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1
Everest is littered with dead, exposed bodies godheadv.blogspot.com
253 points by ck2 6 hours ago   85 comments top 15
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67 points by wooster 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I recently got back (almost exactly a month ago) from a month long climbing trip in Nepal with some friends.

We had three guides, all three of whom have climbed Everest multiple times. One of our guides, who has summited 5 times, described Everest as his "bad habit".

As a relative newbie to high altitude mountaineering (the highest I got was ~19,850 feet), climbing in Nepal was really, really hard. You are never warm, the food sucks, camping for long periods at high altitude sucks rather a lot, you are never clean, altitude sickness sucks, pooping in an 8" hole in the ground sucks, not eating much protein sucks, but… the views are spectacular, the people you meet are amazing, the place itself is awe-inspiring, the wildlife is interesting and diverse, the peace of the place is fantastic, and the mountains… well, the mountains are something special.

I can see why some people spend their lives chasing summits, and I can also see why some people, having seen their first summit, turn away from the mountains forever and never come back. While we were in Nepal, within two days of our summit push, our head guide had two friends die. One died on Cho Oyu in an avalanche while traversing a glacier. The other died on a relatively unknown mountain in Tibet. Both were world-class mountaineers. These were people who no mountaineer in the world would accuse of being irresponsible, inexperienced, unprofessional, or, even, unsafe. They were serious mountaineers with long resumes and respected records.

That said, exploration is always a serious business, and when you're out at the sharp end, sometimes you get cut. Without these people, however, and the part of humanity which they represent, we would never expand our experience of what it is to be human and our knowledge of the space around us.

Even with Mount Everest, where the experience has been honed to the point where there are professionals whose entire job it is to make sure clients make it to the top… it's friggin' hard. Having been to nearly 20k feet, I have nothing but respect for people who can make it to 29,029 feet. Climbing that far is hard, no matter how you do it. I can only imagine the feeling of being on top of the world, and quite frankly I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge, personally, of tackling Mt. Everest. I will certainly never make fun of anyone who has climbed that mountain.

Given the difference in oxygen between where I got to and the top of Everest, I don't think I can comment on the impairment of cognitive facilities climbing Mount Everest imparts. However: there's a good reason most responsible climbs leave a controller in radio contact from base camp or Camp 1 in charge of final decisions. Oxygen deprivation is a serious impediment to rational decision making.

So, yeah, go ahead and don't climb where you don't feel comfortable. Just don't go judging those who do without having done a high climb yourself.

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13 points by rdl 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Deep wreck and cave diving is similarly dangerous (and was much more so before the adoption of Trimix by the technical diving community). There have been numerous fatalities among rescuers trying to recover corpses of other dead divers, too.

I decided after reading a fair bit about this that even if I can afford to dive like this ($20k+ for equipment, $10-20k+ for training, and $500+ per dive for helium-based gas fills), it's just not worth the risk. I'm going to build a ROV or AUV to do all my deep/wreck diving for me, and stick to much safer diving profiles.

The other problem with deep SCUBA is that it's all been done, and better, by commercial divers using surface supplied or saturation diving techniques. It's like cryptanalysis in the open world; the NSA clearly has vastly better capabilities, so at best you're discovering things they already know. Except with surface supplied/saturation, you can see exactly how they did it, and if you had the money, could just do it that way yourself. (I'd be really interested in semi-professional surface supplied or saturation diving as a new super-technical hobby diver thing)

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7 points by jasonkester 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My relatives sometimes ask whether I'm 'still doing that mountain climbing thing?'. I'm pretty sure they think that this is what I'm up to.

I'm sure I'd fall in love with high altitude mountaineering (all other aspects of climbing are so addictive that it follows) but I've always made a point of staying away. The statistics are all there to see. I'll stick with the rocks, thank you.

My personal rule is that if it's cold enough that I'm tempted to put a shirt on, it's too close to mountaineering and it's time to move south.

4
16 points by makeramen 6 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm not the only one noticing the connection to startups right?

Though not as morbid, I would imagine "stepping over dead bodies" and "leaving teammates behind" is a rather common experience in startups as well, though potentially frowned upon (but even then, it would depend on the situation).

EDIT: I think I need to clarify, I'm thinking more that startup COMPANIES are like everest climbers, trying to reach profitability/success. And then we can similarly say "[The internet] is littered with dead, exposed bodies [of startups]"

5
12 points by joe_the_user 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I had a friend describe his experience when climbing one of the highest peaks in South America.

He said it was the most specular view he had seen in his life - he could literally see both the Atlantic and the Pacific simultaneously. But despite this, he was so physically miserable that he derived no joy from the experience at the time.

Of course, that's still much lower the Everest.

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1 point by mark_h 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's a few videos I've seen recently -- I've also just been trekking in the Everest region and watched and read a lot before going -- that do an amazing job of conveying that summit-fever attitude.

The one that most sticks in my mind is this talk on K2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zkC9IMQmYA
It's an hour long, but I highly recommend it.

There was an incredible documentary, which you can probably find online, called "Doctors in the Death Zone" which followed a team of doctors studying the effects of altitude on themselves as they attempted Everest. There's some pretty horrific footage of a team they encounter along the way watching their companion, in obvious distress, drunkenly attempt to reach their position, while they just wait.

Lastly, this talk from TEDMed is by the only doctor on Everest during the 1996 disaster, and it's both a great depiction of the main route, and a frightening reminder of just how dangerous it still is up there despite the number of summits and knowledge of the route these days:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSidnKdH5_4

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15 points by varjag 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Media 2.0 at its best: a bunch of photos lifted without attribution. I recognize at least one to be from a Nat. Geo. story.
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10 points by mks 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Articles like this are very suggestive - of course while in the warm, in front of the computer everyone would try to rescue the poor climbers. However add difficult terrain, height, snow, fatigue and race with the clock and you have wholly different story. Consider how much effort is needed to transport someone by Mountain Rescue teams in lower mountains (<4000m) - teams of 2-5, lot of ropes, pullies and special transport stretchers.

Even seasoned climbers admit that you are pretty much solo on the high mountain. The strongest ones with highest morals have even tried helping some other party at these altitude but with very little effect. The moral choice is hard - would you put your life at very high risk just to attempt rescue with very little probability?

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3 points by BRadmin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The mini-documentary season Everest: Beyond the Limit (streaming on Netflix) is a pretty interesting watch, and chronicles an expedition to the top - including a climber who actually encountered David Sharp on the mountain, while he was still alive, and the thought-process / decision of having to leave him behind.

Also, even though Everest is the highest mountain the world...

Annapurna has the highest fatality to summit ratio of all mountains @ ~40%.

And K2, with the second highest fatality rate (and 2nd highest elevation), is generally regarded as the most physically difficult and technically challenging.

10
4 points by kmfrk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a great mountain-climbing article here that I recommend reading: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/11/prep-scho....
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5 points by ck2 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Is it ego or the "human spirit" that makes people try the summit anyway?

Some things I'll never understand in this world.

How about just running a marathon instead?

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2 points by rfreytag 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep hearing how startup founders are often "scratching an itch." I think the climber's itch is different in primarily beginning and ending in personal gratification.

If you are looking for a challenge climbing Everest might be only a little cheaper that doing a startup (about $65K it appears: http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/2009/12/how-much-does-it-c...).

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4 points by morbidkk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you liked the article you must also read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Thin_Air by Jon Krakauer
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1 point by wazoox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Read this absolutely fantastic article: Into thin air by John Krakauer.
http://outsideonline.com/outside/destinations/199609/199609_...
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1 point by ra 5 hours ago 2 replies      
For a gripping first hand account of the danger and sheer lunacy of today's Mount Everest, I highly recommend "Into Thin Air", by Jon Krakauer

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=upIXVwLhGj0C

2
Aspirin cuts cancer risk up to 60% businessweek.com
39 points by aneth 3 hours ago   20 comments top 6
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7 points by bd 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this may be related to Aspirin's effect on inflammation.

Long term inflammation is supposed to be "bad thing". Taking low doses of Aspirin for long time may help with silent inflammations throughout the body.

This should be testable by comparing effects of Aspirin with other anti-inflammatory drugs (taken in similar regime).

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4 points by swombat 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Is the statistical analysis behind this sound or does it suffer from the problems outlined in http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/57091/title/Odds_...

Also, are there any side-effects to eating an aspirin every day?

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6 points by rue 2 hours ago 1 reply      
To be precise, it apparently cuts the risk of death by 60% for colorectal cancers, and 21% overall for cancers.

It is still quite significant, but it does not actually prevent the cancers, just reduces their fatality rate.

