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Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile leap usatoday.com
151 points by mittermayr  3 hours ago   91 comments top 18
Arjuna 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Preliminary (i.e., non-record certified) telemetry:

Exit altitude:

  128,100 ft
39,045 m

Free-fall time:


Free-fall distance:

  119,846 ft
36,529 m

Maximum velocity:

  373 m/s
1,342.8 km/h
833.9 mph
Mach 1.24

lordlarm 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Two funny insights from Neil deGrasse Tysons twitter:

«The "Edge of Space" jump: A corresponding fall to a schoolroom globe begins 1 millimeter above its surface. I'm just saying.» [1]

«I'm told somebody's jumping out of a perfectly good balloon from 23-miles up. The theory of gravity no longer needs to be tested in this way»[2]

Congrats to Felix and his team anyways - great endurance and a great show.

[1]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/257591067833139200
[2]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/255691761341587456

InclinedPlane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Confirmation from the post-jump press conference: mach 1.24.
mittermayr 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Hey, who changed the title? I submitted this as "Austrian" Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile-leap? What happened, HN?
andyjohnson0 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
First Man in Space - Skydiving From The Edge Of The World
at-fates-hands 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Incredible. This kind of stuff puts my faith back in humanity. With all the horrible stuff going in the world, you see something like this and its simply amazing.

I actually got teary eyed when he landed and fell to his knees. Such a huge leap for the space program.

mittermayr 2 hours ago 3 replies      
GIF of the first five seconds or so
Roritharr 3 hours ago  replies      
He failed breaking the record for longest free fall duration.

If he will get a second chance to do that?

flyinglizard 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
All the while this kept playing in my head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBZeWjGjl8
Laremere 1 hour ago 1 reply      
One giant leap for man, one small step for mankind.
ninetax 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know where I can see this video? I missed the live jump...
nazgulnarsil 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This might be a silly question, but couldn't his suit have added a tail to help prevent spinning?
mittermayr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
i'd love to see some stats on youtube for this. i noticed over 6 million concurrent viewers, flipped to HD and it worked instantly ... it's purely amazing to push out these amounts of video data.
psychotik 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Any idea what type of camera was used to track his descent? Satellite imagery?
Jarihd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
LIVE: Press Conference RedBull Stratos


Jarihd 2 hours ago 1 reply      
He was spinning like crazy for quite some time - that literally had my heart beating like crazy - i was like - what's going to happen - is he unconscious - is the automatic parachute ejection not working - then; later was happy to seem him gain control on his free fall. :-)
ezequiel-garzon 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Can anyone shed some light on the natural limit for this record?
thomasilk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Felix and Red Bull! Makes me and so many others proud to be Austrian.
EA “Gives Away” 1000s Of Free Games Due To No Server-Side Validation minimaxir.com
74 points by minimaxir  3 hours ago   49 comments top 13
dkokelley 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can this really be considered lost revenue? It's unlikely that all 1,000's of the "free" games were going to be purchased at the current price. You run in to the same questions with piracy. Were the pirates really going to pay if they couldn't pirate?

The lost revenue should really only come from customers who would have paid the asking price but managed to get an illegitimate deal, plus whatever support and overhead costs can be applied to the game downloads.

dagrz 13 minutes ago 2 replies      
Is it me or does the author of this article, and the abusers of the exploits he writes about, land on the wrong side of both the law and common morality?

Surely EA being a "terrible company" has nothing to do with whether it is okay to steal their products? Moreover, just because there was a coding error/oversight, again doesn't mean it is okay to steal their products? If you have a complaint about a company or discover an exploit, surely there are other more ethical channels to pursue the matters?

For the record, I dislike some of EA's conduct as much as the next person.

SquareWheel 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
This article missed the earlier Reddit thread where a separate exploit was discovered, that the coupon applied to every item in the basket. $20 off of everything. Coupled with a coupon from a different forum you could add tens or maybe hundreds of games to your account for free in one large bundle.

I'm really curious to see EA's response.

tlrobinson 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
"pretty embarrassing for an exploit that causes a significant amount of lost revenue"

I doubt much revenue was lost. How many of these people were going to buy the game in the first place? None of them were hot new games, were they?

aero142 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't know what this is going to cost EA, but this may end up being a good thing. People hate Origin but more importantly, all their games are already on Steam, so they just continue to buy from Valve. This might get a few people to keep Origin installed on their computer and help the Origin network effect out. Up until now, EAs only strategy has been to make their big name franchises Origin exclusive. This will probably work better and may not end up costing them much.
tantalor 1 hour ago 2 replies      
IANAL, but it's possible that these users are now liable to pay for the extra games. They knew that the code was only usable once, yet used it multiple times. EA might ask for the games back or charge the users.

(I'm not taking EA's side, I'm just pointing out some possible consequences.)

romaniv 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think this is the best possible example of why you should always develop websites using progressive enhancement. First, write the app without using any JavaScript. Test it. Make sure the core logic works as intended. Then add JavaScript to make it faster, pretties, simpler to use. That will most likely prevent fuckups such as this, and it will also result in better structured, easier to reason about architecture.
minimaxir 3 hours ago 5 replies      
(I apologize in advance for linking to my own blog, but I had not seen this issue reported on any tech blog nor appeared in the "new" queue on HN, so I wrote a quick post this morning on the issue, as it's technically interesting.)
andypants 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Your proposed solution is not that simple. You make it sound like EA simply used the wrong query.

> One, if EA is technically incompetent enough to allow such a severe bug to exist, they won't have the technical skills to discern who used the promo code more than once.

The bug was not that obvious, and doesn't necessarily imply lack of technical skill. On the other hand, finding out who used a promo code more than once, as long as these things have been logged, should be trivial for any admin.

Evbn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Please change your CSS so it doesn't force Android to show a microscopic font with long lines and disabled zoom/ reflowing.
cyber 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ironically, EA will probably try to claim the "success" of the promo by using numbers for all the games claimed as if they were all discrete individuals.

While at the same time trying to claw back the licenses.

prezjordan 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
So because of DRM, they're fully capable of taking those games "back" (removing them from accounts), right? I mean, if VALVe one day decided I no longer can have TF2 they can simply strip it from account, is that how their terms work?
ricksta 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure if op's solution is optimal. But why not use unique promo code?
The tech behind Felix Baumgartner's stratospheric skydive extremetech.com
31 points by mrsebastian  2 hours ago   3 comments top 3
freeslave 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
i wonder what the final price tag on this was? has anyone seen a number put on it?
protomyth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This podcast has an interview that explains the camera tech used http://www.fxguide.com/therc/red_centre_073/
HTML5 apps: Silk, Audiograph, Circuitlab filepicker.io
15 points by ananddass  1 hour ago   discuss
Suddenly everyone wants New Yorker style content. Who is going to write it? pandodaily.com
40 points by acangiano  3 hours ago   38 comments top 12
luu 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Who's going to write it? How about the writers for The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, The Economist, The Paris Review, etc. I could fill up the length of a long-form article with names of publications that have long-form writing.

