlier one eventually described how much it had cost to investigate another recent case where a person was reported to have pulled down an American flag and stepped on it. Only after the investigation was well under way did they learn that the perpetrator of this nefarious act was only four years old."

giancarlostoro 1 day ago 2 replies      
Great read also lead me to his mongrel[0] post which is equally a great read. I've heard different things about getting a clearance, such as depending on the company and job position it could speed up the process altogether. I've heard different things about it from (past and present) co-workers and family. His stories are quite a decent read, will have to bookmark his site.

[0]: http://web.stanford.edu/~learnest/les/mongrel.htm

13of40 1 day ago 3 replies      
A year or two after 9/11, I had a run-in with the FBI. I was living in an apartment, and one day at work, I got an email saying the local police were trying to contact me. I called them, and as the story went, the apartment people had come in to check my smoke alarm, and found some "suspicious items". It was never specified what the items were, but I think it was either my keg-o-rator or some of the electronics stuff I was always screwing with at the time. Or they just didn't like me as a tenant because my cats were tearing the place up. Anyway, I gave the local cop a tour of my apartment, thought everything was OK, then a couple of days later found a business card of an FBI agent on my porch, with "Call Me!" written on the back. So I called him back and arranged an apartment tour for him. (And here's how it ties into the article...) He showed up in a nondescript, white minivan, with another agent in tow, and they gave me what was, in retrospect, the most obvious good-cop, bad-cop routine you could imagine. He was a big, smiling, easy-talking buddy of a guy, and she was a harsh, suspicious hag of a battle-axe. I didn't have anything to hide, but looking back, if I did I might have totally fallen for it...
6stringmerc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love how the story ends with a loving discussion of cycling competition and thinking of safety by way of helmets. Meanwhile, as smart as the narrator might be, it's funny how easily things can be overlooked.

Cycling is one of the most cheating, dirty sports in the world. Sprinting is close, so is swimming. But talking about cyphers and codes and then somehow getting into a discussion about cycling just reminds me so much of Dr. Ferrari and Lance Armstrong.

If you're not cheating, you're not trying. If the FBI is on your tail, you've screwed up somewhere. The devil's in the details...

hackathonguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to read a book by the guy.

Amongst other achievements, Les Earnest was an actor, basketball manager and inventor of the search engine.


big_spammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Les is quite something. He helped setup SAIL, the AI lab in Stanford with John McCarthy, wrote the first search engine in 1961, and made the first self-driving car.



Oh, and he made the first social network: FINGER

unityByFreedom 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Two years later I regained my seat on the board as the riders finally figured out that the strong helmet rule was a good thing. It then started spreading around the world and has since become standard in racing organizations almost everywhere, saving hundreds of lives and preventing thousands of serious head injuries. Im proud of that.

Such a small section of this brief biography for such a valuable contribution.

I guess your most important life's work doesn't make as interesting a story as when you've gotten yourself into trouble.

kw71 1 day ago 1 reply      
> However about twelve years later I learned by chance that putting slightly provocative information on a security clearance form can greatly speed up the clearance process.

I remember reading this decades ago and wondering what this might be. Now he's explained it! I'm glad I looked at this again.

BoiledCabbage 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hasn't it been shown that mandatory helmet use has significantly reduced bike usage in the US?
sverige 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the government wasn't as good at monitoring things back in the 90s. I downloaded every version of PGP I could find once it was declared illegal for export. They don't even know what a dangerous guy I am, willing to use cryptography to keep them from reading my stuff.
kawsper 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is a recent video of him where he did a speech after being designated as a Significant Sig by Sigma Chi Fraternity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEx9R0quRR0&feature=youtu.be

He seems to have created a YouTube account just to post the video, so I got the chance to become his first subscriber!

What an interesting person, and what a life he have lived!

Nition 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bet this guy would've got along well with Richard Feynman.
tjalfi 21 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.saildart.org/FINGER.SAI[P,SYS]13 is the SAIL source code to Les Earnest's finger program.
sandworm101 1 day ago 2 replies      
These stories from more simple times are always a great read, but for me they illustrate exactly how different and more aggressive our world is. Sure, they were rounding people up and putting them in camps. That needs to be mentioned. But visits from the FBI can no longer be waved off and childhood fun. They really do come back to haunt you. Being investigated is far less dangerous than falsely claiming that you weren't. In the past this would go undetected but today's electronic paper trails don't forget such things. They will notice.

The involvement of the school officials, even the parents, is also cute. Modern law enforcement doesn't hesitate to go strait to the kids. It is not unusual for a cop to pull a kid out of a class for a "chat" that could see them jailed. Parents often only hear about such things long after the fact.

The image of FBI agents in a black limo is precious. That is intimidating FBI man 101. They still do the 'parked in the driveway reading notes' thing today, but only where they don't feel under any threat. If there is any potential for a firearm at the location, or any hint that the suspect is in any way dangerous, they don't hang around as potential targets. If you see them doing the parked thing, wave. Say hi. Or don't. To intimidate they must first be seen. They will keep up the act until someone notices them. If you really want to make their week, get in your car and drive away. They love a good slow speed "chase" before confronting you somewhere out in the world.

theparanoid 1 day ago 1 reply      
OT my uncle does underwater passive listening for the Naval Electronics Laboratory, same as in the fine article. Apparently whales can mess up the sound analysis.
michaelvoz 20 hours ago 1 reply      
bitwize 1 day ago 1 reply      
atomical 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Is your position that immigrants should be expedited through the immigration process?
nodesocket 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Ok, I get it you're a prolific hacker and well respected... But why does your website have to look like it's from 1994?
Ubers Anthony Levandowski out as Advanced Technologies lead amid legal fight techcrunch.com
397 points by petergatsby  3 days ago   200 comments top 11
encoderer 3 days ago 4 replies      
Worth remembering that Google paid this guy over $120 Million in compensation. He is a tech "1%"er, which really is saying a lot. That is hedge fund money.

I'm not certain, but I think the average engineer would feel more loyalty to a company that has given them multi-generational wealth.

I'm all for engineers getting paid, but in this case the guy didn't even have to do what most wealthy engineers do: deliver an actual successful product to market.

jacquesm 3 days ago 3 replies      
That's just Uber trying avoid having their self-driving car department shut-down. But it could definitely still happen. Maybe Uber should apply to Google's 'PatentShield' program ;)
glangdale 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can this conceivably make a difference at this late stage? Genuinely curious. Surely if a judge accepts the theory that Levandowski helped Uber's program along with stolen IP, having him 'no longer working on the program' at this stage would have to look like window dressing. Doesn't it just make them look worse, like they are admitting that there's a problem?
kaladaraos 3 days ago 6 replies      
Is there any reason not to be suspicious that Levandowski will just work on them unofficially?
kainolophobia 3 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of people are blaming Levandwoski for deceiving Google as though he were some sort of evil mastermind. Given the lack of care he's taken to hide from these inevitable accusations, one must question the intelligence of his actions. Instead, I think there might be a more simple explanation.

Levandowski is clearly a brilliant character. Is it possible that he's not trying to maximize monetary gain but is instead optimizing for power over the technology? I sense that he's good with technical implementation but possibly terrible at technical leadership/the politics necessary for seeing one's vision through in a larger organization.

If viewed in this light, it seems that Levandowski has constantly been frustrated by the direction (or lack thereof) within the organizations he's been a part of. Rather than starting side companies and jumping ship for profit, he's really just trying to maintain control over whatever vision he has for lidar-enabled self-driving technology.

Now this strategy for power breaks down a bit, because he keeps selecting the local maxima in terms of opportunity. When Google comes calling, he accepts. When Uber comes calling, he accepts. Constantly convinced that the next place will give him the power/respect he thinks he deserves.

In the end, rather than building up IP from scratch and making a good name for himself, he's stolen a bunch of work from other engineers while potentially building a patent-infringing product. (thoughts x-posted from the other thread)

DrNuke 3 days ago 1 reply      
Genuinely curious about the malicious behaviour at the root of this legal battle: if the case, was it worth it from the beginning? I mean, is there a lesson for the millions outsiders out of the SV microsystem reading this? In many different environments, you lose your job, credit and reputation for much less than this and for a fraction of the potential money involved.
dkarapetyan 2 days ago 2 replies      
So all this drama is kinda pointless. I mentioned in another thread that SV culture actively encourages this kind of behavior and ultimately I think folks buy into the system because everyone deep down thinks they're gonna become a millionaire this way.

I'm only watching because of morbid curiosity and really I have no stake in the outcome whatever it may be. Both companies are equally bad in my opinion and they are making things more and more unsustainable. The modern technology ecosystem feels very unhealthy in general.

sanguy 3 days ago 11 replies      
Anthony is overrated and a complete psychopath. He doesn't understand it's basic right from wrong. In his mind IP is boundless and his, not Googles. This comes from 5 years of working in fairly close contact. Zero morals. He is what's wrong with Silicon Valley - on equal grounds to Travis from Uber. I can completely see this all being planned for years just like circumventing the iPhone App Store rules. As a Google shareholder I demand they litigate until Uber and Anthony are where they deserve to be; jail.
throwaway90125 3 days ago 3 replies      
There is also a supposed conversation between him and Larry Page before he left. From what I've read, Larry supposedly knew a lot about the circumstances of his leaving, and what transpired in that meeting supposedly will undermine Waymo's position. He's being deposed, but apparently Uber is only allowed to ask him one question, which is odd.

Edit: downvoted as expected. I bet that 9 out of 10 people upvoting these stories and downvoting every comment that is in the least supportive of Uber or critical of Google are bitter Google employees.

zachruss92 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another day, another scandal.
Zilroy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny how actvities creating most unemployment attract most money.
Why Use Postgres? craigkerstiens.com
444 points by timf  12 hours ago   183 comments top 12
ainar-g 11 hours ago 7 replies      


Holy shit. Why hasn't anyone talked about it sooner? I've seen literally dozens of tables with

and with handmade validation against intersection. And there is even a union operation! Seriously, my mind is blown.

Rails even supports it!


unixhero 11 hours ago 10 replies      
Far too brief.

I would appreciate a really long text that would in a convincing manner explain why Postgres Is so awesome.

I work in the industry, and all I see are Oracle and Sybase everywhere. The experts are zealots also, not even having heard of Postgres. Not willing to believe a word I'm saying about Postgres.

I am already convinced of course, but the industry is not. Not finance, not trading, not telecom.

billions 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Postgres seems to have become the go-to relational database ever since MySQL fell in the hands of Oracle. Can anyone speak to how its json tree compares to MongoDB's document store in practice?
jerrysievert 10 hours ago 2 replies      
great read, but may I also suggest Array?

being able to have a field like:

 ingredients VARCHAR[]
and index like:

 USING GIN (ingredients)
and using an operator like @>

 SELECT * FROM table WHERE ingredients @> ARRAY['mushrooms', 'sour cream']
gives you such amazing flexibility and speed, it's not even funny.

also, while I was sad to not see PLV8 up there with PostGIS (an amazing extension, btw), I was still happy to see it mentioned with such gusto.

retox 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I rented some time on a vultr server recently and chose a prepackaged build which included a MySql install. Coming from a MS SQL background it felt positively medieval. I haven't migrated yet but from my research Postgres seems the closest competitor in the relational db space.

I considered MS SQL for Linux but the server alone required 3GB RAM...

fabian2k 10 hours ago 2 replies      
HyperLogLog sounds interesting, but looking at the Github page of that extension it mentions that it has been tested with the versions 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 and the last commit is 2014. Is it just finished and doesn't need any updates to keep up with newer Postgres versions? Or is it more of an abandonded project?
myth17 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Most important reason to use PostgreSQL : Constant Time Recovery (Recovery from long running transaction that rollback is instantaneous)
avenoir 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Has anyone done a serious implementation on top of full-text search functionality in Postgres? I have a pretty large dataset that's currently in Postgres and I'm deciding between it and Elasticsearch.
scurvy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a new way around the requirement to rebuild your entire replication topology after upgrading versions? (say 9.4 to 9.5) You get a new master ID when running the initdb step, and doing this throws everything else in the topology off. TIA
jgord 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Id love postgres even more if they had native support for writing stored procs [ functions ] in javascript.
Minikloon 11 hours ago 3 replies      
No disclaimer in the article that the author works for Citus.
hartator 11 hours ago 8 replies      
Even with the inclusion of JSONB, I think Postgres is still lagging behind MongoDB by enforcing schema. After so many years doing web apps, I am seeing very little interest to have to enforce 2 times the schema: one time in the DB via migtations and one time in the app itself via ORMs. Maybe I am missing something really obvious.

ps: I don't mind the downvoting. I am truly looking for answers.

Getting Closer to Mass Production of Bones, Organs, and Implants bloomberg.com
326 points by jgrahamc  2 days ago   56 comments top 13
Boothroid 2 days ago 1 reply      
Airway is mentioned, but this is one of the hardest parts to manufacture. Very little clinical success in this area so far: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37311038
Tharkun 2 days ago 1 reply      
An acquaintance of mine had a part of her skull replaced by a 3D printed part, made by Materialise. While it sounds spectacular, she was out of the hospital in days, none the worse for wear.
dghughes 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've read about coral being used as temporary structure for bone replacment but eventually the patient's own bone takes over replacing it.

You'd think a liver would be the easiest organ to grow since in adults a liver can regrow from a healthy piece. That's why you sometimes read about people donating part of their liver.

I think there will always be one big problem and that's the health of the patient. People who need a new organ are so sick they probably won't survive the operation to get a new organ. Anesthetic is like a controlled drug overdose but add age and poor health I can't imagine being an anesthesiologist that's one tough job!

systems 2 days ago 7 replies      
why aren't teeth implants and crowns getting cheaper because of 3D Printers

crowns and teeth implants should be a lot easier than other organs or bones

devrandomguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Who: Engineering Ph.D. dropout ..."

In other words, an ordinary professional engineer, who considered extending his formal education? Bit of a gaffe, there.

crusso 2 days ago 0 replies      
"getting closer"... that's not much to go on.

If you read the article skeptically, there isn't any news here - nothing that hasn't been reported prior to the last 2 or 3 years.

The big news will be when we can fabricate complex organs, significant patches of skin with features like hair follicles or fingerprints, etc. Notice that even the liver reference was just some liver tissue that was implanted in a mouse - not an actual liver or a human trial.

smaili 2 days ago 10 replies      
Has there been a term coined yet for people with these parts? I don't believe it would be classified as a cyborg since these are not machine-type parts. Although the parts are ironically produced by machines.
lallysingh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they'll be able to produce some of these parts in-place, inside the body, as part of the surgery. Otherwise, some parts may be too hard to implant.
afinlayson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very excited for this technology. But not as much as hockey players, who would love to be able to have their teeth replaced.
ricardobeat 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Ten-year old Organovo [...] has received more than $100 million in funding

I couldn't help but think of Juicero's $120m to design a flat mechanical press.

(yes, supply chain etc, but still...)

sbahr001 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello 6 million dollar man.
throwaway6556 2 days ago 1 reply      
Have We Forgotten about Geometry in Computer Vision? alexgkendall.com
401 points by AndrewKemendo  3 days ago   119 comments top 24
arketyp 2 days ago 5 replies      
My apprehension was that the computer vision community has been suffering some serious cognitive dissonance lately because here they spent all these years mapping problems to feature spaces of manageable dimensionality, backed by theory saying that proper assumptions must be made to reduce the search space; and then comes these deep nets, hardly tailored to the problems, and out-performs algorithms with decade old history of fine-tuning.

Despite this, I don't think anyone disputes the potential of a good set of assumptions. Instead I think what deep learning has thought us is that we should reconsider what these assumptions should be. While geometry might well be the first kind of language a toddler learns to think in, this should probably not be confused with the rigorous geometry of Euclid. Quite possibly we have some spatial relationships such as the affine transformations hard-coded in our brain at birth, but this does not mean, for instance, that one is therefore necessarily ever able to to draw a house in correct perspective.

andreyk 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have a feeling people are going to reply without reading this through and assume the author poses a Deep Learning vs Classic CV sort of argument, in a deep-learning-is-overrated sort of way. Whereas it seems to me he is merely saying Deep Learning should be informed by Classic CV.

"I think were running out of low-hanging fruit, or problems we can solve with a simple high-level deep learning API. Specifically, I think many of the next advances in computer vision with deep learning will come from insights to geometry."

And it's true. A lot of the low-hanging fruit have been gotten, and stuff like SLAM is not about to be done wholly by deep learning (probably). There are a lot of problems that require more insight and analysis than 'throw a deep network at a large dataset'. As he concludes

"learning complicated representations with deep learning is easier and more effective if the architecture can be structured to leverage the geometric properties of the problem."

And thinking about what the architecture should is basically the hard bit in deep learning.

cmontella 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think there's still a lot of room for exploiting geometry. In particular, it leads to very simple models that require little training, and most importantly are completely transparent in how they work. I did some work on a robotic wheelchair that exploited the prevalence of poll-like objects in the environment (trees, parking meters, street lamps) to localize. The model just looked for cylindrical objects and matched them against a map that we generated a priori.

Deep models are best suited when you don't know what features are important in your model. For us, it was straight forward with the radius and orientation of the poll object, so a deep model would have probably been the wrong approach.

trevyn 2 days ago 4 replies      
However, these models are largely big black-boxes. There are a lot of things we dont understand about them.

I'm getting kind of sick of this "deep learning is a black box" trope, because it's really not true anymore. Yes, it's a black box if you just use "some data and 20 lines of code using a basic deep learning API" as mentioned in the article. But if you spend some time understanding the architecture of networks and read the latest literature, it's pretty clear how they function, how they encode data, and how and why they learn what they do.

Because neural networks are so dramatically more effective than they used to be, in so many domains, it's true that we don't yet have a good understanding of optimal ways to build, train, and optimize networks. But that is exactly why there is so much excitement -- because there is a lot to discover, and a lot of progress that can be made quickly.

I agree with the author that fundamental physical and geometric approaches are still relevant and useful, and have been somewhat ignored recently, but the fact remains: If you and I as individuals want to maximize our personal impact, and capture as much value as we can while working on interesting problems, deep learning is an excellent field in which to do that.

It's kind of like we just discovered a nice vein of gold, and the silver miners are like "yeah, but we don't know much about that vein of gold and how long it will last." Which is true, but in the meantime, there's a lot of easy money to be made, and ultimately, both types of resources are important and synergistic.

Eerie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check this out

"Learning 3D Models from a Single Still Image"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWbEsDbfayc

"3-D Reconstruction from a Single Still Image"http://cs.stanford.edu/people/asaxena/reconstruction3d/

"Make3D: Convert your still image into 3D model"http://make3d.cs.cornell.edu/

Stanleyc23 3 days ago 4 replies      
Not that forgotten, right? Isn't SLAM almost pure geometry? I don't think stuff like LSD-SLAM or any structure from motion stuff has deep learning built in.
MichailP 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a perfect thread to ask a question that is itching me for some time. Is anyone aware of deep learning approaches or some combo with geometry algorithms for mesh generation? Something like quad, hex or tetrahedral meshing aided with deep learning?
state_less 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be keen on doing or learning about a mapping from spatial tree to 2d raster and have the inverse (dual) mapped back to a spatial tree via a deep learning model, though I'm not sure how you'd represent the shapes and transform matrices. Maybe some sort of matrix stream like char2vec?

A nice property of such an experiment, you could generate your training data via permutations of the spatial trees.

You may have to accept multiple valid answers, since one could correctly say, the ball is to the left of the car, or the car is to the right of the ball.

antman 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is the cost/benefit in this? Is it appropriate to divert resources to older techniques because we haven't yet figured how to do it in the new way? Yes we can score a few points but that is an advancement only to an academic setting.

We used to need PhDs to do simple Computer Vision applications and object recognition in a meaningful matter was a far away dream. Now a child can make an application on its Raspberry Pi, because the new way of doing things is generalizable. You don't need to spend huge amounts of time redoing things just to get to the basics and reach the state of the art as it was 20 years ago.

Should we reintroduce the old ways for the quick wins, or should we divert our research resources to try to solve unsolved problems? The GPU will get cheaper the cloud GPUs will be cheaper.

So this is the state of things today. If somebody wants to advertise his paper's submission to a conference good for him but it should not be presented as an important advancement that should be the new way of doing things. Because it isn't.

When we decide that its feasible to send robots to the planets or even build robots on them, building chessboards to do rectification of the cameras should not be one of their tasks.

Disclaimer: I had horse in this race too, I was on the losing side of the deep learning argument, I was wrong, I got over it.

krosaen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of a cool paper I came across recently, Spatial Transformer Networks [1], a good example of how knowledge of geometry helps frame the problem more effectively, allowing the network to learn how to e.g rotate objects into a canonical orientation before identifying them.

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1506.02025

santaclaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
> In computer vision, geometry describes the structure and shape of the world. Specifically, it concerns measures such as depth, volume, shape, pose, disparity, motion or optical flow.

