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Vision-Correcting Displays [video]
62 points by pioul  2 hours ago   27 comments top 11
serf 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
One can imagine a pair of normal eyeglasses which have an IMU or accelerometer of some sort in them. When they sense they are being taken off, the users' phone switches profiles, the screen blurs, and the user moves seamlessly from glasses to phone without ever realizing what took place.

Would be a neat touch. I like connected appliances that aren't. (if that makes sense)

kghose 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I was told the following legend about how shoes were invented. A haughty princess wanted to leave her pristine castle and explore the world. But she found the world very dusty. She told her wise men to come up with a plan to cover the world in a lush carpet. The wise men pondered and said that this could not be done. The princess threw a fit. The wise men pondered some more. Then they said "Princess, we can not cover the world in a large carpet, but we can, however, cover your feet in a small one". And the princess was pleased. And that, kids, is how we got shoes.
DenisM 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If I understand this correctly, this is a light-field display.

The implications are bigger than vision correction - LF display can reconstruct actual 3d images, as opposed to the stereo images being marketed as "3d" today. Stereo displays give two different pictures to two different eyes, but the don't provide perspective shift (the picture doesn't change when you move your head left and right), and they don't provide different focal planes (your eyes focus on the screen plane regardless of how far the object is supposed to be, creating a dissonance between the distance inferred from the angle between the eyes and the focusing distance).

thelad 1 hour ago 6 replies      
Don't get this, what's the point in 1 device being corrected while the rest of the real world is blurry?

One use case example was a guy in a car with GPS navigation. So he can then see the GPS nav but how does he drive if he can't see properly!?

mattangriffel 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I've always thought it would be interesting to correct vision at the brain/neural level rather than the physical level. Can anyone comment on whether this would be possible?
zavi 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Can this be done at the software level? I.e. feature built in to OS that modifies displayed image in the same way this screen does.
Hominem 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea, and wonder why it took so long. I'd love to be able to take my glasses off and read in bed, or take my glasses off for a few hours at work while in front of my monitor.
amichail 2 hours ago 0 replies      
nitrogen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder if there's an analogy to be drawn between the pinhole mask they use and the lithography masks used to etch ICs on silicon.
judk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the old "Magic Eye" pictures
Show HN: Miimic Let your friends text for you
16 points by jchoudh  1 hour ago   11 comments top 6
oftenwrong 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
You should up the contrast on the up/down arrows for users like me with a poor quality display. I missed them completely at first. They just looked like two white circular cutouts.
spartango 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
An email version of this would be quite useful for team interactions with sensitive partners/clients/contacts.
techaddict009 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
@OP can I use this way:

Set all my message to be served to specific contact. That contact can reply to all message?.

Use Case: My parents do not know to use mobile properly and many times they get Income Tax pin, etc ( IMP message) via SMS. And they come to me to reply them properly. Instead using your app I can do it from distance.

spjpgrd 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
I could see executives with secretaries being a serious market that would pay for this service.
diminish 1 hour ago 1 reply      
extreme scroll triggered animations make it impossible on my tablet to read much..

Edit: what's the use case, why? Who would use such an app, any use cases you think of?

colinyoung 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Collaborative flirting! Love it
Patching the Newton
35 points by zdw  4 hours ago   3 comments top 3
DanBC 1 hour ago 0 replies      
>The Guy from Apple exits Good Guys, checks it off the list, and proceeds to the next store on his assignment. G-Man is surprised what we was able to do by flashing his Apple badge and adopting some bluster; just walk in, make some demands and start cracking open merchandise. Thats kind of disturbing, really.

It's kind of surprising that a criminal gang hasn't made off with a huge haul of devices on launch day minus one by doing exactly this.

I know that I would probably fall for it or not care enough to stop anyone trying.

616c 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Meh, I had a friend using his Netwon as of last year. Not seriously, but he loved the little bastard and ran a shitty old shareware webserver at one point for me. It took forever, but I remember it working.

This was before he caved and used an iPhone smartphone, but we oft discussed how it was just too ahead of its time for the price tag. I think he got it, like other vintage equipment, especially Mac, by going for years to Rutgers University in NJ where his dad works and their IT infrastructure group was selling "this garbage" away because they had it in bulk and could not use it.

How I wish I took him up on his offer to go when we were college buddies. Sadly Rutgers has apparently stopped as he checks every year to check if we have one last shot.

joshu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Theory: dad hacker is Bob Howard, pre-laundry. Cstross, are you listening?
Replication Controversy in Psychology
21 points by nkurz  2 hours ago   16 comments top 5
idlewords 1 hour ago 1 reply      
An additional problem with research into things like social priming (and the attempts to replicate it) is that they all use a sample population of American undergraduates.

This paper goes into interesting detail about why this is a terrible methodology: http://hci.ucsd.edu/102b/readings/WeirdestPeople.pdf

ajarmst 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Ioannidis' "Why most published research findings are false" (http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fj...) is particularly relevant here, I think.
ninguem2 48 minutes ago 2 replies      
If the standard in Psychology research is the so-called p-value being less that 0.05, it means that they publish results whenever the chance of the findings being a coincidence is less than 5%. It stands to reason that 5% of the published results in Psychology will be coincidences and not real.
wyager 51 minutes ago 3 replies      
Now, I'm just a layman, so I could be completely off the mark about this, but this is how it seems to me.

Doesn't every single generation of psychologists pretty much completely reject the findings of the previous generation? All of Freud's stuff is now considered total bullshit. All of the stuff psychologists said in the 50s about homosexuality being a mental illness is now considered bullshit.

In other fields of science, like chemistry or physics, this has never happened since the introduction of the scientific method. Scientists have been wrong lots of times, but never has the majority of the body of scientific knowledge been thrown out. Usually the changes are something small, e.g. "Einstein was wrong about hidden variable theory in some respect." Even the most drastic changes in scientific thought are usually just the narrowing down from a number of existing theories to a smaller number of theories. In most fields of science, we seem to converge on the correct result over time, with very small deviations.

Psychology doesn't seem to be converging at all. Am I wrong? If not, why is this?

danso 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Controversies like these make me glad I work in the field of programming...while arguments over what algorithm or frameworks work best are less sexy than what the sciences cover, at least with narrow claims, it's easier to concretely argue for one or the other...and then of course, if we're talking about open-source, then the errors of ambiguity are even scarcer.

It seems like a large part of the problem, at least in these psychological experiments, is that there isn't a structured/uniform way to describe preconditions, methodology, assumptions, and measurement practices...OK, so you used 40 undergraduate students for your original experiment...how did you pick them out? How were their characteristics accounted for (e.g. age/gender/major/health/etc)? Did any of them ever see the Trainspotting scene before? Have any of them ever seen a movie of equal grossness? How many minutes did you wait after showing them the Trainspotting scene? In what order did you hand out the questionnaire? How did you seat the students? etc. etc. etc. etc.

A totally honest researcher might have trouble enumerating and enforcing all of the different controls, never mind communicating them to other researchers. From the research papers I've read, the ability to communicate these facts doesn't seem to be of uniform quality.

Outsmarting the smart meter
27 points by lelf  3 hours ago   4 comments top
PhantomGremlin 41 minutes ago 3 replies      
I'm saddened by the navet (or perhaps it's simple incompetence) of the smart meter manufacturers. Why isn't all communication encrypted? Why doesn't each meter have a unique public/private key pair associated with it? That way even if a key was extracted from a meter, it wouldn't be possible to use that key to access any other meter. It's not like there's a shortage of 1024-bit primes. Each meter in the world can have a unique 2048-bit key.

Maybe this isn't important for initial deployment. Maybe each meter is simply read-only. But, eventually, I think utilities want to be able to signal to the meter and associated devices in the house when to turn on and turn off. E.g. temporarily shut off air conditioning during a demand peak. I don't want some random hacker in another continent communicating with my meter, either for malice or for lulz.

Anyway, that's just my simple view on how things should be done. Obviously the real world isn't nearly as paranoid.

Physicists track a quantum systems wanderings through quantum state space
11 points by jonbaer  1 hour ago   1 comment top
akavel 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
fragment describing the gist of the experiment:

"The [entering] microwaves are so far off resonance with the [superconducting] circuit that they cannot drive it between its ground and its excited state. So instead of being absorbed, they leave the box bearing information about the quantum system in the form of a phase shift (the position of the troughs and peaks of the photons wavefunctions).

