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Parsing 10TB of Metadata, 26M Domain Names and 1.4M SSL Certs for $10 on AWS waleson.com
92 points by jtwaleson   ago   27 comments top 8
jvehent 16 minutes ago 2 replies      
I have about the same amount of data in a Postgres database as part of the TLS Observatory project [1].

 observatory=> select count(distinct(sha256_fingerprint)) from certificates; count --------- 1239943 observatory=> select count(distinct(target)) from scans; count --------- 6483386
The scanner evaluates both certificate and ciphersuites and stores the results in DB, so we can run complex analysis [2,3]. There is also have a public client [4].

I don't have a good way to provide direct access to the database yet, but if you're a researcher, ping me directly and we can figure something out.

[1] https://github.com/mozilla/tls-observatory

[2] https://twitter.com/jvehent/status/684127067005390848

[3] https://twitter.com/jvehent/status/686938805413232640

[4] https://twitter.com/jvehent/status/687429007680376833

jnsaff2 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
it will not help for data transfer pricing but for cpu/vm time spot instances can be amazing value for these short lived projects. typically 1/8 of the price of the on demand. always take care to not set your bid higher than on demand price as wild fluctuations can happen. also if you are afraid of losing your work, there is an api you can query from within the vm that tells you 2 minutes ahead that its going to get killed. also, price is per ZONE, so there are zones in the same region that people use less.
visarga 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Sort uses only a fixed amount of memory, you can sort files larger than memory, but for such situations where you have only a few tens of millions of distinct values you can just use a python dictionary and it works even faster. While sort would shuffle data around a lot, the memory dictionary would just hold a key and a count as it gobbles the logs. It works because it is a special case of sorting where there are relatively few different values relative to the count of the whole list.
jtwaleson 1 hour ago 1 reply      
On a side note, I recently discovered https://scans.io/ where you can find pretty much all of the data that I collected as well. Might be interesting.
tyingq 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The key to the low cost seems to be that he needed to process 10TB. You get 10TB "data in" free, per month. Had it been 10TB more, or if he needed to run more than once a month, or if he needed to get that 10TB back out, the bill is around $920.

Edit: Inbound might be unlimited free. The calculator did show me an inbound total a few times, but I can't reproduce it now.

workitout 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
How much did storing the data on S3 cost where you said, "However, the data is on S3" or was it there for such a transient time that it didn't cost much? Bandwidth costs in/out of S3 too?

Edit: Actually I read the S3 parts again, it sounds like the CommonCrawl project pays the S3 costs, I think, since it looks like you're using their domain data?

magicmu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Great write-up; really interesting that the CPU ended up being the bottleneck in this experiment! Regarding the cost of sending this data out of AWS, did you run into any issues there using rsync? IIRC rsync copies the data over TCP, so wouldn't this end up being expensive as well? Generally, though, that was my favorite part of the experiment!
yazriel 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Can you comment on how many additional domains you mined - compared (for example) to the 1M domains from alexa top-1M
Richard Stallman on Data Autonomy cloudfleet.io
97 points by DoubleMalt   ago   26 comments top 7
autoreleasepool 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
If BTsync ever goes open source or SyncThing ever achieves the quality and functionality of BTSync, then achieving autonomy over our data will be easy.

I use BitTorrent Sync with my FreeNas box. It's absolutely amazing. I am able to completely subvert the cloud and have all my data synced across devices. The mobile app is a user-friendly delight. I was able to share 15 GBs of vacation videos with 10 of my non-techie friends by sending them a read only key to a shared folder. All of them got it right away with no technical questions or issues.

Most importantly, I have all my photos and videos synced as I take them. This means I don't lose precious photos from a trip if my phone accidentally falls in the ocean. My phone, laptop, NAS, iPad, all have my photos backed up providing good data redundancy. No cloud services involved, no risk accidental publishing something private, no risk of an account hack, and no expensive data storage plans.

The only problem is I have to trust BitTorrent's proprietary software to do the heavy lifting for me. This is why I want the SyncThing project to catch up.

dajbelshaw 1 hour ago 3 replies      
It was my first time meeting Stallman at the Indie Tech Summit (where I also met the CloudFleet guys). He's a little eccentric, but he's one of the reasons I'm now on a Linux machine instead of a Mac!
brennannovak 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Really cool project! As CloudFleet was one of the first backers of Mailpile (disclaimer, I co-founded it), I've always loved their concept and am stoked it's coming to light :)
joesmo 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Trust is indeed a huge issue that seems to be misunderstood and misapplied in the software community. Stallman's views on trust may seem radical, but he's pretty much right. Over and over I see the things he warns about come true and I trust companies and other entities less and less. It's kind of disheartening to see the huge potential of cloud infrastructure, amongst other technologies, going to waste.
hitlin37 1 hour ago 0 replies      
i love this guy.
informatix 3 hours ago 0 replies      
hsnewman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Couldn't have said it better and more clearly myself!
All about Linux signals linuxprogrammingblog.com
58 points by ingve   ago   6 comments top 2
geocar 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think enough time is spent on signalfd: It's not just great if you have it, it's easy to emulate if you don't[1], so it's worth designing programs to use it instead of trying to handle interrupted system calls everywhere.

SIGIO could have gotten more attention, it get's a poor treatment because epoll/kqueue are better, but if you stop thinking about getting out of the signal handler as fast as possible and start thinking of it as a kernel-side queue you can save a couple syscalls on an IO-heavy application.

There's some neat tricks you can do with SIGURG as well, since it lets remote processes(!) send a signal ahead of the TCP buffer.

Another good thing worth mentioning is the trick of trapping SIGSEGV/SIGBUS to sbrk; something like this:

 char*p=sbrk(0); void h(int _){ sbrk(4096);signal(SIGSEGV,h); } signal(SIGSEGV,h);
This allows you to manually manage memory without having to check how close you are to the end of memory[2] which can really simplify some programs, since you'll get a hardware trap that automatically extends the data segment when you write off the end of memory.

SIGXFSZ can be dealt with similarly: So many programs try to track bytes copied (quotes, etc) when setrlimit and a signal is easier. More programs don't bother which is annoying.

Also not mentioned: The terminal. SIGWINCH[3] which is useful for getting updated when the window resizes, and SIGTSTP/SIGCONT is how you detect a console user putting you in the background.

[1]: https://cr.yp.to/docs/selfpipe.html

[2]: https://github.com/geocar/ed-v6/blob/master/ed.c.orig#L608

[3]: http://web.mit.edu/~mkgray/jik/sipbsrc/src/utree/tst/sigwinc...

justincormack 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Since this came out memfd(2) was created to stop the segfault on truncated mmap file issue, you can seal memmapped regions so they cannot be resized.
Alphabet Shakes Up Its Robotics Division nytimes.com
29 points by cryptoz   ago   21 comments top 4
11thEarlOfMar 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Perhaps we are just impatient.

Karl Benz invented the 'first automobile' in 1885 [0]. 29 years later, in 1914, Ford built the first mass-production factory for his autos. It initially produced 4 cars/hour, an annual rate of about 15,000. In 1915, there were 8,000 cars in all of the US. [1]

I cannot find data, but let's guess that it's 10 more years before 1% of households in the US have cars. That would have meant about 500,000 cars.

1885 - 1925 is 40 years between invention of the first gas powered auto and 1% market penetration (bearing my assumption). Where was the robotics industry in 1976, 40 years ago?

Moreover, the automobile solved one problem: Moving a human from point A to point B on a paved road. Many efforts are approaching robots as consumer products by trying to solve many very hard problems all at the same time. Perhaps robotic vacuums are the (only?) successful commercial robot because they solve a similarly discrete problem.

It is understandable that we have not yet seen the type of commercial breakthroughs that we so highly anticipate. Give it another 20 years...

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car#History

[1] http://www.thejournal-news.net/opinion/commentary/here-s-loo...

drcode 59 minutes ago 6 replies      
I have to say I'm kind of baffled about all these companies complaining "Regulation is hurting self driving cars!" and "Regulation is hurting drone delivery!" when there are pretty much zero barriers to enter the consumer robotics market for a machine that dusts your house, does your laundry, does your dishes, picks up clutter from the floor, etc.