Isn't optimization geometry? DL is just shifting the requisite geometric insights to a different level of abstraction. Take that knowledge of geometry, revolutionize non-convex optimization, and let all fields that build on the base abstraction benefit.

richard___ 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have a hunch an understanding of classical control will also lead to much better results than the deep RL stuff people are doing for ML based control
phkahler 2 days ago 5 replies      
>> For example, one of my favourite papers last year showed how to use geometry to learn depth with unsupervised training.

I've been saying that LIDAR is a hack for some time. People don't need it and neither should computers.

taeric 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is making the odd assumption that our previous abstractions should play well with our current abstractions of pixels.

My feeling is that the "perfect" abstraction of reality to geometry is actually a very high order function that we don't fully understand. An easy example is parallel lines aren't always parallel, even though that is a common geometry affordance.

So, that our current toolset does not play well with our previous one should not be that surprising. Would it be nice if they did? Yes. But it would also be nice if Newtonial physics played well with quantum physics.

Why? Tough to answer. Not impossible, but above my ability to understand.

anjc 2 days ago 0 replies      
It isn't just a case of deep learning vs stereo geometry, you can have many cameras informing/improving depth analysis.

I've been out of the loop for while, but I'd be mind-blown if people were happy to rely on deep learning for depth reconstructions in domains like...self-driving vehicles, versus provably accurate, fault tolerant systems with multiple cameras + geometry.

And what are the hardware requirements typically like for DNN with high resolution images for real time reconstruction? Are we well past the stage where it's real time and accurate?

osi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was just reading https://blog.openai.com/adversarial-example-research/ and it struck me that an understanding of geometry might help. For the examples and scenarios cited, the geometries of the two items would be different (sometimes markedly, sometimes less, like washer-vs-safe).
tmsldd 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can afford data and computing power, dpl is the way to go... you don't need to think much to get the thing done quickly.. but in my eyes , having a suitable mathematical description to a particular problem always give you useful insights with respect to the problem, variables and its relationships and this is actually what most of us are looking for..
kordless 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who here visualizes, but does not have strong spatial skills?
martijn_himself 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apologies for asking a computer vision related but off-topic question: does anyone know where to start if I wanted to track moving objects (players) in a (sports) video? Is there a 'general purpose' open-source library out there anyone would recommend or is this not 'trivial' to implement (I presume non of this is trivial stuff)?
osdf 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are several nice references within the article. I think the gvnn, Neural Network Library for Geometric Computer Vision, (https://arxiv.org/abs/1607.07405) should also be mentioned.
real-hacker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am wondering if a properly structured deep net can capture these Geometry features with a few layers, if these features are relevant to the problem?

Is this reflecting our human arrogance that we simply know better than AI neural networks?

ouid 2 days ago 0 replies      
"not many problems that aren't solved by deep learning"

The problems that deep learning doesn't solve aren't solved by anything else either. There's still lots of computer vision that we cannot do.

latently 2 days ago 1 reply      
"However, these models are largely big black-boxes. There are a lot of things we dont understand about them."

This describes geometry as well as it describes deep learning.

duality 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that convolutional neural nets are used in vision is significant. The convolutional structure encodes the geometry.
TypeScript 2.3 microsoft.com
364 points by DanRosenwasser  3 days ago   115 comments top 26
octref 3 days ago 1 reply      
Author of vetur[0] here, glad to see it getting featured :-)

Started this plugin last October to provide better editor support for Vue single file component, now vetur has support for embedded IntelliSense / error-checking / syntax-highlighting / emmet / snippet / linting / formatting. By embedded support I mean each feature is available for at least html/css/js, some features are also available for scss/less/ts/etc.

@sandersn from TS team has been really helpful in helping me integrating TS's Language Server to powers the advanced IntelliSense in vetur. As vue / vuex / vue-router now comes with type definitions, you get awesome auto completion such as [1] and [2].

Now that IntelliSense in js/ts sections is almost complete, vetur's next step is to use TS's Language Server to extract info from Vue SFC's script part to power IntelliSense in templates, such as prompting a list of `props` for `v-if`, and prompting a list of `methods` for `@click`.

Give it a try and let me know any bugs or features you want to see!

[0]: https://github.com/octref/vetur[1]: https://twitter.com/octref/status/854812632142024705[2]: https://twitter.com/octref/status/857350977581723648

msoad 3 days ago 1 reply      
TypeScript opening up plugin APIs is going to lead to a massive number of interesting project. I'm tracking a few of them that are done before 2.3 was out. Very interesting stuff:

* TypeScript CSS Modules plugin [1]. It allows you to type check CSS classes etc.

* TypeScript Vue plugin [2]. Type check .vue files. Competing with the one mentioned in the article

* TypeScript GraphQL plugin [3]. Type check GraphQL queries

I desperately need TypeScript React Hot Module Replacement Plugin. If someone is working on it please let me know!

[1] https://github.com/HerringtonDarkholme/ts-css-plugin

[2] https://github.com/sandersn/vue-ts-plugin

[3] https://github.com/Quramy/ts-graphql-plugin

anonyfox 3 days ago 5 replies      
Since 2.1 ts is becoming a de-facto default choice for any serious JS projects I'd say. In conjunction with VSCode it really shines and makes JS sometimes even enjoyable...

But there is an issue that quirks our team almost daily: the bolted-on typesystem provides a false sense of safety. You can look at an API response, write an interface for the data structure, build functionality ontop of it, and when the API response structure changes in subtle ways over time, everything may break without notice. There is no way to enforce an interface through casting anywhere, not even via some code generation or sth like that.

macrael 3 days ago 10 replies      
I'd love a pro con from someone who's really tried out both TypeScript and Flow. I tried to get either of them started last weekend and couldn't get to a good place. Flow was missing annotations for three.js and typescript didn't seem to support es6isms. I found a compiler for the typescript definitions file for threejs but also couldn't sort out how to actually import that into flow.
rattray 3 days ago 1 reply      
Highlights / tl;dr:

- ability to check .js files

- default type parameters (eg; `class Component<Props, State = object> {}`)

- generators/iterators (including async-generators, a stage 3 proposal).

- `--strict` flag to easily give you --strictNullChecks, --noImplicitAny, --noImplicitThis, and --alwaysStrict

- language server plugins are official (the Angular and Vue ones were promoted in particular)

skrebbel 3 days ago 4 replies      
Now that typescript can compile generators down to ES5 and ES3, you could reasonably replace Babel by tsc entirely, right? I mean, with its --allowJs flag it's really just a javascript transpiler. Async/await, generators, JSX, array/object spread, destructuring.. it's all in there.

Did anyone try this? We're doing a hybrid babel/ts app and it wouldn't hurt ditching one of the two tools.

fahrradflucht 3 days ago 0 replies      
My personal Gem in this release: Generic parameter defaults. [0] This makes altering a generic interface or a generic type alias in a non-breaking way much easier which is very powerfull in a large code base.

[0]: https://github.com/Microsoft/TypeScript/wiki/What's-new-in-T...

chamakits 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is fantastic!

Allowing type checking on js files with comments will allow me to start improving our exciting hard to maintain large code base. I attempted to do this with flow as well before, and it did the job well enough (although at the beginning I ran into a number of issues), but I have a preference for TypeScript, and the next time I work on that project I will likely be doing heavy usage of this.

styfle 3 days ago 0 replies      
The language service API is huge! One of the main reasons I even bothered to learn React was because TypeScript supported type checking JSX.

Back when I picked up TS, I was using Handlebars for templating. The templates were the only part of the code that didn't type check which was really annoying when doing something like "Refactor all references". I tried to write my own templating[0] and realized I was basically reinventing JSX, so I wrote a react boilerplate[1].

The language service is going to make Vue, Angular, Svelt, and any other template syntax way more attractive.

[0]: https://github.com/styfle/typed-tmpl

[1]: https://github.com/styfle/react-server-example-tsx

simplify 3 days ago 0 replies      
The GraphQL plugin[1] looks great. I was eagerly waiting for Flow's tooling to catch up because of their GraphQL support, but I guess TypeScript is running laps :)

[1] https://github.com/Quramy/ts-graphql-plugin

snugbug 3 days ago 4 replies      
I hope TS adds native Swift-style optional values and chaining, where it fails at compile time if you try to access an optional without unwrapping it first. Conversely non-optional values cannot be null!

There are projects that add optional functionality (https://www.npmjs.com/package/ts-optional), but I don't see how it prevents you from setting regular values to null.

Too 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if this "type checking with comments" is a good thing or not. On one hand it might convert some hesitant users, on the other hand it will cause some code bases to stay like half assed js-with-comment-annotations forever instead of being converted to proper typescript once and for all.

It will also require extreme discipline, like a CI build machine checking each commit, because the comments allow clueless people to edit the code like plain JS and not get any compilation errors, later when the next person comes and edits it with a typescript compiler they will get a broken build. If everybody works under the same circumstances, i.e always typescript, this is less likely to happen

bsimpson 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if the plugin system will evolve into an AST-transform ecosystem like Babel's.
homulilly 3 days ago 0 replies      
for all the problems I have with Microsoft and some of their other products, I really have to say that the typescript and vscode teams are doing a phenomenal job. Every release is a vast improvement over an already great set of tools. don't think I've been as excited to see new release announcements since the early days of Firefox.
tabeth 3 days ago 1 reply      
Was @ts-check just added in this version? I assume so, but if not -- is it possible to use TypeScript and just @ts-check and get basically the full type-checking power (assuming the items to be checked follow the standard lib)?
alistproducer2 3 days ago 1 reply      
>Previously, TypeScript didnt support compiling generators or working with iterators.

I had no idea. That seems like a big deal, no?

mosen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just upgraded our version to TS 2.3, removed Babel (which we were using for generator support), and it cut our build time in half.
dkarapetyan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anders and team are like programmer whisperers. Every design decision has been a productivity boon.
mullsork 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only the Flow team was half as active as TS. Is there even any reason to use Flow long term or are they eventually going to tell their users to either switch to TS or that ML thing of theirs?
nojvek 3 days ago 0 replies      
The checkJS option is awesome. I believe a ton of opensource JS projects on the web can benefit from this. Unlike flow which is written in a different language and has little tooling, typescript can now just act as a type checker, with vscode offer great intellisense and generally play very well with existing build tools.

This is just fucking awesome. I see Types as a way of documenting your code for the other team members who will use your API.

myth_drannon 3 days ago 1 reply      
added type checking for JS files // @ts-check in similar fashion to //@flowTrying to eat up market share from Flow
xellisx 2 days ago 2 replies      
TypeScript, a higher level version of something that is super high level in the first place. So it's converting from one scripting language to another, not straight down to byte code. So you are developing a sitcom for the Northern American market, but decide to write it in Mexican Spanish, to be translated to American English. Great! It has the same issues as ORMs. Javascript isn't that hard. As for ORMs - How many database changes are you planing on doing? ORMs seam nice for simple stuff, but still ended up slowing stuff down just on the simple stuff (See translating to Mexican Spanish to American English). Start doing complex stuff like joins and join with extra information, then it's just that much overhead.

If you can't do JavaScript, find someone that can. Can't do query in which ever database, find someone skilled in said database. Can't do CSS... Can't do HTML, GTFO of the business.

eberkund 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm curious, what frameworks are people using TypeScript with? Is it mostly Angular or are people using it with others also?
skocznymroczny 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Dart for a few months. What advantages does TypeScript have?
saosebastiao 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would the plugin system allow for things like conditional compilation or closure-like optimizations?
INTPenis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know MS has really changed lately and even I have taken to using their Visual Studio Code editor instead of vim. But it's kinda funny that the first link I click in this blog post is 404. :) Classic MS.
Instead of containers, give me strong config and deploy primitives abe-winter.github.io
332 points by awinter-py  3 days ago   175 comments top 32
erulabs 2 days ago 9 replies      
So... systemd + Ansible?

I really disliked SystemD before I got my hands dirty with it. Assuming you're developing with any modern language, the language itself probably wraps OS differences anyways (Node / Golang / Rust / Ruby / Python / anything-libUV-based to name a few), not like you can convince developers to change their habits anyways.

People act like Docker makes builds reproducible by magic, then go on to not pin any Golang deps or curl internet resources or not generate lockfiles for NPM, ad infinitum.

There is and never will be a shield operations people can put around their developers. You just need good developers. If you want SoA scaling or automatic cloud configuration, why not just use the most established tools available? Linux's init system and kernel _already do_ resource management, even outside of LXC. People act like a "cloud scheduler" is the only thing that lets multiple processes work together.

This whole idea of isolation is also really inane. Each app will have different disk, io, network, cpu requirements. I also dream of the day Kubernetes can do this "sorting" better than an experienced operations team can, but that day is _far off_ (and I will die before I put redis/mysql/postgres/cassandra/any-other-mature-datastore behind docker and iptables)

wahern 3 days ago 1 reply      

 If youre deploying C programs that rely on system libraries, things may get tricky if you cross flavors or versions of linux. But you can probably deploy static-linked executables more easily than setting up docker.
For various reasons static linking isn't a good idea for C applications. glibc doesn't work well when statically linked. musl works well. But glibc has strong backward compatibility using symbol versioning. It's not usually worth the trouble to build and link aginst musl if your distro uses glibc. What you should be worried about are all the other third-party libraries, which aren't often written to be statically linked--because of namespace pollution, because of slightly different semantics between dynamic and static code, especially at application startup.

Fortunately, Linux supports packaging apps much like macOS bundles, where all shared objects are kept under a relocatable subtree. When building a binary that will be installed in bin/, for example, just use the following GCC flags:

 -Wl,-rpath,'$ORIGIN/../lib' -Wl,--enable-new-dtags
The first flag tells the linker to find libraries in the lib/ directory adjacent to the binary file itself. The second flag tells the linker to try LD_LIBRARY_PATH first rather than the embedded rpath. Debugging and regression testing can be very difficult without the ability to use LD_LIBRARY_PATH, and unfortunately LD_LIBRARY_PATH has lower precedence than embedded rpaths, thus the need for --enable-new-dtags to change the default behavior.

Note that $ORIGIN is a special string that is expanded by the runtime linker, not by the shell at compile time. It's an unfortunate choice of syntax. Getting $ORIGIN to pass through to the compiler without being evaluated by a shell can be tricky when dealing with recursive make and shell invocations, such as from an RPM spec file.

Another example: when building a Lua module I'll use

 -Wl,-rpath,'$ORIGIN/../..' -Wl,--enable-new-dtags
because Lua modules are usually installed under $(prefix)/lib/lua/5.?/, two directories below lib/.

jph 3 days ago 3 replies      
> "If you develop on linux and run on linux and youre in a deploy-as-source language, you may not care that much about repeatable builds."

If you develop in Elixir or Erlang, there's an additional issue that containers (such as docker) tend to interfere with hot code reload.

There are work-in-progress solutions (such as Elixir Distillery) that emphasize turning your app into a single package which can be deployed anywhere.

Even if you don't use Elixir, you may enjoy seeing how the Distillery packaging system works, and how hot code reload works.

A good intro is http://www.east5th.co/blog/2016/12/26/deploying-elixir-appli...

olalonde 3 days ago 1 reply      
> What will it take to build this? 6 months x 3 smart devs who understand the linux kernel. So like $600k.

It seems like PaaSes are the new JavaScript frameworks[0]. Kubernetes now has most of the "critical pieces" mentioned and Helm addresses the "rigid" config criticism. It's not newbie proof yet but I doubt your 1.5 man-year project would get anywhere close to K8s is in terms of maturity and stability. Please do your homework and consider contributing to an existing project before re-inventing the wheel.

[0] https://github.com/search?q=paas

zie 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nomad [0] does some of this already:

 * config file for resources. * It does log capture/delivery mostly. * it does chroot exec. * it handles network ports, file paths, etc * handles batch workloads.
It can't handle the load balancer piece directly, but if you use the consul tie-in, you can make it work, since it does service discovery, and then something like fabio [1] /traefik can handle load-balancing.

[0] https://www.nomadproject.io/[1] https://github.com/fabiolb/fabio[2] https://docs.traefik.io/

DonbunEf7 3 days ago 4 replies      
Have you seen Nix? It can be used in this way, and its configuration language is relatively good.
state_less 3 days ago 2 replies      
People like the idea of isolation that containers (LXC) provide. We don't have to worry about stepping on toes, my container works with any number of other containers running on the same host, not sometimes, all times.

The env is moving fast, Kubernetes and Helm are on a tear. It's also worth taking another look at cluster standup CoreOS+Vagrant/Tectonic/Minikube/kubeadm are filling in gaps.

brango 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've started using K8s and so far so good. Minikube makes local dev easy. However, I use K8s with ansible. So now I can:

* Build a fully baked container for local use

* Build a container that mounts my local filesystem for the code directory so I can have a sane dev-test cycle with hot-code reloading

* Mount a directory when running locally containing credentials for accessing Google Cloud services

* Spin up a K8s cluster in arbitrary GKE accounts, template and deploy my deployment and service accounts, pin some with external IPs, etc

* Push containers to GCR

* Deploy my containers wherever - shared directory ones can only run locally.

This is for an architecture with about 4 microservices and that will probably grow.

Now I'm working on an ansible playbook to zip the code directory of one of my microservices, upload it to GCS, then run a build container on my cluster to build the docker image for my microservice and push to GCR from there so I don't have to waste time pushing large containers up to GCR. Once this is done I'll look at promoting containers through dev/test/prod environments since all config will be done with env vars.

I've never read about using ansible with K8s, but to me it's a no-brainer. Most people seem to cobble together bash scripts, but using the best of both has really led to a good experience.

The benefit we hope to get is isolation and cost efficiency.

xuejie 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the awesome article by the founder of skyliner: https://blog.skyliner.io/the-happy-genius-of-my-household-2f...

Google built Borg/Kubernetes because they own all the host machines which are super powerful, and they need multiple apps on one machine to cut cost. But for the rest of us building apps, different VMs provided by cloud provider, such as EC2, already provides a nice way of resource isolation that is also cheap, so why do we need to run multiple containers per machine? Suppose c4.4xlarge is too big for your app, for cost effective reason, you want to leverage Kubernetes to run multiple apps on the same VM, why not just spawn multiple c4.xlarge or c4.2xlarge VMs, and run only one app per VM for you?

I admit this model won't fit us all, but for a significant number of us, this is already a good enough solution like containers, and it works today without needing to setup all kinds of fancy software defined networks, which we never know how long it's gonna last without signaling an issue.

colemickens 2 days ago 3 replies      
"It also gave me a duct tape feeling or batteries not included like the critical pieces (docker support, DNS, load balancing) werent integrated into the original design."

I'm sorry, this article^H^H^H^H^H rant isn't worth reading. I don't understand why people write these posts where they so poignantly display their complete ignorance alongside their strongly held opinions. It's tacky and doesn't reflect well.

Load balancing is literally built-in via kube-proxy, NodePort and/or CloudProvider integration. Kube-DNS has existed for years (and is intentionally removable, but not at all duct-taped on). And the claim that Kubernetes didn't have Docker support... I mean, I literally don't even know what to say to that.

djsumdog 3 days ago 1 reply      
So many docker containers I use at work just have a ton of apt-get or yum statements (depending on a debian or centos base) and people rarely pin dependency versions. I really feel for the "repeatable build" issue, not to mention dependency rot.

If you want to keep things up to date, there are many examples scripts out there that either 1) checking to see if your base container is out of date (if someone updated jessie:8, you should rebuild) and 2) checking if any packages are out of date (sometimes limiting to just security updates) meaning you run apk, yum, apt, etc. within each container (or extract their package lists and examine them outside the container).

You gain a lot in the isolation, but debugging can become more difficult and you've introduced new areas of dependency rot.

I generally like containers, but hate how there are so many different orchestration formats (k8s, marathon, nomad, swarm, etc.) many different network layers (weave, flannel, etc.) and many different ways to package/fit components together (CoreOS, DC/OS, etc.)

The ecosystem is messy.

agermanov 3 days ago 3 replies      
"6 months x 3 smart devs who understand the linux kernel. So like $600k."

Show me that $400k/year linux kernel job.

vidarh 3 days ago 0 replies      
rkt seems to meet his "define resource access in a config file" requirement in principle.

The separation in rkt between setting up the isolation and handling the images or running of the code means that you can opt to launch a rkt image in anything from an actual chroot to a full container or even a full VM, or you can write your own if you have weird needs (e.g. if you want to do a seccomp-bpf type sandbox, you can do that).

E.g. I have deployments with etcd in a chroot (using rkt), and the rest deployed as containers, which with rkt defaults to use systemd-nspawn, and which means they have systemd running as the init in the container too and logging goes straight to the journal just like everything else.

Cron really depends on scale. For small deployments it's simple enough to simply use a cron or systemd and use a simple wrapper that uses e.g. Etcd or Consul or even a database table to arbitrate who gets to run for jobs that shouldn't run more than once. In practice depending on exactly what you do it's often simpler/better to write the jobs so it doesn't matter if they're started more than once anyway. Seen too many nasty surprises in systems where people just assumed nobody would ever end up with the scripts overlapping in time only for something to slow down processing until they do just that anyway. If you're first doing that, all you need to do to handle a smaller distributed system is to put your locking mechanism somewhere shared.

At scale it becomes more complex, but the overall principle still holds, though you may want to separate scheduling aka. the various distributed cron's.

