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New Requests for Startups
486 points by comatose_kid  9 hours ago   311 comments top 65
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akkartik 8 hours ago 15 replies      
> What comes after programming languages?

I've been working on this for several years, though a startup seems the wrong vehicle for it. I think the description in the RFS is misguided:

"Were interested in helping developers create better software, faster. This includes new ways to write, understand, and collaborate on code, and the next generation of tools and infrastructure for delivering software continuously and reliably."

There's a blind spot in prose like this that gets repeated all over the place in our community: it emphasizes writing over reading. I think we have to start with reading. My hypothesis is that we need to reform the representation of programs to address this use case: I download the sources for a tool I use, wanting to make a tweak. How can I orient myself and make a quick change in just one afternoon? This is hard today; it can take weeks or months to figure out the global organization of a codebase.

You can't "deliver software continuously and reliably" until you rethink its underpinnings. Before the delivery problem there's a literacy problem: we programmers prefer to write our own, or to wrap abstraction layers over the code of others, rather than first understanding what has come before.

More on my approach: http://akkartik.name/about

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frandroid 8 hours ago 8 replies      
It's a fantastic list; I'd like to comment on how some of the problems are already solved (outside the U.S.) or not cast properly.

> Healthcare in the United States is badly broken. We are getting close to spending 20% of our GDP on healthcare; this is unsustainable.

That's mostly a policy problem, not a technology problem. Countries with single-payer healthcare spend massively less on it per % of GDP than the United States with its pro-profit healthcare system, and American doctors and healthcare corporations end up being fabulously more rich than in those countries. (And they still have private healthcare, like in Sweden, which competes with public healthcare organizations.) The other reason healthcare costs are getting higher is that people are getting older and thus more sick. That's a generational bump, there's very little we can do about that. Not that I'm opposing the types of ideas YC is after in this sector (preventative medicine and better sensing/monitoring), just that the premise is wrong that it's a technological problem.

> At some point, we are going to have problems with food and water availability.

That's because we dedicate most of our water and land resources to feeding cattle that we then eat. Innovations that will have the most impact in that sector will involve weaning people from animal products. Stuff like Beyond Eggs and lab-grown meat.

> Its not a secret that saving money is hard, and that people tend to be bad at doing it. The personal savings rate has largely been falling since the early 80s.

Sure, some super-low-cost index funds would help, but the main problem here is two-fold: 1) real incomes are stagnant, due to government policies favouring corporations and 2) government/pension funds are much better at providing good ROI on investment than individuals can. Once again policy change is much more likely to have a massive impact than trying to improve the individual worker's investment returns. Collect retirement contributions at the source, and have the best investors in the country manage them. Without taking a profit for themselves. It's done elsewhere.

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impendia 7 hours ago 11 replies      
Would somebody please disrupt the textbook publishing industry?

http://www.amazon.com/Discrete-Mathematics-Applications-Susa...

$264.39, for students that work part time jobs at $7.00 an hour (before taxes).

Not only students are angry about this. Professors are angry, and authors are angry too. Bitter fights between professors and publishers are common.

Everybody wants to see the big players in this industry fail. Please, someone, make it happen.

4
maxcan 7 hours ago 2 replies      
> Wed like to see new services that make it possible to invest in super low-cost index funds.

Sorry, this is not the right problem in financial services. Companies like Vanguard are already doing a great job of this and the costs are extremely low. Its a commodity product with razor thin margins that actually serves the needs of its customers well. Maybe there's a marketing issue where they aren't educating enough people, but that's not a technology problem.

As an alternative: Lower the Costs to IPO, disrupt Investment Banks

Sarbanes-Oxley, minimal competition between investment banks, and heightened SEC scrutiny have made the fixed costs to an IPO astronomical. These days a company, for the most part, cannot IPO for less than a $1 billion raise. This means that the broad public, including those index funds YC loves, is prevented from enjoying any returns at all for younger, high-growth companies.

There is room for startups to disrupt part or all of the process. It would be capital intensive and hard as hell. But, you're not looking for easy right?

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atonse 8 hours ago 9 replies      
While I've always felt a strong attraction to YCombinator (especially the cameraderie that comes from being a part of it) and been very inspired to apply, I can't help but feel that I am in a phase of life that's simply not a good fit for YC, or at least the narrative that's pushed.

I'm no longer a mid 20-something that can live on Ramen and 16 hour days. I'm married and have a young child.

Are there YC founders in this phase of life that were able to make it work in YC? What did you do differently? Is YC interested in working with these kinds of founders? (it's certainly a different kind of "Diversity")

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ealloc 7 hours ago 9 replies      
I'm surprised no one has commented yet on the first couple of these - Energy, AI, Biotech, and Drug design.

These have traditionally been domains requiring a huge research apparatus with tremendous manpower, for only very long term gains. Not good for startups. In AI, how can a startup hope to succeed when academia has had almost no success in 50 years (and I am doubtful throwing more CPU/neuron layers will 'solve' the problem).

In addition, the people with the skills necessary to make progress are going to be advanced researchers with PhDs, who are good enough to remain in academia if they wish or who have already developed a proven-enough idea through their research career that they don't need Y-combinator-style money.

I am not trying to be a downer on the idea, contrarily I hope there can be success. Really I am fishing for anyone with a good perspective (or an answer) to these points.

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bravura 6 hours ago 4 replies      
An important trend is the API-ification of everything. As more and more businesses are accessible with a web API, the Internet becomes more and more powerful.

I'd like to invite people to try the early release of Empire API, which is one API for every enterprise SaaS:

http://empiredata.co

Empire is an API for accessing enterprise SaaS services such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Google Apps, etc. It provides a uniform, database-like interface to every service that it supports. Empire makes it easy to integrate data from multiple enterprise services into your own enterprise app.

You can click Login to create an account, and we'll send you an API key. Or you can just sign up for the mailing list.

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cik 8 hours ago 2 replies      
While interesting - the thing that surprised me the most was not seeing "security" (take that for what you will) on the list. Given the year of disclosures, the heartbleed incident, and all other sorts of things - I feel like this field is ripe for a disruption.

Between the staid companies that have been providing tools for decades that can be better, the tools that don't really exist that need to - I think we're ready. Similarly, with the security world starting to consolidate (FireEye buying Mandiant, likely goings public of companies like Rapid7 and TripWire), I'd think it's an ample rate/return option.

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kibaekr 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
It would be awesome if programming could actually be as easy as you imagine it to be in your head. Any non-tech person could program in their head: When this happens, do that, except for when this happens. It's more of the hidden bugs and shit just not working for no reason that makes programming so difficult and frustrating, but if there was a way that things would "just work," that would be game changer.
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wmeredith 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I liked this line: "the government is a very large customer with very bad software."

It could also be written like this: the government is a very bad customer with very large software.

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zeratul 7 hours ago 1 reply      
S.A. is talking about general-purpose AI (position 2 in the RFS). This means processing natural language. There is a lot of progress but it's just slow so it's almost invisible.

Also it's a very difficult field of science. Now you need to be proficient in AI, machine learning, computational linguistics, linguistic corpora research, cognitive sciences, statistics, and sometimes physics if the text changes over time. Of course, you also need to be a good programmer. This combination of skills is very rare. Thus, very slow progress.

I suggest to start with well defined practical problems. For example, no one seems to do much with user generated reviews. There is some sentiment analysis but that is just a binary text categorization problem - not even close to general purpose AI.

It would be much more interesting to show a seller a time ordered stream of clustered reviews that depict only the most representative review for each cluster. This way a seller can see how his/her fixes/changes impact user reviews. Also it would be a great source for features and bug fixes requests. This is an ideal testing bed for clustering, novelty detection, categorization and mild inference. The inference is required because of sparseness of data.

This would create a good data set for a more general purpose AI. We would have reviews and text documenting changes and improvements of a new version of a product. Now the computer could start learning the dialog between users and product developers. Then, we are just one more step from statistical inference based question-answering system. Not a brute force system like "Watson" or a hand crafted rule base system like "Siri".

[EDIT:] I was thinking more about a decision support system that can recommend product changes. But in a way that maximizes customer satisfaction and minimizes the cost of implementation. The dialogue between past changes and customer reaction would give us the surface that needs to be optimized. This would generalize well to other domains where there is a text for request and a text for response - just to name one: clinical text in healthcare (position 5 in the RFS).

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pbiggar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice to see programming tools listed here. In 2011, investors couldn't've cared less. That description could almost have been written for CircleCI: "delivering software continuously" and "better software, faster".

That said, I had more success building what wasn't in the RFC (dev tools in 2011), than what was (journalism stuff in 2010).

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startupfounder 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Energy generation, transmission, storage and consumption technologies are the opportunity of our lifetime and it is great to see Energy as #1 on this list (though there might not be a correlation between rank and YC weighted importance).

Generation - Solar & Wind

Transmission - Distributed Grid

Storage - Batteries

Consumption - Electric Vehicles

> We believe economics will dominate - new sources must be cheaper than old ones, without subsidies, and be able to scale to global demand.

The world uses a huge amount of energy and it is vital that any technology is 1.cost competitive and can 2.scale on a globally. These are no small feats, but like Airbnb the assets already exist, but our access to them does not. This is a distribution and financing problem, not a creating new technology problem.

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hazz 8 hours ago 5 replies      
>Specifically, lightweight, short-distance personal transportation is something were interested in.

Doesn't this already exist, in the form of the bicycle?

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nerfhammer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
> Its not a secret that saving money is hard, and that people tend to be bad at doing it. The personal savings rate has largely been falling since the early 80s.

There already several startups in the "personal saving" space largely based on index funds, though some of them have large minimums. Complex schemes may not be worth the effort for those with only a few bucks to spare:

https://www.wealthfront.com/

https://www.betterment.com/

https://www.futureadvisor.com/

It would be cool if Vanguard had an API so we could do the same thing open-source rather than incurring the extra management fees from these companies which are mostly based on Vanguard funds.

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aresant 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I loved seeing VR on this list as an Oculus enthusiast.

The http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus, http://www.reddit.com/r/oculusdev/, and https://developer.oculusvr.com/ are jam packed with excited hackers cranking out their projects and with the Oculus Connect conference coming up I'd love to see some of this talent pointed towards Y-Combinator

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foobarqux 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> what comes after programming languages

Isn't this like asking what comes after spoken language? Arguably the answer is nothing because language is what structured thought is.

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foobarqux 8 hours ago 1 reply      
>This seems to us like something software should help solve. Wed like to see new services that make it possible to invest in super low-cost index funds (in a normal account or a retirement account), do some customization around individual stocks, and otherwise set it and forget it.

This exists already, there are a ton of discount brokers with very competitive pricing.

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Permit 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool to see this list expanded. My own personal interest lies in programmer tools and their inevitable evolution, so it's great to see them listed on there.

A few of the accelerators I'd applied to in the past don't see the business opportunity present in developer tools (Who pays for those?) so it's a relief that YC recognizes the opportunity there.

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bambax 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> HUMAN AUGMENTATION

Oh yes, yes, yes. Everyone is talking about the quantified self but human augmentation would be so much cooler. I don't care if a watch can tell me my heart rate at all times (I know when my body is tired, or out of breath, because I live in it!!!)

But there are so many senses that I would like to have; for example, be able to always know where the North is relative to me. A device that would let me feel the North would be so cool and useful (I wear a Tissot T-Touch for that reason, but it's a very poor solution to this problem).

I think I heard the Apple watch will be able to do this, in some cases; but it sounds like an afterthought. I would pay serious money for a wrist bracelet or some other wearable that would do only that, but do it well.

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tsax 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Huh? This looks like a laundry list of everything, not a specific request.
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mbesto 6 hours ago 4 replies      
> We want to fund companies that have the potential to create a million jobs.