(And yes I realize these tasks involve surprisingly hard AI problems, but why isn't Google already running pilots where they give people special washing machines, laundry machines, robot-friendly book shelves, etc etc that help mitigate the hard AI aspects of the problem?)

atroyn 50 minutes ago 3 replies      
It seems like every consumer and industrial robotics company, with the exception of the drone makers, tends to run into trouble sooner rather than later - and it turns out being a division of Google doesn't help that much.

Rethink Robotics for example had a great start, but soon ran into cultural issues and weaker than expected sales. iRobot has been unable to escape the vacuum cleaner market. KUKA and the other really big industrial robot manufactures have started doing new things with sensor-enabled manipulators, but the customers haven't exactly flocked.

What is it about robotics that seems to run these companies off the rails? I worry about Fetch robotics hitting a similar barrier, despite having a pretty clear business case.

melling 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm just going to repost what I wrote 17 days ago:

"Why are they against militarizing robots? It pays the bills. They could start with consumers or business but it's harder to build a market. This makes it harder to fund further development.Once the technology is developed by anyone for non-military use, transitioning to the military is easy. There's not some magic that prevents consumer developed technology from reaching the battlefield."

Is Express.js dying? github.com
80 points by creamyhorror   ago   29 comments top 13
heyadayo 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The thread actually represents a discussion between the most active maintainer (dougwilson) and various employees of IBM who now own and oversee the project, with a few confused third parties chiming in.

It looks like IBM is making some predictable mistakes, which have disillusioned dougwilson to some large extent. Simultaneously they are being fairly inflexible at fixing those mistakes and ultimately forcing abandonment, at least by dougwilson. My prediction:

1) IBM continues with the typical corporate policies which are probably not great for the sort of OSS project that involves independent contributors

2) dougwilson leaves permanently

3) the project sort of wallows a bit

4) IBM puts some resources on it, and claims it all worked out.

As to #4, they'll be sort of correct, assuming the goal was to see resources and progress on express. They'll be wrong if the goal was to properly maintain an open source community around the project.

NOTE: I don't know anything about this, but I've seen this play out many times before. I chimed in here because the other comments in this thread seem to be wildly off topic given the content of the github discussion.

LukeB_UK 1 hour ago 0 replies      
While express isn't dying, that thread is a great example of corporate sponsored/run OSS gone wrong.
bhouston 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Pull an io.js, fork it and publicize the fork as the maintain version for active contributors and then if IBM/Strongloop step up you can re-merge in.

I do think there is increased competition though as well from other frameworks.

AustinG08 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've been building an app using Express over the past 9 months and this gives me pause. It seems like IBM wants to have its cake and eat it too. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out, but is building an app on Express a liability? I have been contemplating switching to hapi, maybe this is a good time to explore that option.
michaelmcmillan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Frameworks die. It is a fact. Death in this sense means discontinued support and development. It is not difficult to see how this can render any software that depends on a 'dead' framework unstable or even broken with time.

I have experienced exactly this multiple times. In fact, I am extremely aware of this when I start a new project. Perhaps especially when I am dealing with frameworks like Express, Django or Ruby on Rails.

If I recall correctly, Gary Bernhardt, said it well: "Treat Rails like a disease and isolate yourself." You can replace "Rails" with any popular framework. Yourself in this quote referes to the business logic of your system.

egroat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well here is the answer from the guy who is still maintaining it:


The link is from the fifth comment.

When developing in node it makes a lot of sense to use lots of different modules for the one project. At work I have a good dozen or so, it really helps with iteration and testing.

niftylettuce 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Just use koa@next, it's awesome. ES6/ES7 with Babel, Flowconfig, and more.
yesimahuman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This sure doesn't look like death to me: http://npm-stat.com/charts.html?package=express&author=&from...

The project is incredibly popular. When it comes to community PRs, it's hard for people to swallow sometimes but often a PR isn't good enough or doesn't fit the vision of the project. It's easy to break things in the process of improving or fixing something, and perhaps Express has hit a bit of a stability point which is great.

ebbv 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Popcorn aspect aside to the drama in this thread, this is a great example of how companies should NOT behave in relationship to open source projects. They simultaneously made the maintainer feel unvalued and like his role in the project was being held hostage, while sending BS sounding mixed messages to the community.
foldr 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's not the cool web framework for Node any more. I don't think it's going to "die" in the sense that existing express applications are going to be impossible to maintain any time soon.
api 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Of course. It's the web, where we rewrite the entire stack every two years.
bovermyer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, that certainly seems to be a ton of drama. I don't want to bad mouth any of the people involved, regardless of their affiliations, so I'll just say that I'm not sure what good will come of this spat.
ctmkpp 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Clickbait. Express.js is not dying. At all. It is being very much actively worked on by some of the hardest working maintainers and contributors.

Express.js is actually a combination of various modules. If you want to see the work being done, go to those individual modules.

An introduction to Machine Learning docs.google.com
202 points by antoineaugusti   ago   16 comments top 11
compactmani 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you are just starting out with applied machine learning I would focus heavily on understanding bias and variance. It's I think what (largely) separates the sklearn kiddies from the pros.
rafaquintanilha 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Worth to mention that a Statistical Learning Stanford course [1] just started and according to the lecturers there is a lot of overlap in both areas.

[1] https://lagunita.stanford.edu/courses/HumanitiesSciences/Sta...

aabajian 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This really is a fantastic presentation for newcomers to the field. When I was taking these classes I found it difficult to keep all of the available algorithms organized in my mind. Here's an outline of his presentation:

Overview (5 slides)

General Concepts (9 slides)

K nearest Neighbor (6 slides)

Decision trees (6 slides)

K means (4 slides)

Gradient descent (2 slides)

Linear regression (9 slides)

Perceptron (6 slides)

Principal component analysis (6 slides)

Support vector machine (6 slides)

Bias and variance (4 slides)

Neural networks (6 slides)

Deep learning (15 slides)

I especially like the nonlinear SVM example on slides 57 and 58. It provides a visual of projecting data into a higher dimensional space.

antoineaugusti 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Please note that I'm not the author of the presentation. Made by Quentin de Laroussilhe http://underflow.fr

I had to make a copy to my Google account to keep the slides.

kendallpark 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yes, thank you. I'm hoping to build an ANN this summer and don't have the luxury of taking an actual class.

Does anyone have any other resources?

yelnatz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty good summary of what you learn in your first machine learning class in college.
lectrick 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is there an online course for this I could take?
Dowwie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
is there a corresponding video where the slides are presented?
aerioux 8 hours ago 0 replies      
that was a really good introduction :) sort of like an executive summary - all the "why we care" and some of the words you might want to look at to actually learn the details
max_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanx for sharing this!!
remriel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you.
Printing Floating-Point Numbers: A Faster, Always Correct Method [pdf] ucsd.edu
30 points by lifthrasiir   ago   2 comments top
lifthrasiir 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Some context: http://www.serpentine.com/blog/2011/06/29/here-be-dragons-ad...

It probably marks the end of the quest to find the unconditionally correct and fast algorithm to print floating point numbers. The prior state of the art, Grisu3 (2010), is great but is only fast for 99.5% of inputs; it was nevertheless so useful that there are now several language implementations with Grisu3 (IIRC, including V8, SpiderMonkey, Go, Julia and Rust). The new algorithm, Errol3, improves Grisu3 by using double-double floating point format (instead of 64-bit custom FP) and applying more precise error analysis.

Quoting the highlight of the paper: (emphases original)

> After removing the narrowing and widening steps, we used the enumeration algorithm to generate a list of possibly incorrect or suboptimal inputs. Each input was run using Errol2 to enumerate a complete list of inputs that do not generate correct and optimal outputs. In total, we found that only 45 inputs (of the nearly 2^64 inputs) generate incorrect or suboptimal results; all other inputs are guaranteed to generete correct and optimal output. In order to correctly and optimally handle the failing inputs, they are hard-coded into a lookup table that maps the failing inputs to correct and optimal outputs. Combining the special handling of integers and this lookup table, Errol3 is guaranteed to be correct and optimal without runtime checks.

The Man Who Studies the Spread of Ignorance bbc.com
26 points by bpolania   ago   6 comments top 4
11thEarlOfMar 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here is one of my favorites: 'Microwave Ovens Cause Cancer':


I mean, look at all the acronyms after this doctor's name. Clearly he is expert. And his argument seems plausible to anyone who has not studied physics.

Here's another one that is not quite as clear-cut: 'Anti-perspirants Cause Cancer'.