Although there is information about the quantum system in the exiting microwaves, it is only a small amount of information.

Every time we nudge the system, something different happens, Murch said. Thats because the photons we use to measure the quantum system are quantum mechanical as well and exhibit quantum fluctuations. So it takes many of these measurements to distinguish the systems signal from the quantum fluctuations of the photons probing it. Or, as physicists put it, these are weak measurements."

BioMotionLab Demo
16 points by yashness  10 hours ago   2 comments top 2
bd 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here is a WebGL version, with skeleton mesh:


It works quite nicely on mobile (Android Chrome and iOS 8 Beta Safari).

bsenftner 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is very familiar. Did this use to be a desktop application?
Network Instability in NYC2 on July 29, 2014
29 points by retrodict  4 hours ago   discuss
Reddit's Favorite Scientist Just Got Banned for Cheating the Site
46 points by antr  2 hours ago   39 comments top 10
baby 1 minute ago 0 replies      
> I had five 'vote alts' when things were in the new list, or to vote on stuff when I guess I got too hot-headed.

I can totally understand that, I used to spend a huge times on forums, communities, etc... And I also used to have a bad temper. Of course I created fake accounts to upvote myself and downvote others. I'm pretty sure anyone who is a bit clever and also a sour loser/has a bad temper, has done that before.

And only 5 accounts? Maybe there are others, but that's really minimal. That's "unprofessional" which is a good thing and I really think things are getting blown out of proportion. Reddit wouldn't be the same without this guy, that he acted like a kid or not.

agent00f 1 hour ago 5 replies      
Why this matters:

Visibility on Reddit is essentially predicated on early votes. Get a few upvotes and even mediocre comments will often remain at the top due to momentum. Less than -4 and it's doomed to oblivion (ie. downvote the competition).

One of the most popular linked sites on reddit (quickmeme) got to where it was with only a few strategically placed votes for each link, and it took ages for them to be found out and similarly banned: http://www.dailydot.com/business/reddit-quickmeme-banned-mil...

More broadly, the algorithm reddit uses is not only known wrong/buggy:


but also generally defective:


It's possible HN suffers from the same flaw (initial sort and feedback loop from such) since it's the natural (naive) way to produce such algorithms. The machine can't tell if it's quality content or just easy to upvote, and the latter is more common.

TL;DR: Visibility == early votes from people who have no interest in depth and don't read the articles anyway.

edit: fixed links

na85 35 minutes ago 2 replies      
It seems the real issue is the cult of personality that develops around these people. It happens here on HN as well. There exists a large cadre of people who rally around certain well-known community figures and eventually morph into sycophantic zealots.

The positive-feedback cycle stemming from early votes serves only to create an illusion of consensus, and many impressionable users begin to form thoughts like "that many upvotes can't be wrong" etc.

That, IMO, is the real problem with up/downvote systems.

minimaxir 2 hours ago 0 replies      
/r/subredditdrama has a more honest albeit less neutral recap of the events: http://www.reddit.com/r/SubredditDrama/comments/2c9ida/recap...

Vote cheating was only the final straw: part of it was a silly argument between Undian and another user.

kordless 42 minutes ago 2 replies      
When it first launched, Reddit's founders used software to fake a large number of users to make it look like the site was more populated than it really was. I really don't see how someone doing this with their own posts is any better or worse. Does it really matter if the content is good?
codezero 1 hour ago 6 replies      
I'm pretty surprised reddit's backend doesn't just automatically devalue this kind of vote cheating. In the general case, it's really easy to detect, and if your cheater is a bit more sophisticated, it's still not that hard, it takes a really serious person to have five accounts on five different browsers/vpcs that each come from different IP addresses consistently, even then, when you see them colluding together, you can still devalue those votes simply because it's an obvious clique taking early action consistently, so even then it should be pretty detectable.

I don't see a reason to ban someone over this behavior as long as you can make sure that the fraudulent votes don't actually add any value to the content, which they shouldn't.

un_publishable 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Despite being banned, Unidan has already made a new account, called UnidanX, and has been posting for most of the day under that username. It's looking like he hasn't been banned with that username yet.

What's the point of trying again, he's already lost the trust of the community and his name is a red flag. Is that subreddit super-forgiving? Or maybe the turnover is so high people will just forget?

onedognight 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> Reddit's Favorite Scientist

That's being too generous. I would vote for RobotRollCall as Reddit's Favorite Scientist.

CamperBob2 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
That sucks, I always enjoyed (and learned from) Unidan's posts. What a weird thing for him to do with his hard-earned reputation.
raldi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Aww, I remember when Chris Slowe was reddit's favorite scientist.
Show HN: Geek Bridge Find dev work in Japan without knowing Japanese
17 points by jamesknelson  6 hours ago   7 comments top 5
astrange 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
I know wages for programmers are low in Japan, but 200,000 a month for automotive programming? That's about $25k/year.

Would a company really be willing to help with relocation or a visa for that?

Anyway, I'm not looking right now, but maybe someday.

benguild 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
Technically this is illegal, as far as I know.

You're not allowed to work in Japan without a valid visa. If they find out that you're working in Japan on a tourist visa you might not be allowed back.

It'd be a grey area (also as far as I know) to say you're freelancing/working for a Japanese company while in Japan by coincidence, and I doubt that they're very forgiving if you're sidestepping a tourist visa's restrictions.

jamesknelson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi everyone! This is something our Startup Weekend team from Nagoya, Japan is building. We'd love to hear any feedback!
thirdtruck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Even though I'm not actively looking to move, thanks for making this. Love the Final Fantasy VII reference. :) Perhaps I can finally make use of all those semesters of Japanese.
grimtrigger 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool. You should post this in /r/iwantoutjobs
NeuFlow: A Dataflow Processor for Vision
12 points by luu  2 hours ago   2 comments top
wyager 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
The block diagram they showed looks pretty sweet for DSP too.

One question: Why are there separate symbols for integration and summation? Whenever I implement integration in DSP circuitry, it's just a rolling sum (since these circuits are obviously operating on discrete signals).

The Nvidia Shield Tablet Review
14 points by crazysaem  9 hours ago   8 comments top 3
ajmurmann 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was waiting for over half a year for the next shield and am very disappointed it's a tablet. I liked the original shield because it allows to stream PC games throughout my house, so that I can play them on my couch or in bed. The other awesome thing is playing emulators on the go. With the tablet I can't do any of those properly, because the controller is not built in and I need to have a place to set up the tablet. So I can't play it on the train or anywhere in my house excepts my desk or my dining room table.If you already have a tablet (or 2 in my case) and wanted this as a gaming device, then that's a bummer. It's too bad. Everything that targets hardcore gamers fails.
anon4 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
If only it had 4-8GB RAM. I could actually see myself do stuff on it other than play games. It comes with a stylus and SD card slot! That's almost my whole checklist for a dream tablet:

1. stylus with good support

2. SD card slot

3. powerful hardware

4. lots of RAM

I can't understand why they put so little in.

Deusdies 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I'm somewhat disturbed by the fact that Samsung (and Apple) seems to be the only one that is pushing for >= 10" tablets. I had a Galaxy Tab S Pro which is not that great (heard the Note line is very good). I ended up gifting it to my dad and I bought myself an iPad, even though I'm heavily invested in Android.

Nexus 10 has no successor, and LG is not coming out with anything with that diagonal, and now this.

Silicon: After the chip, another revolution?
6 points by Nux  1 hour ago   1 comment top
Roboprog 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Another factor in "grid parity" - variable, tiered, pricing by the utility company. If you have a large family, you are likely to hit the upper "tiers" (at least for the PG&E utility company) where electricity is 30 or 40 cents, rather than 11 or 12 cents, per kWH.

Providing 1/2 or 1/3 of your electricity via solar panels starts to make a lot of sense in that case.

University of Wisconsin to reprise controversial monkey studies
13 points by __Joker  14 hours ago   4 comments top 2
DanBC 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Be interesting to see if UK animal rights tactics are exported to the US.

Protestors ignore the actual department doing the research but unleash a shitstorm of protest over anyone providing services to that department.

As more and more service companies decline the contracts the costs for the department go up and up.

UK groups were very effective at this, but there were also unacceptable forms of protest involving violence. And UK government had weird ideas about right to peaceful protest being wrong if it was effective at making people change their behavior. Thus animal rights groups are sometimes terrorist organisations (to be fair, a few of them did dig up corpses and other really unpleasant thing).

