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Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty washingtonpost.com
61 points by Futurebot  1 hour ago   35 comments top 11
a_puppy 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
For context, 87% of US children attend public schools. (10% attend private schools and 3% are homeschooled.)

In any discussion about poverty rates, the exact definition of "in poverty" is important. This article is defining anyone who qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunches as "being in poverty". The income threshold for free or reduced-price school lunches [0] is defined as 185% of the official federal poverty line. For a three-person household, the federal poverty line is $20,160/yr, so the threshold for reduced-price meals is $37,296/yr.

[0] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-23/pdf/2016-06463.p...

gozur88 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
If I'm reading this correctly they're considering kids "in poverty" if they qualify for a free lunch. That's not the official definition of poverty by a long shot - not only can you qualify for a free lunch even if your family isn't official below the poverty line, but in some districts every child qualifies for a free lunch because they don't want the poor kids to feel singled out.


danielvf 1 minute ago 0 replies      
The headline is completely wrong. The article states that 51% of students are now eligile for the federal food program, however that eligibily starts at an income which is 185% of the US poverty line, not the actual proverty line itself.

Secondly, access to that program has been increasing for the last several years, making it even less of an historical indicatior of increasing poverty.

bufordsharkley 26 minutes ago 5 replies      
In most major cities, affluent parents opt-out of the public schooling system and we end up with underfunded and failing schools.

I'm consistently attracted to a system a la Finland: for K-12, tuition and selective admission are strictly prohibited[0].

I worry that this may seem to extreme to put into action, but it wouldn't be. Even Warren Buffet has pushed for banning private schools, and soon.[1]

Any thoughts on why this may not be a good idea?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Finland#Basic_com...

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/warren-buffett-i...

sandworm101 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Schools, already under intense pressure to deliver better test results and meet more rigorous standards, face the doubly difficult task of trying to raise the achievement of poor children so that they approach the same level as their more affluent peers."

This is not a story about schools. Schools see only the symptoms. This is a story about how a western country has made the conscious decision to divide itself. Services are being cut, at least those services that support the poor. Legislation is being liberalized to accommodate "growth" over development, markets over sustainability. The net result is the growing divide between rich and poor. And everyone seems OK with it.

Why is this article so careful to limit itself to only public schools? They use the meals program as a proxy for poverty. Ok, but what about the number of students that have moved away from public schools in recent years? What percentage of students are now attending non-public charter schools? It isn't just the rich kids. 'Charter' /= 'private school'. But I suspect that if charter schools are included, less than 50% of US kids are "in poverty".


twright 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
Being in one of the darker red states on the map in the article, it's pretty frustrating. It's a well known problem how the state ranks in the nation and the governor cuts education budgets under the pretense of reform? I only see the problem compounding.

For some friends who are new teachers, they have less and less incentive to stay longer. They're under supported and know they can get much higher pay and support in other states.

thedevil 37 minutes ago 1 reply      
Interesting note: The map looks almost like a map of average temperatures.


afarrell 36 minutes ago 4 replies      
I wonder if public boarding schools would be a bad idea. I suppose, knowing history, it would depend highly on the implementation.
tropo 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
No doubt many of these people are having a rough time, but poverty is relative and the number is fully determined by where you draw the line.

We have a standard. Why that one? Why not the same as Sweden, Haiti, Japan, Mali, Luxembourg, or Chad? It's all political. Want to prove a point? Draw the line as required.

hackaflocka 25 minutes ago 4 replies      
Maybe poverty-alleviation doesn't work.

Maybe people's attitudes need to change. When people were poor 100 years ago, they didn't wait around for government handouts. They worked hard, and got out of where they were to go to places with more opportunity. That's how poverty-alleviation actually works.

sevenless 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
This problem is directly connected to the "wage gap". Women make less than men, not because they're paid less for the same work, but as a result of restricted career choices shaped by having and raising children. Where the wage gap shrinks, so does fertility. Wealthy, educated women are not going to have many kids, because it doesn't pay.

We need to recognize that raising children is vital but largely unpaid work and that this is unfair to women. Raising the next generation is a section of our economy that's not even recognized as productive labor.

A stable society needs educated people to have kids. If you want middle-class women to have children you'd better start paying them for it like any other career.

Anguish: A language written in zero-width characters perl.org
114 points by labster  2 hours ago   22 comments top 13
Null-Set 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Buries the lede. The interesting part is the abuse of invisible characters to sneak malicious code into pull requests.

The language is just a cute transliteration of brainfuck to use invisible zero width characters.

danra 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to make a script which runs through a git repo's commit history and looks for commits which add invisible Unicode characters. Maybe some existing exploits could be found in the wild.
lolc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Unicode has stubbornly refused to become Turing complete. Will it ever be more than a bunch of character tables?

I think Unicode Emoji were a great step forward but we must redouble our efforts.

pairoffeet 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Lua, or at least LuaJIT, allows these characters to be used as identifiers, which has led to some pretty interesting looking obfuscated code: https://facepunch.com/showthread.php?t=1463260&p=47712658&vi...
_kst_ 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
It uses "U+FEFF ZERO WIDTH NO-BREAK SPACE", also known as "BYTE ORDER MARK" -- which means that an Anguish program that starts with that character might not survive translation to or from UTF-16.
zimbatm 55 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is the next generation of shell code right there.

Why try to obfuscate programs in base64-encoded strings when you have it invisibly lying around in plain light.

vvanders 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's truly evil. Would other languages like Ruby that support overloads like that be susceptible(I'm no Ruby expert)?
yigitozkavci 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Hmm. Readability is high on this one.
solox3 1 hour ago 0 replies      
git makes Anguish code look more readable than the rest of the file: http://imgur.com/AHavQor
Twirrim 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is delightfully evil
undershirt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Hush" immediately came to mind as a useful name for an invisible language.
geofft 1 hour ago 3 replies      
At first glance, I'd consider it a (security) bug in Perl 6 that it permits tokens containing invisible characters, let alone consisting solely of invisible characters. Are there any other languages with this behavior?

As a random example:

 titan:~ geofft$ python3 -c "$(printf "\u2063") = 1" File "<string>", line 1 = 1 ^ SyntaxError: invalid character in identifier
If you change it to e.g. 00e9 (""), Python 3 permits the character, so it's not just a lower-ASCII thing.

renownedmedia 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is nothing more than a string replace on top of Brainfuck.
How Technology Hijacks Peoples Minds medium.com
883 points by prostoalex  9 hours ago   282 comments top 57
lars 7 hours ago 20 replies      
Wow, I'm glad this was posted.

I think the way we use technology today will be looked back on the same way we look back at naive cigarette smoking in the 1950s.

Modern app design isn't about creating things that are good for the user, but about creating want in the user. This is a problem.

For example, there are several studies showing that using Facebook in general makes people less happy. User happiness just happens to not be be necessary for Facebook to be a successful business.

Go to a developer conference by one of the big tech companies, and speakers generally aren't talking about doing good things for the user. They'll use euphemisms like "increasing engagement". There's concepts like "permission priming", psychological tricks to get the user to do what you want. There's books written about how to maximize app addictiveness. It's stuff that mildly screws over the user, and it guides the product designs that affect the lives of billions of people. It's not good.

greggman 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had a mildly negative reaction to this article which seems different from most people's reactions here

Yelp example: I get that yelp is limiting my options but what did I do before yelp? Pretty much I just went to the 4 or 5 places I already knew instead of seeing if there was something new nearby. I tried hundreds of new places because of recommendations from Google Maps or Yelp that I likely would not have tried otherwise. Certainly not before I had this thing in my pocket that let me research at the moment of desire instead of having the plan ahead

Similarly I look for meetups and have been to way more activities that I would have gone to in the past.

On the slot machine idea: Before smartphones and apps I'd flip through a magazines and hope there'd be something interesting. Before digital TV back when channel surfing tuned into each channel immediately instead of taking 3-5 seconds I'd flip through channels hoping to discover an interesting program. When I buy a book I'm gambling it's going to catch me. When I go to a new restaurant I'm gambling it's going to be delicious (it often isn't)

I guess I don't really see the difference between that and many of the things listed on that list.

I also do uninstall apps. I've un-followed 90% of my connections to keep it my feed actually relevant to me.

Sure I do spend too much time on (in my own opinion) on the net for various things. hopefully I can keep it under control.

It got more scary for me toward the end where he seemed to be calling for government regulation. A digital "bill of rights". An FDA for Tech. No doubt he's assuming he'll be on the committees to decide what's best for everyone else.

forgottenpass 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Apparently google has an Ethicist.

Ctrl-F: Ad

Huh. Zero mentions of the thing that manipulates people by design.

I guess I don't blame him, because even with a blind spot to ads it would seem Google still doesn't give two shits about his input. He explicitly calls out a problem YouTube feature, which he certainly would have voiced internally before externally. And he doesn't work at Google anymore.

Google must want results from ethicists the way tobacco companies of old wanted results from in-house scientists.

Jtsummers 8 hours ago 7 replies      
Kind of interesting idea about how our tools (generic) present us with limited menus, and effectively restrict our options.

Facebook has expanded (barely) the options for basic responses to posts (no longer just like, but also a handful of emoticons to express laughter, anger, sadness, etc.). Not as full an option as when using the comment box, but for quick responses it allows for greater expressiveness. At least people don't have to "like" the tragic news of their friend's family deaths anymore.

But then look at Allo, announced from Google yesterday, with its @google bot that will help people decide how to make basic, trivial responses to pictures posted to threads. (I'll try to find the link later, but the demo was with a graduation photo, and a few suggested responses like "You look great!" "Congratulations, so happy for you" or something similar).

By pushing the job of coming up with options to tools, like the choice of restaurants and bars to Yelp, we narrow our worlds. We limit our expressiveness and creativity.

I don't know that I have a point, just some thoughts.

imgabe 8 hours ago 3 replies      
The bit about choices reminds about the soda cup debacle from when Bloomberg proposed limiting the size of soda containers that some venues could sell.

Everyone griped about how it limited their "freedom of choice", but nobody asked about why those particular sizes were the choices available in the first place. 7-11 and others decided that they could add a $0.05 more soda and charge $0.25 more and make more money. People would buy it because look, you get 50% more for only a quarter!

Meanwhile the choice of buying less was never presented as an option.

bikamonki 7 hours ago 11 replies      
Does anyone else feel the slot machine effect here on HN is the karma displayed on the top-right? After a submission or comment, is that number the first thing you check when you come back to the site?
danr4 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed the article.

The most important takeaway for me was " now companies have a responsibility to reduce these effects by converting intermittent variable rewards into less addictive, more predictable ones with better design"

I think most of the techniques listed actually cause pain for users, the same way addictions do. I think a lot of people are aware at some level that they are giving up to temptation and it makes them feel worse about themselves.

On the contrary, when an app makes a prediction and nails it, I tend to appreciate it much more, and feel it helped me rather than lured me. My only gripe with predictability is it usually entails giving up a big portion of my privacy.

In my idealist mind somewhere in the future, personal privacy will be a default state of mind for service providers. Total self privacy combined with life analytics (Lifelytics?) which empower streamlining ones routine is a dream I hope I witness come true.

blabla_blublu 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents on this(opinion) and how I am struggling to cope with tech usage in my life.

I noticed that I spend a disproportionately high volume of time "consuming" than "creating". Recently I have been making efforts to create more. writing, drawing, painting. Something, anything so that the brain can spend some time coming up with new things instead of just reading/passively participating.