The real question is, who's going to pay for it? This is like when someone complains that there aren't any good programmers out there, and, P.S., they're paying $25k a year. The article talks about 2000-3000 word articles. At the rate Tumblr's paying, that's $80-$120 per article. Who are they kidding? At those rates, if you're an established writer, you're better off posting to a personal blog and relying on ad revenue.

There have been a few magazines (both online and print) that have recently managed to establish themselves as reputable publications that have good writing. What they've done is pay above-market rates to attract good writers. After all, why would you publish in some no name publication instead of The Atlantic? Tumblr seems to be using the opposite strategy.

Tycho 2 hours ago 3 replies      
All I really want from journalists is the information that most of us are too lazy or busy to collect. I want them to make phone calls, speak to insiders, cross reference public statements with available records, generally make a nuisance of themselves until they have some new insights to bring to light.

Most times though it seems they're barely doing any more research than what went into a well received HN comment. Except some articles are padded out with details of what the reporter is having for lunch during the interview... I've got no idea why that type of writing is in demand. I'd rather read a flat transcript in most cases.

aaronbrethorst 2 hours ago 0 replies      

    In our recent reader survey almost every
respondent answered why they read PandoDaily
with a variation of the following: Long form
content that isn't afraid to call out powerful people.

As long as those powerful people aren't your investors, no doubt. http://observer.com/2012/08/conflict-journalism-how-online-m...

anigbrowl 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The Internet is still a leveling bitch on dysfunctional industries. This is hardly a free-for-all; readers will only read long form content, if it's excellent.

I think the major change with the advent the internet is that since one can publish so easily, one cannot count on the presence of an editor to help with things like eliminating stray commas which alter the meaning of one's sentences.

barkingcat 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This is a strange article. I say strange because Sarah Lacy hasn't seem to look into what "New Yorker style" prose / stories look or feel like. The New Yorker is not only a publisher of journalism. It also does short stories, serializations, and I generally consider it an incubator of literary thoughts, methods, and practices the way YCombinator is an incubator of entrepreneurship.

Just look at the list of authors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_New_Yorker_contribu...

Raymond Carver, JD Salinger, Alice Munroe, Vladimir Nabokov, VS Naipaul, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth among others.

I don't know if Sarah has looked through the some New Yorker Magazines and actually read the stories.

Who's going to found those startups that YCombinator is looking for? Those dedicated, driven, individuals and teams with a single-minded focus to creating a service, a company, a product that people will pay for.

Who's going to write New Yorker style stories? Those driven, single-minded, not-immediate-money-driven and creative individuals and teams (writer/editor teams, etc) who will do whatever it takes to push forward the written form.

But of course, writing the truth never bought anyone any favours with advertisers.

ComputerGuru 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Funny. For the past few years, I've been an avid evangelist of the articles written by both New Yorker and Vanity Fair (I'm not seeing any references to this one in the article or here in the comments. Don't balk at the name or genre, they have some of the very best feature articles on the most random topics that I have ever come across). People called me crazy.

The Economist has been mentioned here in the comments, but while good, it does not compare in terms of length and sheer quality to the offerings by these two. Apples and oranges, really.

waterlesscloud 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The question isn't really who is going to write it.

It's who is going to pay for it?

mcantelon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the most WTF article I've seen in awhile. A shortage of writers? Really?
heyitsnick 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The article it mentions in the preamble i believe is this (it took be a couple of googles):


Bizarre they don't even interlink to their own pando articles.

stevenj 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what a good long-form writer gets paid?
mmphosis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Suddenly everyone wants New Yorker style software. Who is going to develop it?
ghurlman 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm pretty sure the article author meant "New York style" journalism, not stories written as if they belonged in the New Yorker magazine.
Red Bull Stratos Skydive Rescheduled for today redbullstratos.com
245 points by thehodge  10 hours ago   123 comments top 35
molmalo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
People, I've just made this little hack to show the location in a map:

Go to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

and open the console to run:

  $("body").append('<script src="http://www.openlayers.org/api/OpenLayers.js"></script>')
$("body").append("<div id='Map' style='width: 500px; height: 500px; position: absolute; left: 100px; top: 800px;'></div>")

then (once openlayers.js is loaded), run this:

  CreateMap = function ()
var lat = 33.3405;
var lon = -103.7601;
var zoom = 14;
var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection
var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);

map = new OpenLayers.Map({
div: "Map",
projection: "EPSG:900913",
layers: [
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Data, imagery and map information provided by <a href='http://www.mapquest.com/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>, <a href='http://www.openstreetmap.org/' target='_blank'>Open Street Map</a> and contributors, <a href='http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/' target='_blank'>CC-BY-SA</a> <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Tiles Courtesy of <a href='http://open.mapquest.co.uk/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>. Portions Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech and U.S. Depart. of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
center: [0, 0],
zoom: 1
map.addControl(new OpenLayers.Control.LayerSwitcher());

// map = new OpenLayers.Map("Map");
// var mapnik = new OpenLayers.Layer.OSM();
// map.addLayer(mapnik);

markers = new OpenLayers.Layer.Markers( "Markers" );

marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);


map.setCenter(position, zoom);


var lat = parseFloat( $("#latitude").html());
var lon = parseFloat( $("#longitude").html());

var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection

var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);
marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);
map.setCenter(position, map.zoom);


Now, at the bottom of the page, you have a map with a marker showing the current location.

Update: [Added] Go first to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

Update 2: Replaced tiles, with the ones from MapQuest, code for mapquest extracted from: http://openlayers.org/dev/examples/mapquest.html

Update 3: fixed little bug introduced ;) Sorry! And placed the map below the video now, so it's easier to view.

raganwald 4 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, this is the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 in 1947:


Arjuna 4 hours ago 1 reply      
For those that are curious, the stream is being narrated by Robert Hager [1][2].

[1] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3688609/ns/nbcnightlynews/t/robe...

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

Mithrandir 3 hours ago 0 replies      
His parachute deployed! :D

And he landed! http://i.imgur.com/l8z0k.png

There was some issue with his heat visor, but that was resolved.

Edit: More images I screen-snapped (sorry about the low-quality, I'm sure HQ images will be out soon):





arrrg 5 hours ago 7 replies      
Could someone explain to me whether this is a marketing stunt and nothing more or whether there is some substance behind this? Put another way: Will any scientists or engineers (at least potentially) learn something interesting from this?

