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Receiving Weather Satellite Images With An 8 Dongle mattg.co.uk
235 points by mmastrac  8 hours ago   24 comments top 9
olympus 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The author mentions that he used "A 2 metre bit of wire jammed in the screwhole at the base of the tiny antenna" to try and get better reception. While the signal he is receiving is in the 2-meter band, a monopole antenna works better if it is 1/4 the wavelength, so he might actually get better reception with a 0.5 meter length of wire. What he created is usually called a "random wire" antenna, and may deliver acceptable performance with a strong signal.

But the NOAA satellites (and quite a few other satellites) use a circularly polarized signal, and for just a tiny bit more money (perhaps the cost of the dongle) you can make a MUCH better antenna for circularly polarized signals. Some designs are just helixes made with coax cable, some are just a couple of wires in an x-shape.

Google is your friend, and building an antenna is a fun cheap weekend project and will greatly enhance your results when hunting for satellite signals.

P.S. if you make a circularly polarized antenna and you discover that you made a LH polarization instead of the RH that you wanted (or vice versa), just turn the antenna upside down. It may behoove you if you are planning on listening to signals with both polarities to construct one that is easily flipped over.

Fizzadar 5 hours ago 3 replies      
This is awesome; am ordering a dongle right away!

Did some digging and there's a whole load of things which can potentially be picked up, including dead satellites [0]. RTL-SDR.com has a whole load of awesome looking tutorials [1].

[0] http://www.rtl-sdr.com/receiving-dead-satellites-rtl-sdr/[1] http://www.rtl-sdr.com/category/tutorial/

MrBra 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Great, just recently I became passionate about anything relating to radio theory and transmission and I had learnt about these dongles and was ready to get one.

But before that, I decided I wanted a proper "hardware radio", and bought myself a portable wide band radio receiver [1] (great value for the price, I advice it). Then when I was about to get one of these dongles, as usual and as for the above radio, I got sucked into the reviews suggesting this or that other model for better sensitivity or extra features. Now I understand the price range for these cheap sticks is just in the order of a few tenths at maximum, but maybe there is a chance anyone has investigated a bit more on the available choices already?

For example.. the one that has been written about in the article has 4 stars and 159 reviews while the first alternative in the "Amazon recommends" box has some 940 reviews and same 4 star score for just +2 (but I'm not even sure they do exactly the same things.. sorry). So, just wondering, maybe someone has already gone through this search and can recommend the best one to get?

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Tecsun-PL-660-Portable-Shortwave-Singl...

RobotCaleb 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I did this a few years ago with a similar dongle and a homemade antenna. It's a pretty cool thing to see something you cobbled together receiving real-time messages from space.


weinzierl 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is also OsmocomSDR[1] which is an excellent starting point into software defined radio.

[1] http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr

nly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Last thing I used my R820T for was decoding POCSAG[0] messages here in the UK. It's a paging system, and the messages seem to be broadcast nationwide in the clear. Seems to be mostly used by the NHS and vets. I got kind of depressed reading about dying pets.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POCSAG

fosk 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I would expect the communication to be encrypted, or is it supposed to be open to the outside world?
kenrikm 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You can use the same dongle to tap into ADS-B signals to get realtime ATC and display it on a map. Also, it's interesting to just sit and listen to SFO ATC audio channel.
jodrellblank 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a Reddit for software defined radio, using the cheap Realtek RTL2832U devices.


The Craigslist Lawsuit 3taps.com
144 points by squigs25  8 hours ago   89 comments top 17
tptacek 6 hours ago 2 replies      
the same statute that led to the demise of Aaron Swartz

For fuck's sake.

CFAA criminal sentencing guidelines may very well have contributed to Swartz's suicide. They incentivized prosecutors to create complex, showy indictments cross-linking multiple felony charges (because exploiting unauthorized access in furtherance of other felonies is an accelerator in the CFAA). CFAA may be broken in several ways.

But CFAA is also the sole federal statute governing unauthorized access. In civil litigation, CFAA is the only statute that provides a civil cause of action relating to unauthorized access to computers of any sort.

People like to write about civil CFAA as if it was some sort of nuclear option. But civil and criminal cases are worlds apart. If you're going to sue someone for misusing your computer systems, or even just violating your terms of use, CFAA is merely the statute that enables that. That has nothing whatsoever to do with overzealous prosecution.

Invoking Aaron Swartz in an argument over who's allowed to show apartment ads where is manipulative and grotesque.

a-dub 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Back when the first bubble burst in late 2001, I scraped a bunch of historical craigslist data from a secondary archive and built an interactive gnuplot webpage of post-traffic by category over time. At the time, it got slashdotted, a couple hundred thousand people looked at it and it was all fun and good.

So I thought afterwards, hey, the economy is kinda sketchy still and looking at this stuff sure is neat... I should build a real tool that robustly and respectfully logs daily post totals for more locales, and maybe build out a cool little graph portal. Maybe I can even do a little NLP to make it smarter. hey, it's craigslist, they're community minded.. they thank me when I post, they won't mind. They give pencils to teachers even.

So I email them, and Craig responds in a cc'd message with a 'hey cool, can this guy use our RSS feeds'? At which point, the assholes that worked there started inventing every excuse under the sun as to why doing so would totally damage their infrastructure (because you know, polling RSS every half an hour is total abuse.)

Anyway, that's when I realized that all the hippie-dippie stuff was just window dressing and that I really truly was dealing with a really special species of asshole.

I put the project down and walked away. The end.

tomasien 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Greg Kidd, the founder of 3taps, did not have to keep fighting this fight - AT ALL. He is one of the top execs at Ripple Labs, was in the first round of Twitter (and Square), and doesn't have his net OR self worths tied up in 3taps. He continued this because he believes it was right - and I, for one, thank him for it.
jxm262 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> and will make its API source code, the settlement agreement, and other legal filings and public policy resources available.

This is interesging to me. A couple years ago being young and naive i received a cease and desist order from craigslist legal team demanding i remove my craigslist scraper from github. It was largely a toy project to play around with an html parser library i wanted to learn anx thought it could be useful. Of course I now understand it was against their tos and from an ethical standpoint, avoid scraping anything unless getting permission, but at the time I was terrified I'd be sued for a ton of money. It felt incredibly aggressive to go after me , a student at the time.

So I'm curious.. is it illegal to scrape but ok to release the source code? Where is the line drawn?

x5n1 7 hours ago 6 replies      
We really need a non-profit organization that provides a data store with an api for common things like classified listings, sms messages, pictures, likes, etc.

That can help us move away from this sort of chicken and egg problem with user generated data. These companies are basically hogging it because they were able to build the user base.

If we can get the data in a non-profit store with a licensing scheme that basically says you must as a part of using this data add any user-generated data submitted to your website back to this store so other developers can build products on top of it, we could really innovate in classifieds and social networks.

Perhaps something like that can be funded by EFF or related organization... because then we can potentially apply governance to that user generated data which has not been possible with private companies.

The chicken and egg problem can be solved if big non-profit tech and civil rights brands like the ACLU, EFF, Wikipedia, etc. all get behind this and market it.

brownbat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent update on one of the hard cases EFF has been fighting.

There's a link to an interesting law review article on how the CFAA can make it a criminal act for arbitrarily banned users to even browse to a public webpage:http://digitalcommons.law.umaryland.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?...

It's an absurd result and frustratingly unaddressed by the courts.

tsycho 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't understand.

>> The Court has ruled that usersnot craigslistown the copyrights in their postings.