I still am curious about this one. Is there any startup that has successfully done this in recent history?

Keep in mind, there is a big difference (IMO) between creating new jobs and shifting existing ones.

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jolan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
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foobarqux 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Have any previous RFSes been filled? Have any been successful?
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DodgyEggplant 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Awesome, ambitious and inspiring list of the challenges humans need to solve to move forward. One huge issue forgotten though: animals and wild life. They also inhibit our planet and part of our lives, but many quickly disappearing.
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rhspeer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For Education, I really like this approach:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/davinci-flight/davinci-...

Learn by making awesome things to solve problems, then attach rockets and see what happens. It's a good approach, that's more fun for all and more accessible to folks that don't learn from the book & lecture model well.

I really like the prototype, simulate, 3D print approach. Being able to take home a flying model at the end of a lesson is just awesome.

Full Disclosure: Chris, the lead on the project, has been one of my best friends for the last 25 years so I'm biased.

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dobbsbob 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>Hollywood 2.0

Actors are now being hired based on the amount of followers they have on twitter. If you have a lot of worldwide followers you're guaranteed to be casted since that's where all the money is these days.

>Government

The problem with this is dealing with government technocrats who will never deploy your software as is and will demand all sorts of complexity, basically creating the same garbage they were using before. If you can somehow survive this insanity there are gigantic contracts up for bid, for example many post offices are using Microsoft Mobile devices and looking into some kind of wearable scanner that doesn't charge hefty MS licensing fees. Then there's the Integrated Case Management software contract for $182 million that still doesn't work http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/government+million+co...

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npostolovski 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Best RFS yet. Well done Y Combinator. I hope this orients more technical people toward problems that really matter.
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Jun8 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Two things I think are missing from the list:

1. It has often been commented that the next Google will come from the company who develops a palatable version "next generation TV". Hollywood 2.0 really covers only part of this.

2. A YC generator. YC emerged as an anomaly in the VC field and became widely successful. How can its success be replicated, both for US and in other countries. This was on a 2008 list that pg posted (http://old.ycombinator.com/ideas.html).

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wj 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If anybody is working on the financial services one I would love to talk to you about it. My day job is in that industry and I think there is a ton of room for innovation. Sometimes it is hard to convince people in the industry of that as they retain the ideas they came up with. I recall hearing somebody say in a talk (or maybe on Twitter) recently that industry disruption happens from people outside of the industry rather than people inside the industry.

Ultimately I think something that provides a whole financial picture is what is needed (I think Learnvest is trying to do that). I picture something along the lines of a combination of Credit Karma, You Need a Budget, and Vanguard as being the way to go.

My email and twitter are in my profile if you would like to talk.

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vishalzone2002 8 hours ago 3 replies      
With less than a month left to the deadline, its really challenging to build a decent MVP with some traction in one of these fields. And I think that seem to be at least the minimum requirement to get into YC.
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jblow 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am very happy to see this list.

I came to Demo Day in 2010 (as an investor) but left without investing in anything, because I was so demoralized by the way it seemed everyone was trying to start lame web sites doing relatively trivial things.

If Demo Day looked like the stuff on this list, I'd be banging down the door to get in again.

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pptr1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
These new RFS are awesome. I hope YC help accelerate a few startups that doing these type of RFS. It would be game changing. I can see allot more investor interest in YC if a non tradition YC backed company based on one of these RFC makes it big.

I had my doubts about @sama but he is pretty much on the right track and and seems to be the right person for the job. They are fighting the typical SV stereotype about not funding big ideas. Go YC keep on disrupting!

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chrisacky 9 hours ago 1 reply      
- INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE

"An important trend is the API-ification of everything. As more and more businesses are accessible with a web API, the Internet becomes more and more powerful."

I think a POSTman style Zapier, love-child would go down very well. Also products like Mashery where you provide APIs as a service and charge.

Notably missing from the list...

- Anything related to travel.

- Anything related to storage

- Anything related to video (Maybe that's Hollywood 2.0?)

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colmvp 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> Science seems broken. The current funding models are broken and favor political skill over scientific genius.

Isn't that already catered to by experiment.com, a YC company?

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bfe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Given sama's enthusiasm for SpaceX, including as a "great example" in his blog post on the original new RFS, it seems unambitious for the RFS to mention space only in the context of robots and science.
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pja 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"lightweight, short-distance personal transportation is something were interested in"

I think that's called the bicycle.

(Of course there are plenty of barriers to people actually using the things, especially in the US, but those have little to do with the machine itself and everything to do with the social context in which it's used. If a startup can manage to solve those problems then more power to them. Start by talking to the Dutch perhaps.)

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anon1385 9 hours ago 2 replies      
>An important trend is the API-ification of everything. As more and more businesses are accessible with a web API, the Internet becomes more and more powerful.

This is a bad thing. Replacing opens standards with proprietary APIs locked behind access tokens hardly makes the internet more accessible.

Walled gardens are great for making money though

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foobarqux 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Most "blue sky" innovations have come from the state sector (either universities, publicly funded research institutes or majority state-funded private companies). They are commercialized by private companies afterward.

Why does YC think that it will be different now?

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walterbell 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Would the Semantic Web (e.g. vertical knowledge graphs) qualify as AI?

We need business models which support partially-open graphs, e.g. object IDs and some metadata are open, some metadata is closed via API. Open metadata can be cached offline and standardizes models within a vertical market, driving demand for paid metadata. API revenue grows as the open graph grows.

Semi-open knowledge graphs reduce the cost of adversarial algorithms. Better to have many competing skynets than one big skynet. The open part of the graph lowers the cost of consumption. Multiple, closed annotations on the graph compete to support AI use cases, and can optionally become open as value moves to higher-order representations.

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foobarqux 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> The personal savings rate has largely been falling since the early 80s.

That's not because saving is complex or low-yielding, it is because middle class non-disposable expenditures have gone up. (see Elizabeth Warren)

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saosebastiao 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you really shortchanged the section on transportation by only focusing on personal transportation. The real opportunities are in commercial transportation and logistics. The US spends more on truck logistics every year than the market cap of the top 5 global car manufacturers combined. And the trucking industry is only 50% of the total logistics contribution to US GDP. Even a mildly successful startup in a tiny niche of logistics could result in a wildly profitable company.
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dasmithii 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This a surprisingly promising list of ideas, especially for an incubator to suggest. Things like internet infrastructure, ideally, are in the non-profit sector. And though YC does fund non-profits, I can't imagine they'd be happy with a swarm of unprofitable applicants coming in next round.
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bradleysmith 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Was interested to see nothing mentioned about news & current events information startups. This seemed to be a re-occuring "problem worth solving" on YCombinator lists, and is notably absent.
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taigeair 9 hours ago 4 replies      
How far off is singularity? Seems like quite an interesting topic.
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jdp23 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great to see diversity on the list. I notice that gender isn't on the list of what you're looking for ("all ages, races, sexual orientations, and cultures"). Just an oversight or a conscious decision?
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mladenkovacevic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a governance/citizen participation startup that I will be applying with in 2020 according to my current progress speed.
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edawerd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to see the progression of YC's RFS over the years. The ideas behind the new RFS seem to driven by fundamental problems of society, not just market opportunity.
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flipside 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the disrupt Hollywood rfc is now Hollywood 2.0, before it seemed needlessly antagonistic.

If anyone else is interested in Hollywood 2.0, hit me up (check profile). Tinj is reimagining content ratings, reviews and recommendations.

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pinaceae 3 hours ago 0 replies      
but no mention of photosharing? videosharing? the current YC batch had this smuggling startup, where is the black market stuff?

great marketing, kudos.

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emcarey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great list! Our startup, Glassbreakers, is focused on diversity and enterprise software to help women within organizations find mentors- applying for YC's winter batch!
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pyb 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or are these RFSes too vague to be inspiring or actionable. It looks like you perhaps had a good list of actual ideas, which you redacted to death ?
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bfe 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"What comes after programming languages?"

Maybe somewhere in the direction Meteor and Light Table are heading?

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dharbin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Which ones are the new ones?
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yaur 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Celebrities now have direct relationships with their fans.

I have a side project where I am aggregating celebrity generated content and one of the things that surprised me, though it really shouldn't have, is how bad the underlying content is. New tools aren't really going to help here beyond creating an incentive for celebs to create better content.

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AndrewKemendo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really glad to see AR on the list, we are excited to be at the inflection point of that medium.
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napoleond 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a minor typo in the "Government" section: s/INternet/Internet (or just "internet"...)
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webmaven 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see a diff between this and the previous RFS(s). How often has this list been revised, anyway?
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calebm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I see what you did there: "We deserve a simpler, more elegant solution for a more civilized age"
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lettergram 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, I already applied, but I guess I can update my app. Human Augmentation ftw!
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joeguilmette 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm... No photo sharing apps? SnapChat for X?
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mqsiuser 6 hours ago 0 replies      
ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE > Making The Expensive Cheap:

I have been working (and still am working) with incredibly expensive software from IBM. Now it's somewhat trivial what it does and I have open sourced it (http://www.use-the-tree.com). Feel free to contact me. My dream is to find a team, apply to YC and crush IBM (I am somewhat serious).

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graycat 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What about the YC motto "Make something peoplewant."?

I mean, reading over these requests, my guess isthat, while some of them, if successful, would helplead to a better life for nearly everyone and savethe world, so far not many people would "want" theresults in the sense needed by a startup.

Some of the requests are nearly hopeless: E.g., theUS Federal Government via DoE, NSF, and NIH havebeen spending billions on research in energy andmedicine for decades. The idea that a YC start upcould do a lot better makes most long shots looklike sure things.

Next, a lot of these requests ask for some darnedchallenging research projects, and just a researchproject is one of the worst insults passed out bythe venture capital community. Instead, no matterwhat the Web sites of early stage venture firmssuggest, such firms want to see traction, notresearch projects, not even projects to writesoftware for research already successfully done, noteven to go live with software already written fromresearch projects already done.

Example? Okay, want a research project to solve abig problem? Okay, consider security andreliability of the complex systems of large serverfarms and networks. We'd like to do better, right?For this, the first step is essentially nearreal-time monitoring for ASAP detection. So, wewant detectors.

First big problem is getting a good combination ofrates of false alarms and missed detections; I'mcorrect here; think for a few minutes and otherwisetrust me on this one. Or, we're trying for a goodcombination of false positives and false negatives.Or for a good combination of Type I and Type IIerror.

Right, you guessed it, oh how you guessed it: Suchdetection has just two ways to be wrong -- a falsealarm where we say that the system is sick when itis healthy and a missed detection where we say thatthe system is healthy when it is sick. Inescapable.Have any doubts, then think for two minutes. Withme again now?

Okay: So, right, such monitoring and detection is acase of ASAP, essentially real-time, statisticalhypothesis testing. I know; I know; you don't wantanything that is just statistical. Neither do I.Tough stuff. We're necessarily, inescapably stuck-onever the less. Or, want a detector with no falsealarms? Got that one for you -- just turn off thedetector. Want a detector with no misseddetections? Got one of those, too -- just sound thealarm all the time. Yes, some detectorsoccasionally make correct detections and haveessentially no false alarms, but such detectors willdetect only problems of a very narrow kind andotherwise have a high rate of missed detections.Arguing is futile -- the hard stuff isn't here, andI'm correct here. We're talking research here, likeYC now seems to want to see, and research can betough stuff to swallow. Keep reading ....