""There is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant or deodorant use increases cancer risk," Ted S. Gansler, MD, MBA, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society"

Ah. Good. The American Cancer Society says anti-perspirants don't cause cancer. To be safe, let's check one more...

"Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved."


oh... but a US government site says it is unclear. Better dig a little more...

"Clinical studies ... provide supporting evidence for a role for locally applied cosmetic chemicals in the development of breast cancer."


Shit. The NIH says it does?

Better check Snopes before throwing away the Right Guard...


FALSE. 'Nuff said.


tokenadult 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I confess I am ignorant about how this second submission of an article recently discussed here[1] got through the duplicate submission filter. I do enjoy the article, as it illustrates a point I have often observed as a teacher: learners don't start out with blank slates in their minds, but often have all kinds of preexisting misconceptions that have to be actively undone in any educational process.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10856554

dexterdog 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
Trump is a very good example of his hypothesis on the Republican side but he left an impression of bias by not balancing that with an example from the other side of which there are also plenty.
VLM 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Looking at the dozens of "chewing gum for the mind" links surrounding the story, before I even read the article I wonder:

1) Is it possible to have real content on a clickbait site? Is this story, any story, worth an exception on the "no platform for clickbait" standard?

2) When did the BBC go full on tabloid clickbait? And on the tech side of clickbait, Ghostery only blocked ten trackers, and of course I block flash. BBC had (had!) an amazing reputation, but that was the BBC worldwide shortwave service in 1975, etc, but this is an internet clickbait site in 2016... what in the world happened?

Do You Need More Money for Economic Growth to Occur? growthecon.wordpress.com
5 points by bpolania   ago   1 comment top
rdlecler1 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Dear author: You lost me when he made a quip about Bud watering down beer 'even more'. It's a 5% beer. That's how they make it, nothing more or less. You loose the trust of your audience when you throw in things like that. I don't want to feel that I have to read the article which checking everything you say. I'd rather not read it.
Ultimate++: a C++ cross-platform RAD framework ultimatepp.org
44 points by vmorgulis   ago   7 comments top 3
Tloewald 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
It says "cross-platform" but every screenshot is Windows, the only installation instructions are for Windows, and there's no mention of any other platform except Android, which is not yet supported.

Update: Linux seems to be pretty well supported.


via Google I found some evidence of early support for Mac OS X:


I also note that it doesn't support Clang.

analognoise 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This looks amazing - it looks like wx with better documentation, and Qt without the MOC garbage.
awclives 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Anyone have any experience with this fellow? Looks interesting.
The big sleep canberratimes.com.au
49 points by mathgenius   ago   9 comments top 4
japhyr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I just turned 43. At times I can't hold in my head the notion that I could die today, or I could live another 60 years. The only answer is to live fully each day.

My heroes are people like these. Live a full and active life, and accept death as part of life. I hope we sort out end of life legalities so more people can be as involved in their own deaths as they are in the other major decisions in their lives.

wtbob 51 minutes ago 2 replies      
Their downfall was pride: they were so proud of their intelligence and competence that senility and incompetence seemed to them worse than death (I wonder if they would have supported killing the young mentally deficient as well, but that's a different subject).

But I've had relatives who were senile and incompetent, and it's not actually bad, when one is surrounded by family and friends. We were all born dumb and helpless, and many of us die that way. A senile, frail old man is no more worthless than is an infant. Sure, he won't ever grow out of his state (as an infant will), but he once was otherwise and has hopefully earned some love and respect.

There are worse things than helplessness. I think hubris is one of them.

slagfart 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I am young, and very scared of this 'death' thing. It is so humbling to read of those who have transcended that fear.
danr4 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wonderful.I can definitely relate to being more afraid of being an incompetent old man than actually dying.
Not a compliance car: GM says it can produce Chevy Bolts annually hybridcars.com
17 points by jseliger   ago   29 comments top 3
cmsmith 1 hour ago 3 replies      
>In response to the charger network concern, Kelly said GM is one of around a dozen automakers committed to the SAE combo connector. Tesla is the maverick with its own standard, and GM has not said it would collaborate on a shared standard, and neither has Tesla in reverse.

I get that Tesla thinks they can out-connector everyone else, but it seems like a shared connector standard would be a huge bonus for all EV companies.

Bud 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Is there some secret law forcing GM to only hire the absolute worst designers for their cars' aesthetics? Body shape, interior, and especially GM's user interfaces and industrial design are just god-awful. Compare any dashboard GM produces to a BMW dashboard or other tasteful European makes.

I get that GM's cars are cheaper, but for instance, it's not that expensive to just stop using that fucking plastic-orange design for all gauges. If you can't figure it out, just copy someone else who knows how to do it.

And for God's sake, hire someone who knows how to display numbers and data intelligently.

Theodores 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It might not be a 'compliance car' but why is it that all of the 'hard work' is being done by LG? The whole drive-train plus the batteries and ancillaries are entirely LG, albeit to GM's spec.

What happens if LG decide they don't need GM any more?

ArcadeRS: A Game Tutorial in Rust jadpole.github.io
54 points by charlesetc   ago   1 comment top
magicmu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this! I'm trying to get more familiar with the nitty-gritty of Rust (read: the borrowing paradigm :) ), and these types of tutorials are my favorite way of doing that.
Get SSL Expiration Alerts with AWS Lambda and CloudWatch serverlesscode.com
7 points by ryan_sb   ago   2 comments top 2
abofh 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
$ aws iam list-server-certificates

 [ { "ServerCertificateMetadataList": [ { "ServerCertificateId": "REDACTED", "ServerCertificateName": "ALSO-REDACTED", "Expiration": "2016-11-10T23:56:37Z", "Path": "/", "Arn": "MORE-REDACTION", "UploadDate": "2015-11-11T23:56:43Z" }, ...

dexterdog 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why can't you just read any cert regardless of where it is hosted and send an alert when it is under a week? Why tie it to AWS?
Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate nytimes.com
65 points by wallflower   ago   14 comments top 9
justusw 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Very interesting. Especially regarding the starting a task, e.g. writing a sentence, and stopping midway only to return a day later. It resonates with me.

I think an important distinction in procrastination, that was not explored in this article, is that a task has to be started or at least prepared in order to successfully procrastinate upon it. For example, it won't help to put off finishing a university assignment until the last minute if you haven't read the task description. In that case, the thought processes that were mentioned in the article would never have a chance to start. On the other hand, if you have read a task description, even if you are procrastinating while binge-watching Netflix, a background process is still running and working on the task. The author of this article describes it as "Our first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional" vs "When you procrastinate, youre more likely to let your mind wander."

This ties in with a work methodology that works for me very well. Instead of working on a project non-stop as soon as it starts, I prefer to work in small chunks that give me enough time to "background-process" the task at hand while I'm not working on the given task. It is similar to practicing or physical exercise, in that the time that you spend on the activity is as important as the time that you are not spending on the activity. Your brain and muscles need time to regenerate and help strengthen the abilities that you are trying to nurture.

LifeQuestioner 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Procrastination and creativity, cause or effect though?Are people who are creative more likely to procrastinate?Does procrastinating make you more creative?

I don't find when I procrastinate I all more likely to let my mind wander AT ALL. The thing is, my brain is trying to ignore what i'm trying to do by often absorbing in something else. I feel, my mind wandering reduces. Positive mind wandering, for me, happens when i'm relaxed, chilled out on the way home on the bus, bored, many other conditions. Not when i'm chronically anxious trying to hide away from the world and the tasks at hand.

Purposely waiting...is not really procrastinating...it's purposely waiting...it's thinking...

But it's nice to see a different outlook on procrastination. And to hear about precrastination.

andrelaszlo 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I so wish I had this "problem".

"But if youre a procrastinator, next time youre wallowing in the dark playground of guilt and self-hatred over your failure to start a task, remember that the right kind of procrastination might make you more creative."

On the other hand, if you're not procrastinating you might end up being a professor, a published author and writing articles for The New York Times... I'll just stick to the guilt and self-hatred, for now.

pcurve 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"So I woke up one morning and wrote a to-do list for procrastinating more. "

This guy had some good punchlines. Lol

aninhumer 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're able to structure your "procrastination" time, it's not procrastination, it's just enforced breaks.
nickjj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am definitely guilty of being a pre-crastinator. It's really hard to turn off anything when you're like this. You just go at something 100% every day until it's done, otherwise you can't enjoy anything.