>> ... Craigslist finally conceded in Court that no such harm or impairment ever occurred.

>> Craigslist completely rewrote its Terms of Use, removing many of the most abusive clauses.

Everything above seems to be against Craigslist. Then why does 3taps have to agree to a settlement to pay Craigslist $1 million?

And if there are other parts of the court ruling that went against 3taps which this blog post doesn't mention, then how can Craigslist be forced to forward that money to EFF?

guelo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow that's quite a spin on the fact that they lost the lawsuit and had to fork over $1 million.
melvinram 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not clear why they are shutting down if "the Court has ruled that usersnot craigslistown the copyrights in their postings."

Maybe "3taps lacks the resources to continue the fight" implies that the lawsuit has drained their bank accounts and they are out of money.

Buge 7 hours ago 3 replies      
So 3taps has to pay craigslist $1M, and craigslist then has to pay that to the EFF. That seems pretty odd.
jister 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Company A made a chocolate fountain for the "public" to see. People enjoyed it. Company B thought this is a great opportunity to make cakes out of it. Because the fountain is "public" they made this as the source of their cake business. Company A complained to take down the fountain and....

Well you know the rest of the story. :)

j_lev 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Would a "cannot use for commercial purposes" clause have nipped this one in the bud? I'm still on the fence with this one. I think Craigslist could have played it a lot better but I find it hard to believe no-one here can empathise with the founder.
jasimq 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"3taps replied that it did not access craigslist and instead obtained the data from Google" What does this mean? how do they get that data from Google?
shawnee_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
3taps built a data exchange that aggregated user-generated data housed on various websites and then made that data available through an API to developers, including PadMapper and Lovely.

Craigslist discovered that it had become (has become) the "MLS" of rentals... and perhaps even more accurately -- it's a brokerage of _housing_ data -- both rentals and sales. So when property management companies (PMCs) discovered how darn easy it was, for example, to flood craigslist with multiple ads for the same unit, or to flood it with units that were never available to begin and thus alter market perception -- certain people got exactly what they wanted: hyperinflation in rents, or the subsequent upward pressure on housing prices, or both.

As recently as 2010, craigslist welcomed innovative uses of the publicly available data ... Over the next two years, as innovators like PadMapper and AirBnB began to thrive, craigslist reversed course, and punished the innovators it previously welcomed to use the data. In February 2012, craigslist rewrote its Terms of Use, abandoning its long-articulated position that users own their own content which was freely available on the public part of craigslist's website.

As outraged as everybody was about this, it is exactly what the real MLS does when you decide to sell your house. You sign a contract promising to pay some Realtor's brokerage company 6 percent of whatever your house goes for -- in that contract you are essentially giving them the "copyright" of your house listing; they own it on the MLS and that is why you have to pay them the big bucks. Never mind that they do basically NOTHING other than simple photography and data entry to post on the MLS... but now they require you give them ~$66K of your equity for their 3 hours of work. (Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_28512250/report-silic... Median price of "entry level" home in San Mateo County = $1.1M).

Same thing is happening in rentals / property management co's (PMCs), but slightly different symptoms.

Nobody is attacking the problem the right way, though. 42Floors tried the experiment and found it to be a failure, too. (Source: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9881213)

The market should be putting more pressure on brokers to compete with each other ... damn that 6 percent. (Right, but the NAR signed a non-compete agreement with itself so it gets to do that)

Hackers should stop building tools that make it easier and cheaper for the PMCs and real estate agents to steal everybody's equity.

trhway 6 hours ago 0 replies      
why they took on CL instead of, say, FB? Or they think it is better to start with an easy/smaller guy and ramp it up to the bigger fish?
thinkcomp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
mtw 6 hours ago 2 replies      
interesting outcome. Do users own the copyright to their pictures and postings on Facebook? twitter?

Can I build a Facebook scrapper and redistribute it to other sites?

Syd Mead, the Artist Who Illustrates the Future curbed.com
36 points by diodorus  3 hours ago   6 comments top 4
Animats 1 hour ago 1 reply      
In the 1970s, he did designs for Playboy of futuristic environments for the single guy. Cars, (he did a lot of vehicle designs), a "land yacht" RV, and some interiors and exteriors. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts had a show of those a few years ago.

Big Syd Mead image collection: http://imgur.com/a/s9Oyr#0

aresant 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Syd's work is regularly featured at /r/retrofuturism - great submission the other day I'm paraphrasing below:

First load this up:


Then open up this Syd Mead gallery to full screen and click through:


curtis 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
It hadn't occurred to me that Syd Mead might still be alive.
PhasmaFelis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Many years ago, in the dark days before Wikipedia, I read a similar article about Syd Mead (and his excellent work) that introduced me to the term "futurist." I thought that sounded like a really cool thing to be, and set myself to finding out what it was exactly.

Much Googling later, I realized that no one else knew either. It was just whatever Syd Mead happened to be, which as best I could figure was "sci-fi artist, except too respectable to lump in with those grubby sci-fi nerds."

These days "futurist" seems to have a much more well-known and clearly defined meaning that doesn't really include designing movie backdrops, so Mead has been updated to "visual futurist," which has the same definition as above.

A Python wrapper for the 3taps API github.com
5 points by zeeshanm  55 minutes ago   1 comment top
brobdingnagian 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
A wrapper for a now-defunct service? Useful!
Rwasa A high-performance web server in x86_64 assembly 2ton.com.au
143 points by jonathonf  11 hours ago   43 comments top 5
bsaul 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Question to the author : Seing the benchmark really made me wonder, how can you be twice as a fast as nginx ?

I've always thought writing assembly manually was for some very specific edge cases, or to talk to some very specific hardware, but that it was just a waste of time for anything else, especially compared to C (and especially with all the progress in compilers).

Is it the death by a thousand cuts scenario, or are there some big chunks of performances gained thanks to some specific tricks (and if so, could you give some example ?). I'm thinking maybe cryptographic functions ?

faizshah 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Great project, I have been watching another similar project pretty closely:https://github.com/h2o/h2o

I've always wondered, how many man hours does writing a small web server like that take?

jonathonf 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Submitting this so I can make a feature request. :)

The -logpath option is fine, but it would be nice if it could create subdirectories too (e.g. $LOGPATH/YYYY/mm/access.log.YYYYmmdd ). Otherwise, over time the log dir is going to get unwieldy.

I'm currently running several sites in alpine+rwasa Docker containers; I'm liking having a set of entirely isolated web servers based on a 10MB container image, each apparently consuming ~6KB RAM while idle.

rubyn00bie 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been wondering when something like this would emerge... I'm excited to try it out on some side projects; seems simple and fast-- hard combo to beat :)

I'd also like to say, as someone who is quite ignorant of writing x86 assembly, the function hook example is incredibly readable and clear. I'm looking forward to grokking the rest of the code base in attempt to learn more.

Thanks for the hard work!

Sir_Cmpwn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A very cool project, but they seem to think people will run it in production. Probably a bad idea to run an assembly TLS implementation in production.

EDIT: Here's the header of the file that contains their TLS implementation. I'll let you be the judge: https://gist.github.com/SirCmpwn/ec8aaec128aa3e47ddda

Why Debian returned to FFmpeg lwn.net
219 points by vezzy-fnord  14 hours ago   74 comments top 11
zimbatm 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Michael is just amazing. I once had a bug with ffmpeg which he helped me pin down on IRC and then produced a patch for it immediately.