Now, what the heck to do about this? Okay, we'vegot some good news that, right Andreessen Horowitzshould understand quickly: We can get data on eachof several variables, maybe dozens or hundreds, atdata rates of a point each few seconds up tohundreds of points a second. At a big, complexsystem, we're talking big data. So, we want ourstatistical hypothesis test to be multi-dimensional.Sure, go to the library and find a lot of those,right? Wrong. You won't find much. Next, most ofthe material you see on statistical hypothesis testswants the probability distribution of the data whenthe system is healthy. Tough since for thesecomplex systems there's no theory that will give youmeans of finding such distributions (we're talkingmulti-dimensional), and, even with big data,anything like accurate estimates ofmulti-dimensional distributions is agony with thecurse of dimensionality. So, now what? Okay, wewant to be distribution-free, that is, have astatistical hypothesis test that makes noassumptions about the probability distribution.

So, how many multi-dimensional, distribution-freestatistical hypothesis tests did you find in thelibrary? Not a lot. Maybe the only ones you foundwere mine. Mine? Yup.

But, when the dust settles, we do get a (large classof) genuine statistical hypothesis tests that areboth multi-dimensional and distribution-free. So,right, with meager/standard assumptions, as isstandard we can calculate false alarm rate and setit in advance and get it exactly in practice. Fordetection rate, as is usually the case we don't haveenough data to use the best possible Neyman-Pearsonresult, but there is good reason to regard thedetection rate as relatively high.

So, any large server farm or network doing importantwork and interested in security and reliability, ,that is, nearly all of them, will be interested,right? And any VC firm, too, right? Nope. Don'thold your breath waiting. I only wrote nearly everyinformation technology venture firm in the country,indeed, some months before the bubble burst in 2000.Responses? Even during the days of big bottles ofWonder-Bubble, none or f'get about it.

Lesson: Research, even for a big problem atimportant enterprises, even done research, even withalgorithms to make the computing fast, even withprototype software running, even with a researchpaper that passed high quality peer review, doesn'tget venture funding. I learned that lesson. HereHN and YC can learn it now or learn it later. Nowis easier.

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ycskyspeak 6 hours ago 0 replies      
bits v/s atoms anyone?
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maximem 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing about the Web 4.0 that's weird! http://slideshare.net/Facehacks/web-40-is-coming
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Volumetric Particle Flow
99 points by rinesh  10 hours ago   20 comments top 11
1
bd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There is also a follow-up demo by the same author called Disintegration, with skinned animated mesh driving particles:

http://david.li/disintegration/

2
fredsted 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very smooth - running on Safari 7 on an i5 and a 660ti
3
vosper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. Is there a reason it looks a bit out of focus, even with millions of particles? Some kind of blurring effect, maybe?
4
mhax 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks reminiscent of a fairlight demo from 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezltebzdgjI
5
theophrastus 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I've no idea what all you folks are using, but in my hands (linux amd64 i5 8Gb debian/jessie) this is a very impressive website in that it straight-out crashes firefox/iceweasel (31.1), stymies firefox nightly (35.0a1), and leaves google-chrome (37.0.2062) declaring that it couldn't be loaded. (just a theory: i'm running nouveau on my nvidia, as the last blob wouldn't compile)
6
matt-attack 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How is it that there's (what appears to be) c source code in there:

https://github.com/dli/flow/blob/master/flow.js

7
thesz 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I see only some sphere with a spot. What is going on there?
8
noobermin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's about time I jump on the js bandwagon then.
9
cypher543 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool! Smooth as silk at 524K on my GeForce GTX 650 Ti and Chrome 37. 1M makes it a bit choppy, but still pleasant.
10
te 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Really wish there was convention to annotate link titles that immediately bog the CPU.
11
wormik 3 hours ago 0 replies      
great stuff. nice job!
3
Software patents are crumbling, thanks to the Supreme Court
178 points by mcfunley  6 hours ago   42 comments top 12
1
WildUtah 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Most of these are district court cases. The USA has a patent appeals court, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [0], that takes all patent appeals nationally. The doctrine about "do it on a computer" patents will be formed by three judge panels chosen randomly from that appeals court, not by the districts.

But the very good sign from these cases is most were decided on the pleadings. That means there was no expensive discovery or claim construction procedure, much less a jury trial. A decision on the pleadings means that even in the best possible light, the patent holder doesn't have a case at all according to the judge. There is no cheaper way to dispose of an expensive and lengthy lawsuit. And a rule that can be disposed of on pleadings is exactly what reformers wanted from the Supreme Court.

The CAFC has seen a few of these and so far Taranto and Hughes, two of the newest Obama judges, have acquitted themselves superbly. We have well written and conclusive decisions from them calling the whole "do it on a computer" mess ineligible.

We'll have to wait and see how the more enthusiastic radicals for patenting everything influence the outcomes. Three judges that wanted to hand a monopoly on the centuries old, trillion dollar financial settlement industry to Alice even when no technological procedures were disclosed in their patent are still on the court: Moore, O'Malley, and Newman. Lourie was the swing vote in that decision and also says that Ultramercial [1] should have a monopoly on interstitial internet advertising because they wrote the century old idea up with 'on the internet' tacked onto the end. There are eleven judges and one empty slot on the CAFC so those four make up a large minority that will likely press for "on a computer" patents to come back.

Chief Judge Prost, Judge Dyk, and the three new Obama appointees seem much more rational and good for our industry. We should hope they are the ones who shape the interpretation of Alice in the future.

And remember that while "on a computer" patents -- the ones that describe a conventional business and add "on a computer" or "on the internet" without anything added to known technology -- are falling, lots of damaging software patents are still out there and apparently unharmed. The h.264 and mp3 patents that block open and free media players and browsers are still functioning. The ZFS and JFS patents that make BTRFS illegal are still out there. The compiler and VM patents from IBM, Sun, and others that hang over the head of anyone who writes either still exist. The long filename patents and others that Microsoft uses to tax Android are still taxing. The UI patents on smartphones that drive the smartphone wars are still driving them. New patents on computer vision, deep neural nets, machine learning, GPU computation, multithreading techniques, and more are being granted every tuesday.

Lucky for us, software patents that are on actual software are a lot less lucrative than the ones on business "on a computer." Even in smartphone litigation, most of the money verdicts depend on the shape of the box a smartphone comes in; don't steal the idea of a rounded rectangle and your lawsuit will be for tens of millions instead of billions. Still, every kind of software patent is bad, dishonest, and harmful to our industry and progress. They all need to go.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Appeals_...

[1] http://www.patentdocs.org/2013/06/ultramercial-inc-v-hulu-ll...

2
gbhn 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's time for Congress to do their bit and suspend assumed patent validity for this broad class of patents. Its clear the review process was yielding vast quantities of invalid patents. Making the courts invalidate them one-by-one is crazy. Classifying them all as assumed-invalid would send a very clear message to the patent office that it seriously fouled up and needs to straighten up in evaluations, and also let patent trolls know that their payday is over. Proving validity puts the technical burden on the patent troll, which in almost all cases would be nearly insurmountable, since virtually all these patents would likely be recognized by juries as obvious and invalid.
3
ejr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's worth noting that the ubiquity of these "on a computer" type patents and similarly questionable other software patents is directly a result of the poor handling of the entire patenting process as well as general incompetence Ex: http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/uspto-issues-patent-f...
4
TheMagicHorsey 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not so optimistic as the article. The CAFC has lots of judges that came up as patent attorneys, and who are true believers in the patent system. The June decision by SCOTUS wasn't the first time the Court slapped down abstract patents. The CAFC always finds new ways to get around what SCOTUS has tried to be clear about.

On top of that, people underestimate the amount of shenanigans that patent prosecutors pull during patent drafting and prosecution.

I don't think we will see an improvement to the trolling situation until Congress steps in and changes some of the burdens and fee-shifting standards for patent litigation.

Trolls need to have less weapons they can deploy to raise litigation cost, and they need to be made to suffer for bringing BS cases against innocent companies. Only Congress can make that happen.

Intellectual Ventures and its ilk are not going to sit idly while entrepreneurs and tech companies go to Congress to get reform laws passed. They will bring out the big cash piles, just like Comcast does for Net Neutrality.

And patents isn't even as cut and dry as Net Neutrality. The minute you start talking about patent reform, some well meaning person, who has no idea what they are talking about, will bring up that movie about that inventor, who was cheated by that big company, out of his hard earned inventions.

5
drzaiusapelord 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is "on a computer" the real problem here? The problem I'm seeing is that we have things like displaying a linked list, which is trivial, being awarded patents by appending "on a mobile device" or "on a web page" or "On a payment system."

I just don't think its possible to have software patents that make sense. Abolishment of software patents seems to be the only sane move here.

6
roye 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice development for trivial patents, but it makes me wonder if this could lead to people having to defend their (e.g., algorithm) patents by appeal to computational complexity or the physical constraints of human vs. computer memory, etc.
7
sytelus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This might explain layoffs at king of all patent trolls IV: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-19/intellectual...
8
acjohnson55 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Well, I'm glad SCOTUS seems to be doing something right. So much of their decisions seem to be on the side of entrenched/powered/moneyed interests, whether its the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act and campaign finance reform, or the granting of increasing rights to corporations (like Hobby Lobby).
9
martin1975 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see Amazon's "One Click Buy" patent dismantled. It's way overdue.
10
ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to see how the courts are taking this up. Maybe they will torch the laser pen pointer annoying cats patent too!
11
VikingCoder 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Superman III and Office Space being mentioned in a District Court decision. That's awesome.
12
RexRollman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
One can hope.
4
Show HN: Upmin An Admin Framework for Ruby on Rails
78 points by joncalhoun  4 hours ago   45 comments top 14
1
jordanthoms 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Interesting, but the big gap here is for projects where your rails app is an API (using rails-api) only. We've been struggling with the best way to build an admin panel in this case - I'm reluctant to add asset pipeline etc to the rails app just for the admin panel, and I've also found the admin panels tend to use large amounts of RAM etc.

The other solutions all have downsides - you can build admin APIs into the API and have a separate app call them, but it's more work. You could make a separate rails app which calls the same DB, but then you have to keep the model code in sync.

Anybody found a good solution to this?

2
joncalhoun 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Hi HN,

I am one of the founders of Upmin, and I am leading the development of our admin framework for Rails. It is still pretty early, but I would love to get your feedback on it as we try to prioritize our development efforts.

Thanks!

3
fishtoaster 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to https://github.com/sferik/rails_admin ?
4
backwardm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My first impressions are really positive. I'll give it a whirl ! Thanks for making and sharing this!
5
jprince 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Certainly ActiveAdmin has given me a share of headaches as I built my website. That being said - it works, and I'm familiar with it(and Arbre) now. How do you plan to get established sites like mine to switch to Upmin with such a high upfront cost(namely, reconfiguring Upmin to have all the same functionality I bled for for ActiveAdmin?) Any kind of migration plan?
6
andybak 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of the Django admin and I'm curious to know how life in Rails-land compares. Anyone with experience of both care to comment?
7
thebenedict 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How does Upmin approach forms for relationships? With both rails_admin and Active Admin, I found complex relationships like has many through multiple, and has one with scoped collections frustratingly hard. (in fairness I know it's not easy to automate)
8
ramigb 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I love it, great job guys, one suggestion though, mixing the admin logic and customisations with the model isn't a great idea, some models are already fat models, so maybe creating separate model config files would be better, thank you.
9
CGamesPlay 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I checked out the videos but haven't used the software. Two questions:

- I need my fields to be nillable. Does upmin differentiate nil and empty string?

- How difficult is it to add support for DataMapper?

10
moondev 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to activeadmin?
11
panorama 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Given its recency, is it safe to assume this works for Rails 4.2.0beta? I'm working on a new project for a client and was a little dismayed that both Rails Admin and ActiveAdmin currently have problems with 4.2.0.
12
frequentflyeru 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this work even if you don't have Devise as your authentication?
13
gxespino 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool - this is coming at a perfect time for me.
14
danso 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I've always been at peace with Rails' lack of default opinions or framework for admin views...I kind of just thought that Admin was just a hard problem to solve anyway, so why even bother. But then again, I probably would've thought that about ORM, and yet ActiveRecord can fill in very admirably...Hope this project is successful in creating that kind of happy balance between abstraction and customization.
5
Animated Algorithms
76 points by nanomage  7 hours ago   28 comments top 17
1
wijt 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
Sadly the website seems to have fallen over for me.

