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Saving 25,000 Manuals textfiles.com
70 points by Doubleguitars  3 hours ago   15 comments top 9
srean 10 minutes ago 1 reply      
I had commented recently on another recent thread how Google bought all of the Usenet data. At that time I welcomed it. But now google groups is on of the shittiest services ever and its competition has long disappeared. Btw there is no hidden allusion here, thanks for doing this, just that I am plenty pissed by how the groups story has come to pass.
midgetjones 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful. It's terrifying to think that such relatively recent knowledge could just disappear thanks to our poor long-term storage solutions.

In some ways it's getting worse, really; at least you don't need proprietary hardware and software to read a 50 year-old book.

no1ne 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome work! Your dedication will surely inspire others to learn old tech and understand how tech evolved. Can local museums help you in this regard? How about Project Gutenberg or even Google?
0x37 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
WalterBright 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is great work, and often thankless. Thank you!

Any plans to scan them and put them on line?

alex_g 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love looking through old manuals when I come across them at auctions, yard sales, etc. I love looking at the illustrations but rarely ever read into that manual at an in-depth level. I mainly like looking at them from a historic point of view, not a technological one.
yuvipanda 27 minutes ago 1 reply      
Just donated (paypal to jason at textfiles.com). I wonder if Patreon can be a good way to do fundraising for things like this.
iveqy 1 hour ago 3 replies      
But why?

(actually a curious question. Why is this interesting to you?)

contingencies 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
Technical manuals back to the 1930s? Not sure which devices were produced quite that early but I suppose it should be interesting in the field of phototypesetting history - http://haagens.com/oldtype.tpl.html#2G
Airbnb Horror Story Points to Need for Precautions nytimes.com
15 points by faisalkhalid80  59 minutes ago   11 comments top 8
oskarth 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
The plural of anecdote is not data. There are what, more than 100k stays every night in an Airbnb? I'm sure you could find a horror story for Hilton, or Walmart, or Apple, or any other company that operates at such a big scale. This article says more about NYT and its so called journalism than it does about Airbnb.
nailer 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
On the other side of the wall I'm typing this is an AirBnB.

39/40 people are fine. Sometimes strangers try and get into my house because they're confused, but that's about it.

A few weeks back hundreds of drunk teenagers threw a rooftop party (and also a hallway party outside my apartment). AirBnB has no official support mechanism for neighbours, and the carpet still has all the beer stains I asked AirBnB to clean.

wmt 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
A man is in Spain and calls his mother in US for help, and mother then calls an US company for help, who refuse to hand out client information for random people who call and claim that the client is doing a crime?

Instructing to call the police was definitely the best possible course of action, and the mistake they made was to hand out a local number for the police of Madrid instead of instructing the mother to instruct his son to call the emergency number of the country he's in, 112 in Europe. Had AirBnB sent someone visit the place, he would arrive there much later than the police could, and would still be unable to do anything but to calm the emergency number that he can't get in and a customer's mother in the US claims there's a crime going on.

enknamel 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Airbnb customer service really shat the bed on this one. There's really no excuse for refusing to call the police when you are told a heinous crime is in progress. Probability wise it was 1/800,000 for that evening but that single anecdote is really painful to hear.
nailer 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
This was inevitable. People will do things in their own homes they wouldn't dare do in a hotel room as the hotel would call the police. The only real surprise is that AirBnB investors don't see themselves as culpable.

I don't think this is the worst it will get either.

teamhappy 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Need for Precautions"

How about not staying in a stranger's house?

mschuster91 10 minutes ago 1 reply      
What happened to the guy with the XXX Freak Fest?
user3141592653 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
paraphrasing but "Caveat emptor"
The TTY demystified (2008) linusakesson.net
15 points by r4um  2 hours ago   1 comment top
no1ne 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Excellent article. Helped me to clearly understand tty. Thank-You :)
OO languages spend most effort addressing a minority use case 250bpm.com
38 points by film42  3 hours ago   28 comments top 9
jokoon 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
The issue is that there are so many ways to do one thing with OOP. Programmers tend to add complexity when they can do OOP, so it's not the fault of OOP, but it's hard to teach good practices. In a way the problem is that OOP is too permissive. When you use a language, a nice feature is readability, but it's because the language encourages some practices.

In that regard, C++ is fine. Java is not.

Also a bothersome issue is people arguing that OOP is reusable, so that they invent all sorts of things that will be extendable, and then you see their code never being used ever again.

My opinion: don't teach OOP, teach software design. PLEASE.

skrebbel 42 minutes ago 2 replies      
What a straw man. Saying that OO is all about inheritance is like saying that a Tesla cars are all about having a big touch screen dashboard.
rikkus 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Just because a language supports OO doesn't mean that you are somehow trapped using only the OO paradigm. OO is a feature that gives you, amongst others, the possibility of expressing an inheritance relationship.

Most code I write in C# is OO in that it leverages encapsulation, but is generally written in a functional style (thanks LINQ) and uses inheritance for maybe two out of a hundred classes.

Most popular languages now are multiparadigm, so there's little point in criticising particular paradigms as if we're somehow stuck working with them and them only.

_pmf_ 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've always wondered why (implementation) inheritance is a first class construct while delegation has to be painstakingly implemented manually.
sklogic 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Held me up until a C++ rant. Among multiple ways of using C++, an OOP way is the least important. It is not an OO language, so most of the legitimate anti-OOP criticism simply does not apply to C++.
titzer 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Most OO languages are incorporating features from functional languages and generic programming, so the author's rant is kind of misdirected. Maybe he's talking about Smalltalk or Java 1.0?

Besides, in OO languages, people are coming around to the idea of favoring composition over inheritance anyway.

So this person is basically arguing against a strawman.

tonyedgecombe 1 hour ago 3 replies      
>>OO folks are wasting their time discussing minutiae of their little peculiar use case, such as, say, single vs. multiple inheritance, while at the same time nobody is paying attention to what is needed in majority of cases.

Maybe they were fifteen years ago, I don't think that is the case now, the two most popular OO languages (Java and C#) don't even support multiple inheritance.

paxcoder 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I can't make myself read something which has such an evidently wrong title. Must we ignore reality to push our alternative paradigm nowadays?
singingfish 2 hours ago 2 replies      
multiple inheritance is often misguided. Back in the day that was the major selling point of OO. These days decent languages have composition via roles or traits.
Memory Efficient Hard Real-Time Garbage Collection (2003) [pdf] diva-portal.org
27 points by MaysonL  4 hours ago   5 comments top 2
nulltype 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How is this different from ARC?
javert 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This appears to be from 2003.

For people who are interested in this, there is still a lot of very interesting research being done in real-time systems. I don't think in garbage collection in particular, though. Rather, the interesting stuff is bringing real-time systems into the multicore era. Lots of challenging problems.

Note that "real-time" here is used in the sense of embedded sytems, not in the sense of "real-time search."

The US digital service samaltman.com
282 points by S4M  18 hours ago   251 comments top 33
ritchiea 16 hours ago 6 replies      
I really wanted to work for the digital service and my experience applying was horrendous. The recruiter scheduled an appointment to call me and didn't at the scheduled time. She followed up weeks later and I finally got my phone screen. Phone interview went well, she said we would schedule another interview. The followup from her didn't happen until another month later. Then I had a technical interview where the interviewer talked over me and asked whether I would use a list or an array for a particular data structure, to which I replied I use Ruby & Python so I don't know what you're asking because it would be a question of semantics, to which he finally clarified he meant a linked list and chided me for not "knowing the difference between the properties of a linked list and an array." How can you expect me to know the difference between two data structures if you're using unclear shorthand to refer to one of them? And the interviewer was an ex-Google engineer so I imagine he had some familiarity with Python (where a "List" is what many languages refer to as an array) since it's an official Google language.

And then of course I didn't get the job (and no feedback on why). The whole thing was maddening, took 3 months total just to get railroaded by an aggressive and imprecise technical interviewer. It sounds like great work though, wish them the best of luck. Wish I could work on their projects.

rasmi 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Also check out 18F [1], which focuses on pushing forward how tech and the government work together. They run a 12-month Presidential Innovation Fellows program [2] which works more intensely on innovating with specific groups within the federal government. USDS is more focused on modernizing and ensuring some basic technical functionality of a lot of the core aspects of the government (which is incredibly important and impactful, but is less about innovation -- see a comparison here [3]).

[1] https://18f.gsa.gov/

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/innovationfellows

[3] http://ben.balter.com/2015/04/22/the-difference-between-18f-...

paulsmith 14 hours ago 3 replies      
At the risk of being self-promotional, there's another part of the rebel alliance of which USDS and 18F are the main players, and that is better technology contractors. ("Better" meaning, engineering practices and outcomes that the audience of this site would recognize.) There's Nava, and the company I co-founded, Ad Hoc. Greg and I were on the original HealthCare.gov rescue squad with Mikey et. al. We're still working on HealthCare.gov, but instead of helping to prop up the bad old code (which was necessary work to save the site and help actual people), we're rebuilding parts of the site from scratch, using things like Go, AWS, Angular. During the last open enrollment period over the winter, our code (healthcare.gov/see-plans/) had 100% uptime, served ~ half a billion page views, and had a mean response time of well under 100ms. (And _no_ garbage hiding in the 99th percentile.)

One thing I'll say about government work -- you're not really breaking new ground, from a technology perspective. (Unless you're at DARPA I suppose.) Don't come into thinking you're going to innovate in some bleeding-edge area. But government was left so far behind the consumer technology curve that basic, competently-executed, well-designed software that's fast is an _enormous_ leap forward. 2008-era web tech is sorely needed across government. In a way, that is the innovation: dependable software that reliably delivers services to people for whose user-experience has never been put on the same playing field as consumer online services.

If you're interested in being part of the rebel alliance, and for whatever reason USDS or 18F aren't right for you, consider contracting. There's enormous opportunity to make real change and see your code help others. Believe me, small teams can have a big impact on government, even from outside government. If you want to know more about Ad Hoc, get in touch (http://adhocteam.us/). We also have projects with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and state Medicaid programs.

I never thought I'd be a government contractor. I did the startup thing, and just happened to get roped into the HealthCare.gov rescue. I can tell you it's sometimes frustrating, but always satisfying work. And there are several avenues in.

vippy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a contractor under the GSA's OCSIT, sharing a floor with 18F, the PIFs, and occasionally members of the USDS that come to hang out. It's great to see the feds hiring awesome technologists and doing great things, including some of the technologies that are currently only available to teams with, as the developers of them say, "a reasonable pain tolerance". My only advice to 18F is that they should figure out pathways to provide the services they intend to provide, create a management plan, and stick with it. I would recommend them to check out the business models of Peter Corbett's iStrategyLabs, who is right here in Washington D.C. and doing great work for some really big brands, and VICE's Carrot Creative, from Brooklyn, if they want to see the agency model in action.
brandonb 17 hours ago 3 replies      
As Sam alludes to, many YC alums have joined the government in some capacityhealthcare.gov, US Digital Service, Nava, Presidential Innovation Fellowsand are on HN.