Tl:dr don't stand outside the monkey experiment department waving placards; go to the place that takes their garbage or provides their lunches or does the cleaning or the gardening or the stationery.

disbelief 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is pretty sickening. I have spent a lot of time around various monkey species, including the Rhesus Macaque, and the amount of emotional awareness and sensitivity they have is comparable to that in humans. To subject such intelligent and sensitive animals to such fear and cruelty, at such a young age, and then to euthanize them afterwards, in a reprise of past experiments, is beyond senseless.
Racket v6.1 released. Undefined values from uninitialized variables eliminated
39 points by racketlang  3 hours ago   1 comment top
gus_massa 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a more technical discussion about the new undefined behavior in the mailing list, when it was incorporated: http://lists.racket-lang.org/users/archive/2014-April/062148...
Yelp Dataset Challenge
10 points by y14  10 hours ago   5 comments top
huhtenberg 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Is Yelp still penalizing listed businesses that don't pay them?
Wikipedia Zero and Net Neutrality: Protecting the Internet as a Public Space
48 points by user_235711  7 hours ago   29 comments top 6
mwsherman 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Net neutrality is a very confused idea. Once one tries to define a testable law, it becomes a lot less desirable.

Since I started paying attention, the definition has changed from QoS on the last mile to slowing certain protocols to blocking competitive services to blocking any services to not building enough capacity to fast lanes that arent CDNs to throttling any user to paying for interconnect.

In the Wikipedia case above, its clearly a violation of NN and its clearly good for consumers. Its a very progressive policy, I support it and its not neutral.

The justification Wikimedia offers here is that they are serving the community and are not exchanging $$ with the ISP. Is this part of the definition now? And if so, do we want to start defining which sites we feel serve the community?

fsniper 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is absolutely non NetNeutral.

There are billions of websites out there and each one of them is some kind of information. Giving wikipedia free access but charging others may seem to be innocent. But I believe on the contrary, it is opening one door that should not be used.

There are thousands (millions?) of wikipedia articles and all have some kind of linked citation. How will you draw the line? Wikipedia is open information but these citations are not?

In my country we have operator giving twitter and facebook free access. And I always thought that was another nail on net neutralities coffin. Wikipedia is nailing one more too.

_h__ 5 hours ago 5 replies      
This is a difficult choice. On one hand I believe that Wikipedia should be FREE in all senses of the word. On the other hand making one exception will create more exceptions. Why not make facebook and Gmail free to access so that people can communicate? I want this exception for Wikipedia. But I am worried.
habosa 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe we can make an exception for non-profit organizations that don't pay the ISPs or get paid?

Although since the NFL is a non-profit, maybe not...

higherpurpose 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just because it's Wikimedia doing it, doesn't mean that all of the sudden I'm all for it. I believe it's still discriminatory against small organization/websites and against net neutrality principles.
sparkzilla 3 hours ago 3 replies      
>Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Thats our commitment.

Wikipedia can never be the sum of all human knowledge and anyone who thinks so is seriously deluded. The web in its entirety still doesn't include even a fraction of all knowledge. To think that one website -- a poorly designed one, with terrible software, design, media handling, policies and leadership -- is claiming this is simply laughable.

That goes for Wikipedia "protecting the internet". Protecting it from who exactly?

Wikipedia's leadership and its acolytes constantly use false utopian goals to justify their expansion into areas that they are ill-equipped to deal with (see: dangerous and incorrect medical data). It seems they are trying to use the same lofty ideals to carve out market protection in Africa.

The Following Code Causes Segfault in Clang
7 points by DaNmarner  1 hour ago   5 comments top 2
danieljh 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
While we're at segfaulting compiler's, here's what I found just a few days ago:

    python -S -c 'print("void f(){} int main(){return (" + "*"*10**7 + "f)();}")' | gcc -xc -
(This is legal C -- look it up. Don't argue with me over the practical relevance of this please)

hamburglar 17 minutes ago 3 replies      
Is there some legitimate reason to want to have A's destructor called twice on a single instance?
Addressing Founder Depression YC Hackathon project
29 points by tqn  6 hours ago   8 comments top 3
penguinlinux 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been reading about founder's depression. Why do we have to label it as if this is something that is affecting founders. Depression affects everyone, from a single mother who works hard to support her family and has no time for herself. From the dad that works hard and has to put kids through school, put food on the table, the person who works behind the counter at your favorite burger place who works hard and can't pay for his/her school because they don't make enough money.

I suffer from depression and I am not a founder we all have issues so why do we have to label this depression and founder's depression. These people are no different that anyone else just different problems.

seems like we should actually be doing something to help people with depression and not just a certain group just because they are founders. After all depression is the same regardless if you are a founder, a manager, a business owner, a student.

Mahn 41 minutes ago 2 replies      
> We want to create a safe place for founders to share their specific issues and solicit support and advice from fellow founders or those who can empathize.

Sounds similar to https://startupsanonymous.com

7Figures2Commas 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It's hard to criticize well-intentioned efforts, but I think it's worth noting that there are a lot of assumptions being made about "founder depression."

Depression is often confused with anxiety disorders, and complicating matters, it's not uncommon for these to be co-occurring. A lot of the symptoms described in the recent posts by Sam Altman and TechCrunch on "founder depression" actually sound more like symptoms of anxiety disorders than they do symptoms of clinical depression.

Before an individual jumps to the conclusion that he or she is suffering from depression, it would be wise to seek help from a mental health professional who can make a proper diagnosis.

Debugging the Linux kernel using Ftrace (2009)
12 points by luu  5 hours ago   discuss
The mathematics of discovering new things
31 points by ColinWright  6 hours ago   6 comments top 3
noelwelsh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You can click through the full Nature article, which is nice. I haven't read the article in depth, but it looks like interesting stuff. A bunch of models in Bayesian non-parametrics are, like the described model, based on Polya urns. It should be a simple matter to use this model for some interesting clustering tasks, perhaps as an alternative to the CRP.
ccvannorman 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I love how after I cofounded a math game company, there seems to be more and more math everywhere I look. "Blue car syndrome" at its finest!

For me this article especially rings true with self identity / confidence. Since four years ago I started learning how to program video games, I recognized that internally, "Well if I could totally change my career overnight, and open up a plethora of new possibilities, then I wonder how many additional choices I will now start to see over time?"

I saw it as a graph of my life possibilities, with the first 25 years of my life bumping along in the 1-10 range, then a sudden inflection point to 100. Looking at this graph objectively, one can imagine a second inflection point that goes to 1000, etc.. maybe leading to an asymptote! But I digress.

mojuba 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So if I get it right:

Say you have elementary concepts A, B and C. Combinations of these concepts also give something, e.g. AB, AC, etc. You have tried and exhausted all possible (and sensible) duplets, triples, etc. and now you are bored.

Then something new comes along, D. Now you not only have a new elementary concept, but a whole lot of new possible combinations with previously known elementary concepts: AD, BD, etc.

Inside Brigade: A look at the bet Sean Parkers making on his civic network
10 points by Libertatea  7 hours ago   discuss
Kids and parents turn to coding to boost college, career prospects
9 points by kafkaesque  4 hours ago   16 comments top 3
krat0sprakhar 59 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've been teaching a 12-yo kid python programming and the surprising thing is that none of his friends (nor him) learn any programming in school. As per him, most public schools in his area (Boston) don't have any programming work in their regular curriculum, despite the fact that one keeps seeing such articles popping up often.

When I was in mid-school, a decade back (in India) we had regular classes on Basic and C++ in high school. I might be completely wrong in generalizing but haven't the schools in US picked up on this trend?

thewarrior 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Programmer salaries going down soon ...
NAFV_P 1 hour ago 3 replies      
> Broad computer-science skills that include technological awareness and analytical thinking are more important than narrow programming skills, Hartovi said.

"Learning how to code in any one particular [computer] language is not going to be worthwhile beyond 10 or 20 years," he said. "Learning how to problem-solve using algorithms and how technology works and how it's built is going to last a century at least."

I fail to see how you could write an algorithm if you don't know how to code.

Gambler's fallacy trips up goalies
9 points by nkurz  3 hours ago   12 comments top 5
pessimizer 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The gambler's fantasy is a fantasy when you're trying to use it to predict a coin flip, not what another human will do. The penalty kicker has to make the same decision after looking at all previous results, and also may be making decisions about where to kick based on the direction of the previous kicks.