Technology has empowered a lot of us to create more, but it has also played a huge part in 'consumption', since it is so easy to swipe up and get the next article and the next and the next. Not to forget passive reading where I just skim through without actually paying any kind of attention to detail.

kreutz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not specific to technology and can essentially be traced back to capitalism for every industry. Businesses have nothing to gain by making product decisions around "will this help the customers well being". If it does not help them sell more, do more, make more it does not matter. All consumer facing companies apps, games, food, travel they are all gamified to grow the business regardless of whether there is a government agency to influence them. I'm all for making product and business decisions around these ideas but these psychological tricks have been applied to consumers for decades long before the Internet.
AndrewKemendo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is classic game theory.

You lose as a company if you don't build in these addictive features. So everyone does it because as he made clear, attention is the currency of business currently. All of these companies, and new companies would have to agree not to build these behaviors in.

The idea of an FDA or bill of rights for technology is great in the holistic macro sense, but I think unrealistic as it is not aligned with the interests of companies.

It's the same with any externalities, be it pollution or labor exploitation - things that have clear nexus with bad outcomes but struggle to gain traction around limiting because of overwhelming business interests.

nnd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Nothing new here. If anyone is interested to learn about these mechanisms in death there is a great book "Hooked" by Nir Eval.

The real problem here are the users. If they keep unconsciously falling for the same tricks over and over again, rather than taking a stand and rejecting manipulative products, there is no incentive for product makers to create product which are _not_ manipulative. You can compare it to eating junk food, rather than choosing healthy options.

siglesias 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody else struck by the irony of the glaring "Don't miss Tristan Harris's next story" dialog at the bottom of the article?

Note the verbiage exploiting Fear of Missing Something Important.

Animats 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hm. Maybe we need a system for mail and messaging which puts most items into a bin to be read later. Once every N hours, it shows you the "later" items.

(One real headache is the demise of third-party messaging clients. You can't write a Twitter client any more, or a Facebook client, or a WhatsApp client, or a Slack client. This is a big problem, because the vendor clients work for the man, not for you. With email, you're still in control, but not with the proprietary systems.)

lilcarlyung 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Sooo... These are the things that I need to do to build a successful app?
Mendenhall 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There are companies that have whole teams of "addiction specialists" that some video game companies hire to give talks to their producers. I know this from personal experience, they are literally trying to make you addicted and have that goal in mind.
wslh 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I was really interested in the article until I read: "I spent the last three years as Googles Design Ethicist...". In the article he is focusing at the application level but the issue is at the form factor level.

One simple example: if you give to a child a Simon game app based on the original Simon game [1] he/she will probably end up switching to YouTube and watching stupid videos but if you give him/her the "limited" form factor version of the game the child will have more fun.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(game)

henrik_w 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I just finished reading "Deep Work" by Cal Newport - great book. The central theme of the book is that you need distraction-free focus to do your best work (especially relevant for programmers I think). Social media goes against this - constantly checking HN, Twitter or FB breaks this focus. He basically recommends to quit altogether. A good start is to try and go a full day with checking any social media - it's harder than it sounds.
tdaltonc 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> We need our smartphones, notifications screens and web browsers to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. Peoples time is valuable. And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights.

I think that the only way we can do this is for out technology to make our values impulsive.

AngrySkillzz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what everyone means when they say "the medium is the message."
devy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Tristan Harris, the OP of this medium post, listed a table of comparisons between what's today's engaging/addictive/time sink product characteristics vs. time well spent products he advocates on his main project site[1]. Of all the 11 points, two of them has the most profound sociological impact or inertia:

* Success Metrics: measure success by net positive contributions rather than interactions

* Business Model: use non-engagement based advertising rather than engagement advertising.

I fully applaud Tristan's vision and mission but skeptical of how quickly companies, VCs and society can adopt it.

[1]: http://timewellspent.io/

tmaly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post, the whole Yelp part really spoke to me as I have been working on my own side project to help me find better food dishes. I am trying to wrap my mind around this slot machine concept as I really do not want people using my project like this.

Any suggestions on UI would be greatly welcome.

amelius 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Thats why I spent the last three years as Googles Design Ethicist caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion peoples minds from getting hijacked.

Every time I see the doodle, I have the feeling I'm being hijacked. After playing with the doodle I often forget what I came to Google for. Just saying.

tlb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How can one separate the inherent addictiveness of social approval (which we evolved to cope with) from the added addictiveness due to slot-machine rewards?

(Discrete measures of approval, like a count of Likes, add their own variance in addition to the inherent variability of how much people liked something. That discretization is a property of the digital system, and adds the variance of a binomial distribution.)

So when you say something IRL, you can gauge a lot of fine gradations of approval in the way people react. But online, where you get a small count of upvotes, the quantization adds variance and makes it more addictive.

The added variance is most significant at small sample sizes. People whose submissions get hundreds of votes might find the process less addictive than people whose submissions get a handful of votes.

Would HN be less addictive if the upvote process was more analog, somehow? Say, by adding up the duration people held down the mouse button for?

1_2__3 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say it's worse, because now that we don't pay for things (ad support ftw?) the service providers have a much stronger incentive to keep you on the site than they do to make you happy. They've slowly but surely developed methods that do exactly that, leaving us all wondering why we spend so much time on sites/in apps that we don't actually enjoy.

This isn't going to change.

jonstokes 7 hours ago 1 reply      
First thought: I gotta get off all of these apps. I always knew they were messing with me, and now I know how!

Second thought: Our UX designer needs to read this ASAP... it's basically a "best practices" guide for making a social app that shows "traction".

tdaltonc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in learning more about these power and how to use them for good, consider joining us:



grok2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is not necessarily right -- the existing technology limits peoples choice and directs them to behave in a certain way sometimes, but it's not like people don't know they are being manipulated or that they are being provided limited choices, but they live with it what's available if what's available is satisfactory enough. But if it doesn't really satisfy them, people do go out of their way to get what they want...mostly. Atleast that's what I see from a data-point of 1.
sbierwagen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A note of slight relevant interest: fastmail.com's native client doesn't actually have a manual refresh button. You only get a notification for a new mail if the server pushes one to you.
tard 1 hour ago 1 reply      
how come this article only got 2 points[1] when someone submitted it here a day ago, but this time it's at the top of everything?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11726766

JoeDaDude 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I could not help but notice the block at the end that asked one to "Read Tristan's next blog" with a button to Follow him.
Kinnard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The menu options metaphor applies so well to government. Especially given our current predicament.
johnchristopher 1 hour ago 0 replies      
tldr; : don't use social networks on your smartphone or you're going to miss out on real life.
ljk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Very eye-opening read.

few random thoughts:

> Hijack #7: Instant Interruption vs. Respectful Delivery... By contrast, Apple more respectfully lets userse toggle "Read Receipts" on or off

Unfortunately iPhone has a new feature to reply to messages immediately even in the lock screen, looks like everyone is guilty of this

> now that you know Ive seen the message, I feel even more obligated to respond.

always tried to purposefully not respond right away even when it said I read it already, but it does feel weird/rude

hypertexthero 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A book on a similar theme from before the internet is [Ways of Seeing][1] by John Berger. The typography, set in bold throughout, doesn't do the text any favors, but the writing and information is good.

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

jamesmiller5 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Similarly resonates with to another great article "The Slow Web" - http://jackcheng.com/the-slow-web .
lisper 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not just a problem at the consumer level. My entire career I have been told that I couldn't do X because it wasn't "industry standard" or "best practice" or some other code word for "not on the menu."
gentleteblor 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what impact this knowledge would have on the public's perception of Silicon Valley (and the tech industry in general) if it got very popular. The current thinking seems to be something akin to: Oil & Gas Industries bad, Tobacco Industry bad, Fast Food Industry Bad, Big Pharma bad. Startups Good! Silicon Valley Good. Tech will fix everything. But it's the same old game.
thaw13579 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The article does a good job of showing examples, but strangely, it doesn't connect this in any way with the vast related research in psychology and economics. This makes me skeptical of the claims of expertise...
hackaflocka 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nothing "the government" can't solve!!!
danvoell 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Would it be possible to build an app interface which interacts with these apps yet works on behalf of the user? I might be willing to pay for something like this.
vicbrooker 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't see a way for this style of design to be feasible that doesn't rely on a subscription-based business model.

As long as users allow free + advertising generally be the way to for build a dominant tech company then I would assume anyone that tries to compete by not optimising for advertising (eg. reducing friction for users) will lose. Which is a damn shame.

Based on my limited knowledge of the history of news media, theres a cycle between free + advertising and paid + high quality. Intuitively it should apply to other verticals too, and I hope that, in reality, it does.

excalibur 5 hours ago 1 reply      
He had me until the end.

"Peoples time is valuable." True

"And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights." LOLOLOLOL

xufi 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It saddens me whenever I go out wit my friends and I try to have a conversation, that everyone is glued to their phones and can't have face-face conversation.
tsunamifury 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's called "railroading" and it's been around forever. The only new trick is to add more options that still railroad you in the same general direction.

The problem is human minds are smarter than you think and they tend to disengage when they sense this and they strongly want to get off the rails. The user does this by quitting and/or deleting the service. Over time you realize it's best to give the user all their options and they are more likely to stay using your product.

hughw 3 hours ago 0 replies      
/me furiously redesigning our app to be a slot machine....
AlexandrB 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Some of the design anti-patterns he's describing smell a lot like the broken window fallacy [1]. Sure, apps can get big on getting users addicted and "engaged", but there's no actual economic benefit being produced by such design - just tons of opportunity cost to users.

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

knowaveragejoe 7 hours ago 2 replies      
One nitpick: maybe it's just the grocery stores near me, but the Pharmacies are almost always located near the front right by where you walk in. Milk is often in the back however.
guard-of-terra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
When people are given a menu of choices, they rarely ask:

 whats not on the menu? why am I being given these options and not others? do I know the menu providers goals? is this menu empowering for my original need, or are the choices actually a distraction? (e.g. an overwhelmingly array of toothpastes)
It's so much more about politics (elections of all levels) rather than about technology!

frogpelt 5 hours ago 1 reply      
timewellspent.io contains a perfect example of indirectly hijacking our agency: the video play button.

That little triangle has almost become impossible to resist. My two-year-old can spy it from across the room and he runs over and begs me to click it.

What if we stopped using icons that have programmed our brains?

astazangasta 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not "technology" that is hijacking people's minds, it's specific companies who are doing it. You don't blame the magician's hat for fooling you.

The problem, as usual, is that technology is slave to the boring, insipid demands of capital to get us to click on ads and purchase more snow-pants.

cdnsteve 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A brilliant article.
bobwaycott 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I spend most of my internet time on HN. It makes me wish HN tracked this and, each time I load the page, prompted me with a "Do you really want to spend the next n minutes here?"
marknutter 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting read, but is the author being serious when they suggest that the FDA should be setting standards for how software UX is designed? I can't even begin to imagine how much of an unmitigated disaster that would be.
zepto 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you considered that the manipulation of people's minds in consumer societies might actually be part of the reason why there is so much exploitation of people in more vulnerable communities?
tacos 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Novelty, not technology. The same cognitive behavior is exploited on restaurant menus.
fsiefken 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Snow Crash
have_faith 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Technology doesn't hijack our minds, people do. It's an age old practice of blaming the tools.

The logical next step might be to ask well then how do we fix people? (aka, society). Maximum freedom in society means maximum freedom to be manipulated by others.

Perhaps ironically, the closer we get to solving world hunger and eradicating diseases and so on the closer we become to overpopulation and overcrowding our little planet that once seemed so large. Our ineptitude at cooperating with each other and our ability to manipulate each other so easily is probably the only thing stopping highly accelerated human progress, and thus our own demise.

Absurdism looks more appealing every day.

