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I am nothing paulbuchheit.blogspot.com
259 points by dwynings  8 hours ago   75 comments top 40
edw519 5 hours ago 0 replies      
...you shouldn't compare yourself with others -- you didn't start in the same place or with the same challenges...

Reminds me of this:

Reb Zusha was laying on his deathbed surrounded by his disciples. He was crying and no one could comfort him. One student asked his Rebbe, "Why do you cry? You were almost as wise as Moses and as kind as Abraham." Reb Zusha answered, "When I pass from this world and appear before the Heavenly Tribunal, they won't ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you as wise as Moses or as kind as Abraham,' rather, they will ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you Zusha?' Why didn't I fulfill my potential, why didn't I follow the path that could have been mine."

coryl 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Study any martial art (preferably one where you can spar) and you'll forever understand the meaning of ego. You show up, do drills/padwork, think you're making progress and then spar someone who beats you up. You do the same thing the next day, and the next, and the next. Eventually you improve and make progress because you're training so hard. But there's always that one guy you can't beat, and that new kid whose far beyond his years in talent. Coach is also now telling you your making mistakes on things you thought you put behind you, and its frustrating the hell out of you that you can't fix it fast enough. Your technique isn't up to par, your cardio is garbage because you had pizza and beer, and your training partners are running circles around you.

That's when you realize you know nothing, that even after these years of training and experience, you feel even less knowledgeable about the art than when you began. Depressed about your progress, you figure you have two options to deal with it: 1) quit... or 2) keep showing up. But by now, you love it too much and its become apart of your life, so quitting isn't an option. All that's left to do then is to continue showing up.

Eventually, the ego is beaten out of you from every failure/loss/disappointment in your daily training. You've tapped out to newer people, younger people, smaller/bigger/"dumber" people that it doesn't even shock you to perform poorly against a total beginner. From here, self-realization naturally guides you into a more focused path for self-improvement. What you want to achieve today is far different from what you thought you'd wanted out of martial arts in the beginning. Telling apart someone who thinks they "know", and someone who truly "knows", is far easier. You'll realize how little you know, as it will humble you. But hopefully you'll come to peace with who you are, and realize what it takes to be where you want to be.

badclient 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
But you don't get paid to be nothing.

So, how do you balance this? I just started a new job. I think a bunch of ways we are doing things is screwed up. However, in all my initial judgements that I have, I'd say about 75% are objective and 25% is just my expert-ego reacting to something being done differently than I'm used to. This self-awareness is good and has served me very well.

But here's the problem: this makes me somewhat hesitant to take up strong positions with the fear that it may be the wrong position that is a result of my expert-ego identity.

At some point, you have to separate the good and the bad that you gain from your identity. My identity as a developer does have useful built up knowledge--lots of which I am paid good money for. I cannot simply let go of that identity. But I can work to be more objective and less fear-driven--so I'm not hating on most everything simply because it does not fit my present mental image of a solution to a problem.

jmtame 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of a lecture given on Beginner's Mind that emphasizes the pitfalls of intellectualism:

'Can we look at our lives in such a way? Can we look at all of the aspects of our lives with this mind, just open to see what there is to see? I don't know about you, but I have a hard time doing that. I have a lot of habits of mind"I think most of us do. Children begin to lose that innocent quality after a while, and soon they want to be "the one who knows." We all want to be the one who knows. But if we decide we "know" something, we are not open to other possibilities anymore. And that's a shame. We lose something very vital in our life when it's more important to us to be "one who knows" than it is to be awake to what's happening. We get disappointed because we expect one thing, and it doesn't happen quite like that. Or we think something ought to be like this, and it turns out different. Instead of saying, "Oh, isn't that interesting," we say, "Yuck, not what I thought it would be." Pity. The very nature of beginner's mind is not knowing in a certain way, not being an expert. As Suzuki Roshi said in the prologue to Zen Mind Beginner's Mind, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few." As an expert, you've already got it figured out, so you don't need to pay attention to what's happening. Pity.'

alecst 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminded me a little of this quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray:

Lord Henry stroked his pointed brown beard and tapped the toe of his patent-leather boot with a tasselled ebony cane. "How English you are Basil! That is the second time you have made that observation. If one puts forward an idea to a true Englishman -- always a rash thing to do -- he never dreams of considering whether the idea is right or wrong. The only thing he considers of any importance is whether one believes it oneself. Now, the value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it. Indeed, the probabilities are that the more insincere the man is, the more purely intellectual will the idea be, as in that case it will not be coloured by either his wants, his desires, or his prejudices. However, I don't propose to discuss politics, sociology, or metaphysics with you. I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world. Tell me more about Mr. Dorian Gray. How often do you see him?"

dpritchett 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like a riff on "Keep Your Identity Small":

If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.


davidhollander 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Premise: we are what we think about. Being nothing requires one to think about nothing. It's actually quite a lot of work to think about nothing! The brain is constantly solving problems while awake and while asleep, building up momentum.

Proposal: Instead of expending massive amounts of energy bringing an object of such high inertia to rest, why not just change the inputs you are feeding it to gradually alter its direction? Don't focus on the cessation and extinction of the turning of mind. Focus on feeding the turning of mind solvable or aesthetically pleasurable problems, to decrease the bandwidth occupied by unsolvable\fear based problems.

tldr: I'm not convinced the epicness of ego destruction is necessary for ego transmutation, if that is one's goal.

edit: Well, I just realized my analogy does not hold for all cases. In Physics, if you want to change the direction vector of an object in motion, to the opposite of its present heading, it will require at least as much energy as bringing the object to rest. So focusing on ego destruction could be worth it depending on where you want to go and where you are now.

Additionally, we also know from Physics that all motion is relative, velocity cannot be measured without a frame of reference. I think the Buddhists would argue that cessation of the turning of thought provides this otherwise missing frame of reference, enabling the thought\ego vector to accurately be measured when the turning of thought restarts.

nevvermind 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't know much Zen, but after the "Zenish" comments in here, I guess lots of HN-ers do, right?

I maybe am a case of "western individuation syndrome", but for me, loosing individuation for protecting myself sounds rather like an oxymoron. Actually, when there's nothing to protect, there nothing to improve, whatever that guy says. And even if you might say that Buchheit didn't suggest to actually dissolve your personality, it very much seems like he did.

Low expectations, realism when faced with your own challenges, sane aggressiveness or indifference, confronting your own prejudices, vices and frustration, are all possible when one's brain is mentally trained, not when you're living with a general sense of "loosing yourself" or when one's dissolving one's ego.

I don't think "letting go of your identity" leads to "a better version of our selves" or "true self improvement", but to a toxic sense of not being who you are.

"But I am nothing, and so I am finally free to be myself." - if you need to be nothing in order to be free, you ARE nothing.

"By returning to zero expectations, by accepting that I am nothing, it is easier to see the truth." - what do zero expectation has to do with nothingness?

"If I were smart, I might be afraid of looking stupid." - that's not being smart, that's being westernly-smart. Change "smart" with "wise" and see if that sentence makes any sense.

Why does someone always preaches extremes to get rid of another? Now I'm being artistically literal: when you say "I am nothing", just loose the "I".

Hey, I had frustrations, I had problems and conquered must of them, partly with indifference, partly with matured ego, partly with higher self-barricades, but not once I thought of dissolving my ego. What the deuce? - I kinda need it! I was learned to fight and gain knowledge, but then I learned that, when fighting something, you actually give it meaning, so then I learned to give up. So this blog post does resonate with my experience at some extent.

Preparing for "He didn't mean to ACTUALLY renounce your personality": it's dangerous to use metaphors or ambiguous expressions when your next paragraph if a plain-life description. Just don't. Use "lower your expectations" instead of "be nothing". This is logic/biologic-ally wrong. You can't be nothing, but you can't be all of it, neither, so, in the mediocrity principle, just be something, because you already are (how's that for metaphoric?).

jonmc12 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the post, but nothing? I say adopt 2 or more senses of self, and get really good at using them at the right time.

I think moving beyond an ego-based sense of self is the best way to think rationally and accomplish a goal. In fact, the biggest benefit is probably being able to rationally understand other people's point of view without a sense of self clouding up your interpretation. But, for me at least, it has not been pragmatic to abandon a sense of self at all times.

For instance, it is much easier for me to relate to my grandmother with a stronger sense of self - or at least project a persona that gives that appearance. You can't really like people or things (in the most basis sense) without ego. Nor, can you fully extend emotional empathy in the purist sense when you have no sense of self. With no ego there are many professional environments that will simply drain your energy - even if you have a decent persona for relating emotionally with others.

For me, the better answer has been to look at my self (more specifically my brain) as a library of different selfs. Yes, I am nothing, but I must at least be a controller that responds to my environment with the most relevant sense of self at any point in time. I would suggest there is an evolution of self beyond nothing.

mrphoebs 7 hours ago 2 replies      
An oversimplification

suffering = your self image vs perception of reality self

The argument goes that man is a prisoner of his self image. This self image is a mixture of his desires, wants, tastes, hopes, fears.... This can be seen as a self image that arises out of conditioning by the society and self. You are like a frog in the well and imagine the well to be the universe. You are limited and shaped by the well. How can one know of what the possibilities are unless they ascend from their own intellectual/egotistical/scoietal wells or the well of self image?

On the other hand, I have noticed that rejection of natural tendencies leads to suffering as well. No matter how hard we try the self will never be a blank tape. When you reject the self image your self image becomes "Im he/she who rejects self image imposed on me". So now you are straight back where you started with a brand new self image, only this time you are more observant of your flaws(tendencies of self). So there is still suffering here.

Let me oversimplify again
the frog = Neo in the matrix,
Ignorance is bliss = Cipher in the matrix

dporan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What a wonderfully thought-provoking and inspiring piece. Thanks, Paul, for sharing it.

In a similar vein, from David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College:

"If you worship money and things -- if they are where you tap real meaning in life -- then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.... Worship power -- you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart -- you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on."


Eliezer 4 hours ago 0 replies      

  I have abandoned my path.
I have forsaken my role.
I have forgotten my name.
I have lost my soul.

-- unpublished fiction

amirhhz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A recurring theme from great thinkers (perhaps mainly more in the East, though) over the ages. Glad to see it finding an audience on HN.

This excerpt from Rumi seems apt:

  "Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything."

My take on this line of thought is that as long as you consider yourself as being a "someone" or "having a self" you are always in conflict with other selves and only if you become nothing you remove the inherent conflict.

sidman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think there is a fine line you need to tread. I agree with what paul has to say but sometimes what we care about is what drives us.

For the longest time i worked as a consultant but i never cared. When someone said to me so what do you do, i just said i work with computers, my rank didnt matter to me, my role , my status nothing. I wouldn't come to work in a suite or tie or even a shirt (i came in just a t-shirt and jeans) and it was very weird to many who were watching. I guess cause they cared and wondered why i didnt ...

They would say , "your a consultant, for a big4 how can you wear those clothes, cause i personally cant".

I would respond by saying, well i dont care , just wanna make sure customer is happy regardless of what my official role is, that way i could do my work , not have to redo things and then go home. Also one of the important things i think is i detached myself from being a consultant, i was nothing, not a manager, a consultant, a senior consultant , who has certain things attached to them so i felt free and just wore what i wanted with the one rule that the customer needs to be happy.

When i found out that i could get away with that i experimented with a few other things too, like if i was tired during lunch i would sleep on the park bench if it was a nice sunny day. I stopped thinking hey im a professional and cant be seen sleeping on a park bench cause thats what bums do and once i got over it and i thought , hey who cares, it was easy and i would come back to the office invigorated cause of a 20-30 minute quick nap :)

However the caveat is when you CARE enough about say programming . If you start to tell yourself you dont care anymore you loose a certain desire which if you care about it, isnt very good. if you keep telling yourself hey i am a programmer then that comes with certain things such as , writing code, being half decent at math, being logical etc etc and being good at those things isnt a bad thing.

So i think i get what paul is saying when he says "i am nothing" but i think you cant apply that to things you care about cause it will cause you to not care. But applying that way of thinking to things what you might care about but deep down know its just for perception or is kinda silly or even not really important has some surprisingly good results :)

maeon3 6 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a major component of Christianity. (I'm not preaching here) I thought it was interesting that the non religious world is figuring out things that have been core teachings for the last 2800 years.

In the christian world, it is called "taking yourself off the throne and putting another entity on it". The entity that gets put on it is variable, but the constant is that you are not on it.

klbarry 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me quite difficult to follow the philosophy described in this essay. It also seems to me an undesirable life, though I can see why a person would want it. Much satisfaction in my life comes from seeing myself as a "good" x, and I experience very little dissatisfaction from these labels. Perhaps this will change as I age.
thedigitalengel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Tyler:

It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.

crizCraig 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I find not caring about what people think ends up hurting my personal relationships. I have to try really hard to be aware of my identity and how that fits in with the people around me. Naturally I am aloof. Is that what this article is saying I should be?
srjk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am rarely moved to comment on a post. This one seems to be especially thoughtful and sincere.

I understood the core message to be we shouldn't let labels that define some aspects of who we are constrain us.

Or, in programming terms: mixins not class hierarchies :)

Favourite quote: "True self improvement requires becoming a better version of our selves, not a lesser version of someone else."

corin_ 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This isn't relevant to the actual message of the post, but something that caught my eye was in the paragraph about thinking you are "too X to be Y". Most of them make sense, and I can understand people thinking the Y because of feeling the X. Except these two:

  too effeminate to be straight

too smart to be kind

Am I being foolish or do those two not fit? I can imagine someone thinking "I'm too sensitive, that's not how a man should be", I can't imagine someone thinking "I'm effeminate, I guess I can't be straight after all".

BasDirks 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The misinformation and misinterpretation of Buddhism and Western philosophy in the comments is embarrassing, as well as the pop-spirituality babble.
mjijackson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I am a husband. I am a father. I am a child of God.

There is a fine line between putting yourself in a box that you (or others) create for you and knowing who you are. The classifications that Paul lists in his post are of the first kind. The second kind, you can't really change.

mannicken 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I agree. Having ego is so outdated. Ego is like believing that blacks are an inferior race, or earth is flat, or earth is 6000 years old.

In other words, "apple is being eaten by you just as much as you are eating the apple". It's not so much that you have chosen to eat the apple, as much as the apple chose to hit the receptors in your brain that will make you eat it. But it's all ridiculous: you and apple are one harmonious system.

zitterbewegung 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why I like to do science. I feel like I am constantly learning. I know that I know nothing and I can only know a little bit more by science. When I acknowledged my limitations and just sat down and calculated then I performed better. Sort of a zen like way of thinking. I know that I know nothing and instead I must just calculate and manipulate symbols.
euroclydon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great essay! I'm definitely going to identify myself with others that value the "I am nothing" mantra. I hope I don't begin to think I am something, that could cause anxiety.
JDulin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome essay from Paul, very insightful.

This mindset is good at not only helping yourself become yourself, but placing the best people in your life.

If you spend your entire life trying to please everyone you meet, decide who you should be friends with and who you shouldn't, and become a person that others will like more, you will ultimately not make friends who you would have by just being yourself. And those are the friends you want most.