If the kickers attempt to second-guess the "this side is due for a kick" behavior by goalies, the goalies can try to second guess the kickers by knowing that they are intentionally trying to avoid even distributions over a moving historical window. It's the classic endless paper-rock-scissors strategy discussion.

im3w1l 2 hours ago 2 replies      
In regards to the ending counterpoint that a goaler has no chance of saving a ball to the top third of the goal anyway:

A high ball should have a higher risk of missing the goal entirely. So the better you can predict the keeper, the lower and safer shots you should be able to take.

tedsanders 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
One counterintuitive piece of game theory trivia is that, in equilibrium, penalty kickers should kick to their weaker sides more often than their stronger sides.

In equilibrium, you should be indifferent to the goalkeeper's strategy, and if you're better at kicking to the left, that means you should kick to the right more, not less.

altcognito 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Watch the second half of kicks in the most recent World Cup, you can see that some kickers seem to wait for any indication of the direction of the goalie taking a dive in a particular direction.


At the level these guys play, they kick so fast it is difficult for the goalie to get to the far reaches of the net even when they guess correctly, so I can see why they jump early. In this situation, the bigger goalies definitely have an advantage. Changing the direction you jump randomly isn't going to help much.

UweSchmidt 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If I were the shooter I'd visibly flip a coin before walking to the penalty point. I'd try to equally scan both sides of the goal, and do a neutral run-up that hopefully wouldn't give away which side I picked.

This would neutralize most mindgames, statistical analysis and self-doubts.

When It's Bad to Have Good Choices
138 points by nkurz  17 hours ago   71 comments top 22
Throwaway823 15 hours ago 5 replies      
There are a couple of popular TED talks about choice.


It's something to keep in mind with your development work as well. Let's say you create an application to minify javascript. Your app has an input field, and a button that says 'Go', and that's it. Very simple, no confusion, people love it.

However, you notice 5% of people don't use the app, because they want to keep comments in their minified code, and you don't include that option. A lot of developers decide they'll add a checkbox to include comments, because now everyone can be happy. It doesn't quite work that way, because now the 95% of people that don't want comments see this checkbox, and start to question themselves. Wait, why do people want comments included in their minified code, should I be checking this box? Is there something I'm doing wrong? Do most people check the box or not, I'd like to know to validate my decision, otherwise I feel uneasy. The more options you add, the more this has an effect.

In the end, maybe the 95% are feeling so uneasy, 10% of them leave to another app, that just has a 'Go' button again, so they feel confident, and more happy. So, by adding the checkbox to include comments, the 5% of people that were asking for the feature now start using the app, but you lose 10% of the original audience because of the additional choice.

It's a difficult balance, and you really need to focus on the majority, and be careful about building out features the minority are requesting. If you look at apps like Twitter or Snapchat (or Yo, on the extreme side, and not yet proven), they succeed by limiting the amount of choice available to users. Many developers would have added more options, or in the case of Twitter given users the ability to write longer tweets because it seems harmless, but at the same time, it would have caused the businesses to fail.

paulsutter 15 hours ago 7 replies      
When faced with a difficult decision, it probably doesn't matter which choice you take. Emotionally it's difficult to accept this. But logically it's easy:

- If one of the two choices was clearly better, it would be an easy decision

- But it is difficult. Therefore, neither of the two choices is clearly better.

- Therefore, it doesn't matter much which you choose.

This doesn't work for people who feel irrational regret (ie, regretting a decision that turned out badly because of information that was not known at the time of the decision). Yes, irrational regret is very common. But it's just another logical failing that can be overcome.

If you still feel anxiety when forced to choose between two good choices, go visit a third world country.

dmnd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is why I hate that cinemas offer a choice between 2D and 3D. I just want to see whatever the director intended and not have to try to hunt down which version is 'better'.

Offering a choice makes going to the movies socially into an awkward experience. Inevitably there are people with diverging strong opinions and suddenly a social get together turns into dispute mediation. I think that if there was only one option, people would just deal with it.

Now I dread inviting certain people to the movies because I want a social experience without endlessly dragging up the 2D vs 3D debate.

Sealy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Cognitive dissonance is a similar concept that is not new.


As quoted from that article:

"Cognitive dissonance is also useful to explain and manage post-purchase concerns. If a consumer feels that an alternate purchase would have been better, it is likely he/she will not buy the product again. To counter this, marketers have to convince buyers constantly that the product satisfies their need and thereby helps reduce their cognitive dissonance, ensuring repurchase of the same brand in the future."

Sounds like the writer is referring to cognitive dissonance.

Leon Festinger published his work on cognitive dissonance in 1959 making his discovery 11 years before Lipowski's publication in 1970 (as referenced by the article). Festinger in my mind is the godfather of this theory. Anyone agree?


scotty79 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In Poland there is very famous children's rhymed short story about a donkey regarding this paradox of choice, so polish children are very early confronted with this paradox and warned about possible consequences (donkey dies of hunger in the end). Rhymed form makes it stick so good that we even have a saying for describing person experiencing paradox of choice that is literally the first line of this story.



wmkn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This article focuses on the choice you have as a consumer. Which brand, which flavor, which stack of hay?

But I observe a similar crippling effect when working on software. Every step along the way of producing a software product involves making an incredible amount of choices. Choices like, 'what platform?', 'what programming language?', 'which algorithm?', etc. I believe that the the freedom we have as a software engineers forces us to make more choices than in any other engineering discipline.

There is a certain anxiety involved in make such engineering choices. Will this choice work out in the end, or am I going to waste a lot of time implementing and later reversing this for the other option?

gone35 10 hours ago 1 reply      
"(...) a concept that the Swarthmore University psychologist Barry Schwartz would then popularize and rename as the paradox of choice."

Last time I checked, there is no such a thing as "Swarthmore University": Barry Schwartz is affiliated with Swarthmore College instead [1,2,3].

Might seem pedantic, but the New Yorker of yore would never let such a slip --online or not. Such editing.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paradox_of_Choice:_Why_More...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Schwartz_(psychologist)

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarthmore_College

alexvr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I spent months of my freshman year highly anxious for similar first-world reasons. I excel at and enjoy lots of things and felt like school was making me commit to one field. I would spend days very inactive, stressing out about, for example, the pros and cons of being a game programmer versus an embedded software engineer or something. I could never seem to settle on one area. I thought game programming was a waste of engineering talent, but I found everything else about it extremely appealing. Luckily I'm over that crap now, as I accept what I knew all along: that it's not what you major in that defines you. It's what you do in life that matters. It also helps to be in a field that applies to virtually everything else (CS). I'd go even more crazy if I were in some highly specialized field. Strangely, I'd say the best cure for this is a brief existential crisis.
taurath 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Sounds familiar. I wish the article had some sort of suggestion or hint as to what to do when you're really prone to anxiety. I have several very good options in my life right now and have made a tenative decision on what to do, but I'm finding I'm crippled by anxiety over my decision.
scotty79 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> Lipowski thought of Buridans ass: an apocryphal donkey that finds itself standing between two equally appealing stacks of hay.

> ...

> While Lipowskis work received some immediate wide attention, it soon fell into relative obscurity.

> ...

> Schwartz would then popularize and rename as the paradox of choice

No wonder. It's so much easier to be told that you are experiencing a paradox than to be told that you are behaving like an ass. Buridans or not.

JacobIrwin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I submit that "anxiety" here could be better defined as: the mental taxation of evaluating the opportunity cost for turning down each of the available alternatives, given a person's position on Maslow's hierarchy of needs
louischatriot 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This article really resonnates with me, having had to choose between two very interesting jobs. It took me 2 weeks to decide and was a really anxious period, whereas without a choice I would have taken either without a second thought.
jeorgun 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that, in pretty much every field, the most rewarding tasks, often with the most highly regarded results, are the most constrained rhyming schemes and meter in poetry, immutability in programming, whatever.

It could just be freedom from the anxiety of choice (and just admiration for the creator's ability to succeed despite these constraints on the part of the audience). I feel like there's more to it than that, though.

scotty79 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> The choices between those objects that they valued most highly were both the most positive and the most anxiety-filled. The more choices they hadthe study was repeated with up to six items per choicethe more anxious they felt.

This sounds like nothing more than loss aversion. Until you make the choice you have opportunity to acquire some valuable things. When you make the choice you've lost all the things you didn't choose.