It's cool no matter what, but it would be even cooler if there were some substance behind it.

uptown 6 hours ago 0 replies      
raganwald 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Joseph Kittenger's Project Excelsior jump: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior
bmac27 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just incredible to watch something like that live. Held my breath the whole time, particular through free fall. When you see him sitting up there from 120,000 feet like he's on a rocking chair, it sort of puts into perspective any time you think you were brave in your life!
kloncks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Delayed by 20s in case a tragic accident occurs.
aparadja 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Does someone know the reason behind the poor quality of audio coming from Felix? You'd think they had the resources to put in a decent microphone, and data transfer -- judging by the high quality video -- shouldn't be a problem.
codesuela 4 hours ago 2 replies      
How much bandwidth do 5.4 mio viewers consume? Can someone give me a number?
TomGullen 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the live video feed:
lifeformed 4 hours ago 1 reply      
At first glance, skydiving from 10k feet and 100k feet seem like they wouldn't be any different. I'm sure there are intricacies that make the jump very difficult, but it seems like you just let gravity do the work, and the chute automatically deploys for you. Can anyone help me understand what the intricacies are?

EDIT: nevermind, seeing him spin but regain control removed my doubt of the difficulty.

dexter313 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Felix's helmet heating apears to be broken. They've also cut the radio talk between Felix and Joseph.
dennyferra 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately I barely missed the live jump. Will a recorded video be posted, or is there one already available?
ubershmekel 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The original scheduled launch on the morning of 9 October 2012 was delayed and cancelled because of a 25-mile-per-hour (40 km/h) gust of wind at the launch site. Technicians at the launch site also found that one of the capsule's communications radio was faulty.


kristopher 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like some of YouTube's region-based relay stations are down. Temporarily changing DNS to a US-based ISP is advisable. (Viewing from Japan)
dropshop 5 hours ago 1 reply      
3,749,231 watching now popele watching live on youtube, this must be a record?

Update: 4,924,693 watching now
Update: 5,056,344 watching now

LinaLauneBaer 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I am having terrible problems using youtube to view the live stream. I am getting "stops" for about 5-10 seconds constantly. Sometimes I have to refresh the whole youtube page to get it working again. Earlier they said that over 100 sites are streaming the event... does anybody know about the best working site?
benmanns 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the JSON endpoint with the data from the launch: http://services.redbullstratos.com/LiveData/Get
molmalo 6 hours ago 5 replies      
IS someone else having trouble with youtube, showing "static" ? (can't connect to live stream)
thesis 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain why they say it will take 2 hours for him to reach his altitude? Right now he's 12.5 miles up after 35:26 minutes.

Will he slow down as his altitude increases?

I keep hearing them talk about dropping ballast -- is there a danger in ascending too fast?

dsr12 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked the mission timeline page: http://www.redbullstratos.com/the-mission/mission-timeline
mckoss 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Almost 5 million people watching live now. Compare to presidential debate with 67 million viewers - not bad!
sbarre 6 hours ago 1 reply      
11AM EST is the current estimated launch time..

Anyone know how long the ascent is going to last before he actually jumps?

brown9-2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In the US at least, you can also watch live on TV on The Discovery Channel.
tisme 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The guy commenting on the video seems absolutely clueless.
ccarpenterg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
chasing 6 hours ago 4 replies      
All in the name of selling sugary sodas. Noble.
dhughes 6 hours ago 2 replies      
He has a lot of external stuff on his suit I'm worried at Mach 1 it will be torn off.
Shtirlic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Where is the outside camera located?
nphrk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just landed!
Heliosmaster 6 hours ago 0 replies      
roughly in 1hr from now he will get to the desired altitude.
morequestions 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Question - is he going to land in the same country he took from?
nodata 3 hours ago 3 replies      
To Red Bull: fix your coverage next time! Your website and Twitter feeds weren't really ever carrying the latest information pre-launch, and your blog was 24 hours out-of-date whenever I checked. (Also YouTube was buffering, it wasn't my connection). Bit of a mess from the PR-masters imo.
Little Nemo in Google-land google.co.jp
25 points by evoxed  3 hours ago   6 comments top 5
crb 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some context, for those who, like myself, didn't recognise it: It's celebrating the 107th anniversary of the publication of an American comic strip. It ran between 1905 and 1927.


alpb 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I suppose this is available in Google Japanase, not English, right now because they are already on Monday right now.
madrona 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Smooth! I loved the little touches, like the parallax effects on the previous panes as the window stretched vertically.
egypturnash 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
This makes me happy on so many levels.
Evbn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why is "I'm Feeling Lucky" in English?
Surviving in-flight breakup of an SR-71 Blackbird at Mach 3.18 books.google.com
8 points by mike_esspe  55 minutes ago   discuss
SciCombinator - scientific news aggregator and discussion railsrumble.com
22 points by anu_gupta  2 hours ago   6 comments top 3
petercooper 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's great to see something like this that doesn't just rip off HN, (old) Digg or Reddit's design. A very fresh design. Given the scope of "science" though, I suspect some way of filtering it would become a priority.

Loving the "about" page too. Great to see all of the different tech being used. I hope other entries take a page out of this book (disclaimer: I'm a RR judge.)

mvts 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
The font isn't rendered well in FF 16. Other than that, it's a pretty interesting project.
simon_ivansek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Great idea! I love it!
Commit Logs From Last Night commitlogsfromlastnight.com
52 points by creativityhurts  4 hours ago   17 comments top 10
kevinpet 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think there's a reason most humor websites have some sort of curation process.
zerostar07 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not many swearing ladies.
zwass 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Before bashing, please notice the subheading: "because real hackers pivot two hours before their demo". This was Abe's pivot right before the deadline at the PennApps Hackathon.
jrabone 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hmm, another triumph for the "Github will get you hired" crowd. And so soon after the "Github will get you kicked off Coursera" debacle.