Tech firms may violate Palo Alto zoning: Writing code not allowed downtown docdroid.net
53 points by apsec112  2 hours ago   30 comments top 10
jbangert 8 minutes ago 1 reply      
It always surprises me that a country that supposedly is one of the most "free-market" economies in the world and has a political rhethoric based on ridiculing overzealous regulation has zoning regulation that covers minutiae (which I haven't discovered in that level of detail anywhere).

Sure, you don't want someone to open a chemical factory next to your backyard. You don't want heave transport moving through your side street. You don't want the nice house with a mountain view to suddenly have twenty story high rises obstructing that view, it makes sense that most places have restrictions on this. However, when did people think it is a good idea to make one office job different from another office job? In Germany(the ultimate bureaucrat heaven), there is as far as I'm aware no zoning issue preventing office work in residential buildings ( residential areas might have limits as to how big buildings might be, so the apple spaceship probably wouldn't be allowed in a historic residential area, but opening a doctors office, law firm or software consulting company in a residential building is fine as far as zoning goes -- and tech/engineering companies routinely trade buildings with insurance companies and the like).

johansch 48 minutes ago 2 replies      
Let me get this right. The place that got insanely rich because of software is trying to forbid the creation of software?
gshulegaard 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I guess I don't understand why this is an issue. How is 1,000 software "coders" as the article quotes different from 1,000 administrative personnel.

I could understand if the goal of zoning wanted to preserve Downtown as a destination/place for generating foot traffic/visitors...but I don't see a difference between an office of 1,000 HR people for Amazon and 1,000 software engineers.

Steeeve 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto resident here - I'm fairly new, lived here less than a year.

I think the biggest problem is traffic, and it doesn't matter if it's an Administrative office or a software development company - more businesses means more traffic.

The downtown area feels quaint, and I like it. A lot of small businesses with a few big ones scattered about. It's a good combination IMO - because without the big businesses, the small ones wouldn't have enough business to stay open.

The only other issue is competition for rent. As rent prices increase the only way for a small business or a startup to get going in the area is with external funding. Rezoning things or pushing out businesses might fix that, but at the cost of moving all the customers away.

City councils universally are short sighted and make dumb decisions. This shouldn't even be something they are thinking about IMO. They should be working on actually letting residents use the fiber the city installed. My only options are xfinity and DSL. Huge tech companies all over the place and no good broadband options. It makes no sense whatsoever.

This area is pretty awesome though. Great parks, great schools, and a town full of incredibly interesting people. So they did something right.

abtinf 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
My initial thought is that the kind of regulation being proposed here is going to be unconstitutional.

In the United States, source code is protected as free speech. Limitations on free speech are subject to "strict scrutiny" which means a restriction "narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest." A compelling state interest is, per wikipedia, "something necessary or crucial, as opposed to something merely preferred. Examples include national security, preserving the lives of a large number of individuals, and not violating explicit constitutional protections." And the regulation must also be the least restrictive way of achieving the interest.

It is improper for the government to declare that certain types of speech, say, journalism, may occur in a geographic area but not other kinds, say, source code creation.


Edit: wow, thats a whole lotta downvotes. I wonder why.

2xlbuds 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
This seems just about as absurd as zoning the computers in those buildings for Excel and Powerpoint use only.
imgabe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Programming doesn't fall under "general business" uses? It seems like that would cover just about anything.
cjensen 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess this has been ignored for awhile: Google started downtown. When they are referring to Amazon, I'm pretty sure that's A9 which was started as Altavista as a DEC project in the same building.
ng12 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Good on you, Mayor Burt. We can no longer allow vibrant young professionals with expendable income to ruin our dining/nightlife center.
moron4hire 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
How about all the tech companies just take their income and property taxes elsewhere entirely?
A Forest Grew for Millennia in North America Without Anyone Noticing atlasobscura.com
153 points by curtis  5 hours ago   32 comments top 7
MiguelVieira 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Ancient forests like this are not too rare in the United States. You can find a list of them here:


Disclosure: I compiled most of the list.

dzdt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Such old trees growing in marginal environments like the rocky cliffs are valuable records of the past environment. Their annual growth is constrained by twmperature and rainfall. By measuring the rings produced in past years, we get information about the temperature and rainfall at those times. Since tree rings are annual, this gives climate data resolved to exact past years. For regions and times with no written records, this is one of the key sources to reconstruct past climate details.
chongli 4 hours ago 3 replies      
How soon before word gets around and tons of people start climbing the cliffs to see the trees? Hopefully we find a way to protect them before then.
jdfellow 1 hour ago 0 replies      
And then there's Pando, the largest known living organism, and it's at least 80,000 years old.


nxzero 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Reminds me of how one man accidentally killed the oldest tree ever:


Then of course there's this article, "Vintage Photos of Lumberjacks and the Giant Trees They Felled"


grillvogel 2 hours ago 1 reply      
hurry up we need to monetize this somehow
Lens of human eye can be fully regenerated, at least in newborns evidenceba.se
51 points by krzysiek  3 hours ago   12 comments top 6
toomuchtodo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
UCSD press release: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/stem_cells_regenerate_...

Nature abstract: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7594/full/nature1...

Obligatory Nature paper DOI ident for sci-hub lookup: doi:10.1038/nature17181

roberthahn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I had to have my lenses removed from both eyes when I was a child (in the 70s). The problem in my case was that they were dislocated.

Since the surgery, I wore very thick glasses to correct it. I switched to contacts in the early 80s (contact lens tech was barely viable by then) augmented with reading glasses.

Today I wear contacts to get to 20/20 or 20/30, and reading glasses for computer work or reading. My correction is around +8.25 or so for each eye.

This is very exciting news and I hope kids don't have to go through the pain of wearing super thick glasses growing up.

sandworm101 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As I understand the matter, these sorts of interventions have/should be done as soon as possible after birth. The developing brain needs the visual feedback to develop vision properly. So it is good news to see them focusing on younger patients.
arithma 2 hours ago 1 reply      
My son did the older surgery when he was a newborn.I just wish we had to do this surgery now instead (or if we can benefit in anyway from this new technique.)

Note: did the surgery at "Associated Retinal Consultants."I can't read this without getting too emotional, and am not sure if this is considered a totally new thing or if we just missed out on this possibility then.

Grishnakh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It'll be great if they can do this for older people eventually, so we don't need to wear reading glasses.
ars 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel bad for whichever newborn needed such surgery :(
Project Ara Lives: Google's Modular Phone wired.com
19 points by anigbrowl  1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
cryptoz 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Link to Project Ara Developer Edition page: https://atap.google.com/ara/

r/android seems unimpressed because many of the initially removable components are no longer removable (at least, as indicated by marketing videos) [1]. However, it seems silly to me to get upset about this because this is a Developer Edition and Google clearly had to limit the scope of the project in order to ship. Though, one wonders if there are physical limits causing the CPU, GPU, battery, and display to be non-removable. We'll see.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4k9bwr/project_ara...

LeoPanthera 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Non-wired link:http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/20/google-working-on-consumer...

Not going to disable my adblocker just to read a story. I consider it to be an anti-malware tool at this point.

pier25 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
The idea is great for many reasons (value, environment, etc) but god, that phone is ugly.
The price of Ethereum is soaring because of the DAO experiment qz.com
34 points by prostoalex  2 hours ago   36 comments top 8
stcredzero 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Think of it as venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, but with Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz replaced by the wisdom of the crowd.

How wise is the crowd? They gave almost $2 million to Solar Freakin Roadways. That's how wise.

EDIT: How about Twitch plays venture capital?

heimatau 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly green thumb when it comes to bitcoin's interworkings, so please inform me if something I say is terribly off.

I'm of the perspective that Ethereum is the next evolution of Bitcoin/Blockchain/RPOW. In my readings, I'm of the belief that it's not about currency/fiat (although that does play a big role). I think the techies, who helped create Bitcoin, realized that Bitcoin's value is much greater than a replacement currency for a nation (or the world for that matter).

Think of it today. Google, FB, hell Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc, they all have TROVES of data about US as individuals. What if you could create a layer on top of the internet that anonymizes your behavior and you could SELL your data, only when you CHOOSE to release it? I think this is what the 'Bitcoin experiment' has taught many of the developers and they are going to try to flesh out their idea, which, IMHO, is to allow software to improve, in an open data set, without infringing on our personal privacy.

I think this system could be breading ground for an AI birth. I'm not the only one (@aantonop has said something recently[1]) and I know AI has been speculated for a while but...this new model excites me. Mainly because Skepticism is at the root, the blockchain is a trustless system. If AI were to come about, shouldn't it think critically? Anywho, that's my current fantasy/theory/perspective. As for the 'value of Ethereum' I see it in the tech not a monetary value.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0jxX84mzts

rasengan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The price of Ethereum is soaring because of Ethereum.
drcode 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This article is a bit misleading- The all time high happened a couple months ago, long before the DAO.
papaf 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am renting a virtual stake in an Ethereum miner with Genesis mining and I am not seeing anything like a spike in my return. In fact it is about half what it was a few months ago.

Edit: this is not an advert, there has been plenty of speculation that Genesis is skimming from the returns and I was just providing a datapoint.

dfischer 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I'm still confused on what Ethereum really is and how likely it will succeed.
nikolay 1 hour ago 2 replies      
A new bubble to burst... All the hype around Ethereum reminds me of Bitcoin. Learn from the past! Sell when the hype peaks! Don't get too greedy!
jackcosgrove 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I am all for cryptocurrencies as a means to privacy. But when their proponents claim that cryptocurrencies will replace fiat currency with something fairer and more tied to value, all I can think of is the speculation, cheating, hype, and chicanery that has gone on with Bitcoin and now appears to be going on with Ethereum. The new currencies seem to be less fair and more ethereal than dollars and euros.
One-shot Learning with Memory-Augmented Neural Networks arxiv.org
45 points by astdb  2 hours ago   3 comments top 2
bra-ket 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in this you may want to take a look at SDM content-addressable memory, which uses neural networks as address encoders/decoders: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparse_distributed_memory

it was developed by Pentti Kanerva at NASA in the 80s

For related memory-augmented models see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_learning#Networks_with_se...

There was also "Reasoning, Attention, Memory (RAM)" NIPS Workshop 2015 organized by Jason Weston on this topic: http://www.thespermwhale.com/jaseweston/ram/

There is disproportionate amount of work on training learning models while ignoring memory mechanics. For some reason this research is pursued by very few machine learning/AI labs, mostly at Google DeepMind/Brain, FB, and Numenta, and may be Tom Mitchell's 'never-ending learning' project at CMU.

bytefactory 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a big deal, can somebody with some expertise in the field comment on it?
Cruise settles legal case involving cofounder businessinsider.com
59 points by taylorhou  2 hours ago   13 comments top 5
fraserharris 1 hour ago 1 reply      
To all new founders, get a legal agreement in place from day 1 with your collaborators. Here are some amazing free resources (vetted for Canada, a million times better than nothing in the US, pass it by a lawyer if you have the money):


@sama - could YC spearhead creating US versions of the founder IP agreements?

neurotech1 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Sam Altman posted on his views on his blog:


And the related HN comments:


seibelj 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So all of that drama, name calling, sam altman posts, etc. ended with them agreeing that he was indeed a co-founder? Honestly the only people who really know what happens between two people, are those two people.
6stringmerc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Well, that private settlement certainly clears it up for them. As for the rest of us, who sat on the sidelines and watched the slap-fighting, it doesn't offer a whole lot. Here's the crux I guess of the article:

>Cruise and its founder Kyle Vogt now acknowledge that Guillory was a cofounder of the company.