Jason Shen from YC S11 recently wrote about the concept of a "Tour of Duty": http://www.jasonshen.com/2015/when-did-you-do-your-tour-of-d...

If anybody has questions, feel free to ask and I'm sure one of the alumni will reply!

ekianjo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> serving your country

Erm. Serving your country does not equal to serving the government. Often the government in place actually has an active role in destroying the country or making it worse. Look at the NSA - are the NSA folks really serving their country or their goverment first ?

sarciszewski 16 hours ago 6 replies      
If I were to dedicate any time to helping anyone, I feel like my time would be better spent helping the Tor Project than helping the US Government.

I know I'm not alone here, either.

twright 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The USDS Playbook[1] reminded me a lot of the GDS Design Principles[2] and even shares a few points. I think they also set a feeling for each of the Governments they're related to.

[1] https://playbook.cio.gov/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/design-principles

rdl 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I've met a lot of the U.S. Digital Service people and it is an amazing organization. I had a list of concerns (how they work with contractors already in place, how things would evolve with a new administration, whether they would get sucked into long term staffing at agencies, etc) and they had addressed all of them.

There are a few negative things as overhang from the rest of government (requirement for citizenship: so many of the great people I know are non citizens, even if many have green cards; drug testing, which doesn't really serve a meaningful purpose), but those are the reality, and don't diminish the value of the program in any way.

I would strongly recommend looking into USDS to anyone who who wants to make a difference in tech. It is a great place to go in the middle of a longer career at a post IPO company like Google/FB, or are between projects.

jordigg 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Really happy seeing these initiatives and the way the White House is thinking about bringing technology to the government.

I just can't understand why other government bodies and countries still give all their work to big corporations asking for ridiculous amounts of money for delivering questionable work quality. Their only thinking is how we can deliver the worst software ever that require us to maintain it for as many years as possible.

Give the work to smart folks who are willing to make it happen because they believe in that country and how they can make a true impact and you'll get wonderful software at a reasonable price that will just work.

clebio 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Honest question, because I can't find it in the copy on the USDS page, but have seen comments here about this:

Do you treat this as a job with a certain known tenure, or rather as a sabbatical? It seems like they want specific periods of work, but how does that fit with a regular job where you're vaguely working for a company indefinitely?

How does relocating to the DC-metro area fit in with that? Relocation is expensive and a hassle, after all.

niels_olson 16 hours ago 5 replies      
Navy doc here. One project where a huge difference could be made, now, would be if smart people could hold Leidos to task with the new military health care system. It's something like $16 billion dollars and "integrating with the VA proved to be too expensive".

Many thanks to the folks at 18f and the US Digital Service.

How far behind is government IT? I'm trying to get the Navy HPC systems (the cutting edge, right?) to "modernize" to Python 2.7.

nightski 17 hours ago 6 replies      
Did he take his own advice? Also regarding the rewrite of HealthCare.gov - I don't know the specifics but aren't re-writes always way cheaper and far easier than the initial implementation? Is it really a fair comparison?
aerovistae 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we vote on what they work on?

I just want to be as sure as possible that they never get around to fixing the traffic ticketing system.

God forbid the state cops ever realize how many times the local cops have pulled me over, or vice versa, and that's before we even get out-of-state violations involved.

Good lord, keep them away from the traffic tickets. COBOL is just fine for that.

fitzwatermellow 16 hours ago 2 replies      
They even run a kissmetrics-style real-time analytics page:


Between immigration and weather one can cover 70% of queries right there ;) And thanks to sama for the write up.

neves 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Will this scale? For me it looks like a kind of organizational anti-pattern. Imagine you are working in your project, then comes the "Know it all" guys trying to redo everything you know about. After rebuilding everything they will leave, take all the credits and leave the bomb with you.
jchendy 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Any idea what the compensation is like? Would the "tour of duty" be considered a sacrifice or is it a viable way to make a living for a talented engineer?
u14408885 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there is an equivalent in Australia (or other countries).
finkin1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
According to this talk, the work hours were pretty insane to fix healthcare.gov. From the 2014 Velocity Conference in New York City, Mikey Dickerson's keynote: "One Year After healthcare.gov: Where Are We Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vc8sxhy2I4
adamkochanowicz 17 hours ago 6 replies      
Is it me or does $4M annually still seem like a high cost?
tunesmith 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I would have been all over this a few years ago, but being married to someone who can't also move to DC for a multi-month period makes it unworkable. For my career, I work 100% remotely - I would love to do some work for the digital service if they had opportunity for remote working.
navahq 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If this resonated with you, check out:

Mikey Dickerson (head of USDS) at SXSW: Why we need you in governmenthttps://medium.com/@USDigitalService/mikey-dickerson-to-sxsw...

Previous HN discussion on USDS: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8988819

hippich 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree that you should stop complain about anything IT-related in government and instead try to make a change (and complain about, let's say, bogus process of winning government contract)

That been said, I don't believe USDS/18F/GSA in big need for engineers from my own experience. So don't afraid to apply :)

binoyxj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's Todd Park's (White House Technology Advisor) talk during the recently concluded Twilio Signal devcon. He's then followed by the co-founder of Twilio, newest avenger in the USDS team https://youtu.be/4QXZl4cFw24?t=50m33s
nphyte 17 hours ago 2 replies      
yes government needs good tech but we as a global community also need good leaders that understand implications of new tech , policy and innovation.
jcnnghm 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Did the people that charged $200 million to build healthcare.gov get to keep the money after the project failed? What about the people that allocated that money, do they still have their jobs?

It seems kind of disingenuous to ask engineers to do a "tour of duty" at a substantially reduced rate, when they could instead contract at normal rates and actually deliver working software. If you want to help the government, contract at normal rates and actually deliver high-quality, working software - don't take a pay cut to do it.

ilaksh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology makes government and other traditional institutions irrelevant. Focus you efforts on decentralizing technologies that replace giant outdated systems entirely.

The US government, like all traditional states, is just a really official type of organized crime. The DNA of the state is past its expiration.

dnesting 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If I (as a software engineer) want to improve the way IT works in the government, can you suggest a better use for my time and skills?
tomjen3 17 hours ago 0 replies      
mtgx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
notsony 16 hours ago 1 reply      
brandonmenc 17 hours ago 4 replies      
TheMagicHorsey 4 hours ago 0 replies      
DEFCON 23 Badge Challenge potatohatsecurity.tumblr.com
208 points by zioto  17 hours ago   35 comments top 14
InAnEmergency 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This doesn't even mention there was an entire newspaper filled with misdirection (Themela, Enigma machines, Mad Hatter, They Live, chromosomes...) or the Shavian text on the badges (all quotes from Buckaroo Banzai I believe). 1o57 even wore a Buckaroo Banzai shirt...gah.

Edit: Also, "Howdaddyisdoing" is an anagram for "Why did I add goons" which seemed very suggestive.

k8tte 49 minutes ago 0 replies      

if decoded with "LASTORY", i get "lfaatmzthofnwmqaeocsieswyiwhptoppmydqcohwmxnojkpsvcbbw."



knodi123 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, it just kept going and going. I've done scavenger hunts like this, but easier and short, and I still didn't finish before declaring myself too exhausted to continue.

I wonder what the reason was for not giving the message found on the wooden skull?

ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 1 reply      
That sounds crazy fun. I am in awe both of your tracking down the solution and the work 1o57 put into setting it up!
davmar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
that's just crazy. totally wild. well done solving all those challenges! great storytelling in your blog too.
joshuapants 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Windows XP? Curious to know if there's a hackery reason behind that or just personal preference.
spydum 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome, one day I will need to attend just to participate in these challenges! Side question: Why are there two step_11's?
poizan42 13 hours ago 3 replies      
He lost me at "room keys". WTH are those? I didn't get a DEF CON room key.
amingilani 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Hahaha, I had so much fun reading along. One day I'll solve the bad challenge before you guys, and post something similar. One day. Until then, I'll just work to the point where I can afford to hit a Defcon :D

Thanks for posting this!

stephendicato 9 hours ago 1 reply      

I'm always curious; what drives you to do these challenges? It is the competition? The collaboration? The general enjoyment of solving puzzles?

ProAm 12 hours ago 1 reply      
How long did this take your to solve? Impressive for sure.
izqui 12 hours ago 0 replies      
this is so crazy. congrats
tanglesome 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My head hurts! Well done!
astockwell 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Off topic: anyone seen any write-ups of the various CTFs?
A simpler web architecture using React, Flux, CSP, and FRP concepts codrspace.com
25 points by juliangamble  8 hours ago   10 comments top 5
jarpineh 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
This looks really fun way to develop React apps.

I just developed a React app, and managed to trip over state related problems at every stage. First with full state outside components, then within a top component, then I tried with a simple store type concept. Whenever I had to deal with async issues, I made a mistake with communicating ongoing state or getting React to notice changed state. I was waiting for Redux to go 1.0 (which it apparently did yesterday!).

I wonder how async updates, like network requests, to the model should work? Perhaps two channels, one for events from the components to what ever is handling requests for you (I just used D3, since I have some other uses for it), and then it can message the results via channel to what actually updates the model.

OP's example reminded me strongly of Mithril [1]. Though with addition of CSP channels to communicate changes, and explicit external render call, which Mithril allows also, but I don't remember having to use. It's clean and simple looking, and I like it. Now I got one more way to mess with my app state. And should I decide to use Mithril again on other projects, CSP seems like a worthy addition if it can be applied this easy.

[1] https://lhorie.github.io/mithril/

pavlov 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why not have "incr" be a method on the model? Then the update() function with the big switch on "actionType" could be replaced with:


jergason 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is exactly the Same as Elm, without the type system to help you out.
fleshshelf 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
It probably won't scale well due to the number of ddp connections required, but I'm using Meteor and React for a side project. It's very pleasant to work with.
tzaman 1 hour ago 4 replies      
The problem is that generators are not that widely supported (yet). You could replace CSP with something like Bacon.js and likely achieve the same effect (don't have an example, but I'm researching the area for a new project)
A Simple Fix for Drunken Driving: Modest, Immediate Penalties wsj.com
136 points by nradov  12 hours ago   119 comments top 13
DenisM 10 hours ago 8 replies      
There is so much more to this experiment than drunk driving!

It shows that modest, swift, carefully metered punishment is a lot more effective than the more traditional slow, but heavy punishment.