Actually this is a good use case for DVCS - at least you have a second chance to clean up your commit messages when pushing from a private repo. It does have to be private though. I would be interested to see if BitBucket gets a boost in users this month...

aberkowitz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm baffled by this admiration of commit messages that do nothing to explain the code committed.
duiker101 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Well I'm glad to see that also other people have this sorts of messages in their commit history
dleibovic 4 hours ago 2 replies      
So it just watches github's live feed for commit messages that contain a curse word.
bdcravens 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously this is on open source stuff, but I'd don't think it'd reflect positively with a prospective client or employer.
moondowner 3 hours ago 1 reply      
So fuck and shit are the most common words used as I can see. Not what I expected.
stillinbeta 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of the stuff in there is pretty spectacular, like this qt-brainfuck: https://github.com/sea-kg/seakgChrysocyonParser/compare/0988...
Open Data Structures: an open content textbook opendatastructures.org
39 points by cdelahousse  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
physloop 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome work! My current data structures textbook is awful, and this book helped clarify a lot of concepts that were originally confusing.
mathgladiator 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I applaud the effort; it's great to see rigor available for free.
Pattern - Web Mining Python lib github.com
108 points by interro  9 hours ago   9 comments top 5
languagehacker 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Really cool library. I'm excited to take it for a spin! I liked that there was some work done already for Wikipedia. But as a note to people who want to work with Wikipedia data, it's not very hard to abstract your stuff to work with most wikis based on the MediaWiki platform. I've added a pull request to this project that also supports using the hundreds of thousands of wikis on Wikia. ( https://github.com/clips/pattern/pull/17 )
knes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of data mining so I'll make sure to take it out for spin :) And from fellow belgian people, nice!
salimmadjd 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is awesome! Any plans to add other sites, like amazon, yelp, tripadvisor, etc!
mkumm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty interesting, I will give it a go
Surprisingly undervalued books nabeelqu.com
178 points by nqureshi  11 hours ago   74 comments top 23
gruseom 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll pipe up for Impro. One of my favorite books. Well, the first half is " it's a meditation on life and the universe as much as it is about theater, and it changed my mind in some cool ways. It's useful for anyone doing creative work, especially collaborative creative work, definitely including programmers. It's also very funny. The second half is about mask work and trance, which I was expecting to be fascinating, but it fell short of the sparkling magic of the first half. The material isn't as generally accessible and probably depends more on knowing how they use masks in production. Johnstone says that the masks have their own personalities, which actors take on when they wear them, and that's probably why he relies on them so much. His tastes in theater run away from personal expression toward simple universals. He's always telling actors to be more boring, and that the worst thing you can do is try to be interesting or clever.

Johnstone lives in my town in Western Canada. I ran into him in Safeway once. He's very tall and his eyes go in two different directions so he looks down at you rather quizzically from two different angles with his head tilted like a bird. I told him I loved his book, and he grunted "Good" and turned around and walked away. A few paces later he yelled "I'm glad it's useful!" and then went out of sight.

He's probably a genius. He was well-known in the celebrated London theatre scene of the 1950s, but came to find it stifling because he couldn't try whatever ideas he wanted without worrying what somebody famous would think. Then he went to teach at some remote place on Vancouver Island and discovered that he could think and do whatever he wanted. He liked that so much that he got a position in my town and stayed there permanently, presumably because there was nobody there who mattered!

mjn 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Undervaluing Wittgenstein isn't really consistent with what I've read in American philosophy at least. If you go by objective metrics (which would be the Moneyball approach), he consistently tops the citation counts, and beyond that, is considered central to many areas. Probably only Heidegger gives him a run for most broadly influential 20th-century philosopher (though it's hard to compare directly, because they've been influential on quite different groups).

He's been particularly influential on analytic philosophy via Saul Kripke, among other interpreters. In popularity contests, he routinely gets voted #1 most influential philosopher in polls of academic philosophers as well, e.g. in a 1999 poll of mostly UK/US academic philosophers (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Lac...) and in a Brian Leiter straw poll (http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/so-who-is-the-...). The former one concludes that Philosophical Investigations is "the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations".

An interesting question might be who is undervalued on those lists: is there someone halfway down, or not on the list at all, who should be near the top?

wickedchicken 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Operators and Things, a (supposed) first-person account of a schizophrenic who recovered from the condition and wrote about her experience. The second half of the book is where it really shines, since the author attempts to analyze her experience as a window into the inner workings of her cognition: how it broke down, what she experienced when it did, how it recovered itself, and what led to it. Since the author is anonymous, and talking about one's mind is very introspective, it's hard to take away real science from the book but I found it fascinating nonetheless. While I really dislike pseudoscientific explanations of brain functioning, after reading this I took up the idea that the conscious mind is more of a time-slice scheduler and message-passer than where the actual computation is done. So concentration is about controlling your unconscious indirectly, like training a puppy how to play fetch: you give it suggestions of what to do, and ignore it when it doesn't do that :).

I'm linking to the Amazon page, but IIRC the book is old enough to be in the public domain and there is a free text version somewhere.


nkoren 8 hours ago 1 reply      
+1 for Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It's superb.

I'd add A Pattern Language to the list. It's actually been very appropriately valued by the programming community, but massively undervalued by its intended audience of architects and urban planners. Should've been the architecture and planning book of the 20th century; instead most design professionals have never heard of it. Their loss!

msluyter 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of great books, but it's unclear to me that most of these are actually "undervalued." Check out the blurb on the back cover of Philosophical Investigations, for example:

Immediately upon its posthumous publication in 1953, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations was hailed as a masterpiece, and the ensuing years have confirmed this initial assessment. Today it is widely acknowledged to be the single most important philosophical work of the twentieth century.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has had a huge impact. From Amazon: "Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book."

Same with The Inner Game of Tennis -- it was groundbreaking when it came out in 1972 and had a huge impact not just on tennis, or even sports generally, but on musicians, artists, performers, or anything with a critical mental game. Back when I was working on my music degree it was required reading.

Is it possible that the author thinks these books are undervalued simply because many of them were released a while ago (when he was young or not yet born) and thus they aren't currently being hyped and/or in the limelight? That, or perhaps they're simply not that popular within the author's social circle?

ubershmekel 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The interesting thing about Money Ball was that Billy Beane pioneered an analytic model for evaluating the true value vs subjectively perceived value of players.

This list was purely an opinion piece. It was the result of a subjective appraisal of both books, and the public opinion of them.

I'm quite disappointed.

blindhippo 7 hours ago 2 replies      
"Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them."

I find this illuminating - philosopher's aren't concerned with answers. They are concerned with the questions. An interesting contrast between the scientific/engineering mindset and the philosophical mindset.

mck- 3 hours ago 1 reply      
For me, the most undervalued book is The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian y Morales.

It's a small book of very condensed and timeless wisdom in the form of maxims, written very poetically. It's not a self-help book, the kind you might picture. (any book is self-help in some way).

Perusing 5-10 maxims a day about 5 years ago heavily influenced the way I live my life, and still defines my character today.

lhnz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've read Impro and it's a great book.

There is another book that I want to recommend to other Hacker News readers and that is 'Language in Thought and Action' by S.I. Hiyakawa[0]. Honestly, reading that changed my life.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Language-Thought-Action-Fifth-Edition/...

JoeAltmaier 7 hours ago 2 replies      
6. ‘Principles‘ (pdf) by Ray Dalio.

Tried reading it. His life storey reads like an entrepreneur who started by trying to fit in (held several corporate jobs), failed (fired for insubordination) then started his own company.