I was disappointed of how aggressive the libav guys where during the fork. They changed the content of ffmpeg.org (which they had legitimate access to) to claim that libav was now the new name of the project. Then they replaced the ffmpeg package in Debian with their own version.

It's entirely possible to maintain both packages in Debian with the alternatives framework. This whole false dichotomy and calling ffmpeg the fork is not helpful in my opinion. So I'm glad that ffmpeg is getting it's package back. Forks are good and should stand on their own merit instead of doing politics like that.

gus_massa 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't like how they interpret the table with the numbers of commits.

I tried this criteria, I divide the committers in three groups:

A) Michael Niedermayer

B) People with more commits in FFmpeg, i.e. Clment Bsch, James AlmerCarl, Eugen Hoyos, ...

C) People with more commits in libav, i.e. Vittorio Giovara, Martin Storsj, Anton Khirnov, ...

(I supouse there are other commits from people outside the published table, but they are few.)


 libav FFmpeg A) 46 1831 B) 37 1071 C) 1074 856 Tot: 1157 3758
An alternative interpretation is that if tomorrow Michael Niedermayer is hit by a bus, the other committers of FFmpeg still make almost the same numbers of commits than the committers of libav (even ignoring the ported commits).

Complete table:

 Developer libav FFmpeg --------------------------------- Michael Niedermayer 46 1831 --------------------------------- Clment Bsch 179 James Almer 155 Carl Eugen Hoyos 150 Andreas Cadhalpun 21 114 Lukasz Marek 98 Paul B Mahol 93 Ronald S. Bultje 85 wm4 16 83 Christophe Gisquet 66 Benoit Fouet 48 >>>Subtotal 37 1071 --------------------------------- Vittorio Giovara 294 294 Martin Storsj 253 252 Anton Khirnov 206 197 Luca Barbato 131 113 Diego Biurrun 72 Rmi Denis-Courmont 32 Hendrik Leppkes 17 Himangi Saraogi 16 Gabriel Dume 16 Federico Tomassetti 14 Peter Meerwald 12 Janne Grunau 11 >>>Subtotal 1074 856 ------------------------------------ >>>>>>Total 1157 3758

andmarios 13 hours ago 2 replies      
As a Gentoo user, libav only gave me trouble. It was incompatible with many packages, whereas ffmpeg was with none I encountered. The switch to libav was horrific and I never managed to resolve all the issues it created with my system. For some months, updating my system was a herculean task due to libav causing constant and largely unsolved trouble. I was really happy to see Gentoo return to ffmpeg. Everything works smooth once again.

I can't comment on code quality, project management, etc and frankly I don't care. If one library causes problems to every bit of my system, it should stay off until it is on par with the library it tries to replace provided that both libraries use a free software compatible license.

crystalgiver 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Yet another instance of "worse" is better: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worse_is_better
callesgg 14 hours ago 2 replies      
In almost every use case i have i have, libav has not been able to fulfill my needs and i have had to get rid of libav and install ffmpeg.
jtchang 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think the single developer argument should be too much of a concern in an open source project. I saw Michael of ffmpeg had a lot of commits. In my experience with both closed and open sourced projects this is usually the case. There is one person that wrote the majority of the code.

The great thing about open source is that even if they step away it's not like the code is going anywhere. To an end user of ffmpeg it would still continue to function.

I personally had no idea ffmpeg was forked to libav until one day I tried to install it in Ubuntu and was like...wtf. Then I installed libav and went about my day.

0x09 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Libav on the other hand rather focuses on clean implementation and let's say better designed APIs.

This is weird to hear as a consumer of these libraries. When people ask why I prefer one or the other for my own use cases, I tell them that FFmpeg has the better API and the better format support (specifically vastly more pixel formats/depths in its lossless codecs). But regarding API, at least the parts that concern me, FFmpeg is a bit fuller and requires less boilerplate. libav* have a large surface area, so even minor affordances like avformat_alloc_output_context2 and avcodec_find_best_pix_fmt_of_list are helpful.

To be fair to Libav, due to being "downstream" FFmpeg has benefited greatly from their improvements, e.g. AVBuffer and the redone AVFrame management on top of it. They absolutely deserve credit for improving the API. But FFmpeg's API being effectively a superset of Libav, as a plain old user of the libraries it doesn't really make sense to target the latter.

That's to say nothing about the politics or people involved in the projects, it's just a matter of practicality.

laurentoget 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Am i the only one who is amazed that the library which is supporting a huge share of all video playing on all linux machines appears to be pretty much written by one person?
cookiecaper 12 hours ago 2 replies      
https://github.com/mpv-player/mpv/wiki/FFmpeg-versus-Libav gives an interesting perspective. Libav sounds like it's strict about good software practices and merciless in its exclusion and deletion of "bad" code. This may make a cleaner, more sustainable product over the long term, but it makes compatibility a nightmare now, which is probably why distro managers are increasingly interested in swapping libav back out. Perhaps if they had a more steady, formal release cycle it wouldn't be annoying and they'd have been able to maintain their position in the distros they got to carry them (I think almost all of them have reverted to ffmpeg as the default now). Since libav aggressively deletes old stuff and painstakingly reviews each patch (according to this article, no direct experience), they don't merge a lot of "new stuff" from ffmpeg.

ffmpeg has maintained compatibility, making it really easy for downstream users and distro maintainers to keep going, whilst continuously adding new features and improvements, including aggressively merging those placed in libav (I guess as long as they aren't deletions or cleanups?).

I feel like there's a lot to learn in this whole drama and that it hasn't been very deeply explored. libav team originally claimed that ffmpeg's leadership had gone dark/fallen off the map, but they sure came back quickly to express discontentment at the mutiny. libav team undoubtedly has talented people working on it (wasn't DarkShikari on the libav side of the schism?) and libav/ffmpeg share a lot of goals. You'd think they could come to some type of compromise less onerous than this entire saga has been. IMO it's a failure from all sides that this fork was even a thing. A phased, unified, slow, and well-managed release process like Python 2 -> Python 3 might have made all of this unnecessary.

wmantly 13 hours ago 0 replies      
About time, libav has never meet my needs.
rsync 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hacking Team: a zero-day market case study tsyrklevich.net
18 points by colinprince  5 hours ago   9 comments top 2
tptacek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is a really amazing post.

Two things that startled me:

First, there is apparently a market for vulnerabilities that bypass the Flash access controls for cameras and audio recording. There can be no benign purpose for those exploits. Nobody penetration tests a Fortune 500 company looking to see if they can light up the cameras on worker desktops.

Second, there's an eighty thousand dollar price tag for a Netgear vulnerability. That shocked me: serverside, highly targeted. Only, it turns out, there probably isn't any such market. Apparently, some of these bugs are listed for sale at exorbitant price with no anticipation of ever selling them. They're not listed at close to a clearing price, but rather just aspirationally, with the idea being that anyone who will someday, maybe, engage a serious zero-day broker for a Netgear vuln is probably going to derive six figures of income from that bug.

That's the theory, at least.

For future HN bug bounty/black market threads: note the absence of Facebook XSS vulns on these price lists. Nobody is paying tens of thousands of dollars for web vulns. Except the vendors. :)

jaytaylor 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What is HACKING TEAMs motivation for publicly sharing all of this seemingly private underworld information?
Phaser 2.4 Released github.com
21 points by jchesters  3 hours ago   3 comments top 3
bliti 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's my favorite library for building small video games for fun. I recommend it to anyone who wants to build a 2D web game. It has good docs and the code is fairly simple to read and write.
danbolt 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Seeing updates for Phaser makes me so happy! It really is a gem of a library.