This is a big deal, because it shows a promising path to dramatically reduce the US prison population. Don't mind the drunk driving, think about all of the crimes out there, and all of the people who got a hammer dropped on them.

hammock 6 hours ago 10 replies      
I always find it interesting how many people automatically agree drunk driving should be a crime. Drunk driving per se is victimless- only when life or property are injured is there a victim, and there are already crimes/legal remedies in place for those cases.

Consider the case where a drunk driver gets home safely while obeying all traffic laws. Or even the case where a drunk driver is swerving- she can already be pulled over under a reckless driving statute.

rayiner 10 hours ago 8 replies      
The program sounds like a very targeted, but also very invasive, ban on alcohol.

> Sobriety experienced not only a 12% drop in repeat drunken-driving arrests but also a 9% drop in domestic-violence arrests.

An interesting fact to consider when people talk about how substance abuse bans create "victimless crimes."

Asbostos 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is what's broken about people's ability to assess risk and address crime:

" the problem still costs some 10,000 Americans their lives each year."

Imagine if terrorist bombings were killing the same number of people each year. Maybe a plane load every month or two. Would we ask the psychologists what might be a more effective way of deterring people from bombing things? Banning them from flying after they were caught carrying explosives through the airport doesn't seem to be working well enough.

augustocallejas 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This approach is being used a by a judge in Hawaii, with regard to its probation program:


JUDGE STEVEN ALM: I thought to myself, well, what would work to change behavior? And I thought of the way I was raised, the way my wife and I would were trying to raise our son. You tell him what the family rules are, and then, if theres misbehavior, you do something immediately. Swift and certain is whats gonna get peoples attention and help them tie together bad behavior with a consequence and learn from it.

MEGAN THOMPSON: These seemingly simple reforms in Hawaii soon produced remarkable results. An arm of the department of justice funded a study five years after the program launched. That study found that compared to people in regular probation, HOPE probationers were half as likely to be arrested for new crimes, or have their probation revoked. They ended up spending about half as much time in prison. And were 72% less likely to use drugs. The results from Hawaii caught the attention of criminal justice experts across the nation.

known 2 hours ago 0 replies      
beachstartup 10 hours ago 3 replies      
among my peer group, uber/lyft have done more to curb drunk driving than anything else. in fact i'm going to go ahead and say it's probably the only thing that has had any real impact, since nobody i know has ever gotten a DUI and i've seen some really risky shit go down.

scare tactics and huge fines (associated with pullovers and checkpoints which are super low probability events) just don't work, that's for sure. i know of people who literally drove drunk for YEARS until uber came along, then stopped entirely.

javajosh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The unintended consequence of this otherwise excellent program is keeping the person within distance of the blowing station, and knowing where they will be twice a day. This is a huge amount of knowledge about a person, and a great deal of control over their movements.

So, yes, I would be for this program if the government agency administering it absolutely forbade all other law-enforcement from using their data to investigate people, and somehow I believed that they would really a) attempt to do protect the data, b) be capable of protecting the data, and c) allowed people freedom of movement.

zzleeper 10 hours ago 3 replies      
What would be the equivalent for cellphone use? Because the biggest threat for me while biking is not drunk drivers but those texting and fiddling with their phones.
newjersey 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've copied it here for you:

A Simple Fix for Drunken DrivingModest, immediate penalties can help get offenders to sobriety

By KEITH HUMPHREYSAug. 14, 2015 10:57 a.m. ET

On Aug. 19, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration begins its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, running for three weeks through the Labor Day weekenda time of year when drunken-driving fatalities typically surge. Over the past generation, weve made important progress against driving under the influence, but the numbers havent dropped much recently, and the problem still costs some 10,000 Americans their lives each year.

Members of Alcoholics Anonymous like to joke that when alcoholics get arrested for drunken driving enough times, it finally sinks in that they need to make a change in their life, so they quitdriving. The joke is directed at alcoholics themselves, but it also applies to the criminal justice system. Legislators and judges have responded to repeat drunken drivers by trying to eliminate their drivingthrough incarceration, license suspension, ignition locks and vehicle impoundment. Their approach has been to separate the drivers from their vehicles, not from their drinking habits.

A decade ago, as attorney general of South Dakota, Larry Long saw the need for a more direct approach and launched a program called 24/7 Sobriety. I first encountered 24/7 Sobriety five years ago, and it confounded much of what I had learned in my years as an addiction-treatment professional.

On a clear South Dakota morning, I found myself in a Sioux Falls police station, waiting for more than a hundred repeat offenders to appear for court-mandated appointments. They had to blow into a breathalyzer to prove that they had not been drinking. I expected that many wouldnt show up; I felt sure that many of those who did show up would be intoxicatedand the rest would be surly.

But every single offender trooped peacefully by, chatted briefly with a friendly officer, blew a negative test and went on his or her way. This was remarkable and new to me, particularly because it was almost absurdly simple.

Offenders in 24/7 Sobriety can drive all they want to, but they are under a court order not to drink. Every morning and evening, for an average of five months, they visit a police facility to take a breathalyzer test. Unlike most consequences imposed by the criminal justice system, the penalties for noncompliance are swift, certain and modest. Drinking results in mandatory arrest, with a night or two in jail as the typical penalty.

The results have been stunning. Since 2005, the program has administered more than 7 million breathalyzer tests to over 30,000 participants. Offenders have both showed up and passed the test at a rate of over 99%.

Inevitably, a few offenders try to beat the program by drinking just after a successful breathalyzer test, with the idea of not drinking too much before their next one. But people with repeat convictions for driving under the influence dont excel at limiting themselves to just a few beers. They quickly learn that the best way to succeed in 24/7 Sobriety is to avoid alcohol entirely.

The benefits of the program arent just confined to road safety. In a 2013 paper in the American Journal of Public Health, Beau Kilmer of the Rand Corp. and colleagues found that counties using 24/7 Sobriety experienced not only a 12% drop in repeat drunken-driving arrests but also a 9% drop in domestic-violence arrests. Unlike interventions that only constrain drinking while driving, the removal of alcohol from an offenders life also reduces the incidence of other alcohol-related crimes.

Why do repeat offenders change their behavior in response to relatively modest incentives? Stephen Higgins of the University of Vermont addressed this question in his pioneering work on the treatment of drug addiction. In a widely cited 1991 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry, he showed that, although his patients continued using cocaine in the face of great harm to their families, livelihoods and physical health, they could still be induced to refrain from it when promised a small reward, like $10 for a negative urine test. The reward was relatively trivial, but it was unlike other potential consequences because it was both certain and immediate.

It turns out that people with drug and alcohol problems are just like the rest of us. Their behavior is affected much more by what is definitely going to happen today than by what might or might not happen far in the future, even if the potential future consequences are more serious.

The relative modesty of the penalties is also important for those imposing them: As a matter of due process, it is much simpler to hold a probationer overnight in the local jail than it is to send him or her to prison. From a practical viewpoint, states cant afford to put every violator in prison, and offenders know that. But states can certainly hold them overnight in a jail cell for drinking, and offenders know that too.

24/7 Sobriety now tests over 2,000 South Dakotans a day at sites all over the state and has become a statewide program in neighboring North Dakota and Montana. Other cities in the U.S. and in the U.K. are trying it out as well, and it has drawn praise from federal officials.

Why hasnt a program with such startling success been more widely adopted? Bureaucratic inertia is part of the problem, but I also suspect that 24/7 Sobriety faces resistance because it challenges some myths about drinking problems that my own field has done no small part to spread.

Among the most enduring of these myths is the idea that no one can recover from a drinking problem without our help. Treatment professionals save many lives that would otherwise be lost to addiction, but we are not the sole pathway to recovery. National research surveys have shown repeatedly that most people who resolve a drinking problem never work with a professional.

Some members of the addiction field can also be faulted for spreading an extreme version of the theory that addiction is a brain disease, which rules out the possibility that rewards and penalties can change drinking behavior. Addiction is a legitimate disorder, in which the brain is centrally involved, but as Dr. Higgins notes, it is not akin to a reflex or rigidity in a Parkinsons patient.

In their haste to ensure that people who suffer from substance-abuse disorders are not stigmatized, some well-meaning addiction professionals insist that their patients have no capacity for self-control. Most people with alcohol problems do indeed struggle to make good choices, but that just means they need an environment that more strongly reinforces a standard of abstinence. 24/7 Sobriety does that.

Dr. Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a former senior policy adviser in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has been an unpaid adviser to government officials interested in adopting 24/7 Sobriety


Havoc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
legulere 2 hours ago 0 replies      
ap22213 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I Will Kill You [video] youtube.com
40 points by nnd  10 hours ago   5 comments top 3
chillydawg 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
That is fantastic.
matt_morgan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This title is kind of off-putting out of context, so here's what it's about (from the description on the video):

"Have you ever wanted to kill someone? Do you want to get rid of your partner, your boss or your arch nemesis? Perhaps you want to enjoy your life insurance payout whilst youre still alive. Do you have rich elderly parents that just wont die quick enough? Or do you want a Do Over new identity.

Then, this presentation is for you! Ill provide you with the insight and techniques on how to kill someone and obtain a real death certificate and shutdown their lives. It focuses on the lack of security controls that allow any of us to virtually kill off anyone or any number of people ...

The presentation will explain the death process and will highlight the vulnerabilities and its implications world-wide ...

The third and final step of the presentation is The baby harvest, a concept that Ive developed, which involves creating and raising virtual identities ..."

probably_wrong 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
For those looking into how this plays in real life, here are two articles from a legal humor blog: one about the man mentioned in the presentation[1], and another one aptly titled "Legally dead man sentenced to be actually dead"[2].

[1] http://www.loweringthebar.net/2014/08/feds-say-legally-dead-...

[2] http://www.loweringthebar.net/2014/09/legally-dead-man-sente...

Apes may be closer to speaking than many scientists think wisc.edu
167 points by adamnemecek  15 hours ago   90 comments top 13
jonnybgood 14 hours ago 5 replies      
This Slate article is worth a read, concerning the science involving Koko.

"Critics also allege that the abilities of apes like Koko and Kanzi are overstated by their loving caregivers. Readers with pets may recognize this temptation; we cant help but attribute intelligence to creatures we know so well."


ohsnap 14 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of skepticism is in order with anything Koko. No skeptical scientists have been allowed to 'communicate' with Koko. Thus only believers, people who are willing to provide very generous interpretations of the ape's behavior are allowed to work with her.
sandworm101 14 hours ago 6 replies      
Someone thought that apes couldn't control their breathing well enough to vocalize? Really? All mammals have pretty advanced control over their airways, otherwise we would be constantly inhaling nasty things. Carnivores need control to sniff (see wolves) and herbivores need to hold their breath to be quiet enough to hear the wolves (see deer).