This is very much a sticking point that was extensively discussed in the prior hullabaloo regarding the YC-affiliated post on the matter. How this was agreed upon - the reasoning - being private isn't the most clarifying outcome for the public. I've no doubt this is on purpose for all the parties involved, and hope they are satisfied in private.

As a longtime observer of human behavior, my belief is this announcement will do nothing to quell outside speculation. If the parties involved don't want a bunch of randos-on-the-internet making up their own scenarios, there is an easy fix. Just share with the class what happened so we all may learn.

taylorhou 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Surprised I found this on Techmeme and not here.No matter what the outcome actually became, this was a shtfest, rollercoaster, HBO drama, discussion, and learning experience all in one.


Antibiotics Are Dead; Long Live Antibiotics edge.org
44 points by ghubbard  3 hours ago   13 comments top 7
ChuckMcM 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What I love about this article is that it demonstrates once again that some discoveries are actually pretty awesome. If I am not careful the unrelenting stories of future calamity can weigh me down, and yet I know intellectually that generally equal part bad and good things happen over time.

This is an excellent example of a "good" thing which wasn't even considered in papers and articles written about the coming antibiotic apocalypse. And it is critically important for engineers and scientists to not give into the "all is lost" mentality that the popular press uses to sell clicks and pageviews.

xyzzyz 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That's very nice and uplifting, but it would be great if some sources were provided. Like, who did the work? Where was it done? Where it was published? As it is, it is next to impossible to look into further.
Retric 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One thing to consider is Antibiotics are not actually need very often. I had intestional surgery a while back and they never put me on a course of antibiotics. Now they probably gave me a shot of something in surgery, but we can do a lot to minimize the risks without them.

They are often used as a crutch and end up promoting sloppy technique. Basically infections are a sign you did something wrong, removing that feedback promotes problems.

timr 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"But this pessimism rests entirely on one assumption: that we have no realistic prospect of developing new classes of antibiotics any time soon, antibiotics that our major threats have not yet seen and thus not acquired resistance to."

Uh, no. The "pessimism" (as it were) doesn't extend from that assumption. It extends from the fact that very few people are doing the basic research anymore, and even fewer companies are willing to invest the enormous amounts of money necessary to shuttle candidate drugs from promising lead to clinical approval. It's not as if this is the only story of a candidate antibiotic. Most don't become drugs.

And in any case, the "pessimism" isn't really pessimism, so much as a community of knowledgable people sounding the alarm about an impeding crisis. To the extent that it gets people doing innovative things to solve the problem, it's a good thing, not something to be criticized. I don't even know why you would write this kind of piece -- the caveats at the end notwithstanding, it makes it sound like we don't have to worry anymore, because things are "speeding up". But they aren't speeding up. This is a good discovery, but it's just a start.

reasonattlm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A popular science article on the researchers who discovered the way to culture the other 99% of soil bacteria:


"A team led by scientists from Northeastern University published a study describing a new class of antibiotics called teixobactin, which they found in the soil of a field in Maine. But what I found even more interesting than the teixobactin discoverywhich other writers have also pointed outwas how the researchers were able to find it. They developed a device called an iChip, which allows scientists to explore the virtually untapped wilds of bacteria for potential antibiotics and other interesting unknown chemicals."

chetanahuja 3 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a good news/bad news scenario. Good news is that we've potentially found a new way to create antibiotics. The bad news is that it took us so long to think of it and millions more might die of new diseases before we can finally get efficacy at scale out of these techniques.
mhkool 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There are plenty of docters who treat a C diff infection with PRObiotics, i.e. let good bacteries kill the bad bacteries. So do not worry and go to a doctor that practises functional medicine.
Moving Away from Python 2 asmeurer.github.io
150 points by ngoldbaum  6 hours ago   169 comments top 28
21 5 hours ago 8 replies      
I've seen this story happen twice before.

20 years ago there was this great MP3 player, WinAmp 2. And then they released WinAmp 3, which broke compatibility with skins and plugins and which was slow. People didn't upgrade. Finally, they came to their senses and they released WinAmp 5, marketed as 2+3, which was faster and brought back compatibility with older stuff.

In the retail trading Forex world, there is this great trading app called MetaTrader 4. Many years ago they released MetaTrader 5, which broke backward compatibility and removed some popular features. People didn't upgrade. Today, they are finally bringing back the removed features and making MetaTrader 5 able to run MetaTrader 4 code.

Me, I wait for Python 5 (=2+3) which will be able to import Python 2 modules, so that you can gradually convert your code to the newer version.

I have tens of thousands of lines of Python 2 code in a big system. I can't just take 2 months off to move all of it to Python 3. Moving it in pieces is also not really possible, since there are many inter-dependencies.

Uglyfying my code with the "six" module it's also not a solution, since when I'll move, I won't care about Python 2 anymore.

So basically I'm just waiting until a consensus emerges.

It should be noted that the quantity of Python 2 code keeps on growing, I wrote most of my code while Python 3 existed. If Python 3 allowed an easy path forward, we wouldn't be in this situation.

Animats 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The Windows 10 approach - apply pain to the users until they "upgrade". Python 3 hasn't made it on its own merits, and we have fanboys like this trying to figure out some way to force people to upgrade.

Library porting to Python 3 did not go well. Many Python 2.x libraries were replaced by different Python 3 libraries from different developers. Many of the new libraries also work on Python 2. This creates the illusion that libraries are compatible across versions, but in fact, it just means you can now write code that runs on both Python 2 and Python 3. Converting old code can still be tough. (My posting on this from last year, after I ported a medium-size production application.[1] Note the angry, but not useful, replies from Python fanboys there.)

Python 3, at this point, is OK. But it was more incompatible than it needed to be. This created a Perl 5/Perl 6 type situation, where nobody wants to upgrade. The Perl crowd has the sense to not try to kill Perl 5.

Coming up next, Python 4, with optional unchecked type declarations with bad syntax. Some of the type info goes in comments, because it won't fit the syntax.

Stop von Rossum before he kills again.

[1] http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/python/python/1187134

kstrauser 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm so glad to see this. I started with Python 1.4, and after several years too long on 2.6+ I've just recently been able to convince an employer to start a new codebase on Python 3.5. Having used it in production now, I would not willingly go back. Python 2.7 is excellent, but Py3 feels like "Py2 done right". It's at least as nice in every way and much nicer in quite a few.

I'm in a shop with solid microservice underpinnings, so our new project could just as easily have been in Go or something else for all its clients would know or care. Given that all the libraries we wanted to use were already available for Py3, this was a no-brainer. There were plenty of reasons to upgrade and no compelling reasons to stay on Py2. Should you find yourself in such a situation, I highly recommend investigating whether you can make the same move.

danso 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Just to add some perspective from another language: Ruby had a similar, traumatic rift when transitioning from 1.8 to 1.9. I don't think it's a coincidence that -- like Python 2.x to 3.x -- Unicode-handling was one of the changes...so even though Ruby 1.8 to 1.9 had fewer compatibility breaks than Python 2.x to 3.x, it still pissed off a lot of people.

But what made the community jump, IMO, was the fact that the Rails maintainers announced that they would be upgrading to 1.9 [0]. And since there is a very small subset of Ruby users who don't use Rails, that was the end of discussion.

Is there any library in Python that enjoys as much dominance over the language as Rails does to Ruby? Not from what I can tell...And virtually all of the big mindshare libraries in Python have made the transition (e.g. NumPy, Django)...So I agree with OP that making libraries commit to 3.x-or-else is the way to encourage adoption of 3.x...but I just don't see it working as well as it did for Rails/Ruby. That's not necessarily a bad thing, per se, in the sense that it shows the diversity of Python and its use-cases, versus Ruby and its majority use-case of Rails. But forcing the adoption of a version upgrade is one situation in which a mono-culture has the advantage (also, see iOS vs Android).

[0] http://yehudakatz.com/2009/07/17/what-do-we-need-to-get-on-r...

wyldfire 6 hours ago 4 replies      
> For SymPy, the fact that 1/2 gives 0 in Python 2 has historically been a major source of frustration for new users.

I love Python, and I think Py3k is great. But I guess I have written too much C/C++ or something because integer division yielding integers (implicitly "with truncation") is what I would expect and not a float. And I'm a big fan of the "Principle of Least Surprise" but in this case I'm surprised to see int/int give float.

But, hey, like I said -- Py3k is a net improvement. And I'm sympathetic to new programmers and I love that Python's so popular for those new to coding.

rahiel 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> Python 2.7 support ends in 2020. That means all updates, including security updates. For all intents and purposes, Python 2.7 becomes an insecure language to use at that point in time.

There are alternative python implementations like pypy, and they haven't expressed an intent to drop python 2.7 support. Only CPython 2.7 will then become an insecure interpreter.

jedberg 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Part of the problem is that the big hosting services don't even support Python 3 yet. Google App Engine and AWS Lambda don't support it, Heroku does but only for the past year, etc.

I'm building a brand new company and I'm being forced to use Python 2.7 because I'm using Lambda. This was my choice, but the point is I can't use 3 even if I want to.

noobiemcfoob 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this really still so much of an issue? I switched to Python 3 some years ago and haven't even considered going back.

I can't say I've come across an issue caused by an incompatibility between the two since the first couple months after switching...

hartator 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I still don't get why they are noy just backporting the simple things people are missing. Like breaking: print "hello". I don't think being academically correct is worth the current schism.
jtchang 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I am so annoyed at Python for not having a good upgrade path with backwards compatibility. Even with iOS you can use Swift code along with ObjC.
dendory 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Guess it's luck that I started using Python when they released 3, and went straight for that!
green_lunch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I finally was able to start new projects in Python 3 because most major libraries are compatible.
transpy 2 hours ago 3 replies      
For us beginners, professionals from other areas that want to use Python as an additional tool, this situation is quite confusing. I'm doing Python MOOCs and most of them focus on Python 2. I don't have a massive code base to maintain like most of you, I just would like to know what path to follow, Py2 or jump already to Py3.
skizm 6 hours ago 4 replies      
It is pretty simple: when I spin up an EC2 instance on amazon, and I type "python" in the console, whatever version that is will be the version I use.
nelmaven 5 hours ago 4 replies      
This sort of war between Python 2 and Python 3 is why I never looked seriously into Python. I don't know where should I start.
noisy_boy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
As a developer, it is difficult for me to move to Python 3 (and I want to). I'm working on a Django project and relying heavily on various Django plugins. There are a whole lot of plugins that are only supported for Python 2. Without much knowledge of Django landscape, I anticipated this and went with Python 2.7. Turned out to be a prudent decision that saved me tons of time.
TorKlingberg 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there any reasonable measurement of Python 3 market share? I guess it's still <25%.
pnathan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Nah, I'm good. Python 2.7 is not going to change. I have zero desire to port my code and gain zero benefit. I can actually write Python 2.7 with confidence that invoking "python2" won't break on the next rev of the OS.

Most likely, if CPython & crowd give up on 2.7, PyPy will carry the flag of "Stable Python" forward and that'll be that.

But if Python dies, I won't really be sad. Better languages are out there. :)

carlsborg 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Its hard. Imagine you are a Fortune100 company with a 3 Million line code base running critical financial systems off a python 2.7 application framework...
carapace 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Please stop working so hard to piss in my soup.

I plan to keep using Python 2.* until the sun grows cold or I die (whichever comes first.) So this entire effort seems like a busybody with nothing better to do working hard to screw me over.

Knock it off!

rjurney 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What an idiotic idea. Python 3 needlessly broke things for features that did not really improve the language. Python 3 is a dead end. The 'slated' end of 2.7 won't happen, just the project leadership will change.
incepted 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a feeling that by the time this happens, a lot of the Python developers will have moved to Go or some other language.
stesch 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The people who really decide what you do don't care about syntax. They'll ask you if it is faster. And Python 3 is even slower than Python 2.