A nice thing about it too, is that it is very easy to make something that is compatible with both desktop web browsers and smartphones. When presenting at a game jam or hackathon, it's nice to be able to push what you've done onto GitHub pages and encourage your audience to try things themselves.

tarr11 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Phaser is such a fun platform. Great to see it continue to improve.
How to Read in College swarthmore.edu
22 points by woodcroft  4 hours ago   8 comments top 2
caminante 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I can't tell if this is a prank.

A post on "How to Read in College" targeted at college age students who (paraphrased) "can't possibly read everything assigned to them" goes over...3000 words without even an overview?

He then adds nonsense disclaimers, buried at the end. This post is hopeless.

sanoy 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
better title how to read like a hack. Or how to read like a entrepreneur.
Detecting VPN (and its configuration) and proxy users on the server side medium.com
15 points by diafygi  6 hours ago   2 comments top
jaytaylor 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
I never thought about detecting proxies and VPNs this way, very clever.

Do any of you know a way to hinder/defeat these detection techniques?

What Makes Founders Succeed foundersatwork.posthaven.com
162 points by revorad  14 hours ago   83 comments top 14
DenisM 13 hours ago 2 replies      
A funny story linked to this book.

Having read half the book at the time it came out, I noticed that there is pretty much nothing in common between all the various founders. In particular founders of RIM and Craigslist are people from different planets. I complained loudly about it, and eventually a friend pointed out that there was something I overlooked - they have all tried. Somehow that turned out to be a profound revelation to me. Combined with another push from a colleague, who's said "Denis, you always talk about these ideas you had, how come you never do much with them", that got me to start doing things rather than thinking about them.

zekevermillion 12 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read about founders, I always think back to a college class I took, Weapons War & Strategy. The instructor had a favorite anecdote, to show the vast difference between normal people and elite warriors. In WWII, the German Navy used submarines to prowl around looking for shipping to sink. And it had a big (at least psychological) impact. But statistically something like 90% of tonnage sunk by the Kriegsmarine was due to 1% of U-boat captains. The rest of them were apparently just cruising around the ocean trying to avoid getting killed themselves.
staunch 12 hours ago 4 replies      
What prevents JL from creating a Founders at Work 2 is what prevents 99% of founders from creating their first startup.

For most founders the situation is far bleaker though. There's an incredible amount of sacrifice required to even attempt a startup if you have a family, can't get investors, and all your friends and family are poor people. And yet this is what most people face today.

Determination alone really isn't enough. You need help. The one thing all successful founders have in common is that they found help early on from people in a position to help.

visarga 12 hours ago 12 replies      
Luck and passion. But mostly luck.

Example: how is it possible that Google couldn't make its own successful video streaming service and had to buy YT for billions? They had the expertise and money, but it didn't catch on.

Why did previous tablets fail and iPad succeed? Microsoft was into tablets long before iPad.

Sometimes, no matter how rich or smart you are, or how good your idea is, it's going to flop because it didn't encounter the perfect environment and moment to take roots. Because not even rich players can control the environment, they resort to buying promising startups trying to hitch a ride to success on their wings, or alternatively, the YCombinator model of seeding and grooming startups. How many of YC startups flopped, even with help?

Edit: seems I am not in agreement with the crowd. Instead of downvoting, please argue in replies.

sparkzilla 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a really great essay. I love the quote "Dont worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, youll have to ram them down peoples throats". I think the most exciting time for a founder is when you've done that and the world starts to catch up with you, and the uncertainty, rejection, stress and work starts to pay off. For those interested I collected many of Jessica's interviews here: http://newslines.org/jessica-livingston/
throwaway41597 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If determination is the single most important quality, doesn't it deserve its own book? Determination is so personal and emotional, it'd be hard to find founders willing to confide, but I believe it would fill a huge need for aspiring founders. Maybe some stories would have to be anonymous, but if vetted by an author such as jl, that would be okay I think.

It would also be useful to hear more actual failure stories, not only those from founders who have managed to turn things around, but those who just failed. Even if it scares some away from startups, maybe there are some lessons to be learnt too.

jordigg 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love to see a new book about successful and not so successful founders and lessons learned along the way.Comparing them with the first book to find interesting facts about how things and people's perspective have changed over time will be very interesting.Something else would love to read about is international founders and how moving to the valley helped them succeed comparing when they were in their respective countries.

Thanks to Jessica for all her work and heart she is putting helping founders succeed and this way inspire others around the world to keep creating great things.

semerda 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the book!

Could founder success early on be broken into 2 parts?:1. Founder EQ (internal + external) and2. Market/Time.

We know that in the wrong market/time startups have a hard time gaining traction. Sometimes you need to give time i.e. keep going through the dark times; to reach a time when the market is ready/needs what you are offering. It's that analogy "A rising tide lifts all boats". So you need to get your boat into the water.

As for Founder EQ. Internally - strong to battle through the tough emotional times (perseverance, adaptability etc) and externally - how the founders communicate and work together to get stuff done. We know founder disputes kill many early startups.

Once traction is gained and money flows then those 2 might not be as important. Money does solve many problems. At that point everyone inside the company is spinning the cog and inertia takes over.

hkmurakami 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not to knock anything or anyone at all but... to posit that "perseverance makes founders succeed" seems to promote some very strong survivor bias.

Or maybe it just sounds sort of perversely tautological to me. Seeing people follow necessary but not sufficient conditions just sounds perilous to me, even as a founder myself.

decisiveness 7 hours ago 0 replies      
>People like the idea of innovation in the abstract, but when you present them with any specific innovation, they tend to reject it, because it doesnt fit with what they already know.

This can be true, but I think often, people tend to reject an idea because it does fit with what they already know.

People look for usefulness, and will hastily disregard something that reminds them of a previous innovation that failed. I don't doubt they are sometimes wrong, and perseverance on a seemingly weak innovation can be turned into something wildly successful, I just wonder how many founders wasted much effort trying to succeed when their innovation never really had a chance to be very useful.

Alex3917 12 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to successful innovations looking bad, successful founders often look pretty bad as well. Maybe not right when they're starting whatever business that is actually going to be successful, because presumably by that point they more or less have their shit together. But certainly five or ten years before, when they are spending their time learning things that are valuable rather than optimizing for grades, career success, etc.
bozoUser 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven`t read the book but it would be interesting if we can see some stories about founders who have failed or the mistakes that these founders committed that proved very costly. Would love to see some major examples of what/how things went wrong - did some feature/stand from the founders or board result in a backlash from the community (ex: recent press on reddit) or a product that couldn't stand by itself for too long etc.
dom96 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I've never read this book but would love to. After looking it up on Amazon I see two books: Founders at Work and European Founders at Work. Has anybody read both or can comment on either? Should I buy the former, the latter (I live in Europe) or both?
7Figures2Commas 13 hours ago 5 replies      
There are countless founders who have failed who:

1. Were determined.

2. Demonstrated perseverance.

3. Suffered rejection.

4. Are adaptable.

5. Weren't motivated entirely by money.

The primary reason a founder succeeds is that he or she works on the right thing at the right time and does it in the right way. That's vague and practically unactionable, so it's not going to become a popular view, but the reality is there's no set of character traits that guarantee success, and there's no blueprint for building a successful company. If there was, 90% of the founders in Silicon Valley would be fabulously wealthy, and half the people who attend Startup School would have a unicorn within two years.