The rest reads like a self-help book written by an amateur. Some gushing about physics and natural history (which a HBS graduate probably finds unfathomable and mysterious). Then some deep discussion of his own inner psyche; why do successful people assume its their own uniquness that made them succeed and not, for instance, market conditions or good advice?

Then I gave up. Is very wordy, very very wordy, and not many of the words worth slogging through. At least the part I saw.

graeme 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This post made me happily spend ~$100.

Quick tip for anyone trying to get older editions of some of these books: use Abebooks

For example, some of the drawing on the right reviews mention that the 1989 edition is better. I find this happens with many new editions of older books.

You can find near good as new editions of older books on Abebooks, at very reasonable prices. I used it to get a great copy of SICP, and just now ordered a version of How To Win Friends And Influence People published during Dale Carnegie's life, as Paul Graham recommended.

endymi0n 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a very similar thought one year ago - for me one of the undervalued books back then was "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie. The title was so smarmy and offputting for me (yeah, it's 70 years old...) that I skipped this gem for way too long, when it's basically everything you will ever need to deal with and manage people in a few hundred pages...
gnosis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Also see:

"Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?"


Slashdot has many problems, but this was actually a pretty interesting and informative thread.

_feda_ 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think a typical sampling of the HN crowd would be familiar with the work of J.D Salinger outside of Catcher and the Rye, but as someone who's loved these stories intensely since my mid-teens, I can't recommend them enough. In fact the mere mention of Seymour: An Introduction in the article sent shivers down my spine, reminding me of the amazing originality and artistry of this writer that I haven't experienced for several years now (I very rarely read fiction now). I won't bother summarizing the stories here, but if you have even a passing interest in zen, religion, literature or (at the risk of sounding pretentious) life itself then this is required reading in my book.
ivankirigin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Baseball is largely zero sum. Reading isn't. Finding good books regardless of reputation is the way to go. But knowing what is good is hard, so you should trust persona recommendations first and ten reputation.
cvursache 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Happily read your blog post but the assertions about Wittgenstein rang alarm bells. It may be that his works are ignored in the UK right now, but paraphrasing Brian Magee: "Philosophy is subject to fashion". So it may just be a question of trend in philosophy.

> it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

For me that sounds like "Node.js contains the method to solving all programming problems.".

acmiller 8 hours ago 1 reply      
+1 for Stephen Booth. I was fortunate enough to take his 17th century English poetry class at Cal. He's the only lecturer who could make poetry resonate with my geek brain.

It's funny how some classes stay with you over the years.

jberryman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The Inner Game of Tennis is very widely read among classical musicians. Probably other types of performers as well.
codewright 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a good list for cherry-picking a couple reading ideas, but the amateur comments about philosophy weren't well-received by this individual.

> I find that it's thoroughly undervalued by philosophers

Doing okay so far...

>though, who see it as an arcane and eccentric work of little value

Not so sure about that...the timing for Wittgenstein's work might've been unfortunate, given that people were starting to become infatuated with existentialism around the same time. That was as more of a pop-culture phenomenon than an academic fad though.

>it's a difficult thing to read

Okay again...

>Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

Hrm, no. A lot of the questions concerning philosophy and the method for answering all of them?

I sincerely doubt any work that could described in such terms would be as obscure as he proposes. This borders on the illogic of conspiracy theorists believing they've found some secret truth.

A bizarre flash of irrationality in an otherwise great post.

Codhisattva 5 hours ago 0 replies      
2 thoughts - "under appreciated" is a better way of thinking of it. And, there's no accounting for taste.
andreyon 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I have read Impro and found it quite good yet can't remember anything related to newtonian mechanics... but I wanted to read it again anyway :)
lr--rw-rwx 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I will add:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

windu 9 hours ago 0 replies      
+1 for Wittgenstein
Learning Geometry in Georgian England maa.org
25 points by tokenadult  4 hours ago   5 comments top 3
tokenadult 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Tom Davis


of the mathematical circles in the Bay Area exposed me to a quotation about learning mathematics: "Mathematics must be written into the mind, not read into it. 'No head for mathematics' nearly always means 'Will not use a pencil.'" Arthur Latham Baker, Elements of Solid Geometry (1894), page ix.

A series of FAQ files on mathematics learning for the Epsilon Camp summer program


expand on some of the same ideas.

hdivider 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Complain about the archaic teaching methods if you will, but having trawled through substantially similar texts in the past (some writing styles truly haven't changed in centuries), I'm quite sure that this stuff improves both reading comprehension and spatial imagination.

To focus your mind on a small piece of symbolic or verbal-mathematical information for a great length of time is difficult, but very rewarding. It's something that we don't get very often in the modern world. Even in programming (which is probably the fastest method of turning a mathematical entity into something 'real') we often have to switch between countless different tasks in order to solve just one nontrivial problem.

MaysonL 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Never mind learning geometry: what was learning penmanship like?
Homemade thermal camera ieee.org
63 points by Kliment  8 hours ago   11 comments top 7
joezydeco 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Even better: the Thermal Flashlight. Makes a cruder picture, but way cheaper:


Zenst 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I was under the impression alot if not all digital camera's had a filter for IR that on some is easier to remove than others.

Seen many a article on how to convert a common digital camera though have not tried any myself so for example this one http://www.petapixel.com/2010/10/20/how-to-convert-a-cheap-d...

Note that removing the IR filter the camera will still pick up visable light so you could add a filter to remove that so you just get IR or if the firmware is hackable then you can could see what opensource flavours are out. Though failing that most photo edit software will cater for that with after filtering. But you will be doing most IR in the dark to eliminate the sun factor, unless you want to see how much the sun warms area's.

I'm sure somebody has done this type of hack and can comment better with converting digital camera's to IR and what models are best for the price, possibly ebay 2nd hand DLSR's but who knows?

dhughes 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting I didn't think it could be done.

From that I understand normal thermal cameras can't have a silicon CCD and need to be actively cooled.

revelation 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So they built basically an IR tracker. Talk about dual use.
antirez 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool, however I would not fix the cold air spots as they help a lot to prevent indoor air pollution.
nikunjagrawal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Classic Engg.
cyphersanctus 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice, happy ghost hunting everyone!
James Joyce's "Ulysses": Why you should read this book economist.com
40 points by pclark  2 hours ago   43 comments top 17
diiq 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For me, the moment that transformed the book from a chore to a delight was the moment I realized it was funny. I was allowed to laugh, but I was also allowed to miss jokes, miss references. There are so many, that if one flies over your head, then next one will fly straight into your open mouth. The Rise of The New Bloomusalem is hysterically funny.