I'm about ready to say that all animal and human science from the 30s through the 50s should be tossed. From all birds mating for life, belly-dragging dinos, to apes that cannot hold their breath ... were they just making stuff up?

rickdale 14 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a monkey experiment called Project Nim with a documentary about. The footage in that movie is amazing. They used to sit in smoke circles and pass the joint to the chimpanzee. Ultimately the story turned sad when the funding for the research was pulled and I know this is about apes, but I am just saying animals are capable of much more than we think.


nogridbag 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting... I was just browsing Koko's wikipedia page and assumed someone had vandalized the "Life" section [1].

"Koko enjoys seeing human nipples and will request her female caregivers to show them to her on occasion."

But after some googling it appears to be true..

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koko_(gorilla)#Life

AndrewKemendo 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Just assuming for a moment that this capability increases enough for an ape to say something that humans would find "profound", I wonder if humans would give more weight to what an Ape had to say than a fellow human.
juliann 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, really impressed when watching those videos, wasn't expecting such human looking movements and gestures when blowing his nose.
freyr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Some apes have already learned to speak. We call them humans.
jonah 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The embedded videos show some good mimicry but not much understanding.

 Handler: How about coughing? Ape: Sneezes. Handler: That was good! Handler: Koko, can you sneeze? Ape: Blows Nose. Handler: ...
Not impressed.

Just because something (ape breath control) looks like something else (speech prerequisites), doesn't mean theyre the same thing...

mortenjorck 14 hours ago 2 replies      

 "She doesn't produce a pretty, periodic sound when she performs these behaviors, like we do when we speak," Perlman says. "But she can control her larynx enough to produce a controlled grunting sound."
If the innumerable worlds within the billions of galaxies in our universe are indeed sprinkled with life, I can't help but feel my hypothesis reinforced that we must be within the top 0.01% of evolutionarily-developed planets. Gorillas themselves would have to be in the top 1%, maybe fish in the top 10%.

Of course, this doesn't discount the vaguely terrifying idea of a top 0.001%.

known 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Animals talk/communicate to each other; Is this news?
csours 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Have Great Apes ever been domesticated?
sergimansilla 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent scientificamerican.com
12 points by jonbaer  6 hours ago   2 comments top
blackkettle 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It would have been much more 'surprising' if the research had shown the opposite to be true.
OpenBSD removes support for non-UTF8 locales marc.info
207 points by ingve  17 hours ago   147 comments top 5
kragen 16 hours ago 7 replies      
I wonder what the pros and cons weighed in the discussion were.

Clearly not supporting Unicode text in non-UTF-8 locales (except through, like, some kind of compatibility function, like recode or iconv) is the Right Thing. One problem that I have is that current UTF-8 implementations typically are not "8 bit clean", in the sense that GNU and modern Unix tools typically attempt to be; they crash, usually by throwing an exception, if you feed them certain data, or worse, they silently corrupt it.

Markus Kuhn suggested "UTF-8B" as a solution to this problem some years ago. Quoting Eric Tiedemann's libutf8b blurb, "utf-8b is a mapping from byte streams to unicode codepoint streams that provides an exceptionally clean handling of garbage (i.e., non-utf-8) bytes (i.e., bytes that are not part of a utf-8 encoding) in the input stream. They are mapped to 256 different, guaranteed undefined, unicode codepoints." Eric's dead, but you can still get libutf8b from http://hyperreal.org/~est/libutf8b/.

gnuvince 14 hours ago 1 reply      
As a French-speaking person, I cannot tell you how much the announcement[0] that after 5.8, basic utilities, including mg(1), will be UTF-8 ready pleases me. I'm a huge Emacs fan, but I like to use mg(1) for quick edits and this is very exciting news for me!

[0] http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20150722182236

fletchowns 16 hours ago 10 replies      
I dream of a world where everything is UTC, UTF-8, and metric.
Animats 15 hours ago 3 replies      
How does locale work on the keyboard side, then? What determines whether text entry is right to left or left to right?
jlarocco 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Heh, I initially read it as "improves", and was wondering why they'd bother. Removing it is surprising, but makes sense.
Brains Sweep Themselves Clean of Toxins During Sleep (2013) npr.org
396 points by Practicality  15 hours ago   172 comments top 24
roymurdock 13 hours ago 9 replies      
My friends and I were up late on a road trip once. We started to argue about how long it would take someone to die from lack of sleep.

Initially, I held the position that sleep was probably more important than eating food, and that you would die from sleep deprivation before you died from starvation. We looked it up, and learned about a disease called fatal familial insomnia. A mutated protein causes the onset of permanent insomnia, and there is no cure.It affects about 100 individuals worldwide. [1]

The average life expectancy of a patient is 18 months after the onset of symptoms. The first 9 months is a worsening case of insomnia, where the patient will experience paranoia, panic attacks, and hallucinations. Sleeping pills and barbiturates have been shown to worsen the clinical manifestations and hasten the onset of the disease. The individual then becomes completely unable to sleep, and will enter a state of dementia before becoming completely mute and unresponsive. This second state of permanent insomnia lasts for 9 months.

So ultimately, we learned that you can go for 9 months without sleeping before you die. I'm not sure at what point you'll suffer irreversible brain damage, but that was an interesting finding for me nonetheless.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_familial_insomnia

david_shaw 15 hours ago 14 replies      
The engineer in me has to wonder: is this something we can synthesize?

If it were possible to induce this "dishwasher-like" surge of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain during waking hours, would we be able to live off of significantly less (or no) sleep?

I'm not saying that it's necessarily a good idea, but it would have a plethora of practical applications -- pilots, truckers, etc. would be able to stay awake in a healthful way, rather than by ingesting stimulants.

I've been interested in the science of sleep for a while -- I wrote a side project, http://sleepyti.me, that actually gets quite a bit of traffic -- but neuroscience is mostly lost on me.

roflmyeggo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason to get a good nights sleep.

Many of these metabolic degradation products (not just beta-amyloid) of neuronal cell activities should readily be cleared quickly and efficiently from the interstitial space of the brain due to the highly sensitive nature of neuronal cells to their environment.

Some negative effects documented from these byproducts include: negatively effecting synaptic transmission[1], decreasing cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations[2] (Ca2+ is one of the final players in the triggering the release of neurotransmitters into the synapse between neurons to facilitate messages), and irreversible neuronal injury[3].

[1] - K. Parameshwaran, M. Dhanasekaran, V. Suppiramaniam, Amyloid beta peptides and glutamatergic synaptic dysregulation. Exp. Neurol. 210, 713 (2008)

[2] - K. V. Kuchibhotla, S. T. Goldman, C. R. Lattarulo, H. Y. Wu, B. T. Hyman, B. J. Bacskai, Abeta plaques lead to aberrant regulation of calcium homeostasis in vivo resulting in structural and functional disruption of neuronal networks. Neuron 59, 214225 (2008)

[3] - M. P. Mattson, Calcium and neuronal injury in Alzheimers disease. Contributions of beta-amyloid precursor protein mismetabolism, free radicals, and metabolic compromise. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 747, 5076 (1994)

pizza 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I can't help but imagine that if this is the case then increased water intake (prior to bed or simply throughout the day) would help intercellular water flow. Anyone know anything about drinking water improving sleep quality? Or generally well-informed sources that describe which bodily processes improve when you drink more water?
akilism 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just read two really good neuroscience articles over on nautil.us. This stuff is super interesting.



omarchowdhury 14 hours ago 1 reply      
All is one; during sleep the undistracted soul isabsorbed into this unity; in the waking state, being distracted, it distinguishesdiverse beings. (Chuang Tzu)
alexholehouse 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Related discussion from a few weeks ago;


clumsysmurf 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Its possible that sleeping on your side allows the glymphatic pathway to clear waste more efficiently.


johndevor 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be curious to know if anything similar happens during meditation.

I often feel just as refreshed from meditating briefly as I do from a quick nap.

brad3378 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a harder time controlling my appetite if I don't get enough sleep.

Could these toxins be related?

vlunkr 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's fascinating to me that we still don't know why we sleep. We spend 1/3 of our lives in a self induced coma-like state and we aren't sure why, except that if you don't you start to go crazy. It will be interesting to see how this develops!
rebootthesystem 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Many years ago, during a stupid-er time in my life, I stayed up three nights in a row.

I was working on a robotics paper to present at a conference. My first. It was a massive project and things had fallen behind schedule. With just three days left until I was supposed to be on a plane I had no choice but to work on the thing continuously and get it done.

It was a solid three days of writing code and building/testing boards. I got done and packed with a couple of hours to spare before having to go to the airport. For some reason I could not sleep on the flight from Los Angeles to Seattle.

Once I got to the room at the hotel I pretty much collapsed on the bed. My talk was scheduled for the next morning. I figured I could sleep a solid 12 hours and have a couple to get ready for the talk/presentation.

Somewhere in the middle of the night I woke up. I have no clue how long I slept up to that point. I had lost all sense of time. I went to the bathroom. And that's when the nightmare started.

I washed my face and almost immediately my ears started to buzz. It was something like a 1kHz sine wave. It started at a low level and got louder and louder. Scary.

At a certain point, my field of vision started to turn milky white. The tone got louder and all I could see was a bright white light engulfing my entire field of view.

I was blind and deaf and in the worst possible circumstances I could imagine.

I have no clue how long it all lasted. It felt like somewhere around 15 minutes. It could have been just thirty seconds but I had no sense of time and I was freaking out. All I could do was sit on the bathroom floor, hold on to something and think through the worst possible scenarios.

After what I guess was about fifteen minutes my vision started to slowly come back and the tone started to fade away. That must have taken another 5 to 15 minutes. I was drenched in sweat and scared like I had never been in my life. I've never done drugs or alcohol. I imagined this had to be like a grade-A drug addict overdose experience, or worst.

All I could do was go back to sleep after that. I was exhausted.

The next day I asked to have my talk re-scheduled and went to see a doctor. He told me I was an idiot and lucky not to have ended-up in the ER with brain damage.

That was the last time I worked on anything overnight.

I know tech companies have a culture of working long hours to get things done. Be sure you are not killing yourself to crank out another 100 lines of meaningless code. The world can wait. And if your VC's don't understand you'd like to live a long an healthy life, well, fuck them.

stdgy 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The brain continues to fascinate. I wonder how the brain acts while under anesthesia or induced to sleep through sleep aids? Is it different than naturally falling asleep?

More particularly, it sounds like brain cells (At least in mice) shrink during sleep and then enlarge during wakeful consciousness. That shrinking mechanism may play a role in the cerebrospinal fluid recycling/cleaning process, which itself may play a role in ridding the brain of harmful plaques. Does an Alzheimer's patient not show the same level of growth and shrinkage? Could forced sleep improve their outcomes? (IE: Could forced sleep lead to a more normal growth/shrink cycle?)