This leads to easy ways of alleviating anxiety. You just need to mentally devalue all the things you are supposed to choose from and when you make the choice, immediately devalue things you haven't chosen even more (getting hyped over the thing you just chose won't help because anxiety comes not for the lack of appreciation of what you gained but for too much appreciation for the things you've lost opportunity to obtain).

kelukelugames 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I was ecstatic when I got my first job offer. Then I got a second. And a few more rolled in. Choosing became the most stressful part of the job hunt.

The companies I didn't pick made monster gains in the stock market --30% in one month.

Cry me a river, right?

lloeki 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who prefer video to text, Barry Schwartz (mentioned in the article) gave an insightful TED talk about this, as has Sheena Iyengar[1] (but I didn't know so haven't watched it... yet). Baba Shiv has an interesting take[2].

[0]: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_ch...

[1]: http://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_on_the_art_of_choosi...

[2]: http://www.ted.com/talks/baba_shiv_sometimes_it_s_good_to_gi...

blue1 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is a bit shallow. I recommend Schwarz's book, The Paradox of Choice; it's a fun read and I found it very insightful.
sitkack 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The decisions are difficult because the gradient between them is low. So as https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8124172 says, just pick one.

Humans are great a ranking from a low number of choices. Too many choices or of similar quality and our ranking mechanisms break down.

unchocked 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This validates something I've suspected for a while: that decisiveness is valuable in and of itself.
ctchocula 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've felt this when deciding what kind of yogurt to buy at the supermarket. There were simply too many varieties, so I often ended up not getting any, because I couldn't be bothered to decide.
hartator 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's me or there are a lot of articles from the newyorker which make the HN top?
Zigurd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The article doesn't distinguish between freedom to choose, and getting a ridiculous amount of trivial choice blasted at you in order to sell things. The latter is unnatural and psychologically abusive, and could easily cause stress.

But even supposed political freedom may be overrated. A demarchy might very well be better-performing, more representative, and less corruptible than an elected government. After all, term limits, devolution to more local government, and other "reforms" are just an approximation of demarchy. We sure don't get representation from our current system, but we do give authoritarians a veneer of legitimacy by voting. That's pretty stressful.

This is relevant to the Internet because the value and effectiveness of ads are an ongoing controversy, while at the same time funding much of what we use.

Most Math Problems Do Not Have a Unique Right Answer
75 points by ColinWright  9 hours ago   50 comments top 15
jordigh 8 hours ago 7 replies      
I want to add something here: great mathematicians compute too. They also know how to perform an algorithm. It is in performing, say, long division, that you start to notice things like when 10 is a primitive root modulo the divisor. Gauss spent his down time counting primes (in his head, he said). Riemann's notes were full of haphazard computations. Amidst his scratch work where the Riemann-Siegel formula appears, there's a computation of sqrt(2) to 38 decimal places for no discernible purpose. He probably was merely exercising, just like a musician practices scales. Erds was able to memorise 10 phone numbers at a time from a glance at a phone book, amidst other calculating feats.

I hypothesise that offloading this brain work to a machine atrophies your cerebral muscles. Exercises left to the reader are really exercises in an almost kinesthetic sense.

The computations don't have to be purely numerical: even a diagram chase in abstract nonsense is a valuable exercise. Computation frequently leads to insight. As children are adding two-digit numbers, they start to notice shortcuts about how to perform the computations. These are their own little private theorems, so to speak. So when Devlin here is talking about "mathematical thinking" and the less importance that performing algorithms has today, I hope we don't forget that just because it's less important, it doesn't mean it's not important at all.

japhyr 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a three year old son, and it is absolutely fascinating to watch his mathematical understanding develop. I've been a math teacher my entire adult life so I've had plenty of experience watching older students develop their understanding. It's entirely different watching your kid develop their understanding from scratch.

I recently looked for some kids' books that would focus on the more interesting problems in math, rather than just counting. I was happy to find a few books that have helped him see math as more than just counting. My favorite so far is The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos. [0] I knew of Erdos, but I didn't know much about him. I learned from reading this book, and my kid loves it as well. He is fascinated with aging, and he now sees it as normal that someone would spend their whole life focusing on numbers.

We are also starting to enjoy Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late. [1] The idea is to give your kid some interesting math problems to think about at bedtime. We've found that it's a good way to help him think about things other than the dark, and strange noises while he's falling asleep.

It's fascinating to watch this development. A few nights ago: "Did you know that one of the oldest questions people have asked is, How many stars are there in the sky?"

"No, I didn't know that!"

"How many stars do you think there are in the sky?"


[0] - http://www.amazon.com/The-Boy-Who-Loved-Math/dp/1596433078

[1] - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250035856

analog31 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that if you want to understand how ordinary people use math, a good place to start would be by looking at their Excel spreadsheets. Excel is arguably the most widely used tool for computation and even programming. I've seen some impressive spreadsheets for solving complex problems, written by folks with no more than a high school education.

With that said, I'd endorse a move away from solely algorithm based (standardized test based) learning.

edtechdev 7 hours ago 0 replies      
And yet the way math is traditionally taught in schools and colleges, there is almost always is a unique right answer.

There are alternative approaches to teaching math such as problem-based learning, active learning, and inquiry-based learning, that help students not only understand the math better, but learn why the math is useful and how to apply it in the real-world (transfer of learning). Students also are much more likely to continue on and succeed in future courses and graduate.

Here are best practices for teaching calculus, for example:http://launchings.blogspot.com/2014/01/maa-calculus-study-se...

And research showing that in traditional lecture courses (vs. active learning courses), students are 1.5 times more likely to fail:http://news.sciencemag.org/education/2014/05/lectures-arent-...

Underrepresented populations (minorities) and females are much more likely to succeed in active and inquiry learning math courses, too: http://theconversation.com/who-learns-in-maths-classes-depen...

calhoun137 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It is refreshing to find an article with a false title that contains it's own refutation within the first five paragraphs:

"The only career in which a high school graduate can expect to continue to work on [problems with a unique correct answer] is academic research in pure mathematics"

Unfortunately for this article, the premise that mathematics is the same thing as engineering is false.

If an engineering problem does not have a unique solution, its because of complications introduced by the real world. Any engineering problem which can be well-posed as a pure math problem, does of course have a unique solution; as the author concedes.

hebbarp 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Most Math Problems Do Not Have a Unique Right Answer

The title is both right and wrong. You are actually comparing school or college math with math applied in real world. School or college math works with few variables, for instance, and we consider most others remaining constant. Rarely have I seen school or college level students working with, say, derivatives of more than three variables. School or college math is an exercise to establish the rule, the rigour and in most cases to create an appreciation of what math can achieve.

In real world, variables are plenty. If you take a handful to solve a problem considering other important ones to be constants, you will end up with one set of answers as against others if you had taken a different set of variables. Real world applied math is contextual. You remove context from the problem and real world math looks like school or college math. As demonstrated by the engine-armour-plate example, without the context of the airplanes returning after taking hits, the mathematicians would probably have gone with a statistical answer and would have been proven wrong!

However, I do agree that most math problems may not have unique right answer. Of course, we are not talking of,say, square-root-of-two having two different answers. However, take an instance where the problem is:"Find a number that is a sum of two infinitesomely large numbers one ocurring at an infinitely large interval of time from the other. Does it essentially fall on the numberline?" Well the first reaction to this question is: well, yes. Because if we are sure to find those two numbers then we are more likely to find their sum which has to fall on the numberline. Now, a more discerning reader might pause and ask: can you define infinitely large number and infinitely large interval. Hence, a question like this may not have a unique right answer. If you allow philosophers in, you will definitely not have a unique answer :)

Coming to a more basic argument: With math we are striving to arrive at a single agreeable solution. Whether it is statistics or calculus, we are interested in modelling the world to arrive at a set of recognizable pattern or a set of patterns. We apply the templates we learnt in school and college. For instance in arithmetic, numerals -- which are nothing but symbols -- help us reduce our problems into an expression which we can solve. The operations allow us to take these symbols through a set of processes that helps us model the problem.

But thanks to the author, what is clear is that applied math is contextual and answer may vary with the change in context. While school math is merely an exercise in familairising ourselves with a template.

tedunangst 6 hours ago 1 reply      
How is adding armor to the engine area not a unique right answer? I'll leave you to figure out why that is the best solution. If there is only a single best solution, isn't that then the unique right answer?
skierscott 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a senior in college. I've learned about a host of mathematical concepts that are misunderstood by popular media (N dimensions, linear algebra, linear functions). Wanting to correct these topics, I wrote a blog post[1] about them.