I am really interested in how it works. From what I could see it seems a bit more cumbersome, than my approach of a using full JS interpreter: http://will.thimbleby.net/algorithms/doku.php?id=bubble_sort

2
blt 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Great site! I would suggest a list of "related algorithms" on each animation, for example if you want to look through all the sorting algorithms.
3
joncalhoun 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure if the site is having issues, or if I am just searching the wrong algorithms :(

Can you link me directly to an algorithm to check out the animation?

5
theoutlander 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice! I don't understand how to link the algorithm to an animation when creating a new algorithm? I'm clearly missing something.
6
knowaveragejoe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
When you restart a visualization, it automatically switches back to 'continuous' even if you had single-step selected. Making it easier to start from the very beginning would be beneficial I think. Just a suggestion.
8
dsjoerg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Needs a caching algorithm.
9
dceddia 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really great. I always wished something like this existed when I was going through CS undergrad (and grad, for that matter). Have you tried reaching out to any CS professors to tell them about it? You might also spread the word by telling some "coding interview" blogs about it.
10
mmanfrin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
11
cosmicvisitor 1 hour ago 1 reply      
site doesn't work on my browser- this is 2014.
12
iillmaticc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Damn where was this while I was in university! I'm definitely a visual learner and these are great! Thanks OP.
13
jokoon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I desperately need delaunay triangulation
14
mike_mg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
traffic issues aside, great job. Quality resource, will recomend to cs undergrad friends
15
duncanmeech 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I added a few more dynos...nice and smooth now. Apologies.-duncan meech
16
uberdog 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Appears to be falling over.
17
notastartup 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just searched for bubble sort.

Impressive! So much easier when you get to see an animation of what it does

http://www.algomation.com/algorithm/bubble-sort-optimized

6
California deems carpooling via all ride-share services illegal
83 points by taytus  3 hours ago   62 comments top 10
1
kyro 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Reading things like this make me OK with startups bending an even breaking the occasional law if they're truly providing something of value. The legal system is rife with regulations and actors that are often not intended to benefit the public. There is nothing inherently right or efficient about it, and it's the oldest and most inflexible of the man-made institutions, behind Comcast.
2
patcon 2 hours ago 6 replies      
Somebody please create a p2p ridesharing network and let's be done with the regulatory theater and jockeying of overvalued companies
3
kibaekr 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Didn't SF try to ban Airbnb a while back too? Whatever happened to that?
4
saosebastiao 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone, at some point in time, wrote this law. I would like to know what use case they had in mind when they decided this was a bad thing.
5
TallGuyShort 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Can anyone explain how this is different from services like Super Shuttle? I get charged an individual fee, but the actual times are subject to other passengers and that can change at any time.
6
dragonwriter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> California deems carpooling via all ride-share services illegal

The whole reason that charter party carrier laws and regulation are applied to Uber, Lyft, etc., in California is that they fall outside of the ridesharing exemption to those laws.

7
tswartz 2 hours ago 5 replies      
Frustrating to see another letter from CPUC trying to slow Uber and Lyft down. How can CPUC deem this a bad thing? Carpooling means less ubers/lyfts on the road so less traffic and pollution. I've used Lyft Line numerous times and really enjoy it.
8
LarryMade2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm I remember the blue ride-share info signs out on the highway years ago. but doing a web search cant seem to find info on them. Was wondering if there was any info in there about carpools sharing gas money and such... ahhh, here it is:

http://www.rideshare.511.org/

9
jaunkst 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just got to transcend your humanity lol. If your 51% robot would the law still apply?http://geekologie.com/2014/09/how-hitchhiking-robot-survived...
10
o0-0o 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Then how are the Google and Faceblock buses legal?
7
Drone-based businesses soar in Canada, as FAA grounds US entrepreneurs
42 points by zabalmendi  11 hours ago   6 comments top 5
1
markdown 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Request: Please don't come and ruin it for the rest of us, like this irresponsible american drone operator potentially did (thankfully there have been no repercussions yet as the authorities haven't seen it).

See the first few seconds of this video: http://vimeo.com/99295619

Flying anywhere near aerodromes is illegal just about everywhere.

2
bennesvig 59 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's bizarre that it's legal to fly a drone/quadcopter as a hobby, but not if you charge for the services. If there were laws about flying above a certain height or over people in well populated areas, that would make more sense than just banning commercial use.

There are going to be a lot of drone-based businesses soon. I got a DJI Phantom 2 last month and have been amazed at the quality of footage that it can capture with a GoPro. The learning curve is much easier than hand-held stabilizers I've used, like the Glidecam.

3
nadiaks 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here is a link to the original article in the Financial Post (http://bit.ly/1m1lGdi) with the due credit to the original author, Quentin Casey, and the companies mentioned in the article, fluttrbox and Resson Aerospace (which is conveniently not mentioned by this author).

I am the co-founder of fluttrbox(applied YC W15)

4
pkaye 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully they can work out the kinks under the US is ready to adopt it.
5
cosmicvisitor 1 hour ago 0 replies      
and how about privacy, sc* that right
8
Dont Take Your Vitamins
37 points by colinprince  11 hours ago   16 comments top 7
1
matznerd 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
Don't take your vitamin advice from an economist, is what the headline should read...

This article is seriously dangerous in planting the false ideas that vitamin D and other supplementation are not worthwhile. The main reason to take Vitamin D has nothing to do with heart disease or cancer, that is why there are not significant beneficial results from the studies testing for that. It is a true straw man argument.

Vitamin D is super important for your body and especially for bone development, the brain, and your immune system. It is less a vitamin and more of a hormone, as every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.

It is very, very important to supplement it during the winter if you live anywhere above the line from Los Angeles, CA to Colombia, SC [1], as the sun never rises above 50% azimuth and so no UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and no vitamin D synthesis can take place in the skin. These studies also use what appears from my brief checking, to be way too low of doses. I generally recommend at least 5,000 IU/day and a lot of those studies are between 400 to 600 IU/day.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_sun_exposure#...

2
cperciva 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
To be clear: Serious vitamin deficiencies can cause serious problems (scurvy in the case of vitamin C, rickets in the case of vitamin D, beriberi for vitamin B).1 But if you live in the developed world and eat a normal diet even a pretty unhealthy one you will be nowhere near this kind of deficiency.

I live in Canada and eat a normal diet. My blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was 22 nM. I had symptoms of hypovitaminosis D which went away after taking 150 kIU over the course of a month, at which point my blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had increased to 76 nM.

Sure, this is pure anecdote, but it proves that it is possible to be deficient.

3
manachar 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's a relevant visualization that tries to determine how the evidence stacks up. I can't speak to their evaluation of the studies, but it's an interesting addition to the dialog:

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplem...

4
trumbitta2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Take your vitamins if a doctor tells you to after proper exams... it's that simple.
5
jmcphers 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have read this in several independent books about nutrition: there's a strong correlation between vitamin intake and health, but it disappears if you do a random trial.

Moral of the story: be the kind of person who takes vitamins, and then don't worry about actually taking them.

6
scythe 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
So, worth noting is that we might as well attack the question from a theoretical angle as well as an empirical one, when we are choosing to disregard so many studies due to confounders and the like. It turns out that a surprising number of people in developed countries nonetheless suffer vitamin deficiencies:

Vitamin D deficiency at 41% of population: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306

Other deficiencies: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0402_vitamins_nutrie...

It is commonly stated that vitamin supplements do not do anything for people who do not have vitamin deficiencies. But even in rich Western countries, a significant proportion of people do have vitamin deficiencies! So the supplements are not always misguided.

Worth noting that potassium is never included in vitamin supplements due to technical limitations (high concentrations of potassium are cytotoxic). Eat your vegetables! Also worth noting is I'm drunk so this post contains errors...

7
wwwwwwwwww 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
how about "Don't take health advice from econ grad students on the internet, take it from your doctor"
9
Does Diversity Trump Ability? An Example of the Misuse of Mathematics [pdf]
54 points by todd8  10 hours ago   22 comments top 7
1
nostromo 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I was shocked to read the original article. I can't believe that such overarching conclusions about human nature were drawn from a little toy box computational experiment. You might as well publish a psychology paper after a weekend playing The Sims.

http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~spage/pnas.pdf

2
nether 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
One of the authors, Scott Page, majored in math at the University of Michigan. He also teaches the course "Model Thinking" on Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/course/modelthinking. Perhaps one to avoid...
3
bayesianhorse 2 hours ago 2 replies      
In finance it has long been known that diversity in a portfolio can often trump the performance/ability in a particular stock.

Turns out, you can see portfolio theory popping up outside of financial markets, not only in assembling a team, but also advertising campaigns, ant colonies and bacterial colonies.

And yes, I know that the linked article debunks a paper that abuses math... It's just that portfolio theory is at least an analogy to understand why diversity can trump ability. Within reason.

4
amathstudent 3 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone who knows it intimately, I would like to say that this kind of thing is endemic across the social science literature. What is frustrating is that only very few people seem to have the ability to understand why it is not sound.
5
HelloMcFly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone is interested in better research on diversity and team outcomes, I recommend looking into research on "faultlines" in teams. It is an interesting way of operationalizing diversity and predicting its effects.

Link to abstract: http://amr.aom.org/content/23/2/325.short

I can't find a direct link to the PDF at the moment. That's the original article. There's been a lot of research since testing the theory, typically supporting it (though I'm not 100% up to date on this topic).

6
cjdrake 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Richard Feynman has some relevant thoughts on this subject:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaO69CF5mbY
7
nether 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Pages work on diversity has been cited by NASA, the US Geological Survey, and Lawrence Berkeley Labs, among manyothers

Oops.

10
A Star in a Bottle The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
39 points by Thevet  12 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
throwaway344 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There has been a previous discussion, if interested, at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7291008
2
jdiez17 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very rarely do I read every word in an article posted here, but this was one of those times and I'm glad I did. The article itself was very well written. You could feel the tension engineers must feel and the mind-numbing scale of the project. I think it captured the atmosphere at ITER very well; a mix of impending doom and unescapable existential claustrophobia counterpoised by a sense of mission.
11
Show HN: Hacker Experience Online hacking simulation game
30 points by napsterbr  3 hours ago   25 comments top 11
1
napsterbr 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Hello HN,

I'd like to share my work for the last couple years with you. I just released this web-based game called Hacker Experience, where you play the role of a hacker working for an evil corporation.

You can install viruses, hack servers, develop new softwares, DDoS players, mine bitcoins, and much more!

Love to hear any feedback/thoughts you may have.

Thanks!

2
siddboots 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
Clicking the Start Tutorial button on the welcome page does some things ("creating virtual machine..." etc) but then just brings me back to the welcome page.
3
jiggy2011 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'd like to be able to try the game, or at least see a video before giving this my email address.
4
goldmar 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The site is broken. First I was getting 404 when I tried to log in. Then, after clicking the link in the email, I got to the tutorial. But whatever I click I always get back to the animation at the start. Using Safari on Yosemite PB2.
5
alexjeffrey 2 hours ago 2 replies      
looks like fun! I've been holding out for a modern retake on the uplink series or some other fun hacking game.

one UI thing that came up for me - going through the university pages, it wasn't totally clear that the green buttons were actually a "next" button. After I read the software page, I saw the green button said "what if I need help?", thought it was a help button and decided that since I couldn't find a next button, I was free to start playing. Confusion set in when the homepage sent me back to the tutorial.