As for load balancer, I agree it needs standardising, but it really is a small enough issue for smaller setups that it's fairly easy to solve. I've come to rely on setups that uses Nginx and rewrites incoming hostnames to a local hostname (e.g. foo.com => foo.com.service) and use resolvers in Nginx to point them to a SkyDNS instance. That means all the container config needs to do is set/delete Etcd keys to receive traffic for a given hostname.

But there's several load balancers out there that now can pull config directly from a suitable shared datastore, be it Redis or Etcd etc.

jacques_chester 3 days ago 2 replies      
> When I used kube in 2016 the cluster turnup support was bad; it seemed like you could use it managed in the G cloud but not anywhere else.

You might like to look at Kubo[1], which was jointly built by Googlers and Pivots to make this more manageable. We built it based on requests from joint customers who want BOSH as their infrastructure-level platform and the choice of Cloud Foundry or Kubernetes for application-level platform.

[1] https://github.com/pivotal-cf-experimental/kubo-deployment

edit: forgot my usual disclosure. I work on Cloud Foundry for Pivotal, though not on Kubo.

scarface74 3 days ago 2 replies      
No real opinion about anything in the article except the use of config files.

After using Consul, I never want to go back to config files again.


noway421 3 days ago 0 replies      
>kind of like a fancy chroot

You might argue that containers are fancy chroots. They are just built from scratch and packed each time

oneplane 3 days ago 2 replies      
This exactly hits the problem with containers (and especially Docker and Kubernetes, but to a lesser extent CoreOS's model as well). The crows that seems to like/use it seem to be the people that aren't responsible for maintenance, security etc. and may not want to become the responsible party either. It's often developers that are either simply a lone wolf or part of a team that is big enough that release management falls on one or two people and 'the rest' just wants to churn out code in 'their way' and have that 'way' magically work in production too. Sadly, that is not how the world works.

You will always need some form of configuration management, release management, infrastructure and operations, no matter how compartmentalised and 'serverless' the software coders think they are. Right now, the idea seems to be that if you stick your code and practically a complete user land in a container, you don't have to do those things, as if old style deployments were the reason for those practises to be in place. Obviously, it is the other way around, and by trying to bypass them, you will run into the exact problems they are meant to prevent. (i.e. not knowing what is available/what is released, not knowing the configuration within the infrastructure in a global scale, not knowing the side-effects of two opposing configurations because you have no management for that, not knowing what versions are used because it is spread out over different/many unmanaged files inside containers somewhere, not knowing what is secure/patched, not knowing what else is influencing your environment, no control over parameters that should be globally overridden...)

We take a different approach: you get do write your software, and may only configure requirements within its context. Those have to be defined in a SaltStack Formula with sane defaults, that has to run in a local environment, but also DTAP-style chains of environments with no changes to the app. You don't get a say in what it will run on, but your required facilities will be available. If it doesn't pass automated testing (i.e. sticking it in a VM, running a highstate and expecting a working app) it doesn't get passed to DevOps and you're stuck until you fixed your stuff. With regards to scaling, we make sure that a few calls are always available to the app and/or it's formula, so that we can register where it is and connect it to the correct balancing pools (i.e. incoming requests, but also FS, DB, queue pools). When it's up, it registers, and as long as the automatic health checks pass it gets requests sent to it. If the load is too high, we scale up, if it's been idle too long it scales down. But the app/software/code isn't aware of that nor does it need to be, and using the reactor system, we don't need 'extra' management software to make that happen. You set your KPI's and health checks where you need them, just like you would on any other setup, and you're golden.

discordianfish 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the higher level goals are pretty much aligned with those of kubernetes. That it uses 'containers' to achieve this, is just a side effect.

And it's surprising flexible! You don't need any overlay networking, you can just define a IP range and it will 'just work' as long as your nodes are in the same ethernet segment. If you grow to more than, let say, 500-1000 pods, you need some routing but still can do without overlay networks.

I'm currently working on a project where I use the kubelet standalone. I can give it a pod manifest and it will make sure the specified containers are running. This doesn't need any cluster components or data stores and is already useful for tiny use cases. Also using this now for my tests instead of docker-compose.

hosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't resource access like that found in CloudFoundry or Chef Habitat?

Isn't load balancer standardization found with Kubernetes Ingress? Though it doesn't let you select the lb algorithm though.

Isn't cron found in Kubernetes Cron Jobs?

exabrial 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's sort of what systemd could have been, before it tried to do everything.

Kiss is not something the systemd designers don't seem to understand, nor modularity

matt_wulfeck 3 days ago 2 replies      
> my iterative dev setup often isnt that similar to my under docker setup

This seems like a strange complaint to me, because it's one of the best things about iterating with docker. Make a change, do a build (super quick because of fs layers) then run it. If it works, ship it!

Not only that, but now I can do the same thing in Windows. It's a wonderful time to develop linux applications.

EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
"What will it take to build this?

6 months x 3 smart devs who understand the linux kernel. So like $600k."

Really? $600k for three smart developers for 6 months?

So a smart Linux kernel developer costs $400k per year all-in?

How about various web and node.js developers LOL. Where are the other fields with comparable costs?

moondev 3 days ago 0 replies      
kubernetes + vault is a powerful combo.
apeace 3 days ago 1 reply      
Everything the author describes sounds like docker-compose to me. Combine that with Convox and you've got a powerful, easy-to-use cloud platform.
leecarraher 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like this concept, but maybe add sandboxing too.
alanfranzoni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something like Ubuntu MAAS? https://maas.io/
exawsthrowaway 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in a project like this if it was targetting FreeBSD.
siegecraft 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with strong config and deploy primitives + containers?
educar 3 days ago 0 replies      
So you are asking for cloudron?
bloaf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't all of this be provided by the Plan9 paradigm?
mbrumlow 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just want bare metal servers. I really don't get the craze over containers.

EDIT: spelling, sorry bears, no metal for you.

anonyfox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that sees the container-stuff as an intermediate stepping stone until AWS lambda (or similar offerings) can be applied on every coding Problem?
How to talk about yourself in a developer interview stackoverflow.blog
424 points by NickLarsen  2 days ago   189 comments top 24
tn135 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is one of the best blogs on the topic and as someone who has easily cracked all big tech company interviews I can say this is a good piece of advice.

I will make following broad points:

1. Never walk into that room without practicing. Practice before a mirror, practice before a friend, practice in a car. Have a written script and optimise it to remove redundancy, highlight achievements etc.

It is not about repeating what you have practiced but having a free flowing conversation where you don't have to struggle for words, sentences all while maintaining a confident posture.

2. Converse not interview

A lot of people fail to keep the conversation going. It is not like a FBI investigation. It is more like a friendly banter. Think of a scenario where you are talking to a potential roomie. It is okay to walk out of that interview without an offer but then you should feel good about having conversed with another geek just like you.


Maintain the mindset outside of interview preparation. Most people fail at this.

Good interview preparation begins months ahead. You need to look at your co-worker's code, give them feedback, learn to make needless improvements in your existing code, solve algorithms and discuss technical problems on stack overflow and else where. Built a mindset where you are able to talk about technical work to other people. Speak more, listen more and advice more at least 3 months ahead.

lettersdigits 2 days ago 48 replies      
> What is the hardest technical problem you have run into?

I never seem to find a quick good answer for this.

Maybe I just almost never work on REAL hard things.

So my question to you, HNers, is :

What is the hardest technical problem YOU have run into?

I am really interested to know what you would consider 'hardest'.. It's probably not going to be something like 'I changed the css property value from "display: block" to "display: inline-block"..'

wallflower 2 days ago 5 replies      
If you don't agree with this slightly-contrived (I'm talking about the 'start with punchline', specifically) storytelling technique endorsed here, at the very least, please be aware of the STAR technique commonly used in behavioral interviews.

One benefit of using the STAR technique is that you are not going to ramble. It should not take you more than 1 minute to fully lay out the Situation, Task, Action, Result. After that "executive summary", if they want you to go more in depth, the interviewer(s) can ask you.


a3n 2 days ago 3 replies      
> If youve been through interviews at some companies that are not as good at interviewing, then you probably had some questions on your list such as

> Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


> Why do you want to work here?

You have money.

> How do you handle disagreements with coworkers?

Attempt constructive engagement, and if that doesn't work then shun them.

dahart 2 days ago 5 replies      
I see some criticism on this point, but for me this passage is a gem.

> In general, real stories are told chronologically backwards. This is why we start off with a punchline. In contrast, practiced stories are told chronologically forwards. Its a solid indication as the interviewer that the person is reciting something they have committed to memory if they tell the story forwards, and in turn its significantly more likely that the story isnt entirely true.

I have a friend who - bless his heart, I adore him, but can't get a quick story out to save his life. Every point he makes he reserves the punchline for last, and he starts by going on a back-story tangent first which usually forks into multiple back-stories. I've been trying to nudge him to turn it around and give away the punchline first, but he's deeply convinced that good stories are like movies and need to have a backstory followed by a narrative arc that doesn't make it's final point until most of the way through act 3.

sweezyjeezy 2 days ago 3 replies      
> If you give them a resume, expect questions about stuff you worked on at your past jobs. If you gave them a link to your Github profile, expect questions about your projects. If you gave them a link to your Stack Overflow account, expect questions about some of your answers.

On my Linkedin (and also resume etc.) I give a link to my blog / github. Every time I've been asked about it in an interview setting, it was actually when I was the one conducting the interview, and the interviewee was trying to impress. Much as it pains me to say, I don't think side projects are a good way to bolster your CV, at least in my field.

digoM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google has published some of their data on this and behavioral questions about teamwork (e.g. handling disagreements) are reasonable and can be valuable. Software development is usually a team activity. The rest of this post is a useful, if anecdotally sourced, guide to answering the more technical class of behavioral questions. It should include a block on follow up questions. Good behavioral interviewers, like you might find at Google or Amazon, will ask specific follow ups for each question.See: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-laszlo-bock-interview-...
cletus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Let's translate shall we?

> What is the hardest technical problem you have run into?

"Tell me an unverifiable story in which you're the hero."

I really hate this question:

> Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Any post on HN about interviews draws a ton of comments, and they're usually the same comments as every other post on the subject.

Honestly at this point having gone through a reasonably large number of interviews I think it comes down to brushing up on basic CS knowledge and, more importantly, whether or not they like you. As much as we like to make interviews dispassionate assessments of proficiency it really does seem like basic chemistry is the key issue. And honestly that makes a certain amount of sense: most people don't want to work with someone they dislike.

ganley 2 days ago 3 replies      
Good advice. My first (sometimes only) question when I interview people is: Tell me about your favorite project.
andy_ppp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Never talk about yourself; steer the interview to being about a problem they are solving with work and help them run through how you would solve the problem as if it's a meeting and you are working with them. Rarely fails.
codingdave 2 days ago 2 replies      
>In all likelihood, the interviewer doesnt know what they are looking for with these questions, and they are just being used to fill time.

Wait a sec -- just because the author of the article doesn't know how to get value from those questions doesn't mean that those questions hold no value. It is true that they won't give you information to help you in a tech screen, or to gauge the value of where to initially place a candidate on a team. But if you are trying to decide between a few candidates of equal skill, and trying to figure out which one will work better in a team environment, which will fit more smoothly into the personal dynamics between team members, who will grow better as the company grows, who might be a better leader or follower, and what their trajectory might be as the company and team evolves, these questions can lead you down those paths.

Dismissing those questions as useless makes me think the author doesn't care about the people as individuals, but just as machines to be plugged in to produce code. And that doesn't sound like someone I would want to work for.

midgetjones 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was updating my CV recently. I don't have the longest employment history (switched careers, then stayed at a job for 5 years), so I padded it out with a few short paragraphs of projects I'd worked on.

It actually worked really well - it brought some projects I'd forgotten about back into my mind making it easier to talk about them, and gave the interviewers specifics to latch on to.

bitwize 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find I'm more willing to talk about myself if engaged in meaningful dialogue.

For example, I get this a lot as an opening question, mainly from crooters (actual hiring managers almost never do this): "What are your skills?"

You mean like numchuck skills, bow-hunting skills? If you don't know what kind of skills I have that could possibly be germane to the positions I'm looking for, you obviously didn't even read my rsum, which means you don't have a clue, which means I am hanging up on you because obviously you can't help me.

If you say "Can you tell me about your role at company X, what sort of challenges you had, etc." I'm more willing to open up.

Tharkun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Being prepared to talk is important. Knowing when to shut up is equally important.

Recently interviewed a candidate who seemed promising, until they started to rant. I didn't want to interrupt them because I was hoping there was a point to be made at the end of the rant ... but in the end it was just 5+ minutes worth of "my current job isn't fair and everything sucks and everyone who is better than me really sucks too".

Didn't hire.

nercht12 2 days ago 0 replies      
For younger candidates, how about questions like: "Do you have a passion for this industry? Why?" and "What have you done in the past that demonstrates your commitment to completing anything you set your mind to?"For older candidates, how about questions like: "What do you consider your driving factor?" (with possible answers like "good benefits" or "complex challenges" or "teamwork") and "What sort of challenges do you see in this field/industry and how would you go about solving them?" (with acceptable answers from technical development solutions to "let's outsource" or something creative - something that demonstrates their wisdom, even if the field isn't their expertise).
freshflowers 2 days ago 0 replies      
All that matters is having a good conversation and not appearing completely incompetent.

After an enjoyable conversation, the hiring person will rationalize wanting you all by themselves, even if they have to make up / project qualities you've never demonstrated.

95% of the time, there's nothing rational about hiring.

kafkaesq 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the hardest technical problem you have run into?

Almost always asked from companies that don't have problems to offer even remotely comparable to the "war stories" they're expecting to you rattle off -- at least not for the position you're applying for, anyways.

samlittlewood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, As well as words, I would recommend practising the key diagrams that represent the projects(s) - so you leave enough space for the important elements, and don't fall of edge of page/board.
southphillyman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think behavioral and "tell me a time when" questions can easily be gamed, so I question the effectiveness of asking them. Sometimes I forget specific domain knowledge around a project I worked on 1+ companies ago. But I still have to list it on my resume and thus be able to speak to it...... so I just approximate the details. I imagine you could just full on lie as long as you can detail a technical problem and provide a solution to it.
martimoose 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I read articles about job interviews, I always wonder what is the correlation coefficient between "being good at interviews" and "being good at doing your actual job".
tejtm 2 days ago 0 replies      
> What is the hardest technical problem you have run into?

well technically, the hardest problems I have encountered are not technical

ruleabidinguser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this actually useful to people? Please don't give me non-answers like "well it got upvoted.."
mwcampbell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I naively assumed that the most important part of preparing for a developer job interview was to prepare for the coding exercises -- the stereotypical algorithm stuff.
bob1122 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible, thanks for sharing!
Write Fast Apps Using Async Python 3.6 and Redis paxos.com
330 points by midas  3 days ago   127 comments top 16
zzzeek 3 days ago 10 replies      
> we make heavy use of asyncio because its more performant

more performant than....what exactly? If I need to load 1000 rows from a database and splash them on a webpage, will my response time go from the 300ms it takes without asyncio to something "more performant", like 50ms? Answer: no. async only gives you throughput, it has nothing to do with "faster" as far as the Python interpreter / GIL / anything like that. If you aren't actually spanning among dozens/hundreds/thousands of network connections, non-blocking IO isn't buying you much at all over using blocking IO with threads, and of course async / greenlets / threads are not a prerequisite for non-blocking IO in any case (only select() is).

it's nice that uvloop seems to be working on removing the terrible performance latency that out-of-the-box asyncio adds, so that's a reason that asyncio can really be viable as a means of gaining throughput without adding lots of latency you wouldn't get with gevent. But I can do without the enforced async boilerplate. Thanks javascript!

erikcw 3 days ago 5 replies      
We've just recently started using Sanic[0] paired with Redis to great effect for a very high throughput web service. It also uses Python 3 asyncio/uvloop at its core. So far very happy with it.

[0] https://github.com/channelcat/sanic

cies 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Write Fast Apps Using Async Python

When working with Python and Ruby I find 80ms responses acceptable. In very optimized situations (no framework) this can do down to 20ms.

Now I've used some Haskell, OCaml and Go and I have learned that they can typically respond in <5ms. And that having a framework in place barely increases the response times.

In both cases this includes querying the db several times (db queries usually take less then a millisecond, Redis shall be quite similar to the extend that it does not change outcome).

<5ms makes it possible to not worry about caching (and thus cache invalidation) for a much longer time.

I've come to the conclusion that --considering other languages-- speed is not to be found in Python and Ruby.

Apart from the speed story there's also resource consumption, and in that game it is only compiled languages that truly compete.

Last point: give the point I make above and that nowadays "the web is the UI", I believe that languages for hi-perf application development should: compile to native and compile to JS. Candidates: OCaml/Reason (BuckleScript), Haskell (GHCJS), PureScript (ps-native), [please add if I forgot any]

mixmastamyk 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone recommend a good book to get started on concurrency, with discussions of models, and a few implementations such as golang and python 3.5+?

While I can write this kind of code, I don't feel like I completely understand some of the concepts.

jitl 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Paxos.com

I'm confused by the relationship between Paxos, the company, and Paxos, the algorithm. Do the authors of Paxos work for Paxos?



Ah; both are named for a fictional financial systen

ipsum2 3 days ago 1 reply      
The title is misleading. The blog post doesn't cover how fast using async python is, it's a tutorial on how to use their ORM redis library.
StreamBright 3 days ago 1 reply      
>>> The performance of uvloop-based asyncio is close to that of Go programs.

I would prefer standard benchmarks for this. I hope they submit their framework to TechEnpower benchmarks.


njharman 2 days ago 0 replies      
> You get the benefits of a database, with the performance of RAM!

One of the benefits of modern RDBMS is that they make extremely sophisticated use of RAM, and all levels of fast to slow storage below that SSD / RAIDs / slow single spindle.

siscia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quite related, but if you want to use Redis as a SQL database I wrote an extension to do just that: https://github.com/RedBeardLab/rediSQL

It is a relative thin layer of rust code between the Redis module interface and SQLite.

At the moment you can simply execute statements but any suggestion and feature request is very welcome.

Yes, it is possible to do join, to use the LIKE operator and pretty much everything that SQLite gives you.

It is a multi-thread module, which means that it does NOT block the main redis thread and perform quite well.On my machine I achieved 50.000 inserts per seconds for the in memory database.

If you have any question feel free to ask here or to open issues and pull request in the main repo.


rcarmo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty neat. I've been using a plain Redis wrapper (aioredis) with uvloop and Sanic (https://github.com/rcarmo/newsfeed-corpus), but I'm going to have a peek at subconscious.
VT_Drew 2 days ago 0 replies      
>One of the common complaints people have about python and other popular interpreted languages (Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, etc) is that theyre slow.

Proceeds to show an animation of posting a blog post that performs no faster than if it was built using Django.

NightlyDev 2 days ago 0 replies      
> 10k pageviews took ~41s

Might be that the server is insanely slow, but I would have no problems reaching 10k page views per second with some basic PHP and even MariaDB on a low end E3-1230 server. Pretty sure more would be quite easy to...

fritzy 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems strange that they would claim that Python's libuv based event loop is twice as fast as Node.js's libuv based event loop. There's some context missing to that statement or it's flat out false.
hasenj 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you want performance don't use Python.
theprop 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is to get a high performance ready app out. You could probably get an app out faster in PHP or Meteor or other prototyping framework.
The Arctic as it is known today is almost certainly gone economist.com
252 points by qubitcoder  2 days ago   172 comments top 22
chollida1 2 days ago 12 replies      
Global warming aside, as a Canadian, I'm disappointing in what our government has down to protect our sovereignty in the Canadian northern archipelago.


Had we invested in a navy base in the north, and a few ice breakers, then we could have been the owner of the "panama canal of the arctic".

We would have a monopoly on what traffic goes through the Canadian archipelago which would help offset the cost of policing the north.

We would be able to do things like prohibit oil tankers and other hazardous materials if we wanted.

At this point I think we've all but given away any claim to being able to dictate who travels through our northern islands. The arctic will be policed by the American's and Russians, and used heavily by ships travelling to the east coast of the US and Europe from China.

Hopefully at the least, we'll be able to push for things to protect the arctic waters like no resource mining, think offshore oil rigs, and no oil tankers travelling through those waters.

Turing_Machine 2 days ago 5 replies      
2017: "On current trends, the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free in summer by 2040."

2009: "[S]cientists at Cambridge University predict the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free during the summer within the next ten years (i.e., by 2019)"


2007: Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'


The date for the Arctic becoming "largely ice-free" appears to be receding about as fast as break-even fusion power. :-)

niftich 2 days ago 1 reply      
On a sobering note, the Arctic is a tremendous shortcut for shipping, and despite its vast and remote coastline, it's surrounded solely by states with a strong rule of law, making piracy unlikely.

Cargo traffic between will re-orient from the current crop of chokepoints like Suez and Malacca; the Panama Canal will see a decline of Asia-Atlantic traffic and a rise in intra-Americas traffic; and more shipping overall will be conducted in waters adjacent to the coasts of Russia, Canada, US, Norway, and Greenland (Kingdom of Denmark).