But this blog post blossomed into much more than I was expecting. I was expecting to cover only those specific details, but then I got into nonlinear problems that have no closed form solution and got into what mathematicians do. While I'm still learning and they're an experienced mathematician, I like to think I can understand what everyone else thinks and what mathematicians think.


kazinator 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If we randomly choose a matrix A of NxN coefficients, we are quite likely to end up with a linear independence, meaning that Ax' = 0 where x' is the vector [x^(n-1) x^(n-1) ... x 1] is a system of equations with a unique solution.

This is an example in which most problems derived from some real data in fact have a unique solution.

In case the above isn't clear what I simply mean is that, for instance, if we randomly choose the coefficients for a system of three equations in three unknowns, we are in fact statistically unlikely to end up with an under-determined system (multiple solutions). Two or more of the vectors in the matrix would have to point in the same direction, which is unlikely for randomly chosen 3-vectors.

dbecker 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Since uncountably many problems have unique right answers, I'd guess the cardinality of the set of problems with unique right answers is the same as the cardinality of the set of problems without. :)
sethammons 5 hours ago 0 replies      
He linked to DragonBox Elements which I had not heard of. It looks really amazing. This one is for geometry, similar to how the previous DragonBox was for algebra. Awesome find!
johnnwhite 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with the author entirely. But I still feel it's important to be able to do computation in your head if just to develop that "number sense". As a physicist, I use computers to do all my real calculations. But when I get the answer that seems wrong, I can mentally do some basic calculations that convince myself the computer-answer I got is probably off by a factor of two, and look for the bug.
qnaal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The idea that mathematics as a whole is intuitive (as opposed to specific facets of its machinations) is as pervasive as it is misleading.
JibberMeTimbers 7 hours ago 4 replies      
As for the armor plating question, did the plate the engine because of its size? The engines combined make up a smaller surface area than the other places but it was still shot up quite a bit. It would be less weight and not to mention it would be more 'mission critical'.
gambogi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's too bad most of the discussion here is centering around the title, rather than the post
I found a bug in the .NET framework and fixed it by hand-altering the DLL
314 points by antics  1 day ago   111 comments top 17
jmesserly 1 day ago 1 reply      
Funny, I had something to do with this code back in the day! I'm guessing it was a copy+paste bug and they copied from the LambdaCompiler, which uses StrongBox<T> for its closed-over parameters[1], since StrongBox<T>.Value is a field. The idea was to have the closures be really fast.

The history of ET compiler: it started with LINQ in .NET 3.5. Originally it was pretty simple and just handled expressions. In .NET 4.0 we merged the entire codebase with the IronPython/IronRuby compiler trees, expanding the "expression trees" to handle statements. IIRC, it can generate almost any IL construct that you might need, and is usually a lot easier to work with. But we found .NET's runtime compiler (DynamicMethod) was a bit too slow for a lot of use cases. It also wasn't supported on some CLR configurations. To address this we wrote an interpreter and some heuristics to switch from interpreted to compiled. But the actual System.Linq.Expressions.Interpreter must have happened after 4.0, because I don't remember that at all. Instead we just shipped it as a shared library used by IronPython and IronRuby.

Here's the normal ExpressionQuoter:https://github.com/IronLanguages/main/blob/7be8b73e246bfb029...

And here was the interpreter. I don't see the ExpressionQuoter, so either that's a newer fork of the code that was rolled into System.Core, or maybe a completely new implementation.https://github.com/IronLanguages/main/tree/master/Runtime/Mi...

IIRC, ExpressionQuoter was mainly to support the Quote expression, and was always a bit buggy. The 3.5 version was seriously messed up, and our prerelease versions of .NET 4.0 also had various bugs, and very few tests. I tried to fix it by having it use the same reuse closure mechanism as the normal compiler. Funny that same feature caused issues later on.

[1] one might wonder: why use StrongBox<T>, essentially boxing every parameter, rather than just generating a type with only the right fields? The reason was that generating a type in .NET 4.0 timeframe was absurdly slow. Like, a few hundred per second slow. I think this has been largely fixed now, but it was a huge performance problem for Iron* language runtimes back in the day

stusmith1977 1 day ago 3 replies      
In situations like this, you can report the bug to Microsoft Connect:

1. Submit bug report.2. Wait six months.3. MS tech will post a comment, "this will be fixed in the next release".4. Wait two more years.5. Bug report will be closed as "won't fix".

nope_42 1 day ago 1 reply      
Should have just used dotPeek instead of ilspy and writing IL code by hand. Recompiling would have certainly been easier. http://www.jetbrains.com/decompiler/
colanderman 1 day ago 4 replies      
I did this once with GCC.

"But GCC's open source!" you say.

Well, GCC is next-to-impossible to compile for a target other than the host, especially if the target isn't x86 or ARM; and GCC maintainers insist on precise test cases to vet a bug, even if the issue is immediately obvious from reading the source code and the bug only occurs in certain very complex situations.

(/me looks forward to the day Clang/LLVM becomes the default on Linux)

kelnos 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel like a "freetard" "greybeard" "basement-dweller" (insert-your-own-pejorative-here) saying this, but: yet another reason why I will never ever base my livelihood on a closed ecosystem. Open source is certainly not a panacea, but needing to do something like this is just ridiculous.
xorcist 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I take issue with the authors use of the word "patch". He's not actually patching the DLL, just decompiling and recompiling which are quite familiar for most programmers. There might be some black magic associated with this particular DLL that we non-.net programmers doesn't understand.

I would personally be very careful with the recompiling dance, at least in other languages, as alignments and such might come out of place. A patch feels much less dangerous if this is something that is to be deployed.

(I always also try to rig such builds so that the build bombs if the dependencies change. That way it doesn't survive version changes without forcing someone to take a long hard look at it.)

Permit 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know a lot of people here balk at the idea of paying for tooling, but Red Gate's Reflector[1] is absolutely amazing for situations like this. Not only is it a decompiler, but it allows you to decompile at debug-time and step into third party libraries.

Assuming they haven't been obfuscated, this is an extremely useful tool. I've used it to track down a number of issues within Visual Studio itself and within some of the non-open sourced components of Roslyn.

[1] http://www.red-gate.com/products/dotnet-development/reflecto...

b0b0b0b 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why wasn't the DLL signed? Is this not a thing?
breischl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, that is some fancy work. Though I shudder to think about deploying and maintaining that fix, and bringing new developers up to speed on why and how it was done.

I was also about to tell him to skip all the ildasm stuff and just use the online reference source (referencesource.microsoft.com) ... but that assembly isn't in there. So I guess ildasm was the best option.

jacquesm 1 day ago 4 replies      
The fact that you can even do this without setting off a ton of alarmbells about failed checksums is what really scares me.
x0n 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I did the same for the Invoke-RestMethod cmdlet in PowerShell 3.0: http://nivot.org/blog/post/2013/05/07/PowerShell-Masochistic...
swalsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, how did I not know about this ExpressionBlock class! There's always another gem waiting in the framework :D

I wish i knew about it about a year ago for a project I did.

rubyrescue 1 day ago 3 replies      
My knowledge of the GAC is out of date but isn't a bit of a security hole that you can replace that DLL?
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sidebar: I haven't done deep C# in several years, since moving to F#.

This code is getting to look butt-ugly. It is not a good thing if it continues like this. We already have C++. Don't need another one.

skrebbel 1 day ago 8 replies      
The real news here is that this is considered special.

In most other languages, they'd have forked the source, fixed it, recompiled it for their own uses and submitted a pull request or patch.

I'm a big .NET fan, but the fact that we have to jump through such hoops to find and fix a bug, and then still have near certainty that we're going to have to reapply the patch for many updates to come, well, that's just a bit sad. It feels rather last-century, to be honest. Microsoft could save a lot of double work if they'd just open source .NET and attach a decent process to it. They can still be the Linus. Just consider my patches.

euroclydon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sad to report that I tried to replicate what the author did here and it didn't work...

I went to the weekly tech lead meeting, and when it was my turn to talk, I said: "I think we should increase out internal NuGet package release interval to every 18 hours. F--k the Police!"