[edit] in terms of a fix, a simple » or other arrow-icon might fix this

also a few little suggestions that I hope you'll like (as I like this type of game, a lot!):

- Maybe represent the user's balance purely in BTC? the idea of paying hackers in bank transfers seems a little insecure for a security game :)

- You might run into race conditions when editing logs, depending on how it's implemented on the backend - maybe just a checkbox next to each line to quickly delete lines relevant to you? this might ruin some of the fun possibilities re. dropping other people's IPs into logs though.

6
chobo 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is a very fun game so far. Are there other hacking games people would recommend? The more educational the better.
7
pla3rhat3r 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love the part where it says, "Don't worry. Your computer is safe." This is the same thing they say right before you get a blow dart to your neck, a black bag on your head, and driven to an "undisclosed location." Cool game!
8
0x420 3 hours ago 0 replies      
No comment on the game as I haven't tried it yet, but the scroll hijacking on the homepage makes it kind of annoying to read the text, expand/collapse FAQ questions etc., especially in a smaller window. I suggest disabling it once you scroll the top section out of the viewport. This looks like fun though - I'll definitely be trying it out.
9
Igglyboo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the better scrollbar hijacking pages I've seen but it's still pretty jerky and it's really hard for me to get it to land on the sign up part.

Im using Chrome Canary on a Macbook Pro, scrolling with the two finger gesture on the trackpad.

10
mynameisvlad 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It failed to send an email verification code, and now I can't resend it, so I'm stuck. :(
11
chairmankaga 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Getting a scrollbar for the content under "cracker" in Ubuntu firefox 30.0 The scroll hijacking of course breaks the scrollbar there :D
12
How a determined scientist taught an ancient species to migrate again (2013)
33 points by dnetesn  13 hours ago   discuss
13
Show HN: Hypermasher Live streaming of Hyperlapse videos
59 points by torkalork  5 hours ago   22 comments top 16
1
pierrec 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Amazing. Meditating upon time-lapsed video backed by drone music is something I've been addicted to ever since I first saw Baraka. If you like this and you're not aware of Baraka - watch it now, along with its sequel Samsara and the similar Koyaanisqatsi films.

And obviously, the Baraka soundtrack is a magical fit for this stream!

2
caseyf7 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
This really illustrates the power of music. My first impression was OK this is mildly interesting, but I guess I'll click the music before closing this tab forever. Maybe the hyperlapses got better, but turning on the music made the video mesmerizing. Now I'm hooked. Great job!
3
danellis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not live streaming, though, is it? These are recordings. You can't stream something faster-than-realtime live.
4
glaugh 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This really hits the spot for me. Super pleasant. I could sit here for an hour.
5
robgering 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is completely mesmerizing. Seeing these surreal details from people's lives, in near real-time, feels like the intro to an independent film.
6
KickingTheTV 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Great job, I think this is pretty amazing. Super fun to see what everyone around the world thinks is important to capture on film.
7
torkalork 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, not all browsers play nice with Video.js/HTML5 video and the SoundCloud widget. If that's you, check out the live stream I'm running right now on Twitch!

http://www.twitch.tv/andrewtorkbaker

8
torkalork 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi HN!

If you're curious about the stack, I included some info on the About page: http://www.hypermasher.com/about.

I'm always up for feedback, too, so feel free to ask questions here or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewtorkbaker

9
trishume 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting getting effectively a random sample of the entire world's use of a photography app, it's very authentic.

My personal favourite videos are the ones shot out airplane windows, it's a cool idea and they look awesome.

10
cellover 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea, I love it!

It could be interesting to try fade to black when a track is finished, cut clips on a beat or similar, but I wonder if you can since the sound is played in an iframe.

11
shrikar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You can find some of the best hyperlapse videos here http://hyperlapse.rocks
12
pla3rhat3r 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I will never look at normal life the same way again.
13
ea016 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I was wondering how you came up with this very simple interface ? Also, how much time did it took you ?
14
kylekampy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's just my love for Tycho, but this is wonderful.
15
awicklander 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so beautiful.
16
notastartup 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I found the whole thing creepy....how can anyone find this relaxing?
14
TV monitoring service is fair use, judge rules
103 points by sehrope  9 hours ago   28 comments top 9
1
fivedogit 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I built and ran a broadcast monitoring business for 5 years from 2003 to 2007, competing with services such as TVEyes and Critical Mention. It was called RooseveltMedia.com. At peak, it recorded and catalogued about 400+ shows per day in 15 media markets and had about 75 customers.

As we grew, I knew we needed to expand nationwide (which would require raising VC). My saying was "We need Johnson and Johnson, not Congressman Johnson's office." but this question of legality loomed very large. Legal or illegal? If illegal, no investor in his right mind would give us money. Unfortunately, the evidence I had at the time pointed towards "illegal" rather than "legal":

1. There were lots of lawsuits. This Fox vs. TVEyes is not the first. We definitely tiptoed around TV groups so as not to draw attention.

2. The International Association of Broadcast Monitors (IABM, a group of regional services and some single-market self-employed folks) spent several hundred thousand dollars to try to get the law rewritten so that royalties would be set in stone, much like jukeboxes. Why would they do this if they didn't all also believe it was illegal? In any case, the effort failed.

With this evidence in hand, I tried to grow the company organically, but it became untenable. We weren't getting enough money from the single-market (or few-market) customers to fund the expansion. By contrast, Critical Mention was self-funded by a dot-commer, and completely ate our lunch. Even if we'd attempted to raise money, the fundraising sidetrack would have set us back by a few more miles and I had zero additional bandwidth. There really wasn't a good answer to the question.

Ultimately, despite finding product-market fit almost immediately with this freshman business effort, I decided to pivot into a more "legitimate" business. I altered the tech to provide archiving systems for TV stations... and it went over like a lead balloon, cratering the businesses and leaving me with a pile of personal debt which took a couple of years of "real world" work to pay off.

Since then I've tried to start 2 more companies (huzon.tv and words4chrome.com) and while my execution and engineering skills have become vastly better, neither found product-market fit like the first. Beginner's luck, I guess.

2
aristus 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I once built a system that pulled multiple TV channels, encoded them on the fly and rebroadcast via multicast over the office LAN to reporter's desks. This was for a newsroom and would have otherwise required dozens of DVB cable drops (and subscriptions). The DirecTV guy was mighty suspicious that I had a pile of Linux boxes set up next to the receivers, and no TVs in sight.
3
pbhjpbhj 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't they work around this with licensing?

Basically Fox add a clause to their sales contract that says 'use of this type of thing is not allowed with our service'. That gets pushed down the line to those buying the service. TVEyes are buying a domestic service, contractually they can't get that service without committing a tort (breach of contract). Et voila?

Fox surely aren't obliged to provide the service to anyone they do not wish to supply it to. The inclusion of the Fox media on the service is proof, on the balance of probabilities, that the contract was broken ...

The judge is ruling that this sort of copyright infringement is not disallowed by law; but that doesn't surely mean it can't be made impossible by contract. There is no right to rip down TV broadcasts, surely?

It does seem now that a public facing service offering clips of up to 10 minutes of TV is allowed under this ruling. Presumably that's a new thing in USA? Also how is this different to offering digests of news websites - so I can sell NYT stories now as long as I sell lots of other peoples stories too, and so long as it's recent news, and so long as I don't let them see the whole NYT website. Clipping services bought the rights to the content.

I think it's a great ruling but I don't think the breadth of it will stand as I don't consider it to match with the general impetus of copyright law. Creating a video index using CC and/or speech-to-text (or human transcribers) doesn't seem particularly transformative to me, especially as the service Fox are using already is doing similar indexing. The only transformation is in the utility of the colocation of many channels - since when (other than for Google!) was "but if we sell everyone's content then it's easier" been a defence against copyright infringement.

4
toxican 6 hours ago 1 reply      
>The company has more than 2,200 subscribers, including the White House, 100 members of Congress, the Department of Defense, as well as big news organizations like Bloomberg, Reuters, ABC, and the Associated Press.

Yeah I don't think they were ever in any real danger. This isn't something average joe consumers like us use, this is something big corps, media companies, and politicians use.

5
jawns 6 hours ago 3 replies      
On the one hand ... TVEyes sounds like a great, useful service.

On the other hand, once all of the legal challenges are out of the way, I can't imagine there won't be a bunch of other companies swooping in to undercut them. $500/month for a service like this? I'm thinking that has the potential to go down significantly and quickly, with competition.

For instance, I can imagine a cut-rate service that doesn't do speech-to-text but instead relies solely on closed captioning. Or a plan that monitors only a limited subset of channels. It might not have all the features of TVEyes, but may have enough to hurt TVEyes' business if it doesn't lower prices and offer a limited tier itself.

It might not make sense for such a service to pop up now, while the legal issues are unsettled, but if TVEyes bears the litigation burden to get those issues settled, I can't imagine it wouldn't face stiffer competition down the line.

6
smtddr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>>It's a significant digital-age fair use ruling, one that's especially important for people and organizations who want to comment on or criticize news coverage.

This is why FOX News sued.

>>The company has more than 2,200 subscribers, including the White House, 100 members of Congress, the Department of Defense, as well as big news organizations like Bloomberg, Reuters, ABC, and the Associated Press.

This is why FOX News lost.

7
ErikRogneby 6 hours ago 1 reply      
2200 subscribers = $1.1M monthly revenue. Not bad considering the costs don't grow that much with additional subscribers. Some for serving the content on request, but I imagine the ingestion and storage is the big ticket item.

I wonder how long they archive for?

8
samstave 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this ruling have any implications for Aerio?
9
typpo 6 hours ago 6 replies      
Seems like an interesting technical problem. Does anyone know a good way to record many TV or radio stations at once, either for storage or realtime processing?
15
A Forth haiku is an attempt to mix math, art and Forth
30 points by pointfree  12 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1
kaoD 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wondered if the Forth code was being transpiled into JS or GLSL. Inspecting the source reveals it is JS, which seems sensible since it has mutable state (in this case stacks are handy).

That made me wonder, how hard would it be to turn Forth code into imperative GLSL? Seems like a fun exercise and would allow huge canvases.

2
ANTSANTS 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
See also IBNIZ, a livecoding environment with a language inspired by (and even more terse than) FORTH.

http://countercomplex.blogspot.com/2011/12/ibniz-hardcore-au...

3
evincarofautumn 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome and really shows off the beautiful compactness of Forth.

It took me a moment to figure out what to actually do. Basically you just write a little program that produces three floating-point values from 0.0 to 1.0, and these are used as the R, G, and B channels of each pixel in the output. For example, an all-red image is:

    1 0 0
And a blue-cyan-magenta rectangle is:

    x y 1
You get the x and y of the current pixel with the x and y words, and you get the current time with the t word in order to make animations. Heres one that continually oscillates between black and white:

    : r 5 ;    : sin' sin 1 + 2 / ;    : t' t r * sin' ;    t' t' t'
(You can change the value of r to make it oscillate faster or slower.)

Looking at the glossary[1] and cannibalising other examples is really helpful.

[1]: http://forthsalon.appspot.com/word-list

4
pkaye 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I seem to remember something similar but used a C like language.
16
Peter Thiel: Competition is for losers
92 points by foobarqux  4 hours ago   98 comments top 25
1
dredmorbius 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A fascinating line of markets and competition that I've only learned of relatively recently, and is of interest in light of YC's first category in its request for startups,[1] is the role of the Texas Railroad Commission in US oil markets.