I could never have made it through, if it were merely an intellectual exercise. It's a slapstick, pun-filled, over-the-top festival. There are songs, and dances, and plays, and fights, and sex (maybe), and proofs by algebra that Hamlet was Shakespeare's grandfather, or vice versa... IT'S FUNNY.

jseliger 1 hour ago 3 replies      
"Ulysses" is perhaps the most written about book ever after the Bible, which should tell you something. It's definitely a better read. Sláinte!

The writer is also missing something important: it's virtually impossible for a normal person, or even an abnormal person, to read Ulysses without a guide to the book that describes its allusions and what's going on. If you're trying to read Ulysses without the superstructure of a guidebook or guidebooks, or a class, you're almost certainly going to fail, because very little of it, taken as a free-standing narrative, makes any sense. This is doubly true for those without an in-depth understanding of Irish history and religious practices / cultures.

I read Ulysses in a grad seminar, one or two episodes per week. Without that guidance, I don't think I would've finished. Or could have, in any meaningful sense of the word.

Ulysses seems like it was written to be written about, or to be treated like a puzzle, more than to be read like a novel. Some people obviously enjoy this sort of thing. I don't think I'm one.

Tloewald 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Having read the article, I downloaded Ulysses, which I have bounced off before, and tried again. Nope, still not my idea of fun. Tolstoy is not my idea of fun either, but more fun than this. Of all my friends, the only one who has read Ulysses (and claims to adore it) cannot articulate its virtues. He also loves Umberto Ecco -- I suppose for similar reasons.

I just don't see the point. I love how when writer who knows a huge amount of obscure crap and wraps contorted references to it into an unreadable mess is considered some kind of genius of erudition if the obscure crap involves, say, dead languages, religion and literature, but if it were dungeons and dragons and Harry potter it would be considered at best pop culture pastiche and at worst pathetic.

scarmig 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Literature has intrinsic value. Good literature has more intrinsic value than bad literature. Ulysses is even better than typical good literature.

That's all the justification it needs. If you disagree with the first premise, you shouldn't read it. Being well-read and cultured is dying as a signifier of cultural superiority or as a topic of social conversation, so those utilitarian purposes really don't hold. But if you appreciate the intrinsic value of writing, then Ulysses is one book worth reading.

Why over other books? It's a very textured, complicated book: figuring it out is great if you enjoy puzzles, and it's deep enough to survive multiple readings. (Just read it once, and it was great, but it's definitely not a quick beach read.)

gruseom 2 hours ago 5 replies      
Does he actually give any reason why one should read Ulysses? I didn't see any.

[Silly bit deleted here.]

But I think the problem is deeper really. If you have to make an argument about why the humanities have value beyond pure entertainment (which is really what "why you should read Ulysses" boils down to), then you've already lost the war, so why bother fighting the battle?

I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I think that our civilization has taken a major wrong turn in believing only in the technical and eschewing the great shared traditions. Other times I remember that the percentage of humanity who cared about this stuff was always very small.

But let's hear from people who've read Ulysses. For those of us who haven't read it: why should we?

Mithrandir 1 hour ago 0 replies      
While we're on the subject of modernist literature, I would suggest taking a look at In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. It's quite a bit longer than Ulysses, at about 1.5 million words, but I find it really fascinating. The flow of his words, to me, seems almost musical.

However, I'd like to also point out that you shouldn't read ISoLT or Ulysses or any other book for that matter, just for the sake of saying that you were able to read it. I think that you lose the depth, the meaning of the words when you read to "show off". You "read" the book, the words flowed into your brain, but did you really understand what the author said?

Unfortunately, I think modernist literature is often susceptible to "half readers", where people start the book, but never finish it. Modernist style can seem pretty alien to some people (Background, as jseliger pointed out, is also important to understanding the "meaning".) As Wikipedia puts it:

>"For the first-time reader, modernist writing can seem frustrating to understand because of the use of a fragmented style and a lack of conciseness. Furthermore the plot, characters and themes of the text are not always presented in a linear way. The goal of modernist literature is also not particularly focused on catering to one particular audience in a formal way. In addition modernist literature often forcefully opposes, or gives an alternative opinion, on a social concept."

Tycho 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I enjoyed Ulysses, but only after the first 100 pages. Not sure if this was because the first 100 was lower quality, or if it just took me that long to 'acclimatise' to what Joyce was doing.

What I recall not liking was having no idea what was going on. In a given scene I wouldn't be sure where the characters were, how many were there... even who the characters were. Somewhat like looking at one of those Picasso paintings where you recognise a few fragments of familiar objects but the overall picture is just confusion.

I'm tempted to re-read it to see if those things make sense now. Maybe back then I wasn't able to keep track of the abstractness.

jonnathanson 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I find that Ulysses is a completely different book every time I read it. Perhaps that's because I'm under the influence of whatever analysis, essay, or bit of commentary I happen to have read about it, or class I happen to be taking, just before diving in. Or perhaps it's because I've been in a different life stage, or state of mind, each time. But honestly, if I weren't a strict unbeliever in the supernatural, I'd swear that Joyce hastily rewrites the book, from beyond the grave, each time I open it up.

I know of no other book that has this effect on me.

yaks_hairbrush 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Here's a take on Ulysses written by a former math professor of mine.


I've not read Ulysses myself, having disliked Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

vhf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Ulysses" is fun"maybe the best book you take to the beach this summer.

Well, Ulysses is indeed a great read, but certainly not one I'd take to the beach. It's far from an easy read, I would not advise anyone to read it in a place where distraction is so easy.

And Ulysses is fun iff you enjoy litterature, just as Godard's movies are fun iff you enjoy experimental movies. I do enjoy both, but I would not say "it's fun" to anybody. Just like saying "debugging embedded assembly is fun". Could be fun for you, but not so fun for the majority of people.

jackfoxy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It took Joyce seven years to write Ulysses at a page per day. It's not an easy read. It is a great book. On the other hand Ken Kesey wrote Sometimes a Great Notion in three months, and to my mind it compares favorably to Ulysses in many ways. It is also a great, though overlooked, novel.
rabbitonrails 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I read Ulysses 3 years ago. After initial skepticism, I discovered that it is truly a great work of literature. One example that impressed me was the chapter Wandering Rocks, where Joyce implements a virtual Dublin that operates like a massive, clockwork simulation tracked over one hour -- he follows many different events and points of view as the characters walk through the city, experiencing events in accurate time that ripple across their perspectives (e.g. a clock chiming heard by 10 different people at different times and intensities according to their distances from the clock, echoes from the walls of surrounding buildings, and the speed of sound -- all mapped to Joyce's deep knowledge of Dublin's geography). Ulysses requires a lot of work and time to understand. I would like to recommend the following to anyone who wants to read it:

1. Give yourself about 6 months.

2. Do not read the text at first go. Instead, listen to the excellent audio recording. http://www.amazon.com/Ulysses-Naxos-AudioBooks-Joyce-James/d... James Joyce was a lyricist and singer and incorporated many auditory elements into his wordplay. Many voices interact in this work, forming a weave that can be baffling on the page but which acquires a certain harmony read aloud. I would even suggest that much in the way rap musicians take utter (often ridiculous) liberty with the English language, creating works incomprehensible on page but that can be understood in the context of song, Joyce experimented with language-as-lyric. Joyce was known for waking up his wife by laughing out loud as he was writing this work -- he found the wordplay ridiculous and hilarious -- so don't approach it with the severity of a religious text.