You don't have this problem with PHP. "Hey, Boss! We need to rewrite our code for PHP 7." "Will it be faster? How much?" "It will be faster. By factor X." "Go on, make it so."

0xADEADBEE 3 hours ago 0 replies      
- [ ] I've been developing with Python 2 for 8 years now, and I take umbridge at the upgrade. Python 3 introduces a variety of breaking changes but in contrast to other comments, this is great. Python 2 has a litany of mistakes in it (ever try a listcomp using a previously declared variable name as the intermediary? Watch that get clobbered when block-level scoping decides it doesn't fancy it; there are many more similar examples), some of which are mercifully fixed in 3.

For me though, what's the point? I like that lru_cache is a convenient decorator rather than having to roll my own memoisation and that some relatively solid steps have been made towards async programming but that's about it. Its not like the changes were things that couldn't be achieved before (Twisted is solid, from what I have seen so far). I still have to factor in the GIL if I want performance to a certain point (dual core processors have been around for almost two decades now - I am starting to question why cPython is even considered a serious choice for use cases where prod has more than one core).

More crucially though? The APIs. camelCase features heavily (in spite of PEP8), the principle of most surprise is rampant (I recall last week discovering a function signature with infinite arity rather than passing a collection, like, you know, every other Python method) and SO many more warts. When interacting with a file, try and guess what you want: "readlines? Doesn't load each line into collection, which is what you'd expect. writeline? Be sure to manually interpolate a \n because in contrast to the name, it's actually going to insert everything on the same line because... well, who knows. writelines? Well, you know how in Python you usually iterate over over thing and handle it? Well here, you pass a collection. There's a corresponding read meth... No there isn't". If we're introducing breaking changes, how weren't these things fixed? You either commit to breaking changes or you don't make any - py3 trod the line somewhere in the middle and is paying for it with its adoption numbers. The broader point is that this mess is exactly why we all love libraries like requests. If Python were a Fortune 500 company, GvR would have been ousted as CEO long ago, and rightly so.

As a contractor, I have to absorb this new way of doing things in case I find a job that actually requires Py3 knowledge (in the UK at least, these are less frequent than HN prefers to make out) because my marketability depends on it. That said, although I'm currently contributing to Pypy, I realistically see my future in Clojure, Ruby, Elixir or some other language that I'm prepared to put the time into picking up, in contrast to Py3, where I see missteps and hamstrung APIs as active disincentivisation to my learning. Any half decent dev will just move on, because why would they put up with this? Did we not learn anything from PHP?

metalliqaz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll transition when pypy transitions.
melling 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a yearly discussion about moving from Python 2 to 3.



It's not a very productive use of time.

BuckRogers 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Why does this guy care if others don't drop Python2 support? Instead, live and let live.

Everyone is going to use what they want. People have been whining about this for almost a decade now, give it up. This community isn't going to be on one version again, and that is NOT the community's fault. It's the core dev team and Guido's for poor decision making, technical churn and refusal to go back and fix their mistakes. There's no technical reason why CPython can't run Python2 and 3 code, JVMs and the CLR have proven this sort of thing is possible.

If there's not strong enough support of Python3, let it die. Technical churn is not supposed to survive, not live on propaganda and coercion. I don't see the problem. If he bought into 3 before it succeeded, he created his own problem. I plan on porting what I have over when 3 actually gets over the hump but not before. That's what's in my best interests, which is what everyone should do (and it's exactly what the core dev team and GVR did).

Besides, if you're not into numerical Python and mainly use it for web, PyPy makes more sense to migrate to than Python3.

Bromskloss 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I want Python 4 already!
Stockholm's 20-year waiting lists for rent-controlled housing bbc.com
32 points by pmcpinto  2 hours ago   17 comments top 3
tehabe 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
It really seems that you either have extremely high rents which almost nobody can pay. Or low rents but no housing.

I think neither is a good housing policy.

fennecfoxen 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Truly, central planning at its most refined.
fapjacks 42 minutes ago 4 replies      
My wife has been on the list since she was born 27 years ago. I don't particularly have a problem with the system. It's Stockholm. Either this way and reasonable rent, or rent would be totally fuckin' crazy.
CSS Purge csspurge.com
69 points by tnorthcutt  4 hours ago   27 comments top 5
theaustinseven 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Yes, CSS might be a big problem, but people's obsession with overriding everything with Javascript is a much bigger problem. I think web developers/designers need to move more towards lighter webpages that use HTML for functionality whenever possible, which is something that might seem obvious, but is so rarely done.
colmvp 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why do some of these sites have font families numbering in the double digits?!
onion2k 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Unless data can demonstrate that reducing the number of classes or IDs on a page has a positive impact on things like returning DAUs, sign up conversions, etc, I'd argue these might be the wrong things to optimise. If adding another font to your site gets another 1% of users to buy something, you should add the font. Equally thought, if removing one gets 1% more sales, you should remove one. That's what counts, and it won't be the same for every site.

Use data, not rules.

WA 3 hours ago 2 replies      
And there, I thought for a moment, my 38 KB CSS file is a mess and way too big. I guess, this puts it into perspective.
evbogue 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Cutestrap: 8k CSS framework cutestrap.com
110 points by tangue  5 hours ago   32 comments top 10
cel1ne 2 hours ago 1 reply      
In my opinion this is still the best option for CSS, especially in combination with React.


Most importantly it contains a ratio-based scale: http://tachyons.io/docs/layout/spacing/

sixdimensional 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Small typo in the following paragraph on the front page:"There are plenty of amazing front end framworks -> frameworks already, such as, Bootstrap and Foundation. If you're looking for something feature rich with loads of components, those are both great choices."
sotojuan 4 hours ago 7 replies      
Cool, but what does it offer that Pure (4kb doesn't)?


vonklaus 3 hours ago 1 reply      
can someone explain the convention of importing a directory into a file of the same name (and same level) before main.scss. The structure is:

 src/sass/ components/ support/ vars/ _components.scss _support.scss main.scss
and within main:

 @import "components";
Just curious why this is? I usually just import them directly into main, but I could understand if they were nested into the directory so they could be broken out. This structure doesn't make sense to me though as they are all flat & in same directory.

deedubaya 2 hours ago 0 replies      
BEM may be effective for some, but it's a total turn-off for me simply because of the `__` syntax making my eyes bleed.
mhd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
No words about browser support?
Keats 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it will need to follow Foundation style and offer mixin rather than hardcoding the classes. A library taking like .btn andothers etc is not something you'd want. Or maybe it's just me that don't like putting tons of classes in the HTML.
azurelogic 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Read '8k' and thought we were talking about resolution, not kilobytes. Cool, but not as absurd as I was hoping for.
mkolodny 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Bootstrap can be customized to be as small as you want it to be: http://getbootstrap.com/customize/
ungzd 3 hours ago 3 replies      
For me, forms look microsoftish (maybe can be easily customized though) and BEM is hungarian notation of CSS.
Pome: Postgres monitoring dashboard rachbelaid.com
16 points by banku_brougham  2 hours ago   4 comments top 3
rachbelaid 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
A quick update to say that few things got added since version 0.1 and you can find more details on the github release page. https://github.com/rach/pome/releases
LukeHoersten 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Any reason this doesn't just integrate with Grafana?
Museum of Soviet arcade machines 15kop.ru
61 points by tosseraccount  4 hours ago   29 comments top 14
rdtsc 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh I remember those! Nice.

With the obligatory soda machine. They had a regular glass (made from glass, not disposable). Pushed it upside-down in this washer valve which sprayed water on the inside of it. So you "washed it". Then you put coin in, forgot how many kopeyks for regular fizzy water, it cost more to add syrup. Then the person behind you used that same glass, and so on.

Today I'd think it is crazy unsanitary, and would never drink out of it.

In the summer, throughout the city they also had large yellow barrels on two wheels with kvas (this fermented drink made from bread). Also with reusable glasses which the seller would quickly rinse with water before handing it to you. That was the best thing on a hot summer day.

pdkl95 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The hotel I was staying at in Moscow in '92 had "Snaiper-2". I really liked it. Sure, it's a basic target-shooting game, but it's entirely electromechanical and it had a lens in the sight that made the target seem like it was further away.
ikonst 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been to the one in Saint-Petersburg. Probably worth a visit, but do expect most machines to be under-maintained, and keep you wondering if the game is even receiving your inputs...

Though, I suppose, when those machines were placed in random "palaces of culture" across the USSR in the 70-80s, their state on average wasn't any better.

soundoflight 2 hours ago 0 replies      
They just talked about this on the latest episode of the Idle Thumbs podcast! The podcaster's favorite was one with a mechanical car that drove on top of a video.


scrumper 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Look at the disassembly photos for Morskoi Boi! It's lovely oily electromechanical stuff. I'd love to have a go.
bitwize 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Magistral is so unfair. At any moment a blue car can come up from behind and rear-end you, including instantly after you respawn.

Is this by design, a sort of Soviet nihilistic humor?

glwtta 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
was the shit!
DanBC 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A long time ago there was a similar thread. It only got 11 comments, but maybe people are interested. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1668085
sandworm101 3 hours ago 1 reply      
There appears to be an app that recreates the Morski Boi! game.


This reminds me of the Tetris story: Who exactly would own the various rights to this games?

santaclaus 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The pixelated face on 'Magistral' kind of looks like a hipster. Red beanie, big glasses, beard.
opticals 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Soda machine is the best !
steveklabnik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been to the one in Moscow, it was a great time. It reminded me a lot of the Muse Mcanique on the Embarcadero.
centizen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Super interesting stuff.
johansch 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Just rembember to shit in a corner if you do visit.
Standard deviation is ready for retirement: Nassim Taleb (2014) edge.org
178 points by chollida1  8 hours ago   90 comments top 25
hyperpape 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I confess that I found this article unhelpful. There are interesting tidbits in there, but I don't think it helped me identify any specific errors you'd reach by using a standard deviation rather than mean average deviation. The closest it came was:

"1) MAD is more accurate in sample measurements, and less volatile than STD since it is a natural weight whereas standard deviation uses the observation itself as its own weight, imparting large weights to large observations, thus overweighing tail events."

More accurate how? Less volatile, not overweighing tail events: what inference would I make incorrectly by using the standard deviation?

To be clear, I'm not arguing "for" standard deviation, I'm just saying that I wish this article had said more about why it's potentially misleading/less powerful.

CorvusCrypto 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Great writeup. I think this should go hand in hand with articles explaining why p <= 0.05 is not an end-all be-all confirmation of your hypotheses/conclusions. Before I jumped to the software engineering world, I did biostats and was essentially a "bioinformatician". You quickly realize how many experts in the field misuse statistical tools entirely while using their results to prove a point, or worse, draw conclusions incorrectly from their results. A big faux pas I saw a lot was using normality-assumed parametric tests on non-normal data where the skew was clearly significant (i.e. you couldn't get away with it like some non-normal data dists.). Seriously, go take a look at some bioinfo papers (or any biology papers for that matter), it's getting pretty bad. However when we learn (even in master's or Ph.D. programs) about these mathematical tools, we are not often taught about what the math means. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have been taught formulas as a means to prove your research rather than the theory/intuition behind them. Luckily there are articles such as these that force you to step back and consult the maths again to learn what is really going on.

As an aside, I'm sure this sort of thing happens in all walks of life, not just maths/data science. Some programmers don't understand the intuition of certain things that they code and when it is time to explain they will likely freeze because they know how to code it, but don't really know why the code works fundamentally.

lordnacho 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I met Nassim Taleb a few years ago. He was doing due diligence on a fund I was working at.