Perhaps even worse, you could waste endless amounts of time on people who you think you should be friends with or have in your life, but really shouldn't. Sooner or later, the relationships with these people that you built on the foundation of some artificial idea of yourself will crumble. If you know that you are nothing, then become yourself, you will be surprised how many amazing friends you will find in your life.

akivabamberger 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the thing, though: as long as others see themselves according to some paradigm, they will likely see you in relation to them and cast you in some social role.

In social interactions, we assume some identity to relate with those around us. Inevitably, those interactions (if we're receptive and respecting of who we interact with) will affect our own thoughts, including (sometimes) our sense of self.

No man's an island, and no man's nothing so long as he lives in a society. Saying "I am nothing" is just as bad as saying "I am X"

rinkjustice 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I can relate. I too am trying to abandon my self and my "brand" because it's spiritually suffocating. I don't want to care what - oh, someone just voted up my last comment!

It's on the todo list anyway.

nickmolnar2 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm also reminded of Daniel Dennett's secret to happiness: find something bigger than yourself and devote your life to it. That too allows you to drop your baggage and become 'nothing'. And it's a great way to leave a lasting impact on the world too.
dkurth 6 hours ago 1 reply      
On the one hand, he says, "if we aren't changing for the better, then we are just slowly decaying," suggesting that there is such a thing as "better."

On the other hand, he talks about "returning to zero expectations" and being "nothing."

I conclude that Paul wants to be a better nothing. Or possibly that he is slowly decaying. I'm not sure you can be nothing and also have a standard for getting better.

shadowmatter 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Good post. Reminds me of that quote by Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
tmsh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You may enjoy early Socrates if you haven't already.
waffle_ss 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Having a realistic sense of self is great; diminishing your self into a nothingness (i.e. totally altruistic) is not something to be admired. Then again, maybe I've read too much Ayn Rand.
donnaware 2 hours ago 0 replies      
yes grasshopper, to be nothing is to be everything, to be everything is to be one with the universe. Now snatch the pebble....
sausax82 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The article resonates with a branch of philosophy called non-duality. Lately I have been reading a lot about non-duality, mainly from books written by J Krishnamurti. It all boils down to living in an ego less state and getting rid of the illusion of choice. It's very easy to understand it intellectually, but problem lies in realizing it in everyday life.
rooshdi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Inspirational read. Our own insecurities mean nothing in the end. Enabling others to erase theirs means so much more.
Alex3917 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As Heraclitus would say, all flows.
foysavas 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is clear resonance between his main point and Kazantzakis's famous epitaph:

"εν ελπίζω τίποτε. "εν φοβούμαι τίποτε. •ίμαι λεύτερος.

I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.

That said, awesome post.

andrewcooke 5 hours ago 0 replies      
what's the implicit context here? it's hard not to think that this is related to the nym-wars, but how?

(i hope it's not "if we can be happy with who we are, then we will not mind using fixed identities"...)

Qa8BBatwHxK8Pu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What kind of cult is this?
The State of CyanogenMod cyanogenmod.com
37 points by mtinkerhess  4 hours ago   4 comments top
buster 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I really was worried what happens to CyanogenMod, since the 7.1 RC is out there for quite a while now..
Solar-panel "trees" really are inferior googleusercontent.com
528 points by DevX101  19 hours ago   80 comments top 22
raganwald 18 hours ago 6 replies      
I didn't find it that harsh. He was direct and took pains not to ridicule a thirteen year-old for making an entirely age-appropriate mistake in measuring the results. Instead, he asked the perfectly valid question of how this becomes news without critical thought.

In that, the critique seemed hopelessly ignorant of how the news works. Why should science fair projects be treated any differently than crime, the personal lives of celebrities, politics, or economics? News outlets publish first and ask questions later or not at all. They have gone to court to defend their right to publish things they know to be false.

How did a confused science project become international news? Why, the same way that almost any overnight sensation becomes international news, by being digestible, by being something people want to be true, by appealing to their preconceived biases.

A commenter pointed out that this is the value of a peer-review process. And indeed, this result was published without peer review. So who is the fool here? The journalist for publishing without review? Or the reader who knowingly accepts the result despite it being published without peer review and/or corroboration?

raganwald 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Coming back to this almost eight hours later, I ask: What is the problem here? On HN, we upvote articles that are interesting. My idea of a downvote is an article where I felt I lost IQ for reading it. In the case of the kid's mistaken result, is there any question his research and theory were interesting? Does anyone honestly feel stupider for having read about it and considered the possibility that he was correct?

Quite honestly, almost everything that makes it to the front page of HN is wrong. We talk about software development, startups, muse about whether Apple is brilliant or is lucky enough to have lame competition, argue about Haskell and Erlang... All stuff that is non-empirical and therefore unfalsifiable.

How does that stuff get a free pass to be on the front page of HN without peer-reviewed research backing it up? I'll tell you how: We're smart enough to know that all of that stuff is probably at least partly wrong, but if there's something in there that makes us smarter, it's worth reading and upvoting and discussing.

If the kid's ideas had in them just one thing that made us smarter for having thought about it... That's a win, that's worth upvoting and repeating. Why wait for peer review? As long as nobody ran out and dropped a million bucks on manufacturing solar arrays, what's the harm? If anything is wrong with an article, a day or so later, all of the flaws will be corrected. And thats exactly what has happened here.

Thinking about this, I don't see a problem with the “blogosphere” or with HN upvoting and tweeting and repeating the original article. Thank goodness we don't put everything through a peer-review first. I'd say things are working just fine, and I encourage every other thirteen year-old kid to experiment and publish.

No harm, no foul. There's nothing in there that's more wrong than anything I've ever said in a blog post or a comment, it's just easier to prove where empirical science is concerned. But even when they're wrong, my posts are useful if they help people think, and I suspect his post is useful for the same reason.

waterlesscloud 16 hours ago 4 replies      
This doesn't address what I thought was the insight, which is about finding optimal placement and facing for stationary solar panels when the light source (the sun) is not stationary. Neither throughout the day or through out the year.

It doesn't seem impossible that some placements are better than all-in-one-direction, especially over time, and that's what I thought the experiment was about.

Am I misunderstanding something basic?


Going back and reading the kid's writeup at http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/201... shows some interesting details.

He's not using voltage as a proxy for power, he's using it as a proxy for "sunlight collected". There's two voltage graphs on that page that are machine drawn, not hand drawn. The point of interest in the two graphs is that the Standard graph has narrower peaks of voltage, whereas the Tree graph is broader. This represents the idea that the Tree was generating electricity over a longer period of time. NOT that it was generating more power, but that it was collecting sunlight for a longer period.

The 20% and 50% pie charts indicate this same idea. The percentages are hours, not watts or volts. 12.5 hours vs 8 hours in one timeframe, 13.5 vs 11 in another. Hours. Not volts, not watts. Time, not power.

llambda 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It's refreshing to see a counterpoint to the MSM's enthusiasm for over-dramatization and poor fact-checking; this wasn't a breakthrough in the science of photovoltaics, as some headlines seemed to read. And I'm particularly happy that the author took great care to not target the boy. He should be encouraged to continue this kind of scientific pursuit and not be dissuaded by mistakes in the research. In fact this is a good example of how peer-reviewed research actually functions. That said, I feel the MSM only does him a disservice by misrepresenting the implications of his project as something more than it might be.
skrebbel 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think you can put this out there any less harsh than this. Plus, all the harshness that's there is towards stupid journalists, not to the kid. And, well, they deserve it.
DevX101 18 hours ago 3 replies      
This article was posted last night, but taken down by this morning. I recovered it from google cache.
DanielBMarkham 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I voted this up -- it read very well -- but I am a little uncomfortable about voting up an article the author clearly wanted to delete.
callenish 12 hours ago 0 replies      
When the blogger used the phrase "Fibonacci mysticism" it becomes clear he has far too much bias to pay attention to what the kid was actually doing.

He points out that voltage in solar cells is essentially boolean. Ok. That means that the kid has shown a way to orient the cells so they get sunlight for a longer period of time. If evolution is anything to go by, his approach likely reveals a local minima for maximizing the time that sunlight is collected.

Is that worthless? No, it is not. It may well explain why trees orient their leaves the way they do, and there could well be practical applications. If your solar array produces more than the peak power you need but the cost and energy loss of storing the power are significant, you may well want to use a pattern like this that mimics what trees do.

What impresses me is that the kid noticed something in nature he hadn't noticed before, read up on it to see what was known about this pattern, and then went out and measured to see whether what he had read was accurate. Once he had verified what he read, he then figured out how that knowledge might be applied. In doing so, he discovered something that, while obvious in hindsight, is not something that would necessarily have occurred to someone trying to figure out how to maximize the time for solar panels to deliver energy. I think the kudos are appropriate, even if the stories are misleading.

An important point here is that in any news story about something that you know a lot about, there are always errors. Always. We should all keep that in mind when we read or watch or listen to the news.

robryan 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder, if this idea come from a someone older without any real experience or qualifications in solar would it have been fact checked a little better before it ended up everywhere?

I would want to encourage young people as much as possible, it's just that some of the things you heard about are only considered impressive when those doing the story have factored age into it. If the person was say 30 it wouldn't even be a story.

nknight 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Absent an explanation of why the author chose to delete this article, I can't bring myself to find it credible. It might be right, or it might be very wrong in a non-obvious way that the author finally realized, causing him to delete it. There are other reasons it might have been deleted, but I have no good way to judge.

Given that, I don't think it really adds anything to the overall debate.

snorkel 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Nonetheless I give the kid credit for exploring Fibonacci and biomimicry. Cool concept.
ramy_d 14 hours ago 0 replies      
is this like that time when some kid in india found a way to make solar cells out of hair?
jshort 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Regardless of Aiden's findings about solar energy his ability to see a pattern in tree branches and ten to attempt to answer the question why is impressive in my books.
Kilimanjaro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It is not ridiculing those who fail that we advance science, it is about thinking differently even if we fail, for we learn and improve and someday we will succeed.

What if we use solar cells on one side of the leaf and mirrors on the other so they can reflect sunlight when the leaf looks east and the sun is going down west?

What if we use a sphere shaped cell? like a mango tree? or a cone shaped cell? like a pine tree?

What if we put solar trees on every sidewalk, even if they produce less energy, but are more ergonomic and easier to accomodate in our daily lives?

What if we sprinkle some water on that solar tree? What if we make it taller? wider?

Go on kid, continue your experiments, listen to those who give you sound advice, ignore the ones who only add noise to the harmonious melody of nature and science.

earbitscom 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This post reads to me as if the person took personal offense to Aidan getting "undeserved" recognition. He claims to be angry at the journalists and scientists who didn't do their research before jumping to the conclusion that he had created something amazing, but the tone is just unnecessary.

> Some poor 13-year-old kid is all over the news

"poor 13-year-old" is hardly the words I use to describe a kid who got a bunch of press because they conducted an interesting science experiment, no matter how incorrect the end results of that experiment were.

> blindly parrot the words of this very misinformed (not to blame him, he's an unguided 13 year old) kid.

If a 45 year old scientist posted the results of an experiment that challenged the furthest reach of their abilities, and some scientists with more information or a different perspective explained why the experiment was conducted incorrectly or why the results were inaccurate, nobody would call the original person "very misinformed" or "unguided".

There are just a lot more ways to tell a 13 year old conducting solar panel experiments using concepts beyond most adults abilities the ways in which they could improve their experiment. The last thing you need to call a kid doing this kind of work is "very misinformed".

defdac 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a newspaper in Sweden asking people on the streets 1) Do you care if children have made the merchandise you buy? 2) Do you do anything to follow up on it?
Where one woman responded 1) Yes, children have no sense of quality and it shows on the product. 2) No.
its2010already 15 hours ago 0 replies      
All I have to say is the guy writes pretty darn well for a 13-year old. Perhaps his experiment is flawed, but I was very impressed by his writing skills, and I know it will serve him well in the future.
EGreg 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Wait a second bro.

Trees don't rotate to face the sun.
In order to have an optimal angle throughout the whole day, it would have to keep facing the sun, i.e. rotate.

I believe he may have missed this point.

As for the voltage measurement being the wrong metric -- agree.

salem 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I think one of the comments of the linked article made the best point, his science teacher should have caught the mistake.
Education and journalism FAIL...
realou 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the point here is that Aidan's system has no moving parts and does not track the sun. If you accumulate the total energy produced by the array over a period of one year in, say, capacitors, then I am not certain at all that his tree configuration would not be better than a fixed array of cells.

Of course, the fact that the picture in his paper showed a bright white wall just besides his experimental setup removed credibility to the whole thing.

But this prevents no one from repeating the experiment with better control over the variables and who knows...

randomanonymous 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You listened to the comments in the last post's comments (the one with only a couple comments).

This is MUCH healthier for a 13 year old, title wise, and article wise.

kubrickslair 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A bigger point here is how we all mistook the results. There is always a struggle between extreme peer review, which leads to insularity, and going by the net real impact- 'don't publish, build'. In the latter approach, the winner often forgets whose shoulders he stands on. In the former, you cannot stand too high from your peers' shoulders, and there are few real winners- 'everybody is great, everybody wins /s'.
What is in your .vimrc stackoverflow.com
125 points by nyellin  10 hours ago   53 comments top 27
joelthelion 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's a shame that SO doesn't allow these types of questions anymore. They are very useful for beginners who want to know how experienced users actually use the tool.

The fact that they cannot be answered objectively doesn't make them less useful, and contrary to what is stated in the FAQ, the question and answers model is perfectly suited to this type of question.

mitjak 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have much to add to the thread except for:

    set undofile

which will allow for persistent undo, i.e. undoing changes even after closing a file.

Pewpewarrows 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Managed using the "homesick" command-line utility to propagate changes to all my working machines:


ashley_woodard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is an ugly hack I came up with to layout my windows how I like them. I have NERDTree and Taglist in a horizontally split window to the left and MiniBufExplorer across the top of the screen. See http://yfrog.com/h7sg7fp

  autocmd VimEnter * call<SID>LayoutWindows()

function! s:LayoutWindows()
execute 'NERDTree'
let nerdtree_buffer = bufnr(t:NERDTreeBufName)
execute 'wincmd q'
execute 'Tlist'
execute 'wincmd h'
execute 'split'
execute 'b' . nerdtree_buffer

let mbe_window = bufwinnr("-MiniBufExplorer-")
if mbe_window != -1
execute mbe_window . "wincmd w"
execute 'wincmd K'

execute 'resize +20'
execute 'wincmd l'

markbao 9 hours ago 2 replies      
from those answers:

    nore ; :
nore , ;

Do this now. Probably not the vimrc line that has saved me the most time... but definitely saved me the most pinky pain.

unfasten 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Insert single characters: Press 's' in normal mode and the next character you type will be inserted at the cursor and put you back in normal. Press 'S' (Capital S or shift+s) and the character will be inserted after the cursor like 'a' append. This is also repeatable, so you can insert a character and then do '5.' to insert it 5 times, still leaving you in normal mode afterwards. Being repeatable is the reasoning I read for it being a function. I picked this up from the Vim wikia site awhile ago.