Even without additional exploitation of the Arctic, changes like this will affect the strategic priorities of states.

themgt 2 days ago 1 reply      
PIOMAS (arctic sea ice volume model) is showing ice on the edge of collapse: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C9SaElxXoAAl0zU.jpg
alpsgolden 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do we square this statement from the article "In the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half; its volume has fallen by three-quarters. " with this chart of global sea ice -- http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.... From the chart, looks like sea ice is down a little bit, but not only by a few percent, not by half. So are there massive gains in sea ice elsewhere in the world, areas where sea ice has nearly doubled?

Also how do we square the statement about the decrease in volume with this statement from a year and a half ago? "However, very little ice thickness information actually exists." http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065704/full How do we actually know how much volume has fallen in the last 30 years if two years ago "very little information on thickness actually exists"?

I don't really understand the appeal of this article when it doesn't link to any sources. The article doesn't tell us what the actual new information prompted the article and where that new information came from.

mythrwy 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not a "denialist" by any stretch, I believe CO2 causes warming. I believe the scientists probably know at least somewhat of what they speak (although I am skeptical of timelines).

That being said, what is feasible to do? Stop eating hamburgers? Drive Teslas? Carbon Tax Credits derived in meetings attended by people who arrive in jets? There just isn't a practical solution in sight. There really isn't. Just feel good type measures that don't solve the problem and wont. Never mind that the science is a bit unclear on exactly what, when and how much.

It's a global problem. The "globe" hasn't been able to effectively work together to solve much simpler problems like drugs and human trafficking at any scale. And this is a bigger problem requiring more collaboration.

I'm sorry, for all the hand wringing effective solutions are just not going to happen. No how, no way. Not in a timely manner.

The only "real" solution in sight that I see is a massive population decrease through war or famine or plague. Or else sudden loss of civilization and technology which will produce the same thing.

Is that price worth the benefits? I may consider this when "timelines" actually turn out as predicted. Until that time I'm driving a car and eating hamburgers. And living somewhere away from coastlines.

pthreads 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is on all of us not just the climate science deniers and the profit hungry corporations, selfish individuals, crazy governments, or, uninformed individuals. It is not enough to protest, give speeches, start "green" companies, and whatever else we do to feel good about "doing something for the environment."

If only we could have enough courage to curb our uncontrolled consumption of resources. Why is it so hard for each one of us to just reduce our intake by, say, just 15% to begin with? How about eating less, not changing cell phones every ear, shopping less, driving less, and a hundred other things we can reduce?

In the end nature always wins. We are either with her or against her!

jamesblonde 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article is actually very good, without being alarmist, giving the facts:

the arctic will be ice free within many of our lifetimes

there are two main feedback effects from an ice-free Arctic that we know will be bad, but there is uncertainty in how bad they will be:

(1) the albedo effect means less of the suns energy will be reflected back into space by white ice and warming will accelerate due to darker water absorbing more energy

(2) the clathrate gun hypothesis - how much of the methane in the Arctic basin that is trapped as ice clathrates will be released into the atmosphere (methane is about 8 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2).

The other main point of the article is that the Arctic sea ice melting is unambiguously bad. Ignore the opening of the NE-passage. It's all-round bad news for us and our progeny.

alistproducer2 2 days ago 9 replies      
Even if it turns out the 2% of scientist who doubt man made global warming are right, you would think that it would at least be worth trying to save the world. This failure is not on regular people, it's on the people who know better and are in positions of power yet failed to fight hard enough, make winning arguments and treat the fight with the urgency it deserved.

If people can be convinced to vote for taxes on themselves to build stadiums in cities that already have one, I don't believe for a second that it is a lost cause to convince people of a tax to literally help save the fucking world.

13of40 2 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming this change (a) lasts hundreds or thousands of years and (b) doesn't spiral out of control and kill us outright, at some point in the next couple of hundred years we're going to have people denying there ever was ice in the Arctic.
dotancohen 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What will happen to the energy that is now melting the ice? Surely the energy source (i.e. the summer sun) will not go away, so where will the energy go that was until now melting the ice?

If the answer is "it will warm the ocean" then that is troubling indeed. It takes almost as much energy to melt a given mass of ice (-1 to 1) as it takes to bring it to a near boil (1 to 99).

RcouF1uZ4gsC 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody have any idea of how bad climate change would actually be to the United States? It is actually isolated from most of the world by two oceans. The US southern border is pretty inhospitable desert. The US would have defacto access to all of Canada's resources (worst case it would invade Canada and annex the productive areas most of which are near the border). With the fall of the global trade, over time the US may be more like the 1950s in terms of wealth equality. While the rest of the world becomes a hell, the US might become an isolated paradise.
brentm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have trouble believing a significant amount of the population truly doesn't believe in climate change (I guess I'm a climate change denier denier /s). I think the problems lie mostly with the voting population not prioritizing climate change when making voting decisions and major campaign donors who feel directly (or indirectly) threatened by environmental protection initiatives having the ears of politicians. The major problems almost always have to do with money.
musgrove 2 days ago 0 replies      
Then in other words, how it's known today is uncertain. "Almost certainly" isn't the same as "certainly." Subtle, but huge and important difference that coders should know.
faragon 1 day ago 0 replies      
How that will impact in international shipping prices, for good?
basicplus2 1 day ago 0 replies      
The arctic as we know it today is as it is today and therefore cannot possibly be gone.
red023 1 day ago 1 reply      
marcgcombi 2 days ago 1 reply      
DeerSpotter 2 days ago 1 reply      
clarkrinker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully there is a Stargate in there
YSFEJ4SWJUVU6 2 days ago 1 reply      
Arctic is indeed shrinking. 15000 years ago (or so) there were miles of ice on top of the place I'm currently sitting.
First introduction to LaTeX sharelatex.com
287 points by rawland  8 hours ago   98 comments top 23
Xcelerate 8 hours ago 5 replies      
I absolutely love ShareLaTeX. It's one of the few products that is kind of niche but does one thing and does it really well. I definitely get $8 a month worth out of their service. Having used MacTeX and similar products, ShareLaTeX is just a much smoother user experience. Not to mention their documentation is great and really gets to the point of what you are often trying to do. I've used their service on the last three research papers I've written and have been sharing the platform with different professors I work with.

(I sound like a shill, but check my comment history I'm not affiliated with them. Just a happy customer.)

konschubert 3 hours ago 5 replies      
I strongly dislike LaTeX mostly because of its terrible error messages, because of the mess of incompatible packages and because of its inflexibility in layout adjustments.

I admit that I never sat down to understand the latex design principles and learn it the hard way. So maybe I'm just uninformed.

But seriously, I just want to write some text with formulas.

The error messages are so useless, usually I'm forced to trace a bug by commenting out sections of text. For even the most trivial features, packages have to be included. Finding the right set of compatible packages is a science on its own. Usually you start with somebody else's document header and try to tweak it to your needs.

And good luck placing an image on the page where you want it.

I assume that if you spend some time understanding the language, it becomes clearer and less of a mess.

But I feel like there is room for a declarative text editor that's a little bit more intuitive.

greeneggs 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Besides Googling for tricks, another way of learning LaTeX is to download the source code for nice-looking papers that you find on the arXiv.

For example, for "Learning to learn by gradient descent by gradient descent" arXiv:1606.04474 (https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.04474), if you click on Download->Other formats, you get the latex source code and in this case also the Omnigraffle files for the diagrams.

aethos 8 hours ago 3 replies      
While this is a decent guide, I find that being skillful in latex comes from memorizing many highly specific commands. I spend most of my time googling for things such as "How to use (a), (b), (c) for enumerating lists".
soyiuz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
LaTeX I feel is going the way of HTML as a intermediate layer language that is not to be meant to be read/written by humans. Like others in this thread I much prefer writing in Markdown and then using something like Pandoc to convert to Latex.
arooaroo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Always pleased to see more resources encouraging more LaTeX use. ShareLatex and Overleaf are doing a great job of promoting Latex.

Fwiw my Getting to Grips with LaTeX[1] tutorial have been around for years and are well used.

[1] http://www.andy-roberts.net/writing/latex

aceperry 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I tried to learn LaTex a long time ago when I was just getting started with Linux, but gave up when I found that I could use MS Word and get what I needed, without the steep learning curve. I'm sure LaTex is much better than Word for some things, but I've never needed anything as specialized as LaTex. In fact, I don't use 99% of what Word is capable of and most of the time I'm using a simple text editor or vim or atom.
tomcam 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Just in time! I use pandoc to generate PDF files from markdown, but it's not a straightforward process in any case but creating documents that look like Donald Knuth dashed them off in 1978. Pandoc is super flexible but your output goes through LaTeX templates so customizing them felt out of reach given my limited time--until now.
TheApexTheater 6 hours ago 11 replies      
Honest question: I tried using LaTeX for a homework assignment. I had already done all the work on some loose paper, but it was all over the place and thought LaTeX-ing it would help readability. It took me about three hours and I wasn't even halfway done (there were four questions and I had barely done the second one)... Is taking this long normal for LaTeX? or is it something you get better at with practice?
walrus1066 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A nice intro project is writing your CV in latex, using packages like https://github.com/xdanaux/moderncv
rosstex 5 hours ago 1 reply      
>ctrl+f "lyx"> 0 results


Gonna plug Lyx, the best tool for writing LaTeX without actually feeling like you're writing LaTeX.

mhh__ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I found that, for someone with programming experience, the core LaTeX is quite easy to teach. I use it for all my school projects, and ShareLaTeX just works. I also managed to use it(Nothing Fancy) collaboratively with a friend of mine, with only ~5min introduction (Although I was sat next to him, so not quite the same as learning it alone).
ppidugu 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel this post could be edited to as "Learn a pinch of Latex in 30 minutes"....for some people title could be ambiguous...frankly we can't learn anything in 30 minutes...we just get a feel of any skills or concept....the concept of really learning is when we could put something to practical...if we couldn't put anything to practical its not learning but just skimming through the concepts.
xattt 4 hours ago 0 replies      
ShareLatex and TeX in general is awesome. I use it for the Biblatex and I have dabbled with Beamer.

Two issues that I have run into are live word counts for assignments for profs who refuse to give page counts, and having to maintain multiple document versions manually (one in TeX, one in Word) because my field (Nursing) is full of non-tech savvy older profs who will look at you funny if you provide them with something outside their comfort zone.

Koshkin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Donald Knuth uses LaTeX or some other TeX macro package (e.g. Plain TeX).
zackmorris 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is an editor from a couple of years ago that lets you check your LaTeX:




platz 7 hours ago 3 replies      
For pdf deliverables regarding things like a resume, I am wondering if it is just better to create an html document using FE web dev skills, and render it to pdf (having done the latex resume thing recently).

i.e. for PDF's (like a resume), What are the advantages of latex over html+css->pdf?

(This is assuming I don't care about things like table-of-contents generation or precise chapter-aware commands)

oldgun 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Always enjoyed services from sharelatex, they made a lot of stuff easier.

A looks like a nice tutorial.

EvgeniyZh 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've learned LaTeX by taking all lecture notes in LaTeX and googling all the stuff (or just leaving comment to google it later). Math was especially hard, but after a semester and a half I'm almost not googling and writing relatively complicated LaTeX as fast as regular text.
ptaipale 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I love LaTeX, but I disagree about that WYSIWYM.

It's really WYGIWYAF. What You Get Is What You Asked For.

DoctorOW 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This didn't really answer "Why Learn Latex?". It mentioned some of the benefits of Latex as a format but what reason do I have for not using some sort of Latex generator?
amygdyl 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I figure the chance of downvotes is worth it for relating the most unexpected conversation I had sociallyI'm prompted by the commenter who above says they struggled and preferred Word. I use Word as a daily driver because of Excel embedding, and company policy, but this is about the value of pursuing LaTeX that may open not so unique possibilities:

Posted because there are lots more places where I think being up to speed with TeX / LaTeX can get you hired by someone interesting / or in lucrative if dull job, not necessarily as a programmer:

Through a friend, I met and chatted with, eventually for hours, the a gentleman whose last occupation turned out to be the publisher for authorized education books... In Iraq... Under Saddam.. Why we got so deep talking at my friend's dinner party? We were arguing the real time composability of TeX. I don't know the chances of such a conversation with any septuagenarian gentleman, to start with, but I hope my friend's promise to invite me next chance we can meet will arise. I encountered a delightful gentleman programmer by nature as opposed to training; his formal education was history and languages, self taught programmer, who also mentioned MCL. I last used LaTeX in earnest in the late 90s - his knowledge, I should have asked if he was actively using, seemed current... our mutual friend a publisher, this makes me think I ought inquire if a book is forthcoming. Regardless, I think it's fascinating just how entrenched TeX and LaTex are in the minds of users. And publishers I've met who use TeX are devotees. I've been told by a couple now, that they expect associates to pick it up on the job. So potentially this might be a angle for a programmer to side move into a different field. Associates hired or promoted to work with publishers are usually tasked with longer term research into subjects and trends, it looked to be rewarding work. And in politics, economics, tech obviously, a programmers skills might be enough for the transition, especially if the publisher felt lightweight on in house abilities.

I used to encounter commercial applications wrapping TeX frequently, in the 90s. One, by a British software house since subsumed in the XML everything, enterprise data / private equity rollup fad, I forget the names it went through, was essentially selling TeX, plus advert placement layout engine, used by FAZ, Suddeutsche Zeitung, lots of Italian dailies, the EC, for a sweet 50,000 a seat.

Mass market Print publishers need tools to manage costs that drill down to the weight of ink used on the paper. It's a reason the InDesign ecosystem is stable- third party integrations that are expensive to write for a select audience. But smaller houses have wider tolerances, may "leave that to the printer" (hope they can get good bids without the pre press estimate), so the variety of pre press tools widens to include just LaTex and a impostor for separations/plates.

Knuth's Digital Typography, is a excellent read, and a chapter in that, showing by how much, and how easily, major press titles can be made more readable, save space, and more, became a brilliant sales tool for my consulting. If you know TeX / LaTex, and need a gig, Digital Typography, plus the addresses of nearby smaller publishers, might be a great way to catch good work. I found so, anyhow.

mythrwy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to know LaTeX.And of course played with it a few times.

The issue is, I write something that requires a document editor like once month (if) and it's usually a minimal number of pages. I do it so infrequently it's always a huge pain even using Libre Office. And every time I think "it really ought to be possible to do this with Vim" (which I suppose LaTex would solve, and that's a big plus). It's just the learning curve/benefit ratio isn't there yet.

How to Read a Paper (2016) [pdf] uwaterloo.ca
341 points by jdale27  1 day ago   38 comments top 18
haffi112 19 hours ago 0 replies      
> The first version of this document was drafted by my students: Hossein Falaki, Earl Oliver, and Sumair Ur Rahman.

The paper is two pages. Why aren't these people included as authors then...?

AndrewOMartin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was all ready to mock this by saying how most papers get only 1) Read the abstract, 2) Read the conclusion, 3) Look at the graphics, from me.

Turns out that it's basically what the paper says, but then goes into more detail about going into more detail. Worth at least a second pass :)

c0achmcguirk 1 day ago 2 replies      
This part was most interesting to me:

"Incidentally, when you write a paper, you can expect mostreviewers (and readers) to make only one pass over it."

I understand reviewers are busy, but we depend on peer review to filter out bad or poorly-researched material. I don't think one pass is enough.

Obviously, so does the author.

tpetricek 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has some nice hints on how to read the text of a paper, but I think it misses all the important things that you need to be aware when you want to understand a paper. In particular, things like the research paradigm or research programme in which the paper fits, its historical context etc. I wrote a post about this recently: http://tomasp.net/blog/2017/papers-we-scrutinize/
rocket_woman 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the writing side of things, I really enjoyed this talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_6xoMjFr70 "How to Write Papers So People Can Read Them"
bfirsh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought that was going to be Trisha Greenhalgh's How to Read a Paper: https://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Paper-Evidence-Based-Medicin...

Superficially the same idea, but it is for advising medical practitioners on how to apply research to their work. It goes about this by showing you how to find research, critique it, analyse it, use meta-research, and so on.

For somebody not in medicine, it had some transferable advice on how to use research in practice, but was mainly a detailed insight into how evidence-based medicine works. Highly recommended.

spookyuser 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously a different set of circumstances, but I would be curious to hear what people think about Cal Newport's Question; Evidence; Conclusion - method of reading. From the grade A students guide. I recently switched to it and found myself understanding reading assignments much better. It seems like this method is more geared for Researchers though.
rectang 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd like to present a fourth option, the "0-pass":

Don't read most papers. Don't feel bad about not reading them, because in general they are terribly written.

Instead, read follow-on work which resynthesizes the ideas in these papers for a popular audience.

mad44 1 day ago 0 replies      
f_allwein 1 day ago 1 reply      
I sometimes do an exercise with my students where I give them a paper and ask them to tell me in 5 minutes what is the research question and the answer. Usually works well (if the paper is well written), and shows hem that they can get a good grasp of papers without spending hours reading them.
sytelus 22 hours ago 0 replies      
For people in the field who are active authors and reviewers in CS/AI related areas:

- How many papers do you read per week?

- How many hours you spent per week?

mkhalil 1 day ago 0 replies      
I first-passed this paper, and realized I needed only a first minimal second pass. Check what to do on the pass on that I on. Very helpful for new readers.
RichardHeart 1 day ago 1 reply      
If papers were written better, you might not need to read them over 3 times.

There should be a paper called "how to write useful headlines for your paper."

"first pass" "second pass" "third pass" should be replaced with unique, useful, preferably memorable headlines. For instance: "Quick scan" "Deeper but ignore details" and "Challenge every assumption in every statement"

Then you haven't wasted the attention those big bold headlines get.

unheroic 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Well this would have been very useful 6 months ago, when I started working on my undergraduate dissertation.
squaredpants 1 day ago 0 replies      
This went way too meta for my procrastinating brain.
sangd 1 day ago 1 reply      
I only got to 2nd pass for this paper.
mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
these "how to read articles" make me feel so illiterate -- having completed my formal education 4 years ago. of course, the truth is we do not read closely, and there are always new signals to look into
darkmorning 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a recursion in this post :p , Before learning to read other papers, could you please explain how to read this paper :D
The Invisible War for the Open Internet freecodecamp.com
297 points by bootload  1 day ago   153 comments top 15
quincyla 1 day ago 7 replies      
Author here. I just realized someone had submitted this to HN. I spent a lot of time researching and writing this article, and am excited to read any feedback you may have.

Also, here's how you can contact the FCC directly:


press 1, then 4, then 2, then 0say that you wish to file comments concerning the FCC Chairmans plan to end net neutrality

Or on the web:

https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/expressUnder Proceedings, enter 14-28 and 17-108

Suggested script:

It's my understanding that the FCC Chairman intends to reverse net neutrality rules and put big Internet Service Providers in charge of the internet. I am firmly against this action. I believe that these ISPs will operate solely in their own interests and not in the interests of what is best for the American public. In the past 10 years, broadband companies have been guilty of: deliberately throttling internet traffic, squeezing customers with arbitrary data caps, misleading consumers about the meaning of unlimited internet, giving privileged treatment to companies they own, strong-arming cities to prevent them from giving their residents high-speed internet, and avoiding real competition at all costs. Consumers, small businesses, and all Americans deserve an open internet. So to restate my position: I am against the chairman's plan to reverse the net neutrality rules. I believe doing so will destroy a vital engine for innovation, growth, and communication.

This information is taken from this thread on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/6894i9/heres_ho...

nebabyte 23 hours ago 1 reply      
> This isnt capitalismits corporatism. Capitalism is messy. Its wasteful. But its much healthier in the long run for society as a whole than central planning and government trying to pick the winners.

> Capitalism allows for small businesses to enter and actually stand a chance. Corporatism makes it impossible.

What you're calling "corporatism" is simply "late stage capitalism". As long as you continue to buy into the delusion that your almoghty dollar will make you a multimillionaire someday, you empower those who have the actual machines of finance under lock and key to act as the new monarchs of your world.

syphilis2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
FCC chairman Pai has been very public about revoking Title II status. You can read his wolf in sheep's clothing speech from last week:


It's a disappointment after Wheeler, but entirely expected, to see Pai fighting against net neutrality. I suggest reading the response by commissioners Clyburn and FTC commissioner McSweeny:



studentrob 1 day ago 8 replies      
How can we translate this for laypeople? This was my attempt,

> Imagine your existing water utility divided its offerings into "regular water" and "super clean water". You'd think, wait, isn't my tap water already clean? And you'd be right.

> Swap "regular water" for "faster internet to specific websites" and you get the lobbyists' argument for killing net neutrality. It would produce slow internet to websites that don't pay up, effectively allowing ISPs to earn money two times for the same product, and elbowing smaller content producers out of the internet

Improvements welcome. I think it could be more succinct.

75dvtwin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not think anybody wants ISPs to be in charge of internet. However, I also believe, that most do not want USA FCC to be in charge of internet either.

Arguing for a benefit, without clearly identifying the strategic negatives, is intellectually dishonest.