I am, unfortunately, ignorant on most of the medical science at play here. Any biologists, doctors or hobbyists have any thoughts?

tim333 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a nice gif on Wikipedia showing something like fluid flow in question:


bjd2385 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fascinating!
cthyon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if there is research about whether this at all impacts/plays a part in causing dreams?
lxfontes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
brain: longest garbage collection cycle ever
asciimo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
>If this proves to be true in humans as well...

Wake me up when they publish that paper.

jeffdavis 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So why does a lion need to sleep for 18 hours then?
carsongross 12 hours ago 1 reply      
pwagle 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone determined which stages of sleep this occurs?
rudolf0 12 hours ago 7 replies      
>In Guantanamo they kept prisoners awake 11 days

Somewhat off-topic, but how could anyone possibly argue this is not torture?

jws 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Perhaps you could make an infomercial selling a dietary supplement that cleanses your brain from toxins. Then with the money you earn from that you can fund an actual drug that really does it?
saalweachter 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Show HN: Cookoo Whistle Counter for Pressure Cookers s-gv.github.io
9 points by sagargv  2 hours ago   4 comments top 2
srean 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have noticed that pressure cookers are often not used efficiently. Its quite common to run them on high flame or heat throughout. This is wasteful. Once the water starts boiling in that high pressure the interiors are a constant pressure constant pressure system. The heat needs to sustain it is surprisingly and significantly lower. All that extra heat is just heating your kitchen. This is relevant to the discussion because whistle count is strongly dependent on the flame: too high and you would need more whistles, rather counterintuitive. A timer that's set off after the first whistle would be closer to what one needs. Finally too cook fast, set the flame high till the first whistle and then let it simmer
cstrat 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I didn't know that this is how other pressure cookers worked.

Mine just releases steam constantly through a valve once it gets to a certain temperature/pressure... but I might just be using it wrong :P

How California Is Winning the Drought nytimes.com
131 points by kevin  16 hours ago   169 comments top 17
giltleaf 14 hours ago 9 replies      
Hydroponic farms, vertical farms, and agroecology could all do even better. Unsustainable food production is more of a contributor than personal consumption (though people's obsession with meaningless green lawns is also ridiculous).

I wish the article did a better job of exploring various agricultural solutions - drip irrigation is just a baby step when compared to something like hydroponics. Hydroponic production uses anywhere (and I'm just trying to remember the various claims I've seen in both studies and articles without going back to them) from 75%-90% less water than conventional ag, beating drip irrigation off the low end.

Agroecology challenges the monoculture system that (I think) caused this over-consumption. By planting thirsty crops like corn and polluting the existing aquacultures with the pesticides needed to preserve an area lacking any sort of biodiversity, monocultures have created a fragile food supply that increasing prices (and terrible subsidies) continue to highlight. Agroecology, on the other hand, encourages a system of farming that takes into account the cultural/social context of a region while suggesting methods (grounding those suggestions in data) of production that respect local ecology and agricultural practices for increased production.

russell 12 hours ago 7 replies      
Cambria, where I live, halfway between San Francisco LA, is particularly hard hit. Cambria is supplied completely by well water. We had been trying since 2008 to build a desalinization plan, but had been blocked at every turn by the Coastal Commission and other regulatory bodies, because we would have had to dig a pipeline across the beach to get to the salt water. As a result draconian conservation measures were put into place. We were allocated only 50 gallons per person per day. If you exceeded your allotment, you were fined, two periods in a row your water was cut off. There was an immediate 40% drop in water usage. That wasnt enough. Last year with only a 6 months water supply left. The Community Services District decided to build a brackish water treatment plant. Treated water from the sewage treatment plant was to be pumped into the aquifer and withdrawn and treated by a reverse osmosis purification plant. Even then there were a whole bunch of regulatory hassles including that the $3 million plant be used only for the current drought without being recertified again.

EDIT: Cambria is in one of only three Monterrey Pine forests in CA, essentially an urban forest. The drought has exacerbated the pitch canker and beetle infestations. Forty per cent of the pine trees died last year. I lost four of the five on my property. Another four had died earlier. We are in danger of an explosive urban fire like the Oakland hills fire of 1991. One huge problem is the pines are protected. You cannot cut down one without a permit at $125 + $25 for each additional tree, plus restoration requirements. Most lots are small and close together so it may cost up to $2000 to cut down a tree. I had only four and I said screw the permit. But my neighbor has hundreds. It will cost millions to clear out the dead trees in town, but no state or federal grants seem to be forthcoming, but if you dont cut down your trees, after all the red tape, you get fined.

prewett 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting article, but I feel like I am missing something here. According to the article, California can accommodate maybe another year or two of drought, so beyond that would be a problem? Also, the drought it causing the farmers to further deplete the depleting aquifers. So I'm not seeing how this is "winning the drought." It sounds more like maintaining the current unsustainability through better irrigation and depleting aquifers, but when the aquifer is gone it's going to be bad.
bradleyjg 16 hours ago 2 replies      
>> Last fall, prodded by Gov. Jerry Browns administration, the California Legislature passed a sweeping groundwater law, taking California from having the least regulated groundwater in the country to being a model.

Unfortunately by the time the law envisions the new rules being fully implemented 2040 aquifers across the state are likely to be permanently damaged or destroyed by over-pumping.

wmil 15 hours ago 4 replies      
> 70 percent more tomatoes per 1,000 gallons of water

Am I reading this wrong? The "1000 gallons" seems superfluous since we're already talking about percentages. Replace it with "gallon of water" or even "amount of water" and the 70% doesn't change.

azinman2 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For those wanting real info, watch this video from the state's water board's director to the MIT NorCal alumni club. It's super fascinating.


sandworm101 14 hours ago 9 replies      
Win a drought? This isn't chess. The wording should be 'survive', cope with or even struggle through. (Take that nature!) There is no winning. I was in California six months ago and was taken aback by the lack of worry. Nobody seemed to be doing anything. The lawns and fields were green, the backyard pools all full and people were washing cars like normal.
russell 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The article was wrong in stating that pretty much all the agricultural was usage was for food. 15-20% of the water is for growing alfalfa. That may be cow food, but it is a huge waste of water. A lot of press is given to the fact that 10% of the water is used for almonds, but they are at least a a high value crop. Another high water usage crop is cotton, again not food. Give it back to the South. And rice; you have to be nuts to grow rice in the desert. It's not worth destroying the aquifers for such crops.
dlevine 15 hours ago 2 replies      
For anyone interested in this, I would recommend checking out The Water Knife (fiction) and Cadillac Desert (non-fiction).
Mz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For a century, California has pioneered innovations that have changed the way we all live.

For probably over a century in fact. And California has pioneered environmental laws for decades as well, going back to about (or "at least"?) the 1960's.

Salt Dreams is a fascinating book about the history of water usage, the Colorado River and the Salton Sea going back hundreds of years, to before the existence of the Salton Sea. I also recently read a history of another water use district in the Central Valley. I cannot recall the name of that book, but the history of water usage and water law in California is rich and fascinating and a lot of pioneering things have happened out here.

bcheung 11 hours ago 1 reply      
No mention of aquaponics?

I'm growing food in the backyard with it and it is awesome.

It uses much less water and is much less of a hassle. Better yields too.

known 2 hours ago 0 replies      
We can learn from Israel dip irrigation system;
quinndupont 10 hours ago 0 replies      
brightball 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Necessity is the mother of invention
tn13 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a classic example of post-hoc analysis. It like American presidents who are always there to claim credit for any minor economic or job growth but quick to blame the job loss and any other negative effect on economy on "someone else who is evil".

So California had water shortage and they decided to use the resource wisely? Everyone except federal government knows that you can spend the resource you dont have.

I would like to know why California as a state and other cities have not invested in increasing number of reservoirs, not allowed desalination and other things despite the population of California has doubled in last 30 years. Part of this is the bone headed environmentalists who would rather save few trouts than saving human beings but I think the the local bodies arent putting up a fight either.

xigency 15 hours ago 1 reply      
dang 4 hours ago 7 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10062978 and marked it off topic.
NSA announces prelminary plans for transitioning to quantum resistant algorithms nsa.gov
18 points by lisper  6 hours ago   5 comments top 3
wfunction 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Probably trying to insert backdoors before the community develops an algorithm without one.
tlack 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Such an interesting subject. Anyone have any pointers to the most interesting post-quantum algorithms?
Taniwha 1 hour ago 1 reply      
and we should trust them here why?
Negotiated versioning github.com
8 points by mjdesa  7 hours ago   discuss
GSMem: Data Exfiltration from Air-Gapped Computers Over GSM Frequencies [pdf] usenix.org
84 points by tptacek  15 hours ago   33 comments top 10
tptacek 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This team used patterns of memory access instructions to modulate a memory bus to generate GSM-band signals that can be read from a hacked baseband. That is a thing that happened.
themodelplumber 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Just to clarify: They're talking about going into an air-gapped network (i.e. cut off from the outside world as far as network transmission of data goes) and using a conveniently-placed (and hacked) cell phone to read signals, convert them into useful data, and transmit that to the attacker? So the cell phone works as a sort of spigot that pours that data into outside networks? Let me know if I'm not reading this right.
arboroia 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Ridiculously impressive and extremely hard to shield against, baring using your computer in a faraday cage.

Thinking about it, is there any way to vary the electricity consumption of the computer as to transmit that way if it was in such a cage?

bri3d 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Could the SSE2 non-temporal instructions used in this (genius) strategy be used to exploit RowHammer in DDR2, avoiding the known "dangerous" CLFLUSH?

This seems like an obvious approach but the only reference to it I can find is in this Google Native Client issue, with no indication of whether or not it's successful: https://code.google.com/p/nativeclient/issues/detail?id=3970

hyperion2010 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Somehow this reminds me of the various "floppy drive plays the Imperial March" hacks only this time it is "system RAM plays the arbitrary-bits-of-information fugue in C major on the electromagnetic spectrum." The research needed to get this to work is stunning.
mschuster91 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Only a bit related: does anyone know a) why it is standard in scientific papers to be written in 2-col layout and b) how to convert said 2-col layout to a READABLE 1-col layout?!

Man, this is driving me nuts on desktop and mobile.

ikeboy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion (of an article about this) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9955180
jds375 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is amazing, I don't think I would have ever thought of that. Of course, it's efficacy is a bit mitigated in that if you could manage to get malware onto such a computer, then there are likely easier ways to exfiltrate the data than presented in this paper. The POC model is nonetheless impressive.

This would be a great side project to play around with on an Arduino or something.

vvanders 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty impressive stuff.