4
2 points by ugh 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Now if only Aspirin wasn't so damn expensive in Germany (and other European nations): http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2007/09/prescrip...
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1 point by robinwarren 1 hour ago 0 replies      
see the actual chance of dying from cancer here: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/lifetime-probabili...

So for men the lifetime risk of dying from some kind of cancer goes from about 23% to around 19% based on the 21% reduction in overall cancer deaths found in the study.

Specfically for 'death due to gastrointestinal cancers' dropping 54%. Assuming that statistic would be paired with the chance of death from stomach cancer at the above site, happy to be corrected if more of the cancers described there should be included. However if is just that then your chance of dying from that specific cancer goes from 0.53% to about 0.25%.

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1 point by alecco 1 hour ago 0 replies      
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So, you want to provide an API for the world to use? canonical.com
31 points by mgunes 2 hours ago   1 comment top
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0 points by garno 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
404 Not Found ...
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Is it OK to Want to Make Money? Slaying Some Silicon Valley Myths bothsidesofthetable.com
19 points by SRSimko 2 hours ago   2 comments top
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2 points by kondro 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Isn't money the reason most of us start businesses? The road of an entrepreneur is a long and difficult one and, unless you already drive a Porsche, surely money (or freedom, which is usually bought by money) is a primary motivating factor?
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Don't shoot the messenger for telling the truth theaustralian.com.au
5 points by ra 26 minutes ago   2 comments top 2
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1 point by ra 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Quote - "In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government". The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth."
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1 point by ffffruit 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
"In a time of universal deceit " telling the truth is a revolutionary act" G. Orwell

I find the calls to get him assassinated or kidnap his son simply appalling.

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The Unfortunate Sex Life of the Banana damninteresting.com
5 points by iuguy 39 minutes ago   discuss
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One Database To Rule The Cloud: Salesforce Debuts Database.com techcrunch.com
5 points by vdondeti 45 minutes ago   discuss
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Introducing Apache Wave googlewavedev.blogspot.com
183 points by andre3k1 13 hours ago   19 comments top 8
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23 points by Andrenid 11 hours ago 3 replies      
As someone who used Wave intensely (all day, nearly every day) from the day I got my invite, until the day they announced it was going to die, I couldn't be happier about this.

Wave was invaluable to my daily business processes, working with people on projects that move way too fast to set up up a more structured/"proper" collaboration environment. It had pretty much completely replaced email for me at one point between me, my associates and my friends.

Can't wait to see it get a second life, and hopefully i'll be using it a lot more in the future now too. I still stand by this having potential to really change how we communicate with people.

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27 points by PedroCandeias 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great news. Wave has loads of potential, it just needs someone to take it by the hand and show it some UX love.
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7 points by xtacy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not able to find it; Google announced that they would have an exporter for the data that's presently locked-into Wave. Has there been any news about it?
4
6 points by huherto 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Are they opening just the protocol software? Or also the UI?
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7 points by dtwwtd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pleased that Wave will be in such able hands. It really shows that Google does care about open source when they take this much trouble to follow through on their promises.
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3 points by acgourley 10 hours ago 1 reply      
So who is starting a wave hosting business?
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1 point by scrrr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I currently have a use case for wave and would like to use it. Would you recommend against it? What's the current status. When will it go offline?
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1 point by hootx 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm really quite curious why Google is still investing time into wave. It seems to me that either it is a worthy endeavor (which I think it is), or it isn't (ie, it should be scraped). But I don't understand scraping it and then revitalizing it soon after. Couldn't they have done the work the Apache Foundation will do faster in-house?
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Video And Screenshots Of Android 3.0′s Surprise Appearance crunchgear.com
8 points by vdondeti 1 hour ago   discuss
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8 [Startup] Things I'm Better At Now That I'm 30 deeringdavis.wordpress.com
85 points by cesart 9 hours ago   19 comments top 11
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4 points by edw519 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Things I am worse at at 55 vs. 25: the 50 yard dash.

Things I am better at at 55 vs. 25: everything else.

Seriously.

Magic Johnson (great American basketball player) once described the difference of being a world class athlete at 30 vs. 20: you have to be a whole lot smarter about how you use your body and recover when competing with younger people.

We programmers OTOH get the best of both worlds: the ability to work smarter against a physical and mental landscape that doesn't degrade nearly as fast as a world class athlete.

Frankly, when it comes to work, I can't think of a single thing I "used to do better", not creativity, not work habits, not personal habits, not physical or mental toughness.

I believe that programming, like running, is one of those things where the performance curve can remain flat until retirement, providing you take care of yourself. I'll let you know if it does.

2
10 points by rdl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing I am most improved at at 31 vs. 17 is satisficing or half-assing anything unimportant and non-core (but doing it quickly, and ideally with as little ongoing involvement as possible), and focusing on what is actually core.

aka pick your battles.

And, relatedly, only fixing problems as they become necessary to solve vs. trying to do everything in the order of how interesting it is, or how difficult. A lot of problems just go away if you're successful, and almost all problems go away if you fail to complete earlier goals.

aka "I'll burn that bridge when I come to it"

3
3 points by iuguy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
At 31, I've found that I've had sufficient opportunities to learn from the experience of screwing up to screw up less than in my 20s. I'm also fairly certain that the difference between success and failure is not screwing up enough for it to kill you.
4
8 points by bemmu 6 hours ago 2 replies      
But what is the secret algorithm to small talk?
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2 points by j_baker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"So it turns out that getting older isn't all that bad. Sure, people say that 30 is the new 25 (or is it the new 18? I can't keep up)."

Ahem... well based on the fact that we're seeing "startup advice from the ripe old age of 30", I'd say it's more like 30 is the new 60. And my experience in the Valley would seem to reinforce this. :-)

6
3 points by dansingerman 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Everything about getting older is great, bar the actual physical ageing.
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1 point by icco 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting, I know a few early twenties startup founders (plus just a lot of college aged people) and very few have the arrogance that you claim to have had. In fact most follow the majority of your advice without having read your post, although that doesn't make it any less valid.

But what I'm really trying to ask, is I'm wondering if in ten years the maturity of the average young founder has changed. Are the people who start tech startups at 21 a different type of people than those who started them in the previous bubble? What changed? Where did the arrogance go? Or am I just hanging out with the wrong crowd?

8
2 points by scottkrager 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Being risky without betting the farm.

Nothing wrong with betting the farm at 21 & single.

Now, 27 & married, I've found that I'm much better at taking calculated risks without betting the farm.

9
1 point by thinkdifferent 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Seeing articles like this one makes me feel shameful about my country.

In Italy until 25 you're just a university student.

10
1 point by jyoti00 8 hours ago 0 replies      
No,getting older is not bad at all, life takes its own sweet time teaching us its hidden tricks/ secretes to succeed:)
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1 point by wow_sig 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read. Now that I am nearing 25, this was a question I used to ask myself.
12
Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators nytimes.com
19 points by ghshephard 4 hours ago   10 comments top 3
1
2 points by ghshephard 3 hours ago 1 reply      
A nice description of the OECD PISA: http://www.oecd.org/about/0,3347,en_2649_35845621_1_1_1_1_1,...

This is a pretty decent summary:

"PISA is a three-yearly survey of 15-year-olds in the 30 OECD member countries and 35 partner countries . It assesses the extent to which students near the end of compulsory education have acquired the knowledge and skills essential in everyday life. They are tested in the domains of reading, mathematical and scientific literacy and complete a background questionnaire. For each cycle one domain is focused on more than the others. The first data collection took place in 2000, the second in 2003 and the third in 2006. The fourth cycle is in progress for 2009."

Like any statistical analysis, this study isn't perfect, but, it certainly is an eye opener. If China is able to replicate their success in Shanghai in other regions of China, the United States is going to start to fall behind in 5-10 years in terms of academic leadership of the world.

Time will tell - Shanghai might be an outlier. The United States may also get its act together when it comes to education in general.

2
1 point by tedesign 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
high probability of government organized cheating
it's China and national pride justifies everything
3
1 point by NonEUCitizen 1 hour ago 1 reply      
A fairer comparison (city to city, with education-obsessed parents), would be between Shanghai and Cupertino.
13
Is it OK to Want to Make Money? swombat.com
8 points by bensummers 2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
4 points by wccrawford 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Wanting to make money" = "wanting to thrive".

Of course you do. Anyone who doesn't is a fool. It's not only 'okay' to want to make money, it's the only sane way to be.