I first ran across a reference to this in a paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, written by Keith Sill, chief economist, "Macroeconomics of Oil Shocks":

"From 1948 to 1972, the price of oil produced [that is: extracted] in the U.S. was influenced by the production quotas set by the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC). Each month, the TRC (and other state regulatory agencies like it) made forecasts of petroleum demand for the upcoming month and set production quotas to meet the forecasted demand."[2]

A more complete history occupies most of Chapter 13, "The Flood", of Daniel Yergin's The Prize: The epic quest for oil, money, and power.[3]

The short version: in the 1920s, an early abundance of oil which was proving hugely useful for automobiles and machinery looked to be iffy, until vast deposits were found in Texas and Oaklahoma in 1930. But that created a new problem: with no restrictions on drilling, oil prices collapsed to as little as $0.13/bbl. Government production controls were prohibited by Texas state law (lobbied for by independent oil producers), though they were permitted in Oklahoma. A target of $1/bbl. was set but there was no way to enforce it. Before this was resolved, Oklahoma's governor had mobilized the militia to take control of its oil fields in August, 1931, Texas mobilized the National Guard and Texas Rangers shortly after, an oil shutdown was enforced stabilizing prices. With the Depression settling in across the U.S. (and in the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal, itself over oil), Franklin Roosevelt appointed Harold Ickes as Secretary of the Interior, and established a number of measures including "certificates of clearance" for all oil shipments within the US -- oil without certificates wasn't salable.

That regime remained in place until March of 1972, when peak oil extraction in the US meant that limits were no longer necessary -- slack demand was now being met through imports, not domestic production. Which left the U.S. vulnerable to a foreign oil embargo, experienced in October of 1973.

There's a pretty strong argument to be made that stable oil prices, as the base of the U.S. economy, had a great deal to do with uniform economic growth in the post-WWII period, from 1945-1972. It's after that date that many of the "modern" crises of economics have been felt: stagflation, offshoring, wage stagnation, etc.

There have been better and worse times, but those have tended to be driven by total global oil abundance (or shortages), with cheap oil beginning in the mid-1980s through the late 1990s, with few exceptions (1990 and the first Gulf War War notably).

But yes, a noncompetitive controlled market can be a good thing.

More: http://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/2akwjj/oil_and_...

________________________________

Notes:

1. http://www.ycombinator.com/rfs/

2. http://www.phil.frb.org/research-and-data/publications/busin...

3. http://www.powells.com/biblio/7-9781439110126-9

2
spindritf 3 hours ago 2 replies      
He means a very particular type of monopolist

To an economist, every monopoly looks the same, whether it deviously eliminates rivals, secures a license from the state or innovates its way to the top. I'm not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites: By "monopoly," I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.

which is simillar to Robin Hanson's "manic" monopolist

One simple robust solution to the innovation problem would seem to be manic monopolists: one aggressively-profit-maximizing firm per industry. Such a firm would internalize the entire innovation problem within that industry, all the way from designers to suppliers to producers to customers it would have full incentives to encourage all of those parties to put nearly the right amount and type of efforts into innovation.

It's not about rent seeking, or some silly brand recognition narcissism, but about being able to coordinate and do stuff that would be widely beneficial but unprofitable for any of the participants on their own.

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2014/04/rah-manic-monopolists....

3
mempko 3 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the secret of capitalists. Monopoly for them, and market discipline for everyone else.

"Actually, capitalism and competition are opposites"

This is why State capitalism or something like fascism to them is the ideal. Any democracy is the most HORRIBLE thing.

Because after all, there are only a few capitalists, and then there is everyone else...

4
marknadal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Monopolies are indistinguishable from governments at the end of the day, as they become the enforcement agency. And if capitalism, by definition, is an economic and political system not controlled by a government, then Peter Thiel is flat out wrong.

This quote by Thiel, in the article, contradicts his argument:

   'By "monopoly," I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.'
Even the mere presence of "other firms" implies there is something to compare against, and as a result, that comparison is the competitive nature of capitalism. Maybe he needs to review his economic theories, but he is in the wrong and inconsistent.

5
bambax 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> All failed companies are the same: They failed to escape competition.

This is absurd; most failed companies didn't face any competition because they didn't find a market; you can argue that they in some way failed to escape competition from alternative products to their own, that a firm is in competition with every other firm on the planet because they all fight for the money of their customers, etc., but this is specious.

Failed companies failed to sell above cost, and most failed to sell at all. Not much to do with competition.

6
rayiner 2 hours ago 4 replies      
It's ironic how much people in the technology industry rail against monopolies, when you think how much of the fundamental technology we depend on today was invented by monopolies.

Point 1. The world of technology as we know it today was invented at Xerox PARC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PARC_(company)#Accomplishments. The GUI, Ethernet, OOP. What wasn't invented at Xerox was invented at AT&T Bell Labs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Labs. The transistor, major advances in semiconductors, UNIX, C.

Point 2. PARC existed on the back of Xerox's patent monopoly on copiers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox#1970s. Bell Labs existed on the back of the AT&T telephone monopoly.

The government initiated action against both monopolies in the 1970's: forcing Xerox to license its patent portfolio to Japanese competitors, and breaking up AT&T. It's interesting to think about whether these actions were ultimately good or bad for innovation.

7
analog31 1 hour ago 0 replies      
>>>>> The opposite of perfect competition is monopoly. Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits.

This is missing an important detail: It still has to be a product that somebody wants to pay for. Even a monopoly could have a zero or negative profit.

>>>>> By "monopoly," I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.

i.e., the kind of company whose success can only be described thanks to hindsight.

8
bjt 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Thiel is playing fast and loose with the definition of profit here. While it's true that "economic profit" will go to zero under perfect competition, that only means that the company's accounting profit is the same as the discount rate in the economy generally. It doesn't mean that there's zero accounting profit on the company's books.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economicprofit.asp

9
mindcrime 1 hour ago 1 reply      
IMO, this is the most important bit in the article, and it also seems to be the piece that everybody is overlooking:

So why are economists obsessed with competition as an ideal state? It is a relic of history. Economists copied their mathematics from the work of 19th-century physicists: They see individuals and businesses as interchangeable atoms, not as unique creators. Their theories describe an equilibrium state of perfect competition because that is what's easy to model, not because it represents the best of business.

Yes, exactly. Pretty much all classical / neo-classical economic thought is rooted in the idea of equilibrium, but a strong case can be made that economic systems are not equilibrium systems. Eric Beinocker covers this ground very thoroughly in The Origin of Wealth[1]. I would personally recommend this book to everyone interested in economics. Beinhocker and the other "complexity economists" present a model of economic activity as an evolutionary system with periods of punctuated equilibrium as opposed to a strict equilibrium system.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/The-Origin-Wealth-Remaking-Economics/d...

In business, equilibrium means stasis, and stasis means death. If your industry is in a competitive equilibrium, the death of your business won't matter to the world; some other undifferentiated competitor will always be ready to take your place.

Bingo. Yes, the "goal" is to achieve a "monopoly" but even if you do achieve that, you don't get to set still and just collect limitless money for perpetuity... because evolution will eventually deliver a competitor in one form or another.

10
cromwellian 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Apple is a counter example. They have stiff competition, control a minority of the market, but make more than all the other players combined.
11
elchief 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Some random thoughts:

- Economists don't like monopolies due to dead-weight loss. However there is only dead-weight loss if the monopolist cannot price-discriminate. If they can price-discriminate, it's simply of a transfer of wealth from customers/employees/suppliers to shareholders. So there is some room to argue against it on efficiency grounds (if they can't price-discriminate), and definitely room to argue against on equality grounds (if you care about such things).

- Unregulated monopoly is the most profitable form of business. Abusive monopolies are probably more profitable than nice ones. Abusive monopolies are illegal (?). As a manager at a US public company, you are legally required to maximize shareholder value, ie try to create an abusive monopoly, ie break the law.

- Monopolies are bad for everyone except the shareholders and probably management

- Oligopolies probably do more R&D than monopolies, as monopolies don't have an incentive to spend money on research. Perfect competition leaves no profit to spend on R&D

12
thrush 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think an implicit point that Thiel is trying to make is that there are enough untapped opportunities out there that there is no point to compete. The startup world is not a zero-sum game. We can all win.
13
lalos 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Basically, don't enter over saturated markets unless you offer something that makes you different. Google did it offering relevant results for search, Apple did with an iPhone that just works. The key of Thiel's reasoning is 'By "monopoly," I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute'.
14
roffles 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Is google is the king of search, how do other competitors (bing/yahoo) stay in business and why do they want to try to fight google? Why don't they just focus their efforts on something else?
15
mullingitover 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is true of sports as well. True competition in sports is a lose-lose for teams--if teams don't compete, they can coordinate to maximize their gambling winnings, and everyone comes out ahead (except for fans, just as lack of competition in business makes consumers the loser).
16
ekm2 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg would have heard this advice and been convinced that there was no point in competing with MySpace..
17
michaelochurch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
True.

I wonder if he realizes that he just made an argument for professionalization (or, worse, unionization) of software engineers. My guess is that he'd not like that can of worms. But it's open.

Doing typical corporate programming, the stuff that any CommodityJavaDrone can do, is for losers. I'm not sure that managing that kind of work (which is the only way to make money in that world) is less loser-like.

Right now, the less-savvy (or cornered) programmers do what their bosses ask them to do. The savvy programmers chase high-quality experience, read esoteric papers on company time, and only seriously work on the 10% of in-company projects that will help their careers.

This arrangement is anarchic but there are always enough people who are cornered (family/financial pressures) and can be pushed into taking the less-savvy path and doing what they're told. And the personal-brand-definers have more fun and may get promoted faster early on, or get to strike out as consultants, but they're unlikely to get seriously rich (500k+) as they would if, you know, programmers were actually paid what they're worth. So the VCs and corporate executives and (to a lesser degree) software managers still make out like bandits.

What if that changed, though? What if programmers collectively realized that we had allowed ourselves to be commoditized and were overcompeting and losing all over the place?

Since I've been grappling with this issue for years, here's some further reading from my blog:

[1] Whats a mid-career software engineer actually worth? Try $779,000 per year as a lower bound. ( http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/whats-a-mid-c... )

[2] Why programmers can't make any money: dimensionality and the Eternal Haskell Tax.( http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/why-programme... )

[3] Programmer autonomy is a $1 trillion issue. ( http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/programmer-au... )

[4] How the Other Half Works: An Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers. ( http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/how-the-other... )

18
QuantumChaos 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This article is shallow and misleading.

Economists do indeed have models of perfect competition, and perfect monopoly. But these are not the only concepts that economics has. For example, the market for pharmaceuticals is competitive ex ante, but monopolistic ex post. Anyone can choose to put research into developing a drug. But having discovered a particular drug, they have a monopoly over it.

Even though the monopoly is bad ex post, the promise of a monopoly is needed as an incentive to engage in productive activity ex ante. The same applies even more to company's like Apple and Google who maintain their monopoly by creating a unique product.

So the article is completely wrong when it says "To an economist, every monopoly looks the same, whether it deviously eliminates rivals, secures a license from the state or innovates its way to the top. I'm not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites"

Every kind of monopoly looks the same ex post, but monopolies achieved through innovation and monopolies achieved through bribery or favoritism are completely different ex ante. The first kind of monopoly incentivizes inventing new things. The second kind incentivizes unproductive activity such as bribery.

19
larrys 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Thiel fails to mention that at the time that air travel was regulated airlines did make money even though they weren't a monopoly and had competition.

http://www.investopedia.com/stock-analysis/031714/why-airlin...

"The landmark event in U.S. commercial aviation history as important as the incorporation of sound was to motion pictures, or the forward pass was to football was the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Prior to its passage, the federal government set rates, fares and schedules, guaranteeing profitability to each oligopolistic airline but doing its best to thwart innovation. "

So prior to about 1978 during certain stretches it was pretty good to be operating an airline.

20
graycat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So, Thiel is interested in monopolies:

"But the world we live in is dynamic: We can inventnew and better things. Creative monopolists givecustomers more choices by adding entirely newcategories of abundance to the world."