Here I thought it was going to be related to the power-spike decryption that's been show before(and can be hardened against by balancing bits flipped).

logicallee 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Are we that surprised? I remember being blown away to read that a program could modulate a CPU to play music over an FM radio -- though whenever I google I'm not able to find that reference.

But are we that surprised that a cell phone has software-defined radio, or is extremely sensitive in the gigahertz frequency range? Or that a hacked baseband can listen to the cues from a memory bus in that range, and isolate some predefined pattern that is extremely distinguishable? Or that a memory bus can emit noise at those frequencies? Or that this can be controlled via software?

I mean, this isn't - "this web site can send a text message from any airgapped computer without a sim card, by modulating its CPU to broadcast to all cell phone towers. Using pure CSS."

If that were in javascript, if it didn't require a hacked or modified anything - now that is the realm of science fiction :)

Rust in 2016 rust-lang.org
332 points by aturon  18 hours ago   126 comments top 19
fpgaminer 16 hours ago 5 replies      
I had the opportunity to work with Rust >1.0 recently, implementing an image processing algorithm. Knowing that the compiler was looking out for me, a wingman of sorts, was quite the pleasant experience. When coding in C I have a very paranoid mentality, constantly questioning every line of code and its impact on program state/memory. It results in my C code being almost always free of memory related bugs, but the work is absolutely _exhausting_. Rust was great in this regard, dramatically reducing the amount of mental capacity expended while coding. Either the compiler would catch the bugs, or worst-case a run-time assert would catch it and point me directly to the problem.

The major criticism I came away with, due in part to the type of program I was coding, was for Rust's lack of implicit type casting (more specifically, widening). What I mean is, adding a u8 and a u16 is an error in Rust. Rust will refuse to implicitly cast the u8 to a u16. These situations came up very frequently while implementing my program because I had to do a lot of optimized, low-level math. The scattering of type casts throughout the program resulted in clutter without any obvious benefit.

When I looked into the problem, the arguments I saw against it were often explanations that Rust is meant to be explicit and non-magical. But Rust, for example, already has type inference which I classify as "magical". Implicit type widening is hardly magical. And I don't see how it would be confusing or result in bugs, as long as only safe widening is done implicitly.

I think those involved in the Rust project were just scared off from it because of C's bizarre implicit type casting rules which result in bugs for typical programmers. I can understand that, but it's not like it can't be done better in Rust. Besides, if Rust is meant to be a system programming language, won't math between differing types come up often? And wouldn't handling those cases gracefully be a boon to productiveness in Rust?

saosebastiao 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I would easily pay 3x the Xamarin price for a Xamarin-like platform for Rust. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.

It's the perfect language for a mobile platform, and I would love to use the zero-runtime-cost abstractions without resorting to the C++ hand-grenade roulette. The fact that it has an ML heritage, with all the goodies that entails (ADTs, pattern matching, type inference, etc), is even better.

endgame 17 hours ago 5 replies      
How is nobody talking about push-button cross-compilation? It could be huge! The only language that I'm aware of that does it at all well is C and that's because the only build tool that does it at all well is automake. But even then the library situation is very hit-and-miss. If rust nails this it's going to be awesome.
6d65 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Glad to see the language evolve.

It feels great, once one gets used with the borrow checker messages.

One thing that could make the language better(and was mentioned in the post) is faster compilation.

Having programmed in Go, this may be one of its best points, just have a watcher that recompiles the program on change(and maybe run the unittests). Though it can be argued that not all types of programs benefit from such workflow, it's still one of my favorite things.

krat0sprakhar 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> And you can do so in contexts you might not have before, dropping down from languages like Ruby or Python, making your first foray into systems programming.

I guess I'm one of those programmers who is quite alienated from systems programming - probably due to my daily work in Python / JS. The Rust lang book is quite good (great job @steveklabnik et al) but from my past experience I've found it easier to stay committed to learning a new programming language when I have a project that I can work on.

Can someone suggest a few "getting started" but useful systems programming projects that I can use as a test bed for learning Rust?

gbersac 15 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read it, I think two things :

1- Great job. This is both innovative and powerfull. Like the idea to test nighties on every crate available on github. I am sure no other language does it.

2- So much feature may be a little disappointing. Take specialization. It may be interesting, but I don't even understand what it is. And I am not a beginner anymore ! Don't you fear that, by adding more and more feature, rust will become like the language it is aiming to replace (c++) : a huge mess of feature ?

That being said, I am definitely a rust enthusiast (I bought the book https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1712125778/rust-program...). Carry on !

drewm1980 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Are compiler features to support writing something like libeigen still on the roadmap? rust is IMHO a bit of a non-starter for many engineering fields until it has a really good story for array math.
nnethercote 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> Rusts greatest potential is to unlock a new generation of systems programmers. And thats not just because of the language; its just as much because of a community culture that says Dont know the difference between the stack and the heap? Dont worry, Rust is a great way to learn about it, and Id love to show you how.

Wonderful stuff.

Animats 15 hours ago 2 replies      
If they add 'reuse' of old compilation intermediate results, the test for whether the source has changed should not be timestamp-based. That never works reliably, which is why "make clean; make" is so common. The source files must be compared by some cryptographic hash.
cpeterso 16 hours ago 1 reply      
How long does Crater take to compile all (2792!) crates in stock on crates.io? It ought to be embarrassingly parallelizable. Is there a dashboard page showing the Crater results for rust nightlies?
BonsaiDen 14 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested in the talks from the recent RustCamp, the videos are now available: http://confreaks.tv/events/rustcamp2015
PudgePacket 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"We plan to extend the compiler to permit deeper integration with IDEs and other tools; the plan is to focus initially on two IDEs, and then grow from there."

Any ideas which IDEs will be chosen?

digitalzombie 16 hours ago 2 replies      
They should put having technical books on Rust as a goal.

I learn via technical books btw.

Does anybody know if there's a rust book coming out?

I mean Julia is having a book from Manning and they're not even version 1.

khyryk 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Certainly looking forward to the borrow checker improvements as it's quite tedious to work around the match borrowing problem.
jhasse 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds wonderful! I especially can't wait for incremental compilation. I can't understand how others do any work without it.
grayrest 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there an RFC or thread covering the IDE integration plans?
joliv 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Aaron Turon and Niko Matsakis gave a talk on this for their Rust Camp keynote, you can see slides on it here if you prefer that format:


coldcode 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see Rust and Swift evolve as Swift moves to the server side (at least on Linux). Both are modern languages although each has its own target users.
jebblue 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Documents confirm Apple is building self-driving car theguardian.com
93 points by r0h1n  14 hours ago   36 comments top 11
Gys 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It probably requires an Apple Watch to open the doors, using your required iPhone. The radio can only play Apple Music (subscription required). And do not forget to register with iCloud, otherwise the car will deny your ownership.

Not sure if am that much of an Apple fan to ever wanting to buy such car. Probably would feel like literally giving up all freedom of choice.

trhway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My thinking is if Apple just did an electric iCar, they would already made a killing, and they can do it tomorrow morning. All you need is design and good supply logistics. No regulatory hassles to speak about, etc.. Self-driving car is great, yet not tomorrow. Technologically iPhone wasn't like self-driving car as there were phones+computer gadgets on the market before the iPhone, and in that regard iPhone was just like a better electric car would be today. Main innovation of iPhone was breaking back of cell provider - AT&T. Of course if Apple can break the back of DMV and put the self-driving car through regulatory hoops ... I will be so sorry to not have their stock :)
ris 12 hours ago 1 reply      
And if you thought Toyota lacked transparency when problems were found in their systems, boy, you're in for a shock...
msoad 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Project Titan employees have a cover on their badges and pretty much nobody have access to their buildings. I know two new employees who went to Project Titan team that are heavily focused on computer vision.
modeless 3 hours ago 2 replies      
A self driving car seems untypical for Apple. The obvious model for self driving cars is basically Uber without drivers; a service rather than a device which you buy and own yourself. That seems more like a Google thing than an Apple thing to me.
mdaniel 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The cited engineer's LinkedIn page[0] says that he worked for Lit Motors[1] through Jan 2015, then nothing - which seems to square with my mental model of Apple. The Lit Motors part piqued my interest since I'm a pre-orderer for their awesome looking self-balancing enclosed motorcycle/vehicle. He even went to the same university as I did, although for very different degrees.

0 = https://www.linkedin.com/pub/frank-fearon/16/687/3a01 = http://litmotors.com

oroup 9 hours ago 3 replies      
The Concord Naval Weapons Station where they plan to test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_Naval_Weapons_Station

On Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/uOCwX

superuser2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The self-driving car will be transformative, and it's important that no one company be the only game in town. If this seems like me-too-ism then it probably is, but that's a good thing for the world.
na85 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably the last company I would trust with my safety on the road.
mtgx 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> GoMentum Stations empty roads feature everything from highway overpasses and railway crossings to tunnels and cattle grids. These would enable Apple to test vehicles in a variety of realistic everyday situations but without exposing it to scrutiny.

Has Apple ever heard of drones? They won't be able to hide this much longer if they are testing it in the open.

Xorlev 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Edbrowse: an editor and web browser with a UI based on /bin/ed edbrowse.org
16 points by blindgeek  8 hours ago   2 comments top
rhaps0dy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Ed is the standard text editor!
Show HN: Algebra.js Build, display, and solve algebraic equations js.org
107 points by nicolewhite  19 hours ago   23 comments top 11
nicolewhite 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hello HN,

I was learning JavaScript by completing challenges on CoderByte[0], where one of the hard challenges was to find the point where two lines intersect. The lines were defined by two sets of points, and you had to return your answers as rationals, not floats. The challenge isn't timed, so I got a little carried away: ended up making a Fraction class, Equation class, etc. This first iteration could only solve linear equations, but I decided to expand it out into a library that could solve higher order polynomials and manipulate expressions.

On a related note, solving cubics is actually kind of hard. This guy Cardano[1] figured it out[2] in the 1500s, but his solution was incomplete because he wasn't aware of imaginary numbers at the time. I then found you could solve cubics with some trig[3] and decided to go that route. Anyway, hope you enjoy, and of course I am interested in your feedback.

[0] http://coderbyte.com/

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerolamo_Cardano

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_function#Cardano.27s_met...

[3] http://www.nickalls.org/dick/papers/maths/cubic1993.pdf

kevin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is so well done! There are so many little touches here that delights me like the keyboard shortcuts for jumping right in and the LaTeX support. Even though this started off as a learning project for you, know that this is probably better than 95% of the API documentation I read from more professional development teams.

Jason Long's Cayman Theme was unfamiliar to me until I saw your citation. Kudos to your good taste.

Documentation is pretty good. It probably skews more towards developers with experience using other libraries, but I think that's fine for a first version. If you want to kick it up some more, I'd love to see more practical examples that might inspire me to use it out in the wild. Also, it took me awhile to figure out what to do with the keyboard shortcut. Something more explicit or even a small screencast would be nice.