You can have incredible character traits, but if you're working on the wrong thing, or going about building the right thing at the wrong time in the wrong ways, it doesn't matter how smart, hard-working, adaptable, etc. you are.

The power law distributions at even the best venture capital funds demonstrate just how difficult it is to identify founders who are going to succeed, even when trying to do so is your full-time job.

Tracing JITs and Modern CPUs: Part 2 github.com
42 points by lmh  7 hours ago   6 comments top 2
fche 3 hours ago 1 reply      
(Seems like an "embarrassingly serial" problem -- a smarter lua could turn it into a single "set c = 1e9" instruction.)
LForLambda 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it a thing to blog with github issues now?
The Push Against Performance Reviews newyorker.com
20 points by dankohn1  4 hours ago   3 comments top 3
HelloMcFly 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I try to make the case like this in my organization (and have in my previous one as well): we can easily quantify the enormous amount of money - particularly but far from exclusively the financial value of time - we spend on our performance review process. But what we don't really know, and what very few organizations really know (because "performance" is usually a very troublesome criterion) is what value that process is delivering back to the organization.

One of the problems is that most organizations want their process to "Do It All." They want it to be development for the employee while also being the primary determinant of administrative decisions. Further, they want it to support all administrative decisions: who's great at their current job, who is most capable of succeeding in their next job (i.e., who should we promote?), how should we distribute our pay raises, what do we do with this year's STI and LTI, etc.

It's broken, and expensive. Maybe it can't truly be fixed, but at least we can save some money, time, and frustration. That doesn't mean nobody gets feedback, or that we don't set and track goals. But it doesn't have to be the way we make it. If we put half as much effort into making managers better at leading people I have no doubt the impact would be much more clear.

analog31 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Given what I know of this persons performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus;... This person is ready for promotion today.

I was a manager through a few performance review cycles before I went back to engineering. This is the first instance I've ever seen where the performance review gathered information that was actually germane to the outcome.

Managers have incentives to inflate appraisals...

Absolutely. My salary budget was incremented in the same way as our salaries are, by getting the biggest raises possible. I was competing with other managers for a piece of a fixed pot of money for these raises, and every manager knew what was at stake.

LoSboccacc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
people optimizing for the metric instead than getting better at working?

color me surprised.

this has been know for a while by now: if you try to put down hard metrics for creative jobs they just backfire.

also managers using reviews to favor their protege and as favor exchange across other managers to partition their resources shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone having worked with humans.

For Ransom, Bitcoin Replaces the Bag of Bills nytimes.com
45 points by jhonovich  7 hours ago   26 comments top 2
sorrythrowaway9 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I know this is not 100% specific to this article, but this is happening right now to a friend of mine's gmail account. Scammer was able to social engineer the cell phone company to forward his number, then did a password reset, and locked him out of his account. 20BTC Ransom. He followed every single google customer service link/resource he could find and tried to reset link, which said they would contact him in 3-5 days. This was 6 days ago. No response. FBI can't do anything either. Its so disturbing that there is absolute nothing you can do to reach Google once this happens. It could happen on anyone's cell phone as well, how many fortune 500 companies have higher up employees with cell phones and gmail accounts? Imagine in the future trusting google with a self driving car and home automation -- imagine getting locked out of your house or hijacked in a self driving car and having nobody to call. If anybody here knows somebody at google who can reach the group that handles Gmail security, please contact this account so I can give you his info.
zajd 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Open Payments search your doctor's pharmaceutical payments cms.gov
8 points by cma  6 hours ago   2 comments top
brobdingnagian 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Can someone in the know please explain the importance of this?
Khandias: The Keepers of Doongerwadi openthemagazine.com
15 points by lermontov  4 hours ago   discuss
Self forming teams at scale msdn.com
8 points by taspeotis  6 hours ago   discuss
Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods alexhwoods.com
31 points by alexhwoods  6 hours ago   4 comments top 3
yummyfajitas 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The error most likely didn't stop converging - its just that n^{-1/2} is a very slow convergence rate.

If you want actual control of the error, and to know how many samples you need, you need to do some arithmetic with the central limit theorem or hoeffdings inequality.

vvanders 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Also great for performance profiling when you don't have fancy tools. Just breaking 5-10 times to see where you land can provide some useful results(to be verified of course).
mindcrime 2 hours ago 0 replies      
ConvNetJS Deep Learning in your browser stanford.edu
8 points by bemmu  4 hours ago   discuss
Military exercise Black Dart to tackle nightmare drone scenario nypost.com
4 points by jonbaer  2 hours ago   discuss
In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me washingtonpost.com
461 points by webmonkeyuk  13 hours ago   211 comments top 34
sudioStudio64 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I, for one, get tired of the constant refrain of hero worship while these guys say that there number one job is to get home safely.

They are afforded terrible powers to intervene in, and disrupt, someone's life. That trade is made under the assumption that they do a dangerous job.

A benefit is afforded to them due to the responsibility that they bear.

Obviously, they want to have as much power with as little danger as possible. They want to maximize the benefit the receive (largely being above the law and a middle class existence) and minimize the repercussions of what they owe for it (possibly being in danger).

Its the same in other areas of American life where elites have abdicated their responsibilities but have become accustomed to the benefits afforded them to the point that they think it's owed to them. That has to change.

EDIT: for clarification and spelling.

jxm262 11 hours ago 7 replies      
This is a really well written article. This also echo's alot of the sentiment that many people have. I remember reading recently about the differences in police training from Germany vs the US. One of the things that stuck out at me was the huge amount of hours they spend training to "not" shoot, and learning how to de-escalate situations. It's no wonder we have so many issues here in the US, it makes me sad.
downandout 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"Rhoads defended the procedure, calling the officers actions on point. Its not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me."

That is dereliction of a police officer's duty. The entire purpose of a police force is to investigate potential crimes, and then, if it is determined that a crime has occurred, to arrest those involved. This man, a shift commander, is literally saying that their policy is to shoot first and ask questions later. He should, at a minimum, be fired. Additionally, if he has actually structured his department in a way that has officers arresting people without prior investigation, he and all others carrying out this policy should be criminally prosecuted for false imprisonment.

e12e 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate.

That's nuts. At least they haven't gone that crazy in Norway - the police instruction on firearms are still: "Only aim at someone you're authorized to kill" -- eg: someone posing an immediate threat that can't be avoided by de-escalating the situation (so it's not enough for someone to threaten to kill a police officer, if that officer can easily back away and secure the area/wait for backup -- but more along the lines of someone aiming a gun at someone).

And this makes more sense to me too: Everyone is entitled to self-defense if they fear for their life -- if someone threaten you with a deadly weapon -- be that a knife or a gun, it's entirely rational to try and kill them in order to save yourself. You might of course serve out the rest of your life in prison if you make the wrong call -- but you'll be alive.

Just because someone is a cop, doesn't mean they can't be(come) a murderer. This is why it's so important for police to practice restraint. They work for us, not against us after all (or should, anyway).

maehwasu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Two years ago, I was in the US for a month and volunteered to chauffeur two Chinese students to a Celtics game as an outing (I was working for a homestay/education consulting company at the time).

On the way back at night, driving through a small town in central Massachusetts, I passed a cop car, going at the speed limit. The cop immediately pulled out and began tailing me, but did not turn on his lights.

I tried to maintain a constant speed, a couple miles above the 35 mile per hour speed limit, since I know cops treat excessively slow speeds as an indicator of drunk driving.