Okay, I'll try to understand this:

I'll go back to the Al Capone "A person can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone."

Well, with a VC firm an entrepreneur can get much farther with "new and better things" and traction significant and growing rapidly than with "new and better things" alone. Or, with the traction, a VC might just assume there are "new and better things" in there somewhere?

21
notastartup 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How do I create a monopoly with SaaS when we are constantly looking to undercut each other?
22
glibgil 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cicada
23
oscargrouch 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
Moral of story: Make some billions and say any shit you want, newspaper will create articles of whatever you say and people will think you are some kind of a genius

Modern society is a funny thing

24
3rd3 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Off-topic: Why do these kind of websites always have a stock price next to brand names? Is this useful Information? It looks a little bit scammy.
25
DominikR 2 hours ago 0 replies      
His comparison of Googles high margins to those of a monopoly seems wrong to me, because Google doesn't actually set any prices for advertisement.

Its customers set those prices by bidding on keywords. Not the other way around.

17
Is Borges the 20th Centurys most important writer?
51 points by wslh  7 hours ago   27 comments top 11
1
kafkaesque 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I majored in Spanish literature and philosophy. I wrote quite a bit on Borges and wanted to write my thesis on him (more specifically, how translation affected his work and views--translation as art, if you will).

I never went to graduate school, but I continued writing what was going to be my thesis.

It's nowhere near finished but if I can make one book recommendation I would say read Ficciones.

There are different layers to Borges and many, many, many ways to read him, but if I can give you one single reason why this writer is one of the greatest figures of all time, it is because he traces how a concept or thought was developed or created with the help of different minds (writers, philosophers, historical figures, literary figures, etc.). He doesn't always explicitly indicate who, but, as the article says, everything he wrote (and sometimes said) was a clue to what he was thinking. He was trying to make sense of an entire history and an entire world by organising how a particular concept was handed down from author to author and how it was mutated.

Why is this of value to us? Because the act of developing a thought or a concept teaches us how to think critically and coherently, looking for how mistakes were done and seeing the bigger picture when linking two general thoughts together.

Or it could all have been in jest.

2
andybak 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee."

God that makes me rage. It's even worse than a paywall as it's completely nonsensical.

3
diego_moita 3 hours ago 10 replies      
One thing that bothers me about the English literary culture is how indifferent it is to writers in other languages. Borges always was my best example. Another one is the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

What other non-english writers do you think should receive more world attention?

4
hderms 5 hours ago 0 replies      
At the very least, he's my favorite. Discovered him when I was about 16 and immediately decided to read everything he ever wrote. Truly an imaginative and amazing man.

Also his poetry is really incredible and offers an interesting look into Argentinian culture, both Gaucho and upper class.

5
CamperBob2 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Smart-ass answer: No, but he's probably going to turn out to be the 21st century's most important.

The library of Babel is here. You and I are sitting in it.

6
cfmeyers 3 hours ago 0 replies      
By far my favorite author. Most people begin by reading his short stories (which are amazing), but they should also read his non-fiction. I recommend Borges: Selected Non-Fictions. As far as I know he never discusses software or computer science explicitly, but all of his work is saturated with ideas relating to these things.
7
cafard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
No.

I've enjoyed reading Borges, and I think there is much to be said for his work. But the 20th Century included the writing years of (mostly at random) Joyce, Musil, Proust, Eliot, (most of) Yeats, and Nabokov, to name only a few, who were as good as Borges at what they did, and did a good deal more.

8
jesuslop 3 hours ago 0 replies      
He's one of the most importants, I also devoured almost all of his production and it's a pleasure to see him so highly praised in BBC where they could have asked the same about Joyce or Faulkner. Borges is a powerhorse humanist and intelectual, It's an almost ultimate literary aesthetic experience to witness the finesse of his ways of expression in his mother tongue. Young people in the dark must stop doing whatever they do and grab an anthology of his poetry immediately.
9
walterbell 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A web search for "garden of branching paths" is informative.

See comments and stories by his (out of print) translator, who spent three years in Argentina with Borges, http://www.digiovanni.co.uk/borges.htm

10
amiramir 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Are there any translations of Borges that our local aficionados would recommend over others?
11
languagehacker 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I took a class called "The Foundations of Great Ideas" my freshman year of college where we got to read The Library of Babel. I wrote a paper arguing the Internet was The Library of Babel. I firmly stand behind this.
18
Communicating Sequential Processes (1985) [pdf]
25 points by tosh  9 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
tosh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
For those wondering: Both Go and Clojure are modern languages that heavily use the concepts Tony Hoare described in this book to manage concurrency and parallelism.

Rich Hickey (Clojure): http://www.infoq.com/presentations/core-async-clojure

Rob Pike (Go): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN_DpYBzKso

2
dang 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Url changed from http://www.usingcsp.com/, which points to this.
19
OpenSurfaces A Richly Annotated Catalog of Surface Appearance
19 points by dTal  4 hours ago   1 comment top
1
ErikRogneby 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Holey crap, that is a lot of mturk!
21
Uber Drivers Strike and Switch to Lyft Over Fares and Conditions
205 points by smacktoward  11 hours ago   155 comments top 21
1
jefflinwood 7 hours ago 11 replies      
The really interesting story here is that if drivers are so willing to switch networks for better opportunities, there isn't a compelling reason for Uber to have the valuation that they do.

The value of Uber isn't really in the tech or the app - it's in the networks of riders and drivers in each city. If each of those can be aggregated into some other kind of service, where Uber, Lyft, etc. are just providers of payment processing, and possibly some operations expertise, that middleman network will capture all of the value.

2
smacktoward 7 hours ago 1 reply      
3
abalone 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a much more specific issue than most of the comments here are making it. People are talking about capitalism, competition, etc...

The problem is simply that a couple weeks ago Uber started sending UberX fares to Uber black car drivers. Which was a dumb move, because they are unprofitable and undercut the value of the premium car service. They've now reversed that dumb move.

4
pkfrank 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I almost hope that Lyft is orchestrating all of this behind the scenes.

It would be such an Uber-move.

5
seanmccann 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's great to see how easy it is for drivers to switch networks if they are unhappy, but drivers have to understand that prices are going down and they'll likely earn less money over time on all networks.

When articles are posted about Uber drivers earning $90k/yr, I'm sure many folks quit their $40k office job and hit the road. The thing is, driving taxi is pretty low skilled so the growing supply of drivers will really push down their income. There's an efficiency problem when an Uber driver "can earn" more than 75% of Americans, and existing drivers have been reaping the benefits of those inefficiencies.

6
SEJeff 10 hours ago 3 replies      
This is how capitalism works, survival of the fittest. If someone comes along that allows the drivers to make more money, prudent drivers will likely switch to that service.

It is a no brainer.

7
ChrisAntaki 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Lyft drivers are creeped out by Uber. "Operation: Shave the Stache" [1] is one of the most manipulative business practices I've heard of. Lyft chooses to invest its money on improving the experience inside the car, and hiring socially intelligent people, who they then treat like human beings. Uber could learn a lot from them.

[1] http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-play...

8
whitej125 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wait, strike? First off...IANAUD. If you become an Uber Driver are you under any sort of contract? Are you now an employee (W-2) of Uber or free agent contractor (1099). If drivers think they can get better fares elsewhere... go nuts and do it. Yay economics!

I feel like I am missing something here.

9
Pxtl 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm going to go ahead and assume there's an app that aggregates Uber/Lyft/whatever and just gets you the closest driver regardless of network. Uber's service goes from being a premium product to a replaceable commodity in a blink.
10
jbigelow76 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The drivers, who are mostly comprised of SUV and black car drivers, have planned a protest outside of the Long Island City Uber Office

I wonder how much good the office protest will do versus just emailing Uber saying "Adios Uber! I'm headed to Lyft because of..."

The on site picketing made sense for blue collar industrial and government workers because the switching cost of quitting your job and (hoping) to get hired at another plant would have been very high. For hire drivers working for Uber and Lyft essentially have close to zero switching costs. A demonstration of that would seem more effective than picketing.

11
ed 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I can think of two possible sources of driver lock-in: insurance (on the clock but between rides) and car financing. Anyone heard of uber or lyft working on this?
12
sprkyco 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's awesome I cancelled my account last month due to the issue of "we are lowering prices for summer" me thinking naively that this meant eventually prices would go up after a month or two. However after receiving not only notification that the prices would not go up further (Houston drivers at a minimum) but also I would now be required to pay 10 dollars a week to maintain service. Prior to Uber I was thinking the sharing ecnonomy was an embodiment of a change in corporate attitudes. F me right?
13
loceng 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is how free market capitalism is supposed to work - where mobility (switching services) is low to non-existent and so then users can migrate en mass to the ecosystem that is governed better or more in their favour.
14
spiritplumber 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent, this shifts the balance of power a little. Looks like the whole "everyone is a free agent" thing has some benefit for the little guys too.
15
stefan_kendall3 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the market is demanding UberX, and Uber is responding.

I'll keep using UberX in cars that don't need $80/day in gas.

16
pptr1 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not have a social network for professional drivers. Let that network destroy any type of information withholding that companies like uber do.

Leverage the power of scale. Unions 2.0

17
ForHackernews 9 hours ago 6 replies      
What would it take for somebody to just build a free, open-source matchmaking service for drivers and riders? It doesn't seem like what Lyft or Uber offer is very technically demanding (perhaps doing it at scale is), and presumably you could attract a lot more drivers by offering them the chance to keep ~99% of the fare.

The existence of Lyft demonstrates that Uber's first-mover advantage isn't insurmountable, so who's to say the third-mover shouldn't be a free utility that provides matchmaking at cost?

18
jonifico 11 hours ago 2 replies      
So they were fine and dandy until a better competition came around. When Lyft has its rival, same thing will happen.
19
innguest 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Statists, take notice of how improvements in work conditions come from competition and not from regulation. They're better off now than through the monopoly of taxi medallions.
20
drivingmenuts 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought the whole point of Uber and Lyft was that didn't have to be full-time occupations.
21
omnivore 5 hours ago 1 reply      
My ugly questions on this are: What about liability for when an Uber or Lyft driver kills someone in an accident driving unsafely? Or just murders someone because they're having a bad day? Or get carjacked? I mean, I guess it's just one spree away from people doing dangerous things?
22
NASAs Mars Curiosity Rover Arrives at Martian Mountain
135 points by happyscrappy  11 hours ago   10 comments top 5
1
karpathy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there any parallel set of videos where they actually convey more than 10 bits of information? I'm not interested in listening to a fun synopsis of next chapter of "The story of Curiosity and the mountain". Is anyone?"We found an important boundary, and the rover is now next to the important boundary." That's wonderful. I was expecting to hear at least 2 words on why it was important but it never came.

These update videos are a chance to also get technical, drill into details and explain the Curiosity mission piece by piece over a long period of time, perhaps in style of minutephysics. Seems to me as a bit of a missed opportunity.

2
ch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What type of mountain is this? When I think of mountains out here in the North Eastern US, most are not something a wheeled vehicle might easily summit.
3
peter303 4 hours ago 0 replies      
About time. The nominal mission was one Martian Year which ended in June. The NASA Inspector General recently criticized the Curiosity team for not meeting their main science goals which were based on climbing on Mt. Sharp. There were some interesting diversions like the alluvial fan. And sand dunes blocked a more direct traverse to Mt. Sharp. This not the first time Curiosity has been in the doghouse. They missed their initial launch data, with a 26-month delay, from falling behind on engineering of a new landing method and new power source. That put Curiosity nearly $2B over budget and almost ended the US Mars program.

Most of the instruments and the power source are expected to last ten years. The deteriorating wheels are a concern.

4
dredmorbius 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been following the wheel-wear issue with some interest. Curious what alternate wheel designs might prove more resilient under the off-road conditions found on Mars.