He's an incredibly colourful character. We chatted about various authors in the statistical space, and chastised them all! "What about (this guy)? Idiot!" It was a rant worthy of a Hitler parody. "Everyone who believes in standard deviation, leave the room!"

It was hilarious. He had a point, too, about our statistical methods. A few months later the fund blew up in a textbook way. He'd have made a packet if he followed his own advice. No idea if he did.

s_q_b 7 hours ago 7 replies      
"What is worse, Goldstein and I found that a high number of data scientists (many with PhDs) also get confused in real life."

Wow. Just wow.

Some of people are calling themselves "Data Scientists" who don't know the difference between and MAD?

I don't care how many letters are after your name. If you don't know the absolute most basic types of summary statistics, you have no business calling yourself a Data Scientist.


To the phonies, please stop. Most of us work hard to stay at the bleeding edge, lest we fall behind, as I'm sure all HN devs strive to do. You're essentially defrauding people, and if you're working on anything important, the cascading effects can hurt a lot of real live actual human beings.

It's one thing to play around with data science to satiate your curiosity. It's an entirely different matter to declare it your profession. For example, I play around with KSP. That does not make me an Aerospace Engineer.


Edit in reply @tgb: Actually I think you and I are on the same page about what Taleb means. In fact, MAD is probably the more intuitive summary statistic for most people.

I just find the number amongst Data Scientists surprisingly high, since half the job is spotting these kinds of misinterpretations.

jmount 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There are some reasons to prefer variance/stddev, such as getting averages correct: http://www.win-vector.com/blog/2014/01/use-standard-deviatio...
psoy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is silly in my view, and bordering on pseudoscience-level writing. It's not a random historical accident that we use these quantities.

Variance / stdev appear all over probability and statistics. For example, in this famous Stats 101 theorem:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chebyshev%27s_inequality

chollida1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I submitted this for Nassim's article but this whole site is pretty great. Check out their "big questions" on the left hand side where they get people to weigh in on them:





And to be honest where else can you find Nassim Taleb weigh in on any subject but keep himself to writing only 500 words:)

chuckcode 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Might be a little premature to call for retirement of sigma. The mathematical concept of standard deviation is super useful but I agree that the name is confusing and that we need to improve the naming and ideally the notation and teaching of statistics. Ability to deal with uncertainty and variance is becoming more and more important in all sorts of fields as data volumes get larger so I'd hate to see us give up just because it is hard to understand.
arafa 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have replaced uses of the Standard Deviation with the Mean Absolute Deviation at work on several occasions, for just the reasons described here. It often leads to substantial improvement in predictive validity, in some cases fixing a broken process.
pepematth 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The difference between MAD and STD is the use of the mean instead of the quadratic mean. Sometimes the quadratic mean is better, for example: if you have n some particles with velocity vi then the quadratic mean allows you to replace your system with another where each particle has the same velocity, the quadratic mean, this way the total kinetic energy is the same as in the original system, and this conservation of energy is a very important property in physics.
hendzen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually prefer median absolute deviation on real world data. It's more robust than either SD or mean absolute deviation.
kazinator 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If we regard taking the absolute value as a squaring followed by taking the positive square root, then basically we have "root mean square" (STD) versus "root square mean" (MAD), that is all. The one calculation takes the square root after the mean, the other moves it before.

If we extend MAD to vectors, then we average the vector norms.

What is the norm? It is the root mean square of the vector components. So then MAD is then the "root square mean" of "root mean squares".

forgotpwtomain 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm rather surprised how exceptionally naive articles are upvoted on HN when the subject matter is specialized. If you're going to talk about retiring standard deviation you should have some pretty detailed mathematical arguments, this is a waste of time.
auggierose 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember that when I learnt Probability Theory at Uni around 1996, I got a 3- in the exams (german grades go from 6 (the worst) to 1 (the best), a - indicating a tendency towards the worse grade, and + indicating a tendency towards the better grade). Everyone else in that year got a worse grade ... And we were all (aspiring) mathematicians. The thing is, if you want to teach that stuff in a way that is both rigorous with respect to theoretical underpinnings, while at the same time making sure that the student can actually apply in practice what they learnt ... that's a pretty difficult task, even if your students are all mathematicians. Now, I have no idea what a good way to teach these things to non-mathematicians would be!

Edit: I always was quite astonished of how easily Biologists etc. seem to have understood quite complicated probabilistic mathematics, but now I understand that mostly they are just cargo culting stuff they don't really understand.

bluecalm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion about Taleb's view on this:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7064435
omginternets 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Where can I read more about the concept of infinite variance?

A gentle introduction would be much appreciated.

fpoling 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A similar thing is using least squares for linear regression rather than minimizing MAD. In past the argument was that the least squares sum has a closed expression, but with computers even that advantage eliminated.

The nice thing about minimizing MAD is that in typical settings the liner regression line-plane-hyperplane goes through measurement points. As such there is no interpolation and outliers are nicely cut off making the result very robust to measurements errors.

OliverJones 6 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the barriers to adopting MAD() is the two passes over a dataset needed to compute it.

As it happens, I made a MySQL feature request for a MAD() aggregate function when Dr. Taleb's article first appeared. Any upvotes on that request would be welcome.


nerotulip 3 hours ago 0 replies      
ris 6 hours ago 2 replies      
While we're at it, can we also retire "linear" mean in favour of geometric mean in what is commonly understood as "average"?

It is far more representative in most real life situations I find.

calebm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I never understood why "root mean square deviation" is called standard deviation instead of the MAD. That always annoyed me.
graycat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Taleb is partly correct in his

> Standard deviation, STD, should be left to mathematicians, physicists and mathematical statisticians deriving limit theorems.

E.g., for positive integer n and a sequence of n random variables with the same expectation and with finite variance and, as n grows to infinity, with the variance converging to zero, the random variables, actually points in the Hilbert space commonly called L^2, converge in the norm of that space, and then a subsequence must converge almost surely, that is, the strongest case of convergence. Of course, this is a very old result and standard when consider convergence of random variables.

But standard deviation still has an important role in common applications of statistics without "deriving limit theorems". And, with some irony, we don't derive a limit theorem but use one, indeed, likely the most important one, the central limit theorem (CLT).

With the CLT, under mild assumptions, for positive integer n, as n grows to infinity, the probability distribution of the mean of n independent and identically distributed (the i.i.d. case) converges to a Gaussian. Likely the mildest assumptions are from the Lindeberg-Feller case (don't ask but look it up if you wish, and to read the proof set aside much of an afternoon).

Now, when have convergence to a Gaussian and have the standard deviation of that Gaussian, we can calculate any and all confidence intervals we want on our estimate of the mean of that Gaussian. So, THAT'S one case of where and why even in just common work we still want standard deviation.

Yes, how fast the convergence is to a Gaussian can be relevant in protecting against Talib's "black swans" and avoiding, say, the disaster of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) in their estimates of volatility.

That is, suppose we want to estimate the standard deviation of an average (as above). Suppose the random variables we are averaging have a distribution that has in its probability density function a bump way, way, way out in a tail. The way out in the tail means that if get such a value, then it's really large (in absolute value, and in practice really far from the expectation of that random variable). So, if get a value in that bump, then can have a "black swan". But the probability of the bump is quite small. So, we can take samples from the distribution of that random variable and average them for weeks before we ever get a sample from the bump, before ever see a black swan.

So, doing this, in our sampling never seeing a black swan, we can have an estimate of standard deviation that is significantly too small. So, with that small standard deviation, can believe that some highly leveraged financial positions are relatively safe, that is, also have low volatility.

Then, bad day, the Russians default on something, we get a "black swan", and suddenly lose some billions of dollars where before we were really sure that wouldn't happen for millennia. Sorry 'bout that.

Roughly, that is what happened in the famous, expensive crash of LTCM.

kenjackson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What he says seems to supply to volatility, but does it apply to other uses of volatility?
a3n 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't find "nassim" anywhere on the page or in the source.
Forty Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today nytimes.com
286 points by strivedi  11 hours ago   197 comments top 16
humanrebar 11 hours ago 6 replies      
> New Yorks zoning rules were intended to create less cramped quarters, but they also have consequences for the number of aggregate apartments in the city. Such limitations can quickly decrease the supply of housing, and most likely drive up rents. If every tenement in the city were reconfigured in these ways, they would be less crowded, but there would also be fewer apartments to go around.

Another part of the article says almost 3/4 of the square footage in Manhattan was built between 1900 and 1930. I'm not sure how these regulations are supposed to have anything but a profound effect on rents. I can understand that people want to preserve aesthetics, but at what cost?

There are many working class people who have unconscionable commutes into Manhattan partly because of NIMBY zoning laws.

brudgers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, there's a potential implication in the headline that doesn't quite paint the right picture. Today's zoning code express a plan for dealing with the good and the bad of aspects of previously constructed buildings.

Today's zoning code deals with the height and bulk and uses of existing buildings as facts when determining the hygienic requirements of future buildings. Existing non-conformities are part of the logistical plan for handling change. The tightening of rules over time is the result of the strain prior laxity places on resources today.

dankohn1 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great analysis. Zoning laws still leave plenty of opportunity for new construction, and Mayor De Blasio has made major changes to encourage new construction, which is the only potential solution for the high housing costs on the East and West US coasts.

For an example of what zoning laws were trying to avoid, look at images of Gotham City from Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, where the buildings grow outwards as they go up like trees trying to absorb all sunlight. http://illusion.scene360.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/tim-...

Manhattan is less dense today then it was a hundred years ago, but it's density can and should increase as taller, healthier buildings are added. http://www.vox.com/2014/9/23/6832975/manhattan-population-de... (Written from the 22nd floor of the first LEED Platinum certified apartment building in Manhattan.)

gregwtmtno 10 hours ago 5 replies      
No one wants to go back to the days of tenements, but we need to relax these zoning rules. We need more housing stock at every income level except ultra-luxury.
Spooky23 9 hours ago 3 replies      
The headline is a bullshit statement, and the reporter should know that. I don't expect click bait from the NYT.

Urban zoning isn't the same as the burbs. Most of those buildings could be built today, but would require a variance. The buildings that would "never get built" today wouldn't be a result of zoning, but the ADA -- the need to have ramps eliminates new construction of walk-ups and the requirements for wheelchair accessible elevators increases the cost of construction, reduces square footage and makes it too expensive to build buildings similar to many common Manhattan buildings.

In the case of NYC in the last decade, they also require paying off politicians. If you follow NY news, you'll notice that the US Attorney has been very busy investigating that practice.

Xcelerate 8 hours ago 9 replies      
A little bit unrelated to the article, but why has the US quit building skyscrapers for the most part? I know there's a few in the works (Salesforce tower) but generally speaking, it seems like the skyscrapers that exist in most major cities were built long ago and they don't plan on adding any more.
anizan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is there any zoning for safe space? Does anyone know? Or do i need to build my own bunker like Switzerland did for each and every one of their citizens.... during cold war. Btw is cold war over yet? Or is it just a going through a thaw right now
edwingustafson 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Same is true of cars on the road -- some or all vehicles from past model years would fail to meet this year's automotive regulations.
jdnier 7 hours ago 0 replies      
When I first saw the article title, I thought it might be about all the building materials and specialist skills required for construction that are no longer available or practical, not to mention the cost of building with those materials and techniques now. Zoning issues aside, I bet many of those building really couldn't be built today.
sandworm101 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Junk headline. The day after any building code change, all that came before could not be built again.