Don't get me wrong. I've always said 'I don't work for money. I love doing my job.' but if they didn't pay me, I'd go elsewhere and do my job. Money is a vital component of living today and it's very hard to move forward (as a person or business) without it.

2
1 point by revorad 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Money should not be the ultimate objective

Why not?

14
Apache loses Java showdown vote to Oracle theregister.co.uk
92 points by nradov 11 hours ago   83 comments top 9
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33 points by kls 11 hours ago replies      
As a long time Java developer (I downloaded the first beta that was released). I would have to say that this pretty much did it for Java. Sure it was showing it's age but until now the pain of leaving it behind was too great for many. I think now there are a lot of people wondering what the future pains will be brought if one decides to stay in the Java world. Oracle has thrown the gauntlet down and pretty much said, Java is for paying customers. So my question now is who is the likely successor? I have been playing the guessing game for a while now as to who I think the most likely champion is and I keep drawing blanks. I think the JVM languages are too close to Oracles reach for comfort now, so I think Clojure, Scala, JRuby and the rest are out. Python is nice and has a pretty decent eco-system but there is a die hard no interpreted languages camp (I know, I know) but it exists. I don't know enough about Go to form an opinion of it's worthiness. I don't think we are going back to C or C++. Objective-C is perceived to be too Apple, .NET too Microsoft. Perl had it's moment in the sun. Ruby too controlled by a select few. My point is, I would love to know what other people think on the subject. I think the writing is on the wall, I just can't seem to read what name the writing spells.
2
33 points by SkyMarshal 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I can't help but wonder why Google is apparently willing to spend $6B on Groupon, but wasn't willing to spend roughly the same to secure a significant portion of the intellectual property assets that Google is heavily dependent upon.

Is Groupon really as or more valuable than Sun to Google?

3
2 points by cturner 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Could Harmony just rebrand and go its own way? i.e. people would be "Harmony developers" instead of "Java developers" but it would be the same thing. Or are there patent or licence obstacles to this? A platform run by Google and Apache would have a core of great engineering and the pick of the best libraries.

I appreciate that ASL is in reality an impossible boat to turn because it relies on the voluntary contribution of dozens of key developers, each running private projects with investments in software based on the existing VM tradition.

4
3 points by elblanco 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Since it seems that the concept of compiling code to an intermediate bytecode run in a JIT-VM seems to have proven itself pretty well (and the concept of compiling multiple languages to said VM a la Scala), perhaps it's time for the community to look at building their own from the ground up VM with associated language support?

Perhaps https://www.parrot.org/ ?

5
3 points by binaryfinery 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The power of Java is not the VM, or even the system runtime, but the open source libraries available for it. It is time to create a "new language" whose compiler will accept Java, and whose VM implementation is unencumbered by legitimate patents. Hm. If Dalvik isn't it, then something similar will be created. I, for one, would like to help. Anyone else up for it?
6
6 points by chadj 9 hours ago 3 replies      
So what does the HN community think of Vala (http://live.gnome.org/Vala)? C# like syntax. Compiles down to C. Reference counting for memory management. Appears to work with clang as well.

More example syntax here: http://live.gnome.org/Vala/Tutorial

7
4 points by anttipoi 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Results are out. http://jcp.org/en/jsr/results?id=5111

Quite a few of those who voted yes added comments about the yes being on technical merit, not licensing.

8
1 point by BonoboBoner 4 hours ago 1 reply      
While the situation is far from perfect, I am at least happy that actual progress is made, as we have a release date for JDK7 and respective JSRs at last.

Regarding the "premium JDK", I dont mind Oracle charging companies like investment banks extra bucks for additional JRockit-features (Monitoring, etc) that the open source community never actually had free access to anyway. There are so many Oracle products that heavily depend on Java, that it does make no sense for them to hurt Java. If they destroy Java, they destroy part of their income, which I just dont see happening. Although the geekish OSS-nature of Sun's stewardship is gone, things could be by far worse for the Java ecosystem.

Speaking from our situation, I dont see us switching to .NET any time soon. Although it is a great platform especially with the recent developments on C#, for us it is just not cost-effective to buy new Windows Server, SQL Server, etc licenses for every new non-trivial project. It is just far easier and cheaper to build a new Debian-machine on our VMWare cloud and apt-get whatever we need.

9
2 points by dmak 10 hours ago 1 reply      
What does all this mean? How did this even happen? Can someone give me the summary? I haven't really kept up with this from the beginning.
15
Assange arrested in London (BBC) bbc.co.uk
84 points by ebaysucks 3 hours ago   43 comments top 7
2
1 point by nhangen 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm enthralled by the world's obsession with this man. Sure, I get that some people like that he plays reluctant hero up against the "evil" US, but come on. The guy is charged with sexual assault. If there's any chance he did it, then he should go to trial. Why would we treat him any differently than other criminals?

If there was no misconduct, then we will find out, and the charges will be dropped.

3
15 points by bobds 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Assange willingly showed up at a police station and was arrested by appointment. He probably has a plan.
4
9 points by tung 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Despite my low level of contribution to this site, I must say I'm tired of seeing WikiLeaks/Assange on the Hacker News front page. Granted, all this may be newsworthy, but going by the Hacker News Guidelines, it feels more "Off-Topic" than on, in that it's about politics and would be covered on TV news, like the TSA submissions a while ago.
5
2 points by lhnz 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
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2 points by dgudkov 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This can be better for him in terms of his safety now. Hope everything will end safely for Assange.
7
-4 points by jyoti00 2 hours ago 0 replies      
yawn...
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DecorMyEyes Merchant Vitaly Borker Arrested After NYT Piece On Google Rankings searchengineland.com
135 points by btilly 15 hours ago   38 comments top 15
1
36 points by j_baker 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This is great and all, but this guy flagrantly broke the law many times and no one did anything. Do I need to have the New York Times publish an article if someone does something like this to me?
2
69 points by tortilla 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Moral: Don't do illegal shit

Criminal's Moral: Don't give out interviews

3
8 points by dabent 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For those that don't recall, the NYT article was mentioned here:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1945112

and here:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1946085

I had a feeling it was going to come to this, and soon. He had the opposite strategy as Zappos and had the opposite "exit."

4
12 points by lawrence 11 hours ago 0 replies      
By going to jail, this guy will likely get even more inbound links. It's extreme SEO.
5
2 points by jacquesm 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The bad guy in me sees an opportunity to 'googlebomb' competitors using fake bad reviews adding one more layer of complexity to this sort of thing.

They'd then have to figure out a way to distinguish the real bad reviews from the real good reviews and the fake bad reviews and the fake good reviews.

This whole arms race isn't helping anybody. And I wished the arrest would have taken place even if the guy had not bragged about it, but I highly doubt it. Likely there are many more characters like this guy happily doing it to lots of others every day, using their own websites but also on Ebay and lots of other places on the web.

Before you give out your credit card numbers, don't look for just that 'secure' icon in your browser, realize that the bar for getting a certificate, a corporate identity and a website up and running is sufficiently low that a determined scammer will not see this as a significant barrier to entry.

Knowing who you do business with is not enough to avoid getting screwed over.

6
7 points by jscore 13 hours ago 1 reply      
He's an idiot for bragging on interviews. He's Russian but doesn't realize that this is not Russia and he can't go around threatening people.
7
4 points by arithmetic 13 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read the article, I was a bit suprised by how he almost seemed proud of his tactics to rip people off and later bully them. Particularly, the part where he said "I've exploited this opportunity because it works. No matter where they post their negative comments, it helps my return on investment. So I decided, why not use that negativity to my advantage?"

This guy should be the dumbest criminal in modern times. He understood how powerful the internet was, and then decided to ignore it.

8
5 points by geuis 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is like a little Christmas gift to all the hundreds of people this guy ripped off. Good riddance.
9
2 points by catshirt 12 hours ago 0 replies      
this guy didn't merely cheat, he threatened. had he not crossed those (very obvious) bounds, i'm afraid this practice could have been fostered and tuned.

i can't help but wonder if the internet (Google, more specifically) could still help malicious businesses achieve disproportionate conversion.

10
1 point by blahedo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
See also: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1977247 register.co.uk link
11
2 points by protomyth 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems odd that Google had their big response, but it doesn't seem to be working in the case of his sites (see end of article).
12
3 points by daimyoyo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy was a swivel chair and a cat away from being a Bond villain. Frankly, I'm surprised it took the NYPD that long to arrest him.
13
2 points by rbanffy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Proving once and for all that there is criminally bad customer service.
14
-2 points by hanksims 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The borker borked.
15
-2 points by stretchwithme 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally, the government oozes into action.