Perhaps, it is with the help of these types of arguments, is how some monopolies and dictatorships are built out.

Here is an example of the discussion analyzing some arguments of the validity of FCC reach:

 "This Comment argues that requiring ISPs to filter pirated material is within the FCC's ancillary jurisdiction pursuant to Title I of the Communications Act,'1 but only so long as the targeted activity has a detrimental impact on network activity."
http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?artic...pp. 535-538

I would argue, that it is the power of consumer choice to obfuscate his/her usage of internet (and, protecting companies that help with that) -- should be the goal.

Rather than, giving FCC the authority to regulate ISPs or consumer usage of the internet, via the ISPs.

I do want to mention that I appreciated some (but not all) analogies used by the author.I liked this one especially.

 "Not only did Western Union back Hayes campaign financially, it also used its unique position as the information backbone for espionage purposes. "
It reminded me, in just recent history, of how the previous (2008-2016) US president used US (and, probably, UK's) foreign intelligence services to target the opposition of his foreign policies, and the people's choice of the next president.

I also liked the analogy of TV and facebook, I fully agree -- Facebook is working hard on creating a 'walled garden' of information dissemination, and digital identity of every individual. And they would love to cut out the 'amateur hobbyists'.

AndyMcConachie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
To be clear this is less about the Internet and more about the USA. I doubt Internet users in other countries should really care about net neutrality in the USA. If anything, once the FCC ruins the Internet for Americans other countries will take pride in being less like the USA and strengthening their net neutrality legislation. Similarly to how health care discourse in EU countries often cites the USA as the bad example to avoid.
transposed 1 day ago 1 reply      
Those are some lovely data packets youve got there. It sure would be a shame if they got lost on their way to your users.

There were a lot of good quotes from the article, but this one struck me as particularly apt. I saw something on tumblr today about how "net neutrality" just doesn't resonate with people - and it's true - I tried striking up conversation about this and some people didn't even know what I was talking about.

bamboozled 1 day ago 4 replies      
Maybe losing the current web wouldn't be that bad, it's largely become a centralised, tracking and surveillance tool for mass marketing and used for spying on citizens. One gets the feeling that any significant level of "openness" died a long time ago.

It's not that it's useless, but a fresh start might not be the worst outcome.

0xcde4c3db 8 hours ago 0 replies      
That timeline of Google ads in Part 3 is pretty damning. Not of Google specifically, but of the whole push for "native advertising". This also ties in with "engagement" measures like autoplay-by-default on YouTube and "next article" popups on news sites. It's all about maximizing appropriation of users' attention.
ohthehugemanate 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like the irony that this well researched and thought out article is published on medium.
spectrum1234 1 day ago 8 replies      
My main gripe with Net Neutrality is simple economics. For almost any good or service you can pay for different tiers of quality.

Why should the internet not be this way too? If the answer is because its a monopoly I would have to disagree.

hartator 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I am for paying a neutral gateway to Internet. However, I don't get why we should forbid Facebook to give access for free but only to their services if they want to.
afriend4lyfe 1 day ago 5 replies      
If the big ISPs started throttling data and putting up walled gardens, what would stop competitors from entering the market to offer the "net neutral" flavor of internet we're used to?

Some communities are already banding together to start their own ISPs. I'm not familiar with how they deal with the "last mile" infrastructure challenge. But if it only took a big investment up front then that begs the question why did Google Fiber fail? Lack of community support?

If net neutrality was as valuable to us as we make it out to be, then what would stop local grassroots efforts from installing their own community-based ISPs in response to losing it?

DonbunEf7 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I have seen these five steps before, in a dream. They are chaos, discord, confusion, bureaucracy, and the aftermath. Discordians stand vindicated.
roesel 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is insanely wordy. I would appreciate a TL;DR;
Southwest to Stop Overbooking as United Uproar Echoes bloomberg.com
194 points by rayuela  3 days ago   317 comments top 18
johngalt 3 days ago 11 replies      
The problem isn't overbooking. The problem is not auctioning the seats higher when overbooked.

I've seen a number of overbooked southwest flights and people can't line up fast enough for a $300 flight credit + next available flight. I can't imagine it ever going over $1k.

IMHO if any airline should continue overbooking it's SWA. No first class, no assigned seats. Most of the flights are short range with multiple flights options every day. You're much more likely to agree to switch to the next flight if it means only waiting 2hrs.

chmaynard 3 days ago 5 replies      
Southwest Airlines has the best website, best checked luggage policy, best change policy, and now no overbooking. The big four domestic airlines all treat coach passengers like cattle, but Southwest is the least predatory.

Edit: Also, consider that Southwest is very profitable despite the fact that they don't have first class or business class sections on their aircraft. Yes, passengers pay different fares. But as far as I know, they all sit in the same crappy seats.

munificent 3 days ago 4 replies      
I didn't follow the doctor-getting-dragged-off debacle closely but I have a question about the basic mechanics of what went down:

When I've been boarding on flights, they do the overbooking announcement at the gate and get volunteers to take later flights there, before people board. That makes a lot more sense because, in the event that no one volunteers, the airline can simply refuse to let certain people on.

They don't have to take the seat away from the passenger, they can just not to give it to them. Certainly, psychologically, people are a hell of a lot more attached to something once it's been given to them. I've toyed with the idea of taking a later flight before, but I'd be much less likely to do that once I was all settled into my seat.

How is it that the doctor was already seated when they "volunteered" him to not fly? That seems like the main fuck-up to me.

aresant 3 days ago 16 replies      
This response feels knee jerk.

It's been demonstrated in countless other threads (1) and articles (2) how economically important it is to overbook.

Overbooking is central to airline profitability and their ability to provide flexibility - like partial refunds, or SW's "open tickets" policy on business select.

As a consumer I appreciate these things and find them incredibly useful.

United's response of "We'll push the allowance up to $10,000" is completely acceptable to me, that seems like the simplest solution.

(1) http://www.businessinsider.com/overbooking-flights-is-good-f...

(2) https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/11/overbooking/

gregschlom 3 days ago 11 replies      
I have a question for the HN crowd: what would happen if airlines sold their seats at a fixed price and let customers resell them?

For the sake of the discussion let's assume that all seats are in the same class (ie: economy) - there are no business / first class seats.

So the idea would be:

1. All seats are sold at the same price, no matter how early or how late you buy. The price covers all the costs associated with running this flight, given an expected "occupancy rate" (sorry not the right term).

2. All tickets are non-refundable. If a customer changes their mind, they use the airline app to put their ticket up for sale. They can try to sell the ticket at the same price, or at a discount (or maybe even at a higher price?)

3. Airline charges a small fee (something like $10) every time the ticket is transferred to another person.

Since this has never been done - to my knowledge - there must be something wrong with it. But I wonder what it is?

rdl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think my favorite solution to this is to sell "guaranteed" and "standby" tickets. Sell full plane capacity of "guaranteed", and then any ticket after that is bumpable/standby. You could potentially switch to sell "bumpable" tickets earlier, too, at a discount.

If the airline is flying ~8 flights a day from SFO-SEA, I'd be fine in many cases paying x% less for y% risk of being bumped one or two flights later.

ww520 3 days ago 0 replies      
The pricing nature of an airline seat is such that the closer to the flight time the more expensive the ticket is. Consumers have been forced to pay more under this model for the longest time. Buying back seats due to overbooking should follow the same rule. Buying back seats at the time of flight departure should cost the most. If airlines follow their own pricing model, they won't have a problem. It's only when they try to bend the rules and use forces to get back those seats that people got upset.
greeneggs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Southwest has a lot of flights on their schedule, but if one isn't full they'll just cancel it. Often all the midday flights will be cancelled. Technically, this isn't overbooking, but it feels like it.
heavymark 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems odd that the airlines keep talking about overbooking but while yes overbooking is an issue, it's not this issue. This issue is that UA wasn't overbooked but rather allowed someone to get kicked off who was already boarded because late staff wanted to catch a free ride.

JetBlue doesn't overbook, but they have removed passengers already boarded who have not violated any rules, other than they wanted to accommodate other passenger(s).

Overbooking is an issue, and they should either stop overbooking (though that means potentially higher ticket costs for everyone), or when they do overbook make sure they don't start boarding everyone until someone has agreed to not fly and offer the appropriate amount to get someone not to fly, such as the max amount or cash rather than a voucher. But once again, that's a different discussion, and SW and others should focus on the bigger issue at hand that UA violated.

martinald 3 days ago 1 reply      
Considering Ryanair doesn't overbook yet is stupidly profitable, I think it's possible to make this work.
hueving 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is stupid. As a passenger I benefit from overbooking because it means lower cost per ticket and the option to get free flights out of an overbooking scenario when I have a flexible schedule.
gregorymichael 3 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone looking to switch airlines amidst all the news lately, I can't recommend Southwest more highly. Flew them out of Chicago for business the last two years -- their rewards, no-fee rebooking, etc. literally changed our lives. Wrote a bit about it here:


jemfinch 3 days ago 3 replies      
Does that mean ticket prices will increase?
thinkloop 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is no "win" for the consumer here, same as when airlines decide to re-provide free food or free checked bags - these things get baked into the price of tickets, nothing is free. They are marketing. Rather than spend a million on ads, they spend a million on less efficient flights (by not overbooking), but hopefully getting more customers than ads would have gotten given this is a hot-button topic.
spullara 3 days ago 2 replies      
They just need to charge people for no shows and QED.
dandare 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to calculate a price tag for United's fiasco?
randyrand 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lets hope Southwest doesn't become uncompetitive.
ddingus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love Southwest.
Visualizing Concurrency in Go (2016) divan.github.io
276 points by velodrome  2 days ago   21 comments top 11
Dangeranger 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is very nice. Does anyone have an idea of how to extend the visualization so that they could be rendered based on the actual runtime of a real program?

I have a theory that much complexity could be understood if humans could just see the interactions and the data flowing.

Even if the program took 100X longer to run, if you can see the bug, you can fix it. If you can see the complexity, you can understand it.

eddd 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's a really neat way of explaining concurrency model.

I did something similar for Erlang VM http://eddwardo.github.io/elixir/links/2015/11/04/links-in-e... (less advanced).I'd love to see comparison of these two models.

Groxx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw the video a while ago - really neat technique, I love the visual differences between patterns. Love that it's written down - far too much great material is locked up, unsearchable, in videos.
opaque 1 day ago 3 replies      
> If I ask you something involving numbers from 1 to 100 you will have your own image of the series in your head, even without realizing it. For example, I imagine it as a line going from me with numbers from 1 to 20, then it turns 90 degrees to the right and continues to the 1000+.

Actually no, perhaps you're not aware of this, but you have a condition called spatial-sequence Synesthesia. It's a harmless and fascinating condition in which the senses have arbitrary connections to each other (numbers have colours, sounds have tastes). Many people are unaware of it. I've only heard of it because a friend at university (and also a Synesthete) researches it.



xg15 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like a useful approach to visualize the interactions between different services in a SOA or microservice-based architecture. (You'd need some way for each service to log its send and receive events without the logging slowing everything down though)

In any case, a very cool idea. I really like the use of 3D to fit more nodes into the diagram without it getting unreadable. I think this is an approach that could help with visualizing large graphs in general - it would be cool if there was more research about that.

mihau 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is powerful, I wish ideas like that might impact debuggers and provide alternative ways of visualizing code, programs and even whole systems running in production.
psiclops 2 days ago 0 replies      
gens 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tony Hoares paper is one of the most amazing papers i read (not that i understood all of it).

You can get it at http://www.usingcsp.com/

amelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is nice. I'm wondering how you would use it though. Probably you'd start analyzing the diagram at the top, then look at what will happen next, and then the next, etc.

But this is basically the same as just looking at the log.

Am I missing something?

ziikutv 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool.

I wonder at what point WebGL craps out. How many concurrent processes can it handle?

asswhole 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great Job!
Anagram Scoring plover.com
294 points by oli5679  2 days ago   71 comments top 31
DonHopkins 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's uncanny some of the acronyms you can find in "advanced mode" at https://wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html :

First find some good words in a couple of short phrases:

Y Combinator:Combat Irony, Romantic Boy, Acronym Obit, Bay Moron Tic, Not Bay Micro, A Brim Tycoon, A Born Comity, My Bacon Riot, Into My Cobra, Tiny Crab Moo

Hacker News: She Knew Arc, Knew Search, Whack Sneer, Cranks Whee!!! (emphasis added ;), Shaken Crew, Ashen Wreck, Answer Heck, Rewash Neck, Eschew Nark, Rakes Wench, Swank Cheer, Ark Wenches, Warn Cheeks, A Neck Shrew, Wrecks a Hen, Knew Re Cash

Then put them together and enter your favorite words into "Anagrams must include this word" (or manually remove the letters of the words you want to keep if it says the input is too long):

Y Combinator Hacker News:

New Mob Cash Racket Irony

I'm sure there are more, but I'm just going to stop right there!

EDIT: I just can't stop!

Tricky Wannabe Moochers, Cannabis Coworker Thyme, Cybernetics Nohow Karma, Wacko Minty Abhorrences, Betcha Wonkier Acronyms, Wacko Cerebration Hymns, Romantic Wonky Breaches, Beckons Worthy American, Inaner Worthy Comebacks, Chicken Anatomy Browser, Antiwar Cockney Hombres, Awaken Botcher Cronyism, Obscene Wonky Matriarch, Nonsmoker Raceway Bitch...

DonHopkins 1 day ago 4 replies      
The Internet Anagram Server at https://wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html has an "advanced" mode that you can use to incrementally refine long anagrams once you find juicy words, by entering the words you want to keep in the "Anagrams must include this word" field.

I'll bet dollars for donuts that nobody can find any worse anagrams for their own full name than I've found for my own, "Donald Edward Hopkins":

The "clean" runner up is:

"Dank Washed Dildo Porn"

But the winner is:

"We Shank Dildo Porn Dad"

chiliap2 2 days ago 0 replies      
This blog post inspired me to do a similar analysis using Urban Dictionary words instead: https://medium.com/@carnye/the-funniest-anagrams-of-urban-di...
tyingq 2 days ago 3 replies      
The last time this was posted, I scored his list with Levenshtein edit distance. It was, predictably, not as good at bubbling up the best anagrams. His winner scored 11, so still somewhat near the top, but not standing out as well.


kccqzy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think it can be much more interesting if these anagrams are not just limited to single words, but whole phrases or sentences. Makes the search a lot harder I think, but the results are much more fun. I especially like authors who incorporate those linguistic tricks in their works like "Vivian Darkbloom"/"Vladimir Nabokov" or "Tom Marvolo Riddle"/"I Am Lord Voldemort".
hkmurakami 2 days ago 0 replies      
fwiw, here is the discussion from the 2 months ago when this was submitted (renamed "Anagram Scoring") https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13696196
jimmytucson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perl was the first programming language I learned. I spent about 2 years writing programs in it and studying it exclusively. Nowadays I don't use it at all. However, if I had chosen another language first then I never would have read Higher Order Perl -- truly one of the most brain-wrinkle-inducing books I've ever read, and loaded with examples of beautiful code (in Perl, no less!). Can't recommend it enough.
sytse 2 days ago 0 replies      
anagramanram/nouna word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another, such as cinema, formed from iceman.

funny that the textbook definition of anagram is the word that is the basis of the winner here: cinematographer

transposed 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is very cool. I am the type of person who enjoys anagrams, and started toying around in Python (http://adamantine.me/index.php/2016/09/02/python-anagram-tut...), but I never thought of rating the anagrams... My next step was to generate a list of names that are anagrams of other names, or take the corpus of The Dark Tower series and see if you can discover any interesting anagrams (as it is a motif in the series).
cody8295 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think 'clitoridean directional' is a clear winner
karyon 1 day ago 0 replies      
briandrupieski 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in more anagrams I wrote a Twitter bot that finds anagrams in pairs of tweets from a sample of the Twitter firehose: https://twitter.com/anagrammatweest

It can be easier to see the pairs in the tumblr feed: http://anagrammatweest.tumblr.com/

The source is here: https://github.com/bdrupieski/AnagramFinder

donquichotte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice write-up, especially the comparison of rearranging letters and computing every permutation of a list to find d the one that is sorted.

BTW, my favourite anagram in German: Zitronensaft - Fronteinsatz (lemon juice - service at the front (mil))

oska 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whenever I walk past a sign in front of a house advertising that it will soon be up for auction, I rearrange the letters to spell caution. (Especially with the overinflated house prices in Australia currently).
ShannonAlther 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another 14-pointer which was overlooked:

nitromagnesite <--> regimentations

defined 1 day ago 0 replies      
My second-most favorite pair of anagrams after the movie-showing giant bat is coprophagist topographics.

Detailed maps of areas in which dung-eaters live? Worth buying just to avoid the neighborhood... :)

Edit: These anagram pairs would also make interesting Short Authentication Strings for ZRTP. Worthy of a Monty Python skit, if you ask me.

kpil 1 day ago 0 replies      
So the best anagrams in English are actually Greek (?)

"Soapstone teaspoons" is 80% old English with a splash of Chinese.

Interestingly, most germanic words seems to be rather short. But I guess the reason for using long Greek, Latin or French words is to look important, so the longer the better.

raldi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Might be interesting to give bonus points to pairs of words with origins far apart on the linguistic taxonomy.
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
There were some comments in this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13696196
AceyMan 1 day ago 1 reply      
My alma mater's Ultimate Frisbee team were called the 'Earthworms,' an anagram of the school name(1).

Which was cool.

1Finding said name is left as an exercise for the reader.

ma2rten 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like anagram quality should include other things as well, like how common the words are.
Pxtl 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd skip the dictionary and scrape all of Wikipedia, then weigh words by frequency.
mproud 2 days ago 2 replies      
Competitive Scrabble players know just about all the 7- and 8-letter anagrams.
mgiannopoulos 1 day ago 1 reply      
>> 8 negativism timesaving

Negativism is timesaving? Mind blown :)

bitwize 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's worth noting that megachiroptera are fruit bats. And they are adorable: https://youtu.be/t26UZM70YzY
hatsunearu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, so what can cinematographer megachiropteran be rearranged to be? is it "GIANT BAT! DEATH FROM ABOVE!!!"?
andy_ppp 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best anagram in English is definitely "tapestries" ;-)
logicallee 1 day ago 1 reply      
But who has heard of a megachiropteran? (In fact, as I write this my browser has a red squiggly line under it.)

I like some of the other anagrams the author has listed better. For example, an anagram of "negativism" is "timesaving".

That's deep.

rimliu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still have this that I wrote years ago:

 for(<>){chop;$s{join'',sort split'',lc}.=" $_"}for(sort%s){/. /&&print"$_\n"}
Feed it a wordlist and it spews out anagrams.

i336_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some time ago I iterated through all the links at http://storage.googleapis.com/books/ngrams/books/datasetsv2.... to get their Content-Length. All up it's 21TB compressed. Just US English comes in at about 9GB or something though IIRC (unsure, might be completely wrong).

With this being said, the data is very, very very raw and unprocessed (contains things like "xxiv_DET", "X25.000_NOUN", "X1E", "X16_NUM" etc, just to give some random examples from the Xs). Would be a lot of work to sanitize it, but you might get some interesting results in the process.

So IOW this would be somewhere between "toy" and "interestingness from chaos".

Sam_Harris 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hacker news: a never-ending festival of reposts.
Goodbye Amazon princeton-audio.com
239 points by beat  2 days ago   133 comments top 26
jasode 2 days ago 9 replies      
>Our Site:1 speakers are lovingly handcrafted. We make them one at a time, to our customer's desired spec, [...] If all goes smoothly, this process takes about six weeks.

>Amazon relentlessly pushed us to accept lead-times that were typically only four days, and sometimes demanded fulfillment of orders in as little as 24 hours--including delivery.

Amazon is not really an appropriate distribution platform for 6-week custom-made-to-order products. Maybe there's another well-known retail site that caters to that type of vendor but it certainly isn't Amazon (or Walmart).

One way for Princeton Audio to become compatible with Amazon's short lead times is to run some sophisticated projections (e.g. "demand planning") on the most likely customer combinations[1] and build an inventory of those ahead of time. (Sell semi-custom on Amazon with immediate delivery but fully custom on Princeton's own website with 6-week wait.) However, that requires a big capital investment -- and the hassles of managing inventory.

[1] PA's website shows 32 possible combinations (4 woods x 4 metals x 2 batteries) so maybe prebuild and sell only the most popular 3 configurations on Amazon.com


hangonhn 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is a just an ad or marketing stunt for the company.

As most of you pointed out, they picked the wrong distributor for their business model. Now they are mad and severing relationships.

However, 75% of the article is about their company and their handcrafted products. Then they offer a discount at the bottom tells you everything you need to know what this is really about.

This is a publicity and marketing stunt.

AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 5 replies      
Our Site:1 speakers are lovingly handcrafted. We make them one at a time, to our customer's desired spec, using their preferred tonewoods, choice of hardware, as well as other unique customizations.


The only way to meet their demands would have been to mass-produce huge volumes of speakers featuring no customizations.