A better story would have been now past building codes shaped many NY icons. The Empire State Building's shape isn't some architectural masterpiece, it is a diagram of the building code at the time. It fills exactly as much space as was allowed.

kazinator 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That helps give NY its grit. If you want some pink little buildings, to to Miami Beach.
nxzero 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Having done a residential housing startup, violated zoning, and talked in person to current or form heads of zoning in a number of cities, there's got to be a better solution.

Taking step back, might be worth understanding how this all got started:http://ny.curbed.com/2013/3/15/10263912/the-equitable-buildi...

If you understand the history and common zoning laws, you'll quickly start to see a pattern, that being it's a reactionary system that's often designed by politics, not science.

I personally have given up on the topic, but hope someone is able to make some progress.

Mz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a shame that so much about urban planning just proves the saying "That government is best which governs least."
Shivetya 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Okay I cannot find it, but is there a square footage requirement per occupant for new living spaces?
hackaflocka 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Times change. Situations change. It's understandable.
hiou 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm curious what all of these increase housing supply fanatics think about cities in the rust belt(Cleveland, St Louis etc) with an oversupply of housing which makes them a hotbed of crime and gang activity?
If you care about privacy, you should not use Google Allo vice.com
191 points by walterbell  8 hours ago   115 comments top 27
fixermark 5 hours ago 2 replies      
"Let that sink in for a moment: The selling point of this app is that Google will read your messages, for your convenience."

If that's the author's objection, it's like the author never heard of Gmail.


incepted 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the usual privacy hysteria knee-jerk reaction: "Watch out, the big companies are going to get data on you!".

And people are going to react exactly like they've done before: if the service is worth it, they'll be happy to trade a few bits of privacy about themselves in exchange for the benefits.

Also, I'm not sure the author of this piece understands what encryption is about since he laments that most people don't search with https on. Er... what? If you want Google to search something on your behalf, they have to be able to read the words you type. Encrypting these words so Google can't read them would be comically useless.

oceanswave 7 hours ago 14 replies      
I pay cash for all my transactions.

I don't own a car because I fear that the registration systems for licensing and taxes will gather information about me and we know that those government data systems are most vulnerable to attack.

When I travel, it's by bus only - requiring a form of identification at the airport is a front to government spying. Unfortunately, the bus systems are starting to require too much information as well and when this fully happens I'll have to stop traveling by this means too.

Voter registration is unfortunately a front for other malicious activities - such as jury duty, a state-mandated intrusion into my most private information and thoughts - not even bringing up electronic voting - so I stay away from those booths.

I find that just renting an apartment requires too much sharing of my personal information, I try to provide the minimum, but I still find my address on the web and you can see where I live on google street view which is very frustrating.

I don't talk to others and when I do, I don't tell folks anything about me, I'm concerned that they may tell others and pretty soon everyone is going to start showing up at my home and my job and frankly I don't want to answer my door buy their stuff - or worse - they could be hiding violent tendencies.

Today's society makes it extremely difficult to be a nobody. If I could crinkle into a ball and fade away, I would, but, unfortunately, I'm still breathing.

nothrabannosir 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Google would be insane to not offer some version of end-to-end encryption in a chat app in 2016, when all of its biggest competitors have it enabled by default.

Who are all of its biggest competitors? Messenger sure doesn't do this (does it even have E2E at all?), Skype doesn't, either. Telegram, even if you considered it a big competitor, did they finally enable E2E by default? Or do you still have to open a "secure chat" for e2e? Kakao, WeChat, ... who else?

Honestly, aside from WhatsApp, I can't even think of one which anybody would consider "big".

That's indefensibly different from "All".

EDIT: Cool, I just learned iMessage is encrypted e2e! That's "Two" :)

maxerickson 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I very much agree with the principle of restricting and monitoring the access law enforcement has to communications.

In practice, I weep for a third party that has to read the dumb shit I chat about.

If we do succeed in building a hell where a preference for Metallica in 1997 is grounds for any sort of consequences at all, I'm not going to blame my past self for foolishly broadcasting that preference, I'm going to blame my current self for cowardly compliance with the hell machine.

PaulHoule 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not so worried about it. I think Google Allo will get about as many users as Google Plus.
pookeh 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Turning on E2E encryption by default and using your chat data for commercial purposes doesn't have to be a zero sum game...

You can always extract important words from a "block" of chat messages, and feed that into your advertising engine, while keeping the exact sequence of your words and messages encrypted.

Now if the AI bots require the exact sequence of your words to do NLP processing, then yea, you're SOL until the mobile devices become powerful enough to do that processing locally on the device.

mead5432 6 hours ago 0 replies      
After the Snowden stuff, I still find it hard to entrust Google and Facebook with the data necessary to provide the super-personalized experience despite the things they have done to try and win back confidence.

Since I still use Google and, to a lesser extent, Facebook products, they have lots of data on me already but these kind of products still give me pause as I think about what could happen. If my experience is like many others, that could make it harder for these types of new products to find the adoption had all the NSA stuff not been revealed.

From a marketing perspective, it could be a really interesting study into the impact of a brand violating the customer's trust and the government's role in forcing the behavior.

kpcyrd 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't come up with a sane reason why opt-in privacy is acceptable. Signal is handling the issues that may arise without any issues and whatsapp is just hiding complicated errors from it's users per default so they aren't confused, but they still get encryption by default in both cases.

Opt-in end-to-end encryption is an anti-feature.

amaks 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad article. There is technological constraint that leads to inability to use end-to-end encryption when using bots (note that they are not only Google's but also 3rt party's). Same is true for other messaging platforms that use bots including Facebook Messenger. Individual messages are encrypted inflight. If you need end-to-end encryption then use incognito mode. IMO this looks like a perfect balance of privacy and functionality.
darkerside 6 hours ago 2 replies      
What bothers me more than the lack of privacy or encryption is the idea that we are giving our voice to machines. We are moving to a society where we let technology speak to our friends and loved ones as if they were us. Something essentially human is being lost in that process.
netinstructions 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the outrage about 'yet another chat app / why did you start over from scratch / why not replace Hangouts' interesting relative to this statement from the article:

> Allo is fundamentally different in this way than Hangouts or Gchat.

So either Google can merge Hangouts/Gchat into Allo, and this Vice author gets upset, or Google debuts 'yet another chat app' but then everyone's confused/annoyed there's so many chat apps from Google.

vicbrooker 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I find it super interesting that this is on the front page at the same time as a ex-Google design ethicist is talking about respecting the user ahead of commercial interests.
kinkdr 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
> If you care about privacy, you should not use Google Allo

"set the fox to guard the henhouse"

It is not that Google is evil, or anything. Quite the opposite, it is probably as good as a corporation can get in that respect.

But they do have a vested interested to learn as much as possible about the users, so they can sell ads, so they can still continue offer amazing products and drive innovation.

Having said that, I would, and do, trust them with all my private data. Things that I would trust only to good friends.

However, if I really wanted something to be absolutely private, Google would not be my first stop. A combination for GnuPG and TOR, maybe, but not Google for sure.

okket 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Opt-in encryption is no encryption.
JustSomeNobody 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"Don't Use Allo"

Wasn't planning on it. The people I communicate with use either Hangouts or iMessage. I don't have room for YAMS (Yet Another Messaging Service).

Google now has what? half doesn't ways to send messages? This time next year, how many will they have shutdown? I'm not moving until Hangouts is one of the victims.

cwyers 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This kind of thing doesn't work. "Don't use X" is not advice most people are equipped to follow, and most of us who aren't trying to avoid prosecution from a state actor mostly end up wanting to talk to other people and so follow the herd no matter what our own preferences may be.

What's the solution? Instead of writing "Don't use X," write "Use Y." Don't use X, on its own, isn't actionable advice. Use Y can be.

bsimpson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Gboard only receives search data, and they make a really big effort to tell you that.
throw7 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, hopefully google will have an option to turn off this predictive response stuff. I know I don't want it.

Frankly, about duo (the video chat app), I don't want the other side to see me without picking up... seriously what? I'm probably not their target demographic though with these apps.

INTPenis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
With that logic - that the intent is only to gather data about you and the assumption that few will bother with privacy features - then nothing is stopping google from using an open protocol and client to promote transparency.
codeisawesome 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness some people are seeing this.
nxzero 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Most people don't care, which means that if you want to chat with most people, you'll need to use mainstream tools.

If you don't want the features, then don't use them, but saying not to use the tool because you'll want the features that will take away privacy makes no sense.

josep2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why are we worried about a chat app that hasn't been released yet?
Zigurd 7 hours ago 2 replies      
You can't have Allo's friendly and useful features AND have end to end encryption. Allo has struck a good compromise. Allo's secure mode is enabled by OWS, which has a very solid reputation for privacy. This along with new security features in Android N make Allo likely to be impervious to threats short of an NSA TAO full-on attack and/or a black bag job. It would be dumb to discourage use of such a tool.
mtgx 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Make end-to-end encryption the default, with an obvious opt-out for those that want to take advantage of the AI assistance.

Alternatively make opting into incognito mode super obvious and easy as well (but in a way that preserves security) and allow an easy option to always keep it the default, too.

And if Allo is going to be the AI-enhanced messenger from Google, then why not make Hangouts fully e2e encrypted like Facebook made Whatsapp?! Unless they plan to kill Hangouts soon? But I doubt that's even a medium-term plan.

I think Hangouts is here to stay for at least another 5 years, unless they intentionally deprecate it in favor of Allo like they did with Gtalk. However going by the current reception of Allo, that also seems unlikely at the moment.

I plan on moving to Allo myself from Hangouts and the only reason for doing that is the end-to-end encryption of Allo, considering Hangouts has none. So if they want more people like me to switch from Hangouts to Allo, then they'd better strengthen not weaken the Incognito mode (not just security wise, but usability wise as well).

Hopefully in the next 5 years we'll see AI-accelerators embedded into smartphone SoCs, so that most of the AI assistance that Allo can do now can be done locally, but I don't expect Google to push too hard in that direction, so someone else would have to take the lead (probably Apple, and I think they've already started doing stuff like that).

Also, this is somewhat wrong:

> However, turning off location history means you have to type in your full home address every time you want directions home.

You can set your home location in Google Maps, so then you won't have to use it as a "remembered location" through the location history system. I also think the starred locations will be saved similarly, and not through location history. So go ahead and turn off your location history.

aplkorex 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Gryzzl is real
_pmf_ 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Relax; it's a Google side product. With 95% certainty, it'll be dead within one year.
Shebang Quine github.com
147 points by geon  7 hours ago   48 comments top 13
Exuma 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's my favorite one ever...


JoshTriplett 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's a quine written as an ld linker script:

 TARGET(binary) OUTPUT_FORMAT(elf32-i386) ENTRY(_start) SECTIONS { . = 2M; .text 2M: { _start = .; BYTE(0xb8); LONG(4) /* mov $4, %eax */ BYTE(0xbb); LONG(1) /* mov $1, %ebx */ BYTE(0xb9); LONG(data); /* mov data, %ecx */ BYTE(0xba); LONG(data_len); /* mov data_len, %edx */ BYTE(0xcd); BYTE(0x80); /* int $0x80 */ BYTE(0xb8); LONG(1) /* mov $1, %eax */ BYTE(0x31); BYTE(0xdb); /* xor %ebx, %ebx */ BYTE(0xcd); BYTE(0x80); /* int $0x80 */ data = .; *(.data); data_len = ABSOLUTE(. - data); } }
Building and running it:

 /tmp$ ld -T quine.ld quine.ld -o quine /tmp$ ./quine | diff -s quine.ld - Files quine.ld and - are identical

takeda 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this technically a quine though?