    " Insert single char (repeatable)
function! RepeatChar(char, count)
return repeat(a:char, a:count)
nnoremap <silent> s :<C-U>exec "normal i".RepeatChar(nr2char(getchar()), v:count1)<CR>
nnoremap <silent> S :<C-U>exec "normal a".RepeatChar(nr2char(getchar()), v:count1)<CR>

Press 'F5' to run the file you're editing, assuming it has a shebang.

    " Run current file if it has a shebang
function! <SID>CallInterpreter()
if match(getline(1), '^\#!') == 0
let l:interpreter = getline(1)[2:]
exec ("!".l:interpreter." %:p")
echohl ErrorMsg | echo "Err: No shebang present in file, canceling execution" | echohl None
map <F5> :call <SID>CallInterpreter()<CR>

I don't actually use this one a lot, but it can be handy. F10 to switch between the line numbering modes, in Vim versions that have relative line numbering (>= 7.3)

    " Toggle line numbering modes
" Default to relativenumber in newer vim, otherwise regular numbering
if v:version >= 703
set relativenumber
let s:relativenumber = 0
function! <SID>ToggleRelativeNumber()
if s:relativenumber == 0
set number
let s:relativenumber = 1
elseif s:relativenumber == 1
set relativenumber
let s:relativenumber = 2
set norelativenumber
let s:relativenumber = 0
map <silent><F10> :call <SID>ToggleRelativeNumber()<CR>
set number

dfranke 7 hours ago 0 replies      

  dfranke@ancalagon:~$ ls ~/.vimrc
ls: cannot access /home/dfranke/.vimrc: No such file or directory

sliverstorm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I go with whatever the default is. I've logged on to hundreds of *nix machines in just the past few years, and it's completely not worth the effort to try and maintain a concurrent configuration.
_sh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I work with multiple files a lot, so I'm always navigating between split screens and across buffers.

  " Split windows/multiple files
" use <Ctrl>+s to split the current window
nmap <C-S> <C-W>s
" use <Ctrl>+j/<Ctrl>+k to move up/down through split windows
nmap <C-J> <C-W>j
nmap <C-K> <C-W>k
" use <Ctrl>+-/<Ctrl>+= to maximise/equalise the size of split windows
nmap <C--> <C-W>_
nmap <C-=> <C-W>=
" use <Ctrl>+h/<Ctrl>+l to move back/forth through files:
nmap <C-L> :next<CR>
nmap <C-H> :prev<CR>

Note these use the same 'hjkl' navigation keys.

gcr 6 hours ago 2 replies      

  nnoremap \ta <Esc>:tab ball<CR>

Now you can run `vim foo bar baz` and then when open just type `\ta` and it will open them cleanly in three different tabs. Why they renamed a command "tab ball" I will never know.

fauziassegaff 9 hours ago 0 replies      
generally speaking, this .vimrc is most core config file that had a most use for me, been messing around with it before, and finally i use janus carl and huda https://github.com/carlhuda/janus had to thanks to them) for their distro of the .vimrc configuration, it include just all what i need for my macvim, it has a good plugins and configurations to where i can start of developments.

for others that don't want to mess around with vimrc configs (although its fun)just give it a shot and hopefully, and will happifly accept an contribution

git clone git://github.com/carlhuda/janus.git

(don't forget to rake it after)

oinksoft 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of my favorite bits from my .vimrc. It lets you use !find with location list:

  function! g:Find(...)
let subexpr = 'substitute(v:val, ".*", "\"&\" 0: found", "")'
let found = join(map(split(system('find ' . join(a:000, ' ')), '\n'), subexpr), "\n")
exec 'lgete "' fnameescape(found) '" | lop'

command! -nargs=+ Find call g:Find(<f-args>)

The :Find command above passes its arguments to `find`.

I use splits heavily, and these mappings for navigating and resizing splits are indispensable:

  nnoremap <C-K> <C-W>k
nnoremap <C-J> <C-W>j
nnoremap <C-H> <C-W>h
nnoremap <C-L> <C-W>l
nnoremap _ 3<C-W><LT>
nnoremap + 3<C-W>>

mun2mun 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My favourite two lines (found in another .vimrc long time ago).

   set switchbuf=useopen,usetab

Files opened from buffer if exists. Handy for command-t plugin.

   autocmd BufReadPost * normal `"

Remembers the cursor position of files.

marshray 7 hours ago 0 replies      

  "	Shift-Alt-S    -- (C++) - change the current    word/identifier in a quoted
" string to an ostream expression.
" For example, put the cursor on on the 'xxx' in:
" cout << "value = xxx\n";
" hit Shift-Alt-S and it changes to:
" cout << "value = " << xxx << "\n";
inoremap <S-A-s> <Esc>lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb
inoremap ^[S <Esc>lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb
noremap <S-A-s> lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb
noremap ^[S lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb
onoremap <S-A-s> <C-c>lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb
onoremap ^[S <C-c>lbdei" << <Esc>pa << "<Esc>bb

duggan 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure how many man-hours were lost to fatfingering :wq as :Wq or :w as :W, but a simple alias has solved that particular bit of grief:

   cnoreabbrev Wq wq
cnoreabbrev W w

The rest of my .vimrc mostly belongs to the guy I caught the vim addiction from, but sets some useful defaults: https://github.com/duggan/dotfiles/blob/master/.vimrc

marshray 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I made a little convention of marking 's' and 'd' as the top and bottom of a range of lines. Then I define several handy utilities like:

  "	Shift-Alt-Z    #-comment range 's,'d
inoremap <S-A-z> <Esc>:'s,'ds/^/#/g<CR>:noh<CR>
inoremap ^[Z <Esc>:'s,'ds/^/#/g<CR>:noh<CR>
noremap <S-A-z> :'s,'ds/^/#/g<CR>:noh<CR>
noremap ^[Z :'s,'ds/^/#/g <CR>:noh<CR>
onoremap <S-A-z> <C-c>:'s,'ds/^/#/g<CR>:noh<CR>
onoremap ^[Z <C-c>:'s,'ds/^/#/g<CR>:noh<CR>

jonathanwallace 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I forked a great vim_config for ruby/rails coding and made a few tweaks of my own.


amix 8 hours ago 0 replies      
LeafStorm 4 hours ago 4 replies      
While the flexibility and portability of Vim is quite attractive, I doubt I could really retrain myself to use the modal interface. Are there packages/scripts/whatever that would allow one to use Vim in the way that one would use a more "normal" text editor?
marshray 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I map semicolon to <Esc>, and ctrl-l to insert a semicolon in insert mode.

<Esc> is one of the most frequent commands, no reason it should be on one of the farthest keys.

IznastY 9 hours ago 1 reply      
imap jj <Esc>
jedberg 8 hours ago 2 replies      
james2vegas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have one, I have a .nexrc
ConceitedCode 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some invaluable little snippets in there.
Twitter Bootstrap github.com
892 points by d0vs  1 day ago   103 comments top 35
tptacek 1 day ago 4 replies      
Not to take anything away from a really nice contribution by Twitter's team, but know that stuff like this in tens of different variations are available for tens of dollars at sites like ThemeForest.

A typical "admin" theme has some variant of the 960 grid, nice forms and buttons, drop-down navs, tabs, and accordions, and multiple layouts.

The templates won't be as well documented as this one, and they'll be more brittle and probably more poorly coded... but they'll only take an hour or two of additional work to (say) Hamlize and bring into your Rails project. They'll look more distinctive than Bootstrap. They'll have better browser compatibility.

Unless you're crazy enough to be selling web apps to web developers, no customer of yours is ever going to know or care which of these things you started out with.

Or, use Bootstrap; it's really nice. I'm just saying you have lots of good options.

akavlie 1 day ago 3 replies      
Any clue what the browser compatibility is like, and how well it holds together in older browsers?

All they say is "only modern browsers in mind" -- but I see no details about that.

If it holds together sans pretty effects that's fine.

Pewpewarrows 1 day ago 1 reply      
All it needs is for that grid to be responsive using CSS media queries, and that will probably be the last CSS toolkit I'll ever need. I have my own internal boilerplate one that I use, but it's nowhere near as refined.

Bravo to the Twitter dev(s) responsible for this. You probably just saved me hundreds of hours of future work and frustration.

joeshaw 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is the relationship between this and Bootstrap.less (http://www.markdotto.com/bootstrap/), other than it appears to be by the same person? What about Skeleton (http://www.getskeleton.com/)? Are they just 3 different visual approaches to the same problem, or is there an evolutionary progression among them?
wildmXranat 1 day ago 1 reply      
For a developer like me, that doesn't have a lot of time to sharpen UI skills, this is amazing.
akavlie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks pretty nice. But how did this come out of twitter? I haven't seen half of these elements on twitter.com.
bdesimone 1 day ago 2 replies      
Gorgeous as it is -- I just can't use something that utterly breaks IE7,8. I wish the realities of browser support were different.

Nice contribution in any case.

dfischer 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely interesting and amazing to see. There's a lot of good elements and style in here. I think this is a great effort and movement forward to help bring a "standard UI" library to the web. I think there's a good use case of websites starting to have a more "locked in" UI/Look & Feel. I'm not convinced by this notion but it's something I've been thinking about lately.

Either way, this is a great library for bootstrapping your web-app.

I do have some qualms though, but this is due to the limitation of CSS. You really should start practicing separation of content from presentation. It's great to see them leverage LESS but I'd like to see this integrated with SASS/Compass.

I'll probably convert it over and release the link on hacker news when ready.

* the stuff that's really cool is forms/modal/navbar/tips

jhuckestein 1 day ago 3 replies      
This seem like a perfect addition to a hackathon toolkit :) I'll definitely use it.

Random rant: Why do they call it "Twitter bootstrap"? IMO that kind of association is a little vain. Rails isn't called 'Ruby on 37Signals'. Besides, it's slightly confusing because it seems to have little to do with Twitter.

katieben 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just used it today with my new 1x52 project: http://jambx.com/ - Twitter for song lyrics.

I'm doing some sort of new web project once a week, for hopefully a year. Writeup on my blog about it: http://kguac.com/2011/08/1-x-52-week-4-jambx-twitter-for-lyr...

Adkron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Classes and ids should describe the data that you are marking up, and not the structure of the view. It is really hard to continue to work with something like this. It increases the number of classes on each element and causes the developer and designer to fight over which classes go where. Now we have separate classes for style and functionality.

If we describe the data then it is easy to describe the view of that data in different ways, and with the same html.

seunghomattyang 1 day ago 5 replies      
I only recently started learning HTML and CSS so I was wondering if there is a good resource for learning how to use grids.

I don't exactly understand how to use grids (or even why). Is it for visual consistency or is there an underlying usability/maintainability benefit to using grids?

pbreit 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been looking at Blueprint and Skeleton but this looks like a better option.

If I'm not a LESS user am I going to feel second class?

leek 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great, but I'm afraid I will be forking and adding SASS/SCSS support.
ubi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As a solid developer who lacks real design skill I thank you guys for building this. Having a clean looking app is key when showing off new ideas.
artursapek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow nice, great to see them writing off outdated browsers.
ricardobeat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks very well made, I'm using it next week already for a small project :)

The IE incompatibility is a shame, this could be a nice poster for progressive enhancement.

kbj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried integrating this with the html5-boilerplate project as that might improve the cross-browser compatibility. It seems doable. Most tweaks seems to be related to the css reset part as they differ a lot. (Newest h5bp uses normalize.css vs Eric Meyer CSS reset.
SudarshanP 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be awesome if there was a forked Django/Rails/Sproutcore framework with tight integration with something like Twitter Bootstrap.

That way you would have a super awesome looking app right from the start.

The pros can work on the lean frameworks while the lazy ones like me can hop onto the shoulders of the giants ;-)!

jemeshsu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is the site http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/ using Bootstrap? When view on iPhone, there is a thin white margin for the right border. This white border stays even if you double tap on the screen, which normally means the site will expand to fill.
southpolesteve 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would love this if it used SASS
Tichy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
What I don't get is why browsers don't come with good looking typography settings by default.
dmmalam 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love a stylus version to use with nodejs
schiptsov 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Why and how it is better than YUI? Because it is from Twitter? ^_^
tcderek 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like Bootstrap as a tool to create a MVP. Will definitely be using it soon!
mark242 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. Google created a stylesheet like this once, a while ago, that was extremely lacking when it came to real-world actions and layout. This is incredible.
brackin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love this, good on Twitter for realising this. Making the web more beautiful.
voidfiles 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why less, why not sass?
alexis-d 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm always happy when I see a big company releasing really nice stuff as free software, and that's the case. Congrats Twitter!
mvts 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much for that framework. I just started implementing it in my latest app. Looks great! I'm struggling a bit with the modals implementation, but I'll get it to work.
krsgoss 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice work and thanks for contributing. Look forward to trying this out on a future project I'm working on.
jdelsman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks, Twitter!
methane 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's such a bless for programmers.
harrisreynolds 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks very cool... we need richer frameworks to standardized web dev!
ChrisArchitect 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow, this is interesting. What a contribution.
Why threads vs events is a nonsensical question. swtch.com
51 points by xtacy  9 hours ago   29 comments top 9
fauigerzigerk 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
In my view, the biggest drawback of the evented approach is that logically sychronous code involving IO becomes very low level spaghetti code. E.g:



  read(source, function(input) {
write(process(input), function(success) {

carbonica 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Russ is pretty much describing Go as it existed in its developer's minds in 2007. He even explains nearly all of Go's (future) interesting features - with nearly identical syntax - before he even gets to an example.
nknight 9 hours ago 3 replies      
YES. THANK YOU. I was just ranting about this elsewhere. People go "threads are evil" with vague rationales about getting locks right and such, and insist we all use separate heavyweight processes. It's ridiculous.

Selection of sane data structures and communication channels can get you virtually all of the safety and ease of separate processes WITH the performance benefits of a shared memory space.

It reminds me of people that criticize C++ for allowing memory leaks. There as here, simply selecting the right primitives and development strategy in advance make the problem simply disappear.

divtxt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The important question is: how can humans correctly write concurrent code?

We think of "threads" as one of the options. The thing is that we've mostly been using threads with locks (e.g. Java), and slide #3 points out where we have gone wrong:

  Drawbacks of threads
Drawbacks of events
Actually drawbacks of locks and top-level select loops!

In fact, it is "locks" that humans have trouble with.

Note the title of the presentation - Threads without Locks - suggesting another option. (as others have noted, this presentation describes Go, and I personally believe this is why Go will do well)

edit: wording, formatting

damienkatz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Right, it's never been either/or, they can be used to together. Several years ago I implemented libevent support at mysql using a pool of threads, allowing an order of magnitude more client processing. And for many years prior Microsoft had APIs and examples supporting similar operations on Windows.
hannesw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is exactly where I want to go with RingoJS: Many threads with private mutable scope, global read-only scope, worker/actor based thread interop, one event loop per thread.

Currently we still have shared mutable state that sometimes requires locking (unless you resort to a functional style of programming): http://hns.github.com/2011/05/12/threads.html

va1en0k 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not really sure, but it seems like an Erlang execution model (except for single-assigment, to which everything can be, and frequently is, automatically boiled down anyway)
lcargill99 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Threads tend to be event driven anyway. If one used, say ObjecTime back in the Olden Days, one could actually configure which FSMs had their own O/S thread and which were shared on a single thread.