People just looked at me weird.

cornholio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dude, that's not a DLL, it's a pile of half-digested scripting language. Real men patch in assembly.
The Kids Who Beat Autism
298 points by danso  2 days ago   130 comments top 25
kohanz 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's probably due to me recently become a parent myself, but the thing that gets me the most (and I'll admit I can barely read it without tearing up), is the last bit about Jackie and her son Matthew, who has not responded to the treatment at all:

Jackies son, Matthew, now 24, has not had that conversation with his parents. In fact, he barely has conversations at all. At the group home where he now lives, near a horse farm in the Berkshires, the staff can generally interpret the sounds he makes. Sometimes he types clues on the iPod Touch his parents gave him, because he long ago learned to spell the things that matter to him. But mostly he seems absorbed by his interior life.


The idea that Matthew wont recover no longer pains Jackie. At some point, she told me, I realized he was never going to be normal. Hes his own normal. And I realized Matthews autism wasnt the enemy; its what he is. I had to make peace with that. If Matthew was still unhappy, Id still be fighting. But hes happy. Frankly, hes happier than a lot of typically developing kids his age. And we get a lot of joy from him. Hes very cuddly. He gives us endless kisses. I consider all that a victory.

I'm without words. Remarkable people.

beatit 1 day ago 8 replies      
But what exactly constitutes "beating" Autism? Is this actually desirable?

I was diagnosed with Asperger's in the mid-90s. I wrote about the experience anonymously for Boing Boing at one point[1].

But the TL;DR is that having lived in both "worlds", the experience of being "cured" was not worth it. The emotional costs were much too high - I just traded ASD for PTSD. I used to be a happy kid with few friends who tinkered with computers. Now I'm a very social guy who will shake your hand, look you in the eye, ask all the right questions to make you feel special. And I'll be miserable the whole time.

[1] http://boingboing.net/2013/01/05/pedagogyofthedepressed.html

fecak 1 day ago 4 replies      
One of the keys to treatment is catching it early. As the parent of a child with autism, I am always surprised when I talk to people today who still aren't aware of some of the signs that point to the possibility autism. I had assumed they were common knowledge by now.

Things like toe-walking, repeating words or sounds (echolalia), limited or no eye contact, and an unwillingness or inability to point to objects are fairly easy things to observe in your own children or even kids you see around town.

The list in the link below is a good overview, and the few I listed above are considered 'classic' symptoms to look for.


craigching 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I debated posting this, but there is one part of the article that really resonated with me:

I asked him if there was anything he missed about being autistic. I miss the excitement, he said. When I was little, pretty often I was the happiest a person could be. It was the ultimate joy, this rush in your entire body, and you cant contain it. That went away when my sister started teasing me and I realized flapping wasnt really acceptable.

I have a son that "flaps" and we have been concerned about autism for about a year and a half now, since he turned two. He has some autism signs, but our developmental ped says not the classic signs. He can do eye contact, he is social, but he didn't speak, he did have the "daydream gaze."

We've been doing speech therapy now since he turned 2 and we've added an additional speech therapist since he turned 3. His progress has been remarkable, I can have a real conversation with him sometimes (granted, I have to infer a lot, but it's huge from where he was!). He has issues "taking turns", waiting in lines for camel rides at the zoo or getting on the carousel is really hard for him.

So, the flapping thing. My kid is great! I love him as he is! I want the best for him, I want him to be as "normal" as possible. But if he says what this kid says, that he was happier flapping, then I really hope he doesn't lose that. I love him as he is and I want nothing more for him than to be happy. We are extremely fortunate that he's not been diagnosed with debilitating autism and might have what's known as sensory perception disorder instead. But in the end, it doesn't matter, he's a great kid and he's happy and I want to keep it that way.

Hytosys 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The field has made significant improvements past ABA with PRT (pivotal response therapy[1]). PRT extends upon ABA by, instead of rewarding with "tickling him or giving him an M&M," using the patient's restricted interest as a reward itself. The "three small laminated coupons" method in this article is somewhat related to the PRT methodology.

Drs. Lynn and Robert Koegel of UC Santa Barbara[2] run a center for ASD treatment using PRT. The idea behind the center is significant parent PRT education.

I feel the urge to bring this up because whenever ASD is written about, no one seems to be up to date on the research. The vaccine/vitamin/mercury bullshit doesn't help.

Throwing this article[3] in here because everyone is talking about a "cure" for autism, while research is providing compelling evidence that there isn't much to be medically cured, really.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pivotal_response_therapy

[2] http://education.ucsb.edu/autism

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurodiversity

junto 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I noted earlier that a friend of mine is an ABA therapist and has been working with autistic children for over 20 years.

He once told me that I was in what he termed 'a risk group for having a child with autism'.

I was taken aback and he went on to explain that while there is no hard and fast rule, it had been noted that there was a prevalence of fathers with particular types of job, namely engineers and computer scientists, amongst the fathers of the autistic children they cared for.

Often the fathers (and on rare occasions the mothers), were also 'within the same spectrum', even if it just manifested itself as social introversion or 'geekyness'.

In retrospect I imagine this isn't often discussed with the parents since throwing 'genetic blame' around isn't exactly productive and it is widely believed that there is no singular 'cause of autism' anyway.

incision 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good article.

I'm hesistant to talk about it, even in the relative anonymity of my HN username, but swathes of this article read like a script covering the past few years for us.

Thankfully, we've had great success, but not without constant effort and patience on all fronts - at home, out and about, when researching, when dealing with our county and state resources, insurance company and of course all the people who have very strong opinions on all things autism.

In a nutshell, I'm all for the sort techniques the article describes alongside a sensible definition of 'normal' and most importantly selflessness in seeking what's best for your child.

If anyone reading this has an inkling to chat, feel free to use the email in my profile.

forrestthewoods 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is wild. It seems to support that argument isn't "thing" that you "have". Instead it's a description of the state of a brain. And, perhaps most importantly, that brain state isn't necessarily fixed. Autism isn't a fundamental property of the brain state. It's only a description of the current state. And with great effort, and a lot of luck, that state can be changed. Wild.
walshemj 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So if you have high IQ you have more success in devising coping strategies - not exactly rocket science.

You don't cure Autisiam/Dyslexia or these sorts of learning disabilities you develop strategies to cope.

itaifrenkel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Three days ago I had the most amazing experience playing in playback theater for a room full of (~100) grownups of the autistic spectrum (living in hostels in the community, mostly with high verbal skills). The stories they chose to share were about couples. A loss of a lifelong partner, I want to see my best friend every day. I remember a story of a young man (in his twenties). He was advocated by his girlfriend to go up and share his story. She didn't talk but her body language was very convincing taking his hand waving it up in the air, smiling, looking directly at the host. He was very shy, and the host decided that it was not that she was pushing him to do something he didn't wanted, but that she was in some way representing him, and that shy people should also get their chance of telling their story. It took a while to understand his story, but in a nutshell her parents invited them (for dinner?) , and his parents did not. He couldn't answer some of the questions (such as what did they do at her parents house), so the host and him stood up hand in hand walked to his partner and she somehow helped him to feel good again (I think she said it was dinner, but they had this connection that was more than that). We played-back the story on stage (improvised play) in which they meet at work as they do every day, and then he talks with his parents over the phone and they invite them over for dinner. I can't describe the joy on his face. He no longer looked down, he was so happy. We were so happy! After the show, we met with one of their instructors and he explained to us that they rarely if ever get a chance to tell their story to someone that would actually listen, not to mention see their story on stage. After the show ended I went outside of the building to take a taxi and I felt in an instant how the war depression is weighting on me again (I'm from Tel Aviv/Israel everyone is depressed from the endless blood cycle). And then it hit me, that for the first time in a month, I was in a room with people that weren't depressed by the war. We are coming back a few months from now to another group and I can't wait.
junto 1 day ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine is an ABA therapist. I sat in on one of his sessions once with the parents' permission (takes place in the family house).

I was amazed at how exhausting it is for all concerned, including the child. The costs are also astronomical since the process is extremely human resource dependent for a long time. For most families who are lucky enough to afford or be funded for an ABA program, the children often start aged 2+ and continue on until mid-teens.

Families are forced to give up almost everything to take part in these programmes. They have my utmost respect.

dschiptsov 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The term Autism is as meaningless and vague as the term Hysteria in times of Froid. There is a whole scale of ASDs, which have very different causes and symptoms and hardly could be fit in a single oversimplified category. Especially when used in media.