How is Amazon even possibly a good place to sell this kind of an item? People overwhelmingly go to Amazon for the cheapest items that are the types of products that are sold at massive scale.

So if you can't by virtue of your business model sell 100,000 SKUs delivered two day prime, then it seems like Amazon would be a terrible place to try and sell.

I mean it looks like they make a fantastic product for a specific subset of audiophiles: ones that don't want a system to dominate their home. However they don't need Amazon's market to get to the scale they claim to want to reach.

Dayshine 2 days ago 4 replies      
>I'll repeat that: Amazon.com, a reseller, told us that we were not allowed to raise the price of our own product for any reason.

I don't believe this...

Were you actually selling using "Sell on Amazon/Fulfilment by Amazon"? Or some 3rd party using Amazon for you...?

>Amazon's policy is to never return unsold products to manufacturers


says that:

>Typically, return requests take 10 to 14 business days to pick, pack and dispatch.

It also goes on to say you can have returned items sent back to you...

>Prior to that, our Amazon buyer had refused to ever reply to any of our questions or requests for support.

Your what?

j-c-hewitt 2 days ago 1 reply      
They could have used Amazon Custom (which is a new service that's mostly focused on apparel, but still) or Amazon Handmade (Amazon's Etsy clone) instead of using the typical system for selling manufactured products. They were setting themselves up for failure by selling an artisan product on a marketplace designed for factory produced goods.

It makes no sense to criticize Amazon for being what it is, which is mostly a platform to buy standardized, affordable, manufactured stuff.

They went into the Amazon Vendor program not really understanding what it entailed. A lot of big companies that also participate in the Vendor program have similar complaints about it to this guy (especially in regards to price inflexibility) but there are similar problems when you sell to any big retailer. There are also plenty of problems and headaches with, say, selling to Best Buy or Wal-Mart, that you don't have when you sell to Amazon.

They could have also just focused on eBay and taken advantage of the more lenient return policies. Or just focused on their own website. I understand why all of this would be confusing and frustrating if they are primarily a small niche manufacturer accustomed to selling direct to high-end consumers on their own website.

But that would have just been successful for them and not have made a good viral marketing blog post that hooks into a ready mass of resentful people who are looking for something to be mad on the internet about.

TBH they would make more money by figuring out how to reach audiophiles who want high end custom speakers on Amazon than just trying to gin up outrage with a coupon attached to it. Some people would rather be mad than just quietly successful. The overlap between people who get outraged against big corporations on the internet and people who want to buy $335 desktop speakers is very limited. Better off finding those rich and picky audiophiles and appealing directly to them.

hannob 2 days ago 10 replies      
When I read sentences like this:"We steadfastly refuse to be purveyors of cheap, plastic, mass-produced, craptastic speakers made on an assembly line in China that contribute nothing of value to the lives of our customers or the town we call home."

I'm always amazed how much subtle racism seems to be acceptable when it comes to talking about China.

This sentence contains so many hidden assumptions, e.g. "product from china == crap" and "person in our home town earning money == good, person in china earning money == bad".

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of those posts that would be more impactful with the Amazon emails embedded in the post. When you can have the bad guy in the piece playing their own part it really resonates, if you're reading PA consider just putting in their responses to your questions.

The only nit on this is this bit: "The only way to meet their demands would have been to mass-produce huge volumes of speakers featuring no customizations. And the only way to make that economically feasible would have been to sacrifice our high standards of quality across the board. Needless to say, we're not going to do that."

I find I can't help but react when someone presents a problem as unsolvable (it triggers my 'hey solve this!' button). And so when they state that this is "impossible" my first question is, "How have you tried to solve it?", "What do you consider as constraints? How do you verify those constraints?"

I agree completely with the idea that being craftsmanship to bespoke products is an excellent goal, and if we can come up with ways to do that effectively we can enable a manufacturing renaissance in places like the US. As a result I see calling this problem 'unsolvable' as a challenge (it may be unsolvable but if it truly is, then it may mean that bringing back this sort of work to the US will never be economically feasible and I am not ready to accept that yet)

In terms of worthwhile startup projects to pursue, I consider this one of the big ones. Creating the tools and infrastructure around craftspeople to enable them to economically apply their craft at scale.

ronnier 2 days ago 2 replies      
> But it was also born as a reaction against the cheap, mass-produced audio products that litter the marketplace today.

We are entering a world where the cheapest mass-produced items are just about as good as the high end versions. Products are plateauing in many ways which means the cheap versions catch up. Say on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the worst product ever, and 10 is the best you could ever imagine. Over the last decades we were jumping from 1, to 2, to 3... etc. Now we are at the end of the spectrum in many ways. So instead of jumping entire digits, products increment by .003 for example, and demanding higher prices. To the normal consumer, that fraction of an incremental advancement isn't worth the price.

What Princeton Audio is feeling is the sting of competition as they catch them in quality.

> We steadfastly refuse to be purveyors of cheap, plastic, mass-produced, craptastic speakers made on an assembly line in China that contribute nothing of value to the lives of our customers or the town we call home.

That "cheap, plastic, mass-produced, craptastic" Chinese made stuff, if you go back 100 years, has given most of us a life of unimaginable luxury.

Johnny555 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our Site:1 speakers are lovingly handcrafted. We make them one at a time, to our customer's desired spec, using their preferred tonewoods, choice of hardware, as well as other unique customizations.

This doesn't sound like a good match for selling on Amazon -- Amazon seems more suited for products where you can ramp up production easily to meet demand. And I probably wouldn't buy a $450 handcrafted wood bluetooth speaker on Amazon, assuming that it's some cheap mass produced mess where the wood will delaminate in a year.

fanpuns 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wait, you were selling custom items on Amazon and were shocked when they wanted delivery immediately? There are legitimate complaints to make against a company like Amazon, but you not understanding the nature of your chosen distribution channel is not one of them.
pkulak 2 days ago 0 replies      
So that was 8 paragraphs about how amazing you are before getting to the issues with Amazon. And the issue was basically that Amazon isn't Etsy or Kickstarter.
Demiurge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Enough has been said about the fact that an online retailer is not a good fit for a custom made-to-order shop, these are the opposite in so many ways.

I wanted to share my opinion that Studio monitors like Yamaha HS80 is practically the best sound quality I've been able to attain, with the price much less than custom 'tonewood' and 'hand crafted' speakers. By having the best possible range and accuracy on the output, after sound proofing the environment as wanted, I can apply any EQ and filtering I want for pleasure or mixing, and if desired I could also record/recreate impulse response of other speakers. Good monitors are less than 1k, and I'm seeing people spend thousands on cargo cult nonsense. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't become one of those people, give monitors a try if you want good sound.

I even got some ~$300 monitors for my parents TV, and they say that it sounds better any other setups they've tried. In fact, they have now started listening to music through TV a lot.

bitwize 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon, a platform optimized to deliver mass-produced goods quickly and cheaply, is not up to the needs of a company that ships custom artisanal speakers handcrafted using centuries-old speaker-making techniques from a Piedmontese village. Color me surprised. Maybe try Etsy?
code4tee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon is the Wal-Mart of the Internet (Wal-Mart wants to be the Wal-Mart of the Internet but it hasn't been going so well). It's not the place to be selling custom made stuff with a 6 week lead time, nor would Wal-Mart.

Nice products but this is simply a mismatch of product and venue. Spare the drama.

jrs235 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would the following model work for this company and selling on Amazon?: Sell gift cards for speakers on Amazon. Fulfillment of customized speakers is handled directly by the manufacturer/seller. Returns and issues with the speakers are handled directly by the manufacturer/seller.
macspoofing 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't fault either side here. Amazon in principle is doing the right thing - pressuring their suppliers to lower prices and improve shipment times. In this case they went too far and this company got fed up and left.
ziikutv 2 days ago 0 replies      
> I'll repeat that: Amazon.com, a reseller, told us that we were not allowed to raise the price of our own product for any reason. It was not open for discussion. In fact, the one and only time that anyone at Princeton Audio ever spoke in person to anyone from Amazon.com was the day we ended our relationship with them over the phone. Prior to that, our Amazon buyer had refused to ever reply to any of our questions or requests for support. Like I said, nice folks, huh?

Sounds like Amazon needs to change their practices on dealing with manufacturer and let go of some people.

ianai 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't expect amazon to be a good choice for a custom audio place.
icc97 2 days ago 1 reply      
There seems to be a lot of negativity about this. They Site-1 product they make looks beautiful and is made in the US. I really applaud them for doing this and I wish more companies would. Making beautiful long lasting products.

If you've got a beautiful casing to the speakers you can upgrade internal components and that looks like one of the things they offer.

If nothing else then hopefully this post will prevent other's with custom products that don't suit Amazon from going down that route.

jaboutboul 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like the company made a mis-aligned decision to go with Amazon for distribution when it is not the right fit for the product.
thomed 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Amazon had let you control their retail pricing wouldn't that be price fixing? You can set a recommended price, but once you've accepted the wholesale price, you live with it. If the retailer decides to dump your product at a loss, that's their choice no?
wnevets 2 days ago 0 replies      
This hammer is making a terrible screwdriver. Goodbye hammer and good riddance.
anilshanbhag 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't seem to find their product on Amazon. Curious to see who on Amazon today would buy a <$50 bluetooth speaker for $300+ !
swayvil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon sounds like Walmart.
simplehuman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't these guys better off with shopify or something?
emperorcezar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's hoping that the anti-trust laws will bring Amazon in line one day. Maybe.
El Salvador bans metal mining in world first phys.org
202 points by seycombi  2 days ago   120 comments top 14
ShannonAlther 2 days ago 2 replies      
This has apparently been in the works for a while[0] in response to a ridiculous percentage of El Salvador's fresh water being poisoned by mining runoff. Good for them, this looks like it solves a lot of problems.

Does anyone know what sort of impact this will have on their economy?


sebleon 2 days ago 4 replies      
At first glance, I think this measure makes a lot of sense - profits from mines mostly leave the country.

That being said, I'd expect this will lead to a surge in illegal mining operations, which will likely be a lot more environmentally hazardous.

specialist 2 days ago 6 replies      
Ages ago, a buddy predicted we'd eventually just mine our own trash for precious metals. As opposed to recycling, I suppose. Call it "extreme recycling".

I wonder how close we are to that future.

EGreg 2 days ago 1 reply      
How dare El Salvador try to use facts to claim that these foreign companies mining their resources don't help their communities but only pollute it!

The anarcho capitalist solution is that the country should privatize their water supply so that outside companies can then legally buy up the lakes and pollute as much as they want! After all the companies will have paid people for it - the people only would have to live there :)

zenkat 1 day ago 1 reply      
In _Collapse_, Jared Diamond makes the argument that almost all modern mining of metals would be economically unprofitable if all the negative externalities (i.e., cleanup costs) were taken into account.
djsumdog 1 day ago 4 replies      
I suspect their head of state will die in a plane crash within a year. Either that or there will be a military coupe. Double your bets if any of those shut down were American mining companies.

And before you start saying I should take off my tin foil hat, look up the 1973 coupe in Chile, the Iranian Contras, United Fruit and the documentary Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

I hope El Salvador keeps mining banned. I really do. But the track record is that NATO countries tend to "fix" things when their interests are threatened.

partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting.

Blocking access to a resource would redirect efforts towards other activities.

Countries with abundance of resources or no restrictions to harvest them are not always more prosperous, as explained by the concept "resource course": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse

r00fus 2 days ago 2 replies      
It'll be interesting to see how fast banning the pollution results in water quality changes.
lightedman 2 days ago 2 replies      
This becomes interesting. Many gemstones are also essentially metal ores. I wonder if this will affect gem and mineral mining/collecting in El Salvador, which does have a decent reputation in the mineral/gem/lapidary circle.
zghst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too bad we (U.S.) are a a large economy, the only way we could survive and implement this policy is if we get to space and get good at mining asteroids.
cmrdporcupine 2 days ago 2 replies      
A lot of Canadian mining companies doing really dirty work in Central America. Makes me ashamed to be Canadian. Glad to see El Salvador assert their autonomy.
Arizhel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem here is that our technological society needs metals to operate. But getting those metals is making a big mess in less-developed places like this, for the benefit of the more-developed places.

So, the solution is simple: mine asteroids. No one cares about pollution in space.

bingomad123 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now let us hope all countries follow the suite and ban all metal mining right away.
aaron695 2 days ago 9 replies      
Have they lost the plot? Has HN lost the plot in the comments supporting this.

Why not just ban science?

We need metals to live and prosper.

If it was really that minimal as per 'NGO' advise then the pollution would be minimal.

Why not just make companies pay fines if they polute? The government obviously doesn't kowtow to them?

Perhaps if their people weren't so poor you could excuse banning things like gold and diamond. But this (as the article tells it, I doubt it's close to the full story) is like going back to the middle ages.

More than 800 startups sign letter objecting to plans to kill net neutrality theverge.com
218 points by ergo14  2 days ago   148 comments top 8
LoSboccacc 2 days ago 7 replies      
At this point the problem isn't Net Neutrality, it's the internet is privately owned by for profit companies.

Imagine what'd be if every single road and water pipe was ran by private company for profit without oversight.

Internet needs to be treated like infrastructure, because that's what is, both to service consumers and providers.

There are many ways to have private company to profit over infrastructure if they so chose it, but having a guaranteed baseline would resolve most issue about having to regulate private companies or stifling innovation. I.e. there could be private pipes with state subsidized access having guaranteed QOS. There could be public pipes with state renting access to private companies.

There are plenty solution, but the issue is that public can't lobby for what benefits them and deep pocket can and will buy legislation.

cm2187 2 days ago 3 replies      
To me the problem is not net neutrality, it is monopolistic behavior in broadband providers. If there was a true competition, providers trying to control the access of their subscribers would meet the same fate that AOL (with their custom email, browser, etc), they would become irrelevant.
gravypod 2 days ago 4 replies      
Why don't these 800 startups, their thousands of brilliant employees, and the hackers on hacker news start a push to build a part-wireless and part-cable mesh network?

The only reason why the loons in the government or these companies have any clout is because they have the only working network that spans the US/Globe. If citizens just got together, on their time, and built a free and open network we'd have something better. It's not like it's never been done before [1].

[1] - https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/greek-off-the-grid-internet-...

RugnirViking 2 days ago 5 replies      
Is there a single good argument for removing net neutrality?

No conspiracy theories, or anything like that. Why is it a issue even worthy of debate? I am utterly confused

unityByFreedom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forget the red vs. blue politics for once.

This isn't about that. This is something that most of us, as techies, believe is a bad idea.

This should be a campaign issue. We don't need to build more silos.

If it's unpopular, politicians won't pass it.

nickpsecurity 2 days ago 0 replies      
People signing letters should donate money to politicians' campaign with letters to those politicians advocating specific legislation. That legislation might also have compromises that consider all parties or at least concretely show benefit to them. Alternatively, convince rich people and profitable businesses to donate as well.
miguelrochefort 2 days ago 4 replies      
1. Should a school or workplace be allowed to block specific websites? Why shouldn't ISPs be allowed to?

2. Should cable providers be forced to distribute 100% of channels? Why should we apply a different standard to a different protocol?

3. Should toll-free telephone number be banned?

4. Should ISPs charge for data used to check your balance or account statement? Should phone companies bill the minutes used to call their customer services?

5. Should ISPs be allowed to cache arbitrary content on their servers to reduce their loads (e.g., Netflix movies), and distribute the savings to their users?

6. Should a taxi driver be allowed not to serve specific neighborhoods, or should they be forced to serve 100% of neighborhoods?

7. Should posting a letter to someone in the same city cost the same as posting a letter to someone in a different country?

8. Should ISPs that implement their own proprietary protocol as an alternative to the Internet be forced to be neutral as well?

9. Should restaurants be forced to serve both Pepsi and Coca-Cola?

10. Should Netflix be able to reduce your subscription price when used through a specific ISP?

11. Should toll roads be allowed?

12. Should a workplace be able to reimburse bandwidth fees associated with the use of their VPN?

13. Should web hosts (e.g., Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Heroku, etc) be neutral as well? Should Amazon charge the same fees to all of their customers (including themselves)?

14. What should be done about small startups that can't handle all the incoming traffic? Should some other regulation subsidize their hosting cost so that they can compete with larger competitors?

15. How many new laws and regulations will be required (if they don't already exist) just to address the above examples? Wouldn't these laws and regulations only make it more difficult for startups to emerge and compete with the so-called monopolies?

rtx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Startups asking for more regulation, very hypocritical of them. I understand need for regulation in mobile internet as it is a limited resource.
Why Deutsche Bundesbank had to promise to leave 1200 tons of gold in New York norberthaering.de
258 points by akrymski  17 hours ago   223 comments top 30
erikb 15 hours ago 6 replies      
> Gold is money, which is based on physical ownership, not on trust in the willingness and ability of another party to honor their promises. If you have gold, but you do not have it under your control, it is almost pointless to have gold.

Really digging this one. That's why I proactively not listen to investors/consultants who suggest to buy some gold derivates for savety purposes.

In other regards: What's the point of the author? That's how the "king's peace" works since forever. Having the biggest stick and control over the valuable stuff makes you the king. And as long as you provide a stable leadership live of people is mostly peaceful. That's why people are willing to accept this trade. It's unfair but we actually want it that way. And what should the others do? Say "yeah, we totally accept that he has us by the balls"? No they act like it would be their decision so that they also keep some of their own power.

It seems the author is smart enough to know all this, so seriously: What's he attempting to achieve here?

patrickk 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Bloomberg has a very interesting article on this topic also:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-02-05/germany-s...

Reading in between the lines, it seems as if a good chunk of gold has gone missing and there is an attempt by both sides to save face.

mercurialshark 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It's difficult to take this article seriously.

> the New York Fed, an institution that is owned and controlled by Wall-Street-banks

No, it isn't.

> In a country, whose current president considers it an imposition that the law and so-called judges tell him what he is allowed to do and not allowed to do.

His rhetoric doesn't prevent the judiciary from acting or render the other two branches moot.

> The way in which the official gold of the US, and the gold held in custody for other countries, is guarded against public scrutiny and shielded from its owners, gives fodder to any number of conspiracy theories.

You can bet the largest repository of gold is off-fucking-limits. And, no, it doesn't.

> Had the New York Fed refused to let a foreign central bank, which was under such obvious pressure, retrieve some of their gold, these conspiracy theories around official gold might very well have become intense enough to damage trust in the dollar.

What? How? Negative.

krona 15 hours ago 1 reply      
> The US had paid for its imports with pieces of paper on the promise, that these pieces of paper were as good as gold and would be exchanged for gold at a fixed rate upon request. In 1971 Nixon just said screw you, you can keep those papers and we will keep your commodities and the gold. We stayed friends anyway. We had to.

It's a bit more complicated, isn't it? Wasn't it West Germany, in May 1971, that said "screw you" to the US and the Bretton Woods system (the same system that helped them rebuild their economy after the war) and performed a competitive appreciation by floating the currency, contributing to the resulting Gold crisis? The Nixon shock happened in August 1971, when the game was up.

21 15 hours ago 4 replies      
> Switzerland is a small, neutral country without a serious army. They would hardly refuse to hand the gold back on request.

This guy is suggesting that Germany could invade Switzerland if they refuse to give back their gold, so this is a good reason to keep it there. I'm pretty sure such action would be illegal under UN rules, ie: you can't invade a country because they don't give you back your posession.

And Switzerland neutrality is highly debatable given that it's surrounded by NATO and part in a lot of EU mechanisms.

Also, an invasion would make no sense under the writers own assumption, that something is wrong in the gold market. A war in the heart of Europe will tank a lot of markets.

mercurialshark 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Everyone, stop. This guy is literally batshit insane.

Germany isn't being stiffed, strong-armed or muzzled. They are distributing assets amongst the world's soundest systems at will - at home in Germany, the UK, US and France. This guy isn't just speculating, he's making stuff up with absolutely no basis for it.


f_allwein 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I think the background to this is that, during the Cold War, Germans were worried about a possible Soviet invasion, so storing gold in the US at the time made sense. As the article states, conditions have changed somewhat and there has been political pressure to return some of the gold in recent years.
sgt101 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that at 41k per kilo one tonne of gold is worth $41m.

1300 tonnes of gold is therefore worth a bit more than $51bn, which is a lot, but approximately 1 year of the UK's defence budget, so in the scale of things not really all that much.

Now, this would mean that (given that Germany is a big economy) there would be what... 20 times that amount of gold available to back a gold currency - so about $1trn. I think that the world economy is about $80trn which leaves a big problem with the assertion that a gold backed currency could challenge the $.

haddr 14 hours ago 1 reply      
That reminds me of the history of Spanish gold. In summary: the republican government made an arrangement with Russia to send their gold reserves to not let Franco capture it.

Suddenly the russian military help became quite expensive. Paid in gold of course. All of it.

rwmj 16 hours ago 7 replies      
Why do countries bother to hold gold? Wouldn't it be sensible to sell as much of it off as possible? (I'm asking like "ELI5" because I'm sure there is a reason)
micahgoulart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised to see on HN an article clearly written by a conspiracy theorist without any proof. As soon as he started adding in his own opinions of what might have been taking place, I checked out.