On the flip side, I've been the total opposite for the last 6 weeks. Maybe it's the definition of burn-out having had just shipped multiple things that took a lot of mental effort.

I found progress to be the 1 thing that helps me balance both. Work for an hour or 2, meet some short term goal and take an hour break (reading, walking, video games, whatever you want).

Also the best thing I've done recently is to start taking full days off rather than work every day. Being able to flip the switch off and actually enjoy yourself is a big deal.

heraclez 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Too much contradicting stuff on the internet, it's hard to know what to assimilate and what to filter out.

-To procrastinate, or not to procrastinate. That should not be a question

known 6 hours ago 1 reply      
kiloreux 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless self promotion: I just wrote a blog post about it yesterday [1] and while this method have been effective for me, I try to stay away from procsatination and do some non-mental activities that make part of my routine, and thus give my brain the opportunity to subconsciously organize its ideas an thoughts to make it a one piece that fits together.


Dialog box shut: Now Microchip is set to gobble up Atmel theregister.co.uk
13 points by Jerry2   ago   2 comments top
ohyes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've got to say, I'm baffled by this. Microchip's offer of less money is somehow the better offer?
Life is Short paulgraham.com
819 points by janvdberg   ago   345 comments top 95
dang 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We've closed this thread to comments by new accounts because of trolls.

If you have a new account and want to comment here, you're welcome to email us at hn@ycombinator.com.

anunumoose 16 hours ago 11 replies      
Mr Graham, I respect you and you've accomplished more that I will in my life, but I sincerely hope that this essay against "bullshit" and "arguing online" isn't you declaring that you'll be "bubbling" yourself after your last essay was met with wide disagreement.

It's possible that sometimes, no matter how smart you are, your experiences have been limited in a way and you're missing a part of something everyone else sees. And if thats the case, it's not something to be afraid of or to shut yourself off from.

Anyway good luck!

kyaghmour 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
The vast majority of humans on this planet do not get to choose where they spend their time; surely Paul realizes this. Instead, children making clay bricks and parents sending their children off away to work as maids (or worse) do so because they need to survive first and foremost.

I have four children of my own and I'm sceptical of the proposed idea that somehow life is best spent by maximizing time with them. Don't get me wrong, the best moments in life are with my children. Still, one's contributions during our brief passage in the form we like best (walking and free thinking humans) surely should aim to contribute far more than the self-gratifying (and possibly narcissistic) time spent with one's children.

In short, if you do have the luxury of choosing where you actually spend your time, make sure you're giving far more back to the rest of this race than to yourself.

numlocked 15 hours ago 8 replies      
And for a completely different perspective, we have Kurt Vonnegut:

[Vonnegut tells his wife hes going out to buy an envelope] Oh, she says well, youre not a poor man. You know, why dont you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because Im going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I dont know. The moral of the story is, is were here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people dont realize, or they dont care, is were dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, were not supposed to dance at all anymore.

jfaucett 16 hours ago 4 replies      
This article resonated a lot with me. It verbalizes what I've been trying to do over the past year or so with my own life. For me a lot of the BS elimination on the first pass was just getting rid of distractions and interruptions, so I cut out the phone/email/chat, etc all during my working hours except for certain times, like 10 minutes after lunch and just before the end of the day. The noise was all driving me insane.

The next step was to remove things from my life that cause stress and are not worth the effort because of the BS they involve. Whether that's just life situations or clients it has been very refreshing.

The next step was to kill a lot of tv/movies, and most of my free time internet usage.

Finally, I started steadily filling in the new time gainings with things I really care about and the personal sense of well-being and accomplishment has improved drastically.

So I have no intent of doing anything other than continuing to go down this road, I've gotten in better physical shape, better health, enjoy life more, have learned a new language, visited many new places, my stress level has dropped by at last 200%, its been a very positive journey so far.

japhyr 16 hours ago 1 reply      
My father's death taught me to finish the things I start. He was a software engineer in the 70s and 80s, and he taught me how to program when I was a little kid. When he died in 2011 I went through his computer, looking at the projects he was still working on. It was profoundly sad to think that these projects were frozen, that no one would ever use them. The experience of looking through his unfinished projects led me to make the transition from hobbyist programmer to professional.

It was hard to stop playing with a bunch of different projects and make myself focus on one single project, but in the end it has been extremely satisfying to finish what I start. I wish my father was still around to see what I've done, but I might never have finished anything without the lesson of his passing.

wallflower 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"Youre still young and healthy. Maybe thats why you dont understand what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. Its all very painfulas painful as actually being cut with a knife. You will be turning thirty soon, Mr. Kawana, which means that, from now on, you will gradually enter that twilight portion of lifeyou will be getting older. You are probably beginning to grasp that painful sense that you are losing something, are you not?"

From 1Q84, Haruki Murakami

xenadu02 16 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm a more productive engineer now that I have small kids than I ever was before. I don't have time for bullshit. I don't build my own PCs, I buy Macs. I don't waste time building some over-architected nonsense on a side project, I ship the MVP. When I do take time away from my kids I maximize it by learning three or four new technologies, patterns, or libraries at once.

When you realize how short time really is you ruthlessly cut bullshit.

talsraviv 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> The "flow" that imaginative people love so much has a darker cousin that prevents you from pausing to savor life...

I'm glad he pointed out this seemingly small detail. This took me a very long time to understand.

EDIT: It reminds me of another great post by Paul Buccheit. It's so important to have the 'heroes' of startup culture explicitly spell out these values:

> I worry that perhaps I'm communicating the wrong priorities. Investing money, creating new products, and all the other things we do are wonderful games and can be a lot of fun, but it's important to remember that it's all just a game. What's most important is that we are good too each other, and ourselves. If we "win", but have failed to do that, then we have lost. Winning is nothing.


RKoutnik 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's said that growing up is watching your heroes become human. I'll admit pg was (and still is) one of my heroes and the prime reason I moved across the country to join a startup. While I never got into YC, my (short) life is much better for that move. Yes, the scales dropped from my eyes as I realized just how unglamorous startup life can be and the unfailable pg started to, well, fail.

On the other hand, there's something about the following sidenote that is profoundly human but works quite the opposite of the painful shock implied in my first sentence:

> I chose this example deliberately as a note to self. I get attacked a lot online. People tell the craziest lies about me. And I have so far done a pretty mediocre job of suppressing the natural human inclination to say "Hey, that's not true!"

This is almost universally true. It is incredibly reassuring to know that even the greats struggle with this and antagonists pursue us through all walks of life. I'll admit, I've held back from publishing articles that all of my reviewers liked because I worried about the inevitable negative backlash that comes with standing for anything on the internet. Maybe one day I will publish. If so, this essay helped a great deal in getting me there.

jroseattle 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Life seems really short as soon as kids enter the picture. The best line I ever heard about kids and life was this:

With children, the days are long but the years are short.

These days, I find myself trying to find the "work/life balance", which is really just me managing the ebb-and-flow of time between work and family. What I've learned in that process is that while work provides some satisfaction that meets an internal need, it will never ever hug me back.

Take time, hug your kids, leave your work every now and then. The years won't seem so short that way.

petercooper 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Seneca said something on the topic that meshes even better with HN and the startup way of life than this essay:

The state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations but must regulate their sleep by anothers, their walk by anothers pace, and obey orders in those freest of all things, loving and hating. If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.

victor22 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great essay. I've always tried to get out of bullshit with some complex thinking, but at the end of the day, most of it could be avoided faster if preceded by a simple "Is this bullshit?" question.For example, I just realised I wasted 1 week of my time with meetings with an "investor" I knew was bullshitter, because I didn't want to ask myself this question.
the_watcher 16 hours ago 2 replies      
This is probably my favorite thing pg has ever written. He's right in so many ways, but my favorite is just his reminder of "don't wait."
xCathedra 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of these points sound similar to the famous resolutions of the young Jonathan Edwards. I try to make a habit of reading them at least once a year for many of the points Paul mentions in this article.


a few examples:"6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."

"9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death."