Some causes are "environmental" and of personal experiences, like childhood traumas or, which is the most common scenario, lack of proper treatment by parents and abusing by others as "being stupid". These conditions could be successfully treated by various CBTs, including those based oon "overcoming ignorance", to which I am myself a living proof.

But there are also various neurological disorders which cannot be lifted by mere CBTs.

So, the meme of autism as in characters like Rocky or Travis (these are the most "realistic" ones) or modern memes of autistic techies or hackers (with a very few well-known exceptions) are, well, a stupid memes. Life of an ordinary person with Aspergers (as they call us) is by no means a movie. It is just a severe condition of confusion, frustration and pain.

Unfortunately, modern media are made out of memes because common folks cannot grasp the subtleties of reality, which is indeed a not easy task.

So, non-neuroligical condition changed by a improvised CBT is not such a great news. These things happen routinely and quetly in the rest of the world.

iterationx 23 hours ago 0 replies      
My mom helped a kid with autism using the Son-Rise program. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son-Rise program. It worked well for him.
CatMtKing 17 hours ago 0 replies      
From the article it seems like some of the symptoms are associated with inadequate sensing or awareness of social cues. That makes me wonder if taijiquan is a good exercise to help with that, as it trains sensitivity to small movements, intentions, and body structure. I'm not sure how well kids pick it up, though.
nashashmi 1 day ago 0 replies      
OMG! This article is a complete breath of fresh air. Autistic people are considered disabled or retarded but they are not. They are actually quite intelligent. In fact, too intelligent that it gets in the way of social development (or rather WE determine them to be socially undeveloped). Their minds race in only certain directions and leaves behind development in social interactions. This lack of social development overshadows and hides all of the other things they are good at.

Autistic people have a difficult time of inferring social behavior. It does not come naturally to them. The behavior needs to be spelled out and explicitly stated.

Autistic people are programmable individuals, but the only problem is that normal people lack the interface to communicate with them.

I am glad to hear of the positiveness expressed in this article, but I do not like the over-sensationalized title "kids who beat Autism". No one ever 'beats' autism.

JackFr 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is a enlightening counterpart to the 'emerging neuroscience' chorus, who would have us believe that a full model of consciousness and the brain is just around the corner. That those trying treat autism haven't a clue what causes the onset, and why certain therapies are effective tells me that we really are at the stage of the absolutely primitive models of brain activity.


tmosleyIII 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My 7yr old son is autistic and so much of what this article says and what others have commented, has been the same wild ride for us. He is a happy happy little person that wants to laugh and be loved (and eaten my Zombie Dad once in awhile.)

For the other parents out there, I don't know if they have it in your state but Ohio has things like the Autism Scholarship and grants from different Autism groups. Those really helped with those sessions not covered by insurance or being able to go to a school that provides a little more help.

Renaud 18 hours ago 0 replies      
A related story, the amazing Dr. Temple Grandin[1] whose life was documented in a BBC Horizon documentary a few years ago: "The woman who thinks like a cow"[2].



scythe 1 day ago 2 replies      
IIRC, these kinds of approaches are collectively termed "positive psychology":


The theories in this field suggest that many disorders can be explained as the absence of certain knowledge and skillsets: in the case of autism, language skills and nonverbal social skills; in the case of depression, stress management and exercise habits, among others.

Another way to look at it is that there are actually several underlying causes of autism, not all of which must be present for symptoms to appear, and only in certain cases can it be reversed. It appears that a particular and persistent functional deficit in the children treated was that they did not understand how to get other people's attention: maybe various events or genetic factors in early childhood can inhibit the way this is normally learned, and maybe that learning process can be retriggered.

PhasmaFelis 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The photo caption at the top of the article: "Mark Macluskie, 16, who is no longer autistic."

That's wrong. He's learned coping strategies that let him deal with the negative characteristics of autism, enough that most people don't perceive him as autistic. That's excellent, an ideal outcome. I've done the same with my own autism. I haven't stopped being autistic. There are other traits, many of them positive, that will always be with me, just as they are for Mark.

There's this awful mindset that autism is a sickness, and if you stop acting sick, you no longer have autism. Mark's mother says, Even doctors say, Well, he must have been misdiagnosed, because a person cant stop having autism. Its so frustrating. Mark worked so hard. To deny everything he did to get this far isnt fair. I know she means well, and has done well by her son, but this shit makes me want to flip a table. Autism is not a mark of shame. There's nothing wrong with being a high-functioning autistic. We need to stop spreading this malignant notion that autistics are damaged by definition.

6581 1 day ago 4 replies      
Suggesting that autism can be healed or that there are children "who no longer have autism" is very misleading. Individuals can learn how to deal with the symptoms of autism and how to appear "normal" to others, but that doesn't make it a cure. It's merely a way to try to fit into society that sometimes works out and sometimes doesn't.

Edit: It would be helpful to know why I'm being downvoted in this thread. What I stated about the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria isn't wrong; that doesn't mean I agree with it.

danso 1 day ago 3 replies      
Off-topic: I posted this yesterday, it didn't get many votes (probably because posting longform articles on autism may not get much readers during the work day)...but suddenly it's (my submission, not someone else's resubmission) is on HN's front page...Despite it being a day old? I think karma-gravity formula may be off...?

note to downvoters: I'm not complaining about not getting upvotes for a day-old submission. I'm confused as to how my day-old submission is suddenly, as of 10 minutes ago, on the front page?

murbard2 1 day ago 2 replies      
tl;dr: operant conditioning. The method described is exactly how you train a puppy.
djmollusk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Poor Christian Weston Chandler
guard-of-terra 1 day ago 2 replies      
One family had a boy who, despite growing healthy, did not speak.He seemed to understand what's spoken to him, but never uttered a word in return. Doctors could not help.

Pass fifteen years; one day this family dines, and suddently the "mute" boy proclaims in displeased voice: There's too many salt in the porrige!

His father and mother hug him in tears and ask: Dear son, but why didn't you talk?

"Before today, everything was all right!"


It seems that autists really do have this attitude when it comes to interaction with other people (or avoidance of it).

Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal of Freedom Already
123 points by brmunk  3 hours ago   40 comments top 7
downandout 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Love him or hate him, if Edward Snowden returns to the US, it will be in shackles and he will go to prison for most, if not all, of the rest of his life. The US government doesn't waive off prosecutions because the end justifies the means; it simply looks at the means and whether or not they were illegal. In this case, those means were extremely illegal.

What Snowden did helped us as a society. He exposed Obama as a liar, the NSA as a thief, and made it politically impossible for legislators to ignore or endorse any form of secret surveillance. But he will personally suffer for that. Whether in the figurative prison of Russian citizenship, or more likely in the literal underground Federal prison in Florence, CO, where security is so tight that inmates are shown their mail on television screens instead of being allowed to touch it, he is going to pay for what he did for the rest of his life. In my view, we should all thank him for his sacrifice.

ChrisAntaki 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Perhaps a Freudian slip, but ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden recently called Snowden a whistleblower [1].


rektide 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Also: freedom.
bananaoomarang 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Please don't.
ogrerut 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I'm wondering how Mr Snoden would compare to e.g. A Google employee stealing user e-mails and fleeing to China
wtbob 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The only thing he deserves around his neck is a noose. He's a self-righteous prig, a moral child (or possibly a moral cretin) who violated his oath, betrayed his country and leaves the world a far less safe place. His lack of maturity, patriotism and simple common sense have had grievous consequences, and are likely to continue to do so.

The system also failed: no-one like him should have ever been granted the access he received. That does not excuse his misbehaviour.

I doubt he'll ever get what he deserves; rather, he will be feted and glorified by similar immature, unpatriotic idiots. He'll probably never even recognise the magnitude of the evil he's committed.

3327 2 hours ago 6 replies      
Why? Because he is the best Russian double agent operation in the history of espionage ? Because he skilled gov't secrets citing domestic spying where as the vast majority of what he revealed is actually international espionage? Which although some may / may not support is legal and any country with that sort of ability and know how would only WISH they could do it too.

Medal of Freedom? For the record I was pro-Snowden and for a very long time thought the same - NSA and TOR, etc unwarrented secret courts, etc. Some of them need change and are wrong I agree. But if Snowden was not a a double agent or for that matter a Moscow pawn, he would have had more finesse with the information he released.

People are naive, myself included - no one knows what it takes to keep people safe. Look at the world around you and see whats going on and don't take it for granted.

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