I see that you also work on the RNeo4j library, which looks super cool. Queueing that up in the future to play with...since R is a much better place for me to feed that graphing library data. Thank you so much for sharing this!

liammclennan 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great project. Please add support for quintic equations.
joeyrobert 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like a good start towards a symbolic math library like SymPy[0] for JavaScript. There's lots of cool client-side applications for such a library, something like Mathway[1] or WolframAlpha[2] that doesn't need to hit a server to do the symbolic computation.

[0] http://www.sympy.org/

[1] https://mathway.com/

[2] http://www.wolframalpha.com/

1arity 7 hours ago 1 reply      
the API is really clear and aesthetic. the whole work seems self contained. it is just awesome. im excited to think about an addition for matrices and combinatorics and calculus as well. this deserves to become like a Magma for js. unlike quite a lot of Shown HN this already seems complete, even the documentation, so aside from hoping it expands I feel there isnt much missing to point out. maybe a calculator graphical interface to produce expressions? oh and defnitely big num support!
dharmatech 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice work Nicole! :-)

I work on a similar library for C# (Symbolism [1]).

Consider allowing for variable elimination in sets of equations. (See this problem for an example: https://gist.github.com/dharmatech/a14d1a29a7d4c0728d37)

[1] https://github.com/dharmatech/Symbolism/

davmar 11 hours ago 1 reply      
this looks really neat and it must have been a lot of fun to build!

it's not a feature request because I don't have a use case for this quite yet, but how complex would it be to parse a string that contains a formula? for example, it seems useful to be able to load equations by just sending the string "2x - 3 = 4" to a function.

that sounds like a fun problem to solve as well. maybe useful to the library too. just a thought! great work on this library and thanks for publishing.

fibo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I also created an algebra npm package, it implements what I learned at Algebra first year course at Universit Degli Studi di Genova: http://g14n.info/algebra/
ahmacleod 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice work. I've built roughly half of this before, but your API is cleaner and the docs really tie it together.
clebio 15 hours ago 1 reply      
So it's like an early-stage CAS written in Javascript?

E.g. Sage math (http://www.sagemath.org/)

maxwelljoslyn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, this is cool! Great work.
Runit a Unix init scheme with service supervision smarden.org
95 points by jsingleton  20 hours ago   47 comments top 12
atom_enger 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Runit is amazing. I've used it on several large scale websites with great success. Runit follows the unix philosophy of being stupid simple and doing one thing incredibly well. If you're starting up a new project, consider using Runit.
davexunit 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I use GNU dmd instead. Simple and very extensible with Scheme. I use it as PID 1 on 2 of my machines, but I use another instance of it as a user service manager on all of my machines. I've also been meaning to replace runit with dmd in Phusion's passenger-docker image to get something more hackable.


nisa 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you run runit you can also take a look at runwhen: http://code.dogmap.org/runwhen/

It's cron and at implemented in a quite elegant way.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be much love for it in distributions.


edwintorok 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a good comparison/documentation of what an init system like runit should do and why on the S6 site:http://skarnet.org/software/s6/why.htmlhttp://skarnet.org/software/s6/overview.html

Runit has the advantage that it is packaged in Debian and you can start using it right away.

jlongster 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice to see daemontools-inspired work on HN in the past few days. I've been using runit for years, and as other comments have said, it's just not something I ever have to worry about. When I look around at other solutions it seems like I'd be taking a huge step back (making things more complex with arguably less usefulness).

I've been meaning to do some blog posts about runit, as it seems like it sits on the back-burner in general. Does anyone know how actively it's maintained, or has it just reached such stability that it doesn't need much maintenance? It would neat to see it on github with some real docs and such.

lugus35 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Voidlinux uses runit by default. http://www.voidlinux.eu
stephen-mw 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Runit is the default system daemon for Phusion's baseimage-docker Ubuntu image[0]. I've used it in a basic manner and have been very happy with it.

For containers it hits a real sweet spot: lightweight and easy to use within a limited scope of processes.

[0] https://github.com/phusion/baseimage-docker

clebio 14 hours ago 5 replies      
Given the other glowing comments, maybe this would be a place to ask: should I bother with Upstart, or Systemd? I see Shuttleworth announced the move to systemd, but it's not available on Ubuntu 14.04 servers right now. I'm writing provisioning for our production fleet, what should I use?

The vagaries of the OS wars make something like Runit tempting.

kragen 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I use runit. It's great. (Daemontools didn't have the ability to sleep for 30 seconds after my daemons crashed at startup because, like, some filesystem wasn't mounted or something.)
jedisct1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
runit is what the Phusion Docker base image http://phusion.github.io/baseimage-docker/ is using, and it's the perfect tool to start and supervise containerized apps.I also love the fact that it can wait for a service to run (in order to wait for dependencies), and that stuck services can be restarted in a more radical way than a single TERM signal.
manas952 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Runit is fantastic. If you are using Chef - the runit cookbook integrates very nicely. https://supermarket.chef.io/cookbooks/runit
jflatow 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Runit is / was awesome but how is this news?
Modified yeast produce opiates from sugar sciencemag.org
79 points by runesoerensen  18 hours ago   41 comments top 9
dekhn 18 hours ago 3 replies      
This is an absurd technical accomplishment. Identifying and cloning 21 genes on its own is a ton of work, but doing so in a way that replicates a synthetic pathway is amazing. Hats off to the scientists who managed to get this to work.
beagle3 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Question to biologists: Is cross contamination an issue? e.g. Monsanto corn has contaminated non-monsanto corn through wind/pollen/whatever natural mechanism.

Is there a non zero probability that sometime in the future I'll buy standard yeast for cooking at the store and get some of the kind described in the article?

twerp 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a friend who suffered from 'auto-brewery syndrome' last year. From wikipedia:

Auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system. One gastrointestinal organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of yeast, has been identified as a pathogen for this condition.

Now imagine an auto-brewery syndrome with this modified yeast...

sosuke 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Sigh, I'm a cynic, this is an amazing accomplishment and all I could do was think that yeast will now be considered a controlled substance that I have to give my drivers license to buy like Sudafed.

Keep doing excellent work.

xj9 14 hours ago 0 replies      
CatsoCatsoCatso 18 hours ago 2 replies      
There was an article about this in the New Scientist (UK) a few weeks back. They highlighted concerns that unlike mass illegal cannabis production the heat/energy footprint of producing opium in something like a bathtub would be almost undetectable.

If someone finds a way to produce addictive drugs from yeast then a whole new ball park could be opened up in the war on drugs.

dmschulman 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah but will the GMO heroin be labeled as such?
drallison 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that opiates can be cloned, will cocaine and ephedrine (for methamphetamine) be far behind?
venomsnake 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that will be a fun sourdough bread ...
Linear Algebra Review and Reference (2012) [pdf] stanford.edu
9 points by dstein64  3 hours ago   discuss
Strongtalk: A high-speed Smalltalk with incremental, optional strong typing strongtalk.org
40 points by david-given  12 hours ago   3 comments top 3
BruceM 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I was looking at Strongtalk the other day for the first time in some years.

Unfortunately, it isn't clear at all where to best obtain the sources.

Since Google Code is going read-only soon, it would be nice to have a canonical location outside of there.

In 2010, there was a post on the mailing list:


But that GitHub repo has been idle since 2010:


It seems other people have also tried exporting from Google Code to GitHub as well:


At that point, I got distracted and moved on to something else of interest at the time.

erpellan 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I believe that the Strongtalk compiler eventually became HotSpot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strongtalk
currywurst 1 hour ago 0 replies      
imho, the V8 runtime and the Chrome Dev Tools give a good enough approximation of a Smalltalk "live-coding" environment.

Given that approaches like Typescript, Flow and the most likely adoption of type hinting in a coming ES201x version, I would consider that JavaScript is a "spiritual" successor of Strongtalk.

Sorry Dart, you're just talking too long ;)

Marathon Editing Brings New Rigor to Wikipedia Physics simonsfoundation.org
32 points by JohnHammersley  9 hours ago   8 comments top 4
mikro2nd 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The real problem that WP's physics section suffers from is less "lack of content" and much more one of accessibility to ordinary readers. (I'm looking at you, Particle Physics!) Many of the articles are completely incomprehensible to anyone with less than grad-level knowledge of the topic, which sort of renders the whole exercise moot. An encyclopedia is meant to be accessible to the ordinary intelligent reader -- say about high-school level.

I appreciate that much of the subject matter -- especially when it comes to topics like Quantum Physics or Particle Physics -- is actually completely counterintuitive and weird, and that it is only, really, properly described by the math. Nevertheless, responding to comments requesting lay-level clarity along the lines of "you won't understand it unless you get a PhD in it" is not at all helpful, and merely reveals an attitude of arrogant superiority.

Many of the physics pages could really use the help of an editor who understands how to construct an $English sentence and is comfortable using imagery and allegory to explain the concepts, even though those may likely be inaccurate, misleading or technically wrong. Sadly those people usually don't have the requisite knowledge of the subject.

Was it Einstein who said, "Any scientist who cannot explain what they are doing to an eight year old is a charlatan"?

techdragon 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The article makes it sound like the usual tendency of Wikipedia to revert new contributions was avoided but tellingly they point out not all of the changes "stuck".

The fact that a coordinated gathering of actual physicists working together on these pages had anything reverted is a telling example of the poison that will eventually kill Wikipedia.

Without a coordinated list to see just which edits failed to stick I'm not able to completely back my assertion. However I doubt that these people, working in groups where they have many eyes proofreading and spellchecking at once, were submitting the kind of changes with typos or other mistakes that would be understandably rejected by Wikipedia.

sparkzilla 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The fact that they have to do this kind of "edit-a-thon" shows that Wikipedia is not sustainable. Adding content shouldn't require extraordinary effort.
freethemullet 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Where can I find complete list of the edited pages?
Stop Looking for a Cofounder dontscale.com
245 points by adrianmsmith  17 hours ago   130 comments top 29
rcarrigan87 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Too many people who are new to entrepreneurship only see startups as their entry point. Part of this is media coverage, everyone is talking about funding mega rounds and the VC fueled entrepreneur world.

I think many entrepreneurs are less interested in building Billion dollar companies and are more seeking freedom from suppressive corporate jobs.

But when the only narrative you see is mega startups it starts to seem like that's the only worthwhile path to entrepreneurship. Small business sounds like your Mom's flower shop - lame. So you have to find a co-founder and raise VC and pick a huge market, and work on your pitch deck, etc. etc.