Eventually, after 15 minutes of being tailed, I hit my foot a bit too heavily on the gas, and went to 45 miles per hour. He instantly turned on his lights, and pulled me over.

The officer was extremely skeptical when he got to the car, especially since the name on the car's registration was my company's, not mine, and I had two minors in the back. After some questioning and prodding about where we had been and what we had been doing, he let me go with a warning.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I had pulled over in the same situation, but black. The officer was serving no sort of duty except to troll for problems where none existed.

I haven't returned to the US since: it turns out there are many places I can live where I don't have to have nerve-wracking interactions with hostile law enforcement, ever.

whoopdedo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> Its not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me.

When a man's job depends on him apprehending suspects, then he will find a way to create more suspects for which to apprehend.

suprgeek 10 hours ago 1 reply      
In the US the Police are a "Guns & Badges" Culture thru & thru. Only the truly "macho" are regarded with respect.There is no concept of de-escalation.

The bigger problem is that the policies & incentives are built to reinforce this. They get promotions/assets based on forfeiture laws, weapons based on Pentagon Surplus & publicity based on Shootouts. No one ever got promoted for not shooting a (potentially innocent) suspect. Very very rarely does a cop get prosecuted for pulling a gun or inflicting other violence.

SO put a bunch of arrogant, power seeking people in a system which glorifies violence & rewards forfeitures. What else do you expect?

rayiner 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm both disappointed and not all that surprised. I grew up here, and this is the product of something that has been brewing for twenty years.

The citizens here are to blame. The police are just giving the public what it wants. It's a county full of McMansions and extreme paranoia. Lots of upper middle class people terrified that their fragile existence might be upset by [Mexican immigration, terrorism, <insert fear here>].[1] I'm not sure if 9/11 was a turning point per se, but planes crashing into the Pentagon in neighboring Arlington didn't help.

It wasn't always like this. When I was growing up you'd almost never see a Fairfax County cop. Vienna was always a police state, but the small-bit speed-trap kind. Today, there are cops crawling around Tysons (where the biggest danger is rowdy teenagers).

[1] It's notable that this story takes place just across the Potomac from where those parents got in trouble with the police for letting their kids walk home less than a mile from school.

joesmo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"I understood the risks of war when I enlisted as an infantryman. Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety cant always come first. That is why its service. Thats why its sacrifice."

I think that sums it up well. Many police officers do indeed act like they don't understand the risks or even purpose of their own jobs. Policing has become an end in and of itself. It's no longer about protecting and serving but about policing and arresting and jailing. It doesn't matter if there is no crime, people will be arrested. It doesn't matter if there is serious crime, low-level offenders will be the primary target. And of course, nothing is more important than officer safety. These officers are cowards who should be ashamed of themselves. They don't have an altruistic bone in their body and probably wouldn't lift a finger to save a baby out of a burning building. It is the citizens' lives that matter, that the police are sworn to protect. It is the citizens they serve. But that indeed has been lost.

Given all this, is it any wonder that much of the population no longer trusts police, many from negative personal experiences? The author is right. Until there is a huge shift in the way police treat citizens, this problem of trust will get worse. For many, it is a problem of hate, and in many cases, rightly so.

Yet the police and many other people insist that the change has to come from citizens. If only we give up our guns. If only we give up our freedoms. These things just make the problem worse by blaming the victims and forcing the citizens to give up even more for the well being of the police.

There is no movement from the pro police camp, and it's been their turn for decades now. Until there is, hate and animosity from the community will continue to grow.

Retra 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm confused as to why a report of a squatter requires any kind of raid to begin with...
gokhan 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers personal security.

This seems like the thing police forces need to change in order to fix the situation.

ghufran_syed 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I sometimes find ex-military folks analogies between their wartime service and situations in civilian life rather forced, but this analysis is exactly right. I used to ask myself why the Israeli Defence Forces would risk innocent palestinian civilian lives to kill the terrorists who hide among them by using drones or airstrikes instead of the kind of techniques they would no doubt use if the terrorists were surrounded by Israeli civilians. The simple answer is that the life of an Israeli civilian is considered (by the IDF) to be worth more than that of a palestinian civilian.

The same was clearly true in the United States' early approach to counter-insurgency in Iraq, as described in this piece, where the life of an American soldier is clearly much more valuable to the US Government than those of the Iraqi civilians we went to 'save'.

The sad thing is the comparison I would always quote was "what would the police do in the United States, if you had a dangerous criminal surrounded by civilians?" They probably wouldn't use an airstrike, they would probably use some other technique with a higher risk to the police, but a lower risk to the civilians they are sworn to 'protect and serve'

This article (and lots of other data) suggests that is changing: if everyone is a suspect until proven innocent, there is no need for police restraint. The worse that can happen is a dead 'perp' I guess...

DominikR 9 hours ago 4 replies      
I once used to believe that the problem in the US is that guns are so widely available, but today I'm not so sure about that anymore, because there are many very safe countries that rank high in number of guns per capita like Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Canada and Germany.


In Switzerland every male has a military type machine gun and two magazines at home and in my country, Austria, there are regions that rival Texas in terms of gun ownership.

Today I tend to believe that this might be a problem of city planning (and preventing ghettos). The US has cities that are much larger than the largest cities in the countries cited by me. But I might be wrong here.

Anyways, I do not doubt that police in Austria and Germany would act no differently than in the US if they had reason to expect that they could be shot every time they stopped a car. Thankfully this is not the case.

sago 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"nothing ... is more important than officers personal security"

I'm not sure this is true. If it were, why would they put themselves into potentially violent situations? It seems to me the priorities are

1. Make the arrest.2. Officer safety.3. Public safety.4. Justice.

In that order. They are related, to get 4 you sometimes need 1-3. But not always.

'Militarised police' is correct, because this corresponds exactly to what we'd want of our warfighters.

1. Carry out the mission.2. Be safe.3. Keep 3rd parties safe.4. Be ethical and moral.

It's a far cry from 'to protect and serve'. Personally I'd be happy with a squatter in an empty apartment getting away more often in return for not deploying an armed raid with no confirmation based on a single report.

jessriedel 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This discussion of strategies for reducing the use of force by police is more constructive and sensible than most on this issue:


rogeryu 10 hours ago 4 replies      
This reminds me of Sandra Bland who was put into jail for three days because of improperly signaling a lane change. Police in the US is totally out of control it seems.
roymurdock 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the majority of cops become more empathetic after reading pieces like these and take extra precautions not to become those cops under public scrutiny?

Or do they just get even more set into the us vs. them and we know what's better for the dumb masses mindset?

I would love to hear an actual cop's opinion on how the recent media coverage has affected his/her individual performance and the overall performance of the police force in general.

excitom 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like if the author had been black he wouldn't be around now to write that article.
lectrick 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Every time you aim a gun at an innocent persons' head without first doing due diligence before escalating, you increase the chances of an accident or misunderstanding which results in an innocent person dead.

Which we hear about all the time. So WTF?

In any event, why would a squatter merit such a hostile response?

c5karl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The chief of police has posted a response: https://fcpdnews.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/a-message-from-the...
joeax 1 hour ago 0 replies      
To understand all of this, a great FB page to follow is CopBlock (disclaimer: not affiliated with them but a great news source). The way the police in America act today is borderline Orwellian, or perhaps it's already crossed that line.
brownbat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Virginia is a special puzzle.

For Violent Crime in 2011, it ranked 46th of the 50 states. Property Crime was 43rd.