This being said, event-driven as a design choice has much to recommend it.

nvictor 7 hours ago 1 reply      
anyone has the talk or video download?

sometimes you just can't get enough from slides...

Functional Programming Is Hard, That's Why It's Good fayr.am
124 points by trptcolin  15 hours ago   76 comments top 13
tumult 13 hours ago  replies      
FP is becoming the new OOP. People who don't understand its original meaning are misinterpreting it and incorrectly expounding its usefulness. Newcomers are not grasping how it fits into the bigger picture. Be cautious.
mwexler 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Ok, I've been a procedural programmer for years. I struggle even with OO. Where's my easy bridge to Functional? Where's the killer "here's the trick, the secret, the leap"?

Because I have to say, for all the "functional will save you" mantras, I keep finding a procedural approach gets the problem solved. Are my problems too simple? Not scale issues? Perhaps. And clearly, I am not trained in anything other than intro Lisp and Hadoop, so I haven't had the deep dive indoctrination others appear to have had.

But as each new computing metaphor comes, we find ways to make it easy for folks trained in older metaphors to come over. Other than Scala, I've found few bridges that are trying to help procedural and OO lang folks adopt functional. It's no-one's fault, I guess, other than new folks are trained in it, and older folks aren't.

But I'll keep looking for that bridge, that shining one thing that will make me go "aahhha, I see" and not "one of these books will explain how passing this function through this multi-nested other function is better than just making a loop".

Because after all these articles, I know functional is great. I just feel bad that I haven't been able to make it great for me... yet.

dasil003 14 hours ago 2 replies      
The thing that got me really interested in learning Haskell was the realization that something like 90% of the nasty bugs that I fixed in production over the years would be have been impossible in a pure functional language.

The thing that slows me down is the prospect of actually getting paid to write Haskell, and my doubts about it's ultimate suitability for iterate-quickly, fail-fast software world.

But reading this article reinvigorates me. Pure functional programming may be much harder, but its rigor allows for more powerful abstractions. Grokking those abstractions is no doubt useful regardless of what language you're using.

rednum 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It is worth noting that there are a few other paradigms that can change the way you think of programming - recently there was a post providing a good overview of languages that will make you learn some new abstractions, functional programming being one of them: http://blog.fogus.me/2011/08/14/perlis-languages/
nirvana 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I love Erlang so much I haven't yet gotten around to learning another functional language. (still growing with erlang).

I learned it reading Armstrong's book from Pragmatic Programmers. It was a joy. I'm also reading the OReilly book, and it seems good as well, though I can't tell how it would be if I didn't know the language already. As for the titles-- one is Programming Erlang, and the other is Erlang Programming!

Dn_Ab 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I see that some people are saying that functional programming is more powerful than OOP. I disagree with that.

I do not think one is less than the other. Actually there is a mathematical argument why one is not less than the other. To me functional programming is "what does what I'm trying to describe do?". In object oriented programming it's "what are the properties of the thing I'm trying to describe?". In functional programming I describe the interactions directly and in OOP the interactions come about from how I have described the objects. Done properly, they are both about interactions, it is just a difference of what you focus on.

It has been shown that classes of OOP can be modelled for the most part as co-algebras. This means that objects are a mathematical dual to algebraic types of functional programming. The reason why functional programming is important is that some things are easier to express in a dual space. This means that many things that are hard in OOP are trivial in functional languages. But the reverse is also true. This is why it is important to not drop one for the other.

The real advantage IMO in functional programming is that these languages tend to be developed with stronger mathematical foundations. Hence programming in them tends to encourage people to be principled and rigorous (at least in theory). It is very likely that if you study the subject you will naturally come to be interested in why monads are only one particular type of functor, that polymorphic functions are well described as natural transformations or try to wrap your head around mechanically generating dynamic algorithms in terms of hylomorphisms. The more mathematical nature also makes it less magical and rickety to the self taught programmer (such as myself). That I think is the real advantage. But there is nothing inherent in OOP that stops it from also being built from more rigorous foundations. Such things will come to matter more with increasing concerns in security.

I think functional programmers sleep on the power of coalgebras. In fact his example of google map reduce is completely ignorant of the fact that the real hero in MapReduce tm is unfold not reduce.

I have a pet theory that the fact that algorithms are written in dual styles is why experienced OOP people find functional programming so hard. They literally have to reverse their style of thinking. This takes a lot of energy. Just because it takes place in your head doesn't make it any less physical than trying to roll a boulder uphill or get a wagon wheel out of a rut.


Eliezer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
And here I was expecting the surprise moral to be, "Functional code looks better than average, just because only smarter-than-average programmers can manage to work in FP languages."
richcollins 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Functional Programming Is Hard,
That's Why It's Good

This is a major issue in software development. Developers like a challenge so they are often drawn to complexity. Unfortunately, this interest in complexity often carries over into their work.

kenjackson 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd really love to hear PG defend this line: "But with Lisp our development cycle was so fast that we could sometimes duplicate a new feature within a day or two of a competitor announcing it in a press release. By the time journalists covering the press release got round to calling us, we would have the new feature too."

I'd really love to see the code for something that one would do in a day or two in Lisp, but would be much longer in another language. I don't suspect there exists a wide class of such things -- I suspect the features tend to look like embedding Lisp compilers.

gregburek 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have an electrical engineering background and all this FP VS IP sounds like Async Logic VS State Machines. How far off base is that description?
Apocryphon 4 hours ago 0 replies      
How about learning functional JavaScript?
stmartin 13 hours ago 7 replies      
This is the lie that every functional programmer has perpetuated for the last 50 years since the dawn of Lisp - that somehow, automagically, productivity or effectiveness of programmers increase with the use of functional languages.

It's the biggest lie in the programming world, and it was designed to make the uber-geeks of this world, those people that you walk around the block just to avoid saying hello to because you know they are deeply and profoundly anti-social, feel good about themselves, to feel special, as though they have the "upper hand" that other normal people who deliberately choose other languages over purely functional ones.

There is value in learning how to think recursively, but a lot of programming, especially systems programming doesn't need to have its for loops transformed into recursive functions, or its addition operators into primitive recursive functions.

I am sick and tired of people expounding on the alleged efficacy and efficiency of functional languages and I wish they would just STFU once and for all and go back to their porn intermezzos between their functional programming spurts.

Paddy3118 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The "One True Language Paradigm"....

... Is functional programming!

(while it lasts that is).

Keeps the money circulating.

If PHP Were British addedbytes.com
270 points by shdon  19 hours ago   89 comments top 18
wbhart 18 hours ago 2 replies      
If it were truly British then upon an exception it would apologise excessively and offer to dust you off.

Queues would also be ubiquitous. Data could not be accessed in order, but would have to be retrieved from an unordered queue, which would necessarily involve a long wait.

There would also be a congestion charge for drivers at certain hours of the day and interfacing with Rails would cause unexpected delays.

halostatue 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Funny, but completely ignorant of the fact that Canadian English is distinct from Amrican English. We generally spell it 'colour' here, but draw the line at 'connexion', and have two spellings for 'seriali[sz]e', depending on the audience and style guide you follow. Joe Clark has a wonderful book about this, Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours (http://en-ca.org/).
corin_ 18 hours ago 6 replies      
I find myself getting genuinely annoyed when having to write things like "color" in CSS.

I wonder, though, as fun as it is to think about these jokes, what serious implications it had. Let's say, for example, it actually had been started with variables using a £ rather than $, would it have made any difference at all?

BerislavLopac 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed that no comment has yet mentioned my favo(u)rite take on the subject, the immortal Lingua::Romana::Perligata http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~damian/papers/HTML/Perligata.... ;)
tarkin2 16 hours ago 2 replies      
$ is superior though, simply for its ease of access using the left index finger.

£ would require the use of the middle finger.

To British sensibilities, it would mean swearing at PHP on every variable declaration! Actually, that said...

uriel 14 hours ago 0 replies      
And if PHP was Japanese it would commit Seppuku.
lubutu 19 hours ago 8 replies      
The only language I know which actually uses "colour" in its standard library, is Occam, designed in Bristol. Are there any others?

(Nitpick: "socialize" is the original spelling; "socialise" was a change in spelling on our side of the pond.)

premchai21 17 hours ago 4 replies      
preg_match might actually be better expanded as practical_extraction_and_reporting_language_regular_expression_match. (I'd comment on the original but it's currently too overloaded for it, I gather.)
j_col 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Brilliant! Given my sadness today around HP destroying the mobile platform I love (webOS), this has really cheered me up ;-) I especially like the cheerio() function.
georgieporgie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I always thought the dollar sign originated as a variable marker because it was used in BASIC to mark a string. Is there an earlier origin?
reinhardt 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How long until some bored hacker writes a british<->us PHP compiler and posts it here? I give it a week.
thelovelyfish 16 hours ago 1 reply      
If it were British there would be alcohol involved somehow.
4J7z0Fgt63dTZbs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Now if PHP were Japanese?
cafard 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If we change the sigils, can we refer to objects as "quiddities"?
jordinl 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A colleague once complained because I wrote 'initialize' with a z...
zandorg 15 hours ago 1 reply      
In Common Lisp, 'Fourth' is the fourth item in a list, rather than 'Forth'.
PedroCandeias 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Joke about php devs not being savvy enough to actually go and make these changes in 3... 2... 1...
The Magnavox Odyssey -- is it still fun today? kymalabs.com
15 points by bane  5 hours ago   discuss
Bots are crawling new domain registrations and namesquatting Twitter handles rossduggan.ie
43 points by duggan  9 hours ago   25 comments top 8
gyardley 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What a great opportunity for a registrar to differentiate themselves! They could tell you if your handle is available on popular social media services before you register your domain, and then help you sign up for your handle simultaneously with your registration.
Hisoka 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for reminding me to register a Twitter handle for my new site.. Glad noone squatted it.
riffic 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitter's namespace problem is inherent to a single party controlling a centralized service.

If you want to truly own and control your own namespace, you should support services that are distributed, like the rest of the Internet.

blatherard 8 hours ago 2 replies      
According to a commenter on the linked page, you can file an impersonation report and will likely get it resolved.
glimcat 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it just me that always registers Twitter at the same time as the domain?
highace 8 hours ago 2 replies      
As well as Twitter are there any other services that should be signed up for ASAP to avoid problems like this? Facebook, Youtube, Tumblr?
paulca 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Registered a new domain today that I'd like the Twitter name for ... good heads up Ross, thanks!
ra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You registered your twitter handle 11 years ago!
Nymwars: A view from the trenches within Google google.com
23 points by bootload  5 hours ago   16 comments top 5
thristian 5 hours ago 2 replies      
A friend of mine reshared that post on G+ yesterday and I left this comment there:

"nymwars" is a big complicated thing that has far outgrown my ability to keep track of the nuances, so I don't understand what this means for my personal pet feature (showing different names to different people), but it's encouraging to hear that there is raucous debate inside Google.

I still think that the strongest argument for pseudonyms is that a system that doesn't handle them is Wrong, in the same way that "everything can be losslessly converted to ASCII" is wrong, or "an accurate map of a geographical area can be drawn on a flat surface" is wrong. Pseudonyms aren't a feature you can decide whether to support or not, they're part of the problem that you're trying to solve.

natesm 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this really a huge deal? I haven't really been using Google+ (after I finally dropped Facebook, I guess I just... stopped caring about this sort of thing), but this topic keeps showing up everywhere.

I'm not sure why it's a problem. Google+ isn't that kind of website to me. Reddit, HN, etc. are really in a different class of websites and should be treated as such. Google+ is like my Address Book. I want real names, because they look nice. I should not that (in my mind) this doesn't make "JK Rowling", "Mark Twain", or "Jon Stewart" unacceptable. "rms" or "natesm", on the other hand, aren't the sort of thing that I'd want to see on Google+.

Similarly, I have Adium set up to display real names and real pictures instead of ugly AIM screen names. I don't talk to ladygagafan05, I talk to "John Smith".

jrockway 2 hours ago 2 replies      
How is Google's policy different from Facebook's? Google is enforcing the policy more strictly? People are just complaining because it's new and they think they can change it?

I don't really get it. Host your own blog and you can be called whatever you want.

yuhong 1 hour ago 0 replies      
>(ironic that these anonymity requirements are needed to talk about nymwars)

Anyone know what is exactly happening here? I am not advocating for real names, but things like this should still be fixed if possible.

sciurus 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Recent discussion on this topic at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2906434
HP: To Save The webOS Dev Community, Open-Source Enyo Now funkatron.com
81 points by codedivine  13 hours ago   17 comments top 8
trun 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"...one day your washing machine, stove, or even car infotainment system will run on webOS"[1]

If this is truly the direction they're heading then webOS is dead to me anyhow. Any further courting of developers is just salt in the wound.

edit: Don't get me wrong, I'm all for open sourcing Enyo and webOS, I just get the complete opposite vibe from HP's actions this week. They've basically said "screw you" both to die hard consumers and developers of the webOS platform.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/16/hp-looking-to-appliances-au...

drivebyacct2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Please, please do this HP. WebOS is really impressive in terms of technologies in my opinion. You can build entire Enyo apps in your browser, add a few hooks for WebOS services, and you're done. It's crazy easy, and Enyo makes it equally easy to have one app that works well on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. It's a shame to see HP pull the rug out from under it, but I'm really hoping they open source Enyo or better webOS.
dstein 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Open souce isn't the only possibility.

I think HP should skunkworks it. Round up all the engineers who developed the platform, form an independent LLC, retain an equity stake, and let them proceed with full autonomy.

Tablet and smartphone hardware is going to get so dirt cheap in just a few years, that they'll probably be able to outsource all the hardware and run the operation like a scrappy startup.

HaloZero 13 hours ago 1 reply      
In case people were wondering what Enyo is, it's HP/Palm's Framework for building WebOS apps (or generally mobile apps using HTML).
rbanffy 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Guys... The idiot who killed WebOS came from SAP. If you think Microsoft is evil, they are 10 times worse.

> Release Enyo under a liberal open source license (Apache, MIT, etc)

Why not GPL? That would ensure no competing platform could grab it and run.

watmough 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to say that I was really impressed by the Netflix and Mail demos in this talk.


Assuming the speed was there, and it will be as hardware improves, WebOS could take over as a cross-platform rapid development environment.

If this was open-sourced and made to look platform native on the iPad, I would use it for sure.

CrazedGeek 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Also, if you're feeling generous, open-source webOS too please? :)
rsanchez1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Meh, I would just be fine with them allowing it on other platforms. Don't really care how they license it to make that happen.
Notch's Livestream for Ludum Dare 21 livestream.com
127 points by fredoliveira  19 hours ago   86 comments top 23
lee 17 hours ago 5 replies      
This is amazing. Currently there are 12000 people tuned to watch a man program live. Who would have thought that would ever happen... live streaming programming.
Simucal 14 hours ago 2 replies      
He just ended the stream when he checked his usage report on Livestream.com.

Apparently he had racked up 17,000 viewer hours so far and said the cost was getting way out of hand. I'm trying to see how much that is going to cost him.

It would be cool if we could get Livestream to sponsor him perhaps as a way to promote their service?