"52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age"

math 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I lived in Sydney for 8 months and Brisbane for 4 years. When thinking back, both feel like a distinct part of my life to a surprisingly equal extent. Maximizing the number of distinct phases in your life seems to me to be important in making it seem longer.
AYBABTME 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this essay, and I love the mindset of being aware that your life is limited and your time should not be wasted. I find it is avery enabling realization. A personal favorite quote of mine:

 "Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken no advantage. It is time now to realize the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling Power whose offspring you are; and to understand that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again." Marcus Aurelius (Meditations 2:4)

resca79 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Steve Jobs

vdnkh 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm (only) 23 and I've felt this for a while. I've been trying to leave my small no-name company for a higher calibre job in NYC for a few months now. I guess I'm lucky because I know what I want - but I need to wade through extreme amounts of bullshit to get there. I'm very efficient with my time but if I made every second worthwhile, I'd go nuts. Sometimes BS time (videogames, the pub, etc) are necessary.
ajeet_dhaliwal 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that the death of a close loved one is a prerequisite to truly understanding how short life is. Having children helps too but I don't think it is enough on it's own. I do absolutely agree that children are the best at focusing us on what is important.

I have known how short life is for a long time but I encounter people on a daily basis, most far older than me who don't seem to realise it or if they do are acting irrationally. When I see them wasting their time on things that are clearly not important it doesn't bother me too much because it is their time to choose what to do with but what does make me angry is if they try to involve me in the 'bullshit' too, to use the term used in the essay. At work this can range from petty disagreements or the colleague that creates busywork. I wonder how many people start startups recognise life is too short compared to those who do not, it would be interesting to find out.

hellofunk 12 hours ago 1 reply      
>And while it's impossible to say what is a lot or a little of a continuous quantity like time, 8 is not a lot of something. If you had a handful of 8 peanuts, or a shelf of 8 books to choose from, the quantity would definitely seem limited, no matter what your lifespan was.

But not if you had 8 private jets, or 8 cars, or 8 houses, or even 8 telephones. This is a rather arbitrary statement.

arbre 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Quote from the dalai lama: Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.
pcote 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The downside to "don't wait to do the things that matter" is what to do when you empty that bucket list early. I've covered the geeky bucket list stuff. (making video games, blogging, open source contribution, IT jobs, BS in CS, ect.) I've covered the more stereotypical bucket list stuff too. (Skydiving, performing onstage, time with friends, writing the novel, marrying the right girl, ect.)

At this point in my life, there's nothing new that interests me that hasn't already been done. It's made life pretty boring at this juncture. I've lived out all my dreams and now it's all just like "Okay, now what?"

fizixer 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Life is too short to not be involved in and/or contributing to anti-aging research in any way.

If Wright brothers (and other flight enthusiasts around that time) had not taken the initiative, academics, pundits, and "experts" had it settled that heavier-than-air flight is impossible.

It had to eventually happen because technology is inevitable, but we might have conquered flight in 1953 instead of 1903.

In the case of anti-aging, such a difference means you either die or barely make it past the last generation to die.

mikemajzoub 4 hours ago 0 replies      
From one stranger to another, thank you for posting this essay. I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my life, and your essay came at just the right moment. (This is one of the reasons I love the internet.)

If anyone wants to use IoT data, personal search queries, etc., to build a recommendation engine that increases the probability of 'reading the right thing at just the right time in life', I'd sign up for it! For subtle/complex things, this seems like an overly-intimidating task, but to get started on the project, someone querying illness, loss, etc., might benefit profoundly from this. You'd be essentially be creating a 'skewed Google' that returns what the user _needs_ rather than what the user _wants_ at the moment. (That said, don't pursue such a project at the expense of spending time with family... :) It's a tough balance to strike, isn't it?)

In peace,Mike

jzwinck 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> One great thing about having small children is that they make you spend time on things that matter: them. They grab your sleeve as you're staring at your phone and say "will you play with me?" And odds are that is in fact the bullshit-minimizing option.

This also has a darker cousin for some parents: since spending time with one's children is always a viable and valuable option, spending time without them becomes difficult. People without children often notice that most of their parental friends disappear. This despite the prior protestations of many that "We'll still do things after we have kids."

Undoubtedly some parents work more efficiently than their childless selves (this is also motivated by a desire to earn money to support the kids). But can they socialize more efficiently too, in particular with people who don't have kids?

FatalBaboon 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It is funny how one of the top comment is a very long debate about how this article is good or not, completely missing the point.

The sooner you realize life is short, the more you will make smart use of your time.

The same goes for faith: the sooner you realize there is no life after death, the more you will make smart use of your time. Your brain runs out of electricity and fluids, and poof you go.

oli5679 8 hours ago 0 replies      
240 comments so far (mostly debates amongst strangers) on an essay recommending never to debate online with strangers....
zallarak 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Marriage definitely made me prune bullshit from my life. I can only imagine what children would do.

I would include Anger as a subcategory of bullshit. It promotes irrationality and the after effects hamper you. In the renowned book "Emotional Intelligence" the author says that the best thing to do when angry is to focus on controlling it. The more it grows, the harder it is to escape.

dantheman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked this essay. I've been spending a lot of my time dealing with bullshit, and it's exhausting. Essays like this provide me a reminder to step back and re-evaluate -- is what I think true, has the situation changed, have I changed. What should I do next.

There's a lot written on how to live a great life, but in the end more and more I think, you live great stages in life. At any stage, you optimize for it and with an eye for being prepared for future stages.

hownottowrite 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Last two sentence contain all that's important here.

"Relentlessly prune bullshit, don't wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That's what you do when life is short."

codeshaman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One added word entirely changes the rationale of "life is short" for me.

"This", meaning "current".

Add the belief that there is another (form of) life after this one and suddenly the equation changes:

This life is short. But then there's another one coming.

The scientists in us agree - of course there is no evidence of life after this one, despite the messages transmitted to us from our ancestors - in the form of stories, traditions, superstitions, beliefs, religions. Depending on who you ask - we either go to a place were we stay forever (heaven/hell/spirit world) or we come back to life as another being or life form.

But the body dies and rots away !

Technically the body has died many times during it's lifetime - cells die and others are created - or rather - create themselves according to the instructions in the DNA.

The DNA is the one that moves forward through time, all the other pieces of our bodies rot away.But not the whole of it, just 50%. Half the DNA vanishes into void.

But "I" will no longer "exist" !

That's a belief. And also quite vague, because - who/what is this "I" ? Is it my body, is it my brain, is it something which lives inside the body/brain, is it all imaginary ?

Well, think about anyone - someone who's not near you right now - who is he/she ?

Right now, he/she is a thought.

Isn't everyone, dead or alive, just that - a thought ? Isn't "I" a thought then ?

If so, what is life then ? A story ?

Your story.

"Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed. Short, therefore, is man's life, and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells." - Marcus Aurelius

jondubois 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the problem is definitely finiteness (not length).

I don't understand it when people talk about 'squeezing everything out of life' - As though you could extract real lasting substance/meaning from it.I don't believe it's possible to "Make the most" out of life - It all adds up to 0 in the end.

"Squeezing everything out of life" implies that you're literally taking the juice out of life and storing it somewhere safe/permanent - In reality, it is like squeezing an orange and then putting the juice back inside the orange.

jrapdx3 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Good timing on the topic, I mean "how short is it?" when it comes to life duration. I'm at a stage of slowing down, cutting back after working for decades "at the front line". Like everyone says, it all zoomed by so fast.

Or did it? I think it reflects the point of view, when we're involved in work, all the details to take care of, we feel overwhelmed, busy, time isn't rushing by at all. But once it's history, the past, all of that is suddenly doesn't exist, it has no reality and it is packaged up in memory as though it was just a brief moment. Kind of like closing a menu what's there is hidden, except we're not reopening it, at least not the same way ever again.

Time is relative, as Einstein said, it goes quickly sitting next to a pretty girl, but a boring lecture drags on forever. The epochs across the lifespan come and go, and I think we judge the duration of experience by its currency because involvement with events in real time gives the sense of time. The meaning of a "long" or "short" time is anchored in such reality.

Anyway I've been thinking for a while that what's important is not how much time we have left to live. After all that's not something we can actually ever know. What matters is what we do with the time we have. I'd surely agree we can't afford to waste it on irrelevancies, pipe-dreams, or bitterness. Far better to do what we can, when we can do it.

GlennS 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The original (or is it?) 'Ars Longa' is a nice, short read. Worth a pause:


dennisgorelik 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> When someone contradicts you, they're in a sense attacking you.