Hopefully, this fine fellow will be DecorMyAss in his next residence.

17
AeroFS - Unlimited P2P File Sync aerofs.com
189 points by makeramen 19 hours ago   52 comments top 14
1
24 points by yurisagalov 19 hours ago 7 replies      
well this is an unexpected but pleasant surprise :)

I suppose this is a good opportunity to let you guys know that the project IS very much alive and kicking still, and we've just released a new set of invites today (which I suppose is why we got posted to HN today, thanks!)

We've been very busy with coding and work, which is why we haven't really been updating the blog, but if you have any questions I'll be happy to continue answering them here

edit: FYI, the original discussion is at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1538731

2
8 points by nuclear_eclipse 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This is still in invite-only phase, and while I do have an account, I'm not actively using it yet for my primary files because there are still some features it lacks over Dropbox, namely:

* can't choose where local files are cached, it assumes where you want them

* no way to back up more than 1G to their "cloud", ie, no paid plans yet, which I would really like to have at least for my most unreplaceable files

* no way to share individual directories with other users, you must share entire "libraries" as they call them, which are basically top-level folders on your aerofs drive

* no way to make files publicly available for download

Other than those points, I think the service is a fantastic idea, and I do eagerly look forward to being able to switch from Dropbox for my photos, documents, etc. However, the above limitations mean that I can really only use it for a few extra things that I don't have room for on my Dropbox account, eg, music.

3
4 points by mgunes 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How will you be licensing and pricing it once it reaches 1.0? Any plans for making it available under a free software license, dual or otherwise? I know quite a few people who'd be inclined to pay for and contribute to a solution of the kind you provide and Dropbox and Ubuntu One don't (very decentralized, secure, fast, works local-only) with the condition that it's free-as-in-freedom.
4
3 points by davidu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for someone to create this.

Since libTorrent was released, I figured someone would do something like this. No idea if Aero is using libTorrent, but the idea was a natural evolution.

This looks well executed, thanks. Can't wait to see the next steps.

5
5 points by evo_9 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting/cool product.

One thing that threw me off - the term 'Aero' (for me) implied Windows only... No real easy solution there as I don't expect (or even think you need) to change the name, but maybe adding something like 'cross-platforming file sync without servers'.

Awesome none-the-less though!

6
3 points by Ixiaus 18 hours ago 2 replies      
SSH and rsync? Or even better, use hg/bzr/git to maintain a version history of the files and then just sync across devices (it's uber easy with Mercurial, not sure about the other two). I personally use the latter (Mercurial).
7
4 points by ch 19 hours ago 1 reply      
According to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_size#Asymmetric_algorithm_k..., their choice in using 1024 bit keys might be a bit short-sighted.
8
3 points by trotsky 16 hours ago 1 reply      
even behind your pesky office firewall

Curious - can you sync between two such locations (nat/default deny/no udp)? i.e. will you bounce connections through your host or does one side have to open an inbound port?

9
2 points by palewery 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate to say it but I would use this if my peers were just my Facebook friends. not that I don't trust 1024 bit encryption, I just don't like my info on strangers boxes even thought it is encrypted
10
3 points by phlux 16 hours ago 1 reply      
What will your TOS be - what if something like a Wikileaks mirror is done across your system?
11
3 points by Sephr 16 hours ago 1 reply      
How is this different from Wuala?
12
1 point by rb2k_ 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember talking to one of the devs some months ago when first signing up. Fun guy, great product.

It's a shame that I never got an invite, can't wait to get my hands on this :)

13
3 points by grok2 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Is my disk space on used to store data for others in the p2p network?
14
1 point by TheAmazingIdiot 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the top image. Check out the file "How to earn HN karma"

I think you found out :)

18
Computer Geeks: Compete to Help NASA Explain Dark Energy wired.com
5 points by twymer 2 hours ago   1 comment top
1
1 point by J3L2404 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hopefully cosmological kludges like dark matter will fall by the wayside as better observational data is utilized.

Here's a start: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201134158.ht...

With triple the number of stars in the universe the balance between baryonic matter and unicorn dark matter becomes more like 60/40 with the aesthetically painful dark matter on the short side.

19
MathJax, beautiful math in all browsers mathjax.org
291 points by scw 1 day ago   35 comments top 19
1
22 points by apl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sometimes, when the ol' fever comes back and nobody's there to remind me that we have come to accept HTML/CSS, I dream of a world wide web built on TeX and TeX alone. It's a place of wonder, and happiness, and river-less paragraphs. Then I wake up, sweating, screaming, to a world without proper hyphenation. XeTeX is my XaNaX. Makes the web-pain go away.

[MathJax, on the other hand, looks glorious. Many thanks to the people in charge of the project!]

2
13 points by pierrefar 1 day ago 3 replies      
I use MathJax on one site I'm developing. It has two problems related to speed:

1. It is so modular that you cannot really optimize it using something like Google Closure (http://code.google.com/closure/ ). If you do, it breaks it.

2. The modularity means that you're likely to need a few roundtrips to the server to get everything. Invariably these block the loading of the page and you get a hang, sometimes for a few seconds. This is not good for user experience.

Of course MathJax solves a very important problem, but it's a problem browsers have introduced. None of the support MathML in a sane way: Firefox requires content served as fully valid XHTML (good luck with that if you're using a CMS) and Webkit only got MathML support recently in the nightly releases. If browsers actually implement MathML in a way developers can use without losing hair, then MathJax is no longer needed. Till then, I love MathJax despite its warts.

3
3 points by mhartl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
MathJax is the secret sauce behind the pretty math typesetting at The Tau Manifesto (http://tauday.com/). For what it's worth, Davide Cervone, the lead developer of MathJax, is incredibly helpful and friendly. In the process of writing The Tau Manifesto, I was running into some weird problems; Davide realized that there was a subtle MathJax bug when used with HTML5, and pushed a fix within hours of finding the problem.
4
9 points by mojombo 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use MathJax for inline display of equations in the GitHub wikis and it's really nice. I spent a long time looking for a LaTeX style math solution for the web, and MathJax was a great fit.
5
13 points by perlgeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice, I'm looking forward to usinig it. So I thought I'd check the license to see if it's compatible with what I envision.

The documentation page just says "Open Source", the FAQ and download pages nothing at all.

The release announcement at http://www.mathjax.org/2010/01/12/news/mathjax-beta-released... finally says "Apache 2.0 open source license".

Note to other developers: don't hide your license -- it's a piece of information others might actually be interested in, particularly if it's not an application, but more of a library.

6
2 points by danparsonson 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks nice! Minor issue with spacing in my browser: http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/6766/spacingissue.png

Source of the top equation is: J_\alpha(x) = \sum_{m=0}^\infty \frac{(-1)^m}{m! \, \Gamma(m + \alpha + 1)}{\left({\frac{x}{2}}\right)}^{2 m + \alpha}

Source of the bottom equation is:

<math display="block">
<mrow>
<msup>
<mi>c</mi>
<mn>2</mn>
</msup>
<mo>=</mo>
<msup>
<mi>a</mi>
<mn>2</mn>
</msup>
<mo>+</mo>
<msup>
<mi>b</mi>
<mn>2</mn>
</msup>
<mo>'</mo><mn>2</mn><mi>a</mi><mi>b</mi>
<mrow><mo>cos</mo><mi>θ</mi></mrow></mrow>

      </math>

Browser is Chrome 8.0.552.215 on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

7
3 points by splat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for this to be incorporated on the arXiv.
8
1 point by prodigal_erik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Right now this works for some people and not others, because they aren't doing progressive enhancement over a server-side fallback rendering. The TeX samples just show raw \macros and the HTML-CSS renderings of the MathML samples are incorrect (x='b±b2'4ac2a is not the quadratic formula).

Looks nice on the machine I use as a js sandbox, though.