GVRV 14 hours ago 4 replies      
He's trying again at http://www.justin.tv/realnotch

Edit: Seems like many people having problems with it, but Notch is sticking with it. Would be awesome if the Justin.tv/Twitch.tv crew can jump in and help!

fredoliveira 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The stream has started, but notch hasn't begun coding yet at the time of this writing (so don't be scared by the still screen).

Those of you who don't know what Ludum Dare is, can check their website at http://ludumdare.com/ - but TL;DR: rapid game dev competition, in 48 hours - Notch (maker of Minecraft) is streaming his participation this year.

cschep 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Notch just talked about how it was going to be super expensive to do this, and changed the quality of the stream to low to hopefully counteract that somehow?

That seems crazy to me, we all want to watch this and it's costing him money to do us that favor? Seemingly he's also driving traffic to livestream, is it because he has no ads or something?

ForrestN 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what he's making? I just tuned in 30 minutes ago, and he's been focused on getting his RenderWall function to work. Has he said what his eventual plan is at all?
swah 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Would you (should he) ever commit to a VCS working at this speed?
ugh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, it's a bit too early, isn't it? Here's a time-lapse from a year ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV-AFnCkRLY
exit 14 hours ago 2 replies      
at 18:31 utc he closed the stream because the number of viewers would equal a huge streaming bill for him :(

he mentions that he found streaming on justin.tv would also be too expensive.

i for one would pay to have famous coders streaming in the background while i code myself.

albertzeyer 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the Hackontest (http://hackontest.org) (Disclaimer: I was working there for/on OpenLieroX.)

We were filmed all the 24h via webcam and all our screens were recorded also via VNC and inside the OpenExpo, one could watch us coding live.

I don't really find much records of it though but here are two videos (sadly not the VNC records):



I find it very instructive to actually watch other people coding.

yatsyk 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd be very interested to look at live editing of experienced vim hacker to steal some tips.
shabda 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If you like this kind of things, Peepcode's Play by Play screencasts are good too.
suninwinter 15 hours ago 3 replies      
It looks like his changes appear in the game window without rebuilding the program. Is that what everyone else is seeing? Is this a technique I should know about?
AndyJPartridge 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The host for the Ludum Dare website has taken them down for using too much CPU.


lrm242 17 hours ago 2 replies      
anyone know what music he's listening to on the live feed?
kayoone 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Its amazing to watch him build this. I also find it inspiring that he is still doing this because he simply loves building games despite the fact he has made millions with minecraft already.
smhinsey 14 hours ago 4 replies      
He just stopped the stream due to the cost. I'd be very curious to know what the actual numbers were.
swah 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can notice he is really in the flow right now.
Madsn 14 hours ago 2 replies      
"Unfortunately, mojang has been permanently deleted. All of mojang's videos will no longer be available."

Did they just kick him off? Cause I didn't hear him say anything about taking the stream offline.

highace 17 hours ago 2 replies      
It's actually really interesting to see the thought process and programming technique of a respected dev from start to finish of a project. I'm sure I'll learn a lot, more people should do this.

Going to keep it on the secondary monitor.

BasDirks 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Let's flip the y... y not!? ehehehe"
DLarsen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone live-blogging this?
Madsn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Flip the 'y'.. (Wh)y not, hehe" - Nice programming pun :)
Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA forbes.com
112 points by DanielRibeiro  14 hours ago   133 comments top 12
patio11 8 hours ago  replies      
I live in central Japan's manufacturing hub. If you ever come visit me, and really want to return depressed, I'll arrange for us to take a tour of the company which produces most of the world's cell phone camera gaskets. (A little ring of rubber around the cell phone lens.) You very well might have one in the Japanese cellphone which came in the Chinese paper box and got stamped "Made in China" that you have in your pocket.

Every day, a couple hundred workers report to the factory. The most labor-intensive step in the process is taking a sheet of approximately 1,000 gaskets, manually removing them with a tweezer, inspecting them under a jeweler's loupe, and depositing the passes into the waiting outgoing package. When you fill it, it gets wheeled away for shipping. Your quota is 1,000 passed gaskets per hour, for which you are paid approximately 1,000 yen (at least, that was the pre-crash wage), or about $13 at today's prices.

When you say "We want our manufacturing jobs back", this is the kind of job you really want. It is easily the worst legal job I've heard of in a first-world nation. There's also practically a clock on the wall saying Time Until Robotic Arms Are Sensitive Enough To Do This Without Damaging An Unacceptable Portion Of Gaskets.

One reason that (pre-crash, anyhow) this neighborhood had a lot of immigrants is that the typical worker at this sort of factory 30~50 years ago was a Japanese woman in her twenties and that these days the job is a job Japanese women mostly won't do.

logjam 12 hours ago 3 replies      
"In the long term, then, an economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate.”

Yeah, lack of infrastructure. In my opinion that's true of every facet of the worthwhile goals of our national (U.S.) life, from good healthcare to cutting edge science to excellence in education.

Somewhere along the way that same short-sightedness the author discusses of mis-emphasizing short-term profit (e.g. "tax cuts") started bankrupting our future. Now we're reaping what we sowed. Practically every revolutionary advantage we gained over the last century at least (e.g., public health initiatives and sanitation, public education in the early 20th century; establishment of publicly funded research; the space program, the internet) were all collectively funded programs by government - by us - the collective will of a people not held hostage by short-sighted "anti-government" rhetoric.

civilian 12 hours ago  replies      
I hate this "America is losing greatness from losing manufacturing" argument. Our citizens don't want to work in manufacturing, and the Chinese (and other foreign citizens) are willing to do it for less. Sure, why not, they deserve it!

The world would improve if we stopped thinking in a "us-vs-them" nationalist way. Think in a global way!:

* We're helping Chinese farmers get out of abject poverty into a slightly better situation.

* We're improving their economy

* We're making cheaper goods for Americans & other developed countries, which means that it will be accessible to poorer people (which is a good thing!)

* The company will gain more profit and be able to make more innovative toys for us!

If we want to go down the nationalist root, then why don't we just outlaw imports all together? Or at least pass some protectionist tariffs?

If we did that, with the foolish misconception that it would help our economy, we would goad other countries into passing tariffs, and the whole world economy would hurt.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff provoked that kind of response and was a key factor in creating the Great Depression.

cjy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it is important to keep in mind that manufacturing output has actually been increasing over the last 50 years. It is just manufacturing employment that has fallen. That is a natural consequence of becoming more productive.
See: http://mercatus.org/publication/us-manufacturing-output-vs-j

The Forbes author is arguing that it is hard to innovate when all the manufacturing expertise leaves. To support this he argues that some Kindle parts are made in China, others Taiwan, others South Korea. To me this is evidence that innovation occurs at a decentralized level. Innovation occurs when companies specialize and focus on a better battery, or screen, or lens instead of a better device. Most people on HN seem to believe that small decentralized start-ups are more innovative than bigger companies. Why is decentralization good for software innovation, but bad for hardware innovation?

tokenadult 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I just used CTRL-F to search this whole thread for keywords. I can't believe that no one has mentioned comparative advantage yet.






David Ricardo made an underappreciated contribution to the prosperity of all humankind when he developed the explanation of the law of comparative advantage not quite 200 years ago. As long as manufacturers want to have large markets, they will sell to people who desire manufactured goods. And as long as we (whoever "we" are) have something to trade with the manufacturers, we will not lack for any manufactured good that has been invented. The United States of America is full of affordable Kindles, and people with all kinds of occupations can afford to buy Kindles if they like Kindles.

ansy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Technically, Amazon could make the Kindle in the USA out of parts shipped in from various Asian countries even though it could not make each of those components in the USA as well.

But then, what really could be made entirely in one country? Especially when you consider each component, the raw materials, the machinery used, and so on down the line for each of those.

I don't necessarily disagree with the author that there is value to keeping a process "in house" which needs to be including in any cost savings calculations and that American companies are prone to discounting that value when making decisions. But at some point some components or steps in the manufacturing process might be necessary or optimal to leave in the hands of others whether foreign or domestic.

rbanffy 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I loved the doublethink involved in "There's no stupidity in the story. The managers in both companies did exactly what business school professors and the best management consultants would tell them to do".

When you play chess, you shouldn't optimize your strategy for short-term capture of your opponent's pieces.

tptacek 10 hours ago 2 replies      
A tangent: when ASUSTEK first demonstrated their manufacturing prowess to Dell, long before they offered to take over Dell's supply chain, could Dell have acquired them?
pnathan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For the record, out of the public (consumer) eye, there are still electronic device manufacturers in the USA.

I work for one.

aspir 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The Dell anecdote at the beginning was particularly surprising. Hindsight is always clearer, and the author is intentionally summarizing to strengthen a point, but I was blown away at how calculating ASUS's actions were. The whole time I read that section I was thinking to myself, "Wow, so this is how empires fall: one ill-formed relationship at a time."
minikomi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As an aside, I found it interesting reading through te comments here how little bio-industries are mentioned as a possible way out. I got my degree in biotechnology and I must admit, there are far fewer "jobs" it leads to than being handy with, say, Photoshop or Ruby.. I wonder I it's something which will change..
cppsnob 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"An exception is Apple [AAPL], which “has been able to preserve a first-rate design capability in the States so far by remaining deeply involved in the selection of components, in industrial design, in software development, and in the articulation of the concept of its products and how they address users' needs.”"

This guy is very confused. Other US-based companies selling hardware operate in this same way. To boot, he never shows that anything listed here for Apple WASN'T done in the US for the Kindle. The same laundry list of components he describes for the Kindle goes for every Apple product, every Motorola product, every Xbox 360, etc. Yet the design and software is usually done in the same way Apple does.

Silicon Valley Booms but Worries About a New Bust nytimes.com
42 points by jedwhite  12 hours ago   10 comments top 6
kirillzubovsky 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Bubble or not, since the money are available, perhaps this is a good time to start building companies that solve real problems. Not that Groupon isn't cool, but the unfortunate thing is that gamification startups or group deals or 4sqr+photos+nonsense are popular, and the money is being thrown their way. Investing in those companies makes financial sense, but it would be great if more health-care or education related startups were not just funded, but also bragged about. In a long run, they could have a great impact on the society at large, even if they don't make investors into bagillionairs.
jwatte 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The tone sounds like a fluff piece. Someone at 35 is "old"? Last I saw, statistics said the average successful founder is 42. Wish I could remember where it was, though -- I know how useless data without a cited source is. (Yes, that's a sly dig at the article, disguised as self-depecation :-)
spoiledtechie 6 hours ago 2 replies      
"And for anyone with a decent idea and the drive to start a company, $100,000 to get it off the ground is easy to come by."

What? Seriously? Well I have a decent idea that is being worked on right now and I have the drive. Anyone want to fund it to a guy that lives in VA instead of in Silicon Valley?

floppydisk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't a decent measure of boom vs. bubble consist of looking at the number of companies that become profitable and self sustaining? The article talks a lot about companies looking for money, but how many made the transition from money consumer to self sustaining?

If the current crop of start ups has a decent percentage of companies becoming profitable and remaining in business 5-10 years down the line, it's boom.

knowsnothing613 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It was the best of times (Silicon Valley). It was the worse of times (rest of country).
wdewind 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Would love to ban NYTimes from this site.
Twitter's t.co uses meta tags and JS instead of 301 Redirects to Mask Referrers getclicky.com
36 points by ams1  9 hours ago   24 comments top 10
siavash 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to depend on the User-Agent:

  < HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
< Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 02:55:16 GMT
< Server: hi
< Location: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/81822/fans.jpg
< Cache-Control: private,max-age=300
< Expires: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 03:00:16 GMT
< Content-Length: 0
< Connection: close
< Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
* Closing connection #0

But with a quite common User-Agent:

  curl -v http://t.co/emmQt03 -H "User-Agent:Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/535.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu/11.04 Chromium/14.0.825.0 Chrome/14.0.825.0 Safari/535.1"
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 02:56:05 GMT
< Server: hi
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jaredsohn 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is even more significant in that unlike other URL shortners such as bit.ly, t.co won't show you statistics (at least for free).

So if you get a bunch of t.co traffic and you don't want to pay Twitter for statistics, the only way that I've seen that you can understand how you are getting traffic is to search for keywords relevant to your site and hope to find a tweet that includes the t.co link that you saw in your logs. You usually can't even search for the t.co link itself (unless it appears in the text of the tweet.)

Very annoying for people who want to study their server logs without paying extra money, but a great way for Twitter to monetize. (Even if users decide to include a bit.ly link to get free statistics within a tweet, it will still be hard to track down as explained above.)

mtogo 4 hours ago 2 replies      
As annoying as this is if you're writing something that depends on t.co using proper HTTP status codes, it's really fantastic for users of Twitter.

It masks the referer header, which protects my privacy without breaking sites that rely on the referer header.

Secondly, and much more importantly, it gets rid of privacy-destroying URL shorteners like bit.ly that give the posters statistics on their tweets.

It might be a tiny annoyance to some developers, but the privacy gains are fantastic.

dendory 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I noticed long ago that none of Twitter's redirects had the proper referrer listed, and it really is annoying. There's no way to parse a log and know how many people clicked on a link from Twitter unless I use another landing page just for Twitter shares which is a bit silly. I don't see why Twitter is doing that.
corin_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong but this means the referer will show up as t.co, meaning that you can just as easily track twitter referals, just by looking for t.co rather than twitter.com?

The downside is that you can't see which twitter URL it came from, but in my experience that was rarely useful as so often it came from users' home pages. And the upside is that it will show a t.co referal for non-web twitter clients, e.g. mobile apps.

geuis 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad someone else noticed this. A couple days ago I noticed that my real-time Japanese photo site http://tensecondstotokyo.com started acting really wonky. Most of the images being referenced are broken as hell and back. I built this back in March after the tsunami so that I could see photos from the ground of what was going on. Currently (as in right now) re-working the backend to account for the changes.
ChrisArchitect 5 hours ago 0 replies      
definitely noticed all the outgoing links briefly flashing over to t.co the past few weeks. Interesting. I expect someone at twitter dev will explain this in few days
jrockway 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's definitely time for browsers to stop sending referer headers.
pornel 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the point of hiding referrers when Twitter uses hash-bang URLs, which break referrers already?
underdown 6 hours ago 2 replies      
serving up a full HTML page seems a lot more expensive than returning a header
Google Taking Street View To The Depths Of The Amazon techcrunch.com
5 points by suuuup  3 hours ago   discuss
Marc Andreessen on Why Software is Eating the World wsj.com
278 points by tewks  1 day ago   83 comments top 23
pg 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is actually one of the things we consciously look for: companies that are turning businesses that didn't use to be software businesses into software businesses.
gacba 1 day ago 2 replies      
You can pick at Marc's words as much as you like, but having heard his visions back in '95 when Netscape was big, he's a big picture guy and is seeing the forest for the trees.

Consider the following:

- In this decade and the last, software engineer consistently ranks in the top ten best jobs

- During the financial crash, software engineers enjoyed the least turmoil and the quickest recovery compared to almost all other sectors

- Software is mission critical to almost every business in the world now, regardless of sector

- Our jobs tend to have the highest pay among the majority of jobs (again, top ten)

I'm with Marc. I'll double down on software right now...it's not going away.

wccrawford 1 day ago 4 replies      
"And, perhaps most telling, you can't have a bubble when people are constantly screaming "Bubble!""