Not really.

Contradiction means pointing to possible holes in our assumptions. So online discussions - are a way to test our assumptions and learn.

Online discussions is a playground for training our decision-making skills.

Of course, we should maintain a healthy balance between learning in online discussions, other ways of learning and actual decision-making (work). But that healthy balance should probably include more than zero time in online discussions.

gpsx 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is too short for us individually. But I think it is interesting that life is probably just the right amount of time for us as a species, that is if evolution has successfully selected our proper genetic lifespan. If individuals live longer then the species evolves slower and it can not adapt as well. Evolution is measured in generations, not absolute years.

Of course the optimal lifespan will change over time. Today we aren't really facing so many physical survival challenges, but if we extend life longer then we may slow down our speed of innovation.

vinayak147 16 hours ago 1 reply      
An experience feels meaningful only with respect to others that don't. If it wasn't for bullshit we would never know what to cherish.

The bullshit and cherishable also seem to frequently reverse roles. Many things that seem like noise today, may return to foreground with profound meaning later.

I wonder if perhaps nothing is bullshit or meaningful after all. Experience simply plays this game of light and shadow to keep us entertained.

omarish 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Loved this article. It really reminded me of some of Seneca's writing, specifically _On the Shortness of Life_:

> Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it isthe life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.

EugeneOZ 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post, thanks.Today I also was thinking about how it sucks to getting old. I'm 32 but I see how I'm getting older, my friends getting older and youth looks much brighter :) Value your life and time, young people, enjoy your bodies, don't risk your health, make more love, travel more :)
salmonet 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I've noticed that recently pg's twitter has a lot of comments that you would see on a typical stay-at-home mom's Facebook wall. It's refreshing to see someone with the financial opportunity cost of pg opt to stay home and hang out with the kids.
datashovel 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My take on this is the essay exposes a pretty significant flaw in the human condition. The more capable a person is to ignore the bullshit (ie. enough money to retire comfortably immediately) the less likely they should be doing so. And yet having the ability to "ignore the bullshit" is an integral component of what we've all come to recognize as "living the dream".

In way too many cases the "bullshit" exists because too many capable people are ignoring it.

That is unless "bullshit" is defined as all things that don't matter to anyone. In which case why would we assume anyone is focusing on those things anyways?

BatFastard 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is too short to be in a hurry

While that seem contradictory, it is not. When we are in a hurry we make unneeded mistakes, we don't enjoy the process of what we are doing, and we don't do things that reflect our true selves.

azakai 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> In middle school and high school, what the other kids think of you seems the most important thing in the world. But when you ask adults what they got wrong at that age, nearly all say they cared too much what other kids thought of them.

That doesn't mean they were wrong when they were kids.

On the one hand, we want to believe the adults because they have perspective and experience. They were those kids. But on the other hand, we should also believe the kids because they are actually living it.

huuu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In another related thread I posted: Cut away branches that suck energy but don't bear fruit.

For me this is my bullshit filter.

seansoutpost 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Paul,you don't know me. But this could not have been more perfectly timed. Thank you, so much.
simula67 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What if bullshit leads to doing well in things that you care about ? For example, I don't like posturing, building portfolio on Github etc, but if it leads me to getting a better job at a place I can solve complex problems thereby becoming a better engineer, I would like that very much.
vasilipupkin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
fantastic essay. I would just add that life is too short but it is also in a sense very very long. Lots of new chapters and new windows open even as old ones close or narrow. It seems like two entirely contradictory ideas, but I think they are both true at the same time.
tmsh 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the best essay I've read since the Addiction one. Cheers.
55acdda48ab5 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> Life is short, as everyone knows

I've never got this sentiment. Life is the longest thing anyone has ever done. Life is long, very long. I think back ten years ago and it seems like an age ago. It was. I'm early 30s and I feel like I've lived a long life; seen a lot and done a lot and had my kicks. That I've maybe got another full 60 years if I play my cards right is amazing to me. It seems like eons.

The only funny thing about time I've noticed is that as you age (and if you read) the past gets closer and closer. When I was a kid finding out people were born in the 1940s was amazing. SO long ago! Now Napoleon's reign seems very relevant and modern to me.

xlayn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've thinking about the entry... and every once and then you think about it; and realize: it's about choice...

What will be the best use of your time?

When someone ask for the best flavor of linux, or program, or car; depending on the forum you may get the answer "that depends on you", and you may read a lot of different opinions on why people think their version is the best "for them".

With that comes a small problem: deciding the best use of your time, plan for the rest of your life may be incredibly complex.

An alternative B plan could be planning around: "What I don't want on my life"

-I don't want to be in the middle of traffic because is less time with my family...

-I want to spend less time on the internet to go the gym.../I want to stop being a gym rat to learn something on the internet

nthnclrk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Rather than engage in the mindless and genuinely inconsequential debate regarding the previous essay, I'd like to bring some attention back to the fact this essay is a genuinely fantastic piece of very clear, appreciable thought.
p4wnc6 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Some practical ways that readers can implement this advice:

1. Don't work for a start-up, since they don't impart salary-winning experience to you, they don't pay you or provide reasonable benefits, and they also don't allow you the freedom to work on big ideas that they usually promise. The lines used to sell naive engineers on working in start-ups are as paramount to life's-too-short-bullshit as anything can be.

2. Don't agree to work in Agile/Scrum-like one-size-fits-all software management environments. Almost every single aspect of these systems is bullshit and will waste your time and break down your morale while draining away your productivity in the best years of your life.

3. Don't work in open-plan offices or even offices that merely have cubicles. It's been settled for a long, long time that even in dense urban areas, providing private offices for individual knowledge workers is extremely cost effective for businesses, as productivity, work-place cognitive health, job satisfaction, moral, etc., all go up substantially. Generally the only reasons for open-plan offices are (1) bullshit trendiness in which an organization performs a shallow copy of some other organization, (2) hyperbolic focus on short-term costs, which means you should be thinking that the upper management doesn't know what they are doing and are bullshitting you -- it's similar to seeing a company stop providing free coffee as a money-saving tactic. It's bullshit -- coffee is so cheap and the productivity and good will it brings are so valuable that it's virtually never a reasonable plan to cut it; and (3) environments where upper management get off on surveillance and cognitive manipulation, and so it becomes a company cultural value to cram everyone into big rooms where you function more like a piece of office furniture than as a worker.

Personally I would also add that life's too short for enterprise C++ and Java (the languages themselves are quite fine, but anyone telling you that some legacy system couldn't have been maintained and incrementally brought into a better state by 2016 is, once again, bullshitting you and see you as nothing but a glorified code janitor).

I think if I could give any advice to young developers, it would be that if they want management types to respect them throughout a prosperous career, they have to avoid the bullshit of the items above. If you let a manager or executive bullshit you by duping you into working for a start-up, by getting you to agree you are a child whose own creative thinking about problem solving can't be trusted and so Agile/Scrum cookbook management is needed and you must play your part, or by getting you to agree that your natural inclinations for privacy, clarity of thought, protection of productivity and time, should all be sublimated so you can be a "team player" by wearing headphones that cost more than your employer's 401k matches for the year so you can just barely function 10 feet from a foosball table, you've already lost, and it will take years to undo the damage.

FreedomToCreate 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonder what he thinks when he was investing in OMGPOP, Reddit and 9Gag. How many hours have those sites clocked off of peoples lives. Don't get addicted :)
jasonwen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I never wanted to have kids, maybe I'm too young for that. By reading this it definitely made me a step closer to be open to have kids in the future. Thank you for that.
orthoganol 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be a strong argument for and against doing a startup: For - act today on your dream, which uses a startup as its vehicle; Against - sacrifice years, maybe a decade+, of your short life, because you thought it would make you rich or is considered prestigious in your circles.
cmacole 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This was a really powerful essay. Don't know if using "8" is a good way to measure if there are not a lot of something. 8 light-years is pretty far and 8 tons is pretty heavy. But overall, great insights.

My favorite: "One heuristic for distinguishing stuff that matters is to ask yourself whether you'll care about it in the future. Fake stuff that matters usually has a sharp peak of seeming to matter. That's how it tricks you. The area under the curve is small, but its shape jabs into your consciousness like a pin."

thebear 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Somewhat unbelievably, I still have that 1960's jeans jacket with the patch on it that says, "Do it today, tomorrow it may be illegal." And, all hail the Internet, that thing can still be bought online:


zhte415 6 hours ago 0 replies      
20 years is 1% of the time since the Bible was written to today.