9
1 point by Jach 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using jsMath for a while, I'm glad these sorts of libraries exist. It chips at my heart a little every time I see ascii sigmas and the like.
10
1 point by gradschool 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to port a large LaTeX document to a web browsable format but it makes heavy use of pstricks and picture environments. Can anyone comment on how well this would cope with that or what alternatives might help?
11
1 point by sammyo 23 hours ago 1 reply      
In all recent browsers. For silly corporate reasons one box I work on is stuck at firefox 1.5 and this displays nothing.
12
1 point by xtacy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia has LaTeX code in the ALT attribute for all images on their website. Would it make sense for them to migrate?
13
1 point by jules 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks ugly here. The letters are overlapping.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/388822/mathjax.png

Chrome 7.0.517.44

14
1 point by xtacy 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be awesome if someone could make an extension for browsers to enable this on browser chats/emails. :-)
15
2 points by hsmyers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worthy of an 'atta-boy' from Knuth himself...
16
2 points by Muzza 23 hours ago 0 replies      
All well and good except for the fact that it locks up my entire computer for several seconds.
17
1 point by zootm 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Firefox 4 on Linux gives a message at the bottom saying something like "WebFonts not supported, falling back to image fonts", meaning that the scaling examples look horrible and most examples are very fuzzy. Shame, looks neat otherwise :)
18
1 point by ChristianMarks 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This could use an extension for xypic. It would trounce the alternatives if this were added.
19
-2 points by jarsj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't work as i expect in my browser.
20
Pivotal Tracker has a new look pivotallabs.com
28 points by loganlinn 9 hours ago   discuss
21
Dilbert on Values dilbert.com
8 points by kingsidharth 4 hours ago   discuss
22
Let's get to know each other - GitHub github.com
55 points by obilgic 14 hours ago   discuss
23
How to guilt trip software pirates [Pic] twurl.nl
12 points by coolambi 1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
1
2 points by scrrr 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
AMIGA game publisher "Thalion" once said "We're going to release this game without copy protection. If you pirate it, we'll go out of business, so please be honest."

They went out of business.

http://www.illusionware.it/commodore/lionheart.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalion_Software

btw: whats with this url.. original url: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/12/18/how-to-guilt-trip-s...

2
1 point by hebejebelus 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I don't think this approach would work at all. Taking for example myself (which is a bit of a debating faux pas, but whatever):

If I see some software that I think would be useful, but don't have €14.99 to spend on it, I'll download it and google for a cracked serial number. Easy-peasy. I then copy-paste the number. I hit return enough times to get to the main window of the software. I use the software. If I use the software an awful lot - say more than once a week - my own guilt will start to hit me, and I'll pay for it - perhaps more than they ask, if the option is available.

Notice the part where I said "hit return enough times to get to the main window of the software". Pirates don't give a shit about the developers. If they did, they'd pay for the software in the first place. Furthermore, by the time anyone reads that guilt-trip paragraph, the decision has already been made to pirate the app, and all it takes is for me to hit return, and hey presto, no more guilt-tripping. This is why very few pay for software like winzip (or is it winrar? You know the one, anyway). By the time you hit the "You should pay for this software!", you don't care anymore, and it takes no more than a keypress or mouseclick until it's gone.

Disclaimer: I'm a pillar of society who wouldn't pirate something if a gun was to my head, and all situations described above are purely hypothetical.

3
1 point by francoisdevlin 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks like we killed the server - mirror?
24
Assange's Op-Ed in The Australian news.com.au
5 points by teoruiz 52 minutes ago   discuss
25
Tooth decay to be a thing of the past? Enzyme responsible deciphered sciencedaily.com
90 points by gasull 1 day ago   44 comments top 9
1
14 points by pierrefar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, there is more to plaque and thus caries than just one enzyme no matter how much it gets hyped up. I've done quite a bit of research on this and the short answer is that it is a complex interaction between many different bacteria (a large percentage of which we cannot grow in the lab) and the human host. Yes different genetics seem to be make people more or less resistant to caries and different habits play a key role. Also we know of some bacterial genes that when knocked out result in less or no plaque in the lab, but again, it's only one type of bacterium. In the mouth, if you somehow managed to (legally, ethically, and technically) introduce such mutant bacteria, it is likely that another one will produce the plaque and you're off again. It is just not easy to fix.

So trying to spin that this one enzyme from only one type of bacteria found in plaque is responsible for caries and that it is the nail that holds this complex in place is a bit premature and silly.

2
25 points by Groxx 1 day ago 3 replies      
>Just add that substance to toothpaste, or even sweets, and caries will be a thing of the past.

Until we inevitably discover that it causes cancer, or lupus, or rabies or something. Can you imagine the advertising push if / when this does get added to candy bars?

3
12 points by gxti 23 hours ago 2 replies      
The answer to a question in a headline is always the null hypothesis. In this case, "no".
4
3 points by yread 1 day ago 0 replies      
The crystal structure has revealed that the folding mechanism of the protein is unique. The various domains of the enzyme are not formed from a single, linear amino acid chain but from two parts that assemble via a U-shaped structure of the chain; this is the first report on such a folding mechanism in the literature.

Is it that unique? I thought α and β chains of hemoglobin for example are also separate subunits.

5
2 points by sliverstorm 1 day ago 6 replies      
I wonder... This would basically put most dentists out of business. We'd still need some dentists and oral surgeons and orthodontists, but not nearly as many.
6
2 points by jbermudes 1 day ago 0 replies      
They're also working on a "vaccine" for cavities: replacing the native bacteria in your mouth that consume the leftover sugars and excrete acid that eats away at the enamel with genetically modified versions that are harmless.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caries_vaccine#Attempts_using_R...
8
1 point by goombastic 1 day ago 0 replies      
If an industry has an association, don't expect lower prices or breakthroughs that reduce work to happen.
9
-1 point by giardini 22 hours ago 2 replies      
We've been promised cures for tooth decay for fully 40 years. None has come to fruition in the USA - dentists are too firmly entrenched to let that happen. It would wipe them out, something pretty useful in general, since dental costs are predicted to skyrocket in the next 10 years.

Two generations of tooth decay _vaccines_ haven't made it to the USA although in some cases they were available in Great Britain and Europe.

26
Founder Control paulgraham.com
283 points by peter123 19 hours ago   55 comments top 22
1
40 points by grellas 18 hours ago 3 replies      
A few observations:

1. I would say that, even as of 5 years ago, it was rare for a startup to go through a Series A VC round without the VCs taking at least shared control.

2. Founders of reasonably strong startups can usually do angel rounds, also denominated Series A, without giving up board control and have been able to do so for some years now. These rounds used to be for smaller dollar amounts, often capped at $500K or so, but this has changed today in an era where founders can often turn to angels and superangels for larger fundings. VCs want to stay competitive with the angels at this early stage because, if they lose out at that level, they find themselves sitting on the sidelines as their deal-flow shrinks and they lose out on potentially strong investments made at an optimum stage in promising ventures. To stay competitive, therefore, the VCs must perforce bend a little on their traditional terms, including their former obsession with gaining board control right out the gate.

3. Founders themselves are far more savvy today, on average, than was the case a decade ago. In the bygone days, only a relatively few serial entrepreneurs had the sophistication to sit on a reputable board and still add value to it as founders. Today, the average founder is far better versed on what it takes to drive a company than was the case before. Thus, it is easier for VCs (and other investors) to accept the idea of a "founder-driven company" than it used to be. (Over the years, I have seen all too many "control-freak" founders and other variations that could only be labeled an embarrassment to sound management; based on this, I can understand the historic VC attitude, though of course this all must be counter-balanced by the many ills that the VCs themselves brought to the process when they would sometimes abuse the founders in whose startups they invested.)

4. Founders today have far more control over timing on when to do their Series A rounds. The cost of launching is far reduced today and the options for deferring larger rounds are greater, as for example by taking bridge funding from angels or F&F to allow the company to build value and minimize dilution before it goes for larger forms of funding.

When all these factors are combined, it seems clear from the trenches that a profound change is occurring by which founders have more control than ever before over their ventures. Of course, having this validated by someone such as PG, who is at the heart of this activity in Silicon Valley, goes a long way to letting the VCs themselves see it as respectable to accept as a fait accompli as they move forward.

2
13 points by uuilly 18 hours ago 2 replies      
On the flip side, I've seen founders cling too tightly to control. Sometimes the guy that is really good at getting a version 1 out of the garage is not the same guy that is good at calling the shots once it's a 60 person company. Taking the stance that "I want to retain control," is obstinate and egotistical. The proper stance is, "I want to retain control until someone better comes along." That may be never. But it's the right attitude to have. In the end, it's not about who controls what, it's about who's more likely to make all the time and money that's gone into the company worth more.
3
14 points by tptacek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
10 years ago, we had a "2 VC, 2 founders, tiebreaker CEO" board structure that I think was probably more common than simply "conceding the board to the VC". (I'm aware of the pitfalls in that structure, too).

My sense of it --- and someone with more recent experience please correct me if I'm wrong --- is that the shareholders agreements matter as much as the board structure does. Point being, you wouldn't want to see "founder control" becoming cosmetic, a fig leaf around the real power the VCs wield.

4
14 points by GavinB 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this happening because start-ups are getting series A financing later in the life of the company? It used to be that you needed VC just to build and launch a business, but these days the business can be much more real and the founders more proven by the time they're ready for VC.