Oh, I bet you can.

ristretto 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Add to these the recent announcement of Foxconn to install 1000000 robots. Now software will even be eating up sweatshops. Unfortunately, the rest of the economy is slow to catch up with these changes, in both the developing and (in a smaller degree) in the developed world. For the developing world this means a slump in growth until a more educated generation grows up, for the developed world, it means slow job creation. It's not a fault of technology; governments should have seen this coming decades ago. It's a shame that still, in many countries, programming is not required in primary or secondary education.

Take a moment to brag and enjoy the glory. Marc is a hero and this is an inspiring piece. Now back to work...

mathattack 1 day ago 3 replies      
As they say in the financial world, "He's talking his book."

That said, much of what he says is spot on. Software is creeping into everything. Education seems obvious. Health Care will be more difficult. A lot of the change will happen in the US.

If we can't invest money, we still can invest our careers.

quanticle 1 day ago 1 reply      
>And, perhaps most telling, you can't have a bubble when people are constantly screaming "Bubble!"

Not true. People were conscious, as early as 1997 that the dot-com bubble was just that. It didn't stop an unsustainable rise in valuations.

Joeri 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not just about who will build the software, it's about who will use the software.

The way I see it, we're on the edge of going post-material. The trend is that the proportion of the population involved in the manufacture and distribution of physical goods is dropping. Follow that trend for a century, and you get a society where most people's jobs involve only virtual goods (although many of those goods will be turned physical by 3d printers or large bespoke manufacturing companies). Apple and google are the vanguard of the all-digital companies (apple isn't in the business of making stuff, only designing it). This means the majority of people will be making their money producing digital content, and spending it purchasing digital content. Already a sizeable portion of our income is spent on content (tv, dvd, games, books, magazines, ...). I see no reason why that trend shouldn't continue until we have a digital post-material economy.

And if we will have a digital economy, that means most people will be software users, producing content for others to buy. We're not just going to have to train the people that will make the software, but also the people that will use the software. I think the actual production of software will remain a small share of the economy.

snowwindwaves 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming."

I can't wait for the revolution to come to the control and automation industry. I can see the heritage and legacy of the (software) tools I have to use, and unfortunately they aren't so old as to have a unix heritage but to have been born in the windows 95 era.

Probably I just need to pony up and get the real good high end shit, but the automation industry is ripe for disruption like health care too. the problem is the market is small and the stakes are high, so we end with old, expensive, tried, true, ancient solutions.


DanielBMarkham 19 hours ago 1 reply      
And herein lies the problem with patent reform.

The patent system is horribly broken, no doubt. But now that everything -- and I mean everything -- is turning into software, what does that mean for patents?

The capitalist answer is that we should let ideas freely grow and fight each other in the marketplace, but having an idea and selling an idea are two completely different skills. We will reward the salespeople, marketers, and business creators at the expense of the ideas people.

Perhaps that is what we want. Perhaps all ideas, not just startup business ideas, will become worthless. Execution will be the only thing that matters. If so, that's going to have some major impacts in the rest of society. It'll be interesting to watch this play out.

dkrich 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I don't really agree with Marc's take on what's going on with current tech valuations, he hit on one extremely important point, and about it he is spot-on.

There is a major crisis coming in this country if the gap in skills and quality education continues to widen. Too many manufacturing jobs are moving overseas while high-tech jobs are expanding at unforeseen rates. I worry a lot about what's going to happen, and as controversial as it may sound, I think we may see a day in the not-too-distant future where the minimum wage is done away with.

As for Marc's commentary, it seems to me that every significant example he cited was related to content disruption (communications, entertainment, etc.). So I think a more accurate theme would have been "Why Software is Eating the Entertainment Industry."

georgemcbay 23 hours ago 1 reply      
"We believe that many of the prominent new Internet companies are building real, high-growth, high-margin, highly defensible businesses."

What about profit? Doesn't ignoring profit (the article only mentions it in the context of Apple despite name dropping some other wildly unprofitable businesses) sort of suggest that maybe we are in fact making at least some of the same mistakes as the last bubble?

"Today's largest video service by number of subscribers is a software company: Netflix"

Netflix certainly uses a lot of software, but I think it is slightly disingenuous to paint them as a software company.

smackay 23 hours ago 1 reply      
An interesting article, however the trend described might be a superficial one. Replace "software" with "paper" and the same arguments could be made for the economy 100 years or more ago. That indicates that the real driving force is something more fundamental (productivity is mentioned several times here) that could result in software being replaced with something better.
NHQ 1 day ago 0 replies      
The cat is out of the bag! What the technologists have known all along! The market is huge, and mushrooming. Only the largest tech companies can keep pace with the growth, and there is still a-plenty for today's startups. Get yours today. Seriously!

Even already-connected markets, like the USA and Europe, will mature impressively as more people get better at using an improving internet. And by the time the entire living world is connected, birth rates alone will sustain satisfiable market growth.

How's that for a pitch?

hello_moto 1 day ago 2 replies      
As someone who has been involved in software for a long time (since I was a kid), of course I love to read news like this.

Having said that, I noticed that in almost all Hollywood futuristic-theme movies, software (or any ground-breaking inventions that usually found with the help more advanced software/hardware) tend to cause problems that forces humans to destroy them and put humans back to the world pre-software.

I hope that would never happen but looking at the trend that whatever Hollywood producers imagine usually come true (even though it may take 5-10 years since the movie is out) in real life makes me scared sometime when I read news like this.

Sniffnoy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> Today's leading real-world retailer, Wal-Mart, uses software to power its logistics and distribution capabilities, which it has used to crush its competition.

Wait... others don't?

> Likewise for FedEx, which is best thought of as a software network that happens to have trucks, planes and distribution hubs attached.

Again... do their competitors really not? How can they get anything done?

jorangreef 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Analogies limp:

A few centuries ago, someone may well have remarked that many of the best businesses in many industries, were moving into office buildings, an invention that was only a few decades old at the time, and that office buildings were eating the world.

1. They would have been right.

2. Moving into an office building would mean that a business was keeping up, not that it was necessarily a good business with respect to other businesses.

3. It would have been a good time to be building office buildings.

gills 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems inevitable, and positive. There are some friends of mine who dislike the resulting job shedding and concentration of wealth; I am not quite sure how that will shake out.

It will be interesting to see if today's 'software' disruptors will themselves disrupted by software. Today's revolution seems to me, a changing of the guard from the massive inefficient people-driven gatekeeper to the massive and lean software-driven gatekeeper. I wonder if the evolution of this will lead to decentralization and eventual diminution of today's usurpers?

NY_Entrepreneur 1 day ago 0 replies      
He omitted a bigger, more central point:

The main drive in the economy is more productivity; the main approach there is more automation; the main approach there is computer hardware driven by software.

Next, the main point about software is that it be 'smart' enough to give especially valuable output. For that the main tool is math.

rbreve 17 hours ago 0 replies      
In music its all software now, mixers, sequencers, synths are all software based. Djs use software like tracktor or serato to mix their mp3s.
gabaix 1 day ago 1 reply      
Something I noticed: he did not use Facebook as an example, while talking about Google, Linkedin, Zynga, Apple, Amazon.

Is there a reason?

Adkron 1 day ago 2 replies      
It is amazing to see how far we have come. I'm so glad that I picked the right industry to get into. The world changed all around us, and we were a part of it.

My only fear is that this will flood the market with crapy developers. That is how this change WILL be like the DOT COM boom.

7952 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology is just mimicking the rest of the economy in developed countries by moving to selling services rather than selling stuff.
metrobius 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well i guess this means that emotionally warped hypergeeks will truly inherit the Means of Production and run your life like a program---from cradle to grave. Fuck Marx and Engels, we have Andreesseeeeen and Zuckerberg.
Can Glucose Replenish Willpower? whatblag.com
4 points by CMartucci  2 hours ago   discuss
Idea: mouseFreeze, A solution for Browser FPS Games vjeux.com
34 points by vjeux  11 hours ago   15 comments top 7
maushu 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I believe you are talking about mouse lock (http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=72754), something Sirisian and me (but mostly Sirisian) have been trying to push into the browsers (right now chrome and hoping the other browsers catch on).

There are many problems regarding this idea, specially security for the user, this is why it's hard to convince the people of the benefits for RTS and FPS games.

sp332 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This should probably be a browser API, with a standardized "do you want this page to steal your cursor" and "press escape to release cursor" interface.
thristian 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like there's two main use-cases here:

- Infinite dragging of a particular element; for example, scrolling in Google Maps or the sort of 'click and drag' UI of a typical billiards or mini-golf game.

- Relative movement events in general, as used for 'mouse-look' in FPS games.

For the first use-case, it should be pretty easy to deal with. Add a property to the 'mousedown' event called 'relativeMode' (or whatever), initially set to false. If the event-handler sets 'relativeMode' to true, then instead of sending the usual string of 'mousemove' events to elements the cursor moves over, the browser should capture ("freeze") the mouse, hide the cursor, and deliver 'mousedelta' events to the original element (whose x and y properties contain the movement delta from the location of the original mousedown event). When the user lets go of the mouse button, the browser releases the capture and shows the cursor. There's no security issue, because the user is in control of the capture at all times, and can just release the mouse button whenever they want.

The second use-case is a bit more troublesome, but as the Chrome bug linked elsewhere in this thread mentions, "web-pages in full-screen mode effectively own the cursor anyway". Perhaps a similar 'relativeMode' property could be added to the 'fullscreen' event.

sorbus 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So you go to a malicious website and it's able to move your mouse around or lock it in place. That would not be a good situation to be in, especially for the segment of the population that doesn't understand keyboard shortcuts (which would, presumably, allow escape from this). Even if it's not used maliciously, it seems very plausible that it would be used to make advertisements harder to avoid (on websites like Hulu that run ads during a video, preventing most users from being able to go elsewhere during them could be a tempting idea).

I get why something with this effect is necessary if we are to have FPS games running in the browser, I just don't think that it's a good idea to allow websites to do so without explicit user permission. Admittedly, there are few things I hate as much as programs moving my mouse around, so I'm a bit biased.

jos3000 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be a browser permission based feature, like location is at the moment. The app asks the browser to prompt the user to give permission for this domain to "Control your mouse pointer". The cursor should always be released when you alt-tab away or press the ESC key (maybe the would need to be a time limit within which the mouse couldn't be captured again).
antimatter15 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I think a much simpler idea would to have a onmousedelta event which fires whenever the mouse moves and that tab has focus (including outside window boundary) and includes a .deltaX and .deltaY event property.

That way, the user has full control over their mouse and you can also develop fps games.

whackberry 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone seriously considering the web browser as a platform for future 3d gaming is, of course, in a state of sin.

(stolen from Jon Von Neumann's famous random number quote)

Nym Wars (Google+ "real name" rules) jwz.org
109 points by bigiain  20 hours ago   60 comments top 13
cookiecaper 18 hours ago 4 replies      
The proposition that "real names" significantly enhances a user experience is a bit silly, I think. It may contribute in some small way as far as what you're willing to admit, but generally it doesn't seem to change behavior a lot.

The quality of commentary on a public comment platform has much more to do with a given community's moderation and social mechanisms than the username that appears above the comment. YouTube is a mess because it's a hit-and-run system, there is no social obligation, you just type what you think about the video and never look at it again. Additionally, YouTube has a short length limit on comments precluding in-depth discussions, and YouTube's audience is very varied and primarily non-specialized.

There are many public messaging systems online that have flourished and maintain a high level of quality even though they allow pseudonyms. Hacker News, for instance. I can think of five or six high-quality messaging systems wherein I have actively participated off the top of my head that were not flooded with YouTube-esque idiocy -- the name policy really has very little to do with it, I think.

Google+ is completely controlled by its users; you must explicitly accept any author's content that you wish to view and you can block and explicitly reject any author's content that rubs you the wrong way. It is a fundamentally different model than YouTube. In this case, people are generally only going to accept you into their circles if they know who you are at least vaguely, whether the displayed name is "cookiecaper" or "Jeff Cook". I just don't see the point in even having the argument regarding Google+ when it has to be explicitly regulated by the user anyway. Facebook likewise.

I think the real motivation here on the part of both Google and Facebook is to discourage the use of multiple identities so that it's easier to target advertising.

Pseudonymity is still possible, though, so I'm still not sure why this is such a major deal, because you can just go create a Google Account with whatever plausible name you can dream up. You can then reveal your identity to the persons you'd like and everyone else knows you as generic John Smith. In fact, I do this on Facebook, and I presume that many others with an interest in pseudonymity do so as well.

wccrawford 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I had a feeling the policing of this was stupid, but I didn't think it would be downright incompetent. If you can't police a policy properly, don't have it in the first place! Especially one that serves no real purpose and incites so much anger. Jeez.
protomyth 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"When the rebuttal to your argument is The Federalist Papers, generally that means that you've lost the argument."

That is one of the golden lines of the article and so true. This quest for better targeting of ads is painful.

Also, I cannot wait until some of the folks on the reservations start getting flagged by Google. Many of the names people are know by violate Google's naming policy.

Joakal 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Google's handling is pretty cold. They encountered a critical issue with having a social [human] network, their support isn't human.

They prefer automation over everything. And that aim will keep biting them in the ass.

pasbesoin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of the best, most meaningful and informative "social" participation I've had online has been with pseudonyms. And those people would not have been there if not for the pseudonyms.

(People shared their real names if and as there were ready, and one-to-one. I'm still in touch with many of them, a decade and more later.)

I'm not terribly interested in Google's (and Facebook's, et al.) seemingly self-serving "speculation" on this topic. I'll base my opinion, and decisions, on real experience.

Buzz. Wave. Get on the clue train, folks.

gambler 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The notion that using "real names" improves the quality of communication is not just wrong, it's utterly ridiculous. What it impels is that the (best? fastest? surest?) way get "better" conversations is to make sure that everyone is afraid of some sort of retribution for what they say. As far as I can see, that is the only thing "real names" achieve. After that, you can coat it any rhetoric you want, it still remain an ugly idea.
gbog 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't seen anywhere noted that a significant part of humanity don't have surnames, eg many Indonesians. How to enforce a real name-like policy under these conditions?
alextp 19 hours ago 2 replies      
About the McLovin ID thing, I don't think it's Google's responsability to police which ids are fake and which are not. As far as I know faking an ID is a misdemeanor or a felony in most US states [1] and some other countries (like Brazil), so if there is any complaint against a reporter and he is found to have submitted a fake ID he is in for a fine and maybe jail time. I'm personally ok with requiring a user to commit a crime to cause antisocial behavior, as this ensures that they can be prosecuted in some way (this is the same principle behind DMCA takedown notices, where the person sending the letter is liable for a number of crimes if they are not who they claim to be or if they do not in fact own the right to the media at hand).

[1] http://www.celticfringe.net/teenlife/fakeid.html ) and

sixtofour 15 hours ago 0 replies      
To solve the perceived "quality" problem (and that perception is itself a problem), Google has, true to form, relied on a technical barrier (must have one and only one first name, one and only one last name). They have then all but automated catching the ones that get through the barrier, by soliciting users to report fakes. Whether they review those reports before notice to suspend is an excellent question, one that Violet Blue has probably asked. https://plus.google.com/105822688186016123722/posts/LWySptwh...