Life is short, so is history, and the impact we can make is enormous.

SimeVidas 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Dont know about life, but my attention span is too short for long posts. Thanks Reddit.
gyardley 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is short when your life is good.

Make too many bad decisions (or have too much bad luck) and it turns out life is really, really long.

blinkingled 14 hours ago 1 reply      
PG says Life is Short. There are still 101 people arguing^W discussing it - on an online forum no less ;)
beeboop 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely my favorite post of his. Rings so true for me right now. Writing this comment is "bullshit" but it makes me feel better to express my satisfaction with reading this post. I need to connect with people more and spend fewer months and years of my life in isolation.
jmcmahon443 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Mr. Graham:

I believe you meant "ensure" not "insure" here:

"Indeed, the law of supply and demand insures that: the more rewarding some kind of work is, the cheaper people will do it."

Thank you.

somberi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Blake's take on this:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

transfire 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been saying this for years... Seems to me we should all drop everything else we are doing and start working on age-extension technology. Once that's solved we will all have plenty of time to do anything else we want.
xjay 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is short if your ego is high. Life is long if your ego is low.
chrisweekly 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Beautiful post.

As a father of young children, and a cancer survivor, these words resonated more with me than anything I've encountered on hn in a very long time -- maybe ever.

rajacombinator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Good essay, one of the few recent PG ones I've agreed with.
ianamartin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person on HN who doesn't have this problem?

Other people's bullshit has never bothered me.

I regularly just turn my phone off and pick up the pieces when I feel like it.

Maybe that comes from my musician background. I don't know.

Or maybe I'm just the most inefficient person in the world because I don't give a shit about anything. I just do what I think is necessary when I think it's needed.

I think I'm a fairly productive person. I get things done. But I don't worry about it much.

I spend most of my thoughts and energy on my family and my girlfriend, not work.

Okay, that's not fair: I spend quite a lot of time reading books.

Is this a real problem? Or is it a straw man?

brhsiao 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Out of curiosity, what does the vb in vb.html stand for?
VieElm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is article is contradicting itself although it may not be so obvious. I imagine dwelling on regrets can be classified as a bullshit activity. It certainly does for me. I am sure you can infer the rest of my argument.

Just do the best you can with your time. If you become unhappy with how you spent it you can use that to inform you on future decisions but you can't change the past.

The pain of having missed significant time with someone you care about is severe, but it is also a thing you can't change.

I am not saying pg is wrong, I am pointing out a problem.

Life may be too short to worry about how you are spending your time.

elwell 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart."

Ecclesiastes 3:11

statictype 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Great piece. This may be the first pg piece I share with my non technical friends and family
rbrogan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is short, art long. If you cannot escape the bullshit, you might at least make an art of bullshitting. ;)
SixSigma 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Not only is is short, it's not very wide either - Steven Wright
EGreg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote something about this very topic years ago:


AbdulBahajaj 3 hours ago 0 replies      
pasbesoin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
People telling me to stick it out. Wait for things to improve. Wait until grad school. That the onus was always on me to adapt to the system and its (their) practices.

Worst. Advice. Ever.

If I have one thing to contribute, one iota of value to extract and pass on from my life, this may be it.

P.S. Substitute "extortion" for advice, in many circumstances, for a sense of how it really worked.

falsedan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
so he's not dying?
lifeisstillgood 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> We had the best time a daddy and a 3 year old ever had.

A couple of years back I was working remotely in UK for US clients - so my day started later. Which meant I woke up with the kids, fed them, played with them, walked them to school.

My abiding memories are cuddling a child in an arm each watching early morning TV before starting the day.

We should all be so lucky, except it's not luck - it's consciously as a society designing work around community and family not the other way round

unclebucknasty 15 hours ago 0 replies      
In a very real sense, though, isn't it all bullshit? I mean, it depends on whether you choose to accept or reject the current Matrix as normative human life, but there is an argument to be made.

For instance, it is kind of funny to say this or that company is more or less bullshitty, when the whole structure is such that requires the masses to work for some company, else essentially be deprived of the resources required for their subsistence. So, most people will have to earn their subsistence by participating in a scheme that allocates more to someone else's subsistence.

Maybe it's the best we can do, but on that scale, the bullshittiest company of all is only marginally more bullshitty than the least.

reasonattlm 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Life is short. So why not do something about that? Are we not meant to be the very essence of creation? Is this not an age of revolutionary progress in biotechnology?

Just this past week I helped out a young company whose founders are working toward clinical translation of a method of clearance of senescent cells, one of the very first actual honest-to-goodness narrow focus rejuvenation therapies to emerge from the labs. This is something that works to repair and reverse a form of tissue damage that contributes to near all age-related disease.

This is far from the only approach to human rejuvenation presently under development.

But, you know, life is short, so pay attention or not, up to you.

ilyaeck 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Live is too short to read this article in full :)
ebbv 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the first pg essay I have read and fully agreed with at the end without reservation. Good advice.
xyzzy4 15 hours ago 0 replies      
On a zoomed-out log scale of significance from 0 to infinity, bullshit activities would rank almost equally important as non-bullshit activities. So just let life happen. Nothing you do is extremely consequential or important regardless.

If you're stuck in traffic, you could've been reading a book. If you were reading a book, you could've been cleaning your room. If you were cleaning your room, you could've been working on a side project. If you were doing that, you could've been working on a better side project to get rich. But that would be less important than curing cancer, which is less important than curing old age. However, even curing old age pales in significance to the fact that entropy will dissipate all energy in the universe. How are you going to prevent that? And what if there's multi-verses that need to be fixed too somehow. You didn't fix the past either. Maybe you should've worked on a time machine instead of solving entropy problems. And what about all those people in poverty getting malaria because you were working on some b.s. problem?

It never ends. You could go crazy dwelling on this stuff too much.

heraclez 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Off HN I go?
nice1 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not always agree with PG's essays, but this one is spot on. Identifying BS is the major task we all face, and having children is a big help - this has been supremely true in my own life. Granted, this does not solve specific problems, but it gives a sense of direction. Without it we are cannot see the forest for the trees.
alexandercrohde 15 hours ago 1 reply      

- Poses the hypothesis that "Life is short"

- Proposes an 'objective' basis for this feeling: some of his most meaningful life events happen 8 or less times

- Transitions that the shortness of life justifies avoiding "bullshit," while acknowledging that's a loaded term.

- Proposes examples of "bullshit," traffic jams, unnecessary meetings, bureaucracy, and arguing online.

- Suggests arguing online is an example of a habit that is addictive, yet bullshit.

- Defines bullshit as things that won't matter to you in the future upon reflection.

- Proposes ways to avoid bullshit

- Proposes a way to savor time


- I'm not sold on the metric of measuring something by how much we value it upon reflection.

- I don't think the premise "Life is short" needs to be established to justify "avoid bullshit."

- The argument is fairly loose in that 99.9% of our lives are bullshit by his definition. Is 99% of sex bullshit?

Interesting piece, smarter than your average bear.

dang 9 hours ago 3 replies      
We banned this account for trolling and detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10918078 and marked it off-topic.
crimsonalucard 12 hours ago 3 replies      
You as pg's wife have vested interest in pg's reputation as your well-being is intrinsically tied with his reputation and well-being through marriage. Your words are not totally empty though as it is still supporting evidence, it is just not solid evidence and it is not something I will totally accept, unlike the op.

The probability for this essay to pop-up right after PG started a fire with his economic essay is just to small for there to be no connection. Could be, that this essay is in itself bullshit. People lie to themselves to hide truths that are painful but self evident. I think this essay could be such a lie.

dang 9 hours ago 2 replies      
We banned this account for trolling and detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10917656 and marked it off-topic.
plasticchris 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is very long - TS Eliot
Chaparral Cars wikipedia.org
3 points by vmorgulis   ago   2 comments top 2
EdwardCoffin 1 minute ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a car out of one of Dean Ing's stories, probably was inspired by the 2J. It used the fans to create a vacuum for cornering, pressure to reduce tire resistance on straightaways, and could even hop over obstacles. I think it was his book Chernobyl Syndrome, may have appeared in others too.
My Favorite Public Data Sources jenunderwood.com
52 points by bpolania   ago   5 comments top 4
SloopJon 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was looking for these types of sources this week to populate a document database. One I ended up using for a demonstration was the "startup company information" hosted at http://jsonstudio.com/resources/ (apparently an extract from CrunchBase, mentioned in Jen's blog post).