This is my reading anyway, based on what I understand is usual diplomatic custom and lingo in such affairs.


kelvin0 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The opposite of this is 'Gold repatriation'https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_repatriation

Chavez was the one I remember who got his gold back onto Venezualian soil:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-15900885

joosters 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested in reading more about the standards of gold storage and exchange, the company BuillionVault has some good information on their help/FAQ pages, such as explaining what 'good delivery' bars of gold mean, and how professional gold vaulting works. (Naturally, the pages also promote their own services, but you can ignore all of that)

e.g. https://www.bullionvault.com/gold-guide/ready-to-buy-gold

chvid 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Germany or Europe is no threat to the US dollar dominance; if anything the euro and the usd are "same" currency thru central bank arrangements.

The real threat to the US dollar system comes from China; slowly thru many decades.

joosters 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If there really is a doubt that the US holds less gold than it claims, surely this would be reflected in the pricing of US-held gold? Yet I've never heard that such a price gap exists. What am I missing?
mariuolo 15 hours ago 2 replies      
If not stolen, what's the advantage for the USG in keeping it there?
JackFr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Best reason NOT to repatriate it:


Record 220-pound gold coin stolen from German museum in mysterious heist

jbmorgado 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not really understanding what is going on here and the article doesn't address that:

1 - Why do Germany and Netherlands even store their gold in the USA?

2 - Why shall the USA/FED have any saying about Germany wanting their property back anyway? It's like me having to negotiate with my bank weather I can or not withdrawal my money from there.

Kenji 16 hours ago 3 replies      
"I am not criticizing the Bundesbank for storing 37 percent of Germanys official gold in in a place there it has no control over it. It seems clear that they negotiated hard with the US and acted rather shrewdly."

I am sorry, but as a layperson, I do not know what's to negotiate. If I own something, I should be able to take it home whenever I want?? This is mind-boggling. What's the point of property that you cannot access? That's not property.

maehwasu 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The article really dances around the obvious answer to the question in the title: "because Germany is a conquered puppet state of the US."
powera 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"In 2013 and 2014 they melted 55 of the 90 tons they retrieved in these two years, destroying all evidence if anything should have been wrong, like some of that gold being inferior "coin-gold", for example." - and I'm done.

Melting bullion is the standard way to determine that it is in fact gold. If it were "inferior coin-gold" (which I assume he means some form of alloy), that would have been detected through the process of melting.

This man is too far into conspiracy theories to present a neutral view of anything.

perlgeek 14 hours ago 4 replies      
How do you even transport 300 tons of gold? Load it onto a military ship, maybe in smaller batches, and hope the crew isn't too corrupt?
chinathrow 16 hours ago 2 replies      
" It seems clear that they negotiated hard with the US and acted rather shrewdly."

I do not even understand why one country would need to negotiate about their properties held abroad.

There are two reasons I can come up with right now:

- Country A holding assets of Country B wants leverage over Country B or

- Country A does not hold 100% of these assets any longer

mdekkers 15 hours ago 2 replies      
...the US will allow central banks to repatriate as much gold from New York as is absolutely necessary to allow them to have half of their gold at home....

What the actual fuck? Why do we need permission from the US to have our own gold?

lemonsqueeze 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The gold is long gone. There's nothing there.

Of course they had to work out a 'deal' otherwise both/all banking systems come down.

mamon 13 hours ago 4 replies      
darkhorn 16 hours ago 2 replies      
The gold is stolen.
pyvpx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
if you're into reading about gold, you can do a lot worse than reading the archives of http://fofoa.blogspot.com/
tmaly 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It could have been just swapped out for gold coated lead bars.

Hard to tell without any transparency.

tomohawk 15 hours ago 1 reply      
When we build systems, we run tests to see if they actually work the way we think the should. We verify, as independently as possible, because it is important.

What would happen if we went to evidence based banking instead of just taking the word of people with obvious ulterior motives.

Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [pdf] fcc.gov
221 points by sinak  3 days ago   204 comments top 40
outsidetheparty 3 days ago 2 replies      
On page 15:

> Following the 2014 Notice and in the lead up to the Title II Order, Internet service providers stated that the increased regulatory burdens of Title II classification would lead to depressed investment.

To support this notion, they cite two reports that purport to show that capital expenditure by ISPs went down as a result of common carrier regulation.

The first [1] has data only from 2014 on, so has hardly any "before" data; and shows wild enough variability in the "after" data that it seems unreasonable to draw any conclusions from the average value over such a short time frame.

The second [2] is a convoluted enough statistical analysis that I'm not really able to evaluate it -- though it does appear to show that telecom investment in infrastructure appears to have grown at roughly the same rate as it had since the 1980s (save for some wild up and down swings prior to 2010) -- just not as fast as an invented "control group" of imaginary telecoms that never heard they might be classified as common carriers (see figure 3.)

That's shady, right? It sure seems shady.

[1] https://haljsinger.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/2016-broadband-c...

[2] http://www.phoenix-center.org/perspectives/Perspective17-02F...

jacquesm 3 days ago 4 replies      
As soon as you see 'Freedom' in some official publication you can bet your last buck that you're losing freedom.
jarcoal 3 days ago 8 replies      
They keep using terms like "Internet Freedom" or "Open Internet", but this isn't so much about the internet as it's about ISPs. They are the gatekeepers of the internet and Net Neutrality requires them to keep the gate open and free of obstacles.
icey 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've been working on a tool to help people team up and discover important facts from documents like this. It's still very early going, but I've uploaded the document here: https://docsift.com/docs/restoring-internet-freedom-notice-o...

At the very least, it will provide an easy way to share links to specific pages of the documents (of course, you can add notes and annotations to the pages, and there's been some rudimentary fact extraction done already).

I just loaded the document a moment ago, so I haven't had a chance to scan through and make sure all the details are correct, but wanted to share it so folks can scan through it now.

Feedback is definitely welcome, and I'll hold off on doing non-critical deploys today so it stays up while people read it. I've only been working on it for a few weeks so there's still quite a lot to do :)

pdonis 3 days ago 6 replies      
Here is a draft of a comment I plan to submit to the FCC regarding this notice:

The draft seeks comment on the analysis in Paragraph 27. This analysis purports to show that broadband Internet service is an information service because it provides users the "capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications." The argument given is that broadband Internet service allows users to do all these things. However, this is not the same as providing the capability to do these things. To see why, consider that providing users Internet services over dialup phone lines also allows users to do all these things; but the phone lines themselves are telecommunications services, not information services. Why? Because providing the user dialup Internet, by itself, does not provide them the capability to do all these things. That capability is provided by the endpoints: the users' computers, and the computers hosting the Internet services that the users connect to.

Exactly the same is true of broadband Internet services provided by ISPs: by themselves, they do not provide users the capability to do all these things. They only provide connections between computers at the endpoints that provide those capabilities. It is the services provided by the Internet hosts that users connect to that are "information services". The broadband Internet services that allow users to connect to those hosts are telecommunications services, and should be regulated as such.

ISPs object to analyses like the one above because they claim that they also provide the actual information services--in other words, they also provide Internet hosts that function as email servers, web servers, etc. But it is obvious that those services are separate from the broadband connection services provided by those same ISPs, because users can make use of the latter without making use of the former at all. I am such a user: I use the broadband Internet connection provided by my ISP, but I do not use any of the information services they provide; I do not use their email, their web hosting, etc. I use other Internet hosts provided by other companies for those services. The fact that ISPs offer information services as well as telecommunications services does not make their telecommunications services into information services; an ISP's choice of business model cannot change the nature of a particular service it provides. Broadband Internet connections are obviously a telecommunications service, and should be regulated as such, regardless of what other services ISPs would like to bundle with them. The FCC should continue to regulate broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service.

pdelbarba 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is it normal for these proposals to read like a plagiarized high school report?

They repeat "open internet" 43 times (disregarding the fact that the proposal is for quite the opposite) and copy-paste whole sections around the document, over and over again.

drenvuk 3 days ago 7 replies      
The one question that I have is how do we stop this? Do I go somewhere to vote? Do I send a letter? Do I go to petition.org or something? Can I only donate to the EFF and that's it?

What do I need to do to have a concrete affect on the outcome of this instead of just commenting here or in some other thread?

ShannonAlther 3 days ago 0 replies      
From page 3, on the regulation of ISPs as utilities:

...the order has weakened Americans online privacy by stripping the Federal Trade Commission the nations premier consumer protection agency of its jurisdiction over ISPs privacy and data security practices.

That's pretty rich, coming from the government that just overturned an Obama-era privacy ruling.

mundo 3 days ago 2 replies      

 $99/month Family Freedom package: - 200GB "Streaming Gigs" for up to four authorized devices - 100GB "Gaming Gigs" (with Super-Ping technology!) - 25GB "Other" - Unlimited email, Facebook and Snapchat!
Little glimpse in to our future, ladies and gents.

devindotcom 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a giveaway in my opinion in the length the NPRM goes to in questioning the necessity of the existing rules, and the small space afforded to providing a legal basis for enforcing them should Title II authority be revoked as proposed.

The idea seems to be: if the rules themselves (no throttling, no paid prioritization etc) are not necessary (i.e. voluntary), neither is a legal framework to support them.

So statements that net neutrality is not under fire here, only the current legal basis for it, sound pretty hollow in my opinion. By failing to provide an alternative authority to support the existing rules, they're sentencing them to unenforceability and effective repeal. (edit: grammar)

glitcher 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems to be a common theme in this administration to "restore freedoms" to corporations with bald-faced lies that they restore freedoms to individuals. The current rhetoric surrounding the recent order to review many national monuments is steeped in very similar twisted logic - that somehow the land needs to be "returned to the people". But wait, wasn't that national monument set aside exactly for preserving a small chunk of pristine wilderness for "the people"?
pasbesoin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think I can put up with 4 more years of these bozos.

Since I'm a nice, law-abiding citizen, I can only suggest further unearthing and bringing into the light of day all the sleaze in these people's backgrounds and getting them disqualified and removed from office.

The 2008 financial crisis should have ended a lot of sleazy careers. Instead, here we are.

There are good people on both the "liberal/progressive/whatever" side of the arbitrary political fence, and on the "small-c-conservative/values/whatever" side.

It's the sleaze. On whatever side.

Arrogant sleaze. Slime-y sleaze. Delusional sleaze. Psycho-/Socio-pathic sleaze.

Time for the War on Sleaze.

Only, we don't want war. We want reasonably rational and emotionally mature discussion and the ability to get along and get things done. And enough trust in good intentions to invest in a variety of plans and figure out and measure what actually works.

And... it'd be nice to have an open network left to do this on. For a reasonable price.

P.S. Sorry for my "outburst." Just, exhausted with this whack-a-mole against moneyed self-interests that can afford to just keep trying again and again and again until they get their way.

Because, they aren't about creating the most (absolute) value. Just capturing the most (relative) value, for themselves.

sinak 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the link for submitting comments: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=17-...

Just click "New Filing" or "New Express" depending on what kind of comment you want to leave.

We just submitted comments here in case you need ideas: https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/DOC-56ec3d08ba000000-A.pdf

JohnJamesRambo 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Restoring Internet Freedom" It reminds me of some Newspeak the government in 1984 would say. Just blatantly saying the opposite of what they are doing like that will make it true.

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

Aaron1011 3 days ago 3 replies      
From Page 10:

> In contrast, Internet service providers do not appear to offer telecommunications, i.e.,the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the users choosing,without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received, to their users. For one,broadband Internet users do not typically specify the points between and among which information issent online. Instead, routing decisions are based on the architecture of the network, not on consumersinstructions, and consumers are often unaware of where online content is stored. Domain names must betranslated into IP addresses (and there is no one-to-one correspondence between the two). Even IPaddresses may not specify where information is transmitted to or from because caching servers store andserve popular information to reduce network loads.

This is absurd. Under this logic, telephones "do not offer 'telecommunications'":

* Telephone users never specify the 'specify the points between and among which information issent'. When I call a particular phone number, I can't choose which cell towers are used, or what internal routing is used to connect my call.

* Users are often unaware of 'where [content] is stored'. When I place a call, I don't know if I'm calling a SIP phone, landline, cell phone, or something else entirely.

* If the existence of DNS means that the ISPs don't provide 'telecommunications', then the existence of phone directory services (e.g. Version 411) should mean that telephone companies also don't provide 'telecommunications'.

* IP addresses are logical address, not physical addresses. Neither phone numbers nor IP dresses specify exactly where information will end up - a call could be handled by a phone company-provided voicemail service, or redirected to another phone entirely.

It gets worse. From the same page:

> For another, Internet service providers routinely change the form or content of theinformation sent over their networksfor example, by using firewalls to block harmful content or usingprotocol processing to interweave IPv4 networks with IPv6 networks

Again, all of those items are analagous (no pun intended) to similar parts of telephone networks. Phone companies can block calls by scammers (e.g. http://fortune.com/2017/03/24/how-t-mobile-plans-to-block-ph...), and can change the encoding and encapsulation of the call audio as many times as they want to.

Sephr 3 days ago 3 replies      
I feel like this belongs here: https://twitter.com/fightfortheftr/status/855144442898132992

It's a disgustingly disingenuous billboard near the FCC headquarters that is being seen by many FCC employees on their commute to work.

djyaz1200 3 days ago 0 replies      
To whom it may concern at the FCC, As the head of an ISP I must tell you that I am entirely dissatisfied with the billions of dollars I make providing a mediocre utility service with near zero competition to customers who pay for that service. I see the billions of dollars being made by Facebook and Google through innovation and user consent and I want to take that money with political and regulatory force. I'll need you to first make it entirely legal for me to capture and sell all data about my users. Not because they consent, not because they want this but because I want a new cash cow to slaughter. I'm going to use this information to become an alternative provider of targeted ads to my customers. Next, I'll need you to allow me to throttle back the speed by which customers can access my competitors services because mine aren't as good. This isn't so much a toll road as a team of aggressive traffic cops, pulling over any business making too much money on my big dumb pipe to slow them down... fine them and then let them slowly attempt to carry on. I need this all because I don't innovate, I don't like my customers or give a shit what they want. I am simply used to using raw power and corrupt regulatory force to act as a parasite extracting the maximum tariff from productive businesses, people and entrepreneurs possible while keeping some of my hosts alive... but killing the smaller ones. I am big business. I am angry because I am losing. The actual free and open internet is allowing actual free market capitalism and user choice in too many things. I used to fight this kind of thing in back rooms quietly but this fight has escalated so now I must come out in the open and ask the government publicly to please take from the poor and give to me in new ways... because the poor keep innovating their way out of the traps I set. Finally, I disrespectfully request that the rules I propose be named the exact opposite of what they stand for, so it's clear this isn't a discussion with reasonable people but a raw show of force. -Old Rich Guy
theprop 3 days ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is that this will likely lead to a lot more significant losses in online privacy. The ISPs will now extort money from Google/YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon...at least two of whom will need to track users more in order to better target ads (since they're already at max-ad-display thresholds) to increase ad yields. So to generate more revenues to feed ISP extortion, it's likely to drive companies to track you further.
shmerl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Read as: Restoring Internet [Providers'] Freedom [from oversight].


TheSageMage 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the argument here that if "net neutrality" goes away, carriers will provide service to "poor, rural area" because they are able to serve their content better than the generally available content on the internet? Not arguing for it, just trying to understand the argument for a less "equal" internet.

Also, I thought this was how it already worked, but it was just called home cable? Don't most homes in the US got a decent hookup to their home for "cable", that usually includes an internet package?

wickedlogic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Time to build out those mesh networks, make sure you are in the loop when your town wants to grant favor to one or the other of the carriers. Consider this the step... that wont ratchet back anytime soon.
finid 3 days ago 0 replies      
to preserve the future of Internet Freedom, and to reverse the decline in infrastructure investment, innovation, and options for consumers put into motion by the FCC in 2015.

There has been a decline in innovation since 2015? How did they determine that? I must be missing something...

Propose to reinstate the determination that mobile broadband Internet access service is not a commercial mobile service...

Really! Commercial must have a special meaning here.

vdnkh 3 days ago 0 replies      
>We propose to return jurisdiction over Internet service providers privacy practices to theFTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area.157 We seek comment on this proposal.

Somehow I feel that their "decades of experience and expertise" is not the kind appropriate for dealing with privacy on the modern internet.

RcouF1uZ4gsC 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing is interesting is that Google Fiber rollout slowed down with the Net Neutrality rules. Maybe they did not see it as quite as vital to their business. Now with Net Neutrality gone, given they view an open Internet as vital to their business, they actually may give more priority to Google Fiber.
coretx 3 days ago 0 replies      
This document is so incredibly professionally framed and laced with layers upon layers of spindoktering that I can't help to conclude that the FCC is intentionally violating the congressional statutes forming their mandate. Perhaps the EFF or similar should drag them in front of a judge.
pdonis 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here is an updated comment (thanks everyone for feedback!). Please feel free to pass this on to your elected representatives, or anyone else who you think should see it.

Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking WC Docket No. 17-108

The subject notice seeks comment on the analysis provided. The following comments are hereby submitted.

Paragraph 27 purports to show that broadband Internet service is an information service because it provides users the "capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications." The argument given is that broadband Internet service allows users to do all these things. However, this is not the same as providing the capability to do these things. To see why, consider that providing users Internet services over dialup phone lines also allows users to do all these things; but the phone lines themselves are telecommunications services, not information services. Why? Because providing the user dialup Internet, by itself, does not provide them the capability to do all these things. That capability is provided by the endpoints: the users' computers, and the computers hosting the Internet services that the users connect to.

Exactly the same is true of broadband Internet services provided by ISPs: by themselves, they do not provide users the capability to do all these things. They only provide connections between computers at the endpoints that provide those capabilities. It is the services provided by the Internet hosts that users connect to that are "information services". The broadband Internet services that allow users to connect to those hosts are telecommunications services, and should be regulated as such.

ISPs object to analyses like the one above because they claim that they also provide the actual information services--in other words, they also provide Internet hosts that function as email servers, web servers, etc. But it is obvious that those services are separate from the broadband connection services provided by those same ISPs, because users can make use of the latter without making use of the former at all. I am such a user: I use the broadband Internet connection provided by my ISP, but I do not use any of the information services they provide; I do not use their email, their web hosting, etc. I use other Internet hosts provided by other companies for those services. The fact that ISPs offer information services as well as telecommunications services does not make their telecommunications services into information services; an ISP's choice of business model cannot change the nature of a particular service it provides. Broadband Internet connections are obviously a telecommunications service, and should be regulated as such, regardless of what other services ISPs would like to bundle with them.

Paragraph 28 asks whether "offering Internet access is precisely what makes the service capable of 'generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information' to consumers?" The answer to this question, as noted above, is no, because all of those capabilities are not provided by the mere fact of Internet access; they are provided by the endpoint computers that implement those capabilities. The question of how those computers are connected to each other, which is the relevant question for the purpose of determining whether broadband Internet service is a telecommunications service, is a separate question from the question of what capabilities the endpoint computers provide.

Paragraph 28 also asks whether consumers could "access these online services using traditional telecommunications services like telephone service or point-to-point special access?" Obviously the answer to this question will depend on what connectivity the providers of such telecommunications services choose to provide. But that is a different question from the question of what the nature of a particular service is. Again, the question of how computers are connected to each other is separate from the question of what capabilities the endpoint computers provide.

Paragraph 29 attempts to argue, in effect, that if most Internet users rely on their ISPs for any additional service beyond the bare fact of Internet connectivity--for example, DNS--then broadband Internet service must be an information service. Paragraph 29 also claims that the ISP, not the user, "specifies the points between and among which information will be transmitted", because, first, users only specify domain names, not IP addresses, and second, users do not make the routing decisions that determine the specific path information packets take through the network. Neither of these considerations affects the proper classification of broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service. Users might only specify domain names, but the service of translating domain names into IP addresses is provided by an endpoint--a DNS server--not by the bare provision of an Internet connection. (And even if the ISP typically provides this endpoint, that is still a separate service from the service of providing an Internet connection, and, as above, bundling the two together cannot change the nature of the latter.) Once the DNS service has provided an IP address corresponding to a domain name to the user's computer, the user's computer, not the network, specifies that IP address as the target of information packets, so once again, it is an endpoint, not the network itself, that determines where the information goes. And routing information packets, in and of itself, is not an information service, because it does not change the information being routed; it just accomplishes the information transmission specified by the user, from one endpoint to another. The intermediate routers that pass on information packets are not endpoints: they are not specified by the user as the targets of any information, and they do not provide any of the capabilities that make an endpoint a provider of an information service.

The analysis of Paragraph 29 also fails to take into account that, if it were valid, it would apply equally well to traditional phone service, which is admitted to be a telecommunications service. Users specify phone numbers to dial, but that does not require knowledge of the physical location of the target phone (and the user will often not have such knowledge), nor does it specify the route that will be taken by the information transmitted by the call. Also, traditional phone service includes directory service (411) and other "add-ons" that go beyond the basic provision of a connection. What makes those "add-ons" telecommunications services rather than information services is that they are for the purpose of facilitating the connection (or facilitating the refusal of connections which are not desired), rather than acting on the information exchanged between the users at the endpoints.