Google's monolithic lack of customer service is well known, and I believe it starts with good intentions, trying to automate the management of the problem as much as possible. The problem comes from believing too much in their algorithms and automated solutions. They're all very smart, but their solutions are not as smart as they think. Or, maybe they're even smarter than I think, and they've gone the Pinto route and calculated that a certain amount of customer "disasters" is relatively tolerable.

Estragon 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a shame that Google hasn't chosen to address this in the empirical fashion they're famous for: why not have two google+'s for a while, one which enforces the "real names" policy, and one which is free for all. See which results in the better data.
yuhong 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I am not for real name policies, but the problems with using real names needs to be fixed if possible.
EGreg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Your site hurts my eyes
yanw 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It's nowhere near the big issue that the self-described activists think it is.

I'm certain the data suggests that using real names isn't a problem for the vast majority of people but merely the obsession of the very loud and self-righteous few, besides it's still a closed beta product and any such criticisms don't apply until they say that it's ready and open for all.

The Calculus of Grit ribbonfarm.com
29 points by Stwerner  11 hours ago   10 comments top 5
wcarss 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I feel like he was saying (at the end) that people shouldn't work on things they find hard.

Was he saying that? Because that seems silly.

quantumhobbit 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Rao's writing. A lot of his new stuff is very interesting, but is he ever going to finish The Gervas Principle?
seagaia 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Could someone summarize this concept? I found it a little hard to follow. Is he saying that mapping what "intellectual spaces" (or something) you travel through while developing some skill may help you figure out what you could be good at or something?
szany 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Has anyone read his book Tempo who can comment on it?
donnaware 9 hours ago 0 replies      
is there a grithub site ?
Flipping 10 heads in a row - a small probability demonstration singingbanana.tumblr.com
63 points by ColinWright  16 hours ago   35 comments top 12
jonkelly 13 hours ago 3 replies      
My favorite related demonstration is to do a "tournament" where you start with 64 people and eliminate the 1/2 who don't flip heads each round. Some "amazing" flipper will get through 5 to 7 rounds and win. Something to think about when you see a mutual fund manager who beats the market 7+ years in a row.
praptak 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Sir, you must be the greatest archer in the world - everywhere around on walls, trees and fences there are targets, each with your arrow exactly in the middle. How did you achieve such greatness?"

"I paint the targets after shooting."

grantbachman 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A quicker way to do this would be to take a container full of 1024 coins and dump them onto the ground so they're spread out. Put all the coins that landed heads up back into the jar and continue this process 10 times. However many coins you have left are the number of coins that landed heads up 10 times in a row.
fendrak 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This is why probability is such a useful math: it turns our intuitive reasoning on its head and gives us solid descriptions of the processes at hand. Another great example of probability in action is the Monty Hall Problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem). Totally unintuitive process, but unarguable results.
ErrantX 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Derren Brown episode he mentions is well worth a watch if you enjoyed this - he doesn't deal so much with the mathematical side, but the idea of using misdirection to show something unlikely happening simply through consistent trial.

Edit: the show is called "The System"

SoftwareMaven 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been listening to The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives[1] by Leonard Mlodinow. It is a great introduction to how probability works, the history of randomness and probability in science, and how randomness affects so much of what we do. very interesting look at the math without getting too caught up in the math.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307275175/ref=as_li_ss_tl?...

hadronzoo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's relatively easy toss a coin and always get heads (for both biased and unbiased coins): http://books.google.com/books?id=tTN4HuUNXjgC&pg=PA317#v... Jaynes's Probability Theory: The Logic of Science, Section 10.3
Tichy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So what is the world record of number of heads in a row? I fear this video could start a very time consuming coin flipping craze...
te_platt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha! That's nothing. One time I got 12 yatzees in a row. One day I was playing Yatzee and got 2 in a row. That was exciting but I was impatient so I wrote a program to play for me. Eventually my program made 7 in a row but that was still taking too long. I calculated how long it would take to have a greater than 99% chance of getting twelve in a row and decided I needed to get a life more than I needed to keep the program running. Then I figured as long as it was really the computer doing it and not me it wasn't too much to imagine a Platonic universe where my program already had been run an infinitely long guaranteeing that I got 12 in a row. I don't have a video of it though so kudos to SingingBanana.
mihaifm 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's called Ion Saliu's paradox or The Fundamental Theory of Gambling.
If you have an event with probability 1/n and repeat it n times, the probability of realizing the event at least once is is about 1-1/e = 0.63
(for high enough values of n).

His calculations were correct, showing that chance of failure was 37% and success 63%.

mathattack 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is interesting psychology. Eventually 10 in a row has to happen. But would you bet 50 cents to win 51? At what point is it Bayesian statistics that tells you not to make the bet? (That somehow the coin is loaded)
corin_ 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Two thoughts on this post/submission. The first is that it's really pretty shoddy, I mean why did it need to be filmed, why not a written (or even to camera) piece that just explains the logic. Anyone who doesn't believe it after having it explained isn't going to believe it after a video of an experiment that could so easily be edited to show 1000 heads out of 1000 flips.

The second is, even if it was presented better, is this suitable for HN? Sure, the topic of probability is suitable, but this is on such a basic level that surely most, if not all, HN readers already comprehended it.

That said, here's hoping that, if people are going to insist on upvoting it, it can at least spur some interesting discussion. With that aim, here's a tangeant:

It's always interesting in gambling how, no matter how mathematically smart someone is, it's incredibly easy to let your heart make decisions for you when money is on the line. Whether it's betting red on roulette because it landed black 6 times in a row, or betting big on a blackjack hand because you've lost your last few in a row and surely it can't keep going.

Even though, as you place the bet, you're thinking "I know the last X spins don't actually have any impact...", you can't help but feel the urge.

Women are rejecting marriage in Asia. The social implications are serious. economist.com
192 points by rblion  1 day ago   194 comments top 16
lionhearted 1 day ago  replies      
I have a theory that I haven't found expounded before. It came from a combination of travel through 60+ countries, living and working and interacting with local people on a pretty intimate level sometimes, and study of lots of history.

It's going to be controversial and maybe even shocking, so brace yourself for a moment before reacting please.

I think peaceful societies self-destruct.

With a few notable exceptions that require a geography suitable to isolationism, long term peace has historically been achieved through your country or one of your ally's having military supremacy over the rest of your neighbors.

Obviously, diplomacy can keep the peace for long periods of time, even human lifetimes, but eventually incidents happen when there's a hothead in one government, and then that's when the military supremacy determines whether you get attacked or not.

Anyways, I've found the more a country renounces war and gets further away from it, the more birth rates go down. You get an explosion of commerce and art for ~30 to ~70 years, and then the society self-destructs.

No longer forced to confront mortality and with no externally unifying cause, people start living for luxury, pleasure, and consumption. They stop having children. Birth rates fall off.

Eventually, this destroys a country's economy, the military supremacy fades, and one of their neighbors comes in and cleans house, and the cycle begins anew.

This has happened many times through history. It's happening in Japan right now. If I became an advisor to anyone in the Japanese government, I'd advocate two things as chief priorities - (1) exceedingly good relations with China, and (2) re-militarize.

Then join the next war they can on America's or China's side. Combined with some standard messages of nationalism/strength/growth/unity, birth rates would almost certainly increase.

emanuer 1 day ago 4 replies      
I am married to a Japanese and live here right now, so I can only comment on the situation of the country.
I will try to give an economical assessment of the situation. As you might be aware Japan had a “lost decade” during the 90s. It experienced almost no growth of the GDP. There are many theories as to why, but the most convincing one is: The Japanese “Baby Boomers” retired during this decade. In fact the percentage of workers in the population (age 15-64) decreased by 5.6% during this time, as the number of retirees increased by 10.7%. http://goo.gl/kVZxB

What does this have to do with anything? / What happens when you have fewer people in the expected working age?
2 things happen:

  1. More people have to work
2. People have to work longer

The official retirement age for Japanese is 63/61 (M/W), the effective retirement age is 69.5/66.5 http://goo.gl/s9slK very interesting graph)

My wife held a managerial position before our son was born, amongst her friends hardly any of them want to stay single, they simply don't have a choice. If they want to sustain their current life standard, marriage would be impossible. One man working has a hard time providing for his wife, kids, paying for a decent home & the mandatory elderly taxes. The taxes are almost 2000 USD per person / year, no matter if employed, or not. And those are just to pay for the pensions; insurances, social etc. come on top of that.

Many women still life / moved back in with their parents, even in their late 40es. It is not because they want to, or cannot find a partner (many of them look quite stunning). The pensions simply don't suffice and they feel obliged to support their parents. The same holds true for many men.

I very much disagree with the statement that women in Japan enjoy their single life so much, as they choose not to marry. I have yet to meet a Japanese woman, who will state this. Compared to Europe, where this kind of ideology is quite common.


Japanese women are expected to do 90% of the housework, where as American women will “only” do 60% of the work. http://goo.gl/qj64W This fact and the very big distance Japanese develop for their spouses are certainly not helping. http://goo.gl/QlAfx Surprisingly no women I ever conversed with, complained about this lack of love between a married couple, on the contrary it is expected by the women. And it often leads to problems in marriages with foreigners.

Edit #2:

If my experience with the Japanese Culture is in any way representative employing more men in the military will be the worst thing imaginable. The country has a deficit of 180% /GDP and every person in the army is one person less doing productive work to keep country afloat.

Edit #3:

When the "Baby Boom" generation will retire in the United states, do you expect the country to sustain a positive GDP? This would mean that every person working will have to work harder and produce more just to reach 0 growth. Something the Japanese managed to do. The only solution to this is immigration, something Japan is battling against.

gamble 1 day ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine has lived in Japan teaching one-on-one English lessons for a number of years. A good chunk of his customers are recently married women. Their husbands don't want them to work, but with nothing to do at home they end up taking English lessons out of a desperate need to find something mentally stimulating to pass the hours.
NY_Entrepreneur 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems to me that the article missed the most central point. Let's start with a little, simple, relevant background:

(1) In the past, e.g., in tribal or agricultural communities, women had children whether they really 'wanted' to or not.

(2) Now in more industrialized countries, a significant fraction of women have some options. Some women still have children but some women do not want to have children and do not.

(3) The change in number of children per woman is a 900 pound gorilla in the room: The article mentioned numbers under 2 children per women with a rate a low as 1 child per woman. There is some recent data that Finland is at 1.5 children per woman.

Of course, for any rate much under 2, each 20 years or so the population will be going down significantly. "Get your old houses, furniture, dishes, baby clothes, etc. cheap, cheap, cheap!".

So, net, heavily women who don't want to have children won't. These women will be 'weak, sick, dead limbs on the tree' and will be pruning their genes from the tree. What will be left are women who, given the choice, actually, effectively WANT to have children.

The big point: After a few such generations, we will be left with a much smaller population with many fewer women but nearly all of whom WANT to have children. Then the population will start growing again.

One more big, surprising point: We are now, in much of the world, in the most rapid change in the gene pool of the last 40,000 or so years.

Where did the 40,000 come from? Humans walked out of Africa back there somewhere. At one point, ballpark 40,000 years ago, they reached, say, India. One branch went west to Western Europe, and another branch went east to China and Japan. Mostly the two branches haven't much mixed since then.

Okay, at the common branch, ballpark 40,000 years ago, what were women like? Well, take women from Japan and women from Western Europe. Take some 'characteristic' in common, say, desire of a major fraction of the women, given an economic opportunity, not to have children. Now, start in either Japan or Western Europe and count genetic 'changes' on this 'characteristic' going backwards in the tree to the common branch, about 40,000 years ago, and, then, continuing to count changes, going forward in the other branch of the tree to the present.

So, if on this characteristic the women in Japan and Western Europe are close, that is, have few changes, then on this characteristic the common ancestor 40,000 years ago has still fewer, that is, is closer to the women in both Japan and Western Europe than they are to each other.

Net, since a significant fraction of women in both Japan and Western Europe will, given an economic opportunity, choose not to have children, that is, these women are close to each other, both are still closer to their common ancestor 40,000 years ago. So, for 40,000 years, many women had children not really because they 'wanted' to but because of economic necessity.

So, now that women who don't really want to have children are being pruned from the tree, we are, on this characteristic, in the most rapid change in the human gene pool of the past 40,000 years. And, the change is VERY rapid, should have a huge effect in just a few generations, say, just 100 years, which on the scale of 40,000 years, is FAST.

burgerbrain 1 day ago  replies      
Good for them. More people need to reject this archaic sexist tradition. Legal enforcement of the fantasy notion of "true love for life" is damn near barbaric.

If you and your partner can swing it, more power to you, but social pressure on others to place themselves into legally binding situations revolving around this notion is something that need to die.

In the west (at least the states) these are legally binding arrangements that are heavily biased against males, but if women are rejecting that in Asia then all the better.

thevivekpandey 1 day ago 2 replies      
"So far, the trend has not affected Asia's two giants, China and India."

It is not fair to label a trend as "Asian" when you need to exclude China and India.

bennesvig 1 day ago 3 replies      
George Gilder's "Naked Nomad's" is a great book studying single men in America. Unmarried men own the majority of bad statistical categories to be in. Higher death, suicide, crime, and disease rates. No society wants that burden.
diN0bot 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Japanese women, who typically work 40 hours a week in the office, then do, on average, another 30 hours of housework. Their husbands, on average, do three hours."

"Marriage socialises men: it is associated with lower levels of testosterone and less criminal behaviour. Less marriage might mean more crime."

bobo888 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it really the women who are avoiding marriage?

Do this experiment: go to a newspaper stand and look for magazines about weddings. Look for books about marriage. I have never ever seen one addressed to men (there are ones which seem to be, but on a quick glance I actually think they were written to feed the women's ego), which means IMHO that men wouldn't spend money on subjects like these. Meanwhile you sholdn't be surprised to find at least half a dozen for women. So I really really doubt that men are more willing to marry EITHER.

I would actually dare to say that men were (and still are) the ones who don't really care about marriage.

EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, an aging population might be worrisome on the surface, but I find overpopulation more worrying. Therefore, I am happy that people in really populated countries are having less babies overall!


Longer (but more boring) version:

peteretep 19 hours ago 0 replies      
> in Bangkok, 20% of 40-44-year old women are not married

In Bangkok, 20% of the women you see in couple on streets are part of a woman-woman couple, holding hands - usually one with short hair and a shirt, and one with long hair and a dress - something I've never seen as prevalent anywhere else in the world, and something the locals don't look twice at.

wyclif 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would have been useful if this article had taken into account the fact that the laws of certain SE Asian countries (i.e., the Philippines) do not provide for divorce:


rednaught 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe the Philippines and Indonesia don't represent most of Asia, but illegitimacy has become a very obvious problem in the last decade there. The only reason divorce is not more common is because an annulment in the Philippines represents an astronomically prohibitive barrier for most citizens.
known 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe marriage and career are mutually exclusive for women in Asia
Shenglong 1 day ago 1 reply      
I smell a business opportunity.
Qa8BBatwHxK8Pu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good thing. But being gay this never bothers me.
Android messaging and concurrency (for native code development) himmele.blogspot.com
15 points by DanielHimmelein  8 hours ago   discuss
13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci Sequence inhabitat.com
635 points by jedwhite  2 days ago   141 comments top 36
pigbucket 2 days ago  replies      
Inhabitat credits treehugger.com as its source. Treehugger's article is not breathless about biomimicry, not spread over two pages, and not interrupted by adsense and images.