3. Do not worry if you get lost or zone out. Just keep going and review or re-read later. If you try to understand everything you will never finish and become discouraged.

4. While you are listening to Ulysses, read Vladimir Nabokov's Harvard lectures on Ulysses. http://books.google.com/books/about/Lectures_on_Literature.h... This is a wonderful chapter-by-chapter companion that will make sense of the chaos.

5. If you want a warm up, read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

bdr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Check out joyceimages.com for Ulysses "illustrations". We use images from the time the book is set in. Some of them are of a specific person or place that's mentioned, while others just demonstrate the mood of a line.
Joeri 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've tried to read it two times already, and never got past page 100 out of utter boredom. I will try one more time, but some books are not for everyone.
rabidsnail 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Are we really too busy for one of history's great psychological novels?


robocat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The book is out of copyright now, so is available on Project Gutenburg in a variety of file formats.


cooop 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested to hear what novels others think should be read and why...
Behavior-specific social networks, Facebook's challenge, and others' opportunity quibb.com
6 points by sandimac  1 hour ago   discuss
When You Should Build, Not Buy zapier.com
13 points by WadeF  3 hours ago   2 comments top
bryanh 3 hours ago 1 reply      
We're planning on releasing our drip campaign app for Django under the BSD license one of these days. I must admit, it is rather cool.
Latent Semantic Analysis in Ruby josephwilk.net
11 points by jcla1  2 hours ago   discuss
Why Startups Are Helping The Economy More Than You Think techcrunch.com
25 points by esharef  2 hours ago   1 comment top
Sambdala 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't really like the fact that this article more or less accepts at face value the metric of "jobs" as being the relevant measure of "helping the economy." This might have been more or less the case when the output from the vast majority of jobs rarely deviated more than an order of magnitude from the average job, but that is far from the case these days.

Instead of an intelligent and creative person joining an assembly line or becoming a pit trader, they have the opportunity to create something of value from nothing and give access to it to the entire world.

The fact that paradigm shifts are accelerating isn't a bad thing in my opinion. Within a few generations, the idea that the world is more or less the same place when we leave it as it was when we entered it will likely not be an automatic assumption people will make about the world.

Kaufmann Study - Immigrant Entrepreneurship Has Stalled kauffman.org
26 points by jfaucett  5 hours ago   7 comments top 2
tokenadult 5 hours ago 4 replies      
The underlying study


is written by Vivek Wadhwa. His pet issue, often discussed here on HN, is policy incentives for increased immigration to the United States by persons he identifies as likely future successful entrepreneus. The key statistic from the report is this: "The proportion of immigrant-founded companies nationwide has dropped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. While the margins of error of these numbers overlap, they nonetheless indicate that immigrant-founded companies' dynamic period of expansion has come to an end."

Okay, so the change in percentage is within the standard error of measurement; a percentage change of that kind would be seen even if there were more immigrant-founded companies than ever, as long as more native-born Americans than ever found companies; and there is NO indication that Silicon Valley's flood of innovation has ceased. What is the problem here? Quantitatively, what is the proof that any policy change is needed?

throwaway1979 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand HN sometimes. There is a saying in statistics: if you torture the data long enough, it will admit to anything.

The point being ... if you get a statistically significant result, you're not done. Vice versa, if the data disagrees with your intuition, it doesn't necessarily mean your intuition is wrong.

Conway's Game of Life in HTML5 simon.lc
18 points by simonlc  4 hours ago   13 comments top 5
almost 3 hours ago 1 reply      
To the author: have you tried making the board wrap around instead of having an impenetrable border? In my experience it looks better and keeps interesting things happening longer :)
sherjilozair 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be easier, if clicking and dragging filled all the cells in the mouse-path with life. Without this, it is very cumbersome to initiate the cells.

Great work, btw! Now everyone can play the game of life! :)

nthitz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A random button would be a fun way to get started.
almost 3 hours ago 2 replies      
A couple of fun patterns:



ibotty 2 hours ago 1 reply      
doesn't work here with firefox 16.0.1 on linux (adblock and noscript is disabled)
Observations on what's getting downvoted, with some dissected specimens arstechnica.com
44 points by co_pl_te  7 hours ago   28 comments top 5
Stratoscope 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm closing in on that magical 500 karma number where I hear that I'll start to see downvote buttons. I'm almost hoping there is a way I can opt out of this and not have those buttons appear.

Why? The ridiculous system here that gives you one shot at hitting the right button with no chance to correct your mistake. I've seen too many comments saying, "Sorry, I was trying to upvote your comment and fat-fingered the downvote button by mistake." I often read HN on my phone or a tablet and it will be all too easy for me to do that.

Reddit, for all its flaws, gets this right. If you tap the wrong button or change your mind, perhaps after realizing that you misunderstood something, you can fix it.

snowwrestler 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The best moderation I've experienced is here on HN, and on Slashdot. I think this is for two reasons:

1. The cultures of the communities are largely technical, which is a culture that tends to care more about accuracy and truth, rather than just how closely a comment hews to personal opinions. It's okay to disagree if you present reasonably worthwhile support in the post.

2. The structure of the communities only allows highly valued members to down vote. On Slashdot all moderation (up or down) is controlled by the karma system, and metamoderation "watches the watchers". Here on HN, you must have quite a bit of karma (I think ~500 these days) before you can down vote.

Compare to Reddit, which in most subreddits probably the worst quality moderation I've ever seen in a community. Unpopular truths are downvoted to oblivion, and lies rise to the top if they validate popularly held beliefs. The only exception that comes to mind is /r/askscience, which sets a very high bar to comment at all--all answers must be presented by proven experts or contain references to scientific publications.

raganwald 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What I find interesting about this post above and beyond its content, is the signal it sends from moderators to the community. We have guidelines, but a post like this from time to time might help reinforce them.
tsycho 5 hours ago 2 replies      
So if I comment that the behavior on Ars is surprisingly similar to HN, I should receive up votes from people who had the same thought, and down votes from those who think that's obvious and doesn't add to any new insight?
jandrewrogers 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't even use downvote buttons. They are the worst idea ever and anyone who uses them is an utterly insecure moron who downvotes to make themselves feel superior. This is one in a long line of downvoting articles on HN that are not even worth the time to click the link.