Startups are getting further and further on seed and angel funding due to advancing technology.

5
9 points by faramarz 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish PG would go into the details of structuring a board control. Perhaps that's an essay for a another day.

Some context:
Founder of Magna International, Frank Stronach, who started his business some 30 years ago made a lot headlines this past summer due to the sale of his "special" founder-class shares. I found it remarkable that even though the company is public, he still had majority interest over the board due to his share structure. EDIT: Every 1 of his B shares converted to 100 Common Stock (and he had over 700 Class B shares, before he decided to give up control and convert)

Wikipidia explains:

  Stronach, who is currently the non-executive chairman of
Magna International, holds multiple-voting shares of the
company, which gives him majority voting power over
issues brought to shareholder vote. Although he controls
the voting power among Magna's shareholders, Stronach
owns only 4% of Magna's equity.

6
9 points by snewe 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Perhaps the ycfounders list is a selected sample: it produces or selects above-average quality founders that are more likely to get a good Series A price (in terms of both control and pre$). I suspect that YCombinator's focus on founders for investment decisions also results in start-ups with assets closely tied to the individuals who run things (rather than say a patent). This leaves future VCs with less bargaining power when forming boards.
7
17 points by yurylifshits 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Zynga Founder Mark Pincus - Control Your Board http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0lUNFHD-iM

(from Startup School 2009)

8
9 points by lkozma 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I wish PG would write more about painting and hacking and education and lisp and history and psychology and philosophy and literature and politics and a bit less about investments. Seriously, quite a dry topic..
9
5 points by fleaflicker 18 hours ago 1 reply      
In a dozen companies we've funded, the founders still had a majority of the board seats after the series A round.

Out of how many series As total?

10
4 points by chrisduesing 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain the power dynamics of a board, vs that of the shareholders? I always assumed that retaining a majority of shares between the founders would keep them in control of the company, but is it the case that the board has more actual power.

For instance; 2 founders hold 60% of the shares of their company collectively after a Series A. The investors hold 40% (lets ignore option pools etc). Now if each side had 2 board seats (plus a 5th seat held by a brought in CEO), does that mean the founders can in fact be outvoted?

11
4 points by matt1 17 hours ago 1 reply      
As I'm reading this article and nodding my head, I realized that I don't understand what controlling a board actually means.

It sounds like its written in the term sheet somewhere--what does that look like? Joe Startup will maintain control of the board...? Would it be correct for a founder to say "I have control of the board so..." or is it more of a perceived power as a result of other negotiated terms?

12
5 points by gms 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This essay makes VC's seem like a necessary evil that founders have to tolerate through gritted teeth, as opposed to something more benevolent like, say, YC.

Do I have the wrong impression?

13
2 points by iamwil 18 hours ago 1 reply      
"VCs will still be able to convince; they just won't be able to compel. And the startups where they have to resort of compulsion are not the ones that matter anyway. "

I excepted some sort of footnote for this one. It's not immediately obvious to me this is true.

Hypothetically, the founders are the ones that know their business the best, and hence tend to have a longer term vision. Given that the founder executes on the long term vision, those are the companies that matter. Is that the line of thinking?

14
8 points by kapitti 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't a dozen a small percentage of total YC companies?
15
6 points by gcheong 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Minor typo: resort of compulsion --> resort to compulsion
16
3 points by jaekwon 17 hours ago 1 reply      
2 Questions:

Are there cases where a non-CEO founder controls the board?

What are the mechanics whereby the minority stake founder(s) control the board? Some sort of skewed voting system? If so, what sort of legal entities allow this structure?

17
2 points by Scott_MacGregor 17 hours ago 0 replies      
With an equal number of founder elected Directors and VC elected Directors, if your outside tiebreaker director is brought in by the VC's you will be in danger of losing control because you cannot control the situation.

Especially if the tie breaker is planning on doing some additional business with the VC in the future, you may not have a truly neutral person casting the vote.

So, how is founder control typically structured?

For instance, do founder Stockholders get 2 votes per share to elect Directors with, and VC's get 1 vote per share with a guaranteed VC director seat on the board? Or are Directors elected by founders getting 2 votes on a particular decision item A and 1 vote on decision item B, and VC Directors get 1 vote on A and B?

Does anyone know what is currently going on with this?

18
1 point by samd 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The switch to the new norm may be surprisingly fast, because the startups that can retain control tend to be the best ones. They're the ones that set the trends, both for other startups and for VCs.

Are they the best ones because they can retain control or can they retain control because they are the best ones?

19
1 point by EGreg 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I definitely would like to control my own company.

That said, my philosophy is simple: Your first company should SUCCEED. You should be prepare to give up control, equity, etc. as long as it succeeds.

That gives you a track record AND money. Think about it. If you had $10 million dollars 2 years from now, and a 5% stake in your first venture, contacts lots of happy people and a reputation for succeeding with your first venture, don't you think you could own the shit out of your next company? Like 100% ownership in pretty much anything you want, with $5 million of your own money in it. You could try 30 different ideas or set up a nice lab.

Wanting to own your first venture is kind of like saying this will be your only idea, ever.

It might sound unproductive, but my advice to fellow entrepreneurs would be: listen to what investors want, and then give it to them. Put together a great team. Find VC firms who like to invest in your kind of thing. Develop just enough to get them interested. Set up appointments. Get funded. Exit with $10m or more in the bank. Do your own thing. Your first business can be all about the $$ exit.

It seems I myself am going a different route, though.

20
2 points by nlavezzo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think one of the main factors pushing the trend in the direction of more founders retaining control is the increased availability of angel money.

If it came down to my cofounders and I having to give up control to raise a Series A (or any series for that matter) I'm sure we'd turn to Angel List to raise a similar amount from well connected and useful investors, without having to give up control - if that were a viable option.

Increasingly it seems like raising a large angel round is an option, which is great for entrepreneurs.

21
1 point by pama 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"Founders retaining control after a series A is clearly heard-of. And barring financial catastrophe, I think in the coming year it will become the norm."

Would a financial catastrophe simply stop new series A rounds, or would it rather change their terms? Are there any examples of changes related to the adventures in 2007--2008?

22
1 point by JVerstry 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Good insight information, thanks !
27
Nexus S google.com
356 points by tomerico 21 hours ago   254 comments top 40
1
88 points by tc 21 hours ago replies      
Since I know that many Googlers follow HN, I just want to say:

Thank you. Thank you for ensuring that a clean, root-able, modern phone is available for developers and all those who like to fully own the devices they purchase.

2
38 points by sjs 21 hours ago 3 replies      
For those who have No Fucking Clue what NFC is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_Field_Communication
3
17 points by theBobMcCormick 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm disappointed nobody seems to be discussing the curved display. Are there any other touchscreen devices with curved screens? If so, have any of you had any experience using one? I'm quite curious to find out out if that's a useful feature or not.
4
12 points by ukdm 21 hours ago 1 reply      
5
8 points by eli 19 hours ago 0 replies      
According to this http://www.tmonews.com/2010/12/nexus-s-product-page-goes-liv...

US pricing is $529 unlocked and $199 with two years on T-Mobile

6
6 points by drivebyacct2 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I apologize, this is barely tangentially related... but I'm excited to endorse Google and T-Mobile...

I'm currently paying Verizon $40/month for an extra line on a family plan, and unlimited data with no tethering (though I do for free via CM6.1). I could have my own account with T-Mobile and get unlimited data for $50/month with no voice minutes.

I can use Google Voice and the Gizmo SIP Provider to be accessible via Voice Calls. I want the Nexus S. I am tired of Verizon, Motorola and HTC's nonsense with the locked NAND and the locked Bootloader. No new VZW phones have custom roms, in fact, hardly any since the Droid 1.

Go Google. Go T-Mobile. Thanks for not being (as) evil (as everyone else).

7
4 points by mortenjorck 21 hours ago 6 replies      
As this is a product page and not a comparison matrix, why does it specifically call out the omission of some features like infrared and physical keyboard? Not that I don't appreciate Google being forthcoming about what they chose to leave out (though who expects IR anyway?), but it seems an odd marketing choice.
8
13 points by qeorge 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice! I have an N1, love it, and was apprehensive about my options going forward.
9
13 points by trotsky 21 hours ago 3 replies      
"Near Field Communications (NFC)"

So the ability to both emulate a contactless smartcard and interrogate passive rfid devices. Pretty damn cool - the ability to open doors/start cars/unlock computers/pay for stuff just with your phone without resorting to bluetooth/wifi hacks or addon hardware. Also opens you up to lots of potential applications for extra information in the real world on things that otherwise don't have barcodes.