Edit: The source of treehugger's article is Aidan's own article, which is better still, and addresses briefly some of the issues raised in comments here (e.g., about fixed vs. tracking pv arrays).

colanderman 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't get what his results have to do with the Fibonacci sequence. Between his "control" and the design he was testing, he changed:

1. panel heights
2. panel angles
3. whether panels were stacked or not

I would guess that any of those three things matter way more than the position of the "leaves" following the Fibonacci sequence. He needed to compare his design to a similar tree-shape whose "leaves" were, say, uniformly or randomly spaced; not to what amounted to a patch of moss.

(Which brings to mind: solar panels which were shaped more like moss (i.e. rough) would probably perform even better. I'm pretty sure I remember MIT or some place building a prototype like that.)

Finally, he measured voltage but made claims about power, which is a huge no-no for solar PV. Solar PV panels have highly nonlinear voltage/current characteristics, which means that increased voltage does not correspond to increased power, especially in setups such as the tree where the solar panels are not uniformly illuminated.

robinhouston 2 days ago 0 replies      
Towards the end of his life, Alan Turing spent some time trying to explain Fibonacci phyllotaxis. http://user29459.vs.easily.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/...

I wonder if Aidan Dwyer is pleased by the thought that his scientific career is beginning where Turing's left off. I would be, in his shoes.

zacharyvoase 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone always talks about the Fibonacci sequence w/r/t the golden ratio, but in nature it's usually a variant on a Lindenmayer system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-system
felipemnoa 2 days ago  replies      
The comparison is against a flat row of cells that do not track the sun. I suspect that it will not do better compared to an array of cells that do track the sun.

Basically the tree of cells are arranged in different angles so that as the sun moves some of them will always be receiving optimal sunlight when their normal is parallel with that of the incident light.

Very nice insight, especially for a kid his age. I certainly would not have thought of it.

marknutter 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or do most articles about young kids doing intellectually notable stuff start out with something along the lines of "while most 13-year-olds spend their free time playing video games or cruising Facebook...."
scorchin 2 days ago 0 replies      
On Aidan's own article[1], you can see that he's referenced work that's guided him in making this breakthrough. Hidden in the bibliography is a Dr Suess children's book!

Geisel, Theodor Seuss (Dr. Seuss). The Lorax. New York: Random House Publishers, 1971.

[1] http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/201...

tiddchristopher 2 days ago 1 reply      
The description, "The study earned Aidan a provisional U.S patent," is misleading. A provisional patent is merely a completely automated recognition of your claim to an invention. You submit your provisional filing, and then have one year to file an actual patent, which is reviewed by patent examiners. You don't "earn" a provisional patent--you just pay a couple hundred dollars and submit a few forms.
waterlesscloud 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if some genetic algorithm style testing of angles and placements could yield even more efficiency?

Seems possible that nature hasn't yet hit optimal design in this area.

martinkallstrom 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait... so there is a reason trees look like that? This was awesome, all the more for being a discovery by a 13-year old kid.
Protagoras 2 days ago 1 reply      
A couple of points:

1. Like others said this is in comparison to a flat non tracking solar panel, the tree configuration would lose out significantly against a tracking panel.

2. Fairly disingenuous graph on the second page, but then again professionals in business and science do this all the time as well.

3. With the current state of solar technology this patent is useless. But if someone invents solar cells who are so cheap that they cost less than the solar tracking equipment, this could become quite a lucrative patent.

4. I wasn't aware you could patent things which are this directly copied from nature. I was under the impression that you could say patent a mechanism which emulates the motion of a specific fish but not the motion itself, or can you ?

tripzilch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Explanation why this actually doesn't have a lot to do with Fibonacci from the other thread:


Additionally explains/shows that the Fibonacci sequence, or the golden ratio, both do NOT generally occur in nautilus shells, spiral galaxies, ancient design principles, body ratios nor are they perceived as significantly more aesthetically pleasing than other ratios of small numbers.

cperciva 2 days ago 3 replies      
He "discovered" the Fibonacci sequence in how trees branch? Seriously?

Maybe I'm just being a grumpy old guy here, but when I was in school this was in our math textbooks as an example of how the Fibonacci sequence appears in nature.

colanderman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Apparently in the "flat" design, half of the solar panels are on the back roof of the model house, facing his actual house, and thus likely not getting any significant light at all.
tintin 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/2807030740_25f3f2fa53.jp... This 'tree' to charge your phone was designed in 2008.
I wonder if it charges better than a flat design.

Search for "Solar Powered Bonsai Tree".

pge 1 day ago 0 replies      
While this is interesting, the most important metric for solar power is not Watts per square meter but Watts per dollar of production cost. Complex configurations like this may be more efficient from a W/m2 but unlikely to be more efficient from a W/$ perspective.
ForrestN 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like trees are trying to maximize the density of leaves they can accommodate, balancing that against the decreasing usefulness of each leaf. I suspect using the tree placement you could produce much more energy per square meter of land, because you could fit so many more panels.

Imagine if a tree's leaves were arranged in a grid. The footer would be enormous. If you are making a solar farm. In the desert with sun-tracking panels, I don't know how much this improves things, because there isn't much limit on land. But in a city, on rooftops, in backyards, etc, you might be able to get a lot more total energy out of a given plot this way.

auston 2 days ago 1 reply      
Question: Does his tree have nearly double the number of panels? If so, does that have anything to do with him getting more power?


scdc 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should combine this with the cell-tower that looks like a tree. Could reduce the cell tower's electricity draw.

Not sure these exist everywhere. Here is a Google Image search: http://www.google.com/search?q=cell+towers+look+like+tree...

redthrowaway 2 days ago 2 replies      
So perhaps this is a question that others have answered, but what springs to mind for me is: why? I get that trees that follow the Fibonacci sequence are more productive, but without an answer to why that is, it remains a bit of a kludge. I would love to see some explanation of why this configuration is optimal.
joshaidan 1 day ago 1 reply      
He needs to do the same experiment during the wintertime when the angle of the sun changes. You won't get accurate results until the experiment is performed year round. Different angles of inclination perform better at various times of year, and there are some thoughts that multi-inclined arrays average the same output as uniform arrays.

Remember, a tree only has leaves in the summertime, not the winter. :)

TeMPOraL 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of comments mention tracking the sun. I'd like to remind everyone about SolarFlower.org - the open source solar collector with a clever, non-electronic sun tracking system. See http://www.solarflower.org/faq.htm.
pedalpete 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find it amazing that with all the interest in bio-mimicry, this hasn't been tried before. Did nobody ever ask why all plants share a very similar architecture?

They've even made solar cells that look like leaves before http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20080527/152443..., but nobody bothered to test if a tree-like structure gathered more energy.

bobds 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this concept could somehow be applied at a microscopic level.
winsbe01 1 day ago 0 replies      
i think this is great. not that he was 13 (though it is impressive), but that he thought enough to challange the typical panel array that we've gotten solar power from in the past. it seems that he got some interesting results, too. sure, maybe he didn't take some things into account, or maybe it's not super practical, but breaking out of the mold of large, 2d rectangular panels may be something the solar energy world needs to innovate on ways to harness more energy from the sun efficiently.
jshort 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trees have been attempting to capture the suns energy for a long time and I'd like to see a comparison to other plants efficiency at capturing energy. Nature is powerful.
tete 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. -- not Albert Einstein (according to Wikiqoutes
jsg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what Eden Full (http://www.odec.ca/projects/2006/full6e2/index.htm) thinks about Aiden's project...
RobertHubert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cant get much better than millions of years of try and die I guess. Mother nature is pretty crazy! We should copy her work more often :)
ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
If he wanted better mainstream press he should have thrown the word "fractals" in there. I bet most reporters know the word fractals than Fibonacci sequence.
jagtesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
First genuinely interesting article I've read ever since M.G.Siegler hit Techcrunch
doyoulikeworms 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is much harder to keep clean than a simple, flat array of panels.
benmlang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Need more 13 year olds like that.
prtk 1 day ago 0 replies      
NASA designed antenna using genetic algorithms. This guy can use GA to optimize his solar-fibonacci-tree further.

Way to go kid! The force is strong with you! Best of luck! :)

tomp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now that is something that really deserves a patent!
sarabob 1 day ago 0 replies      
The panels on the tree are higher than those on the flat plane - you'd expect to get more light for longer from that alone.
Notch's Livestream for Ludum Dare 21 (now on twitch.tv) twitch.tv
39 points by felixweis  13 hours ago   9 comments top 3
defdac 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Anyone want a live stream of my Eclipse when I code my stochastic progressive photon mapper that will calculate photosynthetically usable radiation in an aquarium?
bprater 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I would really love to see more programmers streaming while they work.
mrspeaker 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The chat in the stream is just trolls - are there are irc channels (or something) for it?
Why there aren't many innovators in China joezhou.posterous.com
56 points by joezhou  17 hours ago   25 comments top 13
cleaver 13 hours ago 0 replies      
China has long culture of believing in studying hard and becoming part of the system as the route to success. (The imperial exam system.) Although it no longer formerly exists, there are analogues and the influence is still there. It is ingrained from birth that you study hard, get into the right university then reap the rewards. Beijing locals I talked to were puzzled by the idea that government workers in the west could get in trouble by accepting gifts and favours. In China, that's the main reason you would follow that career path.

This doesn't lead to a very entrepreneurial culture, although there are many who will still try to start their own business. Then you start to hit the barriers discussed in the article. Another barrier you can hit is that if you start to become successful, the government will appoint a party member to your management. Further, if you are in certain fields, the government erects tax and regulatory obstacles that will create an advantage for state-owned enterprises.

It's unfortunate... there are enough in the under-35 age group, who might actually break out of the old culture and innovate. They face a lot of obstacles and that will be bad for China's long-term outlook.

Suan 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a Chinese Malaysian and pretty familiar with Chinese culture and their ways. For those of you who might be skeptical, I think this article quite accurate.

I've tried hard to think of recent Chinese tech inventions that are truly new, and not a ripoff of a popular existing product, and could never come up with any, until just recently. I bought one of these "Air Fly Mouse" http://www.airflymouse.com/ and it works as advertised! Here's to more innovation coming from China.

dasil003 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Where's the incentive to innovate if you have a huge market with tremendous cultural barriers to entry for the most innovative companies in the rest of the world?
dublinclontarf 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry, can't read the article, blocked here(China). There is plenty of money here, especially if you've got a good idea and whats needed, no shortage.

But China in general doesn't do different or new or innovative. They do better at the same thing, where better usually means cheaper, but not always. If they can't compete in that way, then they just try to get the government to crush any non-Chinese competition.

jenhsun 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That's why I was pitching so many times to my friends. Why not go to Taiwan first? Small island for testing the foreseeable mainland market, initial understanding the culture and language, and enjoy freedom of speech and better human right. Mostly OEM industry HQ are all right here. All you have to worried are air pollution, the crazy traffic, and the heat, humidity tropical weather. There is a site called techorange dot com blog talked about China and Taiwan startup. You can have a look.
colintan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This was the most damning line in the article and points to a genuine breakdown in the ecosystem, or lack thereof:

"Actually a more common practice is that VCs would have take one of the pitches he really likes and just hire a bunch of engineers."

maeon3 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In America intelligence is seen as Yankee ingenuity, building a better mousetrap. Talking back to your superiors and finding a better way is smiled on if you can produce results in the states.

In china, intelligence is seen as efficiency, doing something well, getting the right boxes filled on the exam, non-intelligence related things that are called intelligence. Go talking about how the yuan is pegged to the dollar instead of gold and the government won't hire you because you aren't parroting the group think (I have experience talking to some china-women about this). Try to break out of your class and get beaten back into it.

It's the culture. I really think if china could break out of it's meek-slave mentality and have them start thinking that the Earth is theirs for the taking if they want it, then it could blow United States out of the water a thousand times over. Educate the meek slave class sleeping giant with care! It took thousands of years to craft a group of people who will work and not fight back when exploited.

zhemao 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The internet in China isn't that good. Transfer fees are slow, there is a lot of government censorship, and not many people can afford it. Why invest in a risky internet startup, then, when there is much more money to be made in manufacturing or real estate? So the financial incentive to invest in a tech startup just isn't there. It's probably also difficult for potential startups to get good engineers, as the brightest students usually go into government or work for one of the large government-sponsored corporations that dominate the economy.
wisty 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The reason I think - China is choked for capital. Yes, there is money, but not a lot. Unless you are doing are doing a government contract (i.e. building infrastructure) or are in real estate, you don't get much capital. Interest rates are artificially low, but only if you can get a loan - i.e. you look very very safe. Why bother investing in business, when you can borrow at a low rate and invest it in houses?

Chinese businessmen look rich. Some of them do have a lot of money, but most are just richer than the average Chinese worker. And because the poor Chinese workers are poor, they can't bootstrap their way up so easily.

awflick 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My read on China is that there is a weaker society culture while also having a stronger family culture. This probably means that a lot of startup financing will be from families as the middle class grows and there is spare cash around.
Qa8BBatwHxK8Pu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Yes, there's a lot of money but there's not enough ethical business people.

Well, that's bound to happen when a generation suddenly becomes rich for first time in long family history. You kind of had it coming.

It'd take some metabolism cycles to ingest the wealth they come by. Until then they'll act like pigs on money steroid rather than the rich.

Best to avoid the shitbag of shitstorm until they learn to be civil.

corecirculator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Though they take a lot of flak recently, patents and patent protection are crucial for the environment in which any innovator can market his/her products, without fear of the idea being copied and mass-produced by a mega-corporation.
known 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't cloning products and exporting them their forte.
Praising Kernel (The Axis of Eval) axisofeval.blogspot.com
61 points by Autre  18 hours ago   9 comments top 6
pnathan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Kernel the language can be found here: http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~jshutt/kernel.html

Where the author mentions that it is related to his doctoral dissertation, Fexprs as the basis of Lisp function application; or, $vau: the ultimate abstraction[1].

[1] http://www.wpi.edu/Pubs/ETD/Available/etd-090110-124904/

AndresNavarro 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I'll use this opportunity for a shameless plug: https://bitbucket.org/AndresNavarro/klisp

This is my ongoing project for a Kernel interpreter. It's already functional and it even has documentation. It is still, however, a work in progress!

Autre 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Also: have a look at https://github.com/manuel/schampignon an interpreter for a Kernel-like language
copper 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Not that it makes a difference, but I believe R6RS provide first-class environments, too: http://www.r6rs.org/final/html/r6rs-lib/r6rs-lib-Z-H-17.html

Edit: After looking through the Racket docs, I believe I was referring to were its namespaces.

bgurupra 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Unrelated to the content of the article but by the UI - is it just me or does have pitch black background with white text is a bad design for the eye?
tsewlliw 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I've read about Kernel before, but this time I wondered if $vau is in any way related to 0 from Jot (the turing tarpit best apparently best used as a Goedel numbering).

Maybe I should just write jshutt...

       cached 21 August 2011 08:02:01 GMT