I'm supposing that any sort of rubber or similar material would prove prohibitively expensive in terms of mass?

5
metaobject 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Have the rovers ever had access to the kinds of strata shown on the side of the hill/mountain in the video? If not, hopefully there will be some very interesting finds in there.
23
Paket: Package manager for .NET and Mono
28 points by anilmujagic  8 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1
xpaulbettsx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but wouldn't it be easier to Just Fix NuGet? I don't think that any of the problems being solved here are fundamentally incompatible with being fixed in NuGet (though I could be wrong).
2
WorldWideWayne 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing I wish NuGet would do - let me download packages directly from Github, like Bower and Grunt do. I do use Bower and Grunt with ASP.NET but usually mixed with some NuGet packages. It would be nice to have one system for all.
3
final 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The front page doesn't answer THE question, why would I use Paket instead of NuGet. Realistically in the .NET ecosystem, once Microsoft introduces a passable product (such as NuGet) the chances of any alternative to gain adoption are veeery swim.
4
logicalmind 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to add a killer feature to this, add better handling for non-referenced dependencies. By non-referenced I mean they don't exist as a project reference like a dll would. For example, if you're doing a web project and you depend on say angular. Angular isn't added as a project reference. Nuget/Visual Studio do all kinds of oddities to work around this. Unless there is already a solution to this that I don't know about (besides using two different package managers).
5
dbettin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How does this differ from asp.vnext's kpm?
24
How Matt's Machine Works
11 points by steeples  12 hours ago   discuss
25
Rust Guide
262 points by bilalhusain  19 hours ago   110 comments top 14
1
axaxs 18 hours ago 10 replies      
Honest initial impressions from my quick glance. This guide is confused. It reads at times like an informal conversation... lots of exclamations. That's pedantic, the real confusion comes from the target audience. As a programmer, I want as little cruft as possible. Get me to examples and how this differentiates from C. As a non programmer, teach me the basics of types and logic. From that thought, it's failing at both. As a programmer, stop talking to me informally and redefining types as one liners. As a newbie, you're explaining basic shell constructs as if I don't know, then trying to sum up strings in a one liner. I know it's an early draft, and I know Steve is an awesome dude. My advice - figure out your audience or else break into two guides. Be terse with me, be overly explanatory to a beginner. This now seems to sway on both sides of that line, and likely will frustrate both groups.
2
phloxicon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it reads well but I would prefer if the examples given were correct first time around and then talk about what might go wrong, whereas right now, it describes what might go wrong and then how to do it correctly.

For example, in the testing section, the first example code generates an error because it's scope is private. The section then shows how to fix this. I would prefer he showed the correct way first and then how to fix common errors.

Also, I didn't see file IO but i probably overlooked that.

Other than that, it's excellent. Very thorough and reads like a book.

3
SideburnsOfDoom 16 hours ago 2 replies      
One stylistic nitpick / question. It says:

> "We expected an integer, but we got (). () is pronounced 'unit', and is a special type in Rust's type system. () is different than null in other languages, because () is distinct from other types"

Would it not be more accurate and more informative to compare the "special type" unit to "void" than to compare it to "null" ?

The keyword "void" is a placeholder that says "nothing here" where normally there would be a type. It function more or less like a type. i.e. "public void foo { ... };" instead of "public int foo() { ... };"

I understand "unit" as a "first class void".

"null" on the other hand is a value, that can be placed in variables of many types.

4
gtani 8 hours ago 0 replies      
quick comments (from s.b. who has been recently learning D and cuda C++)

- Most important, and nota bene: I liked it!

- this seems to be targeted as a crossover guide for experienced c/java/C++/C# family devs, but written a little below that level (whereas tutorial would be for people that have some programming experience in any language

- top level summaries before you launch into litany of language features: what is the object model, are there entities that can be inherited, how do interfaces/traits/mixins? how does allocation/initialization/destruction/cleanup typically work?

- Needs to note conventions ("_" in file/directory names, 4 space soft tabs) vs things enforced by compiler/tooling

- needs inline references/footnotes/bibliography for H-M type inference, FP style pattern matching, i.e. the "new" FP concepts for people without haskell/ocaml/scala experience

5
steveklabnik 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Hi everyone! I just woke up to find all this, and I'm speaking at a conference today where there's no laptops allowed, so we'll see when I get to read these comments. A few things:

1. Consider this a 'first draft.' I wrote this in sections, see [1], and now it's time to edit as a whole.

2. Because of that, there are still changes coming. There's even an active one in the queue right now. [2]

3. This guide is fairly long (The PDF is 80~ pages), tries to make little assumptions about systems programming knowledge, and will get you from 'I know nothing about Rust' to 'I'm an intermediate Rust programmer.' There's plans to make an abridged version for people who are already familiar with systems or want something faster with less explanation.

To expand on (3) a bit, one of the hard parts of teaching is that you have such varying background levels of skill in your audience. This means different people need different things, one learning resource will never fit all. I very specifically went for extra explanation and an informal tone with this piece, based on my years of experience teaching programmers new languages. You all here are generally much further along, know more programming concepts and features, and are just generally more advanced. I want to include _everyone_ with the introductory documentation I write, and that means spelling things out a bit more. And it also means you all may not like it. You'll probably prefer the abridged version.

Feedback very welcome. I'll read all this eventually, or just open some issues.

1: https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/pulls?q=is%3Apr+author%3As...

2: https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/pull/17155

6
ch 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be useful if the guide folded the Unix/Windows examples up into a single view (something like what the Spark docs do: https://spark.apache.org/docs/latest/quick-start.html#Basics)

And then, perhaps, used some platform detection to display the more appropriate form by default.

That way less space is used up by the parallel examples.

7
someone13 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Also note that the installation section is a bit out of date: they have Windows x64 binary installers now:

http://www.rust-lang.org/install.html

8
the_mitsuhiko 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the informal style, I would not want to change it. Tutorials and introductions are supposed to be readable to complete beginners or developers that only used a simple programming language before.

There are lots of small things I would want to change about the guide, especially in regards to which sections should be more in depth and which ones should be skipped for another guide, but that's why it's a first iteration.

9
octo_t 12 hours ago 2 replies      
+1 from me for the `curl | sudo sh` disclaimer. Even if the only thing it does is stop people complaining about it :)
10
gosub 16 hours ago 4 replies      

    let x = 5i;
so, integers are written like complex numbers?

11
niix 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This language really interests me, but I would like to know some real world applications that are being used for it. While I may enjoy writing it as a hobby, could this be something that I utilized in production as well?
12
bmurphy1976 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's a lot of text. I'm going to side with others out there, it's too informal and needs to be tightened up considerably.

It's a decent start, but needs some serious editing.

Good luck!

13
eik3_de 16 hours ago 4 replies      
leaving aside the first-mover advantages like community, docs, stdlibs, api stability, where do you see rust's advantages over go?
14
antocv 17 hours ago 10 replies      
Please Rust-lang, why, oh why, do you choose to name function 'fn' and module 'mod', dont you expect to read any of the programs you write!?

How is anyone supposed to read fn main(). Fun main? Fen main? F of N? Is it related to ln in println?

Ive tried rust, but it just doesnt parse well in my mind. More time is spent for me parseing out the bullshit terse keywords than the meaning of the program.

Ada gets this right, there you have to write exactly what you mean, end begin, if then. Simple clear.

Terseness, shorts and abbrevations, thts now hw you wrt anyng.

26
A couple more formal systems
17 points by hashx  16 hours ago   1 comment top
1
tobinharris 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This almost reminds me of Z which I studied at Uni in 1999. It was kind of cool, and I enjoyed predicate logic.

Now I look at it and think, WTF!

Since I've never had to use this stuff for real, it would be fascinating to know what people use it for day to day?

27
Last day to apply for Startup School
44 points by katm  8 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1
qasar 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Something that might not be obvious to those who haven't been is that being in person at startup school is markedly different than just watching the talks online. Mainly that it's one of the few events where there is a critical mass of like minded people who are seriously looking to start companies. Perhaps it's because there is a common objective and a high caliber of participants, I always leave startup school energized and inspired.
2
mrbird 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience at Startup School was a true epiphany, though not in the way most people would expect.

After hearing founder stories directly from people like Brian Chesky and Andrew Mason, and hearing what they tried and went through in the years before anyone heard of their "overnight" success, I finally understood that I'm truly not like them. Selling cereal to keep things running on a shoestring budget? I would have given up by then, as would have many rational people.

The experience helped me appreciate that the role I love, and have thrived in ever since, is in a small startup (but post-money) where the challenges are growth, innovation, and building a strong foundation for the future, both in terms of technology and people.

I highly recommend attending Startup School.

3
kibaekr 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
They say "apply for the audience, not the talks." Haven't had the opportunity to attend in the past, but would love to go and meet the awesome people attending!
4
notastartup 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
God damn it...sucks to live in Canada.
5
bruceb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there stats on the acceptance rate for Startup School?
28
An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics
21 points by rpenm  6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
onetimeusename 3 hours ago 1 reply      
>The mathematician hunkered in a foxhole, earning his pay, finds it difficult to set aside the prejudice that he is grappling with something realto keep up morale, if nothing else.

This is true of myself as much as I think Platonism leads to strange ideas about things in other regards. There is also an idea known as logicism that I think might explain a bit better what universal mathematical objects are.

I am not a mathematical philosopher myself, maybe some day, but when Franklin says numbers can be relations to things, I think that the fact that there are uncountable sets which means there is not a way to map the natural numbers in any "relation" to that set seems like it undermines the Aristotelian idea of linking mathematical objects with physical things.

2
roywiggins 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not a philosopher, but this sounds awfully like embodied mathematics: Mathematical ideas grow from embodied experience plus metaphor. Lakoff and Nuez's "Where Mathematics Comes From" is an extended effort at demonstrating that this can be done in a convincing way.
29
What does randomness look like? (2012)
51 points by xsace  9 hours ago   18 comments top 7
1
mnw21cam 7 hours ago 2 replies      
What isn't mentioned is the fact that British intelligence fed false news article back to the Germans saying that the bombs had fallen short of their target. The Germans then adjusted their flight paths to make the bombs fly further, causing many of them to fly straight over London and land in the countryside the other side.
2
cshimmin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Both distributions are random, they're just different kinds of random. The one the article refers to as "random" is _uniformly distributed_, while the other is not. Similarly, different _kinds_ of random distributions sound different! Wikipedia has a nice article on various noise distributions with audio samples: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise
4
sramsay 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The British worried about the accuracy of these aerial drones. Were they falling haphazardly over the city, or were they hitting their intended targets?

This is the seed of Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel Gravity's Rainbow -- a masterful, if difficult, novel about (among other things) paranoia.

5
myfonj 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Other thing that wasn't mentioned is the actual mechanism that caused that 'controlled randomness':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb#Guidance_system

6
thanatropism 6 hours ago 0 replies      
what does Poisson-distributed randomness look like?

Events generated by Poisson processes or amenable to the small-p binomial approximation look like Poisson. Events not amenable to the small-p approximation look Gaussian. Extreme value measurements (flood water levels, auction prices) look Weibull, Frchet or Gumbel.

Appropriate statistical methodologies are appropriate. sigh

7
autokad 7 hours ago 2 replies      
i read somewhere that showed the V1's had a higher kill rate of RAF pilots than German fighters, with no losses of german pilots. Couldnt find it though, anyone else?
30
Harvard's CompSci intro course boasts record-breaking enrollment
15 points by WestCoastJustin  4 hours ago   3 comments top
1
cykho 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this means more Harvard students are seeking careers as devs or that Harvard students in other disciplines are looking to add programming to their repertoire?
       cached 13 September 2014 01:02:01 GMT