The Federal & State Incarceration Rate was 13th, and general funds spending on corrections (2008), it was ranked 11th highest.

Sometimes Europeans are alarmed by the high US incarceration rates, with our 700-800 per 100,000 over twice most other countries. If you want your eyes to just pop out of your head though look at the state by state numbers. (The US is a big place, and all social trends are not perfectly distributed.) Louisiana incarcerates over 1400 of its 100,000, four to fourteen times most other countries. The one thing you can say for Louisiana, though, is that it also has over double the national murder rate. So maybe it has other endemic problems that are running both numbers up simultaneously.

Virginia's up there in incarceration with 900-1000 per 100k, but it doesn't have the violent crime stats that could even attempt to excuse it. It has below average homicide and violent crime rates.

It's a high incarceration state for no damn reason.

Some resources:





curiousjorge 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I read these type of people walk the fine line that separates criminals, the propensity for violence and murder while wearing a uniform doesn't fix psycopathy. Not to say all police officers are built this way, and certainly there are elements that I can observe as an outsider that makes American style policing to be particularly and overwhelmingly lethal and excessive. I have a hard time buying the liuetenants response that this is the norm. What kind of fucked up policy allows guns drawn officers with questionable safety margin to kick out a suspected squatter? It raises even more questions like, what if the author was African American? Or maybe he had tattoo on his face? If people wearing a uniform are free to choose a response in their own thinking, how much of past fatalities by police force were caused by trigger happy and blood thirsty individuals that are clearly psychopaths? How can the public trust enforcers who more than coincidentally use excessive force before the usual buckshot is laid out? It must be truly terrifying to be American, and stories like this makes me inclined to keep my Canadian citizenship. Not taking the higher ground, we've had exactly such police brutality, but almost in most cases they've resulted in criminal conviction. On the other hand a super lax and incompetent police force like those in Korea or Japan is equally frightening, but much less than a trigger happy, God knows what type of disorder suffering badge wearing individual will react in high stress situations, especially one that is escalated entirely by themselves.
snambi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Probably the best article I read this year!
dmourati 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This story could have easily ended much worse if the Iraq vet had armed himself against the intruding police as suspected home invaders.
nchammas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The author's recommendation that the police build up community relationships to increase trust and reduce unnecessary confrontation reminded me of a book, Fixing Broken Windows [1], that made a similar recommendation for what it called "community policing".

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Fixing-Broken-Windows-Restoring-Commun...

jowiar 11 hours ago 1 reply      
FWIW Fairfax County, VA is about as rich, white, and suburban place that you can find in the US.
vaadu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I live in Fairfax county. It has some excellent officers but the dept is atrocious when it comes to transparency and honesty with the citizenry.

The officer involved shootings of unarmed people are consistently swept under the rug.

droithomme 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would they sent an assault team to look into a report of a squatter?
calibraxis 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that whites are far more directly endangered by police, one sees articles like this pop up all the time.

"In a very real sense, the 'middle class' is not an economic category, it's a social one. To be middle class is to feel that the fundamental institutional structures of society are, or should be, on your side. If you see a policeman and you feel more safe, rather than less, then you can be pretty sure you're middle class. Yet for the first time since polling began, most Americans in 2012 indicated they do not, in fact, consider themselves middle class."http://gawker.com/ferguson-and-the-criminalization-of-americ...

The author still argues in favor of policing. (Just like he doesn't question whether he had any right to invade another country.) Advocating that police return to his side, against the common domestic enemy.

pasbesoin 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There was no report of anyone being harmed -- of any violence occurring. The police escalated the situation to a violent confrontation.


P.S. If they had raised a sudden firefight, where might some of the resulting rounds traveled and impacted, particularly in what might be a fairly population-dense apartment building(s) setting?

graycat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The solution in the US is supposedto be US democracy.

A first step is freedom of the press so that citizens can become informed.

A second step is for problems to beexposed in the press as in the OP.

A third step is for citizens in thearea with such problems to informtheir elected officials that the policeneed better supervision to solve the problems.

Fourth, with enough concern from votingcitizens, the political supervisionof the police needs to tell the policechief, etc. to clean up their act.

If problems continue, then the mayor,etc. needs to get the Chief of Policea new job, say, cleaning the sidewalkswith a toothbrush -- "Get'm nice andclean, now, y'hear. Good to see youdoing well at the work you are bestsuited for.".

With more concern, lawyers, includingthe local prosecutors, can bring legalcases against the police. As inBaltimore now, a few serious legalcases against the police can calm down the whole police force like a fewmillion pills of Valium.

Net, via our democracy, the power,essentially all of the power, reallyoverwhelming power, is fully in thehands of the voting citizens. Allcitizens have to do is find a sympathetic candidate and pull a leverin a voting booth.

With any kind of serious activityby voting citizens, police arrogancecan disappear like a snowball in a hot July in Vegas.

The police need to be worried now:Somewhere in the US is a billionairewho believes in the US Constitutionand is ready to spend a little moneyto set up police sting operations,have hidden cameras recording everything,make a really big public story about theabuses, have teams of lawyersfilling the court dockets with everylegal case they can come up with,and then organizing some politicalactivity to get the politicians onboard.

The story for the police? Simple:Clean up your act on your own or the voters,politicians, and lawyers will do itfor you.

Too much of the police have talked tothemselves too much and talked themselvesinto believing a lot of nonsense reasonswhy they should treat the citizens likedirt. Well, that treatment and thosereasons won't cut it, not for even a minute,once the sunlight shines on the situation --instead, voters, politicians, and lawyershave the power, overwhelming power, and will stop the nonsense.

puppetmaster3 8 hours ago 0 replies      
hackaflocka 9 hours ago 1 reply      
How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang lse.ac.uk
7 points by 7402  2 hours ago   discuss
JSCity JavaScript code visualizations using Three.js github.com
106 points by bhjs  13 hours ago   13 comments top 7
Confiks 11 hours ago 2 replies      
It's unfortunate that the author has chosen to wait with giving access to the source code, insisting that it still needs to be "cleaned up".

I can understand the reasons (in most cases it seems to be vanity), but it would often be best to just give access and clearly mark it 'work in progress'. Open source miracles may happen.

olalonde 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
To push the metaphor further, one could animate the evolution of the buildings over time based on git history.
prezjordan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool to see isomer[0] on here :) Does the visualization mean I'm doing good? Haha - lots of similar-sized buildings, which may suggest it's too modular.

[0]: http://jdan.github.io/isomer/

rgawdzik 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it would be feasible to represent 'traffic' in a 3D code visualization city, representing data movement in a concurrent program. A 'car' would represent a function application such as a dynamic memory operation (there would be a heap building) or of a classes instance member, and it would transport function arguments/instructions/data from one building (class) to the next.Of course, just like in debugging, the only way to get traffic data would be to get a trace of a certain time period of a programs execution.

Of course in concurrent programming, data races can happen within these function applications as well. I can't think of a good way right now to visualize execution within in a function.

amelius 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Most software starts as a small shed, and ends up as a skyscraper... but with that shed still being the foundation of the scraper.

It would be nice if that could be visualized here :)

pi3141592 12 hours ago 2 replies      
aside from looking great - what does this tool give us?
cysbh 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting! JavaScript powering the visualization of JavaScript.
Chisel: Constructing Hardware in a Scala Embedded Language berkeley.edu
48 points by archgoon  10 hours ago   36 comments top 5
nickpsecurity 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Chisel is a nice toolkit that proved itself in the Rocket processor. One of the more unusual uses of it was Chisel-Q for quantum computing:


Chisel is pretty well-known in academic, hardware community. So, here's a few that you might have not heard of.