In any other language, a program that opens and prints file containing its own source code is not considered a quine.

malisper 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone's curious, I wrote a blog post a while ago on how to write programs that obtain their own source code: http://malisper.me/2016/04/20/writing-self-referential-progr...
adrianratnapala 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm, when we speak of quining, we ask "How in X programming language, do we write a program that outputs it's own text".

But in what language is this "program" written?

The best I can guess is that the unix shebang hack/convention is a (very, very minimal) language all of its own.

cyphar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the fact that #!/proc/self/exe causes the interpreter to be the calling program (since the interpreter is evaluated in the context of the calling program, from the kernel).
nmc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very fun.

For those who are puzzled by the term "quine": http://meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/4877/what-c...

tehrei 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A more philosophical shebang that I like is


CobrastanJorji 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this technically a quine? It uses its own file as an input. I think that may technically disqualify it from quineness.
geon 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I was thinking of unorthodox uses for the shebang, and realized cat gives you a very succinct quine.

Any other funny commands? ls -l is cool too.

emson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So if anyone is interested here are some "Elixir" quine attempts: http://elixirgolf.com/articles/elixir-quine-self-replicating...
jessaustin 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Haha treating cat as an interpreter just sends the script on stdin.
mijoharas 7 hours ago 1 reply      
First argument in bash is the name of the file. So, this is a quine, since the output of running it is the contents of the script, which is:


[EDIT] as pointed out, I misspoke, and this is false.

X86 Shellcode Obfuscation Part 2 breakdev.org
7 points by kgretzky  1 hour ago   1 comment top
brudgers 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had to lookup "shellcode" at wikipedia:

In computer security, a shellcode is a small piece of code used as the payload in the exploitation of a software vulnerability. It is called "shellcode" because it typically starts a command shell from which the attacker can control the compromised machine, but any piece of code that performs a similar task can be called shellcode. Because the function of a payload is not limited to merely spawning a shell, some have suggested that the name shellcode is insufficient.[1] However, attempts at replacing the term have not gained wide acceptance. Shellcode is commonly written in machine code.

Turbulent times for Formula 1 engines result in unprecedented efficiency gains arstechnica.com
13 points by nkurz  1 hour ago   1 comment top
quahada 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this article from 2004 of one person making similar innovations as entire engineering teams with huge R&D budgets 12 years later.


An Exact Value for the Planck Constant: Why Reaching It Took 100 Years wolfram.com
23 points by JulienRbrt  3 hours ago   6 comments top 4
cdumler 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Glancing through it, it almost appears that it's almost copy and paste. It has so many tangents and subject splices, it is hard to follow.

It appears to be arguing that the Planck constant is defined partially by mass, which has never had an high-precision value SI unit. The Avogadro project has determined a high-precision definition the Avogadro constant. The Rydberg constant is known to high precision; therefore, the two can be used to together to find a high-precision value of the Planck constant. Also, once a fixed definition of mass through physical constants is made, we will have an exact definition of Plank constant.

gsmethells 1 hour ago 2 replies      
If there ever was a need for a TL;DR, then this is it. Anyone care to take a crack at it?
brianpgordon 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow, is this an entire year's work? It just keeps going and going, and going.
domdip 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is unreadable.
Programming the ENIAC: an example of why computer history is hard computerhistory.org
23 points by ingve  4 hours ago   8 comments top 6
hcs 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Even before ENIAC was finished, engineers realized that there was a much better centralized way to control such a complex machine, using coded instructions stored in memory and "executed" in sequence.

> For a discussion of how it was different from earlier ideas, see Tom Haighs recent article "Where Code Comes From".

This article links to "Where Code Comes From" at CACM, but beyond an excerpt it is members-only. Here's the full article on the author's web site:


readams 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Who invented the computer? A 20-year-old might say Steve Jobs."

It may well be a complex question of who invented the computer. But I think it's safe to say that it was certainly not Steve Jobs.

stevetrewick 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read.

>no one challenged the status of the stored program as the defining feature of the modern digital electronic computer, but we struggle when required to articulate its significance in simple terms"

Are we? Then it's probably because we're being dishonest about using it to keep score of which machine was 'first'. Like the article says : 'first computer', 'first electronic computer', 'first electronic stored program computer'. Throw a handful of 'general purpose' in there and you've got a spectrum of candidates from the old astronomy tools through the difference engine through the Z3 to the Mark I. Honestly, the only time I ever hear or read anyone say 'first stored program...' is as a presage to claiming that the MkI was first so ra ra, we beat the yanks.

mikejmoffitt 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
This was an interesting read, but I thought the description of the Von Neuman's architectural decision to address program instructions and data in the same address space was a little hasty - perhaps introducing the Harvard architecture or another with separate spaces would help with the argument for ENIAC categorically being a computer.
colinthompson 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is such an interesting article to me because it describes a time when a fundamentally unique paradigm of computer science was in it's nascent form. It makes me wonder, were people aware of the watershed nature of their work at the time?

Are there new paradigms being worked on now, that we are aware of, which have a similar significance?

I suppose it may be hard to see such a thing in the moment, but it sure is fun to think about.

basicplus2 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds more like the problem is a lack of definition of terms.
An insomniac's guide to the group theory of mattress flipping (2005) americanscientist.org
47 points by luckysahaf  5 hours ago   13 comments top 8
nerdy 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Why not just write the name of a season on a corner for each of the 4 configurations and call it a day? The incorrect season on the same side would be written upside down. If the season is wrong, flip/rotate accordingly.

 ---------- ---------- nS---- udS---- ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----Winter ------Fall ---------- ----------
While not flip or rotate, it is a single operation: "Align the current season to the bottom"

jacobolus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Summary: the dihedral group D2 (isomorphic to the Klein 4 group) needs 2 generators, so you cant keep performing a single flip/operation on your mattress and get all viable positions out of it.

For folks trying to learn group theory, I recommend Nathan Carters book Visual Group Theory, an approachable introduction written in conversational style, full of great pictures (unlike most group theory textbooks, which are abstract and symbol-heavy).http://web.bentley.edu/empl/c/ncarter/vgt/http://amzn.com/088385757X

dandelany 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you like this kind of thing, Brian Hayes (the author) has a whole book of similar mathematical anecdotes/puzzles: http://www.amazon.com/Group-Theory-Bedroom-Mathematical-Dive...
utopkara 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Pun Maths: "Mattress multiplication"
count_zero 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If your mattress has a tag in one corner, it becomes pretty simple to know which operation to perform next.

If, when facing the headboard, the tag is to your right, rotate; else, flip (on the roll axis).

spdegabrielle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Brian Hayes always writes great stuff http://bit-player.org
leecarraher 2 hours ago 0 replies      
nothing to see here, just a friday afternoon deadline article about the dihedral group
cecilpl 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This post was interesting, though less interesting than I expected based on the title.
Security for everyone? Apple Store edition (2015) jessysaurusrex.com
21 points by rdl  3 hours ago   7 comments top 2
post_break 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
Sorry if this is naive but what does Taylor Swift have to do with this story? I'm talking about her tweets. Not being fussy, I just generally don't know what the author means by the tweets.
Natanael_L 1 hour ago 2 replies      
That's basically Chromebooks for most people, and incidentally they just started outselling Macs.

Most of us "power users" will never be using one, but they're designed for people who aren't going to be personally maintaining their computer.

Uber Partners with San Francisco Landlord to Subsidize Car-Free Tenants planetizen.com
26 points by jtsnow  3 hours ago   11 comments top 6
partycoder 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well, it's a double edged sword.

Because when everyone stops using parking spots, driving in the city would become better due to better parking options.

mikeash 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is there any fundamental difference between this and simply dropping rent by $100/month and charging $100/month for a parking space? Aside from the fact that carless tenants in that scenario could spend their $100/month on something other than transportation.
Bromskloss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How about the landlord just pays tenants directly for not having a car in the area? Would the incentives come out wrong in such an arrangement?
jacalata 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting geofence idea - I wonder if that makes it worthwhile for neighbours to walk to their front door before ordering a ride? Or is this the kind of place where neighbours don't exist?
wavefunction 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess I have to consider their subsidies program when contrasted with their claims that submitting to municipal finger-printng regulations for their drivers here in Austin are "too expensive."
grillvogel 2 hours ago 1 reply      
the corporations are our friends!

>According to Hawkins, "[the] money can be used for public transit, taxis, and car-sharing, as long as at least $30 is put toward Uber."

oh wait maybe not

Robots have been about to take all the jobs for more than 200 years timeline.com
21 points by apsec112  3 hours ago   18 comments top 9
taylodl 2 hours ago 3 replies      
200 years is only a blip in human history. First the machines automated physical labor, then they started automating mental labor, and now they're even starting to automate creative labor. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, society has yet to deal with all the ramifications brought by the steam engine. And we're moving way beyond that.
toddmorey 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is a clever collection. I'm sure at least one article, on the eve of the moon landing, asked "We've been wanting to go to the moon forever. What's different this time?"

Concerning robots, I can answer that question. This time, we have cheap sensors and connectivity, powerful processors, and machine learning.

It's early, but it's a sea change. Since the beginning, robots have been instructed what to do. Now, increasingly, they can decide what to do. They can react to the environment. Recover from failure. Handle variance.

Most of the focus has been on autonomous driving, but the same sensors and algorithms are applicable to so many varied tasks that have traditional been unapproachable by machines. (The moment this technology enables a laundry folding robot, I'm buying it, not matter what it costs.)

And it's not just manual labor but knowledge work as well. We laugh at strange errors from Siri and Google Now, but I have also started to notice that more and more of my calls don't involve a phone tree and don't have to get escalated to a human.

SoonDead 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is still a lot of things waiting to be invented/discovered in space travel, the humanity could use the help of robots in that regard.

And when ready I can travel to my own planet, terraform it and live out my artificially enhanced lifespan there.

kolbe 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I can't find the video, but a very powerful example of the folly in this way of thinking is in the mind of a horse. When the car came out, horses could have looked around and said "I know they're taking our jobs today, but for the past 10k years, every time one of our jobs got replaced, we found another one." Yet, despite such a lengthy history of adaptive value, after cars became prevalent, horses were never useful an laborers ever again. It's not far fetched to think that humans are just a better horse, able to stave off economic obsolescence slightly longer than they did.
clock_tower 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
The Luddites were right; they were just early.

As for the 1930s and onwards, I once described the Japanese war in China as indefensible even from a narrowly economic perspective, because developing Manchuria was enough to absorb Japanese industrial productivity for the next thirty or forty years. That phrase is historians' standard way of describing what the Japanese wanted to do, but it was an absolute revelation to a non-historian friend of mine, who realized from that phrase that industrial productivity has been a waste product for the past eighty years or so...

rm_-rf_slash 2 hours ago 2 replies      
When AI replaces programmers, mass employment is over. There will be nothing that can be done by a human that a machine cannot do better. Fallout-style "synths" will be able to do everything we need our feet and fingers for.

My only real concern is that the more autonomously powerful and self-aware these new intelligences become, at what point will they perceive humanity to be a net liability? What happens when they don't need us anymore? What if by then (esp with climate change and antibiotic resistant bacteria) we can't live without them?

We'll be lucky if we get the Neuromancer ending, where machines travel the universe while humanity happily farts around on earth. Lucky.

transfire 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Correction, Robots have been taking all the jobs for more than 200 years.

They just haven't finished yet.

pepematth 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thinking about robots is thinking about cheaper, smaller and more energy efficient devices. For example think about smart phones and communications, think about information storage and transformation. Those aspects are not a single extrapolation of the past, they are a revolution. I see many advances in nanotechnology, machine learning and miniaturization that could give rise to a new revolution, this is like the transistor, we are at the verge of a big change.
lzhou 1 hour ago 0 replies      
John Henry dies at the end of the story.
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