I naively thought I could just grab a pile of tweets or something, but most public APIs require registration as a developer.

One quick tip, if you're dealing with JSON dumps as a series of objects (e.g., {} {} {}) that you want to wrap in an array (e.g., [{}, {}, {}]), is to "slurp" them into jq (https://stedolan.github.io/jq/):

 $ jq -s '.' companies.json > companies-array.json

mynewtb 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Advertisment submarine for Power BI. Shallow on content, mostly a pretty random list.
phillc73 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a long list of (awesome) public datasets:


geomark 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I just started looking at her top listed data source, the GDELT Project[1]. Kind of mind blowing.

[1] http://www.gdeltproject.org/

Cooperation Is What Makes Us Human (2013) nautil.us
9 points by jestinjoy1   ago   1 comment top
paulpauper 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
hmmm....I think it's more than that. Ants, bees and other insects cooperate. The defining characteristic may be an awareness of mortality, which is probably what prompted the rescue.
Hacking Teams Leak Helped Researchers Hunt Down a Zero-Day wired.com
8 points by celere   ago   3 comments top 2
_droptable_ 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
fencepost 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
Interesting takeaways:

* Netflix went with Silverlight?

* People building SCADA systems went with Silverlight?

* What got it found is leftover debugging code in an exploit proof-of-concept (possibly) "borrowed" from someone else.

Baidus AI Team Releases Key Deep-Learning Code technologyreview.com
36 points by anantzoid   ago   4 comments top 4
brudgers 5 hours ago 0 replies      
frik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
From the GitHub page: "This project contains our high performance CPU and CUDA versions of the CTC loss, along with bindings for Torch. The library provides a simple C interface, so that it is easy to integrate into deep learning frameworks."
NicoJuicy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The hard part is not the technology, it's the large enough data sets. Perhaps finding good employees could also be a help
Analyzing the $5.6M Exploit and Cryptsy's Security Failings earlz.net
21 points by earlz   ago   2 comments top
coldcode 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Are all of these *coins written in C? If you had a language not so easily obfuscated you could at least more readily find crap like this.
2016. The year we welcome squirrels Unicorn Bubble filipmaertens.com
50 points by dexterm   ago   12 comments top 7
Pitarou 2 hours ago 1 reply      
D grade.

Too many mixed metaphors, not enough copy-editing, and he never even defines what he means by "squirrel". The author uses a lot of words to make a very simple point: many unicorn valuations are bullshit, and we should pity the company founders and early-hires who are paying tax on stock options as if these bullshit valuations were real.

paulpauper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'll believe it when I see actual secondary shares for major companies like Uber and Pinterest see substantial declines. Until then, this is all speculation. It's weird... It's like everyone want it to be 2000 all over again, even though that was a bad time for tech.
ryporter 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Like many others, I think that tech valuations are quite frothy, but this article is hyperbolic.

"Selling and buying stock with foreknowledge, manipulating the company valuation at will, or simply witholding information from others."

First of all, this isn't a complete sentence. Second, this article is very light on supporting evidence.

"But of course, anyone holding preferred shares or enjoying the protection of a hefty severance package, as most outside CEOs do, walk away clean."

How many CEOs of unicorns are outside CEOs with hefty severance packages in terms of cash and preferred shares?

"Taking a step back doesnt this situation feel a lot like Enron?"

Nope, not really.

"Just like the legal definition of obscenity, nobody can describe why were in a bubble, but everyone can tell you 'I know it when I see it.'"

With pornography, this is a reasonable claim (though of course there are debatable cases). With markets, it's actually notoriously hard know when we are in a bubble. Many otherwise very successful traders have lost a lot of money on false positives.

csomar 3 hours ago 1 reply      
We can never know. Nobody knows. Well, maybe someone knows (insider), then he can trade against the market and be rich. Though that's illegal as far as I'm knowledgeable.

Regarding startups, they are risky assets. The reason people/investors are moving to startups, as I see it, is that other assets are riskier than we thought.

When oil drops to $30, it's probably not as safe as people has assumed. Same goes for gold. The difference is that oil doesn't enjoy the same upside of startups. Oil can't hover over $500. But it can potentially hit a floor of $15.

So why not invest in a startup if all assets are going to the red. China growth has stalled, and the entire stock market is in the red. And you enjoy the upside if the startup has a +$1bn exit.

With oil at record low level, China growth stalling and this entire uncertainty; 2016 is going to be an interesting year. But that does not mean the end of high valuations in the tech sector. Maybe investors will move to Silicon Valley salivating for higher returns. And we might see 2000s all over again.

Welcome to the Jungle!

tankenmate 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A somewhat poorly structured piece; just reading the first and last paragraphs of each section shows a more train of thought article than a strict call to reason.

That being said however there is one important take away from this article for employees (or prospective employees, or sometimes even pre series A investors) because of stock restrictions and the nasty valuation overhang; a big valuation can possibly mean a big correction which can wipe out large chunks (if not all) of your stock options or grants. A double whammy if you've already paid tax on it (countries other than the US can vary significantly on this point).

webkike 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Aw man, I was really excited to read an article on squirrels.
sly_foxx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
All the YCombinator companies are going to deflate.

AirBnB - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10913151

Stripe - http://venturebeat.com/2015/09/17/paypals-braintree-is-now-l.... Braintree was bought 2 years ago for $800 million.

Dropbox - http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/22/9372563/dropbox-really-is-.... They are bragging about the number of users, but I bet many of these 'users' are fake accounts made to get free space from referrals and never used again. Plus, there is so much direct and indirect competition. Their privacy policy is also very bad.

Zenefits - http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/snapchat-isnt-the-only-startup...

Show HN: RaftLib Stream Computation library for C++ raftlib.io
23 points by jcbeard   ago   1 comment top
jcbeard 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
thanks for checking out, awesome feedback so far!
Reflection on Brent Yorgey's Haskell Class limdauto.github.io
35 points by luu   ago   2 comments top 2
cies 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's a guy names Chris Allen. He thought many Haskell and collected+reviewed many free online resource --for the purpose of making it easy for people from different background to pick the right material-- over here:https://github.com/bitemyapp/learnhaskell

He's currently writing a book, that will cost money ($59 I think), which has beta-access and is IMHO already the best resource out there for most learners of this wonderful language. More info on this here:


brudgers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A History of the World in 100 Objects (2010) wikipedia.org
41 points by tagawa   ago   12 comments top 5
JohnBooty 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I listened to the entire series and it's absolutely fantastic; one of my favorite things ever. It's interesting on two levels.

One, the history itself is fascinating, even for somebody like me that's generally not a big history buff. (Perhaps it helps that the episodes are short!)

Two, the central conceit -- snapshots of history as told via examinations of various historical artifacts -- actually changed the way I look at things around me. Every single object we hold, mundane or otherwise, holds so much information and is shaped by so many things.

Here's one example I remember well: the famous "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" print. We tend to think of it as the most quintessential Japanese print. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

But it's more complex and interesting than that. It actually marks a big turning point in Japanese culture, as it actually incorporates major European influences: the rich blue inks and a European use of perspective to depict the mountain in the distance. So this unmistakably Japanese print represents a crossroads...

aw3c2 5 hours ago 2 replies      
You can get all the audio episodes for free at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nrtd2/episodes/downloads....

 wget -i <(curl -s http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nrtd2/episodes/downloads.rss | grep -Po 'http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/.*?mp3' | sort | uniq)

imglorp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The entire story of the HMS Beagle's chronometers is fascinating. She carried 22 where most vessels of time only one or three.


spdegabrielle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Skip Wikipedia - it doesn't add anything. Go straight tohttp://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/
SpanishArch1 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Not a very great list for the history of the world in 100 objects in my opinion. Neil could have picked anything but nope. Take the last 5 items representing the past 100 years. No objects representing WW1, WW2 and the computer revolution probably three of the most seminal moments in human history are left out. In its stead is the painting "In the dull village" and a Sharia compliant credit card. The whole list seems painfully diverse and mundane.
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