Reality is having a couple million a year business can really lead to a fantastic lifestyle if done properly.

paulsutter 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Even if you want to build a scalable/fundable startup, stop looking for a cofounder. It's needy and the wrong motivation. Start working on the project get help from the smartest people you know / can find. Get their help in any capacity you can. You're more likely to find a cofounder indirectly through on this path than in an overt "cofounder search". Plus you'll actually be making progress.
danieltillett 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I am going on a rant, but can we stop using the term lifestyle business for non-VC startups? Almost anything would be better - I came up with the term founder focused as an alternative [1], but almost anything would be better than the term lifestyle. A serious business is a serious business no matter the funding source.

1. http://www.tillett.info/2014/11/24/lets-kill-the-term-lifest...

brightball 14 hours ago 4 replies      
He's not wrong, but a lot of what he says is very dependent on self-discipline. Having a partner, in addition to all of the other perks, also gives you a point of accountability the forces prioritization and a real plan.

It is entirely possible to start a business by yourself. People do it successfully every single day but there are a whole lot of complicated factors from financial, legal, technical and psychological at play just to get started.

Having a support system around you can insulate you from a lot of the complications that come from going it on your own, but that support system is usually based on goodwill not vested interest.

Even people who "go it on their own" but happen to be married when they do so very clearly have a partner in the business.

jcrubino 16 hours ago 4 replies      
PG context of a startup is a company that has the potential to make it into a leading stock market index. Anything else is considered a "life style" business and not within YC or most other VC's scope of interest for funding.
crocal 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Having just gone through bad experience with co founders, I should be on the same page as John. But I am not. It is essential to have co founders even with all this accelerating software available, just because of the fatigue. It's a lot of work to achieve quality and willingness to pay in software, no matter what. My mistake was to try to make it all by myself with only non-tech partners. If I had had just one strong cofounder as involved as I were I think things would have turned out very differently. Be humble!
swalsh 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're a programmer, and you're relatively young (like under 40) you probably don't have a lot of experience. Sure you have a lot of experience programming, and solving problems. But it's VERY unlikely that you know an industry, and it's unsolved or badly solved problems. To get to know these problems, I think you need some outsider experience.

For example, i'm in the healthcare industry. I can name a whole bunch of problems here, but none of them are ripe for a new startup. That's because I really only find out about a problem from my little part of the world. The few times i've had glimpses beyond my world I certainly haven't had enough of a glimpse to really try and tackle it.

So to me, that's important. Without a cofounder who really knows an industry, you're going to work on 1st world problems that a normal person might run into, that are solvable by a single person.

To be honest, of the problems left in that space they're not really interesting businesses. Either they won't make too much money, or they solve a boring non-problem.

As a technical person I want to find someone who has ran into good problems, and will know if a solution will work or not.

crimsonalucard 15 hours ago 0 replies      
At the same time I would say, don't dismiss the benefits of having a cofounder. It's easier to explore new territory as a team then it is alone. Just the psychological boost that comes with camaraderie is well worth it.
omouse 15 hours ago 1 reply      
A cofounder just makes some things easier; you have someone that's available 24/7 to talk about ideas and implementation. When it's just you it feels a little easier to give up unfortunately.
tgeery 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole time i could not stop thinking of this wozniak quote. Although... I guess he eventually had a cofounder.


aesthetics1 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe John is writing for an audience that PG is not addressing. He is taking his lifestyle business approach and saying that it should apply to businesses that are seeking funding and trying to ultimately have an exit, or become a shiny unicorn. This just isn't the right advice for YC style companies.
cha-cho 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel that this line should be in bold: "It doesnt really matter what your friends think of your ideas or you in regards to starting a businessthe votes that count come in the form of paying customers."
graeme 15 hours ago 1 reply      
As others have noted, this is addressing a different type of business than PG was talking about.

The author is talking about bootstrapped businesses. There are many niches where a well run business can earn revenue of $100,000-$500,000 per year, and be ably run by a single person. These niches do require upkeep, but they are not so likely to be invaded by major competitors or large companies. The returns are too small. However, the returns are excellent for a single founder.

It is also true that it's easier to scale such a business than it used to be. So there is probably more bootstrapping potential than before, especially as more people move online and there are therefore more niches to fill.

But this approach also rules out many types of businesses, and with rare exceptions it rules out larger revenue streams. These are among the trade offs.

antaviana 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I found the following book to be quite a good tool with practical advice for the proposed approach:


j_lev 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"Finding" a co-founder wasn't a choice for the uncountable husband-wife partnerships over the ages. Sometimes for better or for worse you're stuck with your spouse as your co-founder.

I remained in the corporate world for about five years after making the decision mentally to quit until I had confidence that both the technology and my own skill had reached a point where I could have a good shot at hustling a living with my wife as "co-founder." The article somewhat vindicates my decision.

free2rhyme214 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Having cofounders or not is a matter of personal preference. Statistically teams in 2 or 3 do better than teams of 1.

Look at the most successful tech IPO's and funding rounds. Sure there's Amazon & Flexport etc. but those are exceptions.

seizethecheese 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The post is saying that you don't need a cofounder for the subset of ventures that a very technical person can tackle alone. The types of ventures that YC funds are generally not plausible to tackle alone. There is no conflict between PG's ideas and this essay so long as you accept that there are ventures of differing scope, some need more than one founder and some don't, and YC generally invests in the latter.
latishsehgal 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been trying to bootstrap a one man software shop for the last 2 years and recently released v2 of the software. How I usually explain it to my "work" friends is that the highs are higher and the lows are lower while trying to do everything yourself. I would have jumped at the opportunity of having a cofounder for that reason, but never found the right people interested.
adidash 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Met the founder of a startup accelerator in Singapore and shared my idea. His first question - "will it be a billion dollar company?" I said no but has the potential to scale to a few million dollars and his reply was - "then its not a startup but just a lifestyle business."
jlarocco 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I've always thought people desperately looking for cofounders on HN, or asking how to find them, are kind of goofy and lame. Has there ever been an even moderately successful company cofounded by strangers who met while slumming the internet for cofounders?

It seems to me that PG almost certainly didn't mean people were better off starting companies with random strangers than they would be starting off alone.

Looking at the big successful companies that were started with multiple founders, it was almost always a group of friends, or co-workers, or acquaintances from school with similar interests, or something like that. There's more to being "cofounders" than just meeting randomly and deciding to start a company together.

api 16 hours ago 4 replies      
"If youre unable to convince friends to start a business with you, PG says its a vote of no confidence. But, what if youre like me and you dont have a lot of entrepreneurial friends? Or, maybe you do, but they dont want to work on your ideas? It doesnt really matter what your friends think of your ideas or you in regards to starting a businessthe votes that count come in the form of paying customers. Since its cheap and easy to spot faults in unproven business ideas, early votes of no confidence, even from well-meaning friends and family are standard fare. Expect and take them with a grain of salt. Some of the best companies today sounded pretty dumb on paper yesterday."

This is probably the clearest refutation of Graham's single founder section I've seen.

I'd expound a bit on one of the later points:

If what you're doing is somewhat domain-specific, only the opinions of people in your target area and market matter. You might know a lot of people, but if they're not in your target area and market they might not get it. If you're getting negative feedback from them, it might be irrelevant. The only negative feedback you should listen to is from people who really get your target area.

jasonswett 14 hours ago 0 replies      
eldude 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Please don't stop looking for a cofounder. It's true that all it additionally takes to be a solo-founder is self-discipline, but as a human being you are psychologically and emotionally unequipped to deal with this. Let me explain...

On History, there's a self-filmed TV show about 10 survivalist dropped off separately on Vancouver Island competing for $0.5M to be the last standing. The show is fantastic, not for the impressive survival skills, but for the human psychology. The show is called "Alone," and I'm fairly certain they (re)named the show after filming. What you witness over the course of just weeks, is nearly every wilderness expert abruptly losing their will to go on because there is nobody to share it with. They openly acknowledge that they have what it takes to continue, and were originally okay with being away from their family indefinitely, but they all just completely lose their desire and interest in winning or continuing because they are so alone.

In short, isolation doesn't just make it more difficult for you to achieve your goals, it rips the desire to achieve them from your psyche altogether! This is empirically shown and self evident in numerous aspects of society: solitary confinement being classified as torture, team dynamics, mentors, pair bonding, tribalism, etc... It's also why YC (mostly) doesn't accept solo-founders, as well as many other respected VCs.

[1] http://www.history.com/shows/alone/about

MCRed 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm leaning this way now myself, after previously believing that co-founders were essential and prior to that being dubious about their value.

Two things I've seen kill startups are bad cofounder relationships, and Venture Capitalists. Almost 50-50, with VCs in the lead because they cause a lot of the bad co-founder relationships.

The person you are likely to make your cofounder should probably be your first employee. Make them significant, give them a VP title or whatever, get feedback from them, pay them in equity. But don't let them be in a position where leaving or failing to pull their weight would doom the company.

Finding a good cofounder is nearly impossible for many people for many reasons. If you are a group of people who know each other already and want to start a company-- great.

But cofounder dating is a bad, bad idea. Couples live together for years before getting married, yet co founders want to "get married" within days or months? Even if you choose well on a number of areas, you simply can't know your cofounder well enough.

rebootthesystem 11 hours ago 0 replies      
With the right project, skills, dedication, some funding and a little luck it is quite possible for a single person to build a business that produces $100K to $200K per month free cash. I understand that SV culture of building for $100MM+ exits but that is utopia. All you have to do is run the stats against total business startups (and failures) per year to confirm this claim.

As for single vs. multi-founder companies. I see SV from afar as an environment where young VC's incubate all manner of ideas by young inexperienced people. It's an educated shotgun approach. And it obviously works or it would have died off a long time ago.

In that context I would say it is absolutely imperative to have more than one person on a team. Why? Because business is hard and most 20-somethings today have never done anything even remotely as hard in their lives. When business slaps you around and tests your limits and you are an inexperienced young person without a support system around you failure is almost guaranteed. Add co-founders to spread the stress, discuss, find solutions and feel like a team with a dose of guidance, money, advise and the benefits of the experience of good VC's and you can make interesting things happen.

Again, in that context, yes, you need multiple founders.

With more experienced entrepreneurs who've been tested in business I don't think the solo founder thing is a problem at all. We can manage the business just fine and we can hire good people to do what's needed. The benefit of experience is that problems are met with aplomb and a mental and business toolbox that turns mountains into hills.

Money is a a thing separate from the single/multi founder issue. You can fail miserably with lots of money and a large team and you can succeed with little money and a guy coding at home (PlentyOfFish anyone?).

What money can and does do is light a rocket under a good thing at the right point in time to make it go. Money is like the blood in the veins of a business. Without enough of it you are not going to go run a marathon and win.

makeitsuckless 16 hours ago 8 replies      
hughguiney 13 hours ago 2 replies      
unabst 13 hours ago 0 replies      
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