Caisson - language-based security meets HDLhttp://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~chong/papers/109-Caisson-pldi.pdf

SHard - a scheme to hardware compilerhttp://scheme2006.cs.uchicago.edu/05-saint-mleux.pdf

Cx-Lang - A statically-typed, c-like, HLL for hardwarehttp://cx-lang.org/

Note: I'd love for some people familiar with ASIC or FPGA design to check out Cx-Lang to see if it's good for beginners getting results on FPGA's. The I.P. they sell is so cheap that it's either (a) crap or (b) the result of a productive, synthesis tool (Cx). Just like to know if it's a decent HLS tool compared to FPGA or EDA company offerings. Additional advantage that it's open so it can be reviewed for subversion if one is willing to invest the effort.

cmrx64 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been playing with this for the past few weeks. It's a lot of fun compared to Verilog or VHDL. The implementation is still young, though, and it's pretty easy to trigger an undecipherable crash. But I haven't had anything miscompile yet.
Skooma 6 hours ago 1 reply      
In my opinion, Chisel feels like "lets write Verilog with Scala syntax." I personally see MyHDL as a better approach as you can leverage existing libraries for generating code (i.e. use scipy to generate the coefficients for your FIR filter). One plus is Chisel generates C++ code for testing your design which is a huge speed increase versus simulating Verilog.
minthd 9 hours ago 1 reply      
They claim this language is highly parameterized. I wonder how much.

For example can you design a generic processor in such a way that everything will be parameterized?

Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them (2014) [video] youtube.com
7 points by ArikBe  6 hours ago   discuss
The Facebook Method of Dealing with Complexity acm.org
129 points by ingve  15 hours ago   45 comments top 9
noir_lord 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system. - John Gall

Mr Gall wrote a book about complex systems and how they fail back in the 70's and most of it (from what I recall it's been a while since I read it) applies as much now as it did then, it's a very good read.

haddr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I admit that after finishing CS course at the university I had the same mindset regarding software engineering: understand the context, capture requirements (as much of them), and stick to it while developing subsequent parts of the system. In many occasions this is a trap: many details are just secondary, and would have probably never been articulated by the customer. Some of them seem to be important but then they are not. Sometimes some important problems appear somewhere around the end of the development, but we already have spent a lot of time working on some secondary issues.

Dealing with complexity by reducing or ommiting some problems are vital also for small and medium projects. This encouranges rapid creation of some working prototype and the overall process tends to shift towards more iterative development.

glass_of_water 11 hours ago 5 replies      
> ... decades of dealing with the public and the public servants have led to an accumulation of rules, regulations, practices and traditions clinging to everything like barnacles to a medieval man o war.

I strongly feel that "garbage collection" is grossly neglected in almost every organization and is part of the reason firms slow down as they grow older.

The article mentioned simplification of the Norwegian tax code. Are there governments with garbage collection and simplification of laws built into the legislative process?

e28eta 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I was hoping for an article about code complexity, but this was good too.

This is one of the ideas behind building a Minimum Viable Product, and think it's a big strength that startups have. The product doesn't do everything. People will adapt to the product, and start using it in new and unexpected ways. And it's a lot cheaper and easier to build.

I'm curious if there are examples of large companies successfully simplifying existing products. How many features could gmail take away before they alienate too many of their users? Quickbooks, Microsoft office (the ribbon?), or any of the Adobe products?

herge 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually try to tell my boss that there are 3-people shop solutions and 20-people shop solutions, and he's proposing a 20-people shop solution to a 3-person shop.
izyda 11 hours ago 4 replies      
A related question - how you design a database for something as complex as a tax system? Given that tax laws can (and will change), that changing legislation often adds possible combinations to any field, and that there is surely a every "long tail" of unusual circumstances/combinations.

Is this a good use case for a document store, NoSQL database?

github-cat 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I totally agree with this. Some people may say we need to cover every possible situation in a system, but this is true in theory, but practically we need some trade offs when designing a system. We have to calculate the gains and costs while considering fixing the complexities.
jrubinovitz 10 hours ago 3 replies      
This is how you discriminate against the minority, quite literally.
dredmorbius 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Truth systems: yes. no. it's complicated.
Cat5 Hummingbird Nest [video] arizona.edu
41 points by ThomasGaus  10 hours ago   15 comments top 9
josh-wrale 7 hours ago 2 replies      
finnn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm getting "plugin not found", but I was able to load up http://www.pdc.arizona.edu:1935/enr2_hummingbird/enr2_hummin... in VLC no problem
jubjubbird 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey! That building's right outside my office window. It's really spectacular. There are some time lapse videos of the construction here if you're into that kind of thing. The interactive site (second link from the bottom on that page) is sort of interesting.


Zikes 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The eggs are hatched! I just caught her feeding them.
flangloria 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is live!
rdtsc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
She did a great job. That is amazing build quality -- it looks sturdy and comfortable.

Hopefully nobody disturbs her and her young.

mig39 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Surely it's CAT6 :-)
josh-wrale 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Hope the wind doesn't blow too hard.
sjwright 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The real WTF: a hummingbird has a better internet connection to its house than I have.
Using Neural Networks With Regression deeplearning4j.org
23 points by vonnik  7 hours ago   7 comments top 2
agibsonccc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey all,

Didn't expect to get on the front page. Just want to make sure we clarify what the intent was here.

A lot of people on our user group have been asking us about predicting continuous values in neural networks. This page rose out of the need of explaining that a neural network itself is a universal approximator that solves for different objectives/loss functions.

Two instantiations of that problem are regression and classification only changing w.r.t the activation function and objective function.

Happy to clarify/update anything.


haddr 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Side comment: great to see some java library for deep learning... I think so far it's mostly python and some C...
NetBSD on the Nvidia Jetson TK1 netbsd.org
46 points by fcambus  10 hours ago   10 comments top
fit2rule 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I love these ARM based systems that are available today - so much fun in such a small package.

I only wish they'd come with more RAM, or at least some way to upgrade the RAM .. I'm pretty spoiled with the 32gigs of RAM I've become accustomed to in my workstations, alas.

Anyone know of a multi-core ARM-based system with decent performance and 8 - 16gigs of RAM possibility? I'd love to have such a machine to hack with ..

Asymmetric Information in Wage Negotiations: Hockeys Natural Experiment (2013) [pdf] usf.edu
29 points by logn  9 hours ago   8 comments top 2
Quanticles 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Economic inequality is a hot topic right now. Employers knowing everyone's salaries, but not the employees, puts the employees at a disadvantage when negotiating salary.

One option would be to require all companies to publish employees salaries. Would this requirement be more or less onerous than other options?

One argument is that it hurts businesses - but if every business is required to do it, then it is an even playing field. Obviously that cannot happen in an international business setting - so would it put the countries that implement it at a disadvantage, or would the economic gains outweigh the decrease in competitiveness?

lifeisstillgood 7 hours ago 2 replies      
tl;dr US Hockey league published its players salaries starting in 1989. Over next five years, wages rocketed, importance of team negotiating tactics / prestige vanished and player performance became a major correlation to highest pay.

In short asymmetric data on employee wages (company knows all salaries, employee knows just one) leads to inefficent outcomes

Even shorter - everyone's salary and pay should be published - that will fix pikkety's problem

Even even shorter - how the hell do you measure performance?

       cached 26 July 2015 07:02:04 GMT