10
6 points by andreyf 21 hours ago 2 replies      
The product release landing page is here: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Quite a simple/beautiful HTML5 design, IMO.

11
7 points by spaghetti 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone here cancelled their att iPhone service? i.e. gotten out of the 2 year contract early? I know this sounds ridiculous but I'd like to make the switch to T-Mobile and Android.
12
3 points by maqr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish they would announce this sort of things months ahead of time. It's so hard to plan around contract renewals. I just bought a G2, but would much rather have had this.
13
2 points by jsz0 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm pleasantly surprised people aren't having a privacy freak-out over NFC yet. My concern is more practical: too many eggs in one basket. I feel like if NFC were to really live up to its hype I would need to keep a secondary device with me at all times as a backup in the same way I carry multiple credit cards and have a spare set of keys for my car. I suppose when it becomes a more mature technology that would be an ideal use for an older generation phone with NFC.
14
9 points by mrbill 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Other than NFC, more internal storage, and Gingerbread pre-installed, this pretty much has the same specs as my Nexus One, which I've been very happy with (no touch screen bugs here).
15
2 points by r4ps 6 hours ago 1 reply      
No offline maps?! The Google boys need to go out more and see how the real world uses their phones.
Very often, I found myself needing maps the most in areas with poor network reception (e.g., the Swiss Alps) and in places where data connectivity was not an option (e.g., London underground). I was very excited to hear about HTC implementing such a feature in their latest Sense builds and I hope Google will catch up and make it a native feature.

Edit: Okay, it seems they know about the problem and apparently the new version of Google Maps for Mobile will have some sort of offline caching capabilities. Hurray!

16
3 points by mgcross 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Under features, portable wi-fi hotspot is touted with no additional carrier fees. This currently works on T-Mobile with my Nexus one, but I assumed I was "getting away" with something. T-Mobile charges $15 for tethering/hotspot on other devices.
17
3 points by ars 16 hours ago 2 replies      
When it says "Three-axis gyroscope" does it actually mean "Three-axis accelerometer"? Or can I really use my phone to stabilize myself in space?
18
1 point by zmmmmm 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm mildly disappointed that it's only released on T-Mobile. I had figured that one reason to go with a Samsung device was that they already shipped a single core hardware set to every carrier, so there would be a low barrier to getting this thing on every carrier (or at least more than one). I guess this is not under Google's control, but still, I had hopes ...
19
4 points by JulianMorrison 20 hours ago 0 replies      
That thing is a desktop PC. It happens to be phone shaped, but geez.
20
1 point by GeneralMaximus 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Shiny and plasticky is the signature Samsung look. Great hardware, great screen, but the handset itself ends up looking cheap. This is one reason I returned my Galaxy S, and now Samsung have done it again.

Edit: okay, the actual images don't look that bad.

21
2 points by eapen 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems really similar to the Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) and I am disappointed to see it doesn't have the
1. roller ball
2. physical buttons (that you can feel) for home/back/menu/search
3. LED (for notifications)

Now, if only Samsung would upgrade the GalaxyS owners to 2.2 (as promised) or 2.3 (wishful thinking).

22
2 points by compay 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Now, if only it could do HSPA on band 1900 so I could get 3G with it in Buenos Aires. :(
23
2 points by crocowhile 20 hours ago 2 replies      
mmmh. I was not impress with the iphone 4 and I am not impressed with this either. I have a nexus one and the only thing that make me jealous with the S is the NFC.
Are we reaching a plateau in mobile phone development?
24
3 points by riffraff 16 hours ago 1 reply      
am I the only want noticing the speech recognition feature "go to reddit" ?
25
1 point by mitjak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is this an exciting phone? Genuinely curious. The specs seem the same as (CPU) or lower than (display resolution) than N1.

EDIT: My bad. Looks like the screen resolution is identical.

26
1 point by jcl 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It sounds like since the Nexus S runs stock Android it may not include the Swype text input system common on other Android phones -- practically a killer app for touchscreen text entry. Does anyone know if it will be available on the Nexus S (either preinstalled or as an add-on)?
27
2 points by nemik 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a shame the NFC support isn't complete. Supposedly can only read tags for now, not emulate them (though the NXP PN544 chip is perfectly capable of that).

http://developer.android.com/reference/android/nfc/package-s... is looking VERY sparse. Hopefully it gets completed soon.

28
2 points by oomkiller 21 hours ago 1 reply      
VoIP and NFC certainly look interesting. Will the VoIP/SIP support allow me to interface with my PBX for mobile extension calling? I sure hope so!
29
1 point by Raphael 6 hours ago 0 replies      
>16GB of memory

Not the clearest phrasing. 16GB solid state, 512MB RAM.

30
3 points by bkorte 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Ugh, Can't use it in my area of Canada. Need AT&T compatibility. Damn you, TMobile.
31
2 points by danramteke 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmmm. I wonder about much web surfing battery it has. There is quite a jump between talk time and standby time. I assume browsing uses up more battery than talking.

"Talk time 6 hours
Standby time (max) 428 hours"

32
1 point by tocomment 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Can anyone provide us with a step by step instructions on how to get this phone?

I'm really confused about buying a phone plan after I buy the phone.

33
1 point by klbarry 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Man, looking at that landing page, you cannot have a doubt in your mind that google has absolutely no style. Emotion is an important part of decision making too, Google!
34
1 point by jared314 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Still no FM Radio. I don't understand why it is so hard to get that feature.
35
3 points by ninifat 21 hours ago 5 replies      
Is there a price anywhere?
36
1 point by eitland 12 hours ago 0 replies      
When will we see an international version?
37
-3 points by andre 20 hours ago 0 replies      
no freakin' keyboard
38
10 points by p_h 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It says there's a 3.5mm headphone jack
39
-4 points by xorglorb 21 hours ago 6 replies      
1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM...

Kind of sounds like the iPhone 4 (from July) with NFC support and a built-in VOIP client.

40
-4 points by camiller 20 hours ago 0 replies      
<sarcasm> at least it is still on the United States largest super regional carrier available in all 49 of the states I am not living in. </sarcasm> sigh.
28
Amazon proves that REST doesn't matter for Cloud APIs vambenepe.com
24 points by chanux 5 hours ago   24 comments top 13
1
5 points by locopati 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find that RESTfulness improves the quality of design by forcing a little consideration on how to represent resources and actions on resources. The alternative is often littering the API with actions anytime a new one is needed - once that first version is out in the wild, it becomes a lot harder to take the time to consider the design choices. REST gives you a conceptual framework in which to implement new functionality.

In addition, all the consumers get the benefit of a common specification - if you tell me your service is RESTful, I can probably start making requests without even knowing much more than a starting URI, because I know how GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE will behave; I know what the error/success codes are going to look like; I can guess that Content-Type is going to drive the input and Accept will drive the output.

Sure, the consumer is probably going to leap through whatever hoops I put out there if they want my data, but RESTfulness is a courtesy, extending a hand and saying I'm not going to make extra work for you.

In the case of the OP, I'd say "Amazon proves that people who want to use a well-designed and beneficial service will work with whatever they're given".

2
7 points by cemerick 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Capability trumps everything else.

If AWS sucked, or was merely a typical collection of services, then details about its API design might matter. Of course, AWS isn't typical " it's exceptional. Thus, its API could require the use of carrier pigeons and people would still be lining up to use it.

That said, nicer APIs are nicer. As someone that has programmed directly to EC2's APIs, I so wished they were less crufty. I now use jclouds (via pallet), so I thankfully don't have to think about such things anymore.

3
4 points by sriramk 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The OP is completely correct. I designed a bunch of the Windows Azure APIs - we spent a lot of time making sure they were RESTful. Looking back now, I think it was a big waste of time. Almost everyone uses the API through some custom library and I doubt it would have mattered if we hadn't taken the trouble.

I'm involved in some API design again and I sent out a mail saying that any discussions involving whether option A or option B is the more 'rest-ful' thing to do will get smacked down :)

4
4 points by toolate 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Amazon's API format is irrelevant because their service is so popular. Once the API is stable and client libraries are available for common languages most developers will be unaware of the actual mechanics.

If you're launching a startup then you don't want to give your early adopters an excuse to not work with your API. If you're developing an API for internal use then you won't be using an off the shelf client library in any case.

Furthermore, a clean API is a sign to other developers that you know what you are doing. If you are targetting an industry where coders get a say on whether or not they will choose your service then you'd better put your best foot forward. I've seen far too many APIs that show a company has no clue on the technical side, which causes me to cast doubt on other parts of their service.