(EDIT: Apparently some commenters on my post did not read the article. Meta-trolling FTW.)

(I intend to harness the inevitable downvote singularity as a new form of clean energy.)

Massive data leak in New Zealand government servers publicaddress.net
79 points by oreilly  11 hours ago   26 comments top 9
jl6 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the main reason I'm skeptical of central government databases. Not because of the miniscule chance of them enabling a police state, but because of the very great chance that the data will not be properly safeguarded.
meric 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad so far the government haven't mentioned bringing charges against the author yet. That probably shows you how much I expect from government these days...
piggity 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Having physical access to the network shouldn't (in a better world) result in such an utter compromise.

With the ability to plug in devices like the Pwn Plug; your network needs to be moderately resilient to attacks from inside.

boop 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Once it was clear that there was was a leak of confidencial information, he should have taken what was required as minimal evidence (a few screenshots?) and then contacted the Acting Privacy Commissioner.

Did he really need to go through files related to Doctors/Radiology, Debt Collectionn, Fraud Investigations, Care and Protection, HCN? Snooping through the servers beyond what was necessary was wrong.

The bigger story is the lack of security on the New Zealand servers. However, what he did was wrong and possible illegal IMHO.

ericcholis 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow, Active Directory Much? There's so many ways to do this correctly using simple groups in AD. Or hell, why do these public kiosks even need to be on the same network?
justincormack 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Typical use of a "firewall" to guard what people think of as the external entry points and then leave nothing once you get in. Plus no auditing of permissions. Alas all too common.
jvdh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is easily the biggest databreach that I have ever seen. I sincerely hope no one noticed this before, this has the potential to have a severe impact on so many lives in New Zealand.
propercoil 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I won't be surprised if they classify it as "terrorism" and require some internet "protection" bill
oreilly 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Keeping in mind governments can screw up this badly.. the security errors some startup's launch with don't seem so bad.
Ask HN: Judge my Upcoming App's Landing Page
8 points by awolf  52 minutes ago   12 comments top 10
losvedir 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks good. I'm not much of a designer myself, so I can't comment on that, but I'd highly recommend throwing optimizely (or some other A/B testing tool like that, visual website optimizer would work, too) on there from the start.

That way, you can find what messaging works best as early as possible. A 3rd party javascript A/B tester is phenomenal for the types of tests where it'll work, as you can easily tweak and see results without changing any of the underlying website code.

Also, I like the "treasure map" phrasing, makes it sound romantic and interesting! Maybe you can work that a little more thematically into the design? Rather than simple white box, it could be on a scroll, or maybe the background could be a bed of gold coins. Something like that. (Again, not a designer, so take those suggestions with a grain of salt...)

fleitz 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Moar links. Seriously, you've got some awesome click targets and no links.

Logo / title -> Link to app store

Titles for copy -> Link to app store

Big awesome image of app on phone -> link to app store.

Also while you're at it sign up for the affliate program and get an extra 5% from Apple.

nitochi 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hi, I think there is room for improvement. It is not clear to me exactly what the app does. At the beginning I thought it was an app to create real treasure hunts (like in a game). But now I think its a way to discover new places within an area? (Maybe I'm just stupid...but its the impression I got)
Check this post out, it gives some ideas on how to increase your landing page conversions: http://t.co/ZMaDaL17

Is there a social element on the app? Can you share your tours? Share your logs? I think that people would like to know that!

What is a "gem"? Who are the people that decide whether a place is a gem or not? Are they restaurants? Sights? Strip clubs?

I also think the 100% free for a limited time is confusing. Is it going to be 50% free later? I would revise the wording there...

I would also improve the design a bit, and change the background. It would be super cool to have something like a "pirate map" representation of NYC or some popular location in the background.

Hopefully this helps, I wish you good luck with your app!

dreadsword 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
You app looks like it might be really neat, but your landing page needs to explain it a bit more clearly - I'm still not sure if its a tour guide app, a location discovery thing, some kind of social meetup organizer, or what?

When would I use it? What would I use it for? Why would I use it instead of any other alternative? Answer those in one or two sentences...

"Wanderous turns trips into adventures by using your friend's recommendations to identify attractions, restaurants and more that you're sure to love."

When: when you take a trip somewhere,
What: things to do, place to eat,
Why: friend's recommendations make for better picks

I don't know if any of the above applies to Wanderous, but you get the idea...

erichcervantez 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think it's strange the App Store download button leads to a popup for my email address. I would have gone the LaunchRock route for something really quick and to the point.

Also if this is your official landing page for the app, I would do something much larger. Add more screenshots and detail on what the app does...you have to lure people in and convince them they should waste 5 minutes of their time installing your app.

Otherwise, cool idea if it hasn't already been done ;)

habosa 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just a tiny thing: you definitely want a favicon. One of those little things that makes a website seem more "legit"
ummjackson 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd play with the typography a little - if you want to stay sans-serif, why not slot in some Open-Sans? Just use Google Web Fonts loader and it'll take you two minutes. http://www.google.com/webfonts/specimen/Open+Sans

Also, a little border-radius on the container might make the app come across as more friendly.

awolf 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
umruehren 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
From the page, I don't see what the app lets me do. (My guess: Directions to places of interest? That would be google maps. Clearly you're hiding something more interesting)
modernise 44 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is better. http://atopiary.com/
Rackspace: concerns from a former Slicehost customer kmkeen.com
13 points by keenerd  4 hours ago   9 comments top 4
jyap 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of places just have legacy code and policies. You have no evidence of your claim that they store passwords in clear text.

Their restrictions may in fact have cut down on widespread security outbreaks from users who use the same password across multiple web sites. This means that Rackspace has also enforced a unique password from their other passwords via their enforced scheme.

nodata 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow a whole blog post on the presumption that not allowing some special characters means they are vulnerable to an sql injection attack.

How about.. testing that theory?

geuis 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I've been a loyal Slicehost customer since 2009. I was previously a Rackspace customer too. There were a lot of reasons I jumped to SH when I had a chance. I'm seriously considering moving over to Linode soon. I desire the most control over my servers, and the combination of that and the low cost of SH is hard to find elsewhere. I think Linode will be a good alternate. Do any others have experience with Linode that can comment?
sandfox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I call Hanlon's Razor (on part of this anyway). I suspect it's far more likely that it was a (stupid) business decisions on the password length/characters to reduce the number of times people would forget their paswords and initiate a password reset. I have tragically come across this many times (and more than once in the UK retail banking sector)
Wearable Device Translates Ambient Sound to Haptic Feedback by Bone Conduction ameliamarzec.com
3 points by rfreytag  59 minutes ago   discuss
       cached 14 October 2012 22:02:01 GMT