Paragraph 30 attempts to argue that network management activities such as firewalling and IPV4 - IPV6 translation constitute changing the information being transmitted. This analysis fails in two ways. First, refusing to transmit information (e.g., a firewall blocking content deemed to be harmful) is not the same as changing it. Refusing to provide a connection to a user is not the same as changing the information transmitted by the user. Second, the "information" which is changed by such activities as IPV4 - IPV6 translation is not the information sent by the user; it is network management information which is added to the information packets specified by the user, outside the user's control and indeed without the knowledge of most users (since most users are not familiar with the technical details of IP networking). These network management activities are no different from the activities routinely performed by phone networks to route calls--indeed, today the same physical infrastructure is often used to perform both functions, since the phone service backbone and the Internet backbone are in many cases the same networks. Similar remarks apply to services such as filtering by firewalls: phone networks can block calls from certain numbers, for example. Again, the key distinction which the analysis in Paragraph 30 fails to make is between "add-on" services that are for the purpose of facilitating connections, and services that are for the purpose of manipulating the information exchanged by the users at the endpoints. Only the latter are information services; the former are part of the telecommunications service that provides the connection.

In the light of all of the above considerations, the FCC should continue to regulate broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service.

pdonis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Further comment after reading more of the notice:

The draft also seeks comment in Paragraph 28 on whether "offering Internet access is precisely what makes the service capable of 'generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information' to consumers?" The answer to this question, as noted above, is no, because all of those capabilities are not provided by the mere fact of Internet access; they are provided by the endpoint computers that implement those capabilities. The question of how those computers are connected to each other is a separate question from the question of what capabilities they provide.

Paragraph 28 also asks whether consumers could "access these online services using traditional telecommunications services like telephone service or point-to-point special access?" Obviously the answer to this question will depend on what connectivity the providers of such telecommunications services choose to provide. But that is a different question from the question of what the nature of a particular service is.

Paragraph 29 attempts to argue, in effect, that if most Internet users rely on their ISPs for any additional service beyond the bare fact of Internet connectivity--for example, DNS--then broadband Internet service must be an information service. Paragraph 29 also claims that ISPs, not users, "specifies the points between and among which information will be transmitted", because, first, users only specify domain names, not IP addresses, and second, users do not make the routing decisions that determine the specific path information packets take through the network. Neither of these considerations affects the proper classification of broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service. Users might only specify domain names, but the service of translating domain names into IP addresses is provided by an endpoint--a DNS server--somewhere, not by the bare provision of an Internet connection. (And even if the ISP typically provides this endpoint, that is still a separate service from the service of providing an Internet connection, and, as above, bundling the two together cannot change the nature of the latter.) Once the DNS service has provided an IP address to the user's computer, corresponding to a domain name, the user's computer, not the network, specifies that IP address as the target of information packets, so once again, it is an endpoint, not the network itself, that determines where the information goes. And routing information packets, in and of itself, is not an information service, because it does not change the information being routed; it just realizes the information transmission specified by the user, from one endpoint to another. The intermediate routers that pass on information packets are not endpoints.

Paragraph 30 attempts to argue that network management activities such as firewalling and IPV4 - IPV6 translation constitute changing the information. This analysis fails in two ways. First, refusing to transmit information (e.g., a firewall blocking content deemed to be harmful) is not changing it. Refusing to provide a connection to a user is not the same as changing the information transmitted by the user. Second, more generally, the "information" which is changed by such activities as IPV4 - IPV6 translation is not the information sent by the user; it is network management information which is added to the information packets specified by the user, outside the user's control and indeed without the knowledge of most users (since most users are not familiar with the technical details of IP networking). These network management activities are no different from the activities routinely performed by phone networks to route calls--indeed, today the same physical infrastructure is often used to perform both functions, since the phone service backbone and the Internet backbone are in many cases the same networks.

mirimir 2 days ago 0 replies      
nikolasavic 3 days ago 0 replies      
PBS NewsHour: FCC chair Ajit Pai explains why he wants to scrap net neutrality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q5_oV4JB10
exabrial 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does being reclassified as "Title 1 - Information Services" put them under the regulatory authority of the FTC instead of the FCC?
sesteel 3 days ago 1 reply      
Time for another march? We are having them weekly as of late. Organized anger can be a powerful tool.
donatj 3 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who feels like this might be a good thing, can someone politely explain the objections?
theprop 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why isn't this called "Protecting the Internet for Patriots"?
lbarrett 2 days ago 0 replies      
I posted a comment! Hooray for participation in government.
bluejekyll 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone notice that they took the PDF down?
thomastjeffery 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Propose to return authority to the Federal Trade Commission to police the privacy practices of Internet service providers

This must have been the promise during S. J. Res 34.

devoply 3 days ago 0 replies      
Restoring corporate tyranny.
arcbyte 3 days ago 1 reply      
ISPs should be able to manage their networks without government incompetence.

As smart as everyone here is when it comes to building internet endpoints, most of these comments betray an utter lack of understanding of what goes on in the ISP level.

astaroth360 3 days ago 0 replies      
And so the internet dies...
wnevets 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the first speech that censored will be by freedom loving ISPs will be hate speech and pro-nazi related speech, a bit ironic
Award-Winning Nautilus Enters Rough Waters undark.org
243 points by r721  1 day ago   95 comments top 28
Freelancer2017 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do sympathise with Nautilus and want them to succeed. But I am a freelancer who has not been paid by them for eight months now. A longform piece takes weeks to write. Interviewees gave their time so generously to me. And I was ridiculously excited to write for a publication I respected so much.

I had no idea that nautilus were still commissioning features when they knew they had no guaranteed income stream to pay their writers.

When nautilus ran into serious financial trouble they did not publish many of the articles they had commissioned, mine included - this meant that they would only have to offer a much smaller kill fee for these unpublished pieces. I am waiting for this fee (and am aware of several others writers in this situation). But we didn't know the pieces would never be published. We were never told. Instead the promised nautilus issue emerged that day, we told our friends, we scanned the pages with genuine excitement, and our features were absolutely nowhere to be seen.

Emails to the editor (naive, perfectly friendly emails) went unanswered for weeks.

I actually honestly wouldn't have minded as much if they were up front last year and said look, we just don't have the money, we messed up, we're sorry. They're a publication I truly want to survive regardless of my input.

But I'm a freelancer and that promised money was going to see me through Christmas. They should not have been actively commissioning when they did not have the means to pay. It was also really humiliating to email them for weeks to ask where our articles had gone. Why not reply honestly to us at the outset?

Christmas came and went. I couldn't afford presents for my family. I lost the chance to submit elsewhere because it was a time-sensitive piece. I had to apologise to my interviewees who I bet won't be so generous with their time the next time a writer approaches them. They've been burnt, too.

And even now (in the last week) nautilus have told me they're about to merge with AAAS and so we'll all get paid. But it's clear from the Undark piece that this is not true.

Sometimes magazines run into problems. I get that. I feel bad about it. But then don't commission pieces when you know there's no money to pay freelancers whose livelihoods depend on each and every word they write. We actually get paid by the word! Don't humiliate writers by making them beg for checks for weeks of work. And don't promise a merger is imminent with a big science institution when that big science institution will deny it. Good on Undark for this piece. And congratulations to the many fantastic science magazines who do the industry proud.

programd 1 day ago 7 replies      
One of the problems is that they're shipping dead trees. No way is this economically sustainable these days. They should have gone all digital and raised their prices long ago.

Let's do some math - how many subscribers do they need to break even if they pare down staff, go all digital, and raise their price a bit? Hand-wavy numbers for minimal viable staffing, but should be order of magnitude correct:

 $ 600,000 Freelancers, $5K per article, 20 articles/issue, 6 issues/year $ 200,000 2 editorial $ 100,000 1 marketing person, online marketing savvy $ 100,000 2 support staff (clerical, PA, etc) $ 200,000 2 management/fundraising/operations staff $ 100,000 1 webmaster/IT person $ 100,000 outsourced services (HR, payroll, website hosting, etc)
$1,400,000 annual burn rate assuming a minimal staff to run just the online magazine and dump print (I acknowledge they have other expenses, but let's ignore them for now)

If you charge $60 for an annual subscription - very reasonable for the content - they would need 23333.33 subscribers to break even.

They got $1.2 million last year in grants, some $9.5 million in funding since 2012. If they can't manage to attract 24K subscribers with that kind of funding they don't deserve to stay in business no matter how good their content is.

I love their content, but they need somebody who knows how to run a business to be in charge.

dkh 1 day ago 5 replies      
This is a real shame. Nautilus is without a doubt the most consistently interesting and high-quality publication I read. I have just renewed my Prime membership, and hope others do the same. (Or that they get the investment they need and deserve.)
nsainsbury 1 day ago 1 reply      
I used to be a subscriber to Nautilus and initially loved their work. Over time however I've drifted away primarily because I've come to feel a lot of their articles are popularisations of the the sort of low quality "science" you see regularly make its way to HN (before getting ripped apart in the comments). Specifically, articles based on non-reproducible, low N, p-hacked studies from fields like psychology, social science, neuroscience, etc.

As the replication crisis wreaks havoc and meta-studies continue to reveal major structural issues with work in these fields, I just can't bring myself to read Nautilus anymore.

Xcelerate 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just canceled my NYT membership and subscribed to the print edition of Nautilus. A few months ago I went to the NYT homepage and every top article had "Trump" somewhere in the title. I have a threshold for how much political blather I can stand, and Nautilus is like a breath of fresh air from that.
andrewvc 1 day ago 2 replies      
I just signed up for Nautilus prime after reading this. http://shop.nautil.us
DIVx0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its been a long time since i've subscribed to a magazine but I have always enjoyed reading Nautilus articles. $29 for print and digital is a steal for the quality of content they produce.
itcrowd 1 day ago 2 replies      
At the time of writing this, a subscription for one year is 30$ for a bi-monthly magazine. I would love it if it was once a month (for double the price), however, shipping to Europe seems to cost another 30$ per year. I understand the cost of international shipping and will consider it, but at first glance it sounds a bit steep. There's also no student discount, which is also understandable but a pity.

That said, I do love reading their pieces and it makes me sad that they're in financial trouble.

Note: I read the content online now, but would greatly prefer paper. I subscribe to the Economist and a national opinion magazine. A digital subscription is just not my style (for now, who knows what the future will bring..).

To all writers and editors: keep up the good work. Quality publication. Hope to hear more about the AAAS deal!

slackingoff2017 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to work in the "content generation" sphere. There are two tangible things that humans love to generate for free, art and writing. These things on their own are almost always monetarily worthless even if their worth to society is huge. The reason is that most people, like us here on this board, willingly produce creative writing for free.

The only money in content is advertising since humans need some coaxing to produce it. This is resulting in companies that focus on content being controlled by advertisers behind the scenes. These days it's simple to get "paid placement" almost anywhere with zero mention that the content is sponsored.

This also explains why the best articles seem to come out of companies that don't sell writing. Google employees and the like are putting out research and case studies for fun, labors of love.

rvijapurapu 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this story, I loved reading Nautilus articles. Today I've decided to do something about supporting them - I have purchased their Prime Membership.

I wish more of us can do the same.

subpixel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a lapsed Nautilus subscriber and in my opinion the world doesn't need a "Paris Review for science" (what I liken Nautilus to) as much as it needs a "BuzzFeed for science" or even a "USA Today for science. That is, reach and impact should be much higher priorities than prestige and design awards.
sandis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That's sad to hear. Has to be my favorite publication. I subscribe to the digital edition, and, while visiting Los Angeles, bought a print copy at Barnes & Noble. I did ask whether they carry older issues and unfortunately the answer was no.
chis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just subscribed. 14$ a year seems way too cheap, but maybe they've run some numbers on it
apathy 1 day ago 1 reply      
The sole comment as of 11:26AM PDT, April 29th, 2017, is devastating. It suggests that science journalism is fucked. I'm going to poll a few friends that do freelance work for Nature & Science to see if this is the general consensus.
Heliosmaster 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If only their printed version wasn't so expensive here in Europe for the shipping...
Jerry2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just subscribed. It's one of my favorite mags I read all the time and I was introduced to it by HN. Had no idea they were struggling. I hope more subscribe and I hope it survives.
faitswulff 1 day ago 0 replies      
This explains their recent uptick in requests for donations. I bought a print+digital subscription a few weeks ago because emails from Nautilus have been the ones that I've most looked forward to lately.
danielhooper 1 day ago 2 replies      
Am I being cynical or is this just an ad? Every other person is cancelling their subscription to NYT from a piece that went up yesterday, and now this shows up on the front page of HN the day after?
cookiecaper 1 day ago 1 reply      
>Steele, a former television journalist, started Nautilus in 2012 with a two-year, $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based philanthropy that describes itself as targeting the worlds big questions in science, religion, and philosophy. That money, supplemented with an additional $2.1 million from Templeton, was the main funding source for Nautilus in the run-up to publication, and during its first two years in print. But the Templeton Foundation typically reduces support for startup ventures after the first three years, and, accordingly, it has dialed back funding for Nautilus, although it gave the magazine an additional $1.25 million in 2015, and a little more than $1.2 million last year.

Another business wholly dependent on investor patronage.

We need to examine how we can continue to crowdsource legitimate cultural and creative endeavors. It seems that we're backpedaling to a medieval system, where science and art could only be done when bankrolled by a wealthy patron, whom the scientist/artist would have to accommodate if they expected the patronage to continue. [The dependence on corporate sponsors is really a form of this too, and as paying subscribers have evaporated, these have become ever-more-crucial.]

Stringent copyright regimes have only brought us heavily sanitized, commercialized, vacuous media. I would argue loosening this would benefit most small writers and publishers. At the very least, limiting copyright terms and keeping some culturally relevant icons in the public domain would be a huge boon. For example, imagine if someone besides Disney could benefit commercially from the Star Wars franchise, which was originally released 40 years ago. Isn't that long enough for its creators to have had exclusive control?

Something like a web-based micropayment service that dispensed monies based on time spent reading/enjoying would be useful, but it's hard to get everyone on board. I know there have been a couple of HN'ers who've made a pass at it, but to this point, nothing has stuck.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Computers accelerate information exchange, and so much of capitalism is based on the latter. This means huge rewards for those who aim at the popular taste...but the popular taste is very much the lowest common denominator of our cultural data sets. And while it's entirely right to aim at that, our accelerated capitalist system does not do so well with steadily financing things which aim above that. This might be because economic models pursue equilibria of supply and demand, but just as there is a lowest common denominator of both there is also a highest common factor of which economic models take no account, and therefore under-finance.
johnnydoe9 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just recently discovered Nautilus and it is really high quality stuff, I think I'll get a premium membership too after reading the Cormac McCarthy issue.
zajd 1 day ago 2 replies      
Love Nautilus, it's a shame they aren't doing well. Wonder what their subscriber count is.
danielparks 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does the print edition contain ads?
Animats 1 day ago 0 replies      
The current issue is headed "Consciousness". Groan. That's been discussed to death in the AI community, with little result.
xor1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to know more about the person behind and responsible for screwing over the writers.
hackuser 1 day ago 0 replies      
> started Nautilus in 2012 with a two-year, $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation

That's very interesting and important. I know the Templeton Foundation as funders of 'research' into creationism. Richard Dawkins, for example, is apparently a critic of theirs and refused to participate in a project of theirs. The Templeton Foundation's Wikipedia page tells some other interesting stories with names you may recognize (with the caveat that it is Wikipedia).

I wonder what influence they have on Nautilus. It's a genuine question; the world isn't black and white, Templeton is not evil, and I don't know their current level of funding for Nautilus - perhaps they could use more Templeton money. OTOH, funders can have subtle influence in many ways, from story selection to self-censorship.

EDIT: Oops, should have kept reading to answer one of my questions: "[The Templeton Foundation] has dialed back funding for Nautilus, although it gave the magazine an additional $1.25 million in 2015, and a little more than $1.2 million last year"

literallycancer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, maybe now we can some content that is not funded by a religious lobby, for a change?


bpodgursky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whew. From the title, I thought I was going to lose my file browser.
Spellfucker spellfucker.com
295 points by a3n  2 days ago   137 comments top 31
syphilis2 2 days ago 6 replies      
"The goal of the project is to make text hard to read for computers yet fairly easy to read for humans"

At first look it doesn't pass the search engine test.https://duckduckgo.com/?q=I%27ve+bien+aloune+whyth+jou+eensi...

xixixao 2 days ago 14 replies      
Ju kud tejk ej lengvich from ej diferent lengvich femili tu erajv et samfink similr. For furdr obfaskejshn ju kud juz diferent transliterejshn.

Slavik pipl shud fajnd dis kvajt ridebl.

peteretep 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is what it's like for an English person to read Scots:


rosbrith 2 days ago 0 replies      
The output reminds me of the writings of Bascule in Feersum Endjinn [0] but it's somehow not quite as legible!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feersum_Endjinn#Writing_style

SagelyGuru 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aj kud rd it kvajt zili. Hel, Aj vn nou lotz of ppl hr h spk end rajt lajk tat l dze tajm end sink itz ingly. But mejb tatz cz Aj em Slavk :)

Ser10us14 th0u6h, 18 n0t t51s 0b4u8cat10n be44er a6a1ns4 c0mpu4er8?

PS. Kudos for the domain name! Vivid and apt nouns are what English is best at. Though I may have used spelfakr.com

greenhatman 2 days ago 1 reply      
They should make a version of this that replaces words with homophones. This way spellcheckers would also not pick up that the document has been messed with.
jaquers 9 hours ago 0 replies      
midgetjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's really cool. It reads surprisingly like Chaucer.
unabst 2 days ago 1 reply      
Couldn't we scramble the font?

It would look completely normal, except the letters and their symbols would be swapped. When I type "a" it would show as "z" and so on.

The scrambled webfont could be embedded, and the scramble could happen per font. An OCR or some reverse engineering could decipher the page, but as far as google indexing and all the modern "reading web content" is concerned, it would all read as random text.

Call it pagefucker or something. You'd do it to a page, and the result would be the modified text and the webfont to render it.

Just a thought!

saimiam 2 days ago 2 replies      
At the face of it, this seems like a fool's errand.

The upper bound for obfuscation is that the obfuscated text should still be readable by a human with minimal effort. To read, the average reader will looks for patterns like "replace j with the y sound." Once these patterns are determined, coding them into your NLP AI is trivial.

overcast 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


Plugging those words into google search, and it's not able to make any sense of it, besides linking to that one article. Wouldn't this be sufficient?

laumars 2 days ago 7 replies      
Interesting idea though I don't agree with his statement:

> The goal of the project is to make text hard to read for computers yet fairly easy to read for humans

I found it impossibly difficult to read and I'm an native English speaker. I'd wager people who studied English as a second language might find it harder.

megapatch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, I cannot fathom the use for this. It is just harder to read for humans, CIA and NSA will hardly choke on this and to hide it from Google search there are far better ways. If you are serious about encryption then just use real encryption. If not then use ROT-13.
enord 2 days ago 1 reply      
Try reading it while clicking the "obfuscate again" button. It's almost easier.
igorpavlov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I am the creator of the Spellfucker. Please note, this project was written in one night by a non-native English speaker. Tweaking a library of replacements would definitely give better results. The algorithm needs improvements in terms of complexity, but it is not the top priority I think. I am glad some people actually liked the project and I would be happy if there are any contributions, especially to the replacement library, so we can work on it together :) Love, Igor.
lordnacho 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great for generating something that foreigners will have a hard time with.
accountyaccount 2 days ago 0 replies      
AKA an English to Welsh translator.
danso 2 days ago 1 reply      
Though the obfuscation of some common sequences appears to have randomization, it looks like infrequent patterns are constant, for example, the "obfu" in "obfuscation" seems to always be fucked as "hobphu". "ob", as in "object", always seems to turn into "hob", when "awb" and "ahb, plus a randomized sequence of consecutive `b` characters, would add even more obfuscation.
goda90 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a native English speaker who learned Spanish as an adult, and for some reason my brain jumps to pronouncing these unfamiliar words with a Spanish pronunciation, which made it a struggle to read.
jerryszczerry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, finally a good orthography for English!
uranian 2 days ago 1 reply      
cool project, but why not spelphuckar.cum?
iraklism 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this. I would love to see this being used in APT data exfiltration / DLP bypasses.
bitwize 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this thing ever needs a G-rated name, might I propose "Chaucerizer".
omarforgotpwd 2 days ago 0 replies      
So this is what we'll use to encrypt our communications when Skynet takes over I guess.
zhte415 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remarkably like my own spelling when 8 years old.
andai 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is how I feel reading Old English.
kensai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does not work with Greek. :(
Kiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's the use case?
karthik_ir 2 days ago 1 reply      
Creative. Nice
thinknot 2 days ago 1 reply      
To the project creator: you override all the default Bootstrap fonts with "Lato", which, at least here, doesn't exist.
johnydepp 2 days ago 1 reply      
       cached 1 May 2017 04:11:02 GMT