5
8 points by simonw 4 hours ago 1 reply      
S3 is a superb example of a REST API, and is a key example in the RESTful Web Services book.
6
2 points by DeusExMachina 3 hours ago 0 replies      
From personal experience where I work (mobile apps company) I can say that a RESTful API is a good choice usually in terms of familiarity and reuse of code. We usually work with RESTful APIs, so when a new one comes, we already have our internal libraries to handle it, speeding up development.

But we work with other kinds of APIs as well, when a client asks. Apart having to do more work since we don't have code to reuse for that, we have no other problems.

If it works well, it does not matter if it's RESTful or not. But as for everything, if you are familiar with something, you are usually faster and more accurate.

7
3 points by tybris 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There's not really a very consistent AWS API. Some services are very restful, others are not.
8
3 points by navyrain 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If you ignore the APIs, AWS still has a substantial number of merits which make it a formidable player. It is a huge leap to say that because the market has smiled on AWS, we all love everything about it and wouldn't prefer more of it be REST-ful.
9
1 point by comice 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Lots of things succeed despite being inelegant, but that does not mean it's not important to be elegant.

Amazon can afford to have an inelegant API as they're already dominant (and when they launched, they didn't have many competitors).

If someone launching an Amazon EC2 competitor today strapped together a pig-ugly set of RPCs over HTTP, I doubt it would encourage its use.

Elegant APIs are a sign that you respect developers.

10
1 point by kondro 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The RESTfulness of an API is of very low concern on how I choose a service to use and the quality of the service is paramount.

If the API lets me get things done and/or provides an abstraction library in my language of choice so I never have to see it, I really couldn't care less how it is written.

Does REST make more semantic sense? Of course, but if your app has no features or consistently loses my data, I couldn't give a shit.

11
1 point by dansingerman 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"Every time a new Cloud API is announced, its “RESTfulness” is heralded as if it was a MUST HAVE feature. And yet, the most successful of all Cloud APIs, the AWS API set, is not RESTful."

I think whether you have REST or REST-like (i.e. RPC over HTTP) doesn't matter so much, as long as it's not SOAP.

That's what people are lauding.

12
2 points by _stephan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Could maybe someone give a concise definition of what makes an API RESTful and explain why the AWS Query API is not RESTful and how a RESTful API would be better?
13
3 points by wahnfrieden 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there more reasons than just "it's simpler" and "Amazon did well without it"?
29
Downtime staff.tumblr.com
71 points by inmygarage 11 hours ago   44 comments top 13
1
44 points by martingordon 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Contrast this with DHH's response to today's Campfire outage: http://twitter.com/#!/dhh

Not only is 37signals refunding everyone for the month, DHH is replying to pretty much everyone personally to tell them so.

2
6 points by thesethings 9 hours ago 2 replies      
People who don't use Tumblr will interpret this blog post differently from people who use Tumblr all the time.
If you use + love Tumblr (as I do http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1973546) you're really less disappointed in this specific 24 hour failure (these things happen), and more disappointed about what's not being talked about. This would have been a great time to start opening up about some specific chronic issues, including communication style that is more close-lipped than Apple.

Still rooting for Tumblr like crazy, but bummed out :(

3
8 points by alanh 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't actually explain what happened, or why a database cluster outage means more than a read-only situation.

I understand this is aimed at all users, but I'm still disapointed.

4
5 points by rdl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much of the incident and poor handling of the response is due to losing their particularly good CTO (Marco) a few months ago. I would be a bit concerned if I were a tumblr user or investor.

Experience with LiveJournal, Friendster, Twitter, etc. has been that problems don't just magically fix themselves; absent someone with enough vision to figure out potential problems and actually solve them in technology and business process, you're kind of fucked. In the case of Twitter, they had enough money to buy some excellent talent. In the case of LJ, Brad stepped up as an amazing hacker (with limited financial resources, and really one of the first to solve the problem). In the case of Friendster, bad executive leadership (CEO/board being ineffectual, VP Eng being a tool) killed them.

5
10 points by brianwillis 11 hours ago 4 replies      
>We've nearly quadrupled our engineering team this month alone...

How do you create and keep a good culture when you're growing that fast? Anyone have experience with this sort of scenario?

6
5 points by datums 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Todo:

Move the blog/status site outside your network (linode.com)

Work on a process to try and follow if you have another outage.

   - One person to handle communication (blog post / respond to users)

Work on a faster way to recover from such a failure.
Maybe have a read only version you can switch to "maintenance mode" ?

Done:

Probably the biggest outage you'll face.

20+ outages don't usually happen.

Learning from it. . .

7
8 points by ojbyrne 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty weak compared to other post-mortems.
8
4 points by hdeshev 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The postmortem is pretty weak and us, geeks, would have loved to see more detail. Tumblr would have gotten some good karma with a detailed explanation. Well, unless this is all made up just to look impressive and the real reason was something else like human error that wiped the production DB. But even in that case honesty would have paid off - remember GitHub's recent DB wipe and their excellent explanation?

On a side note - anyone know what DB they are using? The cynic in me is thinking "Hey, another MongoDB + FourSquare 'success' story of webscale awesomeness."

9
6 points by Xuzz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I understand they were busy, but only two or three updates about progress during the entire ordeal (on Twitter) seemed a little low to me. Their "we'll be back shortly" page also didn't link to their Twitter page either, so for many people it was just a black hole for updates about when a surprising large chunk of the web would return.
10
1 point by wooster 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This points to the necessity of a data storage solution which doesn't involve waiting for hours upon hours for the caches to warm in order for your service to be reliable.
11
2 points by tdoggette 10 hours ago 0 replies      
They should have a better ongoing communication method than Twitter in the event of downtime. I'd suggest getting a separate hosting account with a reliable third party, and planning on running something that looks like (but isn't) a normal tumblog, but is instead something very reliable, like editing an html file on a web server that everyone on the team has shell access to.
12
0 points by luckyland 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite opinion on the handling of this event is, by far, this one:

http://twitter.com/b6n/status/11877355945463808

13
3 points by shuri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
technical details?
30
On the evidence of a single coin toss moertel.com
13 points by alexkay 4 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1
6 points by jules 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Say you have a prior probability distribution P(p) for the probability you think the coin is a coin that comes up heads with probability p. Your probability distribution P(p) will probably have a huge peak around p=0.5, but you can choose any prior belief. So P(p) is your opinion about the coin prior to seeing the experiment. Now we can apply Bayes' theorem to compute your opinion P'(p) about the coin after seeing the experiment:

    P'(p) = P(p | H) 
= P(H | p)*P(p)/P(H)
= p*P(p)/integral(P(H | p)*P(p)dp)
= p*/E(P) * P(p)

Your belief that the coin has probability p is skewed by a factor of p/E(p).

Here's an example of a graph of P(p) that shows how your belief about the coin is skewed after seeing a heads:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/388822/coin.png

The first graph is an example of a prior belief about the coin, the second graph is the belief that this person should have after seeing the experiment.

So the answer to the question is:

    P'(1) = 1/E(P) * P(1) = P(1)/E(P)

i.e. your new probability that this is a coin that always comes up heads is your old probability divided by your expected value of the probability of coming up heads.

For example if your prior belief was unbiased, then E(P)=0.5, and P'(1) = 2*P(1).

2
2 points by proemeth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a bayesian problem, depending on the a priori probability given to a "special dice" pri,

P = 2 * pri / (1+pri)

(Which is > to the probability before tossing)

3
2 points by vibragiel 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this problem has no satisfactory answer. We are asked to operate with quantifiable information "probability of special and normal coins coming up heads" and unquantifiable information "my "belief" in a coin being a special coin, which may, or may not, depend on my level of knowledge of several factors, like the plausibility of the existence of special coins, their prevalence, my competence identifying them...

EDIT: ...my friend being or not a usual liar, his sleight-of-hand skills, my level of rational analysis and critical thinking, me being on drugs, me dreaming, me actually experiencing the Matrix...

We are trying to quantify the unquantifiable: my "belief" in something, a psychological phenomenon which depends on millions of rational and irrational factors.

4
2 points by kondro 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Everyone here seems to be so much smarter than me at this math stuff.

I think I'll stick to writing accounting software.

5
1 point by SeanDav 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Well it will have an effect. He could be telling the truth or lying. This has to be taken into account. The question is how much weighting you give to his statement. If you inclined to believe his statement then the first heads must increase the confidence, for a given weighting.
       cached 7 December 2010 13:59:01 GMT